Mixed Media Artist

Welcome to my blog. I hope that in the months to come you will come and visit and check out what I've been working on! Let me know what you think!
Visit my website at: http://www.lenall.com/

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happiness/Gratitude Check In Week 6

I love collecting jewelry and wear it daily.
Some of my rings and a glimpse of the limoge boxes.

My jewelry boxes and a better shot of the limoge boxes.

This is a piece of Kosta Boda art glass with many necklaces and a red feather pin made by my friend, Fran. More decorative boxes.

I love 2 or 3 tier trays for storing jewelry and I've been collecting them for years. The jewelry is so easy to find.

A necklace I bought at an estate sale. Aren't the beads great?

A pierced china candy dish filled with a plethora of necklaces. Many have been made by friends.

This still life sits on top of a floor jewelry cabinet.

I collect eyeglasses too. They are an accesssory, too!

In my walk in closet I have an antique chest of drawers that I have jewelry sitting on top of. These are all pins--all kinds. I fell in love with "Aluminum Ware" as it is great for storage purposes and always very prettily decorated.

Sometimes a person has to go back--to have a sense, an understanding of all that's gone to make them--before they can go forward. * Paule Marshall
Maybe being oneself is always an acquired taste. * Patricia Hampl

More this week on who I am and what I am.
Sunday: From the pictures above, you can see that I have a nice jewelry collection. I have often thought that I have something to wear with every outfit I own now and anything that I care to buy in the future. It's not so disgusting of a thought when you consider that I have been collecting for years. I love antique pieces and I also like current artist pieces. I have long believed that my jewelry is a personal statement. I don't feel it is costuming as in theater. It is more a glimpse of my colorful creative self. I love to get gifts of jewelry.
Monday: Watching birds in my backyard has made me happy. It is a simple pleasure. A former boyfriend, Frank, gave me a gazebo birdfeeder several years ago that has been one of the best gifts I have ever received. I think this because I have gotten so much enjoyment out of it almost daily. I am always amazed at how many different types of birds are out in the backyard at the same time. All living in symbiotic harmony. There seems to be no race issues among birds, although I have noticed some are more aggressive than others. It seems to be more about size than type. I have had red finches come to visit for several years. They returned this past week and I was very happy to see them. I like to watch birds outside my yard too. I am not an avid bird watcher like some of you, but I do enjoy watching the Hawks alongside the freeway, Herons on the river, and Eagles. Woodpeckers and Quail are also birds I have enjoyed watching.
Tuesday: I grew up in a house that was filled with beautiful things--old and new. It is no wonder that my house, too, would reflect this esthetic. Through time, I chose to go more over the top than they did. More of everything including stuff and color. My mix of things has come through inheriting and through estate sales and of course, through time. My friend visited last week and we were talking about the concept of "clean." I made the statement that my house is clean on the surface only, but it is always neat. He could not wrap his mind around my concept of clean and neat as I have so much "clutter," as he put it. No offense taken. I see his point. In another life, I lived as a Victorian woman and this clutter is natural to and enjoyed by me. I sometimes feel that having so many beautiful things has been like golden handcuffs that chain me to the life I am living. I can't just buy a ticket and move off to another world. So I continue to live in my world filled with eye candy.
