Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Singing in the kitchen

I won't be open December 25th.
I also won't be open on the 26th or for the rest of the week.


Yes I know it's the 2nd biggest shopping day when people go out and spend their Christmas money.

I don't care.

You see, my kids will be home for Christmas. All four of them. At the same time.

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It's been several years since that has happened. And I am going to enjoy it.

The food, the laughter, the stories.
The late night soul searching conversations.
The snarky comments.
The glasses of wine.
The tears.
The hugs.

I love those four people that I brought into this world more than I can ever put into words.
When they were still living at home circumstances were such that I had to divide my time into so many pieces that I felt there was never enough of it to properly go around.

if I could turn back time...
I would read them more stories
I would dance around the living room with them
I would really focus on what they were saying instead of with a distracted ear because there was always so much to do

I will spend the majority of that time in the kitchen- feeding my soul to over flowing because it has to last a long time. Until the next time all four of them will be home again.
At the same time.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Always changing

When I started on this journey back in 1982 the name of the store was

Carroll Fine Arts Gallery and Supplies and Custom Framing
quite a mouthful and I didn't pick the name out.
In 1982 I left college after 3 years and bought the above named  business in my hometown.
I was 20 years old.
 No experience.
No business classes.
Just a burning passion for art.
and totally clueless what I was getting myself into.....what I wanted to be when I grew up...
but a $10,000 loan cosigned by my parents and a crash course in business courtesy of the same parents and I was the proud owner of the Carroll Fine Arts Gallery And Supplies and Custom Framing. I represented over 40 regional artists. Along the way my own work got lost in the business of work.
 Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life.
I didn't love framing pictures- it was OK.
I didn't love selling other people's art- I enjoyed making art friends and talking art with them.
I didn't love retail - I love working for myself. 
Now I am 52 - and still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up
The original concept has changed over the years- because I have changed
I don't frame pictures for people anymore but I have quite a love affair with vintage frames. 
I sell original works by myself, my sister and few friends of mine and we get together at least once a year and have an art weekend in my studio.
I love working with kids and I teach 80+ kids during the school year and 490+ in the summers..
I love teaching and I have started an adult painting and wine drinking class.
The name  has evolved into it's current name - Artworks Studio - it's a studio because it's where I create, teach, mentor, socialize, consult and spend a lot of time.
A year ago I purchased a scrap booking store. I don't scrap. But I DO love paper! I'm a mixed media artist and I find myself using many of the same supplies scrappers use. I have changed the mix over the past year. Less cutesy papers and stickers and more grungy/vintage. I have added creative kits and blank art journals and really cool disposable cartridge pens and letter press note cards... and everything I sell is something I would buy. I read somewhere that a successful shop is one that reflects the owners personality. Mine says - I am not sure what mine says about me...
Now things are changing again- Because I am a mixed media artist I collect quite a bit of odds and ends. Things like bottle caps and game board pieces. Marbles, broken clocks, keys and hardware. I am changing some of the "gifty" stuff.  Keeping the vintage costume jewelry and my hand made jewelry.  Closing out the new costume jewelry. Maybe I am making a mistake maybe I am doing the right thing.

One thing I have learned from the moment I signed that loan 32 years ago- you won't know anything unless you take a risk and try. 


Monday, August 26, 2013

Art Battery- Fully Recharged and Loaded!

In my studio I have an art program that runs through the school year ( September-May) and I work with 75+ students Pre K- high school.  My summer program begins the first week in June. This June and July I had over 490 students walk through the doors in an age range of 3 to 16.

That is a lot of kids.
And a lot of art.
And a lot of energy.

When August 1st came I had nothing left in my art battery.
Couldn't imagine teaching again.
 Couldn't think of new or different projects.
 I was on automatic pilot.
I cleaned and rearranged the studio.
Picked up new boxes of crayons and markers.
Got the new art journals ready for the kids.
Made some vague notes in my curriculum notebook.
But none of it was done in anticipation of seeing my students again.

I needed to recharge my art battery- it was dead.

A couple of months ago my sister and I talked about getting together in August. It had been a few years since I went to Chicago.  So we found some creative classes to take while I was there.
I just got back to the studio today and my batteries are FULLY charged and ready to go!

