Show Report: Columbia Festival of the Arts 2015

Our first show of the season has come and gone, and it was a fairly good one.  This was our 4th consecutive year, and I was honored to have one of my "Leaf Dance" pieces included in the pre-show publicity, which was very cool (thanks, Maria Satyshur!). 

I always create something new each year, and this year's addition to my collection was my alcohol ink paintings, cards, and pendants.  They were received very well, and people seemed fascinated by the processes I use to create them.  I often forget that what I take for granted in terms of art supplies and techniques can be extremely interesting to people who aren't familiar with them.  Happily, there are many women, as well as a young man of about 8 years old, who are now proud owners of my art-to-wear alcohol ink pendants.  The young man insisted to his parents that he wanted it, despite their assurances that he would "probably see something else here that you'll want more".  Clearly, he didn't, and I congratulated him on getting what he said he wanted.  

Also new this year are my 4'x 6"x3" wall hangings.  Stan custom made the three box panels from MDF.  I love this new size; it allows me to either paint directly upon the surface, or add another MDF panel onto the box.  I chose the theme of "Duara," the Swahili word for circle for each, and created them as separate entities (unlike "Three Part Harmony," the commissioned piece of similar size and shape).  I'm pleased that "Duara, Copper and Ultramarine" (see right) has found a new home, with a Wellesley classmate who lives in Maryland.  We reconnected on Facebook, and she came to the show, and fell in love with the piece.  Thanks, so much, Leigh and J.P.! 

Here are some late afternoon booth shots from the show, with the two other Duaras; on the outside front panel of the booth, and on the left wall.

Next up:  our 11th appearance at Festival for the Eno, on July 4th weekend.  Stay tuned.



Tribal Pods

What do I get when I mix doodling with the very cool Strathmore Toned Gray greeting cards? 
My new, Tribal Pods card line! 
Like many artists, I've always drawn "aimlessly" while talking on the phone, or listening to music, or in class, and sometimes, that drawing is not aimless at all.  In the past, I've used this as a way to work out design problems, and to test out new motifs for my "Inspiration:  Wax-Print Fabric"work.  Recently, while waiting for a customer service representative on the telephone (and you know how long that can take!), I began drawing on a circle template I'd cut from a piece of card stock.  The wait was long enough for me to complete it, add color and details (and yes, I finally did get to speak to someone who was able to help me), and when I looked at it, I realized it had interesting design possibilities. 

the first "doodle"
I created my first card on the Strathmore Toned Gray paper, using Sharpie ultra fine and fine markers and colored pencils for detail.  And, because of course the card had to have its own special envelope, I did a variation of the design on the front side.  That was the beginning; I've done several sets of cards and envelopes, and created a large envelope to hold them, and given them the name:  Tribal Pods. 

When I posted my first set of four cards on Facebook, the response was great, and I got an order (thanks, Sharon)!  So, I'm planning to produce more and debut them at my first show of the season, the Columbia Festival of the Arts in June. 

Tribal Pod card set:  4 cards, 4 envelopes


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