Monday, December 22, 2008

WOW! It's Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

The lapse in my posting is a testament to how busy my days have been and how full my life can be! After returning from the Fryeburg Fair event in Maine (which seems like eons ago now), I dove head first into the final stages of the Bermuda Fibre Festival which I plan and organize. It began on December 2nd with the planned arrival of the US Fibre Artists who were coming to teach this year. A snafu at the Portland Maine airport on Jet Blue, something to do with a door that wouldn't close, sent the early risers back home for a day later departure since they would miss the one and only Jet Blue flight to Bermuda on that day!
They hit the ground running once they did arrive and before I knew it, nearly two weeks had passed and we were driving them back to the airport for their return to the deep freeze, snow and a horrific ice storm that left many Mainer's without power for days! Phew!
They have been gone for a week and my post event clean up and reporting is nearly complete. The event was a terrific success againt his year with attendance up by 10%. An increase that anyone would be happy with in this economic sink hole!
Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation, the host of the event saw a total of 312 class spots filled to include 246 school age children who participated in a large variety of felting and weaving workshops. Our adult number remained constant with a nice group of enthusiasts. Most adults had never been exposed to Fibre Arts until they attended last year and many of them have become avid creators with a special interest in all types of felting. We were able to offer wool roving for sale this year and many took advantage of the fabulous color spectrum that we were offering and are looking forward to using their new found and improved skills.
Children were especially impressed with the quick gratification that comes from felting and though there is less of that in weaving, they learned some pretty awesome weaving techniques.
Kaleidoscope's goal is to keep that enthusiasm burning by adding a children's after school fibre program and adults will have an opportunity to come to Kaleidoscope once a month to play with fibre and enjoy some peer support in a fun and open environment. We are already begining to plan the 2009 event!
I was looking forward to a calm first quarter after the insanity of the last six months but it seems that the universe has other plans for me :-)

I have begun work on a new Hairlock Painting commission of "Skipper" which I received during Fibre Fest. My preliminary sketch is complete but I still have lots of work to do on it as I like to visit with it a bit every day or so for a week or two so that I can observe the changes in how I see it each time, and make adjustments that I want to, until it feels complete.

There are potential shows both here and in Maine in 2009 that I need to decide on which will determine my next few months work load. We'll see how it all turns out and I will keep you posted with my 2009 calendar as it unfolds.

May you each have a terrific Holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Word to the Wise!

Good Morning All!

I wanted to pass along some information that I have learned regarding internet scams and specifically about Bank Check scams that run rampant on the net.

My last post told you of my new membership to Fine Art America. Since joining I have been very pleased with the number of people who have viewed my work but my eyes have been opened to a new world as I was targeted by someone known to be a Bank Check Scam artist!

My initial enthusiasm with Fine Art America was boosted when I received an email from someone who claimed he wanted to purchase one of my pieces and asked for my name, address and phone so that he could mail me a Bank check for the sale amount. When something seems unlikely, as in me selling a piece of art within a few days of listing, one should beware.

I felt it odd that the potential buyer assumed there would be no shipping involved and that in fact there was no discussion of how the piece would be delivered. A red flag went up but was over shadowed by my excitement. I proceeded cautiously so in response, I asked for his location for delivery so that I might calculate shipping costs which would be added to the sale amount.
His reply was that I should not worry about shipping charges since his "collector" would pick up the piece.......

Alarm.... Alarm.... Alarm.....!

After relaying the story to my husband, he threated to disown me if I even replied to this inquiry again as this was indicative of a notorious style of fraud! It was a disappointment to realize this guy had no interest in my work and though I instinctively knew this situation made no sense, I decided to investigate using the discussion forum on the Fine Art America site.
Within moments I found my supposed buyer in the archives as a known offender who preys on new members. I quickly added my comments to inform the members that this person had morphed! He had signed his original message in one name but in the second email suddenly became someone else....

For those of you who are unaware, these frauds typically send you a fraudulent bank check for a greater amount than the purchase price and request a refund. Since they are often written from foreign countries or obscure non existant banks, by the time your bank discovers that the check is fraudulent and that funds are not available for the check to clear, you have refunded them the difference which you of course will never see again! Their interest never lies in the purchase but only in the possibility of getting you to send them money.

So I now stand christened into the world of attempted fraud and am glad that the circumstances led me to further investigation. I deleted the emails from my in box and have not heard from the predator since!

I hope that this story will help to put up a red flag for anyone who reads it, if ever put in this situation. And the old addage holds true. If something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't!

Take care and beware!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Another Great Opportunity for Artists!

Good Morning!
As a new Artist and one who doesn't feel comfortable with the Gallery scene, I am always looking for new opportunities to promote my work and get it in front of the public. While in Maine and searching the net I found a wonderful website for Artists, Galleries and Collectors alike that offers a terrific opportunity for Artists to promote themselves and best of all, it's Free! The website is called Fine Art America and by clicking this link you will be brought to my personal file on the site but can also navigate away from it to check it out. You will find that it is very user friendly and the only difficulty I have had with it was while adding photos of my work to the site. It offers a number of "artist specialties" to classify your work in, and gives the impression that you can choose more than one and although I did that, I can not really see that all of the pieces ended up in all categories. This may be user error on my part or I just am not familiar enough yet with the site to be able to find them all. Regardless of this little frustration the site seems very worthwhile.

