Oh dear, it has been a very long time since I have visited here! I have a confession....I rarely blog about my work and my talented husband, Jim's work because I would rather be making art, than talking about it....unless it's about teaching it, that I could talk about for hours!
My partner and dear husband in life is a gem of a guy....a real gentleman who is not only a fantastic husband, father and grandfather....but a very talented woodworker artist who can not only build furniture, but studios, too... and is a fantastic collaborator who works side by side with me in creating and designing kits for my classes....from conception to the final product literally takes months and months of prototyping on both of our parts...we start with one idea that grows into another, and keeps advancing from there. Many errors, mistakes along the way and we are grateful for those because it helps us to create a better class and a better product! Jim cuts everything by hand (no die cut machinery in his shop) and he diligently works to make sure everything is just right....
Last year he built lots and lots of houses for my "House of Cards" class on Artful Gathering....and everyone was very pleased! We were blown away at the work the students created.....
Jim built this studio for me when we first moved to Las Vegas six years ago!
Here is a picture of Jim standing in front of a beautiful framed mirror he created for our local ALS foundation's fundraiser last fall....
I'd like to think that working on house projects for many years has brought us to this wonderful place of working and collaborating on projects that involve my teaching...I never thought I would love anything more than creating art just for the sake of creating it, but think teaching it is equally as enjoyable and important to me! Being able to teach others, help them spark their muse (because we all have one, whether we know it, or not) has been the most fulfilling experience and I wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world! There is no better feeling than taking a student to a place they thought they might never be, or taking someone to another level....and I feel so very blessed to have this opportunity and love every single minute of it...and I learn and grow right along with my students....a true gift from the universe!
The Imaginarium - Anthology of an Art Doll
So, without further ado, I am introducing my new online class for Artful Gathering for this year! Here is a sampling of "the girls".....over a year and a half of hard work, growth and finally coming to a place that feels just right! These are so much fun to create and look forward to teaching and creating with you all...these are just the first prototypes and the possibilities for these will be endless....mixing and matching with all sorts of techniques...each one telling their own story and I can't wait to show you more....stay tuned for more pictures and surprises about the class....and in the meantime, Jim and I had better get back to work....we have a lot to do!
"Nothing is more exciting and bonding in relationships than creating together" ~ Stephen R. Covey
Las Vegas sunrise.....
It often surprises me how fast time really does speed by...and seems that the older we become, the faster it goes! I have to admit right here and now that I am very behind schedule with blog posts....not that I don't enjoy working on them, but it seems that it's just more time spent on the computer and less time spent in my studio where I really want to be most every single day! But with a new year comes new resolutions and I do hope to be here more... and I thank those of you who do follow my work for sticking by me, even with my lack of blog posts in the past!
Our winter here in the desert southwest has, for the most part, been colder than normal...there were mornings where our pool has actually frozen over around the edges...something we have never experienced in the five years we have lived here. This is not something that thrills me...one of the reasons we left New York permanently...because of the cold, snow and ice! I know, still a far cry from a "real" winter, but nonetheless made it rather chilly for us "desert rats", which now my husband and myself consider ourselves!
Altered playing card....these are addictive! Graphic by Tumble Fish Studio
With the new year also came lots of projects...some finished and many just beginning! Last year I taught my first online class "Metamorphosis Collage Bracelets" on Artful Gathering 2012. I had such a wonderful time and so many students...no one could have been more surprised than myself! I was in awe of the work that my students produced and a whole new world opened up for me...the love of teaching others! So this year I have decided to teach two classes online at Artful Gathering. A lot of work, but so fulfilling as an artist and a teacher. Every single instructor is so talented and all are so very supportive of each other....an unusual thing to find and I am so very grateful for the opportunities that have come my way.
I first discovered these altered playing cards through a swap last fall and I was instantly hooked! A fun and ingenious way of taking a simple playing card, altering it and adding a favorite quote, word or phrase....I often need and appreciate daily reminders to myself of some of these...a gentle prodding, sometimes a word of comfort, and often an inspirational phrase is just what's needed in my day....I am thrilled to offer this class and look forward to sharing it with others....there should be a law about having this much fun!
Altered art doll from my upcoming class....
