Friday, July 31, 2009

More printmaking!

Today I made another screen, a teeny little one, so that I could have more than one screen going at a time. It is kind of a waste of time to just have one screen and having to wait for the paint to dry each time I want to start a new print. I did the same thing as yesterday, where I took an old picture frame and stapled some screen fabric to it.

So this is today's print! It is a set of 5 cards.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

New (screen printed) Cards

New in my etsy shop! Since I'm on break I am kind of hanging out around the house and today I had this crazy idea to MAKE a screen. Both of my screens are currently at school locked in the screen printing studio so I have nothing to screen print with. Printing is kind of time-consuming with linoleum prints unless I want to reprint old prints.

So I found an old picture frame that I bought from Target for probably $2, took out the picture and glass, and stapled some screen material to it (I had some from undergrad that I used to make collograph prints). It wasn't as tight as the ones you buy at the store but it worked. I cut some contact paper into my usual pomegranate shapes and then did a monoprint with watercolors (you paint with watercolors on the screen, let it dry, and then reactivate it when you print it with transparent acrylic base).

Because it's a monoprint, each time I pulled a print it made degraded prints (called "ghost prints"), which is kind of cool. I included them in the set and reworked the cards with pen to make them look a little more finished. So you see, a set of three cards!

Also ... as a kind of secret ... so a few weeks ago I bought some plastic covers for the smaller cards that I make so that I can transport them and protect them while looking more professional. Unfortunately these cards that I printed on are larger than the bags I bought, but I made my own bag for them using a quart-sized ziploc bag. I cut the seal part off and cut the bag in such a way that it creates a perfect envelope that I will just tape closed.

AHHH I am really excited about it.... today I feel very resourceful.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Wandering Jew & Friends

This is apparently the name for this plant. My supervisor gave me clippings of her wandering jew plant for a termination present (with this cool shiny pot). Apparently this is a cool hanging plant because it will grow long purple-and-green stripey vines if you let it. I planted this one yesterday, too. This plant also comes from my supervisor's grandmother's garden, and is currently hanging out with its other cousin on the north side of the bay window shelving area. (It's not really a bay window but there are three of them in a round-ish configuration and I don't know what to call it other than that)

I love purpley plants! I didn't realize that sometimes leaves would be other colors. So then when I went to the gardening store with a friend from class, I bought two more purpley plants.

This one is a succulent whose leaves kind of look like cabbage, frilly with purple edges. I thought it was very pretty. Also, it doesn't need full sunlight or much watering, so I thought it would do well on the south side of my little bay window shelf area.

I'm not sure what this plant is called ("Splash" ?) but it has green and purple splashed leaves. This one is with the succulent on the south side. They get plenty of sun but it indirect for most of the day.

I had a dream this morning that this splash plant shriveled up in the sun, so I moved it out of the sun and it started growing roots that took over the pot but no leaves ... just lots and lots of roots.

Thinking about all of these plants reminds me of the plants that showed up in my work the summer before I applied to graduate school. I was working at a pre-college program and investigating the effects the Jewish environment had on the visual artists in the program and was participating in many of the projects. One of the projects was to create an artist's book, which I never finished, but which had many pictures of leaves and plants woven into the ova-inspired blobs I was also making at that time. So... again... plants and fetuses. Also, remember the species projects I was working on in the fall.

Anyway, that is why I am planting things right now. I hope everything will last and I hope it will allow me to go further in depth with this plant work.

More Plants

These are my dill sprouts, I planted them yesterday. They are kind of flopped over because of the stress of planting but I think they will be upright again soon.

To the back of this picture (in front of the dill) are my two garlic sprouts, which I grew from soaking the cloves in water and then sticking them in dirt, and the thing sticking up in front is a green onion from the grocery store that I put in a cup of water until it grew roots and now it is in the ground.

JewishGal & the Bean Stalk

Remember these sprouts?

Well, now I have five of them, and I have wrapped them around a pole, and they are now living outside.

It's hard to believe that I just planted little sprouts on July 13 and now, two weeks later, they are these giant plants that took over my living room and had to be moved outside! I'm not sure how tall they will get ... I hope they don't get too tall!

Hiding in the green

One day at my internship we were making tape-and-foil flowers and my supervisor was having a bad day. She made a green plant head with big white sharp teeth and scary reaching arms. She stuck her plant monster in her plant in her office. So for a termination present I made a happy, kind of wild plant head also out of tape and foil. I took a picture of it in the plant that she gave me (which is actually a clipping from the plant in her office, which is originally a clipping from her grandmother's garden).

