Archive for December, 2010

Karen Stiehl Osborn – Living a Life with Meaning

Karen Stiehl Osborn is an artist enamored of the colors and textures of Nature.  She shares her interpretation of Nature’s beauty in collage, watercolor paintings, fiber artwork, and photographs.

But she is not a studio-bound artist.  She is active with dog rescue organizations, including the Wag N Train Terrier Rescue, volunteering to shoot photos of rescued dogs so that each animal has the best chance of achieving a forever home.

Karen has also been an integral part of the Fiberart For A Cause fundraising efforts from the very beginning.  In fact, she was the first person who asked, “Could I make a postcard also?” That was over $205,000 donated to the American Cancer Society and five years ago.

Karen’s website showcases her prolific production of artwork and her blog shares her love of rescue dogs, her garden, the making of art, and more.

For this year’s big fundraiser to fight cancer on February 16, Karen is donating collages as well as working hard behind the scenes to prep all 100 collage jpegs and the event pages. Karen took a moment from her busy schedule to participate in a little Q&A:

1.  Why are you participating in the ONE fundraiser for the American Cancer Society?
Dad died in 2001 from leukemia at a fairly young age. His death changed my life in many ways. I learned that life can be shorter than I realized and that it is important to me to live a life with meaning. I quit my career as an accountant and started working in my studio all day. I also started donating to causes that are important to me, including the American Cancer Society. I have been a part of FFAC since the beginning, and it means a lot to me to continue to support Virginia’s fundraising efforts, as a tribute to Dad and as a way to add meaning to my life.

Soul by Karen Stiehl Osborn.  This artwork will be available during the ONE fundraiser on February 16.

2.  Tell us about your collages for ONE.
These collages are a new series titled “ME Words”. I started by making a list of words that are important to me as an artist. I included some words that have a deeper meaning, and some that are a little more practical, like “collage”. I scanned the dictionary page with the word on it, circled it in black, and glued it down as the first layer of the collage. Then I added layers of hand painted Chinese papers, more layers of paint, more layers of papers — until I was happy with the color combinations and layout of each collage. Coincidentally, these are my favorite colors — earth tones and jewel tones.

3.  What are you working on in the studio now?
Photography, watercolor, and collage. I have a series of photographs that I took on a recent art retreat, and I am working with these photos and some watercolor paintings that I did from the photos. I am hoping to incorporate the photos, the watercolor paintings, and painted papers and cloth into a new series about the natural beauty of that special place.

4.  What has been the biggest surprise of your art career so far?
That others appreciate my art (and even buy it!). I have always created for myself, so it is very gratifying when people email me to let me know that they love different pieces that I have created. Even when I switch gears in the studio, my followers continue on with me. It is a fabulous life!

Winter into Spring #4 (6×4″) by Karen Stiehl Osborn

5.  Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere! I am inspired by nature, but I take that inspiration and create abstractly from it. I am rarely without my camera, so I take tons of photos of nature and the world around me. My art almost always evolves from something I have seen or something I have experienced. It is very personal, although the viewer may not always realize that. Most of the time, it is very subtle, and I like that because it allows the viewer to bring their own experiences to the piece.

6.  Do you collect art?  If so, how do you know a piece is right for your collection?
I do collect art from other artists. It gives me a good feeling to support other artists, and I enjoy living in a home where art surrounds me. I buy art that speaks to me. It is an immediate feeling that I get when I see the piece, and if it doesn’t go away, I know it is an artwork that is right for me. I try to collect art that is outside of the mediums that I use, but that is not a definite rule as I own many collages from other artists.

7.  What would you do with a year free to do what you wanted with no responsibilities or financial concerns?
This is an easy one! I would pack up my camera and art supplies, and I would travel. I would photograph and paint all day every day until the year was over. And then I would wish for another year just like that one!


12 2010

Jeanelle McCall – Polymath of the Art World

Jeanelle McCall is one of those artists whose talents seem to stretch in limitless directions — graphic designer, painter, illustrator, fiber artist, collage artist, and installation artist.

I know Jeanelle from the numerous pro bono logos she has designed for Fiberart For A Cause.  Jeanelle not only designed the ONE logo, but she is also donating artwork to the big event on February 16.

If you are as intrigued as I am by Jeanelle’s exhibit at the Museum of East Texas (two photos below), visit her Five Spoon Gallery website for even more great art.

1.  Why are you participating in the ONE fundraiser for the American Cancer Society?
How can anyone resist Virginia’s request! On a more personal note, my dear brother lost his life to cancer at the age of 36.  All my American Cancer Society fundraising efforts are in celebration of him.

Renewal 1 by Jeanelle McCall.  Available February 16 during the ONE fundraiser.

2.  Tell us about your collages for ONE.
Joy of life, joy of renewal, the comfort of continuum – this is what I want to present to the ONE fundraiser.  Chiffon, metallic foil, linen,  paint, pen and ink are what I used to illustrate the Renewal series. My hope is this series will be a heartfelt thank-you note to the generous ONE donors.

