Friday, March 9, 2012


This one is still in progress.

The french words for putting disparate things together are easier on the ear than english, it looks better written down too.....junque......looks nicer than.....junk. Even 'je ne sais quoi' is smoother than 'what the heck is that?' I'm very fascinated with assembling stuff these days, to the point of distraction. I walk round with my head down looking for rusty little bits of stuff in parking lots and hesitate when throwing away the trash---just in case priceless stuff was overlooked. Currently, piled on the dining table, are a couple of dead computers and an extremely heavy old typewriter (amongst other stuff) waiting to be scavenged for interesting parts. I look around and wonder if this could be leading to a hoarding disorder.....meh...we don't use the dining table for much else anyway. Besides if I took that stuff to the studio it would muck up all the stuff piled on the work bench over there.
The Oratist

Assemblage titled Lighting the Muse

Monday, October 10, 2011

CreekFest 2011

The Cypress Creek Cultural District hosted an art festival last weekend, the event was the first in what will be an annual event themed Art and Soles. The concept of the shoe is a clever one. Local business sponsor a shoe and local artists get to paint them up or do whatever they want to them I suppose. The shoe represents the organized run for the event and the sole of the art community as well. What a grand way to involve all 'walks' of the lifeblood of our neighborhood.
Debra Reese from The Purple Elephant Gallery sponsored a shoe and invited me to work on it for the festival. It was great fun and I hope to see many other artists and business join me next year.

 Jeff Bernal and Marsha loaned their space at Creative Frame/Merlot to Masterpiece to get the project going. It was wonderful to be there and get to know Marsha and since the center was also part of the location for CreekFest the shoe didn't have to run very far to get to it's destination, (insert pun here). I had so many people stop in and check on the progress, kid's loved it. It felt like painting the shoe was an event itself! Debra popped in and added her hand to the job. Everyone knows her as a supporter of local artists but only a few know that she is a proficient artist herself. Folks the woman can paint, draw, collage......the secrets out now Debra!

 I added a nod to The Iron Butterfly on the toe. Art classes for adults and kid's, weekend workshops and private painting parties are held in the facility throughout the year. It is a very lively part of The Purple Elephant complex. Anyway back to CreekFest. The gallery had five booths all together representing several artists that are active there. It was all abuzz with activity. Andre Gandin, Sharon Isaacks, Tracy Harston-Dolezal and Dee, Jeremy Cruey and myself filled the place up to overflowing with art-sculpture, jewelry, painting, metalwork, woodwork, fiberarts, plus calligraphy were represented. We had information there about all the classes and workshops that happen at the complex too. You really couldn't miss us not with a giant inflatable Purple Elephant right there.
Debra Reese and Harmony the Clown

Part of my section of the booth
Andre Gandin's metal flower looks fantastic with the studio sign.

Jeremy Cruey had a very ingenious creation.
Sharon Isaacks aka Ms Sharon with two of her pieces behind her.

Andre and his wife Pam adding finishing touches to their space.
Wow look how super Tracy's jewelry looks with Sharon's painting

Nobody can say we don't know how to have a good time at The Elephant! Everyone pitched in and helped each other, it felt like one great big family sharing chores. The energy was way off the charts, it flowed right out into the patrons strolling by.

Almost ready for the show, Abby the monkey
 just has to give Jeremy one more little kiss before
patrons arrive. 
Grandsons Ethan and J.T. came out to
support Grammy's efforts.

Monday, October 3, 2011

What a Ride!

She's like a blank canvas.
I cannot believe how long it has been since I've posted here! ........heavy sigh....all those things I intend to do and never get around to. So I'll vow to myself again to pay attention to this much neglected Laughing Crow blog.

I must share the latest merry maker at my place. I have a new/old car!! Many thanks to my oldest son who discovered it on craigslist in Abilene, Texas. It is a 1982 postal jeep, a DJ-5 Dispatcher to be exact. I'm delighted with it and adore tootling around my neighborhood in the little thing. I think it's a she, cars do have a gender you know. It took a bit of getting used to steering on the other side but I've got the hang of it now. I finally figured out to turn around over the 'other' shoulder to back up. The thing drives like a little mule and there is NO air conditioning so I'm glad it's not my primary ride. I probably wouldn't be as enamoured.

My long term plan is to transform her into an art car, the mechanical aspects are in good order but it does need body work before I can begin making changes to the outer appearance.  The grandsons think it's cool just the way it is, thank you very much. Look at all the room for hauling art supplies! And grandsons too.  Ah, but first things first. There is absolutely no where for a spare tire and I don't want to use the space in the back for that so I'm shopping round for a safari rack-which has certain cool factor don't you think? And look at this vintage mailbox I found to mount on the dashboard for the owners manual and registration and such.