Wednesday: I have always liked art. I think that I am mainly attracted to it from a purely color standpoint. Color attracts me. It excites me. One of my earliest memories of being interested in an artist came in college when I discovered this strange artist, Gustav Klimt. Oh, my God, did he attract me... Even after all these years, I find the attraction is still burning within me.
Thursday: Men have always been a big part of my life. I'd prefer to have a long term boyfriend and don't like to date serially. My relationships have tended to be longer than they should have been and in the end I have often walked away feeling almost nothing. This has probably been because I waited too long to end it. I have loved, I have lost, I have missed, I have enjoyed, I have given and I have benefited. My last long term relationship lasted 6+ years. He was very different from me and it made me change in both ways I wish that I had not and in those I can appreciate. In the past year, I dated on-line many people that were not right for me. WOW! I decided that I was not interested in doing this anymore and basically went off-line. Maybe I need more time alone. Maybe if I work on myself now, I'll be better when I meet him or when he is ready for me. I want a relationship again. I'd like to find my last relationship. Are you out there?
Friday: I have always had a lot of friends. I like and enjoy a lot of different types of people. Recently, I have come to the realization that despite the fact that I have all these people whom I care about, I don't nurture these relationships. Instead of calling and reaching out to people I care about, I am cocooning in my home. I spend way too much time alone. When I do spend time with people, I find myself sometimes acting very needy as if I haven't had anyone listen to me in a long time. This also might be because at work I spend a lot of time alone. This has got to stop. I need to reach out and get back in the game. If I call you my friend, I do care about you. Do you feel the same way sometimes?
Saturday: Books! Books! Books! From an early age I have always liked to read. I remember reading in the summertime with the goal to mark off each book on a list and receive a ribbon. I think I was more concerned with getting the reward than in the books themselves. As I got older I think this evolved into reading too fast and not comprehending. Remember those reading programs where there were laminated cards with different colored headings? Or were they just in Catholic schools? You would be placed in a level to being with and then everyweek you'd read a card in that series and afterwards answer the questions. I remember being frustrated that I wasn't very good because other people were in way higher colors... This might have been about the time I started realizing one big aspect of my real personality. I go way too fast at almost everything. I don't think in those days they realized this about me. It came up first in Retail Management and Buying. "Slow Down!" was a common theme in reviews and actually still is.
I always have a book going. Only one at a time. The books I enjoy the most take me to a place I have never been. I love historical romances. These books usually are well researched about time time and place so while enjoying the story you also learn about how people lived and worked during that time. Needless to say I love English and Classic Literature.
Did I tell you that I was called up to become a FBI agent? Yep! One of my majors in college was in Criminology. After college, I had dated two FBI agents who got me interested in taking the tests and applying. In the end, I did not end up going to Quantico because I was getting married. Probably it was a good thing I did not join as I am hardly black or white in many things. I also love mysteries, detective series and forensic science stories.
Another week gone by. I think going forward, I will not be writing daily excerts have I have the past 6 weeks. I've enjoyed doing this, but feel that maybe you might be thinking that this is not an artful blog anymore and that is what I want it to be. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Happiness/Gratitude Check In Week 5

