Archive for August, 2012

A friend asked me to teach a Plein Air Painting class over two years ago, and I agreed.  It got postponed several times, during which time my painting skills got rusty. Luckily I had enlisted the help of another artist to co-teach with me. The class finally took place last Sunday, and it turned out to be a good experience. Our students were wonderful, and Gail and I got along so well that it was a very fulfilling experience.

I have tended to view my change of media from painting to fiber art as a sort of disruption. But as I work my way toward my most natural subject matter, the industrial neighborhood in which I live, I now think the two are related. Looking at the world through an artist’s eyes makes it a very interesting place indeed.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even take up a paint brush from time to time again.

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I’ve been working on this piece for two months straight. It is a companion to Western PA: Oh What a Relief. It is similarly inspired by a colored geologic relief map of Pennsylvania by the DCNR.  It represents elevation data overset with bedrock geology. http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/topogeo/pub/map/map067.aspx.  I’m calling it Eastward Ho! because it shows an area to the east of the previous piece, and also because we are planning move eastward in Pennsylvania in the future. The size is 3 x 4 feet.  It has beading, hand embroidery and found objects besides the basic fabrics and free motion quilting.

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I had an interesting experience yesterday.  My “main” art organization, Pittsburgh Society of Artists, had a weekend event called ARTday.  The idea was to go back to our “hippie” origins in the the 1960’s and the very first show the organization had. It was in the parking lot of a bank on a Saturday, and everyone brought their art, stayed around all day taking to customers, and they sold it all and went home! Luckily we weren’t in a parking lot Sunday as it poured rain.

We organized a sort of “pop-up” event. People brought two pieces of art on Saturday and hung it themselves. We had an opening that night, with balloons out front. Then Sunday afternoon we returned and had organized art demonstrations. There was an enamel artist, a pencil portraitist, a wheel thrower and a “ink tape and magic” artist. One of our musical members played his guitar and sang, and many brought food to share. We all got to get to know each other much better, and members of the public who dropped in felt part of the event. We ended up selling 3-4 pieces (unfortunately we didn’t sell out!).

I didn’t sell my pieces, but felt gratified and inspired by some of the comments I got. This piece in particular, called Pittsburgh: Go With the Flow, attracted comment. I think I’ll make it again, a little different this time. I want to stay with the same idea: Pittsburgh as layers. Below the ground the iron ore and coal that first spurred industry here, the rivers, the houses on the hillside, the hills themselves, and the sky. I’ll go without the border this time.