Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Little Foggy

Waiting for the sun to burn off the morning fog. We hear the fog horn, the birds are making their morning noises. No whales yet but we are hopeful. We are on the coast of OR, drove from Portland yesterday to the coast, taking the slow, scenic route. It is very green, lots of flowers blooming, humidity is low and middle of the day the sun comes out to warm everything up just a little.

As I look out over the ocean I see the many shades of gray. The horizon comes and goes as the fog is moving this morning. straight in front I can not see where the sky ends and the water begins. Just to my right there is a soft line, a violet gray that blends into the water, changing from lighter to darker. By the time it reaches the rocks it has that blue green gray tone. There is a white-pink gray between the water and the sky, changing to soft blue gray going up into the sky. Last nights sky was filled with pinks in the grays. Looking forward to what the skies will give us the rest of the time we travel along the Pacific Coast.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Horse In The Road...

It must be me, over the years we have had traffic stopped with many animals, deer, rabbits, box turtles, buffalo, elephants and a horse yesterday.

We were heading to the coast and traffic just came to a complete stop. At first we thought it was a school bus, but the bus was just keeping it's red flashers on to stop traffic. A horse had gotten out into the road. There was a dog with the horse. Not sure but think the dog was trying to help. Finally, with a number of people the horse was moved over to the side of the road.



It is always interesting the things life presences to you and how you find your way around them.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Going to the Pearl

Meeting our son John this morning. Getting coffee from Pearl Bakery and heading out to the coast for a day trip. 


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hands On

We have spent the last couple of days staying at our friends, Eric & Lori's farm. It is the oldest organic farm in MD. 

They are hands on farmers, when we come to visit, I am often off and running trying to finalize details for art events. Rick stays at the farm to lend an extra hand. 

Saturday was no exception. I walked around got a few pictures and headed down to Artomatic. Got my volunteer hours set, checked out the space again and did some computer work. 

Rick helped pack blueberries, blackberries, and other fresh things for the market at Dupont Circle.

Later in the day we spend together, seeing old friends, & sharing memories. But we were running out of time, we did not get to visit with all of our dear friends. Until we return again, we will hold you near to our hearts.




Saturday, July 27, 2013

Taking A Moment

Yesterday as we are about to get into our car for another adventure I had to stop and take a few phone pictures. The rains have not only kept things so lush and green, they have made the flowers oh so happy. Our yard is just full of color this year. I don't paint a lot of flowers but may find a way to include all this color with maybe a butterfly or bird. 


Friday, July 26, 2013

No Stopping...

It has been a busy and productive start to the summer. There is no time to slow down let alone stop. Lots of shows are coming up, plus additional inspiration coming next week. Artomatic is right around the corner, opening in September, plus the show at the Historic Burwell-Morgan Mill, just outside Berryville, VA, October brings the Fine Arts in the Valley group getting together once again at Country Pleasures Farm. And there are several pastel shows in-between, along with a solo show at Hahn Garden Gallery at Virginia Tech. I think I committed to some workshops & demo's in October too and might just be bringing Marilu along for the ride!

Good thing I have lots of new material to work from: some lion cubs, that I got to play with at Mukuni Big 5 while in Zambia, and the cheetah that took me for a walk. Got a few things done and a couple more under way. Plus, old favorites: great horned owls and herons. And did I mention elephants, lots of elephants. I am thinking that some of the elephant images that are created between now and show times will have a charity linked to them. We are losing so many of them, they are losing their land and still losing their ivory.

Check back next week to see where I am...

African Elephant - pastel & charcoal on coffee stained paper

Cheetah - watercolor background, pastel & charcoal, still working on this guy but close to done


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Follow-up: Papermaking from Recycled Materials

Today's Post is directions and pictures for making hand made paper from recycled materials as a follow up from the workshops in Zambia.


This is a process I created while working with students of all ages. Using old wrapping paper, fliers, envelopes, postcard, any non-slick paper can be recycled to make new art paper. Color can be added with paints (watercolor, tempera, not oil), flowers(dried), leaves (dried), used tea leaves, tea bags, used coffee filters can all be used in recycled handmade paper. Acid free art papers can be made by taking used, damaged, or small pieces of good paper to repurpose it to new. Blue jeans or cotton fibers can be used, they must be shredded and works better when combined with paper fibers.

