On to the 50% mark! #31-#35

Gotta get more paintings prepped! photos and layouts...I'm all caught up!

xxoo

vicki

MORE! #26-#30 Over and Over Again

See! I am 25% to my funded goal of 100! I've had fun pushing the two boundaries I set for me: same size, same four shapes. Sometimes the shapes get modified, but at least I started with them! 

Each slide has a caption...

xxoo

Vicki

Over and Over Again #21-25

The good thing is, when I've been painting on these 'smalls' I have been in experiment mode. NOT in teaching, documenting mode. I have over 60 completed, and am reconstructing what I remember about them because some of you have said you really like the process notes.

Enjoy!

xxoo

Vicki


Five Variations #16-20

After spending six exhausting weeks on the (now) successful Hatchfund campaign, I am back at the easel. The series is going well...over 36 complete. My transformation back to the easel wouldn't be complete without saying I just found this post in my drafts folder! I've got many more to share than I did in late March!

Am looking for a local venue for these. They are very visual hanging together, and will probably be offered without frames to save on shipping and frame cost...not to mention moving them from here to there for hanging.

I've added a caption under each. If you have any questions about details, let me know!

#13, #14 and #15 OOA

Well, this post should be better since I deleted the first draft :(

The main Hatchfund campaign ended (successfully) on February 18. Then they extended it another 30 days, which are now over. The campaign took a toll on my painting, but I jumped right back in. I really appreciate all the support to make the completion of this project a reality! Now, lets have some fun!

#13 Over and Over Again 7.5" x 7.5" Pastel on textured ground © V.N.Ross

#13 Over and Over Again
7.5" x 7.5" Pastel on textured ground
© V.N.Ross

#13 See those loose strokes? How 'bout that mark of orange/red (cadmium red) in the focal point? Starting with a rough gesso coating with some Pumice mixed in for texture, the underpainting was done in blues and purples. A generous dousing with water dissolved this and I allowed it to go wherever it wanted to go. I love the vertical marks...and the lime green and blue intrigue me.

One of my favorite pastels is handmade by Terry Ludwig. They are square and of a generous size to allow good marks with the sides, ends, and edges without breaking. Of course, I use every sliver that I can...no wasting with any of my pastels. When they get too little to hold, they go into small containers for later use as re-wetting with water and molding into new sticks. 

#14 Over and Over Again 7.5" x 7.5" Pastel on paper © V.N.Ross

#14 Over and Over Again
7.5" x 7.5" Pastel on paper
© V.N.Ross

#14. Now this turned out interesting! I used a crafters product, Paper Perfect by DecoArt. It behaves like a handmade paper pulp. I applied it with palette knife and fingers. Before it was totally dry (that took several days) I applied some Pan Pastels lightly...just my shapes...using pastel colors. Sprayed on some water for more coverage. When it was completely dry I added some of that red and wet it with a brush to encourage the drips. The magenta shape doesn't out shout the red. The Aqua and Green are the same value (of darkness) so they add some interest, again without overpowering. Finished off with some pops of yellow orange.


Paper Perfect by DecoArts

Paper Perfect by DecoArts

 

 

 

 

#15 Over and Over Again 7.5" x 7.5" Pastel © V.N.Ross

#15 Over and Over Again
7.5" x 7.5" Pastel
© V.N.Ross

#15. I must have been in a very quiet pensive mood because that is sure the feeling here.  Gesso ground with pumice again. Soft Muted colors create a dreamlike vision.

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XXOO

PS: We Successfully Funded with your help! Enough to hit the first level, which enables me to finance the completion of the "100 Varistion with Repetitions? project. Since I won't be able to frame and exhibit all 100 together, they will be offered for sale, frame optional. Thank you all for your support!

Meet Princess Snowflake of the Ozarks!

Princess Snowflake of the Ozarks aka Vicki Ross, as determined by Princess PammyDee

Princess Snowflake of the Ozarks
aka Vicki Ross, as determined by Princess PammyDee

I was presented a tiara a week or so ago, and proclaimed Princess Snowflake of the Ozarks...PSO (pronounced 'SO')

SO, I love that I am of the age depicted in the poem by Jenny Joseph (read below). Little girls stared at my tiara with jealousy, old women hiding their stares behind the desire to be free to act silly, Randy just shaking his head in amazement. Pam (the head tiara designer) was after a Wicki-grin, and she got one!

Good news! And more Smiling! The "Over and Over Again" Hatchfund.org campaign reached its goal and FUNDED! As a reward, they gifted me another 30 days. SO, I'll receive the big check next week, and a weekly check thereafter for anything that comes in after the Feb. 18 deadline. 100%. ALL of it! 

SO, I am giddy with completion today! And very aware of what I learned and relearned:

  • I have worked with computers, internet coding, software, since 1986. There is still a lot of enjoyment for me being on the cutting edge of technology...both in hardware (new iPad? new MacBook Pro?) and software and in social media marketing. OF COURSE Wicki would be one of the first of her peeps to try the so-called 'crowdfunding' platform. Relatively new, and first adopted a couple years ago by the 24-40 demographics, funding inventions for manufacturing (Pebble Watch?), performing arts (New York City Ballet?), athletes (Lindsey Von? Jamaica Bobsled?), and a myriad of health related causes. Amazing how ordinary people with an extra dollar or two can make a difference to another human when combined and everyone works together. Those of us who might not ever have the philanthropic ability of a Bill Gates can STILL make a difference!
    Hatchfund itself is fairly new in its current iteration. You can read their history on their site...no sense saying it again...AND, their partnership with the Arkansas Arts Council gave them credibility over all the other sites of this type. Curated, personal coaching, and just for artists.