3.  What has been the biggest surprise of your art career so far?
That others can feel joy from my work too.

4.  What would you do with a year free to do what you wanted with no responsibilities or financial concerns?
After grinning from ear to ear, I would take the opportunity to express what must get out of me through art. I speak with art. I’m bursting with the passion to thank life for its beauty.

5.  Any upcoming exhibits, new artwork, books, etc. we should know about?
Oh yes, my largest exhibit, Where the Wild Things Grow, is up right now through May, 2011 at the Museum of East Texas. I have 67 pieces (most all handwork) hanging in this extraordinary space.

I said I would like to paint a section of their beautiful white wall with black board paint and have a glossy black iron bed to illustrate my “3:00 am process of creating for this exhibit” – and they let me! I drew the frame and chair with chalk and hung one of my pieces in the chalk frame.  I tea dyed some heavy cotton and wrinkled it up and draped over the bed. I made little flowers that flowed down the drape to the floor to represent the ideas flowing from my imagination.  All the other exhibitors (paintings, photography, etchings) used the standard gallery hanging approach.

Calendar series is also part of my current exhibit, Where the Wild Things Grow, at the Museum of East Texas.


12 2010

BJ Parady – Creating With a Botanist’s Eye

BJ Parady, one of the invited artists for the ONE fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, often works the same veins of inspiration as I do as we are both Midwesterners intrigued by and enamored of the natural world.  But she brings to her artwork a special discerning eye as a trained botanist. Her artwork is always thoughtful, textural, and evocative.

1.  Tell us about your collages for ONE.

Still Waters 2.
Read more about this artwork for ONE on BJ’s blog.

I’ve been playing with the process of disperse transfer dyeing. A byproduct of this technique is these deeply saturated painted papers, which I used to form the bottom layers of these pieces. Most of my art is inspired by the biome in which I live–the Midwestern prairie and the rivers that run through it. Once these papers were fastened to the substrate, they just looked like I was looking down into the bottom of shallow water, and I went with that. Some parts indicate reflections; others objects either floating on the surface or hanging in the water.

2.  What are you working on in the studio now?
The last few months I’ve been working on developing new skills–screen printing, snow dyeing, using hand stitching to enhance texture. Now I’m starting to put that all together to produce abstract work that reflects the Midwest. That, and trying to figure out how to commemorate the upcoming lunar eclipse/winter solstice.

Winter Solstice, 32″h x 18″w

3.  Where do you find inspiration?
My college degree is in botany, and that part of the natural world continues to inform the basis of most of my work. The oak woodlands, tall grass prairie, scenic waterways, and the sky itself can be seen in even my most abstract works.

4. What advice do you have for new art collectors/new Patrons of ONE?
Buy what you like, that piece you keep coming back to look at, and worry about where to hang it later–don’t try to match your sofa. In fact, buy a neutral sofa and let the art inspire the color scheme.

5.  What advice do you have for artists who are seeking their unique voice or direction in their own artwork?
Make more art. Make more art. Make more art.


12 2010

$10 off – Now through December 31 at Blurb Book

The Blurberati at Blurb Book are in the holiday mood.  They are offering $10 off orders of $29.95 or more – codes and fine print below.  Here’s a preview of my book:

USD $ coupon: CHEER
GBP £ coupon: CHEER1
EUR € coupon: CHEER2
CAD $ coupon: CHEER3
AUD $ coupon: CHEER4

* Offer valid through December 31, 2010 (11:59 p.m. local time) and is applied toward the product total only. Offer discount of US $10.00, GBP £6.00, EUR €8.00, CAD $11.00, or AUD $12.00 requires a minimum order of at least US $29.95, GBP £18.95, EUR €24.95, CAD $30.95, or AUD $35.95 shipped to one address. This offer is good for one-time use and cannot be combined with other promotional codes or used for adjustments on previous orders.

Once you are on Blurb, go ahead and search on fiber art for many books that would make great holiday gifts.


12 2010

Stick and Sand – New Artwork

Stick and Sand, 28×12″

This is my entry for the Surface Design Association member show, Merge and Flow, to be held in conjunction with the SDA Conference.  I have been working on it for some time as you know if you have been following me on my FB Fan Page.

I spent a lot of time building layers of fabric, paper, thread, and paint.  I knew all along that  with a theme of Merge and Flow, the artwork had to be something about the Boundary Waters.  But I decided to let the artwork evolve as it desired.

The center of the blue couched spiral is a piece of tissue paper that I printed with one of my hand-cut stamps.As soon as I focused on that I knew where I wanted to go.  I printed a photo on silk organza of me crouched on a rock in the Boundary Waters, oblivious to everything, creating a design in the sand all around me with a stick.  The design is almost identical to the stamp design that I carved — another one of those too weird to be coincidental moments.

Stick and Sand – detail

I am focusing on ambiguity of late and I like how my head disappears in to the artwork.  It may be unclear to most viewers what exactly this artwork is showing.  I say, Success!


12 2010