Monday, July 11, 2016

Mosaic Monday / On Starting New Projects

Self Portrait
Work In Progress
Countless times over the years I have seen students sit in front of a new project and move at a snail's pace to really start. They take their time getting their mind around where to begin to even begin because they can not see where they are going and they know that due to the nature of mosaic there will be twists and turns and detours within the journey.  They are fearful to even start because they can not see it finished and totally designed in their mind.  I felt all of that when I started this project. I glued nothing down yesterday; zero, nada, zilch! I played with glass rod, smalti, big thick clear glass with spray paint on top, and I fretted a lot. I worried that this might be a big waste of materials and time. Then I slowed down and started thinking about what I knew was true about this project. I came up with a list and it will be my starting guide post.

• I want to use glass rod and round pieces to echo the half-tone dot pattern in the digital print.

• I want glass circles to be used, circles that make me think about cells, healthy happy cells.
• I want to use thick clear glass and spray paint a dot pattern on top to tamp down the shininess of the glass. I can brush off some of it with a scrubby sponge so that it has a nice grunge effect.
• I do not want to have this be just another painterly portrait like the one I recently finished of my husband.  I love that mosaic, but I want to try something new. I want to experiment with having some of the paper showing, and having paint on the surface of the glass, as well as below.

• I want paper and spray paint to move to the top of the project and mix in with the final layering of materials.
• I will not grout and so I plan to work tight and allow myself to layer upwards with my materials, placing glass on top of glass.
I want this to have the feeling of a glass collage with paint on top.

So my advice when you are not sure where to begin is to make a list of what excites you about the project, and what things are for sure the things you plan to use or incorporate into the piece. Write it down an then dive in ... go to the deep end of the pool and dive in. That first jolt of cold water is a shocker, but then it starts to feel really nice after awhile.


 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Ginger, Sadie, and Mellie

Work feels steady yet somehow slow right at the moment. I will get 2 or 3 orders done and think I am caught up and then a  couple more projects will trickle in. Summertime is the perfect time to order pet portraits for yourself. During the holidays I am usually overwhelmed with projects that are being ordered as gifts and everything has a sense of urgency about it. In the summertime I get to take my time with each pet portrait project in front of me.
I will post a few recent pup portraits below.

"Ginger"
©2016  artpaw.com
"Sadie"
©2016  artpaw.com
"Mellie"
©2016  artpaw.com

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Filling The Well / Finding Inspiration

Artists have to take time to fill the "inspiration well" and to do this we have to take vacations, go to galleries, read books and sometimes unplug from the web. Last week I got to do just that. I went to Gulf Shores Alabama with my family and had the best time. In the pics my husband took of me I look like a totally different person, I guess on vacation I am a different person.




Last night I started teaching again up at the Creative Arts Center of Dallas. I am teaching mixed media mosaics. This morning on my dog walk I found some cool metal bits that I can add to my box of found objects for future projects.  My students always inspire me and I learn so much when I am teaching. 
Rusty Found Objects


I find inspiration from my Peers!
Last but not least I have to post a fun pic from Monday night of a couple of my mosaic pals. Gila Rayberg was in town teaching last week and Barbara Dybala was hosting her for a few days. Barb invited me out for Gila's last evening in town. I have been following Gila's work for years, I think we first bumped into each other over on Flickr. She was so warm and so much fun. The evening was just way too short.  After dinner we had coffee at Barbara's magical mosaic compound in Rockwall. I came home with a dozen duck eggs and a smile on my face, ( Barbara & David raise ducks).

Barbara Dybala, Gila Rayberg, Rebecca Collins
Mosaic Mural by Barbara Dybala
Dan Collins, David Dybala
Mosaic Mural by Barbara Dybala

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Dappled Beauty Found

Dappled Beauty
This morning on my dog walk I found these lovely leaves. This scan does not do them justice, they are really perfect little dappled things.  I slept so good last night and found myself very present this morning on my walk. Usually I am in my head planning out the day, but this morning I was observing and it was a lovely walk.

Yesterday I had a chemo infusion, it really is a breeze at this point. I am no longer on the really tough drug, just two maintenance drugs that keep the beast at bay. I met a lovely woman in the elevator that complimented me on my periwinkle hair. Her hair had just started coming back after her treatments and I told her it looked like it was coming in very strong.  We both agreed that life is too short and we may as well have fun. She said she may do a bold color when she gets more length. I often touch up my hair right before a day at Baylor because the people there are so positive and supportive. Everyone from the patients to the Doctors totally get it.

Periwinkle

 Evie is here today stretching canvas for me and we will be shipping out a few finished projects. I have a couple of new orders to attend to and of course paperwork is always waiting for me. I will post today's orders below.  Art Paw is steady right now. I should do some marketing to try and get crazy busy again, but I sort of like just being steady with work.  I get to have more fun and take my time with each project in front of me.

"Maddie"
© artpaw.com
 
"Boo"
© artpaw.com
"Thor & Matilda"
© artpaw.com

Monday, May 02, 2016

Mosaic Monday / Luna Mosaic Interview/ Community

Today I want to send a thanks and a shout out to both Sally May Kinsey  and Cherie Bosela  for the terrific interview and feature they gave me on Luna Mosaics' new website. 
Luna Mosaic Arts is Cherie's new shopping site and brick and mortar mosaic shop located in Orlando Florida. Each month they will be featuring a new artist.  Last month they talked with Flair Robinson  and showcased her wonderful brightly colored creations. This month I was featured, you can read the full article on-line here.


