Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Anything Can Be A Canvas

This is one post I'm excited about and I'll share with you why. My parents had an old wooden door on the back of their house to the basement and it had rotted out from water damage. My husband went to the task of removing the door and replacing it with a new one. Once he had finished, he started to carry the door to be placed with the other trash. I stopped him and said, "Let's not throw the door away, let's see if we can re-purpose it!". A new artist friend of mine came to my mind, ....Ah, Joyce Thornburg! She paints on anything, doors included, I thought. I'll give her a call. Sure enough, Joyce was delighted to hear I had a wood door for her to paint on if she wanted to and she did.

Click here for my previous post on Joyce's work: Asheville's River Arts District And It's Talented Artists

Joyce had a recent art exhibit with a 1800's farmhouse door she had painted and it was well received. She calls herself the compulsive painter, she'll paint on anything and it's paying off! You'll see what I mean later on in this post, but for now I thought it would be nice to journey Joyce's process of this recycled door for you.

Here's is Joyce Thornburg with my parent's old wood basement door ready for her to paint.

My husband had to cut off the bottom of the door since it had water damage. Here the door is actually shown upside down.

I recently visited Joyce's studio during the River Arts District Art Studio and Stroll. And I was so happy to see the re-purposed finished beautifully painted door!

Joyce's brightly light sun-infused art studio at the River Arts District in Asheville, NC.

A close up of the painting on the door.

With Joyce's willingness and talent to paint on anything, along with her artistic vision, she has been commissioned by a local green builder to paint a door for his recent custom-built house in thriving West Asheville!

Here's the new commissioned door for a green custom-built home.

The above commissioned door with be installed at this new home. Here's the write-up about the green home for sale.

Way to go, Joyce! From just having fun painting on everything to getting a new start on commissioned doors for custom-built homes right here in our mountain city of Asheville, NC!

To find out more about Asheville's River Arts District, click here; River Arts District

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A Look At Fall Leaves in Asheville, NC

Hello again! Hope you've had a great Autumn this year. Since I live here in beautiful Western North Carolina, I thought I'd share with you photos and videos for your enjoyment. One warm Fall day we took our daughter over to the Botanical Gardens at Asheville right next to UNCA to walk in the leaves and through the stream. Did we ever had such a great outing and it's right here in town, yes, I know we are spoiled. If you get the chance while in Asheville, it's worth the visit to the Asheville Botanical Gardens. There is a nice walking path around the gardens, not too long at all. Great areas to stretch out on a blanket or pick your favorite private bench. But the best part, is walking down along the stream and hopping on river rocks! Yes, grab your water shoes and get prepared for loads of fun river rock hopping or just sit and soak up some sunshine.

Here's our photos from our Autumn outing on a warm sunny day. And I've included a few videos of the mountains showing off their colors this Fall. Enjoy!

A Fall beautiful day. Colors just beginning to show.

The pathway begins.

Lots of yellows and golds.

Now the pathway winds.

A bench for you!

A lovely wood bridge over the stream.

Time to put on the water shoes.

The gentle stream in all of it's glory.

Close up of the water.

Walking on the river rocks. Oh, did I add my husband loves to take butt shots?

A child's delight.

Sitting on a fallen tree over the water.

 What fun, a day at the Asheville Botanical Gardens!

Here's a youtube video of Western North Carolina's Fall Leaf 
Color 2011. Enjoy!

And another video of fall color:

Asheville Early Fall Color, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina Mountains

Friday, November 04, 2011

How Was Your Halloween? Here's Ours.

Greetings from wacky West Asheville!  Do you remember your childhood Halloweens? I got to thinking about my own childhood Halloween experiences, as I was just leaving to take my daughter trick-or-treating.

I grew up West Asheville when it was still a small community, separate from the main city of Asheville. The city street I lived on was a traditional neighborhood with a wide street of different sized bungalow and arts and craft style homes situated close together. Back then, I won't say how far back, we all knew each others' kids and pets. It was the time most families were still one car families, so the streets weren't packed with vehicles like they are now. I walked or rode my bike to the main road at the end of the street to get something needed for my Mom and after school picked up my candy at the dime store. Located off the main street was a bakery, doughnut shop, rock shop, hardware store, library, and etc. The street is still lined today with maple trees that arch over to form a tunnel of great shade in the summer and is a showcase of Autumn beauty when the leaves turn from green to yellows, oranges and reds. And the fun part, as a kid, was walking or riding my bike through all those leaves in the fall.