Each Artist has a profile page, can download as many as 50 photos of their work, can list events they will participate in which will show up on the website calendar, can list Galleries that you are associated with, and of special interest to the business part of me, the site gathers information about the photos that web visitors have viewed and sends you emails regarding any comments visitors might make about your work. In addition you can create a blog connected with this site. Since I already have one, I have instead created a link to this one. For anyone who sells prints of their work, the site offers a paid membership for prints on demand where buyers can purchase direct from the site. They do not at this time offer the purchase of original artwork but you can list your artwork for sale with prices and photos in your gallery and buyers can then contact you directly if they are interested in your work.

After being a member for just a few days I was totally amazed at how many hits I have had of the different pieces I have downloaded. I realize it has been less than a week since I joined and that they feature new artists that join each day. Perhaps my hits will go down after the initial push, but I still got more hits than I would have elsewhere and look forward to seeing how it all progresses.

I recommend Fine Art America to any artists looking for more exposure. It will only cost a bit of time and you never know where it will lead....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fryeburg Fair Fiber Center 2008 - personal report

Fryeburg Fair 2008 was very successful for me this year! I went into the fair with concern for the state of the economy. Not only has gasoline and fuel oil been running at an all time high, the real estate, stock market and financial industry have landed a blow that will take us all years to overcome!
The weather during the first two days of the fair created a pretty dismal fair opening with attendance being way down. It was unclear during those first days how the economy was affecting traffic and sales but by the end of monday, I was certain that fair week would not match those of the past years.
To my amazement, as the week progressed traffic flow picked up and days that historically were slow reached record and near record numbers. People were coming and people were spending! I can only speak for myself in this however from what I experienced during the week, it seemed that people were willing to spend money on practical purchases. Sales for wearable items and gift items as well as gloves, mittens, hats & scarves on the cold days sold very well and beyond my prediction given the economic situation.
I did experience a slow down in two of my most expensive items that I historically sell out of. Based on comments and body language, I believe that those sales were affected by their price. Though they are great values and less than they can be purchased for elsewhere, they are items that retail for over $100 and in spite of their popularity and people taking notice of them, I did not sell out as usual.
The other bright spot for me was Hairlock Painting sales! As the guest artist last year, I did not have the luxury of being with or near the work to experience peoples comments about it. This year I added a display that allowed me to show my work in my space allowing interaction with fairgoers and being able to hear and see their reactions to my work. That was very rewarding! I continually hear comments such as "I've never seen anything like it before.... This is beautiful work... How do you do this, it's amazing!" All music to an artists ears :-)
Rumor in the Fiber Center was that Art sales were not up to par this year. I believe that is because people are reigning in their expenditures and purchasing fewer luxuries and fringe items than they have in other years. Though I did not sell as many art pieces as I did last year, I was very happy with the sales I did have especially knowing that the people who bought them absolutely love them!
Additionally, I experimented with Wire & Fiber earrings that I have been creating. My space is very small for the amount of merchandies that I show there but I managed to find a hole and brought a small quantity to test the waters with. I was very please with the results. I had a number of different styles and was surprised that two of my favorites did not sell at all but I had a total of six styles and sold out of several of them. I priced them very modestly at $12US a pair for two reasons. First, this is all new for me and I really wanted to get some sales activity as a test for design purposes. Secondly, again because this is new for me, I did not want to invest in Sterling or fine metals at this stage. I had no idea if they would be well received and did not want to invest too much in materials that may never be used or be wasted while creating. It turns out that I wasted little. This is good because one of my pet peeves is waste and I am a great recycler, reuser, and thrift store shopper. I hate to waste anything! SoI learned alot and am encouraged by the results as well!

So in all and in the end, Fryeburg Fair has been another successful story for me! It is also a bittersweet event. I put in hours of work for my own preperation as well as many more for management of the building. Many 12-16 hour days are lived for days before, during and after to see it through. Additionally, I spend many hours thoughout the year organizing and working on the Fiber Center program. I love it and will not be ready to give it up for a while but as much as I love to see it come, I also love to see it go by. So now I take a breath and begin to make the journey for next year!

In the mean time, the Bermuda Fiber Festival which I organize has begun registration and I will be busy seeing that event through in early December!

More later!
Until then...
Thank you for reading :-)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fryeburg Fiber Center 2008 Exhibition Review

As I prepare to return to Bermuda for the winter, I find myself with a bit of time to create a post with a Fiber Center Fair report! Yeah! This can only mean that I have caught up for a moment.
No worries though, it will not last :-)

Fall of 2008 will go down in history as a challenging time for many people on many levels! Beginning with the state of our country's economy and the questionable weather in the first few days of the fair we began on shaky ground though ended with a good year for most. Good news, all things considered.....

I will focus this post on The Gallery portion of the Fiber center. Watch for subsequent posts regarding my own fair experience soon!

Julie Yarbrough was our Guest Artist for this year and Julie delivered an incredibly diverse body of work that explored a complete spectrum of emotions ranging from her usual whimsy to a more traditional side that I had never seen in the work that she has exhibited at Fryeburg before. Included were needle felted busts and wall hangings of interesting characters with a depth that brought their images to life as her pieces always do but she went beyond with needle felted fish inspired from her teaching Fiber Arts last year at the Bermuda Fiber Festival.

What I was most struck by were her acrylic paintings and the range of expression captured within them. This of course was a Fiber show and keeping true to the form, Julie incorporated fabrics and fibers into her paintings. Subjects were diverse here as well. Though it was evident that the same artist created all pieces, the pieces moved through expressions ranging from a beautiful country roadside scene to abstracts that provoked thought and deeper meaning than what was evident on the surface.