Here is an example of the other class, "The Art Doll Chronicles"....this idea came to me last fall and had it mulling around in my head since then and right through the holidays. This required vast amounts of time working on prototypes, and getting them "just right". My husband Jim is not only a fabulous husband and partner, but an accomplished woodworker and we worked side by side on these, working out any problems and kinks in the development of these dolls. I am happy to report that we have accomplished our task, after many months and he is busily cutting the pieces and getting them ready to sell as kits which will be an accompaniment to the class! Three different styles of doll will be taught and I must admit that although they were so much work to develop we are ecstatic with the results and think the students will be, too!
I can't wait for classes to begin....not until June and I have a lot more work to do before then. Filming begins very soon on both classes after a short break to take a much deserved breather.....in the meantime I have other work to catch up on and some work for The Urban Ranch General Store here in Las Vegas....she soon will have an online catalog which will be fantastic for the people that don't get to shop "in the flesh"!
Before we know it, spring will be upon us and we will be as busy as the bees....in the meantime I hope to be more productive here and to keep you all caught up on the current events of Desert Dream Studios!
Signing off for now and looking forward to another post to share more with all of you....and thank you for your interest in my work and classes! MJC
WIP for Day of the Dead
I am amazed that summer is over and we are now into autumn. Although I would hardly know it if it weren't for the calendar staring at me....we had a very HOT summer with a lot of monsoonal moisture added to the mix that made it humid here in the desert southwest...something we don't experience too often, thank goodness! Am glad to see autumn arrive even though our temp's have not reflected the change of seasons yet....but hoping for that real soon...I look forward to having the fireplace blazing, cooking soups and stews on the stove and baking too! And all of the wonderful holidays to look forward to with friends and family. I have been busy most of summer with teaching my very first online class on Artful Gathering 2012, which I am glad to report was a huge success....so much fun and I was amazed at all the wonderful work that was created by the students! Between teaching and working in the studio my summer was chock full of work. A trip to Santa Barbara was cut very short due to a scratched cornea (ouch!), but we got to spend time with our precious grandsons and various projects around our house kept us plenty busy too. I am currently working on some creations for Dia de los Muertos, or better known here as Day of the Dead....there's lots more on my worktable in the studio that are waiting for my attention, too!
"Curious Anthology" - mixed media 2012
For the past few months my husband Jim and myself have been working on a joint project for a donation for ALS of Nevada. This is one of our favorite charities that we always like to donate to for their annual Art Wreath Festival that will be held this November. It raises much needed money for their organization and we are always so happy to be able to participate in this event. Many people in the Las Vegas area donate the most beautiful and creative pieces...ours will be just one of many that will be donated. People are very generous with their time and talents here in Las Vegas!
"Curious Anthology" is approximately 2' x 2'...comprised of 32 small shadowboxes that were individually cut out and put together by my very talented husband who is a woodworking genius! I then created small vignettes, or for a better word, stories...the graphic pieces are cut out multiple times so that they appear dimensional...a painstaking process that requires a lot of time and patience. The wood pieces are made from scraps and there are also a lot of vintage items and artifacts added to it. I am into anything that can be recycled!
I want to note a special "thank you" to Marsha Salyer Jorgensen from Tumble Fish Studios for so many of her wonderful graphic images that I used. She knows I am one of her biggest fans and am always thrilled to use her masterfully redone digital images whenever I can....thanks Marsha! If you go to the Gallery section at the top of the page here you can see the works photographed individually and close up. I will be sure to mention here in a blog post when the auction takes place and hope to post pictures of some of the other wonderful wreaths, too!
I have made this post longer than I had originally intended. I hope to post some about a class I am taking starting next week with a wonderful teacher here in Las Vegas...Joyce Straus. I love her to pieces, she is so multi talented and I can't wait to see what we are going to be creating! Every Tuesday morning I am going to be in heaven for the next eight weeks...maybe she will let me take some photos and I can share with you all here...have a wonderfully creative day and enjoy your weekend!
Hiking in Zion National Park, Utah
We just returned from a week away with the camper up near Zion National Park in Utah. So good to get away and we are fortunate that we live only about two and half hours away from this stunning area up in Utah. Pristine vistas with unbelievable rock formations. It never ceases to leave me speechless and in awe of it's beauty, no matter how many times we return there! We only hiked one day as the temps were higher than normal (90's) and there is always plenty to do up that way...it was great getting away, but also good to come home. This summer is going to be a busy one for us and so we were glad to get away with some R & R!