When Halloween came, my Dad took me out trick-or-treating along our street. Naturally, as a kid, all I cared about was the candy, but it was great to see our neighbors as well as to get to compare costumes with the other kids in the neighborhood.  The elderly people on our street were so delighted to see how I'd grown from year to year. It's been a fond memory of mine as an adult, even remembering the years when it rained on Halloween night and walking through wet leaves to get that treasured candy!

Now, to the present, and young, new families have moved into the neighborhood and on our street, remodeling and updating the old bungalows of the 20's and 30's and creating a whole new vibe on a once dying street. These families go all out for Halloween, decorating like crazy and putting out tons of Halloween lights, graveyards in their front yards, skeletons and various other Halloween decorations to the max! They invite friends over to sit on their porches (yes, we still have porches in the South!), to watch what is about to happen that night.

About 6pm, cars and families, all dressed up in their Halloween costumes (including many parents), flood our street! Literally, thousands come. At times you can't walk on the sidewalks for all the people and you wind up walking the street. It's an event, our West Asheville Halloween night. We still get to see our new neighbors as well as the old and my daughter had the pleasure of seeing some of her classmates, while walking up and down the street. But most of the people are from other parts of the city or from the county areas. But we don't mind one night of crowds.  A police officer was there, watching the crowd and giving out stickers to the kids and the crowd was well behaved. One home gave out popcorn in little bags and showed a movie in their yard. We really enjoyed ourselves and are still amazed about how these homeowners knock themselves out, decking their homes and yards in Halloween decorations.  Here are some of our photos from this annual event.

First of all, my precious 6 yr. old daughter in her fairy costume that she designed herself.

Getting a bag of popcorn and do you see the white chairs set up for movie time?

Here we go, off to the next house!

Walking down the sidewalk, see the leaves and our lovely maples?

A neat jack-o-lantern with a scene of an owl on a bare tree branch in the light of a full moon. Hats off to that pumpkin carver!

Street packed with cars and people!

Look at this decorated yard!

The other side of the same yard!

Another house that goes all out with lights and decorations.

And the other side of their yard.

What were your childhood memories of Halloween? Or your present experiences with your kids or grand kids? Would love to hear them, Allison.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Grand Funk, do you remember?

Another painting completed, would you be interested in seeing this one? "Grand Funk" is full of vibrant color, lines and texture. Don't you just love vivid  rich blues, purples, reds and little touch of warmth add from the yellows to the oranges? I do. This abstract painting has movement with a blue texture grid running through the painting. What does it make you think of, a railroad, perhaps? I gave the pleasure of naming this painting to my husband, Mike. Thus, the name "Grand Funk". Do you remember the The Grand Trunk Western? (And you thought I was referring to the band, right?) A former railroad line, and if he had the opportunity, he'd love to give you all the details. I did enjoy working on this one, I have to say...the vibrancy of the palette...just makes one feel alive.

Moving right along, here's the painting!

"The Grand Funk"
24" x 36"

Close Up View

Another Close Up View

Hope you enjoyed seeing my latest addition from the art studio.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Profound Moments in Time. What are yours?

Have you experienced moments where it seemed as if time stood still? Or something within just knew you were experiencing a profound moment? Recently, I had this experience after an extended family member passed away. While I won't depress or bore you with the details, I do want to share my experience after this person's passing and how it relates to my recent painting. 

I don't know about you, but I wonder about odd things, such as just why it is so calm and peaceful in the moments immediately following someone's passing. The awe I felt for that atmosphere of peace and grace was so great, that I began to think and wonder about one mystery that I want to know; What was it like, when in a split second when that soul left the body? And, when it's my turn, what will I feel? Will it be beautiful? Confusing? Easy? Graceful? Will I be full of energy? Will I feel relief? Of course, I have not experienced it, so I can only imagine and that doesn't fully fill in the details.

