Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tohono Chul Angel

Mike and I went to Tohono Chul Park Holiday Night in Tucson on Friday with some friends. I took some of the photos from the evening and incorporated to make this piece. I will print on rice paper and finish off with encaustic. This will happen as soon as I'm finished painting the kitchen cabinets. This may be the beginning of my next series.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ceci n'est pas une chaise

I just finished an encaustic piece to donate to the Bisbee Women's Club Chair Auction this weekend. The piece is called "Ceci n'est pas une chaise", or "This is not a chair".

So here's the finished 8x10 piece - my one and only created this month. It was hard to get back in the studio after completing the "Mirror Mirror" series. Now after a little breather, it's time for more encaustic studio AND photography!!!

 As you can see the chair has a bit of motion to it ala Dali, "Still Life, Fast Moving".

Side View

After going round and round with the fact thatthis  is NOT a chair that I'm donating to the chair auction, I finally came up with the text and title, "Ceci n'est pas un chaise.", of course inspired by none other than:
Rene Magritte, The Treachery of Images, 1928-29
From Wikipedia:
Magritte's work frequently displays a juxtaposition of ordinary objects in an unusual context, giving new meanings to familiar things. The representational use of objects as other than what they seem is typified in his painting, The Treachery of Images (La trahison des images), which shows a pipe that looks as though it is a model for a tobacco store advertisement. Magritte painted below the pipe "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" ("This is not a pipe"), which seems a contradiction, but is actually true: the painting is not a pipe, it is an image of a pipe. It does not "satisfy emotionally"—when Magritte once was asked about this image, he replied that of course it was not a pipe, just try to fill it with tobacco.

Of course my image is not a chair, just try to sit in it. Hope somebody likes it at the auction though.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

After showtime

Well, Mirror Mirror show at Subway Gallery Bisbee was a success, and with lots of sales which is nice! Show comes down on Thursday this week. Seems I'd have lots of time to blog after getting the show up, but it's been just the opposite. I started working p-t at the Copper Queen Library. I'm getting used to my new work schedule, and pondering what may be "the next series" to work on in encaustic. Also working on a "chair" in encaustic for Bisbee Women's Club Art Auction and Home Tour.

All that said, I've been thinking about an installation I did in honor of my mother for Day of the Dead show in October 2009. Central School Project Bisbee used to have Day of the Dead show annually, but did not have one this year. Had they had one I think I would have been motivated to do another installation along the line of what I did in 2009.

Anyway, at this point, I just want to post the piece I did for my mom a little over a year ago.
The photos  are scanned from an old photo of my mom from when she was a tender age eighteen. Music, "A Night in June", was incorporated into the piece, as June was my mother's birthday, and it just seemed fitting. There is also a poem written by my mom incorporated into the little encaustic photos of a rose and some with barbed wire - a delicate balance of life, death, beauty, love, loss.

I've thought of taking all the little 3 x 3's and making one large wall piece or quilt. I hate just storing them in my flat file, but that is where they currently reside. Well, back to the studio and re-grouping this week.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mirror Mirror and Postcards

The Sierra Vista Herald posted our show on their news Web site and in the paper. Check out this link.

Three Artists

We're doing a "Meet the Artists" this Sunday. Promote, promote, promote:-)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Our show on Saturday, Oct. 9th opening

Mirror Mirror (encasutic/mixed media by me and mixed media and jewelry by Andrea Robinson) and Postcards From Old Bisbee (digitally painted/manipulated images and photography made from scanned turn-of-the-century postcards of Bisbee by my hubby Mike Derivan) opened at Subway on Saturday night. It was a great night! Mike was the photog and didn't include himself and Postcards From Old Bisbee, but you do see a bit of his work in the righthand corner of slide #8 in this slideshow! Check it out:
Show Opening at Subway

Friday, October 8, 2010

Baby 2 - 20 week anatomy ultrasound!