  • AND, they under-promised and over-delivered.

  • Speaking of specifics 
    • Risk 1: Afraid of using credit cards on the internet. Really? Safer than at the mall or Target! Thanks to the donations that were mailed in by check...muah!
    • Risk 2: OMG, I don't click on links. Well, either get over that, buy a mac (safer), or go back to the library because links are the very backbone of the internet.
    • Risk 3: What are links? Well, if you see type in a different color, there's a clue. Or hover your mouse over an image and it will get a border or change color...another clue. Experiment! Take a risk!
    • Risk 4: OF COURSE there is a risk in donating to something you don't understand. Do like I do, research, then trust that Arkansas Arts Council (and all the other participating foundations) would have vetted Hatchfund WAY before partnering with them...and then, relax that WICKI has over-researched anything that will require so much of her time to develop.
    • Risk 5: What if the project doesn't fund? What if it does? You'll get your perk, sus (susprise), gift, whatever. Yeah, there was a real risk I wouldn't fund. Over my dead body! And that of some very good friends! Even if it didn't make, the funds donated to me would go into an account for matching funds awards to other artists. I earned my $500 from Hatchfund's endowment which was 20% of my fund.
    • Risk 6: This is a good one. Truth! Someone actually asked me "what do I get out of it...how do I get some of the money". Answer: Nevermind. I lack the words to explain this. Wicki rendered speechless. Sad.

Many lessons were learned during this campaign:

  • I made several new friends. Yes, the social media kind, who are sometimes more empathetic to each other than real friends in person. Some of those I've talked to on the phone. Some anonymous (love you too), and some who donated simply because my campaign created a warm fuzzy in their soul (and relief it wasn't their story). 
  • Even though our personal funds are nothing from time to time, I experience that warm fuzzy when I make $1 or $5 donations to campaigns I relate to. I got some of those $1 to $5 donations...and can tell you that they elicit the EXACT SAME SMILE. I won't remember the amount, but I WILL remember your name! 
  • Yes, I lost some 'friends'. Personal and social media ones. I remember those names too. Does it hurt? Yes. Did I bore you, probably. Did I make you feel guilty? too bad. Were you embarrassed that a $1 donation 'wouldn't look like enough'? Really? These types of campaigns are not about you, but the person willing to design the campaign. 
    Get over it...I have more than expanded my universe...and as always, will share all I learn 'out there'. So I say, welcome new friends, and so long old friends. I'll miss you, but wish you well.
  • Anything worth doing requires effort. If anyone reading this is curious about doing their own campaign, contact me. I'll share freely what I did. Like I told my coach, Erin, today, I may not have chosen the right words or the right avenues for my messages, but I worked this campaign for several hours a day, every day. And I'm proud of that!
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Do I wear Purple? Royal Purple with my flaming red hair?  Is the Pope Catholic? Do I sit on the curb and spit? Not so much because it is a struggle to get up. Will I wear my pSO crown in public? ABSOLUTELY. Am I sorry I did this campaign and irritated some folks? ABSOLUTELY NOT because my story gave others the courage to keep going tomorrow morning. And, yes, I quit wearing the mask of makeup. And don't miss it one bit!

xxoo

Vicki
aka: Red, pSO, Wicki, Victoria

A personal favorite...created for the campaign. Ummm, Wicki? That is a yama (sic), not a camel. 

A personal favorite...created for the campaign. Ummm, Wicki? That is a yama (sic), not a camel. 

Note: Don't take yourself so seriously!

Note: Don't take yourself so seriously!

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me,
And I shall spend my pension
on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals,
and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
And run my stick along the public railings,
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens,
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
Or only bread and pickle for a week,
And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats
and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
And pay our rent and not swear in the street,
And set a good example for the children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me
are not too shocked and surprised,
When suddenly I am old
and start to wear purple!

...Jenny Joseph

#10, #11, and #12 OOA

Only a few days left to participate in this grand experiment of mine! I really appreciate all of you who donated, even those one dollar donations...when you didn't understand a thing about crowdfunding!

I CAN tell you this, it is a ton of work! Hatchfund.org supported me all the way and encouraged me when I couldn't get people to even tell me they received my mailings. I'm not talking about strangers here. The sociologist in me wants to know why some people are curious enough to click on a button to learn for themselves what this new thing is, and some are scared a gremlin will creep out of their computer and snatch them away. 

After all, anyone who knows just a little about me will KNOW that I have done all the research, and then some, to vet any organization I hook up with! I figured if Hatchfund.org was associated with foundations all over the US (including the National Endowment for the Arts and Arkansas Arts Council), they had to have been checked out and passed with flying colors!

