My alternative process stained glass windows made with recycled house windows will be on display at the 2013 Zerolandfill Upcycled Art Competition. The show’s main event and opening is this upcoming Saturday, May 11th – doors open at 10:00 am – at the Chicago Center for Green Technology (445 N. Sacramento Blvd., Chicago, IL). Free parking is available in both the front and rear parking lots. Zerolandfill collects and gives away various materials collected from construction companies and industry; artists and crafters can collect things for free. Join their mailing list for updates and information here.
This work will probably go to the upcoming summer auction for the Heart & Sole Dance Foundation. They are a great group that promotes fitness through dance and particularly has a mission for kids education in basic dance. I made the collage from local free newspapers, gold metallic paint, ink and Berol Prismacolor pencils. It fits in an 8×10 opening mat well but I also high res scanned it in case something like a poster or a print would benefit the foundation more than selling a single item.
Worst pot hole ever… Yesterday’s massive day long thunderstorm and the past few days record rain fall has sinkholes, flooding, exploding fire hydrants and general mayhem going on all over the city. The Chicagoist online has this photo and many more, reports from people and it’s a total mess. I am a block from the north branch of the Chicago River and I have never seen it this high. I would say it is a good six to ten feet higher than usual. This is why I would never, ever, ever get a garden level apartment; lots of people are flooded out right now.
Home sweet home… I’ve been sending out social media blaster messages to try and find a new place to live. I have had it with my current slumlord who never, ever, ever fixes anything. The building has mold, a massive rat colony that consistently chews tunnels through the foundation and a whole lot more. After a small fire, a large fire and a massive gas leak, all gas related and in the same part of the building, it is now a danger to stay here. Unfortunately few places will rent to someone with three dogs. And I’m poor. I need to find a place and it’s been very stressful and a huge time investment has not gotten me anywhere yet. If someone could throw me a high six digits, I could just buy a place. I promise to send you a really nice painting.
Two seconds of fame... My HBBF was on TV. Sort of. It was a local event for a sort of Antiques Roadshow rip-off that only focuses on Chicago sports team collectibles, is to be broadcast locally and has the added twist of offers to buy the items. The taping of the pilots was a total disorganized fustercluck and it’s better if you read it in his own words.
Since I have been art stalking people, I decided to make the most of a captive humans supply: people on the train. Most people have their face in a device these days; you could set them on fire and they wouldn’t notice. (This is a turn of phrase. Do not set people on fire. It is illegal and unethical.)
Drawing on the train is a nightmare. Chicago L and subway trains are a rough ride bouncing up and down an shaking back and forth. I scratched out pencil roughs and inked them in at home later. I got lucy with a number of people that were riding more than a few stops and not to wriggly while they were sitting or standing.
This photograph is being published in the upcoming copy of The Hockey News magazine, which is a major publication and has international distribution; but they credited my boyfriend with the photo. He wrote the article. I did the photography. And thus I have learned that the feeling of accomplishement from having my first photograph published is erased by someone else being given the credit.
I have been into drawing a lot lately and decided to use fountain pens for the first time in a long time. I pulled out two old Sheaffer plastic cheap fountain pens. They are fun but have disappeared from office supply stores, so I bought a nice hefty cigar shape fountain pen from Amazon. It seems that there are a slew of fountain pens available in Hong Kong and one can be purchased, shipping included, for $5 and up. They usually come with a refillable ink cartridge inside but no ink. I recommend buying a pen other shoppers have rated well.
Waterproof inks are not recommended; they can clog the pen too easily. I am enjoying using a bottle of Windsor Newton sepia calligraphy ink. The pen did not work right away; I needed to hold the nib under a faucet of running water and then let it dry out and it was fine. It had dust or something from the factory, maybe a little corn starch so the manufacturer can tell if it was used should anyone return the merchandise.
Part of the enjoyment of returning to fountain pen drawing is how portable a fountain pen is. You can get a range of line widths more like a dip pen but it is a lot easier to carry around. This has been fun for making artist trading cards. I can just put a pen and pencil with some ATC blanks in my purse or bag and carry them around with me. If I want to add depth, I ink wash in the background later at home.
Golden Girl (Betty White) by Shellie Lewis, 24″ x 30″, multi-media on canvas.
Everyone loves Betty White, because Betty white is awesome. She’s a great comedian and her vivacious, vibrant lifestyle has given me hope that my senior years could possibly be fantastic, too. I’m still trying to achieve being what I want to be when I grow up, but I know for sure I want to b Betty White when I grow old.
Chicago Outdoor Hockey League at Solider Field, February 1, 2013
My HBBF [Hockey Blogger Boyfriend] has been writing articles for print media including some freelance writing assignments for two hockey magazines. Last December, I drove him to cover the newer Chicago Outdoor Hockey League. This is their second year and everyone is welcome to join and play in the various skill levels. There is wide age range of players and a few female players who take to ice to pursue a puck and win. The names of some of the teams are a riot, like The Noregretzkies, The Lockout Kings, Iceholes and Polish Dragons.
