Art Talk with: Me!

Friend and fellow artist Larry "Poncho" Brown invited me to be on his internet radio show, which is part of the "Marketing Pulpit".  Previous guests have included many accomplished African American artists, so I was honored to have been asked.  Larry and I have known each other for years, and I admire both his work and his marketing knowhow.  Here is our conversation, which ranges from when I was 7 years old with that now famous box of 64 Crayola crayons to my current Square Marketplace store.  Enjoy!

Marketing Pulpit - Baltimore (MPI-BALT) 03/18 by Marketing Pulpit International | Marketing Podcasts


Creation of a Commission: "Three Part Harmony"

My dear friends Sherrie and Ian are also collectors of my work. Recently, they commissioned me to create a piece of art for their spectacular new home, directing me to "do whatever you want" (Sherrie), and "do something you've never done before (Ian).  Those were the only parameters.  At first, it seemed an easy task, with free rein to create.  As I began to think about it though, that free rein seemed dauntingly limitless (although I knew there were size considerations, given where the piece would hang).  The instruction to do something I'd never done before was even more potentially intimidating--what would that be?

Fairly quickly, I settled upon creating three separate columnar forms which would relate to each other.  And, because I knew they would be hung in a stairway, I used two sizes:  the central column is 48"x 6"x 3" and the two side columns are 36"x 6"x3".  Stan built them, I gessoed each, then added two layers of tissue paper to provide a varied, textured surface.  So far, so good!  Next, I had to decide upon the color palette and what I call THE IDEA (all caps, because it was to be the unifying element of the piece; its raison d'etre).  The color palette decision was relatively easy.  THE IDEA was not. 

My usual practice of envisioning at least the general concept of a piece before beginning it didn't work this time; I was well into its structural realities before the complete visual concept dawned--I was putting the proverbial cart before the horse.  I struggled with the (to me) backward nature of this process, and many weeks went by with this facing me on the studio wall: 

center column painted...now what?
As I was coming up with ideas and rejecting them in my mind's eye, I explored the work of fiber, ceramic, and mixed media artists for a bit of inspiration (thanks, Pinterest and Sharon DiGiulio!).  Slowly, but surely, THE IDEA took shape (after a couple of wrong turns, elements of which could work for other projects, so I've saved them). Once I decided to add separate, flat MDF panels containing their own mixed media compositions to each column: voilĂ ! I was off and running.  It's such an invigorating moment when THE IDEA finally dawns, and it's right! 
The result is "Three Part Harmony," which combines MDF, paper, wood, acrylic paint and inks, iron oxide, gelatin prints and polymer: mixed media for sure!  I am so pleased with the way it turned out.  Ian and Sherrie were thrilled, which also makes me happy. 
As with each piece, there are lessons learned.  This one showed me that "backwards" isn't always wrong (!), and eventually, with enough work, trial and error, and belief, THE IDEA will indeed present itself. 
Thanks, Sherrie and Ian; I hope you'll love it as much as I loved creating it for you. 
on studio wall

in situ, looking across second floor balcony

Three Part Harmony and Red 11 (by my husband, Stan Petelinz)

my favorite shot, looking up from the first floor


Squareup.com Market Feature

I've just updated my Squareup.com store, and will feature items here on the blog periodically.  Today's feature:  "Inspiration:  Block Print".  To purchase, use the link below, or the "order online" button in the column at right. 

I enjoyed the process I used to make this 11.5"x24" wall hanging.  My challenge was to create a foam stamp large enough to accommodate the design I wanted on both the background and the clay elements. Once that was done, (you can read more about the process here) I settled upon this vibrant color scheme, and voilĂ ! 

Fun fact: this piece got its "15 Minutes of Fame" last summer, when it was featured on the publicity poster for the African American Cultural Festival of Raleigh and Wake County! 

on Square Market


A Different Kind of Christmas

This year, instead of exchanging our usual amount of gifts, our family adopted a charter school in Durham, NC which didn't have a library.  The school, Reaching All Minds Academy (RAM), has grades K-3, and when it opened last August, only 25 of the 122 students in the school could read.  The staff has been working diligently to remedy the situation, and now, 5 months later, 40% of the students are reading at or above grade level.  That's remarkable progress, and they know there's much more work to do, and we all decided to assist in that effort. 

