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About Me

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Guymon, Oklahoma, United States
I am blessed to live where my grandfather homesteaded, to have three beautiful daughters who are my best friends, to have six delightful grandchildren who live nearby, to be married to my sweetheart of 35 years and to thrill to the special magic of creating my own works of art. I'll never cease to thrill to witnessing new ideas and images come to life from the point of a pencil or splash of a brush. I am blessed.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

WHAT'S GOING ON IN MY CLASSROOM


I looked around my room today and felt a little overwhelmed.  I go so many different directions at once and have lots of different assignments set up from class to class.  Instead of wringing my hands about how much was happening around me, I decided I would capture it in a post.
One corner of my classroom is dedicated to pastel painting.  My students have been working on pastel exercises and projects for a few weeks and now are concentrating on creating a personal pastel of their choice of subject matter.  As is always the case, some are flying along and others are slowly working out their pieces.  It is always a struggle to keep my students busy when some finish ahead of others.  I use sketchbooks as a backup with monthly sketchbook assignments they can work on both in and outside of class.  This month's sketchbook assignment is making Vans shoe designs as part of a national contest.  That's a whole post for itself.  We have boxes of Vans that the company actually mailed to us to paint and draw on.

My art one students are deep into a color unit.  We have been studying all sorts of color schemes.  I got the bright idea this morning to use some photos I took of each student last semester as a resource for them to create a monochromatic, self portrait next week.  So I am digitizing their photos for the next assignment while my desk is piled high with their finished, color exercises.

I told my principal that my students and I would maintain and build displays in two storage cases around the school.  We've had a variety of displays set up throughout the year.  Currently my students and I are building cardboard, marquee letters that we plan to distress and complete with working, electric lights.  Cutting cardboard is always a pain so this display may take a while to complete.

My first hour students are into printmaking.  We are doing all sorts of crazy, inventive prints with basic linoleum plates.  We started with the soft rubber plates but boy, they are too expensive and fragile to use for very long.  I'm lucky to have a big printing press for this unit.  I am lucky to have it until it comes to time to store the darn thing.  I've contacted a local tie-dye artist to arrange for her to bring in some fabric dye we can use to put our linoleum stamps on shirts.

My art club started collecting bottle caps last fall in hopes of making a giant mosaic in our school.  I have giant garbage bags full of brightly colored bottle caps all over my classroom and the adjoining hallway. This too, is a slow project since some art club members aren't even in my class and show up here and there.  We have painted canvas panels as our support and are using heavy duty glue to create stacked sections and opted to make swirls and flourishes around words.  Our finished piece is huge and measures over 22 feet.  It is going in a hallway above student lockers just around the corner from my room.

That's a little tour of my art room.  I left out a whole corner dedicated to matting and framing pieces for  upcoming competitions and my advanced placement students who are just starting triptychs or building Shephard Fairey inspired collages.....maybe next time.  I'd love for you to stop by sometime and enjoy the chaos!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

QUINN'S WATERCOLOR

"Quinn"
22" x 7" Mixed Media, Dimensional Watercolor

My youngest granddaughter just turned one and I decided it was high time to create her a personalized watercolor.  I've made these for each of my five grandchildren and occasionally had the artwork finished long before they were even born.

Quinn is a beautiful, dainty little girl and she was born on Valentine's Day.  That meant I had to use lots of girlie elements and lots of hearts on her piece.  I also added some bling and some glittered embossing powder.  I love cutting out individual pieces and mounting them at different levels on the painting.  I actually use this technique with a watercolor unit in my classroom.  I actually stumbled on the idea as a method of covering up a watercolor disaster one time and have deliberately used it since.

Close-Up of Details on Quinn's Watercolor

Years ago I purchased some metallic watercolors and I've played with them some but never really used them in a finished piece.  I decided to give them a try on Quinn's painting.  You can see them sparkle in person and catch a little bit of their jazz in this close-up.  I applied them over my other watercolor washes.

