Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Bit of This, A Bit of That

Two weeks ago, I went into heavy-duty check-things-off-the-to-do-list mode so that I could spend a worry-free week with my family, including the one daughter who's home from school.  (Sadly, the boy couldn't come home and we've missed him, but dear family friends took him in for Thanksgiving.  We're looking forward to all being together for Christmas.)  Here's a quick recap of the fun, both family and art-wise:

Back in November, I reviewed Sue Reno's Surface Design Essential DVD here.  Even in the fall chill, I was able to make some nice cyanotype prints.

This week I only had a little bit of time for my studio, so I cut up the letters I'd made and stitched them onto a towel.

Viola!  Now I have a new towel for the season that my husband commented on favorably (always a bonus!)  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the lovely Prussia blue didn't change to brown in the wash as I feared it might.  The detergent I used?  Tide HE.

On another front, I've been preparing cards, calendars and prints for a  holiday NWAG  art sale at a local bookstore.  As I did with the library gallery show, I'm using my photography as the base for my "products".

I've made three sets of 4" x 6" cards, with eight unique images/set.   Here are two of the three sets laid out on the kitchen counter.  A third set coordinates with a calendar I'm printing and is called "Botanical Series III - Leaves".

2015 Botanical Series I - Bouquet
2015 Botantical Series II - Roses
I'd be happy to do a reprint if anyone is interested in buying a set....

And, of course, we've been enjoying lots of family time with dog walks,

Walking along the Hudson in Rockwood Park
our first professional hockey game,

The NY Rangers got trounced, but it was still loads of fun.
and partaking in many of the pleasures of this particular time of year.

One of my all-time favorites: apple cranberry cake/tart
I hope you've had a wonderful start to your holiday season as well.  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thank You

In this month of practicing gratitude, I'd like to thank you for sharing my daily journeys of art, museums, photography, reading, and more. I'm so grateful you take the time to join me.

Friday, November 20, 2015


Today when I sat down to write a new post, I realized there had been an unintentional hiatus on my blog.  My apologies.  This was supposed to be published last week, but I goofed; I didn't hit "publish" when I drafted the post.  Oops. So here it is today.

Succulent Drama, 2015 ©Vivien Zepf
My Fall newsletter is out!  There's an article offering suggestions on how to discuss art across time periods, news about what's brewing in my studio, a look at my involvement in a community art installation and my favorite photo.  (Yes, it's the one you see right there.)  Curious?  You can take a peek at the newsletter here.  I send my newsletters out on a quarterly-ish basis and I hope you'll find enough that interests you to become a subscriber.  You can sign up here.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Windows and Doors

On Sunday the Northern Westchester Artists Guild had the opening reception for their exhibition in the gallery of the Chappaqua Library.

Perhaps you can see from this picture the variety of artwork created by the talented artists in the group.  Most are painters, so it's very interesting for me to get their unique perspective on preparing and selling their work.

I decided to show my photography since it seemed most suited to the gallery and most cohesive with the other art I expected to see.  We each had a 30 inch wide space for our art and I chose four images -- two windows and two doors -- from my time in France.   I think the gallery director hung them in a nice arrangement.

My images were printed on a satin finished metal; I had the processing lab mount each piece on its own frame-like structure in the back so they could be hung with ease and also float off the wall.  Most people hadn't seen anything like that before, so I had the opportunity to talk to a number of guests about the benefits of printing on metal.  I perceive the greatest benefit to be that the art can be hung anywhere in your house, including the bathroom, since the metal won't be negatively impacted by the humidity.

I'm very pleased I'm part of the show and I encourage you to stop by if you're in the area.  The gallery is accessible during library hours and the show will be up through January 8th.  There's lots of great art to see and buy.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Farewell October

I've turned the page in my calendar and discovered that October is gone!  How did that happen?  The last days of the month just flew by, in a good way.  So what's kept me so busy?

Element of Roger Horns' Untitled in foreground;
Nick van Woert's Untitled in background
SupraEnvironmental opened!  I've been guiding tours and getting fabulous questions, insights, and comments on the art as I've led discussions with museum visitors.  It really is an incredibly rich experience to share the artwork in conversation with a group of people who've come together simply because they share a common interest in art and inquiry.  Let me know when you'd like to visit the museum; I'd love to give you a tour.

My new profile picture on Facebook
I've returned to my habit of regular walks;  I got a bit sedentary while I was doing all my exhibition research and training.  But fortunately, the weather has been glorious and I'm marveling every day at the colors of the Hudson Valley.  I took the picture above during one of my morning walks -- look at the intensity of orange and blue!  This is an unaltered photo; I didn't do anything to achieve those colors except to hold still as I clicked the shutter.  Marvelous, yes?

A picture of my computer screen during one of the Wharton lectures about
what it means to be a customer centric company.
I've been continuing my own personal adult education journey.  I've just finished my Introduction to Marketing class offered by the Wharton School of Business through Coursera.  Lots to think about and learn, though I confess this was much easier for me than the Corporate Finance class I took.  Egad, that class required lots of note-taking and concentration.

