31 December 2006

Наилучшие пожелания для замечательной поездки к России

photo: Garth and Sean at the Russell family Christmas Dinner.

What a way to start the New Year. Sean Russell is leaving New Year's Day for a one month trip to Russia. It's a college trip, thru St. Olaf's in Minnesota, where he's a senior this year. We had an old-fashioned Christmas carol sing after Christmas dinner and Garth and Alex provided the accompaniment while Sean led the singing. He's got a beautifully trained voice, having sung professionally since he was 8 years old! We all look forward to singing along with Sean, although, he loses most of us after the first verse. Sean has the ability to recall full lyrics to songs even if he hasn't sung them for eons. This night, he sang every verse to "Good King Wenceslas (sp?)" and it was beautiful and there was a hush on the boisterous group as he sang. Sean's a special person to each of us for different reasons, and it all comes together as love when he's singing. ---Jeanne

29 December 2006

Random Thoughts

This is a photo of Jeremy who owns the best art store around: The Art Guru in Gorham at 104 Main Street. Phone: 207-839-6138, Fax: 207-839-6028 website: www.theartguru.com

Well, its almost a new year and I'm realizing the next painting I sign will be marked 2007... Pretty wild how fast the years go by. I keep an art journal - something I started many moons ago... over time the journals have gotten bigger and less controlled, kind of like the artwork I create. My boyfriend always poses the question, will you be able to get it out of the apartment when its done? I always assure him - oh yeh, no problem... I count on the bedroom window and ropes to lower the paintings down with, but I never say that. I also tend to make my art sturdier as the time goes by - its funny watching people treating it as though it is something fragile, its so not fragile. People approach slowly - almost on tiptoe, reaching out... I usually say something to the effect of - unless you run it over with your tractor, it'll be okay... that actually happened to one of my favorite pieces but we'll tell that story another time. On Saturday - tomorrow, I will purchase several sketchbooks and new oil pastels - the big box even though I really can't afford it and take it all with me into 2007.

28 December 2006

Are We There Yet?

Lets take a minute and reflect - first, you'll need a huge cup of coffee and a cozy place to sit, if you have a dog, you'll want the beast with you for this. Maybe do some art, play some music, stay in your jammies...

Its almost 2007 and I'm staring at a new roll of canvas - Thanks Mom.

What I really like about this roll of canvas is where it comes from - a place called 'The Art Guru' in Gorham, Maine. The owner, Jeremy, is an amazing artist and started the business a few years ago. But aside from being amazing as an artist, Jeremy has the greatest energy... so, if you're in the neighborhood stop by and tell him Dj sent you.

Pretty sure you'll walk out of there smiling...

Okay, so back to the Studio- Gallery -
we have another show coming up in March...
Thinkin' maybe the solstice? What are people doing?
Any words of wisdom, crazy art, questions, comments?

12 December 2006

As you wish

Here's the photo of the painting requested by our commenter on the last post. DJ is away from a computer right now, but she'll be back this Friday if you have any questions or comments for her.

Penny McAllister's Knitting Bags are made of quality materials with excellent details. They are on sale at the Gallery for $54. We have just five left! I have one and I love it for carrying my knitting with me - It sits flat, and it's shallow so I can see everything and it's the right length for knitting needles to lay flat. I have a confession to make, though. When we go on car trips, I take the knitting out, and put the maps, brochures, directions, snacks, tissues and other "ride necessities" in it and set it between us on the front seat. It's the best bag ever!

Jenna Daniels is the jewelry maker... and a knitter, photographer and a full-time college student - she's studying to become an elementary school teacher, and she'll be a great one - kids just love her. (She's also Jeanne's youngest sister!) We have a nice selection in the gallery- just $7 a pair until Christmas!

SOLD: As I was typing up this entry, Marilyn has left the building. Alex has a few images left on vinyl including Jimi Hendrix and a fantastic Frankenstein clock.

Any cardmakers out there? We would like to talk to you. We're looking for original art, photographs and collage note cards and greeting cards for consignment for our next group show in March. E-mail: jeannegraydove@yahoo.com for an appointment.

