Wednesday, October 31, 2012

White Sands white

Here is a picture taken at  White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. What this made me think about are the many shades of this  color. The dictionary defines white  as " having the color produced by  reflection of all the  rays of the solar spectrum".  That is an awesome thought to me.  
I make a series of handmade porcelain bowls that are white in appearance. In actuality, I use a clear  glaze over the clay.Because  the clay is white, this is the color the viewer sees when looking at my bowl. It is a warm color of white. This picture of the dunes appears to me  to be a cooler shade of white, but perhaps it is the blue sky above it that makes it appear so.
 Color can also take on a slightly different hue depending on what it is next to. Beige and tan  will have a different effect on this color than a bight, intense color. Kind of like life. It is not only what we think we see, or perceive.   It can be  influenced by  circumstance,a person,or an  event to which it is adjacent. What colors your life?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Connecting with Dorothea Dunn

I am on the road, visiting  Ruidoso , New Mexico. Finally I have  a good computer connection, and so  I get to write about what I have seen and learned. I guess this blog is really about the theme of connection.
 I had the most interesting discovery about a relative of mine. Her name is Dorothea Dunn, and she is my father's first cousin, so I guess she is my second cousin. I visited a  beautiful and informational museum, the Hubbard  Museum of the American West, in Ruidoso Downs.  It has an  emphasis on the Native American peoples of the west, plus other examples of western memorabilia. 
As I rounded a corner,there was this photo and information about my cousin, Dorothea, at a young age. I had heard  about her from my aunt, but  did not  know much about her. She came from Kansas, where my Dad's people are from, to teach art at the  Santa Fe Indian School in the 1930's. I learned know she herself was an artist. I had always wondered where my artistic passion came from in my family. She helped such well known artists as Allen Hauser, and others, reach a wider audience. Dorothea  wrote a definitive book on Native art, a big thick book that I have on my shelf , but have never read. When I look at the picture on the back cover, it is like looking at my father in female form. Travel brings us unexpected rewards, like connecting with ourselves, through those who came before us.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hair Do

I seem to be on a wave  with my folk art ceramic pictures. Here is yet another in the  series, entitled "Hair Do". I have always liked to work with the human aspect in clay. Sometimes I really want to be representational.With this piece, I prefer giving  a  somewhat abstract interpretation. I want  to have fun creating it, and I hope  you  smile when you see it. Why not be happy looking at  a piece of art we put on display?
 It can also be  a functional piece of ceramics The lady's head opens the container. Voila, you can fill her up with your treasures. Once again, it is all hand made with porcelain slabs, then glazed in its turquoise and pink polka dots.Then comes a primitive firing to make her glaze crackle and her inside dark and mysterious.  Finish her off with a "do" made of horsehair, and here is a unique creation.  People often  ask me where I get these ideas . Hmm. Some dark recess of my creative mind I guess. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Horse Box

Writing about my kitty box made me realize that I really do like to put animals on my artwork. This piece is entitled the " Horse Box", and is a handmade porcelain container, with lid. It  measures about seven by ten inches, with tail and mane. For this vessel I chose a red and celadon green color scheme. Who says my critters can't be any color I choose to make them? Naturally, being a horse, it has to have a tail and mane, and what better material to use than the real thing? I do like to make art that can make the viewer smile. 
When I recently redid my website, at
I put in a section entitled Masks and Folk Art. I consider folk art to be about things in everyday life, often created in a somewhat primitive style. I went to look up a better definition in my art history books, and I could not find one. So this is my definition and my Horse Box  is an example of  my folk art. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Turquoise Kitty Box

I have been hanging around kitty cats lately. I started putting them on my ceramics before I ever really knew any personally. This one has a nice turquoise color. That may not your usual color for a cat, but I  get to go into my imagination with my cat ceramics.Plus I like to make you smile when you look at my " critter" art. 
 Of  course it has to have whiskers, so I make mine using snippets of  horsehair. It is a hand made vessel, rather than wheel thrown. I like the irregularity of using  hand rolled slabs of porcelain clay  for this particular series. I've made a red cat box too. Different colors will resonate with different viewers.
Kind of like cats, I guess. Some are all one color. Others  have stripes, and there is even one called a tuxedo cat that looks like it is dressed in evening clothes. Not only is it color we notice, but personality. Some cats like human touch a lot. Others, I have noticed, will receive  the human hand,but only  on their own terms. Size is not uniform either. Seeing a lion in the wild is to notice some of the same amusing kitty mannerisms we enjoy in the tabby cat.We  don't  forget the element of raw  power based on their sheer size and strength.
 The more I write about cats, the more I think I am writing about different people I have encountered in life. We are all so connected, aren't we? 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The blue green

The blue green of the ocean; of nature; of my ceramics. Color is something that  reaches out to people, I have noticed. First there is a recognition of the form, but a visceral reaction comes from the color we are seeing. I guess it can bring up a mood; a memory; reflection, or something that hopefully makes us feel better from that visual. If a person sees my bowl  and smiles, well then we have that first connection.The second connection is when they buy it, the ultimate compliment for an artist.  
 I hope they are also admiring the shape and all the little decorative touches I have added to my porcelain configuration.The rough exterior with the brownish stain adds another color, but also works to contrast that turquoise hue. 
In the art world, one must have a signature to their work, a recognizable  style. This is one of the things a gallery wants in order to carry your work.That way, people have an idea of what that artist is known for, and how to find them.  I think this shape, and especially this color, is one of  my signature pieces. It does not displease me. I like the color and feeling of my blue green  ceramics. You can even call it turquoise! Enjoy.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Art and the Ocean

Here is a recent view of the Pacific ocean at sunset. I really enjoyed the ebb and the flow of the tides. I did some body surfing, and I noticed that coming into shore is  relatively easy. It is the current that then pulls you out to sea that is the forceful one .
So it seems with the creative process. There is an ebb and a flow to most art work. I tried  to go against the current last night, and I got my hand slapped. The ceramics broke. All my hard work must  be thrown away.   I know before I do my primitive firing that the clay must be at least  warm. Then the difference between the temperature going into the fire is not such a shock to the clay body. But I wanted to do it right then, so I tried could going  against the current. Crack. The clay did Not like that sudden shock. So it seems like not staying with the knowledge that I have, be it ocean tides or heat variables, gets me into the undertow of life , or art. Lesson learned. 
 I got up this morning and preheated all my remaining pieces before they went into the flames. I was rewarded by no breakage, and some lovely pieces. Masks; plaques; and platters. Next I will decorate these unfinished creations,  and show you some finished pieces in the future. All in the right timing, or current of my creativity.