I have used this image many times in my art. Why? It brings back a special fond memory. For a very short time I had 2 cats named Bella. This Bella did not live long enough.
My Bella is always very serious. Here she is depicted that way. It is something about her eyes.

Jazz I got him the month after I moved to Oregon. He was in a cage at the pound and reached out for me. I was not looking for a black and white cat that day, but he did come home with me. Jazz likes "head action" and drinking from a running water faucet.

Bella the Gazebo Cat. She lived next door and started coming to visit me after having a litter of 5 kittens. I don't think there was enough peace, food nor attention at the other house.
She got what she wanted and needed at mine.

Jazz again. This day I found him in an open linen closet.

Bella in her backyard. This is my alpha female patrolling. These days, she guards the cat door most of her time. No raccoon dare come in the house!

This is a piece I did last year in my backyard. I call it Kitty Party. I think it is a fitting piece for this post as my house is a lifetime kitty party.

Minor things can become moments of great revelation when encountered for the first time.

*Margot Fonteyn

We tend to think it is the major events that mark our lives, when really it is the minor moments that resonate in memory. This week I am going to try to think/meditate on this idea and look at how the past has effected the present or maybe,

" Why am I the way I am?" "Why am I who I am?"

Sunday: For as long as I can remember, cats have been a major part of my life. They have been my good friends in good times and in bad. I've received them as gifts from friends and family. I have had kittens born on my pillow as I slept. I have had mother cats come to me for comfort and love. I now live with 3 black and white cats. I call them "the black and whites." They are all very different in personality. Cats have always fulfilled a mothering or nuturing need in me. They make me happy daily.
Monday: My Mother was a very special person. When she passed away from cancer when I was 40, I felt that I had lost that one person who loved me unconditionally. She appreciated the things that made me special and encouraged me in them. She instilled in me my high confidence level and that I could do anything I wanted to do. Since her death, I have lived without that one person in my life. I have missed her so much.
Mom encouraged me in needlework and in art. She was a wonderful role model in dealing with people. She did not gossip and was a very private person. She had an elegant style in both her home and in her person. She was a voracious reader and tended to read classic literature. She loved to travel and had a strong curiosity for history and place. I believe I inherited this from her and her zest for life. One of the biggest complements I remember giving her was that I would rather travel with my parents than with anyoner else as I had so much fun with them.
Tuesday: Did I tell you that I love the color red? Red anything. If it's red I'm attacted to it. Isn't that strange? As a department store buyer, I had to be cognizant of this prejudice so as not to buy red everything. My house reflects my taste in color. There is a splash of red in several of the rooms--not just a sprinkling or a focal point of red, but a splash! I did show restraint in painting the outside of the house but I have always been sorry that I didn't paint it red. I don't know when this started really. There were many red memories that I could point out, but it may have come to a head after college when I started working for an Advertising agency who had red cubicles and wooden floors with long Persian runners. It excited me. It still excites me.
Wednesday: I was always an athlete until maybe, 8 years ago. I suppose weight discouraged going forward. When I moved to Portland, I decided to start playing tennis again. I found a drill and play class and during the 2nd class I ruptured my achilles tendon. Shit! Then 2 years later I broke the same ankle--badly. I still have the attitude and walk of an athlete. I'm still energetic. I'm still competitive in my mind just not in my body. Now I attend a water aerobics class for exercise and walk to and from the bus stop and at lunch at work. WOW! Why did I let it go? I think I traded art in for it. It was a good trade.
Thursday: I have always loved lilacs. I always say they make me smile. I even met a boyfriend over them. Unfortunately, I can't smell as well as I used to. Friends have always laughed at my methods of obtaining them. Year around I stake out bushes in places that aren't on someones property. When May comes around, I steal lilacs. One day, about 7 years ago, Krystie and I were on our way to work and I told her to pull over as there was an abandoned house with a couple lilac bushes. It was 7:30 and we stopped and picked. Later that week, I stopped at the same house and picked a huge bunch only to be met by an older man on my way to the car. Needless to say, I was very embarassed and apologetic. I guess it wasn't an abandoned house after all. Now I actually have 3 bushes in my yard. Last year was the first year that I had a bloom. Very soon, I may not have to steel to feed my obsession! 2 more months!
Friday: I have collected rocks since I was in 2nd grade. At that time, we were living in North Dakota and that area was known big time for its' rocks. I remember my dad going hunting and bringing back a lot of big pieces of mica. WOW! were they fantastic. Unfortunately, for some reason, they didn't move with us and I have always lamented that. I remember going to a school where there were little "dinosaur bones" all over the playground. I would spend my time at recess looking for these small fossilized bones. My dad worked with a man who was a professional rockhound. I remember being very interested in him and his stories. We actually went out sapphire hunting with him at one point. My dad built sand sifters which was how you found them. My last early memory of rocks, was going on a trip to Mt. Rushmore and stopping at the souvenir shop and purchasing 3 colored glass rocks. I chose blue, green and red. I don't know what happened to them but they stayed with me for many many years. Through the years, I have continued to collect rocks and they have been getting progressively bigger. I look at them as natural art and feel that all of my rocks are beautiful. They are all over my house and my yard. Many friends and boyfriends have given me gifts of rocks. I never met a rock I didn't like.
Saturday: I have always been a sun person. Summers were spent laying out on the deck reading. A tan was a given. Since 5th grade, my family always had boats. At different times. we had a couple waterskiing boats and some cabin cruisers. I had friends in college who raced sailboats. For me, boating and sun go hand in hand. Later when I moved to Hawaii it was very easy to ease into Sun, Sand, Sea, not to mention Sensuous Tradewinds. Weekends found us at the beach and out in the convertible. I am still this girl.
So ends another week. It has been interesting looking at some of the things that have been important in my life. Granted I have only touched the surface and have decided to continue on this next week. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Favorites Now and Then

Don't you think it is interesting how we all have favorite pieces that we can always live with no matter how old they are? That's the thing about art. It really just matters whether you love it. Sometimes we don't even know why. When it is our own art it could be many things--how we felt that day or at that time in our life. It could also be the comments we got from others, whether it made it into a juried show, the colors, and many other things come into play. Here are some of my favorites and the various reasons I like them.