This became a nice distraction to my grief. I was still enjoying that beautiful moment of profound peacefulness, calm, and even lightness, even as I had to directly face the dreaded business details of death. It's poetically strange, isn't it? And my fascination with this event lead me to paint this experience.

As I sat down at the canvas, I pushed aside my sadness, disappointment and anger at cancer. I tried to feel what it must have felt like in that exact moment in time when one's soul leaves it's body and begins it's lift off... I began to paint this experience. I didn't even mix my paint or decide on a color palette beforehand, I didn't know what color choices would fit such an event. Dark colors? Light? Dramatic or soft? I didn't know. It's not like you plan for such an event, right? Well, this painting wasn't planned either.

This is my interpretation of a soul leaving it's shell and beginning it's transformation process. I used mixed fibers to add texture to this painting. It represents the actual process of leaving "stuff" behind. I frequently use a process of layering paint and then remove a top layer or two to allow other layers of color to be exposed. In addition to the textures, there is an iridescent quality to the paint, as well, to give a sense of mystery. 

"Morning Soul Lift"
22" (h) x 28" (w)
Acrylic, mixed media

Close Up View

Close up view of texture and colors

My hope is that you enjoyed the painting and ready about my experience. Feel free to comment on your experiences, it's easy on my blog.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

ArtTip: How do you decide what colors to use in your painting?

I thought include an art tip to show how I go about deciding what colors I want to use for each painting. This will work whether you paint landscapes or abstracts. Do you have those color chips from the hardware stores stuffed in a drawer somewhere in your house? Here's what you can do with them. If you don't paint, they are also handy in finding the right shade in picking out your clothes or accessories. You can organize your closet this way too.

Here you see, I have paint chips for both families of cool colors and warm colors. First, I have laid them out on a white canvas or you can use a white poster broad to keep the colors pure. Then, you can group them however you like, either cool vs. warm or light vs. dark shades. You can also lay them out by intensity, either calm color groups, vivid colors or fresh colors, and etc. Now, I can go through each group and see what colors inspire me. Since I'm an abstract painter, I tend to choose what I'm drawn to at that time. But basically, I pick  up what grabs my eye, lay them out together and see how it feels to me. 

In this photo above, you can see I have selected my final color choices. I have decided to use a vivid colors group to make a lively abstract painting. Using a mixture of color and warm colors can add dramatic.

In the photos below, I will show you my  paint palette mixed up from my final paint chip selection.

Here is the yellow and aqua paint already mixed and ready to go! You see having the paint chip helps me to see if I have the paint mixed properly. Not a bad match, if I do say so myself! 

Purple and green ready to go.

Next up, pink and brown.


And lastly, Raspberry Sorbet. Sounds good, doesn't it? 

Now my palette is ready and I'm feeling good about the final mix. In case you wondered, these are oil paints. I hope this helps in working with color and choosing your paint palette or organize your closet! So, how do you set up your painting palette? Do you tend to stick to the same color palette? Will be interesting to hear how you decide on colors.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Paint and Chocolate. What a great combination.

I just had to write you! I just got back from an opening reception and solo exhibition of work by artist Genie Maples of Asheville, NC. Oh, and did I ever enjoy this one. First of all, Genie is one of my favorite artists. Why? Genie's major work is comprised of oil on canvas and they are huge! Some of her canvases were so large I couldn't get them all into the photos! Her masterful paintings have strong composition, layered colors, beautiful surface, and strong emotional impact. Her color choices are so vivid giving the feeling they are alive. And the pastels are so fluid and energetic. Perhaps that's why I love her work.

Tonight, I convinced my 6yr. old daughter to go with me (the fact they were serving gourmet chocolate truffles, helped don't ya think?!), see her photo below. Who would turn down the fact the venue was the French Broad Chocolate Lounge? This beautiful September evening offered wine, gourmet truffles, and beautiful art in a lovely urban setting.

Around the crowd, I snapped some photos for you. I hope you enjoy Genie's paintings as much as I do. This evening was a pleasure for me and I wanted to share it with you.


 My precious daughter Sarah, she's high on chocolate!


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