The little jeep has been with me for a couple months now and I recently had a light bulb moment about painting the body. Escher! 
One must have the appropriate accessories.

M. C. Escher
It's pretty satisfying to noodle around with fish and bird motifs and the studio is named Laughing Crow. While I'm waiting for the universe to send funds for the body work and spare parts I can work on diagrams for the tessellations. Of course the birds will be crows and funkified stylized fish. Nothing particularly inspiring in regards to color has presented itself.....well there's no rush really, I've wanted an old mail jeep for over a decade now. The right colors will show up at the right time.   At some point I can see her in the Houston Art Car Parade, now that would be a hoot. Anyone out there know of good references for tessellation lessons?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Texture Workshop

For the last couple of years texture and inclusions in artwork have intrigued me and being an art supply junkie of sorts leads me to try new materials often. Having a strong background in decorative painting probably contributes to the fascination with texture too.

Many of the products on the market just weren't producing the results I wanted, mediums were either too soft, not pliable enough or didn't have the bonding qualities I was after. 
Around mid May while attending a regional art convention I noticed artwork on display by one of the vendors and had to find out what the heck he was using. That started my journey with Powertex.  

Moon Cycle was my first successful piece using Powertex

I was hooked. The product is compatable with acrylic, a plus, and is water soluble, another plus, has a strong bond and gets very hard when dry, more pluses. To make a long story short I'm now certified to teach with Powertex. Here's a few pics of the workshop I conducted in late August.

Everyones work was so different and inventive! The energy in a room full of artists at work with a new medium is an amazing thing to participate in.
I can't wait to do this again!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Salute to Trees

My preferred time of year to observe trees is in the winter. This time of year when the leaves are full I miss that. Oh I love the shade summer trees provide and the beautiful colors of fall but there is something starkly majestic about a tree with all its limbs exposed and spread against the sky. I think it must have something to do with the feeling of quietude and patient anticipation of the coming spring. Trees are among my favorite subjects to paint, I have a few old friends I watch through the seasons around the neighborhood.

My home is in an area that urban sprawl is gobbling up and it's saddening when beautiful mature trees are taken out for strip malls and new housing development. Often times the new neighborhoods take on the very names of the trees that were felled... wonder what the trees think about that? I've recently lost a few old familiars for the sake of widening a road and so they are gone, silently, with no outcry or gesture of disapproval on the part of the tree of course. The subdivision I live in was once part of a large farm almost 30 years ago so our trees are fairly mature here, but I realize at one time this too was a "new" development and I, with my home and car and consumption of well-everything- have contributed to the loss of those trees.

I'll share a couple of favorite quotes on the subject and two recent paintings of trees.

You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.
Saint Bernard

I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.

Dr. Suess

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Two New Paintings

Just thought I would post a couple of paintings I recently finished.
This one is titled Angel Emerging, and is on Ampersand cradled board. I used acrylic, watercolor, ink and also collaged on textured paper for the garment that I stamped with an old hand carved wooden stamp used for batik. The hair has bits of paper and burlap looking stuff added for dimension. The belt is flattened, rusted bottle caps I pick up from time to time, usually when buying gas for my truck. They are too interesting not to pick up, I figured the caps would eventually make their way onto a piece of art and sure enough the occasion presented itself on this piece. I wrapped the painting around the edges so you get different glimpses from various angles, it measures 10"x30"x2".

This painting I call The Promenade, it is acrylic on stretched canvas 8"x20"x1.5" I really do enjoy these humorous paintings whether anyone else does or not. Comic relief is a good thing! For some reason I'm  into rectangular shaped paintings at the moment, as with everything, it will run its course and I'll notice some other pattern about what I'm producing.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Visit with Andre Gandin

Andre calls himself an American industrial folk artist, after my visit with him I think he may be part wizard too. His studios, yes plural, are captivating in a very magical sort of way, and he thoroughly enjoys what he is doing, whether it be working with steel or sand casting. That exuberance about his work spills over to his creations without fail.

Andre gives new life to found objects and discarded metal in the form of sculpture for the home and garden. He also incorporates his sand castings in much of his work in intriguing ways.
The above pictures are at his metal working studio and below I've shared some images of his sand casting studio at another location. He says the casting is a more organic process for him and provides a refreshing change of pace. The gloves are an experiment, I can't wait to see what he comes up with!

And here is my latest and greatest acquisition from Andre's 'Goddess Series' an artful combination of sand casting and welded steel. She's just grand!!
He has managed to capture the sacred and mystical aspects of the feminine spirit here. It is in my garden for the photos, but I have since brought her inside, she's sitting on the mantel now. I may have to travel round the house and garden with her a bit to decide what she likes best.

In addition to the wee sampling I've shown you Andre creates very intriguing sand writers that have a wonderful calming effect when you're around them. You can see more of his work at his website