"The Abundant Heart"
As I posted last in January many artists in Las Vegas were given these 16" diameter hearts by the local chapter of St.Jude Children's Hospital to create artwork on. Some artists took on the larger hearts which are 5' diameter. These all went up for auction at the Gala Event at the Four Season's Hotel here in Las Vegas just last weekend. This is my piece which was created in a mixed media collage....I loved making it and considered it an honor and a privilege to have participated. It is such a worthy organization and I will do one every year, if asked. This organization treats children with cancer and catastrophic diseases whether they have insurance, or not...a pretty noble endeavor and cause, for sure. I still have no word on what the piece sold for, but am sure it is more than I could have afforded to give them, so this is my small way of helping out....and my pleasure, indeed!
Kristin and myself in front of Viva Las Vegas Stamps
About a month ago I had a friend come to Las Vegas for a visit....we had met on Facebook about a year ago. Her name is Kristin Hubick and she is not only a fabulous person in her own right, but also a fantastic vendor who owns Retro Cafe Art Gallery...an online supplier of the most wonderful supplies for artists and crafters. You can find the link here.
I can't tell you how many terrific things I have purchased from her and her service is top notch, too!
One day while she was here we met for the day and she wanted to go to Viva Las Vegas Stamps...sort of a landmark here. A lot of locals and tourists go to this shop as it has more stamps than there are stars...seriously. We had a great time there and then went to lunch afterwards.....
While we were having lunch, Kristin presented me with a gift she had made for me. I was not only surprised by her lovely gesture but upon opening it I was deeply touched....she had taken a photo of the heart that I had created and made an absolutely beautiful charm out of it on a necklace! She remarked "I know that you donated the heart to St.Jude's, but wanted you to have it with you forever". Seriously, I thought I was going to cry....I don't think I have ever been so touched by anything that someone has made for me!
On the other side is this touching quote by George Sand....how perfect a quote is that for this piece?! I will treasure this forever and thank you again Kristin, from the bottom of my heart, I will treasure it always. Not only is Kristin Hubick a great shop owner, but a very talented artist in her own right, and I am so glad we have become friends!
Online classes at Artful Gathering!
As many of you know, and for some who may not know, I am teaching an online class this summer on Artful Gathering 2012......you can find the link right here.
I am teaching a six week class titled "Metamorphosis Collage Bracelets". I am so very excited and can't wait for the classroom to open up on June 6th! I am looking forward to meeting my students and getting to know them better...I love to teach others and this is the perfect opportunity for me to do so without having to leave home and go to the expenses of travel and lodging....and the same for the students, too! Six weeks of 24/7 classes, in the comfort of one's own home....what could be better than that?! I will be available every day to answer questions on the videos and guide them every inch of the way. It is important to me that they not only learn the techniques, but enjoy themselves while learning....after all, that's what it's really all about! There are many other class offerings also....all fantastic teachers with wonderful talent! Awhile back I created a promo video that tells a bit about the class and gives you a glimpse into my wonderful studio....I will post it below. Registration for the class is still ongoing...it's all very exciting!
Here are a few examples of what I will be teaching in the class. These are so much fun to create, I have had much success with them in the galleries and want to share what I have learned with other artists. These two bracelets in particular will be raffled off to two students before the class is over!
I will be posting again as the class begins to share my experiences with you all....wish me luck and I am so excited and very grateful for this experience that I know will prove to be wonderful!
I have a wonderful recipe for Buttercream Icing!
Well, where the heck did December and January go?! Here we are at the last day of January 2012 and I am scratching my head and wondering about it all! I often feel as if I could use at least a few extra hours in the day, as I am sure most of you do! I guess I shouldn't be complaining about it. Being busy with projects is a good thing!
Here are some delicious cupcakes I made for a New Year's Eve party we were attending. I just love the little clocks hitting midnight along with the liners that say Happy New Year in French and in English....You can find the vendor here
She has the most wonderful things in her Etsy shop and she is very prompt with sending the digital files, too! I am fortunate that I have discovered so many wonderful graphic artists on Etsy....maybe at a later date I will make a link to all of them.
Preliminary work on the heart...
The video above is a wonderful little synopsis of The Hearts of Las Vegas Art Project that is currently in full swing now! It is an annual event and it raises money for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital....a wonderful and worthy organization that does research to find cures and treatment for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay.
I am honored and to have been asked to create a small heart (16" in diameter) to donate for this worthy cause. Once completed, each heart will be mounted on a granite base to be displayed at the Affair of the Art Gala in May at the Four Seasons Hotel here in Las Vegas. These hearts will go up for auction and will raise much needed money for this great cause.
To the left is a quick shot of the heart I am working on. As with most everything else these days, this will be made up of collage with a bit of mixed media thrown in for good measure! I am finding the heart challenging, but at the same time I am enjoying the work immensely!