Hanging Julie's work this year prompted some evolution of the Fiber Center's Gallery Exhibit. The quality and breadth of her work along with the availability of works by Susan Mills, Linda Whiting, Janet Goodwin and my own Hairlock Paintings TM, allowed us to raise the bar and required that we re-think our usual display materials. What we had been using in between the good stuff repeatedly for a few years as visual depictions of what the Fiber Center represents and as fillers for the white spaces were no longer acceptable for hanging alongside a professional body of work but more importantly, they were unnecessary. They served their purposes as adequate fillers in the past but we have now managed to foster and see development of the artists who participate in this event to a point of having a selection of Professional Artwork to hang each year. As a result, and given the materials and artwork that we had at hand for this immediate progression, the entire upper Gallery space at the Fiber Center was filled with gallery quality artwork!

We were rewarded with acceptance from our audience as having noticeably improved our appearance. Of course with that always comes the challenge for next year; Who will our 2009 Guest Artist be, and who will provide work to fill the space? It was suggested by Susan Mills, and briefly discussed as to how to proceed, and though no definite policies have been set in place, we are contemplating a rotation allowing the guest artist to exhibit the following year on the rear upper Gallery wall as spontaneously occurred this year with my own work. As the Fiber Artists who have been participating in this most incredible Fiber Event for so many years continue to grow and build their talents, it is my hope that it will reach a point that instead of having a difficult time accumulating quality work to show, that we have reached a point of having to jury, pick and choose from lots of work to put together future shows!

Each year I am amazed at how far we travel together on this journey and though the road sometimes takes it's toll, I remind myself to take a breath and look to the higher good. I believe we are on that path and I ask you to journey with us at the Fiber Center towards the future....

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bermuda Fiber Festival Registration Begins!

Good morning!

One of my major projects of the year is well under way as the registration for the 2nd annual Bermuda Fiber Festival (or Fibre if you are Bermudian or Brit :-) opens with the unveiling of our informational website! Wow, I never would have guessed a few years ago that I would be helping to bringing fiber education to Bermuda! But then again, there are many things that life has brought me that I never would have guessed about.... I am grateful as well as blessed...

After spending the last month in intensive work, the program is looking great! We have put together a nice mix of various felting and weaving classes being taught by three US teachers. In addition, it has been one of my goals for this event to bring out the local Fiber Artists so that they too would have a venue for sharing their passion for various Fiber Arts and we are succeeding at doing so with the addition of classes being taught by at least two locals and we continue to work at bringing two more into the harbor.

This years program will offer nearly 50 workshops for ages 2 through adult and includes special programs for school groups. Last year's event brought us more than 200 children and nearly 100 adults for fiber education workshops. We hope to bust that number this year with a terrific program and registration beginning well in advance of last year. I will keep you posted on it's progress....

Please take a moment to visit the Bermuda Fiber link and see what my excitement is all about. It is especially gratifying to me that we are unveiling this now, as I prepare to leave for the US for the Fiber Center event at Fryeburg Fair in Fryeburg Maine which begins on Sunday September 28th. This event was the inspiration that helped to create what the Bermuda Fiber Festival has become. This eight day event brings Maine the largest Fiber Exhibition Hall in New England devoted entirely to Fiber and Fiber Education. Each day from 9am - 9pm fair goers are able to experience a myriad of fiber, fiber art, and educational fiber demonstrations. A list of Fiber Center Events is posted on my website.

I will be away from the computer for about three weeks while I prepare for this event and then reconcile it afterwards. I will have some of my Hairlock Paintings on display and my newest fiber earring creation in addition to the usual Alpaca sweaters, and accessories that I always have there.

I hope that some of you will drop by the Fiber Center to say hello......

Monday, September 15, 2008

Commission Accomplished!

First I need to appologize for my lack of postings over the last weeks! I appreciate those of you who continue to visit in spote of my short commings.... I will explain, but first things first...

I have completed the "Bingo" commission and have pleased the client as well as myself with the finished painting. The photo at left was the original that I used to create my rendering of him in preperation for the work. This black & white photo is about 2" x 2" in real life but was of good clarity so that detail showed up quite nicely on it.

This next photo is the drawing I did to use as a pattern or template of Bingo which helps me to plan the placement of fiber which ultimately gives the depth, texture and dimension that I am after in the final piece.

Please accept my appology in advance for the quality of the finished Bingo photo! If you read on you will learn why this is.

Next came the actual painting! I was challenged by this piece because the final size of this canvas is only 11" x 10". To give you prespective, the hair on his chin is only 1/4" long. How was I to manage fibers so short and keep them in line so that they give the appearance of life like hairs coming away from his lower lip, combed perfectly straight? It worked in the end and I am always amazed at how I seem to find a way to move through the challenges that present themselves while doing this work.

I really love this medium.... It offers so much flexibility, so many options, so much depth and a richness that I never tire of looking at it or creating with it. I sometimes feel the need to pinch myself to prove that it is real; that I created this artform, and that it has become a part of my life!

I'm glad to be able to finally share this with you but I am not happy about the quality of the final photo of Bingo. One of the reasons for not adding a post in the last weeks is that I have been having problems with my computer. In my constant need to improve things, I decided that I would like to download the upgrade to my Olympus camera program so that I could take advantage of creating slide shows. Easy to do right? Have you ever heard the phrase "if it ain't broke?" Well let me tell you that if I could turn the clock back I would never have attempted it! Something happened in the download process that has rendered my Quick Time program unreadable to the Olympus program even when I have removed the upgrade and re-installed the original program. Not only do I not have access to the hundreds of photos on my computer with a program that I know and love, I have lost a program that gave me incredibly professional looking photos that I could use on my site. I am currently using Picasa in it's place but it is a poor replacement. I find the cropped photos are grainy and the editing software gives me no where near the qaulity that I had. I am beside myself with grief over this loss. It is only because I have finally accepted that Picasa, for now, is my only choice and that I felt I had neglected this blog for long enough that I am now posting.