On Thursday August 22nd- I spent a rainy afternoon by myself at the Art Institute of Chicago where I saw the special exhibit "Impressionism Fashion and Modernity"
It was so wonderful to see the art work and then to look at actual gowns worn by models in the paintings. Looking at the gowns and accessories made these paintings that I have seen many times even more real. Also- I have read many books over the years where gowns designed by Charles Frederick Worth were considered the height of fashion! To see real gowns actually designed by him almost made me swoon! 
Next I made my way to the new modern wing where I spent a few hours looking at the collection. I took pictures... 
 Max Ernst- basic shapes and simple lines can tell a story!
Kandinsky's use of color and his brushstrokes create the energetic movement of the troika  and his simple lines tell a wonderful story and is so spontaneous

Emil Nolde- Red Haired Girl is a portrait that is more about the color, energy and emotion than anything else.

and Joseph Cornell's assemblage pieces were wonderful and curious and so full of little stories....the ideas flew across the pages of my notebook. So much to see. So much inspiration. Who was Suzanne Duchamp? I knew all about Marcel but nothing about Suzanne.
Mondrian's "Farm Near Duivendrecht"  - I have been working on a collage of trees and have been stressing that my trees weren't tree enough- his trees are not perfect- yet they capture the lines and movement that only bare branches can. I think I am ready to finish my collage because looking at Mondrian's painting gave me the permission I needed to continue and the affirmation that my trees were just fine.
Max Ernst and Joan Miro- and their simple almost calligraphic lines. I tell my students over and over again- simple basic shapes- everything you look at can be broken down into basic simple shapes. They ( my students) want to make them so complicated!
Surrealist Objects- I had not heard of them before. I knew of Duchamp's Ready Made pieces but not these....these pieces reminded so much of pieces I have created.  Pieces I have encouraged my students to work on. Now I have sources to show them museum works.
On Friday I spent the afternoon at Ignite Glass Studio where I learned how to make
                           a glass paperweight
and a bowl
and now I had reached that endorphin state known as "artist's high" 
On Saturday I spent the entire day - from 9AM until 9PM  in two workshops with Mary Beth Shaw.
From her website:


"Mary Beth Shaw worked in the insurance industry for 18 years before she quit her job in 2000 to re-ignite a childhood love of art.  She is now a full time painter and internationally known workshop instructor. Her creative process is largely self taught, spontaneous and joyful. She is author of  Flavor for Mixed Media published by F&W and is also a columnist for Somerset Studios Magazine. Her second book, Stencil Girl comes out in the Fall of 2013. "
These are the pieces I created under her tutelage.


Again the ideas filled my head and I filled pages in my notebooks with projects and concepts I want to teach my students this year.
Bring on the students for 2013-14. I am ready!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

in pursuit of the elusive grease pencil

Over the past several months my work has taken a turn into interesting territory. I work in mixed media and collage. Sometimes I need to add some definition to a piece. Last winter I grabbed this wax pencil I had in my stash.

 I think I picked them up at the thrift store for .50
I am always picking up odds and ends at the thrift store and using them in my work.

anyway- I used the pencil in the piece and then blended it in with my fingers and it was amazing- it was just the grungy dirty edged look I was going for. here I am and I need some definition but soft edge blending but NOT black. Or yellow. or White.

I have spent countless hours searching for grease pencils in bright colors. HOURS! I know someone out there has to make them. I found all sorts of vintage ones on eBay. Found a website all in Japanese. And one form South Korea that was written in Korean then translated into English which made for amusing reading but I didn't want to place an order because I wasn't 100% sure.

Then this afternoon I found exactly what I was looking for

I ordered some of each color and now I just have to wait until they get here.

Friday, May 10, 2013

And this is just the first week of summer!

Schools almost over for another year! Check out the classes being offered at Artworks Studio!

World Market:
Travel to Russia with us and make your own set of 3 nesting Matryoshka Dolls.
Monday June 3
10:00 - 11:30 AM
Ages 9 and older
Fee: $24
There are 3 spaces left in this class.

Ultimate Tree House:
Have you ever dreamed of making a tree house? In this class you get to make a tree house in a real tree! Tree houses are approximately 24" high.
Mondays June 3, 10,17 and 24th
Ages 10 and older
Fee: $85
There are 2 spaces left in this session.
There is one space left in this session.

Collage Painting:
This is an advanced course for students wanting to learn more about the collage process. We will combine acrylic painting techniques with artistic papers to create a 12 x 12 finished piece.
Tuesdays June 4, 11,18 and 25th
Ages 12 and older
Fee: $75
There are 4 spaces left in this class.

