"Newbie Not Novice" Show

I've been invited to participate in the "Newbie not Novice" Show at Spudnik Press at located at 1821 W. Hubbard Street, Suite 302 in Chicago, Illinois. Opening Reception is October 14, 6-10 pm and the show is up through November 4, 2011.

I will be showing the print "Cave Point Park" that I created in their Moku Hanga Class as well as the print "ImaBridge Africa."

Sandwich Fair (after the fact)

The Sandwich Fair was two weeks ago already! Sheesh! Autumn is in the air and the fair, fun and food were fantastic in the cool breeze and warm sun

There was an animal petting zoo. I petted the soft rabbits and scrunched my fingers into the wool of a sheep that needed trimming. 

Soda pop and crab cakes. Elephant ears and lemonade shakeups. Fay's bar-b-que! Salt-water taffy - yum!

 People watching, overhearing partial conversations as people walk past. Music, steam engines, tractors, RVs, carnival rides and THE MOUSE GAME!
See that quarter on 13-14-15? WINNER!
In case you don't know what the mouse game is: 

The mouse game consists of an 8 sided table with drawers on each side. The table top has a series of numbers printed and each number has a corresponding hole. 

A drawer containing a mouse is removed and another drawer replaces it. The table is then spun like a roulette wheel and the mouse is released into the center. It scurries around and eventually ducks into a hole. If that hole matches the number you've chosen by placing a quarter on the side table, YOU WIN!

If not, you loose your quarter. :-(

I love the mouse game, but I can't understand why PETA hasn't shut it down years ago. It doesn't really do anything to the mouse, but make it dizzy and they trade out drawers, so the same mouse isn't spinning around all day.

You just have to love the fair!


New Project

New project, originally uploaded by pejnolan.
Creating a large block was once of my goals for this year. This one will be 22" high x 16" wide and will consist of two blocks, with multiple colors.

You can see the grid system I'm using to transfer the image. I'm considering leaving windows open or inserting areas of a different image entirely.

Crystal is in the background supervising. Yes. She is fat.

Three Art Shows

Show #1:
In the House: Sculpture for the Home
Northern Illinois University Art Museum
South Galleries
August 23 - October 29, 2011
Curated by: Michael Bennett

From the Gallery Notes:

"DeKalb resident Michael Bennett, and artist and education for several decades, is a passionate consumer of visual culture. As he was organizing this exhibition, he shared some thoughts with the museum staff:
'Being close to Chicago affords me the opportunity to visit museums and galleries and over the years I have developed an eclectic aesthetic for many directions in three-dimensional work. When building my own collection I naturally search for small sculpture that will fit the scale of my home. This show represents a diverse group of eight artists whose ideas of form and content are directly influenced by the materials that they use.'
Those materials are often discarded bits of everyday "glotsam and jetsam", re purposed according to each artist's unique aesthetic. The recycled elements add lays of meaning, bring their own histories to the context of the sculpture in which they now find themselves. A visual and conceptual patina develops through this process. Patina and pattern have the same root - in fact, here's a strategy for looking at this exhibition: think about how each artist uses pattern and texture to enhance their visual vocabulary and convey a message."
Recycled wood, acrylic pigmented grout
Michael Ferris, Jr.
Courtesy of the artist and Packer Schopf Gallery, Chicago

"Man on the Floor"
Wood, prosthetic eyes, Apoxie
Michael Ransdell
work by:
Michael Ransdell

My favorite artist from this show was definitely Michael Ransdell. He seemed to be the most unaffected by the success of his work. He was an ordinary guy who does extraordinary things.

I kept notes during the artist talks. He started off as a painter at Northern Illinois University and left as a sculpture; he did maintain his love of the 2-D by photographing his sculptures in natural environments and printing on aluminum through the process of sublimation.

The rooms that he creates were part of his process and not the final product. His original idea was to photograph these works and it was these photographs that would be hanging in a gallery.

His ambition is to create a mystery by combining what is God-made and what man has made. The use of wood burls in his work is the God-made, natural portion. He was in high school and brought in some burls. He wanted to make something out of them. His woods teacher told him that he couldn't improve on it. So, he agreed and gave up the idea. Later, he used these biomorphic forms to contrast with the man-made shapes.

Many in the audience were disturbed by the burls being used as human forms. They found the distortion of the figure as a transformation into the horrible. The holocaust of WWII and nuclear holocost came to mind. I found them comforting. The natural shapes reminded me of nature - the way things are supposed to be - before humans came along and bent them to their will.

Show #2:

In the Studio and Garden: John Balslery Sculpture and Collage
Northern Illinois University Art Museum
Rotunda Gallery
August 23 - October 29, 2011

From the Gallery Notes:

"... Balsley's work evokes a sense of humor and dream-like whimsy, juxtaposing formal elements ranging from precisely executed craft to a smorgasbord of crude materials. From the carefully machined "Fallen" to the improvisational "apparition, Balsley transforms found materials, giving them an other-worldly existence - where the amusing and fantastical run wild and stick-in-the-mud reality is left behind."

Remains of Phantom Square" (Detail)
Wood Carving
John Balsley
"In My Garden"
Collage and Ink
John Balsley
"In the Museum"
Pyro Print and Ink
John Balsley

sculpture by:
John Balsley

You could tell right off that this guy was fun. He liked to talk about his art and process and his face shone when he did. He was very comfortable with all eyes on him. His entire family is involved in the creative arts: his son is a cartoonist. It was easy to see that he was proud of them.