Always Leave Yourself Open to New Possibilities.......
I am such a firm believer in this. You never know where a possibility can take you....and if you don't grab it when it comes your way you will never get the chance to find out! That's how I felt when I was offered to teach an online class this summer on Artful Gathering 2012....here is the link.
I will be teaching the class "Metamorphosis Collage Bracelets" and am so excited about the idea of teaching this technique to others! The bracelets have been received well, I have sold quite a few and am anxious and thrilled to teach this to others...I have taught a few classes in person, but the online genre for teaching is a whole experience for me....I must say I am enjoying myself and have learned a whole lot more than I ever imagined about camcorders, filming and editing! The project is in full swing now and my class begins in June which is the very first session! I have begun filming and am a lot more comfortable in front of a camera than I ever thought I would be! A huge thank you goes out to Cristina Zinnia Galliher who runs the entire Artful Gathering and also Roses On My Table....you can find a link to that right up on the right here on my blog sidebar....please join me for this wonderful event!
Metamorphosis Collage Bracelets
ALS of Nevada has a Wreath Gala Silent Auction this coming Thursday....for those of you who are not familiar with ALS it stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. A disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement...better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. There is no cure.
I became aware of this chapter last year, when they held their First Gala Wreath Event and was honored when I was asked to create a wreath for their auction.
Here is a photo of last year's "wreath"....made entirely from polymer clay tiles that I had created and some little glass tiles that I had placed images behind. They were happy with the wreath and it did raise some much needed money for them....I wish I had taken photos of some of the other marvelous creations that people donated and will definitely do it this time, for sure!
Now, for some reason I am always hung up on the "wreath concept"....I don't know why. I ponder this all summer and go over idea after idea in anticipation of the upcoming project....at first I had thought of doing a wreath entirely of little tiny jigsaw pieces that I had collaged...it wasn't long until I realized that the wreath would never be done in time...so I filed that idea (and the tiny pieces already completed) away in my head and in my studio for perhaps another project down the road somewhere.
So onward I proceed with another idea that entailed cutting up many little squares and rectangles to collage onto......I must add here that my husband is not only so very supportive of all of my artistic endeavors, but also an integral and necessary part of many of my projects. He is an accomplished wood craftsman with many talents and we often collaborate on a project that presents itself with special needs....such as measuring and cutting.
So he creates a square base for the "wreath" and cuts me what seemed like a billion pieces in varying sizes of square and rectangles from melamine board bought at the local Home Depot (4' x 3'...very inexpensive) and I proceed to gesso each and every piece to give the paper "tooth" to adhere to the little squares...I collaged different backgrounds and images to each with matte medium and also applied graphite and pen and ink to the images to create depth....have to admit that what seemed like it would take me forever went along very swiftly.....when I am engrossed and loving what I'm doing the time seems to fly by!
Here is the completed wreath....there was a lot of sealing going on with the finished pieces, then glued in two different layers and two different heights. I am pleased with the result....this is titled "Six Degrees of Separation" to signify how we are all linked to most everyone else in this world. Thought it appropriate for this particular fundraiser.....we are all connected, no man is an island and what happens to one individual in some way effects us all, don't you think?
I hope it raises them money that is so direly needed for the patients and their families. It gladdens me to no end to be able to donate this to them!
So Thursday, November 10th is the event....we look forward to this so much. Last year's was beyond fabulous....great food, live music, wonderful people and such wonderful art in the form of "wreaths" to observe, discuss and bid on! Most everything is donated for the event which shows me how generous and caring so many people are!
I will be sure to take pictures this time and post here at a later date....I hope you enjoyed this post a bit....I am enjoying working on the blog more and more as the time passes and I get to know my way around here better.
Goodnight and will be returning with another post about the event and with some pictures for sure!
Just outside of Zion National Park...view from Springdale
Home a week already from southern Utah....what a terrific trip it was, mixing some business and mostly pleasure! The weather was absolutely perfect and actually about 10 degrees higher than the normal average for this time of year....Springdale and surrounding areas, including Zion National Park are beyond stunning and beautiful vistas wherever one's eye wanders...we took our camper and we so enjoy taking our "home away from home" with us when we travel around....we enjoy it so.....we found a wonderful campground in Zion River Resort in Virgin, Utah....can't say enough wonderful things about the place....wonderful people, beautiful vistas and immaculate campground....