I promise to write more frequently now as long as you promise to not judge my photos too harshly until I can find resolution for this photo problem :-)

Until then......

The month of August took me to New England earlier than planned to celebrate a death in the family. Since I was due to travel a week later, it made no sense to return to Bermuda, only to find myself back on a plane in a weeks time.

I used the extra time wisely spending some quality time with the new babies in my family and had a blast! I got peed on, puked on, and even pooped on, and loved every minute of these precious moments with the boys; Henry, Jackson and Owen. I will return to Maine in a week for the big event of my year, Fryeburg Fair, and once it has passed will have a few days to reaquaint myself with them again. I will have to soak up as much of them as I can this trip since my travles will not take me near them again til I'm not sure when next year! They will have grown so much by then!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Audubon Show Report

After months of anxiously awaiting the arrival of my participation in the Audubon Show, it has finally come and gone so quickly, it seems like it must certainly have been a dream! Susan Mills shared a booth with me for this event. Not only was it a blessing to be sharing the workload for set up and tear down for both of us, but she is a dear friend and you ALL know how important quality time is with the people who are important in your life!
Maine finally experienced a few days in a row of good weather and
though we had a shower late in the day on Saturday it was late
enough that it had no grave effect on the event. This Audubon event's presenters, Jim & Holly Gallante do a fine job. Not only is the setting for this show terrific, they run a class act! A few details make such a difference. Exhibitors were welcomed with a little goodie bag, and all attendees had access to coolers of FREE ice cold water, and very nice catered food. Doing shows is always tiring and getting good food and easy hydration is a big deal.

Our booth looked terrific! Susan and I spent hours designing our space in hopes of being able to create the best presentation possible for each of our work. I believe that the pictures I have included will convince you that we succeeded.
Traffic seemed light to me but considering this was the first sunny weekend in Maine for weeks, and summer coming to a close I was not surprised. Having never done this show before, it is impossible for me to judge how attendance compared to other years.

Most pleasing to me when showing my work is the reaction I get from the audience. It is very heartening for me, a new artist, and creator of a new art form to hear people say such things as:

" Your work is beautiful!"
"I have never seen anything like it before"
" How do you do this!"
"This is amazing work!"

These are the things that re-enforce that I am onto something, that I need to continue.... It is validation that the time I have spent in research and development and creating the bodies of work that I have has been worth it.

Now, the work as I go forward, is about sharing it with the public and finding the best venues in which to do that. I welcome all comments and suggestions that you have to share. Feel free to post comments to this posting or contact me with any advise or information that I might find useful. "It takes a village" as one famous woman has said. And whether you like the famous woman who said this or not, it is fact that we can not do it alone. In all parts of life it is the individual with our family, friends and supporters who make it happen for us!

In the end, I learned lots about the show circuit, met some fabulous people and had a great time. Susan's and my work seemed to represent the more Artful side of the show as compared to craft and because of that, I am not convinced that I will pursue this venue next year but in everything, we have the opportunity to seek, learn, and evolve! And so it was....
Until next time!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Owen Finally Arrives!

Sorry for the lapse in postings! I have had a busy past few weeks. My husband's mother passed after a long illness and brought me to New England unexpectedly sooner than originally planned. Though it was a hectic departure from Bermuda, it has given me an opportunity to spend some quality family time that I would not have otherwise had.....
Owen finally decided to come into the world on July 23 and weighed in at a whopping 6# 9 oz! Mom and baby are doing great! I had the good fortune of being able to alter my travel plans to Maine so that I could spend a few days with my niece, baby Owen and his proud dad in Massachusettes. What a treat! It had been a long time since I had spent time with a baby, never having had any of my own, not to mention some quality time with his mom who I don't get to see very often anymore.

This photo was taken of Owen in great grandma's arms wearing the first sweater that I knitted for him. It's a bit big on him but the weather here has been cool so he was glad to have it on this day. He's been an easy baby so far on a good schedule, sleeping and eating well, and packing on the groceries like a champ!

Of course I have since had time with the other two additions to the family, Henry and Jackson which has renewed my interest in knitting for them all! I had been anxiously awaiting my arrival to the US to find some new yarns to make a few more sweaters for them. I especially love to shop Marden's, a local discounter who always has fun yarns that are very well priced. It only takes a few skeins and a few days to make up one of these tiny gems, so since arriving I have found a new pattern for a hoodie and made one for Owen which Henry is modeling for us in this next photo, and I am just finishing up a red one for Henry.

Henry is a good model showing off Owen's new sweater! His will be finished today but in a larger size. In spite of the cool summer that Maine has been experiencing, we have hope that since it is still August, that Henry won't need his new hoodie for a few months so I have made his red one in a larger size.

Now that all of the babies have arrived, and I have had my baby fix, I need to get moving and prepare for the Audubon show this weekend! Hope to see you there!
I will be sure to take some photos to share and give a full show report next week. Stay tuned......

Saturday, July 26, 2008

New Commission....


Summer is keeping my mind busy with the upcomming show at Audubon, Fryeburg Fair Fiber Center planning, and planning the Bermuda Fiber Festival! BUT, I have been commissioned to do a piece which will be given as a surprise birthday gift. The images I'm sharing with you are the original photo that I used and the
drawing that I did which will serve as my pattern or template for creating the actual Hairlock Painting.