Would I recommend that other artists attempt to do a campaign? Absolutely! And I stand ready to help and advise, whether or not you supported me in this one. I'll be able to complete this project with the goals I met, so look for more progress paintings and lessons I've learned.

"On the board you can see how I am now prepping 6 at a time. Someone asked me if I was doing one a day. Answer: No. Wicki doesn't like structure no matter how hard Victoria tries to force it. After all, that is the entire concept for me with this project."

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On the board you can see how I am now prepping 6 at a time. Someone asked me if I was doing one a day. Answer: No. Wicki doesn't like structure no matter how hard Victoria tries to force it. After all, that is the entire concept for me with this project.

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#10 has a very thick layer of Cold Wax Medium troweled on with palette knife. To add more texture, I used Pan Pastels into the uncured wax, and then took the end of a brush to score some more marks.  Love the texture! As a final touch I sprayed some Krylon gold webbing just to see what it was like. I spent a lot of time with some artists who were really into experimentation...so any time they had tried something new I'd swing by Hobby Lobby and get it. Stock the studio!

#11 was underpainted with water and pastel. When dry, Modeling...or molding...Paste (thanks Bill Creevy) was swiped loosely on. Pastel on wet surface, then more when it was dry. In addition to the texture, these colors are totally different than the others. STILL on the landscape path...grrr.

#12 has a big glob of gesso in the center which I left for texture. I'm getting benefit by having two rows...things are organic as they drip and spray willy-nilly. Looks like a person walking over the rise, just yonder. Used the gold webbing again.

PS: Click on "Comment" at the end of the post, then scroll down to see the box. Let me know if this doesn't work...OK?

XXOO

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FREE Offer! Yes…you!!!

THE OFFER

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Will you make a $20+ donation on artist’s funding site Hatchfund.org “Over and Over Again” by Vicki Ross? Plus the perks, I'll throw in a complimentary online pastel class by Australian artist Lyn Diefenbach $59 value. Click on the class link to see a description of the program. When you complete your donation, I'll send you a link and password to the class. 

This is what you do NEXT...NOW...

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Click HERE. You'll be taken to the campaign page. On the right hand edge you'll see a big donate button in green. Below this box is a green $20 - Free art class ($59 value). CLICK IT. A donation page will open with $20 already filled in. Hatchfund adds a small operating fee (you can change it from 15% to 5% = $1). There is also a small credit card fee.

YOU CAN INCREASE THE AMOUNT! The other perks STILL APPLY, in ADDITION to the free pastel class! What a deal this is! 

Act NOW, the campaign deadline is on February 18! I must raise the remaining 25% to achieve ANY funding, then anything over $2500 will help start a scholarship fund in memory of Sarah Ross. 

FOR SUPPORTERS

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If you're reading this, chances are you sense the incredible contributions that art makes to our lives, our communities, our cultures. Here, we celebrate the artists behind the work. Together, we celebrate creativity. By connecting and supporting each other, we are somehow renewed and participating in something much greater than ourselves. 

FOR ARTISTS

Everything you need to fund your next project is right here. This thriving creative community connects accomplished artists working in America with eager supporters, premier arts organizations, and arts lovers.


Features of the Offer

  • Opportunity to participate in a new way for artists to raise funding for their projects/installations
  • Study with Aussie artist and tutor, Lyn Diefenbach.
  • Experiment with Axully.com's unique online design for teaching content
  • Hatchfund.org is partnered with many nationally known non-profits such as 
  • Perks from the artist for each level of donation over $25
  • Study at your own pace, from your own computer or tablet.
  • Comments and questions are encouraged and promptly answered by the Axully staff and/or the tutor
  • Be part of a community where a $1 donation is acceptable (but does not qualify for this offer :)
  • 501(c)3 status gets you tax deductions not available with most other shared fundraising sites
  • Funds are released to Vicki when the minimum goal of $2,500 is reached. As this goal is exceeded (up to $8,700) a portion of the funds will go to fund a scholarship in the memory of Sarah Ross
vickisignature_sm.jpg

xxoo

Benefits of the Offer

  • Get a warm fuzzy
  • Class assignments give you images and encouragement to go to your easel
  • Learn brand-new techniques in soft pastel
  • Be one of FIVE participants to be chosen by me for their own fund-raising campaign
  • I'll advise you what I did to make my campaign a success (priceless)
  • With your support, you have the option to receive unique and creative "thank you perks" from a signed print on greeting card to your choice of original "Over and Over Again" framed painting

  • Get your name posted as a supporter on the "Over and Over Again" blog.

  • Learn about this new method that encouraging artists to continue working by gifting them funds.

  • We'll advise you how to succeed with your own campaign

  • Just darn feels good!

Computer generated sample of eight framed explorations from the series "Over and Over Again" by Vicki Ross

Computer generated sample of eight framed explorations from the series "Over and Over Again" by Vicki Ross

#7, #8, and #9 OOA

Poopie! Accidentally deleted the post...and it was almost finished. Kick-in short-term memory...talk about Over and Over Again!

...Third set. I wanted to show this image for two reasons 1) #7 on the left is being created on a paper towel mounted in the wet gesso and 2) #8 and #9 show how I lightly sketch in my four shapes when the gesso is dry. I'm not using anything but memory to sketch them...wanting to remain loose and organic. Not really caring whether I color in the lines or not!