Newer favorite paintings

Gazebo Cat with Pussywillows always reminds me of Bella, the Gazebo Cat, who would get up in the bird feeder waiting for the birds. She thought she was invisable.

The Gathering I did 2 of these at the same time and both of them were good. One got an honorable mention award, the other got into WSO (this one.) I just like it.

Tree with a View is all about a feeling--fog and blurred colors. It was juried into the Beaverton Showcase and I remember feeling very proud.

A Safer Place has never been in any big show mostly because it has gold metallic paint splattered on it which is not allowed in many shows. This one has a lot of texture and a lot of depth. It was in a juried show at the gallery and the juror actually wrote a note on a post it and left it on it saying something about how with all the texture it was pulled together very well.

Shell Vase was done at a beach house one day. It was an exercise in taking chaos and making something with it. There was a brass vase there that had an interesting shape that spoke to me. I love the complementary colors, too. I lose myself everyday in this piece as it has been on my computer desktop since creating it.

Textured Lady IV was one of a series that has evolved through time. It was actually in The Oregonian advertising my show "Looking Back at Ya!" The hair is collaged using letters from my Mother and other colored stationery letters that I purchased at an estate sale. It was my favorite piece in the show.

Older favorite paintings

Nasturtium Madness I love nasturtiums in the garden. I tend to plant a lot of them so that at the height of summer my garden looks like a jungle out there. I will always keep this piece. It represents home to me.

Abstract Poppy This was one of the first watercolor paintings that I painted over. I don't even remember what the original painting was, but it adds to the end result in an interesting way.

Fauve Banana I was living in Hawaii and had just gone to a Fauvist art exhibit at the Met in NYC and did this banana painting on a plein air field trip with my watercolor class. I immediately was taken with it. Probably because it was fresh, quick and the color is good.

Croton, I This is not a very good photo of this piece--it's rather washed out. It is the first Croton I ever painted. I LOVE CROTON... This one is very primitive and really not very well executed. I like the color and how I felt on that day. Just as I was picking up to leave, it started to sprinkle and you can see the raindrop water marks on the background. Can't get rid of this.

Do you have favorites too?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happiness/Gratitude Check In Week 4

Home is where the heart is...
In a past life, I was a Victorian woman...

Where would you like to live?

This would be nice, wouldn't it?

This is interesting...

Ah, there's nothing like staying home for real comfort. *Jane Austen

I've been staying home a lot lately. There are a lot of reasons for it. The biggest reason is to save money. I have noticed through my life that if I go shopping, I end up wanting to buy something. I end up usually succumbing to the temptation. At one point in my early 30's, I started going to movies alone. This was a cost saving measure. I went to a movie instead of going shopping. I spent less money.

Monday: My housemate returned Saturday night. He had been on vacation in both Cypress and in Pakistan for the past 6 weeks. Yesterday, we spent the day together. First we went to lunch at Pho Van and then visited the Showcase Art Show at the Beaverton Library and checked out DVDs and books on tape. Then we went to Powell's and shopped and sat in the coffee shop and talked to a very nice couple about conspiracy theory. Then we stopped at a bakery off NW 23rd. After watching a couple DVds, we eased back into our old relationship and talked about intimacy issues (his) and relationship pitfalls (mine.) He accused me of dealing with meeting new men as a 35 year old. The way I used to. He suggested that I look at myself and my propective dates as we are now. Expectations, issues, wants and needs are very different. At 35, men were looking to marry, have kids, buy their first houses. Men at my age don't want or need any of that stuff. They don't necessarily need a long term relationship either. They may be just interested in variety. I have been looking at this in such a wrong way. No wonder I have been unsuccessful. It was definitely an "Ah, ha" moment. He's moving back to Oakland tomorrow. I will miss him and our talks. I have learned alot about myself through our talks.