The finished piece will be small for a commission at approximately 8 x 10" so will provide some challenges in manageing the details with very small sections of hair. Keeping them in check, seperate and not moving until they are adhered to the canvas will take time and patience.
Working on a commission is very different than creating an imagined image even if that imagined image has been drawn in advance since it makes no real difference in the end, if the final piece is different from the imagined one. There is no one to please but myself. When rendering a likeness of a pet, or of an approved drawing for a client, being on target with the drawing is important. It's what the client expects and what they are paying for. As a result, I do my best to re-create the drawing. I am considering this small piece an experiment which may determine if I choose to do something this small again on commission.
The delivery date for the piece is not until the end of October which gives me lots of breathing space so that I can choose to work on the piece when I am in the right frame of mind. This will offer the best possible environment to successfully complete the piece. I don't expect to take that long so keep an eye out. I will publish it when it is complete!
Don't forget to come and find me at the Audubon Show on August 16th & 17th in Falmouth, Maine! Until next time....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Home Again Home Again jigiddy jog....

Well I'm back from my trip to Maine & Boston after a one day delay. The Bermuda Airport was closed down due to Bertha but we were lucky and got home the following day. Fortunately, there was no serious damage on Bermuda. Bertha had lost most of it's power once it hit with 60 MPH winds which down graded it to a tropical storm.
I had a great, though very busy trip! I visited family and friends, met the two newest additions to our family, Henry & Jackson, and attended a family wedding in Boston. I was able to spend 4 of my vacation days with my sister, and nieces at a lovely camp on a small pond in Maine. We ate, played games, swam, walked and slept to the cries of the loons, chickadees and the infamous Maine mosquitos and horse flies :-) A good time was had by all...
Susan Mills and I are sharing a space at the 12th Annual Audubon Art & Fine Crafts Show on August 16th & 17th so we got together to plan out our booth display and mentor each other regarding the exhibit, display & each other's work. It was exciting to see the display unfold and get a sneak preview of how it will come together. Susan has a show two weeks earlier in Bar Harbor at the dimensions show so we were able to design her solo booth space at the same time.
The body of artwork that will be shown at the Audubon show was taken to John the Framer in Topsham for framing so that it will be ready for the show when I return to Maine in August.

Now that I am back home, I have 4 weeks to see to final preperations for the show, continue to work on the Bermuda Fiber Festival and Fryeburg Fair Fiber Center schedule. I like to mix things up a bit in life ( I may be ADD :-) so I will also begin working on some R&D for creating jewelry made with wire, fiber & sea glass. I was able to do some research at Border's while in Boston and came home with lots of inspiration to get me started again. But first I have some personal stuff to tend to... pay bills, car maintainance and other fun stuff :-)
I'll be back with more later! Enjoy the summer.....

Friday, June 27, 2008

New Work!

Well here it is! In one of my last posts I described that I would be moving onto a different color palette and I have completed a sample painting on both the off white and black felted wool boucle .

The Hummingbird was the first and is done on the off white boucle wool felt. I decided to make a few pieces in the round which is often found in Sumi-e. This piece is not quite finished though. I will add a silk braid or cording around the perimeter of the paper in a coordinating color to frame out the piece. I love this little guy and I can't wait to see him completed!

This is the second piece done in black. The photo doesn't do it justice. I am very pleased with the way this piece turned out. I have always been drawn to the black Sumi-e paintings using color density to create the depth of the image. There's something very intriguing to me about the simplicity which depicts a subject. Although I have achieved success with the brown color way in the past, I was anxious to see how the black would translate in this medium. I feel I was able to achieve a sense of depth in the painting using various thickness of fiber to create tonal variation which is done with different dilutions of black ink in Sumi-e. I did add a bit of magic green in the center of the flower and yellow for stamens to help create a bit of interest in the piece. I expect to frame this piece out with a braid or cording of some kind also. I will be visiting the states soon and will look forward to shopping for an appropriate option.
Bermuda has many fine points but shopping is not one of them! I drool thinking about spending some quality time in Michael's, Joanne Fabrics, Marden's, Walmart, Sam's club and grocery stores when I get home! I run the gauntlet of stores and malls in search of things that I either can not find here or are too expensive to consider. I shop for clothes only when I need something and prefer to fill my baskets with art supplies :-)

To learn more about Sumi-e visit the Sumi-e Society of America's website at

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fiber Center at Fryeburg Fair Scheduling Begins!

As the first day of summer approaches, my time is dedicated to planning ahead! I have begun the process of scheduling demonstrators for the Fiber Center at this year's Fryeburg Fair. It's not often throughout the year when I am not having thoughts about this event and it's activities; How to improve it, how to make it better.I breathe it, it's a part of my life....

Fryeburg Fair is in it's 158th year! A long standing tradition in rural life and it continues today to serve the agricultural community and to educate today's urbanites about where our food comes from, the primitive and basic processes of making yarn and clothing, and of sustainable lifestyles. I realized how important these types of events are when years ago I brought one of my llamas (yes I used to raise llamas!) into my nieces classroom for show and tell day. While walking my llama past a group of 8 year olds one of them exclaimed "look Sally! A cow!" I knew then and there that something was gravely wrong with the world I lived in! But I digress....

I have been a part of the fair for many years and am responsible for making sure that the Fiber Center is filled with educational activity about natural fibers, primarily animal fibers.

And so the process has begun! I have contacted all of the volunteers via email. Many have been volunteering at this event for 15 years or more! I couldn't do this job without them or e-mail! And now I await their replies. What days are they available, from what time to what time... I have a hole here can you fill it? Will you do a knitting demo, how about some weaving.... Can you bring an animal for the animal of the day exhibit and educate about it and the properties of it's fiber? And the list goes on. Somehow in spite of everything, the schedule gets filled but often, with final slots filling within a few days of the fair. A full three months to complete the task.

