Monday, April 6, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 21

Now the gluing starts.  Don’t let the buckling of the pages worry you.  I’ll use an iron and parchment paper to flatten out the dried pages.   For me, an iron is a tool for making art.  I’ve heard something about using it to remove wrinkles in one’s clothes, but I am not too sure if that is true.  

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art, and go to the park (virtually) – Day 20

It's a rainy day in San Francisco but a good day for a virtual visit to Golden Gate Park.  The park's Anniversary Website is full of great content.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art, Check the Stamp Collection – Day 19

Like many artists who send mail art, I like using old, unused, postage stamps.  As long as they have never been used, they are still valid.  With the exception of the more recent Forever Stamps, this means covering envelopes with a collage of postage to reach the 55¢ needed for domestic mail or $1.20 for international.  
I never pay more than face value for the unused stamps, and many dealers will even sell them for less.  You can find them online and at places like the Vintage Paper Fair.  For some reason, I have still held on to my unused postage stamps.  The ones I used to collect going back to the time it was 8¢ to mail a letter.  As part of my sorting and organizing for some postage stamp-based art, I have now set these aside to use for postage.   Some are more than 40 years old, they have not appreciated in value but remain suitable for sending mail art.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 18

Soaking old postage stamps in hot water to get the envelope paper to peel away easily.  I feel like a 12-year-old stamp collecting nerd again — but this time it’s for art

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 17

I’ll be sorting all these old postage stamps for a while before I can start gluing.  I am sure I will have plenty of time.   

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Stay Home, Sort, Sort, Sort and then Make Art – Day 16

I collected stamps when I was a kid and a few years back, I was using old postage stamps to make collages.  I still have thousands of them that I had no plans to ever use for collages.  Nowadays I make my own material for collage. I have decided to use the rest of my postage stamps in a stamp-themed artist scrapbook.  Before I can get gluing, I need to sort and sort (this will keep me busy for a few days). 
On another note, as we are all washing our hands, bags of old postage stamps are just filthy and if you need to be motivated to wash your hands really good, just dig in….

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 15

Today was about art maintenance, cleaning up, applying acrylic varnish.  Not worthy of a photo.  During my half hour perambulation around the Lower Haight and Duboce Triangle, I managed to maintain social distance and also snapped this photo on Page Street.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 14

The other day I was slicing up some cabbage and was inspired.  Just a little 4”x4” painting and a bit of an homage to Edward Weston.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art or Visit a Museum

Yes, you can visit a museum, virtually that is.  Have a “walk” around the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.  Fun fact — The Legion of Honor is built on top of the cemetery (some of the graves were moved first) and you can assume it is full of ghosts.  They might be enjoying the peace and quiet right now….

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 12

paint with acrylics, which once you put your paint on the palette it is pretty much use it or lose it.  I even use a plastic tray with a tight-fitting lid to slow the paint drying out, but the best I get is usually about 24 hours.  With oil paints you can always loosen up drying paint, but it also would mean my apartment would smell like oil paint all time.  So, I use acrylics.
Last year I started an artist book where the leftover paint is used to cover most of the text on the each and every page.  I am only up to page 30, so this project will take a while.  Here is a preview — today I had some leftover green…

Friday, March 27, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 11

It’s a dry and breezy day — good timing as the first coat of acrylic varnish has just been applied.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 10 (and get some groceries)

More gluing today but also a trip to the grocery store.  We are allowed to go grocery shopping in San Francisco.  I have changed my habits and now only shop once per week.  Both to limit my chances for exposure but also to keep the crowds down so more people can shop safely.  
Like many grocery stores, the workers at Trader Joe’s are doing a great job.  A line with every customer at least 6 feet apart snakes through the parking lot and up the sidewalk.  At the door customers are given a freshly cleaned cart or basket.   When I arrived, I counted about 50 people in front of me.  Within a half an hour I was inside.  The store did not feel crowded and I was back outside with a heavy shopping bag and full backpack in less than 15 minutes.  The store was well stocked.  If this is the “inconvenience” we have to go through to keep us all safe and flatten the curve, I am all for it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 8

Today’s forecast is occasional spring showers and a good dash of color.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 6

Got some more work done on this art project this afternoon.  

Even though we are being asked to shelter in place and stay home as much as possible, we still are allowed to go out for some fresh air and walk.  The important thing is to keep that social distance of 6 feet or more (2m).  This morning I strolled around my neighborhood.  It was quiet and virtually everyone is being really cautious and maintaining that social distance.  This has been my experience that past week — people seem to be getting better and better at this new normal.  Although, there is one exception.  Every time I see a pedestrian failing the social distance test, they all have the same thing in common – they are distracted and talking on their phone.  We all need to get used to a new way of doing things, and if you cannot focus on walking safely, please wait to take the call until you’re back home.  

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 5

Making art today was all about cutting and using hole punches.   Tomorrow will be about gluing.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Stay Home, Make Art – Day 4

Staying home and making art — It may look like I am channeling Rothko.  But for this project I need some more yellow and orange painted paper to cut up for the Post-Folk Art collages.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Friday, March 6, 2020

Leaping Mail

Getting caught up on this winter’s mail, there were still a few more cards celebrating the Year of the Rat, more rubber stamping and with an extra-long month, some Leap Day mail as well. The mail shown here includes:

  1. Robin Sparrow — New Zealand 
  2. Dori Singh – California 
  3. Eberhard Janke - Germany
  4. Jennie Hinchcliff – California 
  5. Jennifer Utter – California 
  6. Carolos Botana – Spain
  7. Disco Flux – Colorado 
  8. Sarah Wildfang – California 
  9. e. coles – England
  10. William Mellott – Taiwan 
  11. Marina Salmaso – Denmark
  12. Sally Wassink – California 
  13. Serse Luigetti – Italy
  14. Mindaugas Žuromskas – Lithuania 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Can you make rubber stamps with rubber bands?

