Reject the Common Lawn

April 1st, 2014

Lobelia from CT Botanical Society

It’s time to rebel against the unnatural short green carpet that infects almost every neighborhood in the USA. Unless you have kids playing in the yard (and for sure you want to be able to keep an eye on them) or want a place for badminton and croquet, there’s no good reason to be like everyone else.

How about alternatives, like flowers? I love flowers and ground covers along with stone paths, maybe some small sculptures. And ornamental grasses. And dandelions. I like dandelions. But nothing that needs a lot of specialized care because I’m a busy lady! My yard isn’t that big so maybe it won’t take too long to to transform it into a floral jungle. Let’s be judgmental. Lawn or no lawn?

Reasons against having a lawn

* Has to be mowed. A lot.
* Grasses are delicate and usually not native. If they are good for heat, they crumble in cold. Or drought.
* Boring. Yes, this is my own value judgment. They are all green.
* Pervasive. Everyone and all the golf courses have them.
* Beautiful chaos!

Reasons to have a lawn

* Playground at home! Great for lawn games.
* Easy care. Drop some seeds or sod, feed, water, wait for growth.
* Don’t have to plan a garden.
* Everyone has a lawn.
* They look neat (when mowed).

What’s your take on this debate? Do you have photos of gardens that you love (or would love to have)? I’d love it if you would share these with me on a Pinterest Pinboard that I have created. If you are not on Pinterest yet, follow my Pinterest link and join. Then send me your information and I will invite you to add your pins to my garden board.

Recycling Vintage Jewelry

March 18th, 2014

Do you like antique and vintage jewelry? I do, I can’t resist a good sparkle that can be given a new life. These treasures usually come in lots with other pieces that don’t have as much to say to me. It seems these less loved pieces have begun to pile up so that I now have a trove of vintage jewelry that I know other artists and artisans can love and use. As well, there are a few pieces I’m going to give to Clelian Adult Day Center. They can use them as prizes for bingo and other games. It’s a good way to pay them back as they give such good care to my mother and other elderly people with illnesses that can otherwise lower a person’s quality of life.

And I can use the storage space that will be freed up. I have four images and that’s not even everything. Here’s just some of the earrings. I have posted 10 pictures to Pinterest. The whole collection/lot is for sale for $35.00 plus $12.00 for USPS Priority Mail shipping. If you want these, hit reply and reserve them.

Vintage Earrings from stash for sale

Vintage Earrings Looking for Good Home

The Most Surprising Fact Ever

February 20th, 2014

Well, it is to me, anyway. Today I learned that not everyone wants to make art.

A young person was telling me how her sister, who studies medical management, had to take an art class and she hated it because it held no interest for her. We tend to think everyone loves art, but in fact everyone doesn’t. What a shock. I knew there were people who felt they couldn’t do art but I’d never contemplated anyone actually disliking art.

Or perhaps it was the fact that she had to pay for the class and spend a whole semester at it when her goals are very focused on something else.

Do universities have an obligation to require studies outside a person’s major? I think so, but given the economics and narrow focus of today, perhaps these other courses could be made more relevant. Perhaps she could have been offered an art appreciation course or a course in medical art. Or forensic art. Those might have resonated with the medical aspect of this young lady’s mindset and given her the taste of creativity the course designers probably intended.

Mid-February Cheer

February 14th, 2014

The seasons are about to get ready to change again. I know a lot of people in the northern hemisphere are ready fro warmer days while many in the southern hemisphere would welcome cooler ones.

To everyone I say, “enjoy the day!” To my readers I say, “Thank you for reading.”

Thank you card

Winter Art Shows

January 30th, 2014

A couple of Sundays ago, I went to a daytime opening at Davis Gallery in Orange CT. It was very engaging but I was still surprised at the turnout because the weather was not very good. It was wet in fact, and very cold. It even started to snow while I was waiting for a break in the rain. (I’ll take snow over rain!) Nonetheless, people came and everyone was there to scope out the work, talk to the artist, and have a good afternoon.

Apparently, at least in New England, winter is no excuse to ignore the arts.

Do you find yourself staying home more in the Winter? Are you waiting for better weather?

would you like to see hot cocoa served instead of wine?

Handmade Is from the Heart

January 28th, 2014
"Love Grows" ©2013, Patricia C Vener is a watercolor and ink vignette drawing

“Love Grows” ©2013, Patricia C Vener

When you buy fine art and fine craft works you are buying a work imbued with the soul of whoever made it. The hands that worked the piece moved with the conscious direction of someone who cares about what they are forming. It is a voice unheard.