The basic process is to shred or tear the paper to be recycled into small 1 inch or smaller pieces. Soak this paper in water at least 24 hours. If you separate paper by color families you can make colored paper. If you combine all colors you will get a gray or brown tone paper. If using blue jeans or cotton material to recycle it takes longer to soak, 48 plus hours and is harder to break down to pulp.

Option 1: Pulp the soaked paper in a blender, use 3 cups of water to one cup of loose paper. Blend to pulp. Add blended pulp to a large vat (tub) of water. The amount of pulp to water is not an exact measurement but more of a feel. The fibers of the pulp need to float in the water. As you run your hand through this mixture it should feel like cream and look like oatmeal (oats).

Option 2: Pulping can be done using a mortar and pestle. Depending on the size fill the bottom with the wet paper. Mash till the wet paper becomes pulp. Add this to water in vat (tub). Same as above.

A screen is used to pull (make) a new sheet of paper. To make the screen: a wooden frame can be made to the size you prefer 8x11 or approximately 20cm by 30 cm. Wood stretcher bars used by painters to stretch their canvas on is a quick alternative. If you have access to wood, hardware stores, you can have pieces cut to size using 1X1, 1X2, 2X2 inches or 2.54 X 2.54, 2.54X5.08, 5.08X5.08cm. Two frames are needed, each the same sizes. One frame, attach screening, used for windows & doors. Waterproof screen is best as metal screening will rust. Staple this screen to one frame. Leave the second frame open.   

The screen attached to the frame is the mold, this is the bottom & the top frame is the deckle. These two parts are held together, holding them with one hand on each side, keep fingers on frames, not inside on screen area only. Each time you make a new sheet of paper, stir the pulp around in the water to make sure the fibers are floating evenly. At an 45 degree angle dip the long side of the mold & deckle into the floating pulp, flatten the screen (mold/deckle) and pull up level. There will be some resistance as you pull the screen out of the water. Allow the water to drain off, turn the screens to one corner to allow more water to drain away. Remove the top open frame; continue to let water drain off into vat. Pull any loose pulp off the screen frame. Do not rush.

Couching: using newspaper or material that is flat not wrinkled, lay the long edge of the screen (mold) on the paper or material and push(couch) it down. Give a little pressure to release more water from the paper. Before removing the screen use a sponge to remove additional water. Squeeze water from sponge back into the vat (tub).  Apply pressure on the wooden frame, keeping pressure on the lower long edge of the screen (mold) and gently rock it up towards you. If the wet paper does not release, apply pressure again, repeat rocking it up. If it still does not release use the sponge on the back of the screen as it may still be too wet. Do not rub, this damages the loose fibers, apply pressure straight down on the screen.

After the screen (mold) is removed. The paper can be pressed flat with additional paper & rolling pin or round plastic glass. Use single sheets of newspaper, paper from phone books or magazines. Lay a piece on the wet paper, very, very lightly roll over the wet & dry papers to remove more water. The more water that is removed, the faster it will dry and the smoother it will be for writing, drawing or painting.

 Dry: keep flat between blotter paper or newsprint. Check daily and change papers or blotters to prevent mold. Or papers can be kept on newspaper and placed outside to dry. Wet papers can be dried on boards in the sun. Wet papers can be placed between dry newspaper/newsprint and weighted with boards on top inside. Check daily to prevent papers from molding, change wet newspapers daily with dry papers.

The newspapers can be dried and used again. The same with the sheets of papers used to help remove water from the new recycled paper. Or these smaller pieces can be made into additional pulp.

Once the paper is dry it can be used to create booklets, paintings, drawings, cards, or mount plants on it and display as its own art piece.

Alternatives: used tea bags can be added to pulp. The paper bag can be added to pulp with other papers. The dried used tea leaves can be added as a decorative speckle to the pulp before pulling new sheets of paper. The amount is up to you and how much speckle you want in your paper. Just remember a couple tea bags can go a long way. Dried flowers can be added in this same manner. Roses, even dried may bleed into the wet paper, especially red.

If you want to add flowers or leaves to the paper, use a little extra pulp to hold it in place. Just placing a leaf on wet paper will not work, as the paper dries it will pull away from the leaf. An alternative is that by pressing a leaf or object into the wet pulp you are embossing a design into the paper. You can glue flowers or leaves on after the paper is dry.