This is a work of art! My daughter, Hettie, is expecting Baby 2! I'm a proud mother and grandmother! Gee, I need to post a photo of Ryan, baby 1! He will be my next post!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Down to the wire

Here is Mirror Mirror No. 21 for show at Subway Gallery, Bisbee, AZ, which we hang on Wednesday, Oct. 6th. Opening on Saturday the 9th!
Mirror Mirror No. 21, 8x10 on cradled birch panel, encaustic/mixed media

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mirror Mirror 19 and 20

Well, moving forward with Mirror Mirror series. I am posting Nos. 19 and 20 today. No. 21 is now finished, but not yet photographed. So, I will meet my goal and finish all 24 images, the last 3 now just awaiting the painting and wax!

Mirror Mirror No. 19, 16 x 20 on cradled birch panel
Mirror No. 20, 8x10 on cradled birch panel

Monday, September 20, 2010

About Frida that was added on Friday

Well, just wanted to comment about Frida from my Friday post of "Mirror Mirror 18". This came from "Frida Kahlo and her Itzcuintli Dogs," photo by Lola Alvarez Bravo, 1944.
 I was hesitant to do Frida as she has been done by so many female artists, at least in the southwest. I decided to do this piece posted on Friday, Sept. 17 anyway as it did fit into the "Mirror Mirror" series AND I have great admiration for Frida as an independent, courageous woman, and great artist. Moving onward. There are now 4 works-in-progress for "Mirror Mirror" show which opens at Subway Gallery on Oct. 9, 2010.

Friday, September 17, 2010


My latest completed piece "Mirror Mirror #18". Had to include Frida. Will add more thoughts on this in another post. In meantime, off to the vintage store to work today.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mirror Mirror

The countdown is on! Mirror Mirror and Postcards of Bisbee opens at Subway Gallery in Old Bisbee on Saturday, October 9th. Mirror Mirror consists my new encaustic works, and mixed media and jewelry by Andrea Robinson. These works all incorporate mirrors or images based on art history where a mirror is part of the composition. Postcards of Bisbee are turn-of-the-century postcards painted/digitally altered by my husband, Mike Derivan.
Here's our poster for the show. Please join us for the Opening Reception if you're in Bisbee!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Lost Sketches

No images to post today, but felt like writing before I head off to the "vintage" store to work today. Barb Herman, Jan Searle and I met on Sunday, and Barb and I shared our contour drawings of giraffes. Barb had some great ones. I must say I was not pleased with mine. I would have posted anyway as it would have been good to trace my improvement as we proceed with our weekly drawing assignments. Posting those sketches was not to be though as my cat urinated on my sketchbook, so it went bye bye in the trash. TC, our full time indoor cat, has been distraught due to a feral cat hanging in our yard regularly. So, we must find a way to get this outdoor feral cat out of our yard.

Went to Tucson on Tuesday and got some new sketch books and some more encaustic paints, and saw show at Conrad Wilde Gallery. Also stocked up at Trader Joe's and 17th St. Market. Made for a fun day.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mirror Mirror and Waste Land

A friend dropped in to visit last weekend while I was writing my blog. I told him I was doing an art journal and his response was are you REALLY writing the truth? He said he'd never let anyone read his journal. Of course there are things I write in private journals I do not share, but what I post here is what's on my mind/soul artistically when I sit down to post this blog.

Today I felt like posting on two different topics:
  1. Mirror Mirror - works in encaustic
  2. Waste Land - a documentary film I stumbled upon online today
I'm starting to feel comfortable with progress for Mirror Mirror, Oct. show at Subway Gallery, Bisbee, but it sure has been a major challenge with lots of curves in the road along the way. I have to say there have truly been times I thought I'd totally lost my mind to come up with this theme and not incorporate my photography, relying on my newly acquired encaustic skill working with appropriated images that are majorly tweaked in Photoshop for the most part before working in encaustic. My saving grace has been my confidence with my Photoshop skills.  Some artists friends have told me my panic has been for nought, so I concentrate on that and the knowledge that I am a very harsh critic of myself, maybe (yikes shall I admit this?) at time to a fault.