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IMG_0061.jpg
preval.jpg

I used several coats of SpectraFix on #7. Another valuable tip learned from Alan Flattmann at IAPS (International Association of Pastel Societies)...buy the concentrated casein mixture (rumored to be Degas lost recipe) with PGA (pure grain alcohol, (remember Purple Passion in college?). Then, with Preval sprayer, yes, ozone friendly, you can make a fine mist that DOES NOT CHANGE COLORS. Don't spray while smoking, and you can do this indoors safely.

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I sized the paper towel to leave a border of paper where the strokes could be left to show. I used Gamsol from Gamblin to liquify in some spots. Applied a coat of clear gesso with some #FFF pumice to add some grit. Figured this would help isolate the paper towel too, for archival reasons.

Just used a paper plate left over from lunch (yeah, I eat in my studio), poured a tablespoon of gesso and shook out some pumice. No measurements! Yea! Wicki!

#8 (middle) explored a rock/stream/wall. The yellow sky is interesting. If you double click you can see some paper towel collage and gold leaf.

#9 (right) Very drippy Gamsol wash on the pastel. I love the movement it creates as the liquid finds its path. 

PS: If you are reading this through email as a newsletter, click here to read in the actual blog and see Comment area which is at the bottom of the post. Click on "Comment", then scroll down to see the box. Let me know if this doesn't work...OK?

xxoo

vickisignature_sm.jpg


#4, 5, and 6: OOA

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OK, getting into the groove. Underpaintings, gesso, pastel grounds...take time to dry. My board will hold six at a time. 

#4 and #6 are watercolor under paintings. #5 is Art Spectrum's Colorfix Primer (Soft Umber), It has a fine grit mixed in...and is very handy for all types of media.

Still exploring the landscape genre. It's OK, tho...whatever appears is what we get.



#4 Over and Over Again
7.5" x 7.5" Mixed Media (watercolor, pastel, Gamblin Cold Wax)
© V.N.Ross

On #4 (left) after the wc dried, I stumbled around with some pastels. Grabbed a jar of Gamblin Cold Wax Medium and with a palette knife, made some textural marks. Scraped back into some with the end of a brush for linear lines. While it was still workable and Pan Pastels, I added some color. Their sofft tools allow you to 'kiss' the surface and transfer the pastel. Perfect for the thick wax medium. Since it is still soft, I can carve the painting number and my signature in when I've said enough.

#5 Over and Over Again
7.5" x 7.5" Pastel
© V.N.Ross

#5 is the one in the middle, over the umber pastel ground. I deliberately left some texture. This one is all pastel...and I was more interested in the colors than anything else. I really like how glazing with the side of a 1/2" stick really accents the texture in the ground.

This gives me the opportunity to throw in some shock colors. I really have no care whether they are real in nature or not. 

#6 Over and Over 7.5" x 7.5" pastel over watercolor © V.N.Ross

#6 Over and Over
7.5" x 7.5" pastel over watercolor
© V.N.Ross

Another thing I particularly like is the sky...from greenish aqua to light cobalt to lavender, and greenish yellow.

 

PS: If you are reading this through email as a newsletter, click here to read in the actual blog and see Comment area which is at the bottom of the post. Click on "Comment", then scroll down to see the box. Let me know if this doesn't work...OK?

 

 

 

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xxoo

YOU Killed it, now reBirth it!

#22 Over and Over Again 7.5" x 7.5" multi media © V.N.Ross

#22 Over and Over Again
7.5" x 7.5" multi media
© V.N.Ross

I discussed killing it in a previous post, "Who Killed It", concerning your creativity. This doesn't just apply to visual artists. Ever wonder if Paula Deen got in such a funk that she went out for a Sonic burger days in a row? Feed the kids Mac 'n Cheese every night (not too bad, I might say :). Tim the Tool Guy avoiding his workshop for days, until the sawdust on the floor was full of little mice? What about a writer who reads every best seller he can get his hands on, but can't put two words of his own together to make sense?

 
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Best Deluxe Lobo Easel

Best Deluxe Lobo Easel

 

Here are some tips:

  1. Leave expectations at the door. I don't care which of your galleries (I wish) are demanding the same old landscape/still life/nude. If you are bored, it will begin to show. Yeah, I know. gotta keep the money flowing in. So, find another hour a day just for you...cut down on social media, exist on sandwiches instead of four-course meals for awhile, turn cellphone and email OFF. You can find an hour a day, surely. ps: dust in the living room never killed anyone. If some jokester writes you a message in it, answer his a** right below and walk off! (yeah, happened to me)
  2. Try a new medium. If you are known for watercolors, get yourself a starter set of pastels. I'll be glad to recommend some that won't break the bank. And as with other mediums, you can create masterpieces with a limited palette...you don't need (?) 4,000 sticks in every imaginable hue, shade and hardness. I'm just saying...for a beginner.
  3. Reorganize/declutter/rearrange your painting space. Last time I moved my studio, when we downsized living space, I pre-organized all supplies in the 15qt. Sterilite containers with the attached flip lids. Easy to move around when full, easy to stack, and the lids don't come off, get lost, get stepped on. 
    1. If you've been painting on the kitchen table and having to move your gear to eat, FIND ANOTHER SPOT! Take over the 'formal' living or dining room. How many times do you axully use them? wouldn't that valuable space be more productive as a studio where you could work in odd minutes without having to unpack/pack back? I had a friend who did just that. The first room off her foyer had no function, except for another room to sit in. Didn't link to any other rooms, so it was a dead end. She put tarps on the carpet, moved out all the furniture, and set up folding work tables in an "L" shape. Art lamps clamped on the back edge of these tables, and she could have 3-4 separate work stations with storage underneath.
    2. Bribe yourself with a major purchase...like a floor easel. You can get a good one from Best (made in USA, they won't fall apart like the imports) for $200 or so. I recommend the Best Lobo Deluxe Easel...sturdy, convertible to a flat configuration for watercolor/collage, or vertical for oil, pastel. Storage shelf under. Easy to adjust, and USA made in American Oak! I did this for me several years ago when a closed business and all its leftover stuff ended up in our walk-out basement. Told myself if I would just fill one large trash can a week (Randy agreed to get it up for pickup), I could have the space for a studio AND my reward was a David Sorg easel. Best bribe I've ever had!
    3. Previously in two larger houses, I had art gear in several spots. Theoretically (in Wicki's mind anyway) I could paint in several different locations. Problem turned out that whatever I needed was someplace else. Gear from classes/workshops/en plain air got dumped at the back door or in the trunk of my car. In our smaller space, I have one 10x14' room all to me. Everything is in bins, and labelled. Small bins are on metal bookshelf on wheels, large ones in closet. On the mid-shelf of closet are stacks of boards for oil, another for pastel, and another for watercolor blocks. I have two work stations set up...my big easel by the north light window for pastels. My studio assortment sits on top of a flat file holding large paper. My oil taboret (Jack Richeson) is set up for oil. I can find anything I want and move less than one box to get to it. Love my cozy space
  4. Change your pattern. If you paint fast, go slow...and visey versy. As slow as you can. If you paint alla prima (all at once), paint a grisaille (monotone underpainting). Change your genre...known for landscapes? Do some still Life. Study anatomy. Study birds. Study Color. Put this new information into your painting. 
  5. Plan a retreat. I mentioned Mélanger avec Amour in a previous post, Zen Zone, where Kippy Hammond writes about the value of a retreat. No excuses...trade kids with a neighbor for the night...take a trip...send the family away for two days...just gift yourself some time. 
  6. Go to your art bookshelf and randomly choose a book. Clear a space to read and practice what is in it. Do the demonstrations! Try to grasp what the author is saying. Apply the parts that resonate with you to your creative work. Dogear the corners, splash paint on it, USE it.
  7. Take a workshop. Not if you are the local workshop junkie...you should stay AWAY from workshops and absorb what you've taken in. However, if you do a workshop, prepare! Gather the supplies. If the tutor has a specific pigment/brush/paper GET IT AHEAD OF TIME. there is no humanly possible way to learn what is being taught if you substitute whatever you have on hand. Give yourself a break and a chance to succeed. I once organized a 3 day workshop with Leslie B. DeMille. He was adamant about NO STUDENT GRADE PAINTS, and had a reasonable list of 18 Rembrandt pastels. Wouldn't you know that several students showed up with THEIR way of doing things. Mr. Les about had kittens when he was at an easel to help a student and couldn't get a particular mixture. Then he saw the Winton Oil tube and never went back to that easel. 

This is what I'm doing at the start of 2014. A fundraising campaign with Hatchfund.org called Over and Over Again: Repetition with Variations. This blog is part of the project. Since the end of one year and the beginning is a rebirth time for me anyway, painting is slow, and I felt I could commit to the daily marketing/promotion of the project. It ends on February 18, my Sarah's birthday. She would have been 27 on her birthday in 2014. Please go over and follow/share/donate. With your help and a successful campaign, we'll be able to start a scholarship fund in her name.

PS: If you are reading this through email as a newsletter, click here to read in the actual blog and see Comment area which is at the bottom of the post. Click on "Comment", then scroll down to see the box. Let me know if this doesn't work...OK?

xxoo

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Romeo and Hatchfund

Romeo and Hatchfund

Who Killed It?

"You killed it" can mean: 

Literal:

  1. You killed something (it), for example: "That spider is dead because you killed it." 
  2. Someone did something that ruined the joke. You wouldn't say "you killed it" to someone who just told a bad joke, you would say it to someone who took a good joke too far and made it not funny.

Illiteral (sic, Wicki):

  1. Someone did something exceptionally well, along the same lines as "you nailed it." For example, if someone won a ribbon on a painting you could say, "You killed that competition."
  2. When someone does something or wears something that is too sensational to describe.

  3. When someone says or does something to destroy the current flow of rich interaction. source: Internet

So, Who Killed It? Your creativity, your drive to explore and play? To discover a new stroke, color mixture, composition for your toolbox? If you're a writer, every sentence is a labor of un-love (sic, Wicki)?