If you make recycled paper from just newsprint it will have a high acid content. Most newsprint has already gone through some recycling. Add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda to your pulp mixture to help cut the acid. Baking soda can be found in the baking section of grocery stores.

White glue can be added to pulp to help prevent ink or paint from bleeding. A couple of tablespoons pre vat of pulp is all that is needed.
The thinner paper is pulled the more it looks like fine writing or drawing papers. Thicker papers are good for making book covers, or art sculptural pieces. Wood sticks can be used with handmade paper to create a hanger for mounting on the wall. This is just one technique to make paper. There are lots of different approaches and styles. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy! Recycle, Renew, Recreate.
Making pulp without electricity

Hand Blenders or food processors can be used to break down the recycled paper to pulp

Use a Mold & Deckle (screen attached to wood frame & open frame) to pull paper from the pulp fibers floating in water

Allow water to drain

Press recycled paper on to newsprint or material, couching it to remove water, apply pressure do not lift screen yet

Sponge the back of the screen to remove more water, press do not rub. Remove screen, use dry papers & rolling pin gently to remove additional water. The more water is removed the thinner the sheet of paper & it will dry faster

decorate

create something new from something old - renew - recreate

Sunday, July 21, 2013

somewhat lacking in computer skills.....

Oh dear....I just spent the entire afternoon trying to update my website.  I wanted to add the Fall schedule of shows and exhibitions....that's all....didn't even try to post photos!!!  Finally got it done, but I kept losing the pages, and the information I had written and had to start over numerous times....very frustrating.  I wish I knew which key it is that I hit that makes everything disappear.....I'd put tape over it!!!

anyway....I now have the new information on the calendar of events page for the fall shows for myself and Linda.  Check it out at www.marilutousignaut.com 

My goodness, we are busy this year!!!!   Returning to some previous venues with new work, and adding some new shows.  Artomatic@Frederick has returned for September; the Fall show for Art at the Mill near Berryville, Va is back in October; and our own Fine Art in the Valley at Country Pleasures Farm will be the last weekend in October and the first weekend in November this year.

I have several pieces of new work in various stages of completion and ideas and sketches are done for more.  So I guess I'd better stop this, and get back to the drawing board!!!!
marilu

Saturday, July 20, 2013

View From the Chobe

Just sharing a few pic's today from our River Cruise on the Chobe River in Botswana.






Friday, July 19, 2013

Air Time

Back in the good ole U.S. of A. it was a long day of traveling. We drove from Livingstone to Lusaka, everyone keeps saying it is a 6 hour drive but that never takes into consideration construction, so it took 7 1/2 hours. We flew out of Lusaka Airport the 17th, flew 5 hours to Addis Ababa, changed planes landed in Rome to change crew, get fuel but no passengers got on or off. Then as we broke through the clouds at around 4 a.m. their time the sun was starting to glow and at the point we were being chased by the sun. Kind of throws your internal time off. We landed in Dulles around 8 am on the 18th.

Customs was so much easier, it took 2 hours once we got to Africa, it took 2 minutes here. We lucked out there were no lines that early in the morning. Plus we had the right paper work filled out on the plane.

By the time we got to Frederick, MD we got a bite to eat, checked into our hotel, took a 2 1/2 hour nap, organized and reviewed a few photos. We had dinner with friends and shared some of our memories of the trip.

There are still lots of things to write about and lots of pictures to post. I need to organized my notes and photos. But, will share some more Air Time - one of the last things Rick & I did while we were in Livingstone was to do an Ultra Light Air Flight over Victoria Falls. It was breath taking. If the opportunity is there and you can overcome the fact that you are sitting in a seat right behind the pilot and there are no sides, no doors, no windows, just a little engine and a wing above you - take it!

The photos I am sharing where taken by Batoka Skies.

Yes it is me, flying over Victoria Falls!

Victoria Falls, high water season, winter

Never did find that pot of gold at the end of all those rainbows

Good Bye Africa!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Water Water Everywhere

Paper making is continuing as the main theme here in Zambia. I was to give two back to back workshops today. But things change, being flexible is necessary as an artist. The early workshop was moved last minute to Thursday at 8 am. It became more of a sharing of art and a talk. The girls at St. Mary's school were having an art exhibition. The student teacher was in charge as the main art teacher had a family emergency. The library was turned into an art show. The student teacher had introduced color to the students as part of his teaching project, they started off with oil pastel, moving to acrylic. I gave them an opportunity to try some soft pastels, so they could see the difference between the two. There were graphite drawings, bead work, recycled plastic bags made into purses, even some cards with stitching on them. I shared my work, gave a mini demo on recycling paper to make new paper. These young girls were wonderful to talk with and they were very proud of the work they had created.