08 December 2006

Buy Art

Okay, so the show's over but here's the deal - we still have art for sale... comments, questions, concerns, suggested titles are all welcome. The piece shown here is approximately 4 feet by 4 feet and is an acrylic piece on board, framed by my dad - please note he is currently on strike and refusing to frame my 4 by 8 foot piece... what can I say? I generally like to work large pieces.

06 December 2006

A great opening!

Photos of the gallery-studio. Special thanks to our house band, Alex on steel resonator guitar, Seth on drums, Grant on bass and Bob on the mandolin... You guys were great!

DJ speaks: Well, the opening was fun, informative, and pretty freakin' remarkable! Each one of you brought so much to our gathering - Thank You. For those of you who were unable to attend I will try to describe it...

In the back room, a.k.a. the studio, there were amazing and unexpected things happening - Jeanne coaching Cindy, Marion and Ashley through the art of book making while Alex and friends were playing guitars, tubes, drums and mandolins¦ Love the mohawk, Grant. Margaret joined in on guitar and Tiffany - did I mention Tiffany? Tiffany, our beloved premed student and Alexander's muse wove in and out bringing us all coffee and conversation throughout the day! Curt and Mary arrived with a picnic basket full of wine and settled in for an afternoon visit and so many artists! Mission accomplished. The place came to life. The weekend was a beautiful thing, the weather even held. I think Jeanne and I are both ready for a long winter's nap and then on to the next gathering, after we fill in the blank spots on the gallery walls. Thanks again to all who supported us in our Studio-Gallery endeavor.

So there I was, sitting in a classroom sketching in order to sit still and the Swirly Girls were born! The lecture was on power, privilege and oppression and Swirly Girls were my response. They're all about the celebration of being female and all that goes with it. Jeanne and I soon brought them to life, using copper and torches and Friday nights. We took turns playing the role of "Fire Girl" and solved many of life's big mysteries...okay, we really didn't solve anything but art is healing and I think we did heal from the week spent in the day to day struggles.

29 November 2006


Open House this weekend!
Sat. 10-5
Sun. 1-4

12 Main Street
Gray, Maine
plenty of parking

DJ and Alex are showing new works. Penny McAllister is bringing her fantastic bags, and Joe McAllister has promised us young bonsai trees plus the swirly girls and other works! I am setting up the studio for "Drop-In Book Making" and Alex will entertain us in the afternoon with acoustic guitar. Saturday at lunch time DJ has promised to make her famous chili, refreshments all day.

photo: Girls who play with fire..... making the swirly girls. photo by Jeanne Adams

27 November 2006

Ghosts in the studio

Photo: Thanksgiving at Mom's - she's an accomplished quiltmaker and along with my sister the chef serves an amazing feast every year. Jeanne Adams photo.

Now that we have the studio set up, I can schedule art. I will announce grandly to myself, "After dinner I will be in the studio." This is the opposite of what has been happening the last 10 years, when all the art stuff was splattered around the kitchen.... . The amount of activity in my kitchen could be astounding. My teenage son and his friends, my 9 year old and her friends. Two cats and a dog. Everyone would end up doing what I was doing, or "helping" me. Painting, paper making, plaster casting, paper marbling, cast paper, paste paper, painting, sculpey clay, tie dying. We've learned how to do it all. There was always food and music and talking. At the end of the day I'd have a really big mess to clean up and feel sad because I didn't get anything "done". My friends were creating art, wonderful pieces. All I was accomplishing was adding to an amazing pile of "stuff that's going to be something someday."

The last couple of weeks having the studio has been amazing. I finally mastered a two needle sewing technique on a more complicated book structure than I've ever done before. I love it! I'm thrilled. My tools don't disappear! Funny things don't happen to my work if I leave it on the table!