Handmade is sharing. Maybe a vision, maybe a sentiment. Maybe just a coincidental love of a particular form.

Some message is being communicated between artist and collector (often between artist and artist because most artists are also collectors of art). Without someone to appreciate the artist’s work, that work is incomplete.

If you receive a handmade gift this Valentine’s Day – or any day – you will have received a very special gift indeed.

I Can’t Help Falling in Love too Fast

January 23rd, 2014

We artists often fall in love with our own work even before it is finished. The work sometimes does not love us back. It refuses to cooperate or it just isn’t turning out as we planned. This is when we have to be strong and call off the relationship.

We have two choices, then. We can either put the work away unfinished or we can start over. For my bead woven work this means I can rip it apart and use the materials in another project.

More often, though, only part of the work isn’t cooperating. In this case I take apart only those aspects that aren’t working but keep those parts that are. Sometimes an entirely new vision arises from the remains of the old.

Purple Perfection ©2005, Patricia C Vener

Purple Perfection ©2005, Patricia C Vener

Purple Perfection is a necklace I don’t love. I made it nine years ago when I was just teaching myself the tubular netting technique. It doesn’t have the “wow” factor other pieces (even some that are not recent) have. I put it away, but now I am going to take it apart and use those beads to create something that will evoke amazement from those who view it.

In the Pink

January 21st, 2014
"Pink is Perfect" AKA Shielded Fringe © 2007, Patricia C Vener

“Pink is Perfect” © 2007, Patricia C Vener

Pink is not watered down red. It isn’t a single, well defined color. It can be neon bright. It can be muted with the addition of one of its complements. It can be so pale as to seem almost white. Pink can be rosy in tint to almost orange.

“Hot pink” is an invention of the 20th century, in 1947 by fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, by adding a bit of white to magenta. I can’t think of a single other color that it doesn’t work well with. “Hot Pink” might be the new black (or white) because there’s no other color that goes with all other colors as successfully as pink.

In Japanese there are different terms for peach tinted pink and cherry blossom pink. We have to use three words – or make up unofficial names. Working With Color displays the variety of pink possibilities as the palest versions of several color families. They assign common names based on the English speakers bias as many of these are generally accepted in English. Pantone assigns more whimsical names, probably because the are the go to resource for the fashion industry.

Pink has a wide variety of connotations depending on the specific pink being considered and what it is combined with. These vary from innocence to sensual, but I believe these are mostly short lived fads and trends unlike the stronger emotional connections given to Red hues.

What emotion do my earrings (shown at the start of this post) evoke for you?

Why Not Red?

January 16th, 2014
"Dancing Heart" digital art © 2012, Patricia C Vener

“Dancing Heart” digital art © 2012, Patricia C Vener

Red is the color of life, of love, of intense emotion. It stands out in fiery brilliance and makes us stop and look and maybe pay attention. It is my favorite color and has been all my life. I am in constant danger of buying more red beads and paints as if I might run out. Red comes in a delicious variety of hues leaning blue-ward or yellow-ward. It is the complement of green and mixed together red and green light make invisible white light. (Red and green paint, on the other hand make mud.)

Different cultures and societies have assigned different meanings to this color – thus proving that color psychology is cultural (nurture) rather than instinctive (nature), but very few of us humans assign it no importance at all.

What do you feel when you see red? I want to know. I will respond to all comments.

Tired of Valentine’s Day Already?

January 14th, 2014
100 Vignettes by Labor Day, Positive Space by Patricia C Vener

“Positive Space” © 2013, Patricia C Vener

The new year is only two weeks old but I have started seeing hints of Valentine’s Day already. Some stores waste no time taking down their December holiday decorations and putting up the red and pink hearts and glitter of a holiday that’s a month away.

If folks really were inured to the advertising this ploy wouldn’t work, but I suspect many people find the short cold days of Winter to be more dreary than beautiful and the bright colors and promise of chocolates raises their hopes for an early Spring. Also, it is a well known truism that the more people see a company’s name and product the more likely they will make their purchase from the company rather than from a competitor.

This is the first in a series of posts relating to this holiday that, like Hallowe’en, has lost most (if not nearly all) of its religious connotations in exchange for a festival with secular meaning and so transformed becomes a national celebration. I hope you will join me as I explore some of the art related facets of this February festival.