Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Four Seasons Fused Glass Workshop

Using glass enamel paint and glass materials, join us at Objects of Desire Artful Living on February 21, 2016 from 1-4 to create your own version of the four seasons!

Workshop price of $75 includes all materials, firing of your work, and materials to mount and frame the finished pieces.  (frame options may vary slightly from shown)

We also discuss in more depth about fused glass and how to develop your skills independently.
Advance reservation and payment or deposit will guarantee your space.  You may pay online using the option below, or you may drop by the shop Tuesday-Saturday from 11-6 to sign up.  We are located at 214 West Front Street, Findlay, Ohio.  

Four Seasons Glass Workshop 2/21 1-4

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Fair Winds and Following Seas

Last week my son left for Great Lakes Recruit Training Command in Illinois.  He wasn't expected to leave until April but got called up with little more than 3 days notice.   His presence is sorely missed by all of us, but particularly his beloved dog Liberty who doesn't quite understand why he is gone. Here she is saying goodbye.

When older son left for bootcamp 3 years ago I was a blithering mess.  I was so worried for him and since families do not get the information on where to write for several weeks, it's agonizing.   For a week or two I was glued to social media talking to other moms.  Finally, I realized I need to get back to life as usual so I painted scenes of boot camp and navy life.   All of the paintings I painted are now owned by the military families who found comfort in them.   I plan on doing another series in the coming months starting with a retirement photo of a Chief that was promised a year ago.  I also plan on painting this scene my son texted me as he arrived in Chicago.  It was the last text I received as he was in the Navy's hands as soon as he got off the plane.  his text simply said "Sunset Landing"  What a beautiful sight for him to see as he embarks on his new life.   Fair Winds and Following Seas my boy.

This year I made a calendar of my Navy Series to sell in a shop where my artwork is represented.  I've had numerous requests for prints and calendars of the series so I have decided to sell them with the proceeds after printing expenses donated to a family member of one (or more) of my shipmates who otherwise would not be able to see their son graduate due to financial expense.  If no family is in need I will donate the proceeds to the USO, a place I often found comfort while in travels during my active duty year.   I told my son to be vigilant for those recruits that need letters of support but also for those that may need extra assistance.  My son is always giving money to the homeless, I know he will be concerned for his mates as well.  I will start by taking prepaid orders for two sizes of calendars (one is a small desktop calendar and the other is the standard calendar.   Both contain the 12 different images. 

 Desktop Calendar $12

Wall Calendar $20 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

30 Paintings in 30 Days 2015

This marks the 4th year in a row I will create a painting every day in the month of January.  It's definitely become easier and less stressful as the years go by, so for those of you that are participating it for the first time, no worries, it gets easier!   I will be creating most works in glass, but also a few pastel and oil paintings thrown in.   I hope to finish up some that were partially completed last year but just needed a little bit of extra attention.   Here are my first 3.  None are complete, and all are in the kiln on the third, second or first firing.  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Goodbye Aurene

"Anyone who has ever been able to sustain good work has had at least one person- and often many- who have believed in him or her. We just don't get to be competent human beings without a lot of different investments from others. "-Fred Rogers.

It's been a long summer and fall since last I've posted.  I suppose this is a good thing, since it seems I'm too busy to keep up with blogging.  However, I miss my regular bursts of literary excriment so hopefully this means I will be more "regular" from here on out.

A quick recap:  I spent the summer doing the usual art show circuit and was so happy to see many of my usual suspects at the shows.   I was also blessed to meet many more new friends!

One of the highlights of the summer for me was the Catharine Newell Workshop at the Corning Museum of Glass.   This experience deserves it's own post so hopefully I will share the amazing experience of that week very soon.  I was fascinated by the glass called blue Aurene....thus my title....I hope to learn more about this in the years to come.

Another highlight of my summer was the Becky Joy workshop hosted by myself and Gloria Moses.   It was an incredible 3 day class on the grounds of the 577 Foundation in Perrysburg, Ohio.  If you've never been to the 577, be prepared to be amazed.  It is a sanctuary.   If you need peace, thinking time, beauty of nature, kind and respectful caretakers, this is the place for you.   When I think of 577, I think of inner peace. Oh, and fairies live there! :) Thank you Virginia Stranahan for your beautiful gift.  