But the studio is really quiet. Zoe occasionally does her homework in there with me, and Alex will sometimes teach a guitar lesson in the gallery, or come in and play me a tune, but it's not the same. Too scheduled, too organized. Too quiet. I can hear the ghosts of the kitchen past laughing. I see an 8 year old in the "zone" squirting dye onto a t-shirt and her pure joy and amazement as the final design is revealed. We had 5 people dyeing and made over 45 shirts that day. Plus pizza, two dogs, two cats, telephones ringing, print shop customers, friends in and out plus a trip to WalMart for more shirts.

It's not going to be that spontaneous anymore. The kids are growing up. It's okay that I didn't finish much "art". It's okay, because my kids became artists, and musicians and chefs in that kitchen! I think about my friends who have tried something new with me in that kitchen and gone on to accomplished works.

I'm enjoying the new studio immensely, but without my ghosts and joyful, noisy, messy memories and the "amazing pile of stuff" to keep me company it wouldn't be half so much fun. Now, where's that black and gray paste paper we made three years ago?

15 November 2006

Boston and back

Our waitress at the Barking Crab gave us a good tip! The Earthrace biodiesel ship was docked just around corner and giving free tours. My nephews were enthralled with the boat that looked like it came straight from the Batman movie. The crew was cajoling people aboard in their New Zealand accents, and giving them a "kick in the bum for ya" as they de-barked. I don't know what that was all about, maybe it's a way way down under custom! The crew of the Earthrace thinks they can break the round the world record by 10 days! The current record is 75 and they are shooting for 65. And, using earth friendly fuels to boot. Boston was just one stop in an 60 city 18 month tour leading up to their March sail date. The crew was young and happy, they're going to have to be tough too. They said that they'll only make 11 stops for 2 hours each for refueling during their 65 day journey round the world. www. earthrace.net for more on this incredible boat and her funny crew.

Our second day, after visiting the USS Constitution (did you know that all Navy boats leak and that President Bush has never visited the Constitution?} we followed the Freedom Trail. We stopped to check the map in a beautiful old neighborhood of brick townhouses and corner shops. A woman asked if we were lost, and gave us better directions. She chatted with the kids about what we'd been doing and said, "We love our history here in Boston." Turns out she is the owner of the Deacon Larkin House. When Paul Revere went on his famous ride, he was on a horse lent to him by Deacon Larkin!

We're waiting for the train to come home, and we're early, so we're outside letting the kids run around a bit before the two hour ride home. A man with a giant balloon headdress, ballon creations on his arms and carrying a milk crate is heading for North Station. My nephew Caleb called to him "Hey, what happened to you?". The man stopped and said he'd make us a great balloon deal. All the stuff for $3. My mom teased him to show us what else he could do and he jumped up on his milk crate and created a swinging bird and a poodle, teasing us back the whole time. Not a bad bunch of ballons for 3 bucks. He takes the train in from Newport to hawk balloons on the weekends at Fanueil Hall.

As much fun as the museums and historical sites are, its the people we met that made the journey memorable.

10 November 2006

Coming together

DJ and Alex. Photo by Jeanne Adams

We've been working on the gallery, getting ready for the Open House coming up on Dec. 2nd & 3rd. I must admit that DJ and Alex have been doing most of the manual labor - painting and moving stuff around, and figuring out how to set things up. Art is sitting waiting to go up. I've spent my whole career doing production graphics, where you're usually trying to fit as much as possible into a very small space. So when it comes to a giant space like a big blank wall, I just get overwhelmed. I'm working on it. We're enjoying this project, things are falling into place, and we'll offer some social art during the open house... maybe clay since we've been wanting to make some molds, or bookmaking... or both!

08 November 2006

When a long line is a good thing

photo by Jeanne Adams

I walked up to Newbegin Center last night a little after 6 to vote. "Oh, no, look at that line", I said. The man next to me said quietly, "That's a good thing tonight." well said. Someone else said, "I've lived in this town for 30 years and out of all the people here I only recognize two people." The weather was good and the people were pleasant. A young man behind me was catching up with an old school friend he hadn't seen in years and they were talking about the service and college and work. I had brought the kids and dog with me for the walk and Thunder was busy meeting people, a man in line had a little conversation with Thunder, asking the dog who he was voting for and apologizing for not having a treat . A very nice evening on Main Street.