Luna Mosaic Arts ... Go buy some candy!

Featured Artist ... me!

 When Sally sent me the interview questions one that I had to really think about was "Tell us about your single greatest mosaic moment."  I could have talked about going to Italy to study with a very special group of mosaic pals that I met at the Creative arts Center of Dallas, or the trading card parties we use to have, or any number of shows, or my first Sama conference and meeting cyber pals for the first time, or teaching my first class. The one moment in time that really stood out was the "Tres Milagros" show I was invited to participate in back in 2011. It was the brain child of my teacher and mentor Katrina Doran and she invited both Apryl Begay and me to be part of it. We all three worked for months on pieces for the show.  We often took over my dining room table and worked together all day on Sundays bringing in food from a local Mediterranean restaurant. Everyone had serious life challenges and losses along the way that year and yet the mosaic work happened and a close bond formed.

 In looking back over the years all of the mosaic events and special moments that I cherish have less to do with the work itself and more to do with the people and the communities that I am part of. I have a feeling that Cherie is going to do great with this new business venture because bringing Sally on board to write these artist interviews is all about community. When you know your community and you are committed to them you are bound to be successful.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Mosaic Monday " Petri Dish"

Been away from the blog for too long. Today I am posting my most recent finished mosaic project. It is a donation for the Creative Arts Center of Dallas's Blue Plate Fundraiser.  
The instructors and art students at the center have glazed plates and platters for the event that will be auctioned off on April 30th. I decided to mosaic mine since that is what I am best at. I felt a little weird straying from the glazing but I heard rumor that a few other artists have also backed away from the glazes, choosing other methods to embellish their platters..

" Petri Dish"
© rebecca collins

The project started out with an original cell drawing that I created while receiving chemo at Baylor hospital. I cut the drawing out and did a layer of spray paint on top of it and then added clear gems that magnify the little cells and hairs. I have always loved anatomical drawings and biology charts and diagrams. Being so focused on my health this last year has me thinking about healthy cells and fantasy biological worlds. The little hairs started appearing on my doodles at about the same time my hair started coming back in. The work is abstract but it has a very personal narrative.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Chihuahua named Chewie

"Chewie"
© rebecca collins artpaw.com

January has been a very busy month. I have created around 14 different pet portraits for a variety of clients. I will start sharing those works here on the blog ....starting today with Chewie.  This sweet little pup is a new addition for a terrific repeat client.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Reinventing Myself one Hue at a time

Cancer sucks and loosing all your hair sucks, but being able to hit the reset button on your hair and on your sense of self is not so bad. Yes I am taking lemons and making lemonade I guess.  I think if I had not gone through hell and back last year and just decided to suddenly start dying my hair odd-ball colors some of my family and friends would shake their heads and say whatever .... as it is they all seem to genuinely enjoy my colors almost as much as I do. I also feel a bit like a sixteen year old girl taking selfies and focusing on my outward appearance so much.  You know what ... it is ok ... I get a pass, at least I am taking one. Once you have gone bald and your hair comes back you are allowed a little bit of vanity.

Some of you may remember sweet Lola that worked for me for years.
Lola's hair was often a different hue every other month and I always thought if only I was younger I would do that. If only, if only. Well I am finally younger and I will be enjoying this newly found youth for the rest of my life. 

Each new year I take a word or even a color and make that a sort of mantra in my life and artwork for the coming 12 months. This year is going to be about color for me, not just on top of my head but on  my walls, on my work table, in my camera lens .... yes I think it will be a year all about color. All hues will be explored and discussed on this blog and in life.
So my word of the year is color.
My color of the year is ALL ...  every last one of them and every chroma mutation, every hybrid and every dirty little tint in between. I want to breath them all in and exhale them as though every fucking cell in my body were becoming a new and different shade.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Not a Pretty Selfie

Rebecca and Sad Lizard Toy
Have you noticed we tend to just post selfies when we feel pretty?  Today I feel like a dog toy that has lost all its stuffing. Lately I often feel cute and trendy in my blue and purple hair, oh yes, a fearless woman making the best of a bad situation, but other times I look in the mirror and just see a chewed up dog toy. Back in August I had a double mastectomy and they literally ripped the stuffing out of my chest and sewed me back up. I could have opted to have some sort of stuffing put back in, but I chose to just keep moving forward and pass on additional work thank you very much.  When we have done that with dog toys in the past it never lasts and the toy is never the same again, better to let it become what it is going to be, the dogs don't notice, nobody does really. I am thankful that like this little toy I am still a favorite among those that love me. I have not been tossed in the trash bin yet anyway, and I am definitely not a choking hazard.

I dunno why I have to see the world through a four legged filter, but it makes for a fun post.  Don't feel too sorry for me, I am going to put on some lipstick and go upstairs and work on pet portraits today. I will be feeling like my old self in a jiffy. Oh and Art Paw rocked it in December yall ... thanks to all that helped me double my monthly sales in Dec. compared to the previous year.  I really needed that.

Yea, not a pretty Selfie today, but life is so good. I know what day of the week it is, and I am working! I am working.