So here is #15 from Mirror Mirror, 16x20 completed mixed media encaustic, my largest encaustic piece to date. I am pleased with the final results and pleased it went as smoothly as it did going to this larger image size as keeping the  temp of this large surface workable (and concentrating heat only on areas I was working on so as not to melt off other finished areas) while painting and adding layers of wax was a new challenge.
Mirror Mirror #15
And here is the Caravaggio original of Narcissus painted in 1597 to 1599:

Now for a quantum leap and change in topic from Caravaggio and Encaustic to Waste Land, a documentary film by photographer Vik Muniz. This is from the film synopsis:
Filmed over nearly three years, WASTE LAND follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world's largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There he photographs an eclectic band of "catadores" -- or self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz's initial objective was to "paint" the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with these inspiring characters as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both dignity and despair as the catadores begin to re-imagine their lives. Walker (Devil's Playground, Blindsight) has great access to the entire process and, in the end, offers stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit.
Here is a link to Waste Land Film Homepage
They do have a trailer on their Web site, well worth seeing, but I had trouble opening it from the and did find an easy to open You Tube link here: Waste Land trailer
It's about 2 minutes of film worth watching. The end results artwork is incredible. All sales of artwork went to the catadores.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

San Xavier del Bac

Back in the spring Mike and I made a day trip to Mission San Xavier del Bac, 9 miles south of downtown Tucson. It was a beautiful, sunny day and I made lots of photographs both in the church and on the grounds. I've actually not made any photographs to speak of since then as I've been working on "Mirror Mirror" encaustic series for show almost exclusively. Today I was looking at these photos in a folder on the computer and decided to play with a few images. Here they are. I'll probably play with some of the church interior images at a later date.

This one got a little extra Photoshopping with the birds dropped into the sky. And then a sepia version:

I think I like both color and sepia versions fairly well. I'm undecided if I have a preference for one over the other at this point. I do think I could do a small series and finish them as photo-encaustic pieces. I definitely want to get back to making more photos regularly! I think I've been missing my camera!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Draw Cats in Bed

I've never had much talent for drawing, nor have I ever thought of working on my drawing skills until I ran across this book, "52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun! - Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists", by Carla Sonheim. My friend, Barbara Herman, expressed interest in doing the drawing exercises also. So we met yesterday to share the results of our 1st assignment, Drawing Cats in Bed! The assignment was to get comfy in bed and draw about 30 cats from your imagination, working quickly, say spend about 10 minutes to complete the assignment. Well, Barbara and I had quite a few chuckles yesterday sharing our cat drawings. Nice to be drawing  (and learning) just for fun. So here are my cats.

Taking it further: I selected one of these funny cats, scanned it and did some Photoshop work on it. Here are the results:

As Hettie would say, LOL! This week we're doing giraffes. Should be interesting!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Getting There

Mirror Mirror #14 was finished last week and #15 yesterday! I will, I think, have over 20 for Oct. gallery show at Subway. I have 8 more "works in progress" and this week I work only on Thursday, so I have no excuse not to get in lots of good studio time. Yay!

I'm off to meet a friend in a few minutes. We're doing drawing exercises together (really meeting and sharing the outcome of our drawings from the exercises) based on assignments from "52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun - Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists", by Carla Sonheim. More on this tomorrow!

Mirror Mirror #14

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Artistic Inspiration

Serendipitous moments are wonderful, and especially when several seem to connect AND bring forth a revelation and encouragement. This has been a week of such moments. A couple of days ago I found a video, Elizabeth Gilbert on Genius, which addressed artist's inspiration and when it just doesn't seem to come together.  She suggests ultimately we must "show up" to create, and the genius will be with us/in us (suggesting it comes from something external), not always, but sometimes, ONLY if we show up to create to begin with. Gilbert, known for her book, Eat Pray Love, now a movie starring Julia Roberts, talks of at age 40, people say to her, well what are you going to do now that you've had such a big hit; what if that never comes to you again? Well, again, keep writing, she says. That's what she was born to do. So, if you were born to create, you will create and the genius will come and fill your work, maybe not everyday or every time you create, but it is a process, and maybe the frustrating moments are just as important as the a-ha moments, at least I have come to this conclusion for me and my work.