Too Much Information? (guilty) You've read every new book and article on every medium under the sun and have a desire to do them all? You've taken workshops that have turned everything you were comfortable with upside down and now you can't do anything? 

Distractions? Allowing daily chores to come first? Kida/Pets/Neighbors in your space? Computer: Social Media/Marketing/Art Related avoidance tactics? Too much TV as you sit all cuddled up in your chair with favorite hairy kids snuggled in your lap? (guilty)

Jack of All Trades, Master of None? (guilty) One of my early teachers/mentors, Kippy Hammond, once told me this sage advice: Landscape, Still Life, Figurative–Oil, Pastel, Watercolor–Impressionistic, Realistic, Abstract. Pick ONE from each group. My smart mouth answer back was "How will I know what I really want to do if I haven't tried it and at least gained some competence with it?" Newsflash 8 years later: she was right to a certain degree.

"Pinning the Hat" Pierre-August Renoir, 1898 Steiglitz/Fisk/Crystal Bridges Collection

"Pinning the Hat" Pierre-August Renoir, 1898
Steiglitz/Fisk/Crystal Bridges Collection

Mentor trained you too well? hmmmm. that's a hard one. Your eye has been trained to spot every out-of-drawing error, misplaced warm/cool color, compositional issues to the point you talk yourself out of trying. Ever have the audacity of claiming a Renoir was out-of-drawing? I did. Guess we all have to do our share of trial and error, and here's proof.

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xxoo

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xxoo

#2 and #3 Over and Over Again

No grass growing under my feet. I taped three at a time to the board so that as one was drying, I could work on the others. Or if got stuck on one... :)

#2 features a complementary color underpainting; #3 a local color version.

In case I forgot to mention in the earlier post, I hand creased and tore the paper. I could get an exact number of 7.5"x7.5" pieces with no waste. Any edge imperfections were left alone...I like things to be organic. 

Both of these are still recognizable as landscapes, but I am playing with colors here. Remember, no rules! Just size and the four shapes.

PS: If you are reading this through email as a newsletter, click here to read in the actual blog and see Comment area which is at the bottom of the post. Click on "Comment", then scroll down to see the box. Let me know if this doesn't work...OK?

xxoo

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#2 Over and Over Again

7.5" x 7.5" mixed media

© V.N.Ross

#3 Over and Over Again

7.5" x.7.5" mixed media

© V.N.Ross

First three on board, under painted.

 

The first three...first taste of having a wall full of "same, same, but different"..

The first three...first taste of having a wall full of "same, same, but different"..

What am I Doing?

#5 Over and Over Again 7.5" x 7.5" Pastel © V.N.Ross

#5 Over and Over Again
7.5" x 7.5" Pastel
© V.N.Ross

let me rephrase that. WHAT the h*** am I DOING!

TeeHee, RB Wicki won. But, WHAT the h*** am I DOING! Karen Margulis and Deborah Secor and Marla Baggetta have already done this, written the book, and have the shirt. I had to get clear that I was doing this for ME, not for anyone or anything else. I wanted a platform where some elements were pre-determined so I could do some impulse painting. 

Wanna paint with four very dark colors? Not my typical urge, but if I want to, I can! High Key (all light colors) or Low Key (all dark colors). Underpaint with watercolor? mineral spirits? water? fixative? What about modeling paste...gesso...matte medium...paper making fiber...crackle...gold leaf...gold webbing spray...collage...NOW Wicki has come up with something different. Mixed Media. Whatever tool I have in my magic tool chest is legal.

Ok, I've rationalized how I can make this idea my own. Now. Typical artist mentality...sure don't want to waste good pastel boards or gesso boards for playing! So, having enough watercolor paper in inventory to satisfy this part of the world, that will work! SIZE? Of course, what will a full sheet of paper break down to in squares (my shape of the moment)...no waste. Easy to fold in half/thirds/half. 7.5" is the magic number so they will stay small and not cost an arm and leg to frame.

For several weeks I'd find me looking for the perfect simple compositional shapes...ones that wouldn't confine me too much...and that would not be restricted to one genre like landscape. THAT solved. Tape first three to board. Now what? 

Go back and read and look at what the others did. Back to the easel. Sit. Stare. LB Victoria is fighting to maintain control. Wicki gives in a bit, and creates some fairly typical landscapes in the first three. 

Now What...? Stay tuned...

PS: If you are reading this through email as a newsletter, click here to read in the actual blog and see Comment area which is at the bottom of the post. Click on "Comment", then scroll down to see the box. Let me know if this doesn't work...OK?

xxoo

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Three down. Ninety-Seven to go. Can I do this? Can I ignore the nay-sayers who mean well, but ask me "what are you DOING this for?"  As I mentioned in the first post, Vicki's 100 Repetition with Variations #1, I tried to talk me out of this. Victoria told Wicki (LB told RB in ZenZone post) to STOP bugging her about this crazeee idea. To just go paint if that makes her happy, but DON'T start another project. 