Fair week begins on September 28th this year and each year there are more than 40 volunteers, many of whom spend the entire 8 day event from 9am - 9pm daily sharing with the public their passion for Fiber Arts.It's a tireless group dedicated to teaching and demonstrating their art to the thousands of people who come through the exhibit each year. In the end we all go home a little ragged, coated with a layer of dust that takes days to wash away, yet professing that we can't wait for next year! Gluttons for punishment we all are, that we see this time as a vacation, spending time with a remarkable group of men and women, who share the same interest, doing the things we love most to do in life..... To create magical things in magical ways out of natural fibers; To keep alive basic art forms that we truly no longer have a real need for in our society, but instead, a personal need. We shed a tear or two as we part company until next year and as I say this I come to see that this is how it has been for at least 158 years! A time to come together.... A time to share... A time to commune....
I hope that if you ever visit this wonderful exhibit that you will stop by and say hello, and enjoy this community that we have created..........

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Free Valuable Artists Resource!

Good morning folks!
I've heard from family and friends that Maine weather has been beautiful with high temperatures and the feel of summer heat at last! With the prices of fuel oil someone needs to learn how to store that excess heat for the winter! But that's another story......

It occurred to me that though I tell my artist friends about the benefit of The Maine Arts Commission, that this would be a great place to tell more people about it. For those who aren't aware of it, The Maine Arts Commission is an organization that promotes Art and Artists in the state of Maine. It is easily accessible through their website and is a terrific resource! I have it listed in my favorite links. Benefits to the artist are many. First you can register with them so that you are listed in their artist search data base. This allows the public who might be looking for someone to teach or commission work to find you! It also has a very good opportunities page which has various opportunities listings for artists including, calls for work, employment and Percent for Art listings.
In addition, there is a Press release page. Not only does this give a quick view of happenings in the Maine art world but it allows a registered member to submit Press Releases for self promotion! How often have you submitted a press release to the newspapers to find that it never runs! All press releases are reviewed but as long as it is a legitimate release they will run it. The biggest benefit I have found to this member benefit is that once the press release is posted to their website, it increases your chances of being found on the web when someone does a search. As a new artist, this has been a great plus for me.
In general a press release can not only give information about an upcoming show or a new body of work, it is also a great way for an artist to promote classes that they might be teaching, or something interesting about their work and it is FREE.
The other page on the site of special note is the events page. This is a listing of openings and exhibits throughout the state.
And last but not least, and worthy of noting is the list of grant opportunities. This is not important to me at this stage of my artists life but certainly is for many others out there.

I hope that if you are a practicing artist interested in getting your name out there, that you will take advantage of this wonderful free opportunity. I believe this is a very underutilized resource that has potential for helping many!
Join today!

Friday, June 6, 2008

HeeeeeEEEERRRRRRRRRes Jackson!

And so it is.... Jackson was born on thursday, June 5, 2008 at 12:49pm to his proud parents, Melanee & Cliff. He weighed in at 8#2 oz and was 20" long. He's a doll!

His maternal grandparents drove from Maine to Massachusettes upon hearing the news and took photos to share. Grandpa, my brother, is brimming with pleasure and pride. Though there is no mistaking that his three daughters are most precious to him, I see that he is thrilled with the addition of boys to the family and that they no doubt will take a top priority in his life.

Mother and baby are doing great and I look forward to finally meeting the newest addition to the family soon!

Here is the photo of one of the sweaters I knitted for him as promised. A hoodie with tie strings at the neck, done in a boucle machine washable yarn. I chose this color because it reminded me of his mother, a blond, who looks great in these colors. It's knitted in one piece and the hood added on by picking up stiches at the neckline. I'm not sure how I like the design fit. It seems a bit boxy and the sleeves a bit long but hopefully it will do just fine!

Raining Babies!

Yesterday was a stellar day for my family! Not only did preemie Henry finally go home, but his aunt Melanee gave birth to his cousin Jackson!

Henry and his parents have been patiently waiting for his little being to mature enough and work out it's kinks so that he could finally be safely brought home. Yesterday was that day and at 8# 2oz he's the size of a typical newborn (for my family). The biggest difference being that as you can see from this picture, "on my way home", he looks more like the 3 month old that his birth date makes him. I have not held or met him yet but anxiously await my trip to Maine in July to do just that! We are all grateful that he has progressed so well and that he seems no worse for the wear; in great health in spite of his early arrival!

And then came Jackson! He weighed in, coincidentally, at 8# 2oz and both mom and babe are doing great. I have no pictures of him to share yet but look forward to seeing some and sharing them with you along with one of the sweaters that I knitted for him.

My Maine trip in July will be a busy one! Filled with preperation for the Audubon show as well as meeting the two newest members of my family!

Two down and one more to go! Sisters Megan & Melanee now wait for their sister Merrilee to give birth in July to yet another boy!

Stay tuned for more.....

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Moving On!