Our Wake County Library has a huge yearly book sale, around Christmastime, where thousands of books are made available to the public at extremely discounted prices.  So, Melanie and I got up early on the Saturday morning of the sale, and ventured out to see if we could find enough books to stock the RAM library. Knowing there were 122 students, we were excited by the prospect of giving a book to each student to keep, and we were also looking for reference books for the library, including multicultural, science, math, and history titles.  We split up, gathered books, and came back together to see what we'd chosen.  Amazingly, we had almost no duplicates, and we'd fulfilled our lists pretty well.  That day, all books for children were $1, including dictionaries, atlases and large picture books...a great deal!  We filled 6 large boxes.  Included were many of our sons' favorites, and we loved reminiscing about reading to them, and having the boys read to us, oh so many years ago (Melanie's twins Cameron and Colin are 26, and my son Jordan is 21).  We loaded up my SUV, and on the way home, began talking about how great it would be to REALLY stock the library.  And, though we were pretty exhausted from our 5 hours of choosing books, we couldn't resist the allure of Sunday's pricing:  boxes of books, no matter how many:  $5.  We returned to the sale on Sunday, stood in a long line, gathered even more books (including a few for ourselves), and ended up with over 300 books!

On Christmas day, everyone pitched in to categorize and wrap books.  Jordan designed a bookplate with the RAM logo, and we placed one in each book for a student to keep.  Thinking the  children would love opening a surprise, we gift wrapped the kindergarten and first grade books, then ran out of energy!  We agreed the older kids would probably prefer choosing their own books (which was also a way NOT to have to wrap about 60 more books), and we all enjoyed this fun day of sharing, stories, and more reminiscing about favorites.  Colin, who is a filmmaker, shot this video of us around our dining room table having a great time! 


Last week, Melanie and I delivered the books to RAM, and there were excited squeals, big smiles, choruses of "Thank You," and happy faces all around when the children unwrapped their books. I explained about the bookplate, the first graders busily wrote their names in their books, and began to read. We visited the two kindergarten classes next, and watched as they too eagerly opened the books and sat down to read.  The grand opening of library was scheduled for the next morning, and everyone would see Colin's video as part of the program.  Unfortunately, neither Melanie nor I could be there for it, but we heard it was a rousing success.

So, that was Christmas 2014 for the Davis/Jones/Holmes/Petelinz family.  We loved this project; having everyone involved, sharing time together on Christmas day, laughing (lots of it!), remembering when the boys were learning to read, and knowing that what we would have spent on gifts for each other was used to give the wondrous gift of reading...what could be better than that? 
'Wonder what we'll do next year?  


"It's All in the Details"

As promised, here are the images from our featured artists' reception on First Friday.  Jeanne Rhea, Sharon DiGiulio and I had fun meeting people and talking about our work.  The resident artists and new gallery owner Allen L. Clapp were on hand for the grand opening, which made for a lively crowd.  And to top it all off, when the evening was over, I had sold two pieces! 

"It's All in the Details" will be at 311 Gallery at 311 West Martin Street, Raleigh until Saturday, January 24th. 

Thanks to my good friends and fellow artists Jeanne and Sharon for being willing to take the leap with me...I hope we'll be able to do it again soon!

Posing in the front display window...those 24"x24" pieces look great!

One of my walls, filled with Inspiration: Wax-Print bowls

One of Jeanne's walls, with her alcohol ink and resin pieces

Posing again, under Sharon's doll pieces


Out with the old, in with the new...

As you can tell from the date of my last entry, I've been too busy to post.  As I gaze across the studio on this, the final day of 2014, I'm reminded of the past year, and I look forward to what's to come. 

First up will be my gallery show with friends and fellow mixed media artists Jeanne Rhea and Sharon DiGiulio.  Our show's entitled "It's All in the Details," and includes over 100 pieces.  The show will be the first of the year in the new 311 Gallery in downtown Raleigh, which opens on First Friday (January 2nd).  Here are some shots of us hanging the show last Monday, and our publicity piece. 

There'll be more images to come after the opening.  If you're in the area, I hope you'll join us; it'll be a fun evening.  Address:  311 West Martin Street, Raleigh.  First Friday hours:  6pm to 9pm. 


Opening Reception: cimos

Next on my November to Remember calendar is the opening reception for my work in cimos, Raleigh.  If you're in the area, I'd love to see you on November 7th!  The reception is part of downtown Raleigh's First Friday celebration, so there'll be many artsy happenings to explore.  The collage shows a sneak peak of some of my work in the gallery, including my newest alcohol ink paintings, the "Waves of Nirvana" series.  Thanks to the fabulous Amy Griffith, cimos owner, for featuring my work, which will be up through January, 2015. 
See you on Friday night!