John Balsley seemed to be an experimenter. He didn't mind trying new things. This led to his pyro prints. He heats zinc plates, then places them on the paper to burn the image into the paper. It isn't just a brand though, the heat escapes and leaves an imprint showing the waves of heat spreading out from under the plate. He said that he, "likes taking materials where they aren't supposed to go."

The wood carving came first. He purchased a hooked X-acto blade for this purpose and taught himself. Then the 2-D collage came because he now had the X-acto. Most recently came the 3D collage. His wife suggested it and he denied the idea... until he tried it for her sake - and loved it.

Show #3:
On the Body and in the Hand

Northern Illinois University Art Museum
August 23 - October 29, 2011
Curated by: Jamie Obermeier
Work Horse II, Details: Baby Shoes
Found Baby Shoes, Sterling Silver
Shayna Egan
BFA Beadwork and Jewelry
May 2010
Artist is reflected in glass

Jewelry has gotten a bad rap lately. Everyone is creating jewelry and there is a saturation in the market. What makes this show stand out is that is isn't "just" jewelry, it isn't "just" the work of fine craft persons; it is art. There is concept behind the pieces.

The artist - and I didn't catch his name - (face palm) - discussed his pieces in detail. He is a fourth generation confectioner. He combined sugar  and silver. There were many reasons for this: sugar is an nontraditional jewelry item, there is a similarity of the sugar trade and the fine metals trade's use of slave labor, there is a a juxtaposition of the perceived extravagance of precious metals and the everyday item of sugar, it goes on. He used some interesting techniques as well such as using 3D printing techniques where layers of substrate are printed one atop another until a completed product is manufactured. Al very interesting.

If you get a chance to see any of these shows, it is well worth the drive!


Printing, Hiking, and Art

ImaBridge Africa, originally uploaded by pejnolan.

The days take forever, but the weeks and month are rushing past! How does that happen?

I've completed the ImaBridge Africa limited edition moku hanga print (shown above). It is for a fundraiser to build a fresh water well in Nigeria. The ImaBridge Africa project began in my church and they have done some amazing things over there! It started as a visit home for one of our priests and his parishioners from the United States and ended up helping numerous people live better lives.

The dark area at the top of the print is the country of Nigeria. A black crested crane is the national bird of Nigeria and happens to be a waterbird. The top symbol that looks like two hearts spiraled around one another is called "A Sase Ye Duru" meaning "The Earth Has Weight" and represents the importance the Earth has in sustaining life. The second symbol that is more geometric is called a "Boa me Na Me Mmoa Wo" or "Help me and Let Me Help You." It is a symbol of cooperation and interdependence.

The next thing I want to tell you about is that I have joined a new gallery! Dan Grych at The DeKalb Gallery / The Art Box accepted me as one of his artists. This is a great opportunity because I will be able to have one solo show per year at his gallery. Plus many other amenities like professional photography of my work and discounted framing. He had an open house recently and it was crowded with people all loving the artwork and building our local art community through personal relationships. 
Rebecca McAnly's "Marry the Life"

I also attended a reception at the DeKalb Area Women's Center (DAWC). It was an interesting show by Rebecca McAnly called "Marry the Life" and reflects on the bridal dress as an emblem of a woman's married life. It was a fiber arts show that included more than just the wedding dress pieces. There were yo-yo walls, beautifully hand-dyed and sewn Asian inspired pieces.

I went for a long walk down to the lagoon  and spied this beaver busy swimming along. It was a bright, sunny day and the yellow weeds wildflowers were gorgeous shining like stained glass.

During the week, I noticed that the goldfinches were back. They like to eat the thistle and purple cone flower seeds from my neighbor's garden. I took time to just sit with my camera and look out the window. They didn't really notice me, so I snapped a few photos. They really are beautiful.
Goldfinches in Kaiser's front yard Garden
Next came Labor Day weekend. I had my husband drop me off at a Shabbona State Park and I walked all the way to the other side of the lake and ended up in the forest preserve. Three hours of quiet solitude. Many times I stopped following the main trail and went onto deer paths.

One of those paths took me down a steep incline to a small creek that fed into the lake. Far above the creek was an old dumping spot for the farm that was there prior to the state park's existence.  The garbage had, over the years, been sent down the hill by rainwater. There were old Coke bottles, blue flower vases, vintage perfume bottles, and more nestled in the mud and stones next to the creek.

The forest was really thick here and minnows tried to find a bit of light to sun themselves. I couldn't see the tops of the trees. I felt like no one had ever been at this spot before. I sat down and enjoyed the lush green, the sounds of the creek trickle over stones, the sunlight dancing over the leaves and making the water sparkle. 

Then I jump across the water... twisted my ankle and thought to myself, "I'm by myself. No one knows I am down here. There is no trail, it is steep and rugged going - how on Earth would I be able to get back to the main trail if I had just broken my foot?" It was sobering until I realized that I could just call someone with my cell phone if needed. Thank you technology!

There were so many wonderful sights on that walk. I'll share some of them with you now:
A White Egret relaxing next to the no motor area of the lake. 

Racoon tracks near the creek.

Bumble bee on a white thistle.

Me with my old wide-brimmed hat - no sunburn!!

A painted turtle sunning itself on a metal grate.

Minnows sunning themselves in the shallows of the creek.

A damsel fly warming in the sun.

Hiking in the prairie section of Shabbona State Park.
It was a perfect day.