So, yesterday as I was pondering this, a friend named Patty came by to see me and asked if I'd look at some photographs in a recently privately published book, Studies in Black and White, photographs by her great aunt, Liddie McDermott. Liddie is 98 years old and made beautiful black and white photographs for a span of eighty years.  Patty asked if I might make some comments on these photographs in a notebook of comments she was collecting to send to her great aunt, who now resides in South Carolina. Liddie, now 98 years of age, has a book of almost a lifetime of her images and passions published! Now, is that not inspiration? I would love to meet Great Aunt Liddie. Hey, if we are born to create, we create, or as Erma Bombeck said, "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I have not a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me." This quote came to me via the art blog of Bridgette Guerzon Mills. Maybe these links will offer a bit of inspiration to anyone who happens upon this blog. May the artist within and around you be inspired to create!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More Mirror Mirror

Thought I'd post a few more photos today from Mirror Mirror series. This is from a painting by Frans Van Mieris, Woman Before a Mirror, c. 1670. I'm pleased with the sepia/aged colors, suggesting something old, of the past, preserved in history. This is 8x10 on cradled birch panel. I spent about half a day on this one compared with about 2 weeks (or more!) on the 12 x16 Velasquez images in my last post! Sometimes amount of time is not the key to success. Maybe more just the connection with what you are doing, and for me, some sort of "letting go" and not standing in the way of what comes of it. Yes, the Velasquez encaustics are larger panels, however, the final results did not come as easily for me as with this one.

This series is numbered by the order of their completion in an effort to track my progess. I don't believe at this point my numbering system will really be of significance until maybe I reach #100.

Mirror Mirror #10
Here is Van Mieris original:.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mirror Mirror

I've been working on a series called "Mirror Mirror" that will be exhibited at Subway Gallery, Bisbee, in October.This series has been fun, frustrating and challenging. I'm appropriating art historical images, making "line drawings" from them in Photoshop, printing them on rice paper and then working on them in encaustic on birch panel. One particular image has really been a challenge! Well, actually, it's a diptych, or maybe just 2 interpretations of the same image. It's from Velazquez's Rokeby Venus. Here are the two finals, or as they are now anyway...
Mirror Mirror #12

 Mirror #13
 Mirror Mirror #12 work in progress.

As you can see the frame and ribbons were a major challenge. A friend suggested I incorporate real ribbon, AND fabric on the curtain. That proved to be unsuccessful. I MAY still add some more pastel color/lines in the curtain....
Here's the line drawing I started with....
 I've found TREMENDOUS VARIATION on my 2 computers as to how the colors in these images look! So, I wonder how colors come through for viewers on each individual's computer???
Okay, so here's the original masterpiece by Velazquez

I've decided I took on a big project starting in a new medium I've been working in less than a year and then taking appropriated images such as this one! The less well known appropriated images have definitely been easier to work with in some ways. Guess I wonder about the whole idea of well-known appropriated images and what makes them work, such as the Mona Lisa that has been appropriated, who knows how many times, such as this one:
 by Duchamp
Maybe as a body of work with the theme Mirror Mirror, the Velazquez images will make more sense. I guess every artist has doubts about their work, but ultimately we must free ourselves up to keep working and grow in the process.

More Mirror Mirror tomorrow.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I'm Blogging - Finally!

Well, this first post is for my artist friend Sonya, who encouraged me to start an Art Blog, and for my daughter, Hettie, who chuckled when I said I'd have a Blog created by tomorrow. So, here it is, my first post! Short and sweet!