Mosaic Wall Art:
Using Italian glass tiles and fine grout you can create a beautiful picture in this time honored way.
Wednesdays June 5, 12 and 19th
Ages 10 and older
1:00 - 3:00 PM
Fee: $75

Fairy Tale Castles:
Up-cycle cardboard tubes, paint and construction paper to create you very own fairy tale castle!
Thursday June 6
10:00 - NOON
Ages 7 and older
There are 5 spaces left in this class

Photo Words:
Grab your digital camera and let's find letters of the alphabet! Students will learn to look at everyday objects with new eyes.  Must provide your own digital camera!
Fridays June 7,14 and 21st
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Ages 10 and older
Fee: $90
There are 2 spaces left in this class.

Button Bracelets:
Friday afternoons are all about crafting in the studio. The first Friday Afternoon Craft class is Button Bracelets. Using hemp, leather and of course buttons we will make two different styles of bracelets. Make as many as you like! Bring a friend!
Friday June 7
1:00 - 2:30 PM
Ages 10 and older Fee: $22

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Summer Class Schedule 2013!

Exploring the world through crafts
Monday 10AM -11:30AM
June 3 – Russian Dolls
June 10 – Mexican Painted Bowls
June 17- Native American Dream Catchers
June 24 – Indian Reverse Batik
Ages: 9 and older
Fee: $24 per class Class size 8

Design and build your dream tree house.
Caution: Hot glue guns and sharp blades will be used 
: Mondays 1:00-3:00PM June 3-24
SESSION 2: Wednesdays 10AM – Noon July 10-31
Ages: 10 and older
Fee: $85
Class size: 6

Kinder Artists ages 3-4
Tuesdays 10:00 AM - 10:45AM
Class size: 10

FEE: $8 per classJune 4-Tissue Paper Painting
June 11 – Painted Fish
June 18 - Beach Pictures
June 25 – Google Eye Monsters
July 2 – Painted Snails
July 9 – Painted Book Pages
July 16 – Painted Turtles
July 23 – Painted owls
July 30- Foil paintings

Kinder Artists ages 5-6
Fridays 10:00AM-10:45AM
Class Size: 10
FEE: $8 per class
June 7-Tissue Paper Painting                                 
June 14 – Painted Fish
June 21 - Beach Pictures
June 28 – Google Eye Monsters
July 11 – Painted Snails
July18 – Painted Book Pages
July 25 – Painted Turtles

Learn to create a finished painting on a 12 x 12” canvas board using acrylic paint and paper collage techniques

Ages 12 and older
Tuesdays June 4-25
1:00 – 3:00 PM
Class Size: 8
Fee: $75


Polka dot “TIE”DYE T-SHIRT
Create a unique t-shirt with sharpies and rubbing alcohol
SESSION 1: Wednesday June 5   Ages: 7-10 10:00 – 11:30AM
SESSION 2: Wednesday June 19 Ages 10 and older 10:00 – 11:30 AM
SESSION 3: Wednesday July 3 Ages: 7-10 1:00 – 2:30PM
Class Size: 10
Fee: $16

Learn how to create a 6” x 20” wall mosaic using Italian glass tiles and fine grout.
Ages: 10 and older
SESSION 1: Wednesdays June 5-19 1:00 – 3:00 PM
SESSION 2: Mondays July 1- 15 1:00PM-3:00PM
Class size: 8
Fee: $75

This is for students who have taken the basic mosaic class and want to go to the next level in mosaic.
Participants in this class will create a more detailed picture using three 6 x 20” panels to create a triptych in Italian glass tiles
Ages: 10 and older

Thursdays July 11- 25
1:00 – 3:30PM
Class size: 4
Fee: $120

Up-cycle cardboard tubes into a castle any Lord or Lady would be proud to call home
DISCLAIMER: This is an art class involving paint. Artworks Studio takes no responsibility for paint on clothing. Please dress your child in ART clothes.
Ages: 7 and older
Thursday June 6      10:00 – Noon
SESSION 2: Tuesday July 23 1:00 PM – 3:00PM
Class Size: 10
Fee: $35
Create a unique birdbath for the garden using mosaic tiles
SESSION 1: Thursdays June 6-13    1:00PM – 3:00PM
SESSION 2: Wednesdays July 24-31 1:00PM -3:00PM
Ages 7-10
Class Size: 8
Fee: $45