ZenZone

I am always coining words and phrases...Malapropism.

mal·a·prop·ism

 noun \ˈma-lə-ˌprä-ˌpi-zəm\

: an amusing error that occurs when a person mistakenly uses a word that sounds like another word but that has a very different meaning http://www.merriam-webster.com

I really have to be careful because some of these creep into my everyday language and I risk appearing illiterate. I've mastered the art of switching a few letters that give an entire new meaning...some unprintable, as: Ken'T'uky 'F'ried Chicken. That is one I have to pause and think about the right version before saying in public. Another is 'M'agni'F'y: Fagnimy glass. I think that one is attributable to nephew Josh when he was just learning to talk, but I get credit for adding it to my repertoire! 

One of my supporters on the Hatchfund project, Kippy Hammond, mentioned that she liked the phrase "ZenZone". I might as well claim authorship, because it just popped out as I was talking/writing.

"Mélanger avec Amour"

available for download or print at Lulu.com

Speaking of Kippy, I had the pleasure of co-authoring a book with her "Mélanger aver Amour". It started out as a cooking/translation of her chef, Marc Bost's recipes for Kippy's artist's retreat La Bonne Etoile (under the good star). But, as almost always happens, it morphed into an absolutely charming treatise on the psyche of the artists' brain...how to overcome blocks, how to plan retreats for yourself, lots of inspirational stories from other artists, AND the recipes. This project impacted me so much that "Stir With Love" became my mantra...and I try to slow down and enjoy whatever it is I am doing at the time. Particularly comes in handy when I am exasperated over some task or other when I'd rather be doing something else. I try to re-visit the book every year or more...as a reminder. It is available for download or print from Lulu.com at the link above.

ZenZone. Described as a loss of time and awareness while doing a creative activity. Right Brain/Left Brain switch so the analytical Left Brain doesn't discourage the Right Brain creative endeavor. I can operate in either the Right Side (creative) or Left Side (analytical). This creates problems...I can't do both at the same time which means that for the Right to enjoy a creative process, I have to shut the Left one down. I sometimes call my Left Brain "Victoria". She is critical, argumentative, and encourages "wait and think about it, research it", or "what do you think you are doing", etc.. She is the one who controls my insane drive to "know how to do a technique before I try it". I actually (Axully) have a ring binder full of print-outs (in plastic sleeves, of course) of a site Handprint.com that explores the chemistry of pigments. Yea, Victoria! This before she ever learned which end of a brush to use. 

There are tools used by some artists to make the Brains switch control. One is to listen to audio books. Your Left brain focuses on the words being said, and your Right brain can play. Another is to listen to music through headphones. Same result as the spoken word. Have a routine you do every time you go into your studio. Do a silly dance, wave your arms around, read a positive quote out loud that you have posted on your wall. Make a quiet experience of squeezing out paint. Even organizing your studio is an effective way to "get in your ZenZone". Artists have many tricks.

AND, when you experience it…it is glorious! Time seems to float, and after a successful session you're hardly aware of decisions that were made to create that perfect brush stroke, that masterful color mix, that hazy atmosphere in the landscape you just painted. 

For people using art as a means of healing from some life crisis or other, the ZenZone is essential. Two minutes can bring two minutes of peace. Feels so good you want more. Then five, then ten...when you can build up to two hours...WOW! Better than a good night's sleep.

ZenZone helped me survive my life crisis. After twelve years, my ZenZone shuts "Victoria" up so "Wicki" the Right Brain can play. 

#13 Over and Over

7.5" x 7.5" mixed media

© V.N.Ross

Over and Over Again: Repetition with Variations is a classic ZenZone tool. By repeating some elements, i.e. the size and compositional shapes, releases the pressure to come up with an original idea every time I sit down at the easel. 

The goal for me is to investigate Victoria/Wicki and learn how to play without criticism...without a purpose other than to just show up and put color on a piece of paper in a skilled manner. 

I'd appreciate your visit to the project and follow/share/donate. This is a relatively new manner for artists to justify their existence, and the dollars do add up!

PS: If you are reading this through email as a newsletter, click here to read in the actual blog and see Comment area which is at the bottom of the post. Click on "Comment", then scroll down to see the box. Let me know if this doesn't work...OK?

xxoo

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Commentary on #1

#1 Over and Over Again

7.5" x 7.5" mixed media

© V.N.Ross

As I mentioned in the previous post, drumroll, please...#1 of the "Over and Over Again: Repetition with Variations" piece is shown here. 

Started with my super, duper taping trick shared with me by Alan Flattmann. Blog post...click on link. Am using 140# cold press watercolor paper for most of these.

I took a deep breath...choked down the panic...and painted normal. Well, if you consider an orange wash normal :)

An orange Holbein (similar to NuPastel in hardness) scraped over the rough surface of the paper. With an old bristle brush and Gamsol (odorless mineral spirits) I slopped some on the paper to cause runs and ripples. 

Underpainting

Finished off with various brands and softness of pastel sticks, trying to stay loose, especially in the foreground and trees. Allowed some orange to show through the sky.

Whew. #1 is complete! The journey has begun...

PS: If you are reading this through email as a newsletter, click here to read in the actual blog and see Comment area which is at the bottom of the post. Click on "Comment", then scroll down to see the box. Let me know if this doesn't work...OK?

xxoo

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One Week = 41% to Hatch!