Since the close of this summer's art show circuit, I've been knee deep in my experimentation where I left off last spring with regards to painting on glass in a way a traditional oil painter paints.   I've learned a ton, started a new group for fused glass painters, and have conducted untold numbers of experiments, some in substrate studies, others in the paint vehicle.   Every trial is a lesson and a way to eliminate a variable.   One thing I am learning for sure:  ceramics and glass are married for life, even if it seems the never the twain shall meet, whatever that means.   I hope to share all of my findings soon, but first I must remember to write it all down :)

Finally, I would like to thank a few people who have (recently) believed in me along the way:  Paul demaraiss, for your generous gift and insight into how to make oil sticks, and also for reaffirmation that kindness still exists in our world....Odette, for making me feel like my life matters in a small yet important way......Margot Clark, for your generous gift....I continue to try all of the variables and one of the constants is the red by UGC  (white and black too).....I continue to experiment and will keep you posted. .Edith Franklin......a true spitfire....years ago in the old glass crafts building at UT you would totter around with your pots; most weighing more than yourself, and spew positive and kind words to the students as you passed by.  I'll never forget all the encouragement you gave to me and never even knew my name.    Finally, ....  Tom McGlauchlin....almost 10 years ago you came into my classroom to share your talent and materials.....at the time I did not understand the nature of your gift, nor did I understand from where or whom it was coming....with wisdom, experience, and hopefully a bit more grace, I thank you for believing in me during a time that few others did, and for lighting a fire in me for glass that still continues to burn. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Daisies for Mom

I remember as a kid my mom always said her favorite flowers were daisies or violets.  I would often pick little bundles of them for her in the yard, or give her daisies for Mother's Day.  I think this is why I like to paint daisies often.  I painted her some a few years back, so I didn't think she would like another painting, but since I had some difficulty with the flower order to be delivered to her, I went to plan b: more painted daisies.  I placed on online order on Thursday for Sat. delivery and got email notification on Friday they couldn't find a florist that would deliver to her house.  This was odd since I've done this in the past, so I tried calling local florists direct and still had no luck.  I suppose they are just too swamped with orders from responsible kids that planned ahead :) 

Anyway, here is your daisies in a milk bottle Mom, Hope you have a great day and thank you for all of the life's lessons you have given me over the years.  I hear often from my friends that my mom must be a remarkable woman.  I agree emphatically.  Love you!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Spring is Finally Here

7x7 kiln formed glass 

It's been awhile since my last post, mostly due to my busy spring schedule and getting ready for summer shows, as well as some other commitments near and dear to my heart (more on this later) Here is one of my more recent works.  It makes me think of summer and the joy I get from gardening and being in the yard.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Taking a Leap

5x5 fused glass, In Progress (after 2 firings) 
6x8, in progress, not yet fired

6x12 in progress, not yet fired, first attempt with the glass paint I have been developing.

In progress, experiments with glass paint continued (left 2 pieces) Poppies in progress, 2nd firing

Here are a few recent works in progress, most need another firing or two with additional detail.  I've been working on a variety of ideas lately, but I enjoy working from older black and white photographs I took years ago.  I am continuing my experiments with pigments and fluxes to achieve a paint with a viscosity that I am comfortable working with.  It is time consuming with lots of trial and error and failures, but with each failure I eliminate another variable.  As an added and unplanned for bonus, after taking the pastel workshop last month, I was inspired to also try to develop a line of pastels for use on glass so I am also using the pigments and experimenting with various formulas to achieve a usable pastel that can be fired on glass.  I have learned quickly that accurate measurement and precise note-taking are a must, something my ADD brain fights daily.  I owe much thanks to my good friends Gloria Moses, Laurie Mueller, and Trish Lyons Ansert  who encourage and inspire me to keep trying new things, offering much needed positive input and support.  My new kiln will make a huge impact on the direction I am able to go with my art.  And as always, I am grateful to my loving and patient fiance who trusts that I know where I'm going with this thing called art and taking a leap of faith that I will someday make a living with it :)

Finally, great news! (I saved the best for last) 

I received some unexpected news yesterday (coincidently, or perhaps prophetically, while I was picking up my new kiln at the time)  A couple of months ago I applied for a workshop at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning NY, located in the Finger Lake region of Northern NY. CMOG is the world's largest glass museum and home to The Studio, an internationally renowned facility that offers glass making classes from some of the top glass artists of our time. 