It's a new month and with it comes the Bermuda summer humidity and warmer temps, as well as a new era in my work! I am a creature of habit and may have perhaps continued with the brown tones of my work through eternity, but the universe had another plan....
When I first began this work, I decided to use brown as my color way. I chose it because I had a good supply of brown llama roving from my years of raising llamas and never wanting to waste anything, decided this was a good use for it. The fabric I ultimately used for the canvas back was not my original choice but was forced upon me. The best place to buy quantity of wool fabrics is at Oxford Woolen Mills in Oxford, Maine. Though they no longer weave fabric there, they have a voluminous supply from when they did, and continue to sell it. In fact they continue to replace items as they sell due to the reputation they have built as supplier for anyone needing woolen fabrics for Art projects or craft. But I digress....
When I went to purchase fabric from them when I began this Art, I was looking for a nice worsted coat weight fabric to match the roving I had. The only thing they had was a boucle. I was not impressed but I felt it was my only choice and who was I to fool with the universal plan! So, I bought it, used it, and loved it! The texture of the fabric was perfect for my application. It blended beautifully with the texture of my paper pours and unified the look. Perfect!
Well.... it seemed so anyway.... Until I needed to replenish my inventory and they no longer have, and can no longer find a supply of this same color way in this same fabric. Drat! What to do.... What to do..... After a visit to the store on one of my trips to Maine, I spent agonizing time trying to decide how to proceed. Once I got over the fact that the brown was now history, I chose to go black. This is the Sumi-e tradition anyhow, so it seemed right. I would just have to purchase some wool roving to match. Easy... done... BUT, things are not always so easy for me to decide and I was challenged with the idea of the off-white and the use of more color in my work. Initially, I exclusively worked with the monochromatic as done with the most traditional of Sumi-e but had begun to do some color. Why not get some of the off-white and do some experimenting? I indulged myself and so it is!
This week I have poured some canvases on both the black and the white color ways and have a few sketches nestled in the back of my mind for future paintings. I wait for the canvases to dry before I can begin to play....
Sometimes moving on to the unfamiliar is a hardship; it creates blocks of fear that impinge on movement in a new direction. The good news is that I had some smaller canvases of brown remaining and have been working with those, giving the new color ways a chance to settle in and become familiar. Osmosis... That's my best ticket!
As I move forward, watch for postings showing the new work. Or better yet! Plan to come to the Audubon Art & Fine Craft Show on August 16 & 17 at Gilisland Farm in Falmouth, Maine and see it. Up close and personal!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Well the Bermuda weather is finally settling in and giving us sunny, warm and calmer days. Spring has been slow to come to us as with many parts of the world. My little garden has had it's share of gusty winds and related stress!

I though, have been making progress on the body of work for the Audubon Show on August 16th & 17th at the Gilsland Farm in Falmouth, Maine. I have recently finished pieces of Heron, Sandpiper, Loon, Rose Bud and Sunflowers. All of the birds are in the monochromatic color way but the flowers I have done with color. I am especially pleased with the "Sunflowers" painting that I added to this post, which began as a drawing that I did a few weeks ago.

I have only five more weeks to create paintings that I will have time to have framed before the show. All finished paintings will travel with me to Maine on July 1st when I will spend time with my family, prepare the dispay booth for the show and take paintings to the framer.

So off to work on my next subject! More later.....

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

From Drawing to Painting

Well here it is folks! You may have seen the drawing at left from an earlier post that I did for a commissioned piece. I'm very happy with the final result! The completed piece measures 27" x 39". It only looks smaller in the photo because the drawing was only done on an 11"x13" sketch pad. In order to create a painting with the same proportions, a few hours of math becomes involved in the process. YES Math! When I want to duplicate a painting from a drawing it's important that I get the proportions right and very difficult to do with the naked eye. For many of us, the brain is unable to process the spacing and dimension of one line or object to another without adding it's two cents. Because of this, we create what we think we see instead of what is. No doubt there are artists who never do a single math equation to determine how long the boot foot should be compared to the length of the overall boot and do a fine job of creating appropriate proportions; perhaps they have an inate instinct to be able to do this accurately. But know that, any basic drawing class will teach you how to use a grid to establish proportion and we all know a grid is just another way of determining fractions or math! It is easier to accomplish the "no math" method when free painting which I do regularly. However in the case of replicating from a drawing where you want the finished piece to be as close to the original drawing as possible, you do the math.... It goes something like this: In the drawing, the space from the top of the boot to the edge of the page is 2.75" or 25% of the 11" height of the paper. My paintable canvas is 22" high so 25% of that is 5.5". This tells me that the boot has to sit that far from the top of the paintable canvas to look like the drawing. Etc... To prepare for the actual painting, I spent several hours figuring the equations that I would need to tell me the lengths of spaces and lines on the drawing so that I could as accurately as possible re-create the drawing on canvas. The unfortunate part of this process is that without a copy machine, the drawing that might have been framed as a pencil drawing now looks like a math problem or blue print for building something! I would take a photo and show it to you but my light pencil marks wouldn't reproduce well.
If someone had told me little more than a year ago that I would be doing this work and accomplishing these results, I would have definitely told them they were crazy! But it has become a passion for me to create these "hairlock paintings" and now that this piece is complete I will begin the body of work to get ready for the Audubon Art & Fine Craft Show in August in Maine.
The above piece will live in a house by a lake in North Carolina that sports a western theme and I hope it's owners will enjoy it for many years to come! I have yet to name this piece which I would like to do and include in the signature. Anyone have any suggestions?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Henry's Second Sweater!

Henry is a VERY inportant part of my family's life right now! In an earlier post I reported that he was born to my niece Megan and her husband Matt at 29 weeks. He is now 7 weeks old and weighing in at over 4# and doing VERY well! Though there is great relief in that, he is still in the hospital and we will all be happier when he is cleared to go home. This is one of my favorite pictures of Henry so far and though you can't tell very well from this picture, he appears to have inherited him mom's red hair!