Students will learn to look at everyday objects with new eyes as we walk around downtown and look for letters of the alphabet to spell out their name. Using digital photos and Photoshop –images will be edited and put together into a unique wall piece.
Ages: 10 and older
Session 1:
Fridays June 7-21 11:00AM – 12:30PM
Session 2: Mondays July 1-15 11:00AM – 12:30PM
Class size: 6
Fee: $90
Each Friday afternoon Artworks Studio offers a different make and take craft
Ages: 10 and older
Fridays June 7 – July 26
1:00 – 2:30PM
Class Size: 10
Fee: $22 per date
June 7- Button bracelets (two different styles)
June 14 – Painted Bird House (4 different styles)
June 21 – Punched tin dragon fly wall art
June 28 –Beaded Garden Art
July 12- Safety Pin bracelets 
July 19 - Sea Shell Garden
July 26 - Melted Bead Suncatcher
Create a paper collage snail out of printed paper circles on a 12” x 12” painted canvas.
Ages 6-10
SESSION 1: Wednesday June 12   10AM- Noon
SESSION 2: Monday July 22 10AM -Noon
Class size: 10
Fee: $25
A fun cupcake sculpture using clay, paper, paint, trinkets and glitter!
Ages 12 and older
SESSION1:  Thursdays June 13- 20 10:00 AM – Noon
SESSION 2: Tuesdays July 2-9 1:00PM – 3:00PM
Class Size: 8
Fee: $45
The look of stained glass using special colored glass tiles and gallery glass paint on an 11 x14 framed piece of glass
Ages 10 and older
SESSION 1: Thursday June 20   1:00 – 3:00PM
SESSION 2: Thursday July 11 10:00 –Noon
SESSION 3: Wednesday July 17 1:00PM-3:00PM
Class size: 8
Fee: $25



               STONE BIRDHOUSE
These rustic birdhouses are covered in stone pebbles with a copper roof on top.
Ages: 10 and older
SESSION 1:Wednesday June 26   10:00AM – NOON
SESSION 2: Tuesday July 30 1:00PM- 3:00PM
Class size: 10
Fee: $35

Hand carved rubber stamps using E-Z Kutz carving blocks
Ages: 10 and older
SESSION 1: Wednesday June 26   1:00-3:00PM
SESSION 2: Monday July 29 10:00 AM- Noon
Class size: 10
Fee: $24
 choose from a horse, giraffe, Brontosaurus or Stegosaurus dinosaur and a variety of other animals to paint. Figures are approximately 5” tall.
Ages: 6-9
SESSION 1: Thursday June 27   10AM – 11:30AM
SESSION 2:  Thursday July 18 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Class size: 10
Fee: $18
Using up-cycled materials and paint create a rocket ship and flying saucer to play with
Ages 6-9
Thursday June 27    1:00PM-3:00PM
SESSION 2: Wednesday July 3 10:00AM-Noon
Class size: 8
Fee: $24


No-Sew T-SHIRT SCARF AND BRACELETUp-cycle old t-shirts into fun neck scarves and bracelets
Tuesday July 16 1-3:00PM
Ages 12 and olderClass size: 8
Fee: $14


Drawing on a dark colored t-shirt creates some very unique results
Thursday July 25 10:00AM – Noon
Ages 12 and older
Class Size: 10
Fee: $16

Up-cycle old spoons into a cute fish wind chime
CAUTION: this class requires using power tools.
Mondays July 22-29 1:00PM-3:00PM
Ages: 12 and older
Class Size: 6
Fee: $58

Thursday, March 14, 2013

You don't ask -you don't get

I heard that years ago on a TV program. It has stuck with me ever since.
You don't ask - you don't get
Because, as I am often reminding my children- even though I am the Mom and i do know everything I am not a mind reader.
So here I am- tossing this out to the Universe because what do I have to lose, eh?

I need a bigger studio.
I have outgrown my space.
I have had to turn down students because I don't have enough space for them - I have empty slots to fill I just don't have the physical space for them.
I could add more sessions and teach every night until 8PM- or I could add Saturday classes.
I could- but I am pretty sure I would burn out.
And I am torn too- I love my studio space I am currently in.

BUT-I want, need, must have a bigger space.

I have my eye on one.