Tuesday: This past weekend, I came to the conclusion that my cat, Bella, may have been walking better. The mega-dose anti-inflamatory may have worked. I need to call the vet and have him precribe a pill to give her daily. I am happy about this. She looks like such a little cripple when she walks and it would be great if this could improve.

Wednesday: I walked into the store today and right away noticed that all but one of my felted flower cards ($8.00) were gone. My first inclination was that they had been stolen---again... Someone stole 4 of them in December. At least it was someone with good taste. I immediately walked up to the register and went through the processed transactions and there was a transaction for 4 of them! WOW! It felt good and I was releaved that that hadn't been stolen after all.

Thursday: I actually met a new friend at the Heathman tonight after work. I like the atmosphere in the lounge as it's comfortable and "clubby." I found that if you go early enough before it get's busy, that they are not so irritated when you don't spend a lot. It was nice to get to know this lady a bit more. We talked about several things and in the end we left wanting to continue talking but her parking meter was calling.

Friday: Today I was called and asked to help with an art show being put on at an assisted
living home I had worked with in the past. Last year, we had done an art fair there to qualify for the gallery nonprofit status. I spoke briefly with the Cmmunity Outreach Director and told her I would send a lot of call to astists I'd done and received in the past plus other back up paperwork that she could borrow from. This would be a fun thing to work with in the future. I wish there was some money in it but these homes don't seem to have much for activities like this. Last year I had thought it might be interesting to give classes there. I didn't do anything about it. I wonder if there is an opportunity? It is just down the street and very convenient for me.

Saturday: I've been waiting for my tax return to arrive. I was hoping it would be here by now. I have a strong urge to go estate saling. I cannot conceive of going without money to spend. It has been so long since I have gone and I really do miss going. I love the hunt and the living vicariously by looking at how someone else lived and what they collected. I have so much stuff in my house that I have rarely gone looking to fill a void. Portland has a strong community of professional estate sale people. They are very respected and do a great job putting on a sale. It has been 2 years or more since I have gone very regularly. I used to go on a Friday or Saturday morning and start at 8 or 9 and be out till 1. My friend, Mary, who lives accross the street was also very enthusiastic about it. She has been in the same mind set as I recently feeling that she needs to subtract, not add to her belongings. I have found such great things! Oh, well... there is always another weekend. Estate Sales always made me happy.

So ends Week 4.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Felting Critique Session

The Felted hangings in 2009.

The felted wall hangings in '08.

A year after I learned to felt, I made these felted wall hangings for our PAC 08 Open Doors Show. The flowers are actually felted into the piece. I thought they were very pretty, the colors were good. They were also original. Something no one else was doing. I backed the felted, embroidered and beaded and added antique sequins pieces using felt for the wall hanging and attached them to Bell Pull hardware. The work I did was neat and clean.

I had high expectations for them. Since they took an inordinate amount of time to create I priced them originally at $75.00 and $45.00. I sold one at that first show and traded one to one of my friends.

So, in Jan 09, I had another show at a coffee shop and hung the pieces as they were and sold none. In March, I took the pieces home and sold several of them to my family for 1/2 price. (I warned them ahead of time that I needed the money!)

In fall, I took them to the gallery and none sold. For the 09 Open Doors Show, I changed the hardware to pretty twigs and used matching yarn to hang them with. I did this so I could lower the prices to maybe, $50.00 and $35.00 but still none sold.
It's time to retire these pieces... The shoppers voted. They did not pass.
So why did they not sell? Price? Too expensive for a gift? Too cute? Maybe the colors were too bright? What is it about them that made them not want to go home with someone?
What makes a good item good and a not so good item not so good?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Happiness/Gratitude Check In Week 3

New haircut. Much better shape and not too short!

Haircut from the back!

Nice side view--a good shape!

I am feeling better already!

Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world. * Lucille Ball

Check In:

Monday: I have been feeling an amazing lightness today. I think that finally getting back into the studio this past weekend cured me of some blahs that I had been experiencing lately. Sometimes I feel (as my Mother might have said) like a bump on a log. Walking outside at lunch was invigorating. It was sunny, clear, although cool. I have always been a "sun person." Hawaii was a good place to live for that. I have not been the type to be effected by the rain though. Cloudy and rainy days make me want to coccoon and be cozy inside.

