Detritus, aka Making the Art Sausage

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Note: This entry first appeared on my Patreon page. Join to see the newest news and receive art rewards!

When we see a work of art hanging on a wall or seated on a pedestal, it looks like it appeared there by magic. You might get a hint of the work that went into its creation - brush strokes, fingerprints, chisel marks, and so on. But what don't you see?

The process of making a painting bleeds over into my surrounding workspace. There are a lot of leftover bits. Why let them go to waste?

Paint on the Palette

I'm using a glass palette these days for my acrylic paints. It's easier to clean than plastic, but there's an awkward side effect. When my acrylic paint begins to dry on the palette, it forms flakes that absolutely do not mix with wet paint. Grr.

My solution is to take a paper towel, fold it in quarters longways, saturate it with water, and squeeze out my paint onto that. I still use the glass for mixing color, and clean the mixtures off when I'm done.

If I unfold the paper towel carefully, the next day I have this cool object that's just begging to be collaged somewhere.

All the Trimmings

I've been using my extra paint to make postcards. They are standard-size and ready to be stamped and mailed. Or you can just set them on a shelf and enjoy.

I make these by cutting 9 x 12 Bristol board into quarters. However, there's a half-inch that needs to be trimmed in order to meet the USPS' standard postcard dimensions. I've been making a lot of postcards, and these strips are really accumulating. What will they become?

Trading Cards

Are you familiar with Artist Trading Cards? They're made where are collecting and business cards intersect. They're tiny - 2.5 x 3.5 inches - and that's where the standardization ends. I use ATC's as a great place to use up extra paint, switch gears, relax with a small piece, and then have something cool to give away or swap.* Will my Patreon patrons be getting Artist Trading Cards at some point? Signs point to Yes.

* You can buy ATCs on eBay. But I prefer them to be gifted or traded hand-to-hand.

Making Hay

Let us make hay while the sun shines.- Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote de la Mancha

making hay front whole

So I had a pile of reds, golds, and browns, culled from the donated fabric bin at the meeting of Community First! Quilters. The fields are ripe, they said - it's harvest time.

making hay back whole

The front and back are both improvised strip-piecing. The emerging pattern reminded me of aerial photographs of farmland.

making hay detail 2

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See the burgundy? It was in my fabric stash for ages. It was just waiting for that exquisite harvest-gold botanical print to pair with.

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Like, hey, what's up cheese? I'm that wine you've been thirsting after.

making hay detail 3

This spring-green patch was left over from a previous quilt.

making hay stitching detail 1

Making Hay was my first ever longarm quilting experience. Many thanks to Jessica and Ellie at The Cotton Cupboard for their patient teaching!

making hay stitching detail 2

What is Modern Quilting? Learn more about Mobile Loaves & Fishes What is the Community First! Village? Contribute your quilting skills to the Community First! Quilters

Avocado and Shades of Firefly

Avocado: Shades of Firefly, acrylic on canvas, 24x24 inches, 201Avocado: Shades of Firefly. Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 inches by Sarah Atlee.

You already know about my love for Persea americana. Here is another tribute to this fascinating fruit.

Shades of what now?

When I say "Firefly," I'm not talking about this.

Not now, Mal. I'm working. Not now, Mal. I'm working.

Nor am I referring to one of these lovelies:

Photo by Terry Priest. Click image to view source.

I mean this Firefly.

Firefly, from the first generation of My Little Pony. Source unknown. Firefly, from the first generation of My Little Pony toys. Source unknown.

Sometimes, when I put the right pink and the right blue next to eachother, I get a nostalgic flashback to the mid-eighties. I didn't collect all the My Little Pony dolls, and lord knows what happened to them. But I do remember this one. I think so, anyway - I feel like the one I had was a lighter shade of pink with a darker shade of blue...

Color can be funny that way.

See Avocado: Shades of Firefly in Person

Avocado: Shades of Firefly will be available for purchase in February 2015 at Ro2 Art in Dallas. Join us at For Real featuring Sarah Atlee and James Zamora. Contact Ro2 Art for more details.

UPDATE: For Real has been reviewed by Jenny Block for The Huffington Post! Read the full review here: "A Hyperrealism That Questions Reality With James Zamora and Sarah Atlee at RO2 Art"