Yes!  With some inspiration from the Rubber Stamp Museum blog, a bag of rubber bands and some wooden blocks I was ready to get stamping.  The first batch was dropped off in a mailbox this afternoon.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Mary Fields Artist Stamp

When the San Francisco Correspondence Coop meets every month, one of us always creates an artist stamp to share at the meeting.   This month it was my turn.   When I first read about Mary Fields online, I knew I needed to do a stamp.  She was the first African-American woman to work for the U.S. Postal Service, and that is just a piece of her remarkable biography.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

A Trip to Stockton

I am a big advocate of visiting museums when I travel, and I always seek out lesser known museums in smaller cities.  Sometimes I have to remind myself there are smaller cities right near San Francisco.  Stockton is a little more than hour’s drive.  Yesterday was my first visit to the Haggin Museum.  
It’s a hidden gem and right in a lovely park in the center of town.   The Haggin is both a history and art museum.   Much of the collection was saved by happenstance when the family moved from their Nob Hill mansion prior to San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake and fire.  And now it is safely in Stockton for everyone to enjoy.  Most of the collection reflects the taste of wealthy, late 19th Century Americans scouring Europe to fill their mansions.   From across a gallery I immediately spotted that blue.  I strode across the room to confirm it was, yes, a Jean-Léon Gérôme. 
The Haggin Museum’s collection of J.C. Leyendecker’s work is what puts them on the map.  It was the first time I had ever seen his paintings in person.  They were reproduced millions of times in advertising, magazine covers and prints.  As is so often the case with most painters, no print or online image can quite do Leyendecker’s work justice.  His paintings glow and the thick brush strokes want to pop off the canvases.  It is also easy to speculate that Leyendecker’s work influenced Wayne Thiebaud.
Now, I have to wonder, what is hiding out in Modesto?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

No Plastic – Try Wax Paper!

I am trying to use less and less plastic, especially products in single-use plastic containers.  Sure, you can put it in the recycling bin, but there is such a glut of plastics, they end up in a landfill anyway.
I though the best way to respond to a “No Plastic” mail art call  was to create some mail art using wax paper.  Wax paper is old-fashioned, biodegradable/compostable and can often be used in place of plastic bags and wrap.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

A Catalog of Collage Objects

Like any collage artist, I run the risk of becoming a hoarder.  When you make collage, you are always on the hunt for objects to use.  Boxes of collage fodder begin to fill up and then, when are you going to get around to using it all? MUNI passes going back to your 1990 arrival in San Francisco, Czech matchbox labels, vintage cigarette cards purchased in New Zealand 25 years back, fortune cookie fortunes from years of lunch specials. It all just keeps accumulating. 
My collage work has evolved.   Nowadays I tend to make my own material by painting paper, cutting and reassembling.  I really have little reason to save these things anymore.  In an effort to thin out the hoard I have been creating artist books and then purging, recycling, donating and giving away the rest.  
My latest effort is a A Catalog of Collage Objects  where each pair of pages is dedicated to 19 different ephemeral objects.  Some of the highlights are show here.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Oh Rats!

It’s time for some Year of the Rat mail art — postcards with hand carved rubber rat stamps.  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

A Handful of Mail

Hands are a recurring theme in and assortment of belated holiday mail as well as some new year’s greeting which arrived in the last few weeks.  They include a piece from Peter Müller which had an enigmatic material glued to it.  Most of it cracked and fell off in transit.  Also, there was a mucky rendition of the swamp from Rebecca Guyver.  A photo and card from Sacramento artist Cherie Hacker. The lamp and table have been photographed in different settings since 2003.  And final, after seeing my post, Katerina Nikoltsou was inspired to make some aerogram-inspired mail art herself.  She started with color copies of original aerograms.  Ones she had mailed to an aunt in Chicago years back.  I am wondering if an aerogram revival is at hand — at least for mail artists.   

The mail shown here includes:
  1. Peter Müller – Germany
  2. Sally Wassink – California 
  3. Maria Quiroga – Argentina 
  4. Debra Mulnick – Idaho
  5. Rebecca Guyver – UK                                
  6. Fleur Helsingor – California 
  7. Jennie Hinchcliff – California 
  8. Kathy Barnett – Missouri
  9. Cherie Hacker – California 
  10. Katerina Nikoltsou - Greece

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Mail Art at the Getty

They currently are having a mail art exhibit at the Getty in Los Angeles.  You will not find a mail art show on their website.  The curators are not describing the work as mail art but it is there as part of the show Manet and Modern Beauty.  
The exhibit begins with a gallery full of Manet’s dough-faced portraits.  The highlight in the gallery is not a portrait but a painting of a plate of oysters.  Are we allowed to make fun of any Manet portrait?  I clearly was in the minority – the gallery was packed with visitors stepping over themselves to gawk and photograph.  
In the next gallery the crowds thin and you find delicate watercolors along with Manet’s illustrated letters sent from Bellevue.  Manet the impressionist, and Manet the Mail Artist.  The exhibit continues with a gallery filled with flawless still lives of fruit and flowers.  With exception of Georgia O’Keeffe, I don’t usually get excited about paintings of flowers.  The trick with Manet is look at vases. Manet’s crystal vases are magic, pure magic.