Today we went over to Mukuni Village, I was to do a workshop with a small group of students, maybe some of the local artisans and a few teachers. Thinking I may have 20 - 25 but again being flexible and working with one screen, no electric and water had to be brought over in buckets. We had over 50 students and more coming to learn about making paper. The students did some of the pulp making while others came up and pulled sheets of paper. It was a very busy couple of hours. We were set up in a nice shady spot under a beautiful tree.

It has been a good creative week. The students, teachers, and parents are all asking when we will be back and what can we learn next time.

St Mary's Girl School

St Mary's Seniors & Me
Paper Making at Mukuni Village

11th & 12th grade to start

Even the chickens were interested in recycling


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Sharing of Culture & Art

Paper making from recycled paper, oil pastels, soft pastels and watercolor crayons. These were the things I brought to the Wayi Wayi Art Studio & Gallery, Livingstone, Zambia. Through a series of events this workshop came together. I went to visit the LIBES vocational school/college, they just happen to have a conference from the ILO (which I think stands for International Labor Organization) for artists. They were teaching them marketing techniques. We had an opportunity to watch them sing, dance, play drums and see some of the works created by the visual artists. It is there I meant, Sunga Mwila & Peter Mtonga. Sunga told me of the gallery she works with, Wayi Wayi. The owners Agnes Buya and Lawrence Yombwe, hosted the workshop at their studio. They have their home, large inside gallery space, and separate 3 sided building for workshops. Agnes has made paper before and has been to Charlotte, N.C. teaching paper making. I met with the two of them a couple times and we set up a time & place to make paper. Now we needed artists & art teachers to come. Through our contact at Victoria Falls University, I was put in touch with a young artist, Sydney Josiah, he creates batiks & plays traditional drums. I met with him and told him about the opportunity to learn to make paper from recycled materials. He said he would contact artists and let them know.

Sydney & Peter came back to me with 26 artist that were interested in learning paper making and in sharing their work/ideas. The Wayi Wayi Gallery also invited several people, plus the 7 of us traveling from VA Tech. We were going to have a full house. After a little more coordinating we broke the artists into groups, so that they might flow in and out throughout the afternoon. It worked beautifully,

One of the challenges was to see if we could make paper pulp using a mortal & pedestal. Many homes are without electric and water may be from a source outside their homes in a village. This too worked beautifully! We worked with limited supplies, yet everyone shared, worked side by side, and exchanged ideas. I hoped they would take the base of paper making and create their own individual works of art, which they did. While they were waiting for papers to dry or their turn to make more paper they tried soft pastels, oil pastels and watercolor crayons.

Art from pods
After we cleaned up the workshop, we shared art that individuals brought, acrylic, oil paintings, glass mosaics, graphite drawings, printmaking done using paint not ink and purses made by crocheting recycled plastic bags. I shared some of my work and then the other artists came up to speak of their works. It was a good day.
Agnes & Lawrence, Wayi Wayi Gallery

Making pulp without electricity 

Plein air paper making

Sharing art - sharing ideas

Group photo

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Smoke That Thunders

Mosi-oa-tunya, Victoria Falls, on the other side of the river today in Zimbabwe and earlier in the week on the Zambia side. It is nearing the end of the powerful flow of the waterfalls. Mid-July starts the low water season. From what we have seen this week, the falls are still very powerful and strong. They are fueled by the Zambezi River. It is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Even though it is not a rain forest, you walk through very lush wooded areas. The trees and flowers are rich in color because of the moisture from the spray. The power of the spray, comes up from the bottom and creates it own special rain and rainbows. It is the first time in my life that I have walked through a rainbow. I have never seen so many rainbows or so intense in color.

The pictures just give a small indication of the size of the falls, kind of like the Grand Canyon, another wonder of the world, a photograph just does not capture either of these amazing creations of nature.

Zambia, Victoria Falls

Zambia, Victoria Falls, rainbows

Zambia, Victoria Falls at sunset

Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls

Zimbabwe 

What's That Sound???

You know you are in Wyoming when you wake to the sound of horses. With limited wi-fi service it has been a lot harder to get blogs written a...