You may notice that I signed the painting "Roni."  That's what my grandchildren call me.  My husband decided he didn't want to be called Pop-pop or Gramps or whatever other grandfather term the kids might invent.  He claimed he wanted to be called Master and Commander.  When he told some of his students one day that was his plan, the teens pointed out that he could be called MAC for short.  Since I didn't want to be Mac and cheese I claimed the title of Roni.  So we are lovingly referred to as Mac & Roni.  I love it!   I expect someday that's all anybody will call me.....which is fine with me.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A NEW ADDITION TO MY STUDIO


My Epson Artisan 1430 Printer pushing out a 12" x 18" Print

As my studio has grown, so has my need for better equipment.  One of the most profitable studio enterprises has been selling prints of my work and with a growing, summer, season of festivals and shows I desperately needed to invest in a better method of creating them.  

I've researched what type of fine art printer to purchase for months.  When I finally decided on one it wasn't easy to find it in stores so I ordered it online and had to wait for weeks before it arrived.  I am now trying to learn it's many tricks and settings but before long, I hope to have a lot of new prints packaged and ready to go.

Thanks to the friendly folks at Epson I now own an Artisan 1430 printer with archival inks and the capacity for printing up to 12" wide prints.  The inks have one of the longest life spans of any ink I researched and the printer, although large, is WIFI and can travel along with us to shows.  This way I can print on the road and replace popular artwork that sells out during a show.  It means I don't have to rely on a commercial print maker and it dwarfs our little home office printer which is next to it in the photo.  The overall costs of ink and acid/lignin free papers are about the same.  I am especially excited about offering larger prints with the option of using finer papers and even canvas.

It may take me some time to establish colors and such the way I want them but I'm determined to give this a go.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

2014 VALENTINE

2014 Valentine
Hearts are Wild Creatures - that's why our ribs are cages.
6" x 8" Watercolor & Colored Pencil 

I discovered this quote a few weeks ago and I loved it.  I've had this little painting in my head ever since.  I usually try to create a personal valentine each year for my daughters.  I thought this suited the occasion.  I deliberately left off the watermark on this painting so feel free to lift and share.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Friday, February 07, 2014

BUILDING THEATER COSTUMES & PROPS


Funny what an artist sometimes finds themselves creating.  I have been occupied building all sorts of costumes and props for our upcoming murder mystery dinner theater.  This year I am not only directing the play but I am also playing a tiny role.  My part is that of an elderly showgirl...a real Carol Burnett kinda part.  I wear a ratty nightgown for most of the show but at one point I put on my showgirl outfit over my robe.

The show takes place in a run down 70's disco.  We have rented lights, fog machines and the entire cast has Afro wigs and bell bottoms with platform shoes.  The murder weapon in the whodunnit is a mirror ball.  I didn't want to purchase and destroy a real mirror ball so I've made a couple of them from paper mache' to use as props.  I don't know if I'll ever get the sticky off my fingers and I think I will find little squares of silver wrapping paper in my desk for years.

Here are some cast photos of the characters who are possible murder suspects.











Looks like a lot of fun.  This is all for a great cause - to support our local, emergency youth shelter.

ELEPHANT

Elephant 
6" x 9" Mixed Media Drawing on Distressed, Dictionary Page

Life has been pretty hectic while directing and performing in a play.  My classroom has also kept me busy.

A friend requested an African elephant dictionary drawing and the deadline is fast approaching.  I finally was able to make time to get it finished and on it's way to a new home.  It seems that animals have occupied my easel quite a bit lately.

I tell my students all the time to draw or paint what they know.  I think the best art is personal but commissioned pieces usually take you out of that familiar subject area.  Drawing an African elephant had some challenges since I'm miles and miles from any actual elephants I can photograph and study.  I pride myself on original work so this guy had to be created from the parts of lots of different photographs and resource books.  I now the basics of an elephant - trunk, big ears,etc. but I certainly am not an expert.  The other challenge was to take something without much color and give it a little interest.

I finally finished him and got him lettered late last night after our last play practice for the week.  Today we set lights and do some tech and I hope to have a little rest before we open next week.