I applied for a week long workshop with artist Catharine Newell called "Taking a Leap"  Catharine is renowned for her use of glass powders in her work, a direction I have been taking recently.  The Corning Museum offers a scholarship program to cover the cost of the workshop and hotel costs for the week, including a day before and a day after the workshop to utilize the research library and museum.  I did not expect to be accepted, let alone get a scholarship for $1,500, covering almost all of the expenses of the week long course.  Needless to say, I am very excited for the opportunity!   

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lessons For a Teacher

A decade ago I was a senior in college.  Yes, I was 34 at the time.  It was my second go around at college.   It was my final semester at the University of Toledo to complete my degree in art education.  A single mom of 4 children under the age of 10, working and going to school full time, life at that time was certainly a challenge. One day, during a particularly difficult time in this last semester, I was late for a class.  Unfortunately it was a class that had a guest speaker.  The regular teacher of the class understood my personal circumstance, but the guest speaker did not.  When I arrived 10 minutes late, apologetic, breathless, and embarrassed, she proceeded to condemn and make an example of me and how unacceptable and rude it was that I was tardy.  I already felt horrible about being late, she didn't need to make an example out of me to my much younger peers who did not know or appreciate what I was going through or my circumstances.  After that, I vowed to never, ever, to call out my students publicly after what that teacher did to me.  Until now, I didn't really think of the event, but after seeing her name flash before me on Facebook, I realized I will never forget.

Recently,  I stumbled upon this teacher in a mutual group on a social network site.  I was surprised to see her name there and the memories of that class flashed before me.  Angry at first, for the shame she tried to bring to me, I thought of ways I could view the experience in a different way.  The only way I could think of was to inform others of how a single meeting, single circumstance, single opportunity, can impact a life forever.   I could have let her destroy my determination, or I could persist.    In my fragile condition at the time, something like that could have made me quit school altogether; perhaps another student would have.    Instead, it made me more sensitive to how I approach each situation and my students, "my kids".

 The other day, a new "kid" came into my life.  He was timid, scared, shy, and insecure.  I was instantly transported to the day I was "called out" for being late.  At first, I took him under my wing, but realized that he needed to be with his peers.  It seems that they realized this as well.  I was amazed at the other students that welcomed him and assisted him in this situation.  Forgive me for being obscure, but I do not want to give too much information to protect them, but suffice it to say, I'm so proud of my "kids".

It's amazing how we remember the details of situations such at this.  I thought I had pushed it far into my subconsciousness.  For all of you teachers out there: do not forget what an impact you make on those you teach. Every word is important, every word matters.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Writing, Symphonies, and an Old Man

"Ernie" 8x10 glass

I have often thought that I should have been a writer instead of an artist.  In college, I loved being given a topic to defend or analyze, or a book to try to derive further meaning. It made me feel smart.  One of my proudest moments was when I received my first graded essay back from my English Composition II professor. Mr. C, (I cannot remember his name for the life of me)(yes, that's a cliche followed by a contraction, both unheard of in formal writing, but cut me some slack, it's a blog ;)

 Anyway, Mr. C proclaimed on the first day of class that he does not give A+ grades and rarely will even give an "A".  I was ok with that. I expected nothing greater than a B anyway, based on my lackluster high school performance in writing. As he handed back the papers, I asked if we could re-write our paper for a better grade.  He ignored my question and continued to hand out the papers.  When he finally returned mine to me, I was shaking in fear that I had failed.  Flipping to the last page,  I was shocked to see the scrawled red  A+ on the last page and lavish words of praise that I did not expect.  After my initial bit of pride and self admiration, I admit I was actually a little disappointed. That was it. A+.  The best there was to earn, to achieve. But it did not sit well with me.   It meant I had nothing else to do; nothing to fix, and worse, nothing to strive for.

 My nature was always to strive to be the the best I could be, whether it be in track, the Navy, art, parenting.  I loved a challenge.   However, a top grade on my first paper of the semester was a bit of a conundrum for me.  I had exceeded my professors expectations right out of the blocks.  How could anything I wrote from that day forward ever compare to the highest grade this professor had ever given in his career and had made very clear that there was no such thing as a perfect paper?

