Sunday Espresso A Contribution For The #twitterartexhibit

From March 20th to April 11 at the CityArts Factory, Magic Gallery in Orlando, Florida something magical will happen. The 3rd (now seemingly) annual #twitterartexhibit will take place to raise money to benefit The Center for Contemporary Dance for their special needs classes.

In a nutshell

#twitterartexhibit puts out the call for amateur and professional artists to create 2D art the size of a postcard. The art pieces are then sent (in this case) to the Center for Contemporary Dance in Orlando. Each postcard becomes a part of an the exhibition at the CityArts Factory to be auctioned to the the public in a fund raiser. All the proceeds this year will help the dance center’s special needs classes.

International art exhibition raises money

In the past #twitterartexhibit has helped raise money for a program in Los Angeles for young adults of underprivileged backgrounds to train for carers in the visual arts. In 2012 #twitterartexhibit helped raised needed funds for a women’s crisis center in Moss, Norway.

Who can participate

Any artists, amateur to professional can participate. The submission deadline is February 21, 2014. You can find the details on #twitterartexhibit website.

Sunday Espresso

My contribution Sunday Espresso is the first I’ve sent to this exhibition. I hope its homey vibe with the table and vase with poppies, echinasea and Solomon’s seal will be popular. I wanted to invoke a feeling of safety and comfort with an invitation to sit down at the table to have a cup of coffee.

a painting of a vase on a tabel and two cups of coffee

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Cho Ku Rei and Bamboo

I enjoy carving linoleum blocks in the traditional style with sparse subjects and simple lines. The original inspiration was the bamboo plant. Watching a show one day on the television I was amazed to learn that bamboo wood is the strongest wood in the world.

Bamboo is used for anything imaginable from roofing materials to piping. There are a few varieties of voracious grower climbs towards the sky 30 inches per day. A member of the perennial evergreens and grasses this tree/grass is a vital building material for much of Asia.
Linoleum block with Reiki symbol carving

Reiki Inspiration

This ancient Japanese Reiki symbol you see here is called Cho Ku Rei pronounced “Cho-Koo-Ray”. The symbol is used to increase your energy flow as well as for protection. It is a symbol of power but not intended to create someone powerful. Reiki is never used for ill or bad intentions.

I thought the symbol and bamboo made a lovely print and so it was carved.

Cho Ku Rei and Bamboo

Reiki symbol Cho Ku Rei print

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Daffodils in Winter

You see them available for sale in the market, banks and home improvement stores in January. Closed pale cream buds on slender green stems held together ten in a bunch by a rubber band. Daffodils in winter make me happy. My husband knows that roses don’t impress me on Valentine’s Day as much as daffodils in winter do. The first organic vibrant yellow light that emanates from daffodils in my home is such a moral booster.photograph of daffodils

In this cold season
when ice on the river cracks
yellow buds bring hope.
– L.M. Gildersleeve

I pose the flowers in full bloom in various vases for effect. Dark colored backdrops make the blooms glow brightly. Daffodils create a showcase as beautiful as any painting would do and I enjoy capturing daffodils in winter.photograph of daffodils in bloom

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
-A. A. Milne

photograph of daffodils

“The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts
well out of proportion to their size.” ~Gertrude S. Wister

photograph of a daffodils in a clear vase

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Twilight At The Oaks

Twilight At The Oaks is another inspired piece. I’ve always admired the work of illustrator and painter Maxfield Parrish. I grew up with a poster of Daybreak, that iconic landscape framed by two Greek pillars while one women lay resting on her back on the ground and another leans over her hands on knees talking to her. My parents drove 30 minutes away just to drive past the home and farmhouse in Cornish, NH he called The Oaks where he lived and worked until his death in 1966.

Local libraries are great resources

Just recently I was in our local library looking for a book of Monet landscapes when I came across a book entitled Maxfield Parrish The Landscapes by Alma Gilbert. After reading about Parrish’s life and his love of working with landscapes alone, I fell in love with twilight’s light all over again. I see the same light often because I still live in the region of Parrish’s home.

Twilight at the Oaks

One particular painting entitled Twilight, (1935) caught my eye. It is a painting of a white farmhouse and barn caught in the blue glow of coming night. The oaks behind the house and outbuildings tower of the structures as dark as green can become. In the distance a mountain stands, most likely the model was Mount Ascutney which Parrish could see from his home. The mountain hides the setting sun and the sky along the horizon and over the roof tops are light pale orange yellow that disappears as the blue night comes down from the heavens.
What I have to show today is a lino cut of my rendition inspired by the painting.

linocut of a house and trees
By the way, I tried to find Twilight (one of several paintings with this same name) on Google images but could not. The original painting is in a private collection.

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The Bee House

This acrylic painting is of a building called the Bee House. The Bee House was the subject of a photograph I found in a book about Shaker design called Shaker Built by Paul Rocheleau and June Sprigg. I’ve always admired the design and architecture of the Shaker people. Their simplicity and functionality for their every day farming practices, house keeping tools and buildings was truly ingenious.

A Little History

The Bee House is located in the Shaker Village Museum in Canterbury, New Hampshire. I fell in love with this image of the Bee House right away. The setting of late afternoon in winter is stunning. The Bee House and surroundings glow with a rosy light from a waning sun. The Bee House history is as simple as its design. Built in 1837 and used as a drying shed for lumber. In 1865 it became the bee keeper’s shed. Now in a new location closer to the main barn in the Shakers Village it serves as a milk house.

Painting of the Bee House in Canterbury New Hampshire.

