Category Archives: collage

What’s on your desk blotter?

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2015-10-22 14.18.48

I have a beautiful wooden desk in my art studio where I work on my computer, doing sketching and more.  It’s too nice a piece to go with my paint splattered folding tables and Ikea bookshelves, but it didn’t fit in our New York apartment when we moved so I got to use it in my studio instead.

I wanted to protect the surface from scratches where I slide my computer in and out of the way, so I taped down a large piece of drawing paper in that area.  I use it to write down short notes or unconsciously doodle/stamp/stencil on it.  When one side gets full, I flip around the sheet and continue filling up the opposite side.  I looked down today for a place to add another note and realized it was completely full…no empty space available.  Obviously, it’s time for a new blotter sheet!  Maybe I’ll save this one to use in some of my collage work.  🙂

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Feeling Blue?  I know just the place for you

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Feeling Blue?  I know just the place for you

The color blue evokes serenity, spirituality, infinity.  Lay back and look at heaven.  The 5th chakra:  the throat, voice and self-expression.  Deep blues: singing, listening.  Sea and shadow.  Blue symbolizes the Virgin Mary.  Krishna has blue skin.  Fifty-three percent of the world’s flags have blue.  It’s the color most commonly used in corporate identities.  Miles Davis was kind of blue.  What kind of blue are you?

Harbor Town, mixed media on cradled panel, 32″ x 32″, $1800

This painting was inspired by the Boston Harbor which I lived near a few years ago.  The water is made from many layers of translucent mulberry paper which I painted all these wonderful shades of blue.

“BLUE” Exhibition at the Front Street Gallery

I am exhibition my painting title “Harbor Town” in the BLUE exhibition at the Front Street Gallery in Patterson, New York. The show opened on October 18 and runs through December 6.  The gallery has extended hours on October 24 & 25 as part of the ArtEast Open Studio Tour.

See a BLUE slide show at the gallery website http://frontstreetgallery.org.  Front Street Gallery is at 21 Front Street in Patterson, New York, across the street from the Metro North train Station.

Featuring Gretchen Hoffman Abene, Patrick J. Cicalo, Shelley Dell, Andrew Dines, Ken Dreyfack, Kathy Ferguson, Matt Frieburghaus, Sarah K. Gray, Nicole Hughes, Annette Jaret, Lise Kjaer, Sassoon Kosian, Galina Krasskova, Tanya Kukucka, Pamela Lambros, Hannah Raine Brenner-Leonard, Alex Lindquist, Amanda Lynne, Eugene Posolli, Karen Schaffel, Ilona Sirman, Jane Soodalter, Fran Traina, Meaghan Troup, Rosanne Walsh, Dayna Wenzel, Joann Zwolski.

The therapy of scissor work

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File May 05, 3 25 18 PM

I’ve struggled to create some work for my licensing company, Wild Apple, that I think they will like.  I have sketched out and discarded a number of ideas.  Nothing seems creative enough or unique enough to stand out from the competition.  I finally realized that I’m going about it the wrong way.  Instead of trying to create something I think they will like, I should create something that I find enjoyment in making instead.  Then if the paintings don’t meet their needs, at least I had fun creating something uniquely mine.

What art technique do I find fun to do?  I’ve always loved scissor work.  By that, I mean I can sit for hours cutting out intricate shapes out of paper.  Many people might find this boring or tedious, but I think it is meditative and therapeutic.  I just finished cutting out about 200 flowers and leaves and I’ve started painting them.  I have no clear idea of where I’m going with them and how to incorporate them into my work.  I’m going to take my advice and I just play around, enjoying myself and see where it leads.

All that glitters is not gold

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Nope, it’s silver!  A silver bowl to be precise.

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Sadly, I’ve reached the age where I can’t read without glasses.  I’ve bought a half a dozen pairs to have one in every room, but they all seem to end up on my bedroom nightstand instead.  This table is already cluttered with an iPad, an iPhone, and a computer as well as books, magazines and a lamp. I needed to get organized and make a place to store these glasses and their cases.  What I needed was a bowl!  I thought it would be fun to make my own.

First, I blew up a latex balloon and taped it to a glass jar so it would be easier to handle.  Then I cut up a pile of small paper rectangles out of an old math textbook and some plain newsprint.  I used the math papers first as they would make up the inside of the bowl that would be seen in the finished product.  I painted the balloon with acrylic matt medium and placed the paper on it, followed by more medium, more paper, and so on using the plain newsprint for the outer layers.  Overall, there were about 5 layers of paper.  I let it dry overnight, and then popped the balloon, peeling it off the paper bowl and cut out the top edge to even it out.

bowl one

I painted the inside of the bowl with translucent acrylic paint so I could still see the math papers.  Next, I painted the outside of the bowl with sizing and covered it with silver-leaf for some shine (because a girl can never have too much bling)!  I finished the bowl by varnishing it inside and out to seal the papers and prevent the silver from tarnishing.  What can I papier mache next?

bowls 2

A glimpse inside my creative process

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A glimpse inside my creative process

I started with the idea to create a set of matching paintings with lots of 3D texture.  I love the soft, white flowers of the dogwood tree but realized I would need a colored background to make the petals show in the paintings.  I’ve documented my painting process below.  I will flip-flop between the two paintings as I forgot to photograph them both at each stage, but you should get the general idea.

