Monday, April 28, 2008

Visit to M Graham and a Watercolor Palette

A visit to M Graham factory reconfirmed our commitment to their watercolor paints. Eight employees work in a converted chicken coop, cinder block building. They mix one or two batches of paint a day and fill about 600 tubes. They make acrylics, oils, gouaches and watercolors as close to 18th and 19th Century paints as possible with natural materials. The use of honey, which they purchase locally, in the watercolors keeps them from drying out and caking. The "Biggies" use corn syrup. Tests show that M Graham colors contain more pigment. They don't have a large marketing budget and have very little overhead. All employees receive health insurance, other benefits and have purchased their own homes. Their philosophy is to make the highest quality paints. They showed us research techniques and color comparisons to other manufactures' paints. It would be incredible to see more small businesses like this one in the US. They sure impressed us.

You can purchase a mini-travel palette from I've Been Framed that is Altoid-size, already has six pans for paints on each side for $9.95. Cynthia Mooney told me in her Art Journal Sketchbook classes about this palette and the M Graham watercolors which work very well in a travel art kit.

Last week, our sketch group met downtown at Powell's Books. I wanted to practice gesture drawing of people. I can see that more practice is in order here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Persepolis, flower exchange & new sketch

I highly recommend reading Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis I & II her memoir about her childhood in Iran during the revolution and toppling of the Shah's regime, her adolecsence in Vienna, her return to Iran and her life of oppression under a fundamentalist government. She combines her written words with graphic illustrations in a comic strip format with a wonderful sense of humor. Then go see the movie, Persepolis. Her images create a powerful, visual experience. She reminds us about the importance of individual stories and the impact they have to combat stereotypes placed on nations and peoples. It's an incredible human rights story.

On a lighter note, I want to share with you our Camp Runamuckus ArtFest flower bouquet. Our individual creative imaginations never cease to amaze me. Thanks Nikki, Tammy, Suz, Sheba, Stephanie and Enchy for a great swap! Check out Andrew Boloz's blog which details his Puget Sound Adventures and ArtFest experience.
This week, we sketched at Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks. I enjoyed sketching Christy N. Pagal's oil on cotton fruit paintings and a knitted leaf banner. The yarn and roving color selections boggle the mind. Plus, the barista makes a great latte and a foot soaking tub eases those weary feet. I discovered Edina Tien's knitting blog. She shares patterns and ideas to use all that yarn

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mark Your Calendar for Fairy Festival May 3rd

Mark your calendar for the 4th Annual Portland Fairy Festival at Alpenrose Dairy May 3rd. It's a fun, noncommercial event for the whole family.
Yesterday, volunteers made fairy tiaras to wear during the magical festival. It's a time for play, imagination, dress up and whimsy. Stop and see us making flower crowns. If you want to help, we need more volunteers to make little fairy dreams come true.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Back from ArtFest

The ArtFest theme this year was Forest Walk. I made this PhotoShop collage for my journal before the event using photos taken the end of January at Play along with the
handmade little creature in the middle that someone gave to each of us.

Anahata's Mixed Media Mandala workshop inpired me to have fun with gold foil, paint and doodling.

I collected a variety of plant leaves from Marianne's garden on Vashon and used them for gelatin prints in Dorit Elisha's workshop Nature Imprinted. At the end of the day, we made collages with our prints.
Theo Ellsworth's workshop Mystery Play Inside inspired imaginative drawing- what he calls imaginary performance art. He led us through several exercises to deal with the inner critique. The drawing below represents my secret language drawn with eyes closed and translated later with eyes open using my imaginary detective.
This drawing uses the awkward hand to explore the inner-child out on the playground. His way of delving into and exploring our imaginary world offers a deep well of creative inspiriation.ArtFest offers the chance to see old friends, make new friends, learn new techniques, feel the creative energy and the bounty of imagination in all the inspired projects from each workshop. It's creative adrenaline for my art.