 Confused, and more than a bit intimidated, I approached his desk after class and asked him why did I get a perfect grade when he had been adamant that no such thing existed.  He thought for minute before he spoke: "How could I give anything less to a paper that did not have a single grammatical error but also read like a symphony?" Insecure and very shy back then, I simply nodded and turned away, even more confused. Symphony? I couldn't play chopsticks on the piano, words like symphony were not in my vocabulary.  No grammatical errors? I guarantee a grammar check of this blog post would turn up more than several.

Why do I share this story now?  To be honest, I am not sure.  My intention is certainly not to brag about my high grade achievement in English composition two decades ago at a local college.  I am certain that I have something relevant to share here, but perhaps that is for you to figure out, I simply don't know.  However, here is what prompted this post:

I was inspired to write this when an artist friend posted on her blog her experience this past year as a full time artist after quitting her stable job in the corporate world.  She talked about how grateful she is to be doing what she loves, despite what others said to discourage her from it.  Reading her post, I remembered my love for writing, and questioned myself as to why I never pursued it.    There are many answers I suppose, perhaps you readers might be able to untangle the mystery for me, but for now I am happy pursuing my art.   As I go through the long days in the studio,  I compare each firing of a piece of glass, or each wipe of the canvas to the numerous times I would read and re-read and edit a simple essay to make it perfect.  I realize now that my writing back then was not much different than the paintings I paint, or the glass art I create.  I was perfecting my craft, trying to make a masterpiece.  Writing was easy for me, I suppose that's why I rejected it.  If it wasn't hard work it wasn't worth doing.  When I first started selling my paintings years ago on Ebay( the first year ebay was on the internet), I couldn't keep up with the demand, yet I was uncomfortable with the prices the paintings were selling for, even though the market was dictating the price.  I stopped selling my paintings online to go back to college to be a "real" artist.   I never wanted to be perceived as talented but rather as a hard worker.  It is all I know.  What I didn't know back then was that I was working hard, and had worked very hard to get to the point where I could paint the paintings that seemed to come so easily to me.  I guess I was looking at the sales of my paintings like the A+ on the essay.  I needed a bigger challenge, it was too easy.  (Side note:  If I could go back in time and re do this, I would keep painting and selling and would probably not be typing this blog now.  such is life)

I remember distinctly every paper I wrote for each book we read in that class.  There were 5 of them, the final one being Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.   A short novel, with simple words, it was by far my favorite book to write about.  It is about a young boy who sees an old washed out fisherman struggle to keep doing what he loves even at the very end of his life, and he wants to help him.  The old man resists the boys help, but the boy does not give up trying to help, nor does the old man give up his dream of the "big fish".  Many people see the book as the struggle with man and age, or the relationship with him and the boy,  but I looked at it with the perspective of leaving a legacy.  At the end of his life, the old man wanted to leave his mark, his legacy. Ultimately, his legacy was his impact on the boy, not so much the battle with the fish.   Isn't that what we all want?  To leave a permanent impression or impact on the world when we are gone?  This is why I paint.  I want to leave a legacy, not just in spirit for those who share this brief journey with me, but for generations to come.   So while my art my not speak of social injustice, inequality, current events, gender issues, etc...my art reflects my life, what I love, my family, where I come from, and where I am going. I do not need to paint pictures of worlds not my own, I paint what is within reach and relevent to me.  This is not to say I condemn those that do, because often times it is easier to paint that which we do not know.  I too will paint a subject foriegn to me.  But my body of work, my proudest pieces, will be obvious, and come from the story that is my life.  My art friend commented on a piece that I created that is based on my memories as a young girl growing up in Concord NH.  She asked: "how could you ever part with this piece?"  Referring to : "A Street Called Home", which is a glass collage of all my favorite things, memories, and mental glimpses of the days I spent downtown, I responded: " I have the important memories permanently etched in my brain, I need nothing more that that.  Besides, I can make more art, memories are priceless"  I hope to create more in this series in the months to come.