The turn in the weather has also meant lots of cleaning-up, both outside in the garden and in the house.  I've boxed up and sent off old clothes and jackets, pulled annuals, and in a fit of extreme cleaning, I threw out old quilts that were taking up space.  It was very liberating to lighten the storage load.

The colder weather and shorter days also means more reading time for me.  Though I've fallen behind my daughter's class, I continue to read Moby Dick. Yes, there are times when I'd like to shake Ishmael and say, "Enough already!  We get the point!"  But I can't possibly stop reading when there's such beauty in the writing as this:

       He piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart's shell upon it.

It rather takes your breath away.

You can read about the book on Amazon here

Nonetheless, I'm already looking ahead to my next book --  as I always do -- which will (probably) be  Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan.  It's a non-fiction account of Edward Curtis's efforts to document the "stories and rituals of more than eighty North American tribes" with his camera.  The book type is in sepia, referencing the palette of Curtis's photographs.  I confess I'm a sucker for those types of touches.

In other exciting news, my newsletter is scheduled to come out this week!  You can sign up to get your copy here.  In my newsletter I share museum education + visit ideas, studio and exhibition notes, along with a favorite photograph, before I share them anywhere else.  Be sure to get your first peek as well by being a subscriber.

Finally, November is going to be a month-long exercise of explicit gratitude for me.  Each day on Instagram and Facebook I'll be sharing some thoughts on what I'm thankful for in my life.  Here are my first two:

Day 1/30 in a month of gratitude: Magnificent redwoods shared on
25th anniversary trip with my husband.  I'm lucky to have found a partner in life.
Day 2/30 in a month of gratitude: I've been blessed with three healthy children
who've grown into wonderful people I'm proud of and whose company I genuinely enjoy.

What are you thankful for?  I'm certainly thankful you all take the time to read my posts and share my journey.  Thank you.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Will I see you at the KMA?

Roger Hiorns (British, born 1975)
Untitled (C24949), 2014
Plastic, compressor foam; dimesions variable
© Roger Hiorns, Courtesy of the artist
Luhring Augustine, New York,
Corvi-Mora, London, and Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles

In addition to prepping and delivering my photos last week, I also gave my docent training presentation for the upcoming SupraEnvironmental exhibition opening.  This was a perfect exhibition for me to research and train because it's environmentally inspired art (and you all know I love the environment) and a great deal of it involves a bit of science, a subject you may have guessed that I love.

In addition to training the docents, as docent trainer I've also started blogging for the museum again.  You can read my first post here and my second post here.  I hope you'll all consider becoming followers of the blog.  It will give you insider looks behind the scenes at the museum, and insights into the artists and artwork in the exhibitions.  I've been working with the Museum's Head of Communications and she has lots of really cool ideas for the blog going forward.  Take a peek.

SupraEnvironmental is opening this weekend at the Katonah Museum of Art, with the members' preview on Saturday night and the public opening on Sunday.  I'll be leading tours both days, as well as leading all the tours during the week.  Tours are at 2:30PM every day the museum is open.  I encourage you to take a tour if you can, not just because the docents are fabulous -- and they are! -- but because your experience will be enriched by the observations of and conversations with other museum visitors.  I hope you'll come to the museum; I'd love to give you a tour!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Prep for The Print Show

Last week I delivered my photos to the KMA for The Print Show.  I've not participated in a museum show as an individual before and I've learned a great deal already.

1) I completed and returned my loan agreement, and then had it countersigned by the museum registrar.  It's exciting that the agreement included the following:

Return / Delivery Date TBD 

This allows for the possibility of a sale.  Makes an artist's heart go pitter patter.  

2)  I printed the photos; no, I don't have extra 24" x 36" prints in my closet.  This was a learning experience in and of itself.  I went to a photo lab in my area and though they print for such high-end clients as Louis Viutton, the lab staff were very nice working with me on my comparatively teeny project.  They even let me go into the back of the lab (which was very cool).   I selected pearl metallic paper so that the shell interiors in the photos would seem opalescent.  I think it worked.

3) The museum requested that each artwork be backed with something that was at least 4-ply.  For those who don't know, that's the minimum thickness of mat board.  I went to a framing gallery for the mat board; I also chose to put a tiny piece of artist tape at the back corners of each photo to keep them from sliding about.  

4) Each photo had to be either wrapped in clear plastic or in a plastic sleeve.  I opted for a plastic sleeve, but who knew you can only get sleeves for 24" x 36" photos in packs of 100?  No one sells them individually, or in packs of 10. I had no idea how pricey they were and helps to explain why photographs are expensive.  The expense of supplies certainly has to be taken into account.  It looks like I'm going to have to build up my multi-size sleeve supply.  They're surprisingly heavy, too.

5) I inserted the photos into sleeves which sounds simple, but it's a delicate and slightly time-consuming task.  You have to take care not to twist the sleeve since that might bend or warp the mat board, distorting the photo.  It's also no good to rush and tear the plastic.  

6) To protect the photos in transit and for the time before the show, I sandwiched them between foam core cut to size (given to me by the photo lab) and wrapped them in craft paper.  

7) When I delivered my photographs to the museum, I was pleased to hear they were prepared as expected and they appreciated that I had included the foam core.  Whew -- music to my ears.  The prep work was worth it.