COHL is a park district league here in Chicago and he needed to get photos and some interviews. It was really cold out and I was bored, so I took over the camera. My photos came out a lot better, which my HBBF, with his passionate love of the sport, was a little singed over. These wound up being the best two shots from that cold December night, and they’re not much but they’re not terrible.
My HBBF recovered from his disappointment to throw me another assignment. He had people to run around and interview and a game to watch. Sports photography is hard. Players are move quickly in different directions. Pauses in game play are usually not interesting photographs. The COHL plays outdoors at night, so I was freezing; numb fingers do not adjust a lens well or fast enough and chilled hands are not the best to hold a camera steady. Breathing fogs up my glasses and the viewfinder. The glass surrounding any rink is tinted and scratched all over the surface. I also got tired pretty fast and was a bit whiny and snuffling. I was mollified in a restaurant with Pakistani food. Loads of hot curried food restored my will to live. I will work in the cold but demand to be fed in exchange!
The COHL had an exciting night last night. They had a game in Chicago’s Soldier Field and this event is part of a larger event being the first time hockey games have been held in the football stadium. I was lured into this gig with a burger, a loaded baked potato and two cherry cokes. The game started after 10:00 pm and ran to about midnight, it was 14°F (-10 °C ) and it snowed the entire time. If you do not live in a cold climate you will have a hard time understanding that I pulled Cuddl Duds under my jeans, had wool hiking socks in knee-high Sorel Tofino boots, a full-length North Face down coat with a hood and then pulled a two inch thick Irish Aran wool sweater over a cashmere sweater over a turtleneck. I topped this off with an angora blend hat and scarf I knit and chemical hand warmers jammed in my gloves. I was ready to photograph in arctic style. Out of hundred of shots, these few came out really well, at least not bad for someone who identifies primarily as a painter. I feel kind of like a bad ass. I will be proud if any of my photos get used. Meanwhile, my HBBF was taunting me, “Sports photography! Ha, you’ll never get into grad school now. You’ve lost all street cred.” He was pretty nippy my photos were better. ;)
Tension and excitement before the game starts
Goalie in primary colours. Picasso did that, right?
I like when they stop and spray the ice; it illustrates the action.
I know a people who are into sports and probably most of Chicago would find it more exciting than I did to be walking around on the field itself of Soldier Field. I briefly wondered if the grass was the great-great-great grandchildren of grass Walter Payton touched. Before I left the field, just ahead of 12:30 am, I called my mom and told her I was calling her from the grass on the field of Soldier Field. She knows how much I don’t like and have predominantly avoided anything to do with sports. She probably thinks I drunk dialed her.
I have been really tired of being indoors, so I decided to be indoors somewhere else! Someone I came across was cheated out of receiving a hand-drawn postcard for a mail art swap. I went out for a sandwich and tried to think of something to draw and settled for what was in front of me. People were coming and going rapidly, so I had to do the best I could with the drawing above. I went with mechanical pens and waterproof ink since this postcard has to survive being mailed.
The best work for me is when I’m using pencils to sketch and preferably someone that does not wriggle around or move a lot. I started art stalking in 1994 and have done it sporadically ever since. You need to order food or at least a drink, settle in behind your order, hug a quiet corner or seat by a wall and try not to look at your target too directly or too often. It used to be that I had to hope for someone reading or maybe writing, but with everyone dragging around a laptop, there are more opportunities to find stationary humans. I learned that people messing with smartphones are no help though, they squirm way too much. You can get a fleeting sketch at best.
I discovered the tangle pattern / “Zentangle” drawing movement through mail art swapping this past year. At first, doing this technique was kind of hard to do because it is pattern-based and I am used to fine art drawing. Once I got better at making the patterns, I really came to like incorporating the patterns into what the creators call ZIA (Zentangle Inspired Artworks.) I’ve only just sent the drawings out in swaps for artist trading cards.
Since it is fun and geared to be accessible to everyone, I mulled over various ideas for a few months set down some ideas that may be newer tangle patterns. I tried to check these ideas against published patterns as best I could; I am not good at memorizing patterns, and there are a lot published. At the least, I enjoy these patterns and will use them myself! I was aiming to make some interesting designs that are fun and have fun names. Feel free to use these patterns for your own use. I am open sourcing these designs, please give credit to me as their originator and link-back online if you re-post the images.
Meanwhile, my HBBF is teaching Chicago Public School kids and they are studying propaganda. I wound up tracing Rosie the Riveter with felt tipped pens which was photocopied and distributed to the kids to color and add their own messages. This image is at 300 dpi, right click it and open it in a new window, then save the image to get the full size copy. Put a piece of cardstock or heavier paper in your computer printer and print it out. I dare you to tangle draw this!