Here is a picture of the camper....we got it last year and we have taken it to so many places already. This will be out last trip until January when we will go and meet friends who go to Phoenix with their fifth wheel camper and spend the winter...we will go and spend ten days or so with them...we have been friends with them for 30 plus years....
Here is a photo of DeZion Art Gallery in Springdale....one of the reasons for our trip was to take some more of my work up to the gallery....Tim Campbell (the owner) was pleased with what I brought him. Tim is a great guy, if you are ever in the neighborhood stop in and meet him and his gallery is one of the best in Springdale....not that I am biased, or anything!
Springdale has many B & B's....I can't really recommend any of them because I have never personally stayed in any. Here is a charming little place right in the heart of Springdale....isn't it adoreable? I have never been inside, but think next time we go I am going to stop in....I would love to see the interior.
While there we stopped in an artist's working/living community called Kayenta....I was in awe. Green built adobe homes in a setting that has been left totally to compliment nature and the environment....within the community is a wonderful artist's village where tourists come from all over. I'd like to think I could live here, but they are far from so many things, including a major airport...we have family that comes to visit us often and an airport close by is a must....but I can dream!
And of course a day of hiking in Zion National Park....it was actually a bit warm and glad we started out early so we were pretty much done by the heat of the mid-day. We are not avid hikers, by any stretch of the imagination....we did a short 2 1/2 mile hike on one of the easiest trails....but I will tell you this, some of the best trails and scenery you will ever see anywhere, that's for sure!
We had a wonderful trip and was also good to come home....we are in the final stages of finishing a piece of work to donate to our local ALS of Nevada silent auction that is coming up next month....and that's a post for later in the week....more later!
My husband Jim and myself are about to head off to Utah in the next day or so. We are going camping with our 30 ft trailer (one of the best purchases we have ever made in our lives) in a campground right outside of Zion National Park. It is spectacularly beautiful up there and the fall colors should be in full spectrum by now! The real reason we are going is because I have to deliver some new work to Tim Campbell who owns De Zion Gallery in Springdale....we love visiting and it's such a charming little town, very much an artist's colony and often fantasize about residing in such a place...but the reality of it is that I would probably go stir crazy over time.
Here is a quick peek at some of the boxes I have finished to bring....along with some collaged bracelets. I hope Tim is as pleased with the work as I am! It's always great when an artist is happy with a finished piece...of course there are always things that I can find that I would have done differently, but this is the learning curve that we create for ourselves...and always finding room for improvement or new discoveries...sometimes if I am really lucky I will create something that was not intended and it turns out to be better than what I had in mind. I call these "happy accidents" and love when that happens....more often than not, my muse knows better than me and I follow her lead without question (well, most of the time anyway).
I will be sure to post pictures of Zion National Park and surrounding areas....as much as I look forward to getting away, I always look forward to coming back home and working on projects....I have a few I will share with you when I return....have a spectacular long holiday weekend and Happy Columbus Day!
Autumn officially arrives tomorrow morning....love this time of year. The angle of the light in this season is especially beautiful here in the desert.....stunning sunrises and sunsets, cooler temp's and the evenings are downright balmy. It also becomes my busiest time of year (along with most of you, I am sure) and my wheels begin spinning...sometimes in the middle of the night, too....bouts of insomnia begin to invade my slumber and I usually wind getting up for an hour or so in the wee hours of the morning....luckily the bouts are short lived and I am able to get back to sleep.
I am currently working on some artboxes and bracelets to bring up to Utah next month. I deal with a wonderful gallery owned by Tim Campbell....he is the proud owner of De Zion Gallery up in Springdale that is practically at the entrance to Zion National Park. It is a breathtaking area....eye candy wherever you look....fabulous vistas. Springdale is also considered to be an artist colony....lots of artists live and work there....and the galleries are wonderful....I consider Tim's to be one of the finest and I am proud and grateful to show my work there!
We will be camping up there for five days next month....can't wait as it's not only a beautiful place and we love to go hiking...the fall foliage should be in full splendor by then....I promise to take a lot of pics and share them with you all when we return. So here I am, currently getting work ready to bring to Tim...a great person to do business with and he has also become a dear friend....and plan to do a lot of gallery hopping while we are there.
Here is some of the current work in progress...not very exciting at the moment...this is all collage prep and background work...important foundation for the images and wording that will be added. I love working with paper, inks and paint....and love getting my hands dirty, too! I will be sure to post photos of the pieces when finished.
Happy Autumnal Equinox to you all!