Monday, July 27, 2009

BREAK! (and a fly)

Oh man. I'm on break. FOR FIVE WEEKS!

I took this picture last Tuesday. The fly was totally vogue-ing for the camera.

Monday, July 13, 2009


This is my one sprout. I haven't given her a name yet. She is beautiful. I will keep taking pictures as she grows and as others pop out. I plucked her from the jar where she was sprouting and planted her in a starter pot to see if she survives the shock, and if she does I will plant her in a real pot.

This is another sprout I planted that I let pop up a little because she is also about to come out with some leaves:

Hello in there!

And this is what one of the sprouts looked like when I took him out of the jar, he was attached to his blankie so I let him have it in his pot. The roots are so beautiful.

For the record, these beans were from a dry cholent mix. I put them in a jar with a wet paper towel and set them in the sun with the other plants last Thursday night and now I have sprouts!

Benny the Bottom Dweller

This week in the art therapy groups we are making sea creatures. We couldn't come up with a good idea but I thought it would be great to do something beachy, maybe having to do with summer, and somehow we ended up with giant squids and other horrible creatures of the depth as inspiration for fantastic tape-and-foil creations. I can't take pictures of the children's work for ethical reasons but I can post my creation: Benny.

Benny lives on the bottom of the shallows of the ocean and on coral reefs, scurrying around trying to find dead plant matter and small bugs to nosh on. His back looks like coral so he blends in so larger fish won't come to eat him. Also, one of his eyes is bigger than the other (which you can't see in this pictures unfortunately). I did this because I am extremely self-conscious about how one of my eyes is slightly smaller than the other although most people never notice this, so I gave Benny the same thing to deal with on top of having to blend in to avoid being eaten.

Even though Benny tries to blend in with his surroundings, he is bright orange! So he only really fits in with one specific environment. Outside of the protective camouflage of the brightly colored rocks and coral, Benny is obvious and vulnerable.

I actually had time to make a full project this time because the kids were so well behaved and focused today. Today was the first day of summer camp and we see them at the end of the day, so they have spent the whole day running around and having a good time. It is such a big difference to see them now as opposed to after a day full of stressful school.

Anyway, welcome Benny to the internet!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Not the best picture but this is the painting I made in class last week about my internship.


My beans are sprouting! I hope this means that other things are sprouting underground where I can't see them.

I am so obsessed with planting things right now. Whenever I think of something else I can plant, I plant it. Today I went to IKEA and bought some shelves so I can put my plants in the windows but not have them overshadow each other.

What I have going right now:

From seeds: daisies, dill, cilantro, spearmint, beans (from a dry cholent mix!)
From cuttings: my supervisor's mystery plant
From the grocery store: 2 cloves of garlic, one green onion root, cilantro (stuck some in the dirt to see what will happen)
From plants: three types of basil, one of the plants isn't doing so well......

Also I have managed to keep the bamboo my MIL gave me last year alive. I know it's not hard to keep bamboo alive but I kept forgetting to even pay attention to it. Now it is doing quite well.

I'm not sure what to say about all of this. I am trying to figure out what this all means. It feels important, though.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Traveling Plant

This is the clipping that my supervisor gave me to take home and plant. The pictures are from when we sat together on the bench at the train station waiting for the train.

Fetuses and Sprouts

I have two main themes in my work right now ... sprouts/beans and fetuses. The fetuses were around last semester, too, sometimes in the form of eggs or baby birds, but still fetal.

Today in my supervision time I asked if we could do scribble drawings and mine turned into a fetus that was growing a sprout. As the fetus is fed, it gives out energy that turns into life. An undeveloped being creates another undeveloped being. The sprout and the fetus are touching foreheads, connecting on an emotional as well as physical level.

I remember when I was 7 years old in the 4H club, we went to a farm and dissected lima beans.

(Click the photo to go to the original site)

The dissected lima bean embryo looked like a fetus to me, and after that I didn't eat beans for a while. How would I know what a fetus looked like at 7? Because my grandfather had given me a pop-up book about evolution (which I still have) and had pictures of babies in the womb at different stages. Also, in that class we tried to hatch baby chickens and some of the eggs did not hatch so we cracked them open and saw the baby birds at various stages of development (we organized the eggs in order of development). So I have seen fetuses/embryos of beans, chickens, and pictures of humans.