Henry is awaiting the birth of two cousins since his mom and her
two sisters are all pregnant at the same time! This family event has put me in knitting mode and I have been creating baby sweaters for each of the boys. Yes you got it right! three sisters are having three boys within a few months of each other! Boys managed to skip one entire generation in my family somehow! So here is a sneek peak at Henry's second sweater. His first was premie sized but if he keeps packing on the groceries he will have outgrown it before he makes his first trip home! This one is a 6mo size and has a collar with a one button loop/button tie at the top. The details in this photo got a bit lost ....I chose Lion Brand Suede yarn in this multi color. I know it's not the traditional baby colors but it is so soft and I think quite fun for a change. I hope Henry enjoy's it's snuggly feel as much as I do! Here is a picutre of it. The color mix isn't well represented in the photo but you get the idea. It looks much cuter in real life!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Current Commission

Today I wanted to share with you the beginnings of my current commission. This will be a Hairlock Painting approximately 28"x32" (unframed) which I am creating for some folks in Atlanta. It will hang in their lakehouse which has a western theme. They asked me to create an image for them to include cowboy boots and the drawing at left is what they have decided to go with. The hat was inspired by Clint Eastwood in one of his Classic cowboy movies "The Good, Bad and the Ugly". We are currently discussing the canvas that it will go on and though there are a few options, I am partial to and recommending that they use a canvas that I created and haven't used yet! Its reddish brown tone and off white paper reminds me of a cow hide. My more spiritual side tells me that this canvas has been waiting for this project to live on it! This particular canvas is more unusual than my others in that the felt backing I made from hand made felt so is a bit more rustic looking. Since the initial layout of fiber must be about 30% larger than the finished size, it began it's life with three layers of sheeps wool about 3' x 4'. That's a lot of sheeps wool and very time consuming since I have a fine hand in my method of laying out the fibers. As soon as I hear back from them, this will be the next "painting" project on my studio table. Watch for postings of the finished painting!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Audubon Art & Fine Craft Show Added to the 2008 Calendar!

Well I officially have new incentive to get the creative juices rolling! One of my dearest friends and fellow artist, Susan Mills of Bowdoinham, Maine and I have just received word that we have been admitted to the Audubon Art & Fine Crafts Show at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth on August 16th & 17th. Susan and I showed our work together at Fryeburg Fair's Fiber Center last year and found that our work complements each other very well. As a result we submitted an application to show together at this event. The Audubon show is known for maintaining a high quality standard of Art & Craft and is set in one of the prettiest locations in the area. When I lived in Portland, I used to frequent the farm and always found an incredible bit if remote peace there, rarely encountering many people and affording me some solitude for communing with nature. This facility is a gem in itself and is a great place to combine with Fine Art & Craft.

Susan will feature her unique Fiber Art in Felt, with her Goddess pieces, wall hangings, Designer Handbags and ever popular Vessels. I will be showing a new body of Hairlock Paintings to include framed as well as unframed work.
So mark your calendars for this do not miss event!
We'll hope to see you there!For more information about the show visit their website at

Monday, April 7, 2008

Creating a Canvas

Let the process begin!
I am currently preparing some canvases to paint on. The balmy humid Bermuda air makes this process a bit of a challenge. I have to monitor the drying process to be sure that they are drying quickly enough to prevent them from molding. I once heard that it takes years for paper to truly dry out so although they may not be completely cured for a very long time, they must be dry enough to the touch for me to work on. In the initial stages where I am adding the pulp on the felted fabric backing, I set them on these screen racks in the images so that they benefit from the most air circulation I can provide. It takes an average of three days for them to dry enough to move forward. I create canvases in batches of different sizes with no specific image in mind. Instead, I simultaneously yet independently am creating canvases while seperately researching and working on drawings of images that I will use for the inspiration for my paintings. It is rare that the paintings become an exact duplicate of the drawing. I prefer to allow the freedom of creation while painting to present to me what the final image will be.

Friday, April 4, 2008

My Bermuda Studio

I think that most of you know that I spend a lot of time living in Bermuda. My husband is a "bean counter" here with a contract to work for at least another 18 months. I know! You have no sympathy for me especially knowing the kind of winter you have been experiencing in the northeast! But it's time for me to clear my Bermuda work space and begin to create for the 2008 season! Clear the work space you ask? YES! But it looks pretty clear to me! Well this photo was taken soon after I set up the studio almost a year ago. Since I have not painted much in the last few months it has accumulated supplies, as many surfaces can over time. You know how that goes :-)
The work you see on the walls has served as templates for much of my work. They are Sumi-e paintings (Asian ink paintings) that I created in the last few years and the inspiration which led me to the creation of Hairlock Paintings(tm). Though I have begun to move on to other subjects I keep them up as a reminder of my roots and the desire to keep most of my work simple. Sumi-e is about the "essence" of a subject. It's about capturing the spirit of something without duplicating it's every detail. It is something that I am constantly aware of when I paint but continues to challenge me. Our brain has difficulty allowing us to duplicate what we see instead of what it thinks we see. It is always using memory to add and remove details at will based on our impressions of the objects that we are looking at. It is not my intention to duplicate as in a photograph, the subjects that I choose to paint. Instead, I always strive to create something that has a bit more spirit, but often without success. It doesn't make the work bad since many artists duplicate subjects to as much reality as possible in all of their work. It just challenges me each time I create to strive for something deeper.
There is a great book that I recently picked up called "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. Even if you do not draw or ever intend to, the information revealed in this book about how our brain works and sees images is fascinating. I highly recommend it!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Henry's First Sweater!

Although it is only April, it feels like the beginning of the year to me! Where has the first quarter of the year gone? I have been doing a lot of knitting lately. I recently became a great aunt for the first time. Henry came at week 29 weighing in at a tiny 2lbs 6oz but is doing very well! His mom and her two sisters are all pregnant at the same time which has prompted me to get my knitting needles in motion! Henry's sweater is made from wool ease, a washable wool blend yarn for easy care with warmth.
Watch for additional postings of the other sets.