Erin, my coach/project manager at Hatchfund.org, convinced me that launching my project a few days before Christmas really WAS a good idea...contrary to Wicki-wisdom :)

#1  Over and Over Again: Repetition with Variations 7.5x7.5", mixed media. © V.N.Ross

#1 
Over and Over Again: Repetition with Variations

7.5x7.5", mixed media.
© V.N.Ross

Boy, was she right! Hatchfund even initiated a 1 for 1 matching funds that counted toward my funds total. I'm at 41% in 6 days! I want to thank Linda Wan, Melissa deBin Parish, Dianne DeMille, Jaquita and Mark Neil, Diana Moses Botkin, Susan Goromboly, Leslie B. DeMille and Shaktima Brien. From $1 to $275...my smiles are equal for each who took the time to support me.

Another reason (there are several) for trying this method of fundraising is to pave the way for other two-dimensional artists to fund projects of their own. At the completion of my successful campaign, I get to invite five others to try it out. I intend to support them any way I can...coaching, writing, whatever. 

A portion of any excess funds will begin an endowment fund for Sarah Ross, ultimately resulting in a scholarship for deserving artists of any age.

Here is my Flagship #1 in the series...I considered it my jump-off point...a traditional use of my four shapes, a landscape. I was conscious at the time that this was an auspicious beginning, a journey that I intend to fully explore and enjoy. As I stated in earlier blog posts, the decision to start this personal challenge was not taken lightly. Only after dreaming about my four compositional shapes for days did I agree with my Muse that I COULD commit to do this.

PS: If you are reading this through email as a newsletter, click here to read in the actual blog and see Comment area which is at the bottom of the post. Click on "Comment", then scroll down to see the box. Let me know if this doesn't work...OK?

xxoo 

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HatchMe if you can! WOW!

computer generated framing assortment

Each will be framed 14" x 10" in shadow box.

I was approved to join the Hatchfund.org non-profit 501-c3 organization for an art project involving my idea for 100 little jewels. A crowd-funding company, where donations in any amount are accepted...and perks awarded at each level! My project was approved and I'm ready to roll.

My project link, Over and Over Again: Repetition with Variations is HERE. I'm so excited...and would love it if you would help me spread the word about it, it takes a community to support an artist :) The perks I designed are fun and can be yours at several different levels.

Hatchfund recognizes and promotes partners and their outstanding artistic communities. Partners in turn, are encouraged to spread the word about project funding opportunities with Hatchfund. Working together to celebrate the arts and artists makes us stronger. My attention to them came through the Arkansas Arts Council, who is a partner. They contacted me this morning about doing an interview for their newsletter!

75% success rates, tax-deductibility for donors, matching funds once I get to my minimum level, are only a few of the reasons I wanted to try this. They even have extra promotions based on my fundraising.

Power of the internet...first donation is from a Facebook friend in Malaysia. Another friend (I know in person) who lives in France also contacted me. 

Any amount you choose to donate is gratefully appreciated...and the perks are COOL! I'll be posting regularly, and hope to include you as a participant. AND please share with your friends!

PS: If you are reading this through email as a newsletter, click here to read in the actual blog and see Comment area which is at the bottom of the post. Click on "Comment", then scroll down to see the box. Let me know if this doesn't work...OK?

xxoo

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Talk about Shapes

Already had some emails about shapes...and was explaining it to various people who have been in my studio lately. 

Typically, if a painter has to explain their painting, they did something wrong. I think that is a bunch of hooie, really. Where is the theory about letting the viewer create their own story from the painting? That's what I'm talking about (besides, it's a good story when you missed your target completely :)

However, this variations project does require some explanation. Remember (from the previous post) that the size and shapes are all that is consistent. Karen Margulis and Marla Baggetta each set a time limit on their little jewels...and for the most part, stuck with a landscape motif. I allowed myself to not only experiment with mixed media, but to explore non-landscape motifs that fit the shapes. I also didn't force them into a daily painting routine. Some came together quickly, some over several sessions.

They both report huge strides in freedom and expression that carried forward into their regular work. I am happy to say that I'm on number 40 or so, and still wake up with ideas.

I chose a strong vertical almost on the thirds here. High sloping line just under a high horizon bumpy shape. Yeah, I know...clump of trees, edge of meadow and mountains. But you'll see why I didn't want to label my shapes. I also think it is good to use thumbnails and not photos so your creativity can kick in a bit.

My source pic and rough thumbnails are first:

Vicki's source and thumbnail

 

Here are Karen's:

a just under center horizontal horizon line, Crop of trees on left, Sky shape completes the image with a good negative shape.

Karen's source and thumbnails

Karen's source and thumbnails

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Marla's: High horizon line, sparse trees, and meandering road/stream

Marla's thumbnails. Image from her book 100 Variations on Blurb

PS: If you are reading this through email as a newsletter, click here to read in the actual blog and see Comment area which is at the bottom of the post. Click on "Comment", then scroll down to see the box. Let me know if this doesn't work...OK?

xxoo

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Repetition #3 the frame comp

One of the decisions about a project commitment like this is working out details. I know the hard way that it is easier to modify your design BEFORE you create it. In other words, figure out what you might want to do with a hundred or so 7.5" x 7.5" multi-medis projects!