Anyway, now I associate beans with fetuses in artwork and have been making a lot of bean sprouts and bean/fetuses.

I'm not really sure what it means but that's what happens. We talked about it a lot and I think I am going to try to grow some plants. We have a basil plant right now at home and hopefully it won't die. My supervisor gave me a clipping of one of her plants in her office (which is a clipping from a plant in her grandmother's garden) so tonight I am going to try to plant it.

Anyway, it's interesting. There will be more pictures of bean/fetus artwork coming soon, too.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

To sell or not to sell

I had an etsy. I still have the etsy thing on the side of this blog because I thought one day I would revive it. I had an etsy and my mom and my friend were really supportive and bought my paintings from etsy, but they were the only ones. I got a few views, but no sales, and all my listings expired. I felt a little sad.

I've made some more cards since then. To make it profitable I have to make a card in less than 15 minutes, because I need to make more than $7/hour. When I say I made $4/hour making those cards, I broke it down by supplies, time spent working on it and setting up etsy, the money paypal and etsy took out of my sale (and posting), and shipping. In the end I was making less than $4 for each card, which was a hand-painted watercolor painting with hand-drawn Hebrew calligraphy, and I could make about a card and a half in an hour. I've since learned a little bit about making those cards so I can speed up the process and also I have simplified the imagery to speed it up.

I've heard that etsy really isn't the best place to sell work but rather to get exposure and an easy way to refer people to your work (like on a business card "check out more of my work at!"). So the best place really is to go to craft fairs. Craft fairs charge a LOT for booths, like $400 for some, although if you split a booth with someone you could get it down to less. So I could probably spend $75-100 for a booth at a fair (I know someone who might want to share with me), and that would mean I would have to sell about 11-12 cards at $10/card to make it worth it (to account for supplies and stuff, but no shipping or etsy or paypal).

You might say, well, that shouldn't be so hard! But I don't think people buy little watercolors so often at craft fairs. AND that is just enough to break even, not even to make a profit. (Also remember that I can't sell on Saturday, so I only have Sundays to sell my work, unless I can get someone else to sell my work for me)


This Shabbat some of my friends were asking me why I wasn't selling my work. I told them about how it wasn't really profitable. I told them all of the things I wrote up there. I told them how I don't have any sleeves to make them look professional, I don't have nice business cards. It's not worth the money.

They said, "but what about your dreams?"

"Yes, my dreams of selling little watercolor paintings at craft fairs!"

But I thought about it a lot, and today I had some free time and ended up at the art store of course. I started looking at packaging for little cards. Tonight I bought some little polypropylene sleeves to store my cards. I painted a bunch more cards a few weeks ago, so I've made it so I can work a lot faster. I've made some abstract paintings so they look like little paintings instead of Judaica cards. So maybe I will give it another shot. Maybe I will ask my friend if I can buy space in her booth on one of the days at the craft fairs. Maybe I could get a booth at the American Art Therapy Association Conference craft fair (booths are free to attendees). Maybe I could package the Judaica cards and sell them to some of the Judaica stores in the city or other cities.

I wondered why I was so resistant to their helpfulness. I know they wanted to help and wanted to be supportive but I resisted really strongly. I gave them so many reasons why it wasn't worth it, but really I was scared of not succeeding. I think there is a good chance that I won't make any money, but this is a relatively inexpensive hobby. I have all of the supplies from various classes and just for hobby reasons. The only extra expenses would be making business cards (which maybe I should have anyway) and these polypropylene bags and the few cents etsy charges me to post things on their site.

So ... I'm going to do it. I'm going to post things on etsy and maybe someone will buy some of my abstract pen and watercolor paintings and maybe they won't. It's kind of scary to put myself out there again, and maybe to put myself further out there with craft festivals and stuff. But....... it's doable.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Final Project Paintings Part 1

For my final project in my Fieldwork class I have to create an "artists book" about what I have learned about myself this semester. Since I do journal entries that include small pen drawings, I decided to turn some of the drawings into paintings, which I will then collect into a book. AND since I have heard that I am not posting regularly enough, I will post the paintings here, one at a time when I have a few minutes in the morning...

Friday, July 3, 2009

New art?

I have been doing a lot of little drawings in my journal but I am writing all around them, so I won't post them here. However, for my final project for my class I will be assembling a book made of paintings inspired by the drawings I'm making, so I will show that instead.

So much stuff is going on I am barely making art. But it's okay, I do make those little drawings, maybe one day I will have time to really do some art...
. . .
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