I start by painting a variety of stripes on watercolor paper (glued to cradled wooden panels) using acrylic paint.

Dogwood step Two-a

 

 

Next I glue down strips of different Japanese papers.  I love handmade Japanese papers (made with mulberry leaves, rice shaft, and other organic materials) because they add a unique, textural feel to my work.   I also include some handprinted deli paper I made using my Gelli plate.

Dogwood Two-b

 

Now come the flowers.  First I sketch in the compositions.  Next, using Golden’s heavy molding gel, I spread on the petals with a palette knife.  When the gel is dry, I sand off any sharp points.

Dogwood step One-c

 

I add in collage paper elements for the leaves and stems, painting some areas to give them more dimensionality.  Finally, I add sheer cheesecloth for an unexpected touch and use colored pencils to create some delicate color in the white petals.  The paintings are sealed using a clear acrylic medium, and then two layers of acrylic varnish to protect the paper.

Dogwood Two

 Dogwood One, mixed media on cradled panel, 12″ x 12″

 

Dogwood OneDogwood Two, mixed media on cradled panel, 12″ x 12″

Here’s a side shot to better see the raised texture of the paintings.

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What gift goes with a 25th anniversary?

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Wild APPLE CONGRATS BLOG

Wild Apple, my art licensing company, is celebrating their twenty-fifth year of being in business.  And while silver is the traditional gift for 25 years, I didn’t think that was going to cut it.  Instead, Wild Apple nicely ask each licensed artist to create a celebratory post in their unique style to commemorate the big event.  Next, they plan to make a video of all the artists holding up their posters and share it with their clients.  Hopefully, I can get a copy of the video.  But in the meantime, here’s a look at my poster.

 

Downward Facing Dog anyone?

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Downward Facing Dog anyone?

I fit in a couple of yoga classes while in Colorado for the holidays.  This motivated me to start a new painting for my yoga inspired series which I began last year.  I have four paintings completed so far and this will be the fifth.  For this series, I start each painting by first picking out a Sanskrit word as my guide.  This painting’s Sanskrit word is “Kirtan” which means a community gathering involving chanting, live music and meditation.  After working out the composition in my sketchbook, I then did a quick value/color study.  The next step was to paint a loose, watery background on a cradled panel to show the major color areas while also getting rid of that intimidating white!

Kirtan in progress

With the basic color areas blocked in, it was time to hand-paint some paper for the collage elements.  Using translucent sheets of deli paper and a Gelli Plate, I printed multiple layers of paint on top of each other using a brayer, stencils, scraping tools and more.  I torn up these printed papers and moved them around until I was happy with the composition.  Next, I glued all the papers down, painted over some areas and glued down even more papers.  After some final fiddling, the painting was complete.

Kirtan Web

“Kirtan” (a community gathering involving chanting, live music and mediation), Mixed Media on cradled panel, 20″ x 16″, $600.

Paintings can be purchased at www.kathyfergusonart.com

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish

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Hide and Seek Red HD Inverse

I was approached with the opportunity to license my work through Wild Apple Publishing.  They picked out a couple of paintings they liked the best and ask me to make companion paintings to go with them (kind of like a matched set).  I’ve been working on the companion painting to Hide and Seek Orange.  I’ve included some in process pictures so you can see my layering process.  Here’s Hide and Seek Red, mixed media, 48″ x 48″.

I started by washing in an ocean background, then I painted in some distance kelp.  Next I collaged in hand-painted paper kelp:

H&S 1  h&S in progress

I initially used yellow fish but I didn’t think there was enough contrast, so I switched to red instead, and added some last kelp strands:

yellow fish2

Here are the two Hide and Seek paintings side by side:

Pair of Hide and Seek paintings

Watch me make a painting – Step 4

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The last couple of days, I have shown you a painting in progress.  Today is the last steps where you see how I pull all the “randomness” together into a cohesive work.  I retraced my original vine sketch to scale (24″ x 24″) to fit the dimensions of the painting panel and transferred it to the surface of my paper collage surface.  Then I painting multiple layers of white acrylic paint around the outline to reveal the main subject material.  Voila!  Colorful vines and flowers appear as if out of the mist.  The surrounding white really makes the colors pop.  The last touch was to add some red-painted outlines of branches of berries.  Some of my favorite parts are actually in the white areas with their detailed but subtle textured surfaces.  See the two companion paintings are below.

Vines Revealed 3 Web

Vines Revealed 2 Web