 It would triple the size of my studio now. 
Good location, plenty of parking and an area for doing outside messy stuff in the summer, plenty of storage too.
The front third of the space would be gallery/retail space.
The middle space would be two classrooms -side by side- with double doors that open between them to the space could be used for larger group events.
The back space would hold a small theatre space- a black box- and then the rooms behind that would be storage for costumes/props etc... and the black box area would have doors that open into the classrooms so you have room backstage during shows.
What? Why a theatre? My other full time ( unpaid) job is president of our Arts Council and Community Theatre.
 Professional Volunteer. But I wouldn't do it if I wasn't passionate about it and believe in how important the arts and creativity aer to children. And we sold the building we own and need a new home and since I take care of pretty much all the building needs and costume rentals and such it makes sense to put us under one roof right?
What's holding me back?
Money. They want too much money for a building that needs about $25,000 worth of work to it inside and out- things like updating the electrical entrance, replacing all the florescent tube lights because I guess replacement bulbs won't be available anymore. And ripping out yards of 1970's industrial orange carpet. ( I want to leave the floors cement and acid wash them- how cool is that?)
My Business Partner.
Me- sort of- because I LOVE my old space.
But I am pretty sure I could love a new space.
So what do you say Universe? 
I am asking!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Youth Art Month

Tomorrow is the 1st of March and anyone who teaches art to kids knows it's Youth Art Month. This year I have put together a display in my front window celebrating art and my students. I had one class finish the prompt-

Art is...
Chihuly chandelier

"One of the most wasteful decisions any school could make would be to discard arts education as a "frill." The investment in a fine arts curriculum is repaid many times over by the quality of life it fosters in the community and by the growth it encourages in our most valuable asset: our children."

William E. LaMonthe,

CEO, Kellogg Company

Thursday, February 21, 2013

much arting, conversation and laughter ensued....

My sister from Chicago, my daughter Kelsey , my very dear friends Shari and Carol and I spent all of last weekend in the studio being creative. This is our third year to do this over President's Day Weekend. Each one of us brings something different to the table.

Kesley worked on a very large canvas with acrylic paints. We all decided she was working in the style of Monet and the proportions of O'Keefe (both favorite artists of mine) Kelsey's special talent is acrylic painting.
Shari worked on an assemblage and collages. Her specialty is gelatin printing. The past two years I have not been able to get the hang of it very well- THIS year I think I finally connected with the process and created some wonderful background papers for future projects.

Cecelia is a very talented water colorist and collage artist. She is also willing to try something new and experimented with printmaking for the first time by cutting her own stencils and carving a rubber stamp. Carol worked on her photo cards and then pulled out her ever present knitting- she is currently working on a beautiful cable knit sweater. I spent the weekend being a host, demonstrating some new products and techniques that I learned and learned some new techniques from the ladies. I discovered press and seal plastic wrap is amazing for covering a pallet of wet paint and keeping it wet for several days. Pretzel M&M's are addictive as is red licorice. Fingers make the best blending tools and sometimes what you envisioned in your head on what a piece was going to become just isn't what it really wants or needs to be.
I worked on a painting that I started last spring. In my mind it was like VanGogh's Starry Night but with 3D faces where the stars are- and a northern lights kind of feel. Hey- it was awesome in my head. Reality- not so much. Cecelia took one look at my painting and was very polite about it. I knew something was not quite right- so I asked her to be brutally honest- I would not be offended. Because that's why we get together- to get feedback and to learn from each other.
C:It looks like boils and pestilence
         whoa- that's honest-
"Okay- I'm going to scrap this canvas and throw it away"
C:No, try layering tissue paper over it and let it build up in places and see what happens
"Still think I should start over"
C: Try taking some of the faces off. Maybe there's too many of them.
        After several attempts and no luck- "I used WeldBond I don't think they are coming off"
C: Let it rest something will come to you.
Meanwhile she is working on this wonderful still life collage that I am very jealous of -
zombie cats collage
Did I mention this is my sister? Well, I was not about to allow that canvas to get the best of me. On the wall I have this poster that says
"When you think you have made a mistake think of it as an opportunity to make something beautiful"  In other words- a Happy Accident
women hold up half the skyTime to take my own advice. I already hated the piece. What did I have to lose? So I took a page from Kelsey's book and grabbed paint, spray ink some watercolor paint and a spray bottle and started pouring paint on the canvas from the top. Let's see what happens I thought- and if it really sucks I can always paint over it or just throw it away. Guess what? as I was playing with the canvas with no ideas on what I wanted it to look like these figures emerged. They looked like women holding children. The more I saw them the more I worked the canvas to draw them out. I titled it "Women Hold Up Half the Sky"  and I am in awe of what I created. Every time I look at it I see something new. I did that? Wow- I am humbled because I have never really had much confidence in my work.  It was a good weekend.