Painting of a yellow house in winter

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Picasso’s Cat

Inspiration for Picasso’s Cat

Every Saturday the artist Fernando Guel posts images on his Facebook page pictures of cats. One such day he posted a black and white image of Picasso holding his tabby cat. In a flash I got to thinking about Picasso’s cat and what he would look like. My brain went even further and wondered if his cat saw the world as Picasso did? Was the cat’s milk bowl made up of geometric shapes other than a circles? To say the least, my brain nearly exploded thinking about these things.

What happened?

I dreamt of Picasso’s Cat in detail. What I saw in those dreams were not what I expected. Instead of seeing a cat made up of triangles and squares, I saw a blue cat shaped a bit comically with a heavy bottom. He was solid blue with eyes that were not symmetrical and crooked whiskers. The light blue vase and two red poppies next to him looked fairly normal too. But the wall behind him was made of a patchwork of red, yellow and orange hues. The four window panes on the wall were also skewed but were light blue as a summer’s day.Picasso's Cat

What’s next

I’ve named the cat a nice masculine name. Claude was inspiration enough to start work on another piece. I’m thinking Picasso needs a dog or maybe a chicken. Doesn’t this man look like he needs more animals?the artist Pablo Picasso holding a cat

Blue cat painting shown on acrylic blocks
My Picasso’s Blue Cat painting found in Redbubble.

Visit Lasgalen Arts on Redbubble to find Picasso’s Blue Cat on acrylic blocks as shown above and on other quality products.

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Pear Tree

My black and white pear tree photograph is one of my personal favorites. It was taken on a drizzly December day after I had noticed there were pears still hanging on the tree. The only camera I had with me at the time was my plastic Holga. If you are unfamiliar with the Holga brand please do not feel left out. Unless you are a photography geek you probably have not heard about them.

The Holga

A Holga is a plastic “toy” like camera with a fixed plastic lens. Because it is made with plastic all kinds of characteristics can develop between taking the pictures in different light levels and more. Some cameras produce light leeks. This means light leeks into the camera body through cracks in the camera body. My camera produces vignetting which leaves the edges of the photography blurry.

It’s the beauty of the plastic camera, you never know what you’ll have after the film is developed. And because the camera uses medium format film the negatives are larger and the photos can be sharper to view.

The pear tree is probably the most hauntingly beautiful image to come from my Holga. Though I will post more photographs from this camera in coming blog posts I chose this one to start off the series.

black and white photo of a pear tree

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Purple Butterfly Pea

Inspiration for flowers

The Purple Butterfly Pea was inspiration born out of cold winter days. I have many artists who I admire but none more than George O’Keeffe for her floral abstract paintings. Ms. O’Keeffe’s use of colors, fluid style and intimate perspectives set her apart from the norm of her day. The quote below is my first encounter with Georgia O’Keeffe’s unique way of looking at nature.

“Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time – like to have a friend takes time.”

My personal favorite is O’Keeffe’s Jimson Weed 3 (shown below) which shows three white jimson weeds and one bud. I love the motion she conveys in her paintings. The “flow” of paint strokes giving her subjects depth is something I admire greatly.Georgia O'Keeffe's Jimson Weed 3

Purple Butterfly Pea

My Purple Butterfly Pea, Clitoria mariana, wasn’t a live subject but one I found in my National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers. Honestly, it wasn’t until I looked up a more in depth description had I noticed the latin name of this flower. How ironic I chose a flower with a provocative name when being inspired by Georgia O’Keefe. I wonder if Ms. O’Keeffe would have found this amusing.painting of a butterfly pea
If you ever find yourself in New Mexico I highly recommend the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Sante Fe.

My lovely butterfly pea painting looks great on this throw pillow sold on Zazzle.com. Or visit my Redbubble store to see this same painting on prints, clothing, bags and more.

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Abstract Pipes

Inspiration for Abstract Pipes

Abstract Pipes became an idea while I was underneath my kitchen sink. Seeing the straight lines and neat corners of the pipes got me thinking. As man has ever sought to control his world, he does so with precision as nature would have done. Though built to last, pipes or buildings crumble eventually into urban decay. In a strange way decay can be beautiful too and this is what I tried to capture in Abstract Pipes.

Process

Underneath the woven acrylic paint are golden pipes. These pipes can be seen in the four rectangular “windows” found on this piece. The red, orange and yellow lines are interconnected are the organic structure with white lines stitched in vertical and horizontal lines holding everything together.
mixed media abstract painting
I enjoy working on abstracts. There is a certain freedom available to the artist for expression. Abstracts seem to have their own language which some people can understand and other can not. As an amateur I make mistakes however, in my heart I know I’ve hit the mark with Abstract Pipes.

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Cat in the Window

Cat in the window

The cat in the window is very happy. Kitty sits on a window ledge in front of a frosty window. The ice looks like stars on a glass. This mono print in light blue was made from a carved linoleum block. I can envision the cat in the window is sitting in a room warmed by a wood stove. As the snow is falling heavily from the sky, the world is quiet and peaceful.

Process

Generally I draw out the design on the lino block before starting to carve however, this time I went with my imagination to guide knife. There was another challenge I had to overcome. I wasn’t sitting a cozy room with a wood stove but my less than warm studio.

I’m not a vain person, just one that washes the hair in the morning and goes. I do own a hair dryer but not for drying my hair. I use a hair dryer to warm up those hard grey lino blocks. Though the linoleum becomes softer, they are not as soft as the pink sheets available. I could at least get by without cramping my hands from the resistance of knife on block.

The results

blue cat linocut

The delft blue color makes the cat pop from the window. I really like how Cat in the Window came together when printed. It is fun to carve a block now and again and take a break from the paint. For fun I’ve added this print to greeting cards, notebooks and more. You can find the entire line in the Cat in the Window gallery.

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