Tuesday: Working fulltime has been a very nice thing for me. I feel less stressed about the time I have to get things done. I can just do it without worrying about what time it is. I have really been enjoying visiting with the volunteers. One of the reasons I needed to go fulltime was that I did not have the time to go over to the store and visit and help the volunteers. I didn't have time to get to know them. This is changing. Feeling more busy due to working longer each day feels better than getting home at 3:30 and watching TV and drinking coffee in the late afternoon. I am happy about that realization. In the spring/summer, I am sure that I will miss the early home arrival as I tended to go outside. I'll still be able to do that--only later in the day.

Wednesday: I have been looking in the mirror lately and feeling I really needed to do something with my hair. I wait 5 weeks between haircuts and felt 2 weeks ago I wanted to call my hairdresser. When I was telling Tracey what I wanted (a change and more shape--but not too short.) She said "Yep, you need a haircut, you're a hair farmer." I laughed and asked "A hair farmer?" She retorted, "Yes, you really grow hair..." This was an interesting concept. I felt that she was singling me out as a master gardener or something! LOL

Thursday: My tulip bulbs are pushing through! There also is a little color in my primrose bed! I love watching spring awaken. It is rather amazing how you can literally watch things grow from day to day. My front beds along my driveway have both red and yellow tulips planted in them. It was my plan to buy a couple bags each year to increase the amount and replace older bulbs. I haven't done that the last 2 years due to the lack of extra money. Last year my friend, Susan, gave me a Costco flat of primroses for my birthday, so I was able to increase the primrose bed nicely! For a couple of weeks the beds are very dramatic. I can't wait for the show. I do need to get out there and weed. It's jusst too cold.

Friday: Yesterday, I took my regular day off for my PAC Art Group meeting. After the meeting, I took my female cat, Bella, to the vet. She was injured in August and I am embarrassed to admit that I could not afford to take her to the vet. How many times have you gone to the vet and $1000.00 later you don't get your cat back or you do and you no longer have the money? This is a poor attitude, I know. Well. $300.00 later and I now know what is wrong with her. In lay terms, she has a jammed last disc on her back. It's just a little off. She was probably stepped on and she has managed to learn to get around fine. She isn't in pain any more. He gave her a major dose of anti-inflamatory and said that if it works, she should start walking better on her little back paws instead of on the big ones. Time will tell...
Saturday: I feel like I am not in control lately. It's not that I am living out of control, it's that I am not in the driver seat. This is happening on so many fronts that it is really effecting me. I guess the world is saying, "Lenall, you may be an alpha female but you can't always be the driver!" It's happening in my art group, it's happening at work, it's happening with a good girlfriend and with 2 different men. WOW. I guess I'm not happy about that. How can I spin it into a positive situation? What's good about not being in control? I guess, I'm learning self control , self discipline at being a more passive, accepting individual. I am learning and accepting the fact that it's not all about me and my wants and needs. I am learning to hold back as opposed to letting it all be out there. It's possible that people might like this person better, but I don't...but I guess I could be grateful for the lesson in humility.
Sunday: I got up at 5:00 am yesterday and went to the computer to see if I could figure out why my Turbo Tax e-file got rejected. I figured out what the problem was, but try as I would, I could not fix it. I called my brother, Paul, around 7:15 and he walked me through it and even he could not get rid of the issue. We decided that I needed to re-post the information into another return and then resend. That was accomplished by 12:00 am and it was accepted by this morning. I am grateful for that. This was my first experience with Turbo Tax. I have been going to H&R Block since 99. Couldn't afford it this year. This was a good process for me.
So ends week 3.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Help! I can't stop! More Valentine's

These first 3 Valentines were made from a piece of paper that I was using underneath my painting area during the past couple projects. I tested stamps, sprayed, cleaned brushes, etc. In the end, I just cut the sheet in 4 pieces and added a sparkly heart. Done.

This one I made using a gocco. (A Japanese printing press.)

These were enhanced monoprints.

These were made using a rubber texturizer you use to texture walls.

I think I will sit down, wrap them for tomorrow and address my own Valentine's so I can mail them this week!