Time is relative

in the studio...

Alex is making stenciled art and has picked up a few commissions for Christmas. He's making some school folders, and stenciling photos of kids onto vinyl records. This Einstein clock is one layer, I like the 3 & 4 layers stencils he's done, it's really amazing work. Speaking of work... You should see him create. He turns into a tornado! Pieces fly, he's all over the place, the studio is chaos and then -boom - something cool appears like magic from the madness! He's a lot of fun to hang out with when he's creating - ideas fly all over the place!

06 November 2006

Thunder and Max

Thunder and Max. Photo by Jeanne Adams

These two are the welcoming committee. Thunder (dog) and Max (cat) are both 3 years old and grew up together. They're not much help sometimes when I'm trying to get something done. Both of them startle me when they jump up on the work tables. Both of them like to knock things onto the floor. They steal my chair and my lunch if I leave either for too long. DJ calls Thunder the Artful Dodger, because he's such a thief, stealing any manner of thing, including pens off the desk, to entice you to play. Both like to take naps on the desk.

Sometimes it's non stop fun and excitement. Max will swat Thunder if he gets out of line. Thunder will push Max off his spot on the bed. Max knocks cat food off the cat table onto the floor so Thunder can have a treat. Max learned to sit up and beg, because I used cat food as kibble to train the dog. Max will bring live mice in the house so Thunder can chase them. Both can jump up on anything - including kitchen counters.

Thunder is overjoyed to see everyone. He's got quite the fan club. I have clients who bring him biscuits and stay to play with him, and he's regularly inquired after at the convenience store next to my house. "Where's Thunder?" Sometimes I make a date with an acquaintance to let our dogs play together and at soccer and soft ball the kids know him and love him up.

Believe it or not, it's taken me three days to get this photo! I get my camera ready, aim.... and Thunder goes from groggy to excited in a second flat - jumps from the chair, and gives a big stretch - he knows that when I pick up my camera I'm usually going out the door, and usually to take him for his walk.

The animals are great teachers. Naps are good... and so are treats. If I'm blocked, I'll stare at something with the cat's "I could care less" attitude - and notice more details. I try to imitate Thunder's way of just being him: I try to show how thoroughly happy I am when someone walks in the door, for instance (minus the jumps and licks of course!). I'm learning how to be quiet and enjoy hearing the good things people say. I like how the cat sets his limits, but how he sets them aside sometimes too.

Most of all, I like how everything about them says, "right this minute, life is good".

05 November 2006

Swirly Girls

Photo by Jeanne Adams

One of my favorite things to do is to make art with other people. I call it "social art". Yesterday DJ and I worked on the "Swirly Girls"(c) . The swirly girls and us go back a few years, when we learned how to solder copper wire together, they were created from original art created by DJ at Leslie College..... while she was in class, while pursuing her Master's Degree in Expressive Therapy. Happily, she got her Master's and we have swirly girls.

There's something wonderful that happens when you make art, it makes the weight lift from your shoulders. Sometimes, working with DJ, we have long, long silences. I treasure these silences. We're engaged. It's not the long awkward silence that feels like it must be broken. Sometimes we stop and watch each other work. Usually we break our silence with, "Want a coffee?"

To make the swirly girls, we recycle copper wire. Some of this last batch came from the latest remodeling done in "this old house". A plastic coating covers the wire(s) and it's stripped using a knife. The copper wire is shining and clean as it is pulled from the usually dirty coating and wound like garden hose. Pieces are snipped and twisted to form the "girls" and the pieces are tied with thin wire at the joints. Flux is a gray paste that is brushed deep into the crevices of the wire. A propane torch is lit and directed at the copper wire to heat it, then solder is melted into the crevices. It's not difficult, but there is a definite method to the madness. The swirly girls end up very strong.

We ended up with 14 swirly girls almost completed.... we're pulling together to have our first ever studio open house the first weekend in December. It won't be the first time we've sold art together, we've had a couple of art parties and I even had an Art Yard Sale once - but that's another story! -- Jeanne