Thank you Nancy Medina, for your post that reminded me of why I create, and to just keep painting what I love, the rest will follow.  

p.s.I know the time will come that I will realize that I have to write.  I have many stories to tell, but no time to tell them now, I have stories to paint and create.  For now, here is a short one:

"Ernie" is a fused glass piece from a photo I took a few years ago.  I attended a family reunion with a friend where I knew no one else at the picnic.  Feeling a bit awkward, I busied myself with my camera and snapped many photos of people just being people.  Uncle Ernie was the only one at the reunion who tried to get to know me.  He was a truly sincere gentleman, with a smile an acre wide, and the most clear blue eyes I've ever seen.  I've wanted to paint this image of him since the day I took it, and this is my first attempt.  The painting above is in powdered glass, a very difficult medium to control.  There will likely be several more in other media.  This  painting is part of Ernie's legacy, though it is  likely he will never know.  I don't even know if he is still alive, but I hope so. He impacted my life one hot summer day just by being kind to a stranger.  That's legacy enough for me.

Monday, March 17, 2014

In Like a Lion, Out Like A..........

As most mid-westerners know, this winter has been a real bear.  Over the course of the winter, the cold has driven 2 possums, many feral cats, and more recently a skunk into the barn.  The blue jay family warmed themselves under the dryer vent, and the baby doe I stumbled upon in the thicket near the garden this winter are all indications that this will be a winter to be remembered for years to come.  What would the fox say? (I know, terrible joke, but I bet the song will be running through your head for hours to come)  I love poking the proverbial nest.

This weekend I got out of the house for the first time in months....I met 2 of my favorite art peeps Gloria Moses from Chicago, and Trish Lyons Ansert from Louisville in Toledo for a 1 day pastel class at the Toledo Botanical Gardens, hosted by the Toledo Artists Club with pastel Artist Mary Jane Erard. When I saw the posting on facebook for her class, I knew I had to attend.  (No, I am not a pastel artist, I've never painted with pastels, but have given it a few pathetic attempts in the past, only to end up with blurry mud, but I was drawn to her clean colors and very defined lines, brilliant landscapes,and more importantly, it very closely matched the look I've been experimenting with recently in glass.  (more on this later)  I needed a diversion from the experimentation and intense (almost studious) things I've been doing in the lab, (oops, I mean studio) for the past few months.  I've ordered more things that end with "ate" and "ide", complete with health warnings, and use alpha numeric name that rivals my college chemistry course (that I failed).

Mary Jane's course was a perfect respite from the worst winter I've seen in my life (and this is coming from a true Yankee; a New England native who remembers studded winter tires, mile long treks up the mountain with laundry and groceries after the car got stuck at the bottom, and snow until the end of April)

Mary Jane's subject matter, her sunny disposition, well laid out examples and materials and a day in beautiful Toledo Botanical Gardens, albeit frozen, were just the re-charge I needed to feel inspired.  I plan on taking next months class (unless I have a track meet to attend) and many more in the future.  Please let me know if you want to join me!

Here's a bit more news on what I've been up to.  If you are not a glass artist you will likely just want to skip the rest, lest your eyes glaze over in boredom.

As a glass artist, turned oil painter, turned glass-oil painter, I have striven to find the exact medium that fits what I want to accomplish in my creative endeavor.  I have been experimenting with "painting" on glass for years, but after trying nearly all available commercially made materials and or enamels made to paint on glass (and fire to fusing temperature)(not oven temp paints) I have given up on the idea that there exists a product that encompasses not just my goals but the palette and quality that I seek.  Realizing this, I began the painstaking process of breaking down the elements and properties of glass (90 coe for simplicity).  In the process I've stumbled upon many an artist that "paints" in glass.  The stained glass artists paint, but not in the way I would like to paint.  Frit painters "paint", but that is layering and sifting.  Yes it results in a painterly look and effect, but its not painting like one would paint with a brush.  Sgrafitto is more drawing and likened to printmaking.  I went through all of the above techniques, but in all of them, I am forced to think like a glass artist first, not a painter.  I am a painter.  I want the freedom to paint instinctively with a brush and a single stroke, on an easel, on glass, with paint that will fire to fusing temperatures and achieve the look I seek, as a glass artist and oil painter.  Perhaps I am asking too much, but I don't think I am.  This quest has led me to more college science department websites than art sites.  I've learned much, but there is much more to learn.  While I experiment and make mistakes, I am learning.  Every mistake is costly, but I learn something from it.    I will post some trials and errors soon for those interested.  For now, I am happy for the return of my easel's long winter visit in Kentucky, and the generosity and trust of a friend who allowed me a "payment plan" to purchase a much larger kiln to explore my dreams......stay tuned....