Returning to Abandoned Paintings

September 18th, 2014

Back in 2007, I started a painting called Santiago. It was a playful piece inspired by the name my husband selected for his identity in our Spanish class, mine was Margarita. I put a lot of time into this painting, and even “finished” it, posting the completed work on my site…

While cleaning out my storage bins, Santiago called out to me from beneath the protective covering, so I removed him and shuttered at the monstrosity before me. Lifeless eyes, muted values, and what the *$%# did I do to the cat?

At some point, I had decided that the interior of a pirate ship would be darker and he needed to be more menacing. What I succeeded in doing was destroying the piece. So now he sits on my easel, begging the question, “Do I toss it or try to fix it?”

Normally I would say screw it, remove the soiled canvas and start fresh. Why does this one cause me to pause? Is it the perceived value in the time to which I have already committed? My guess would be the emotional connection to the piece, because it is representing my husband and our cat, Ti. A decision has been made and the piece will NOT return to storage. Pull the plug or resuscitate, matey!

For further reading on the subject, Ann Landi wrote and article for ARTnews that asks the question, When is an artwork finished?

Here are studio shots from the original painting process…

Bartering Artwork

September 15th, 2014

Every so often I get the courage to ask another artist if they would like to trade artwork. For some it is not an option, but others are thrilled by the opportunity to acquire new work via the barter system. There are so many ways you can barter artwork with others: trade existing artwork, make new work, and a split-trade where one artwork is created in reaction to an existing piece.

When I was the Gallery Coordinator at the Rosewood Gallery, I was introduced to the work of Carrie Longley and asked her about a trade, to which she said yes! She showed me available work and the prices associated with them. I selected the ceramic piece, Hummus Paddus, as the work I wanted and offered to create a new painting on a 10″x16″ canvas for her. She trusted me to create something without her knowledge, a blind trade, and she even gave me her piece in advance!

That was very kind and very brave of Carrie to do, and not something I would recommend most artists doing with a split-trade. This is the story of a successful art barter, but I have severel stories where the trade did not go through, and work is currently collecting dust because the other artist did not follow through on the agreement.

Carrie’s work shows creatures presented as specimens. I wanted to show the form before it was preserved and jarred, so I looked at the features and pondered what they may have looked like on a living creature.

The “head” of her creature is shriveled like a dried lotus seed, but I imagined those pockets puffed out. I was inspired by fish eggs for the appearance.

I did not change much about the side layers other than enhance the color and make one look juicier, like a tongue.

One of the features that intrigued me the most were the holes along the sides of the spine. I pictured them holding tiny feathers.

The time lapse video at the beginning of this post shows the process in more detail.

Trades can happen with close friends or artists you find online. Do not be offended if the other artist does not want to trade. Some artists must sell their work to feed their family, some are overwhelmed with artwork already, and some will not connect with the work you make. Trust your instincts and never feel bad about telling another artist “no thank you” or that you would feel more comfortable with exchanging the work at the same time. A successful barter can be an exciting experience and a wonderful way to stretch your creative muscles!

Announcement List : August

September 11th, 2014

JOIN US!: My episode of The Art Show is airing this September 14 at 5pm on ThinkTV 16. We have reserved the party room at Fox and Hound at the Fairfield Commons Mall. Join us between 4-6pm for the viewing of the episode!

RAISE YOUR HAND: Leesa Haapapuro and I will team teach the Mystery Build Sculpture class from 10a-3p on October 11th at the Rosewood Arts Centre. The class costs $45 for Kettering residents and $55 for non-residents, but if you sign up before September 1st, you can get 10% off! Join us for a day of creative exploration with new materials and ways to kick start your creativity!

BANG BOOM: I enjoyed being at Clash Dayton so much, I will continue to paint there on Thursdays, 2-6:30 for the rest of September!

ZIPPY: New video showing how I make the kaleidoscopes for my Paranormals Pouches, specifically for The Madness.

BLOG ROLL: Starting a weekly blog! Some posts from my adventures around Pittsburgh. SPACE, and Wood Street Galleries, and ToonSeum.

MONKEYING AROUND: Currently, I am learning Mailchimp so I can improve my monthly newsletters! Stay tuned!

Amy Kollar Anderson

“I used to be disgusted; now I try to be amused.” ~ Elvis Costello

“A person who knows how to laugh at himself will never ceased to be amused.” ~ Shirley MacLaine

“Let us read and let us dance – two amusements that will never do any harm to the world.” ~ Voltaire

“By amusing myself with all these games, all this nonsense, all these picture puzzles, I became famous… I am only a public entertainer who has understood his time.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Paranormals Pouches

September 8th, 2014

Much of my days are now spent transforming my artwork into functional accessories. These pouches, hand-sewn by me, are a labor of love. Here I am able to take recent artwork or paintings that found a home long ago, and create something new and exciting! I have so many designs that I want to make from existing paintings, as well as so many ideas for new paintings that can eventually become a Paranormals Pouch!

After the painting has been photographed, I manipulate the digital files on the computer. Pixelmator has a filter called Kaleidoscope and it what I use to create the back panels. Here you can see the process in this video…

Once the digital files are finished, I assemble them in a 36″x58″ (150dpi) file and upload it to Spoonflower.

I prefer the Heavy Cotton Twill, which is a sturdy 100% cotton twill with an optic white finish. Appropriate for home decorating including drapery, table linens and some upholstery projects, banners, tote bags, pants, coats and jackets.

Once the fabric arrives, usually 2 weeks later, I cut the sections apart with a rotary blade cutter. The next stage is coordinating the zippers and fabric for the inner lining. As a thrift store junky, I am able to find lots of amazing fabrics that I bring home, wash and upcycle into their new form.

I work like an assembly line, doing all of the pinning, sewing and ironing at one time.

Then I sew. It is very exhausting, but I have lots of help…NOT!

Here is the small, coin-purse style pouch made from my painting, Fumage, which was created as a part of my Wasp in a Wig Series of paintings inspired by the Alice books by Lewis Carroll.

Even similar pouches can have different personalities depending on the zipper/fabric combos.

Here is the back of the large make-up bag style pouch, which is made to sit upright.

I plan to eventually sell these on my website and at art festivals. Currently, I am trying to keep up with the incoming orders (a nice problem to have!), so I am also working on displays and ways to sell them once I get enough made. Here is an old suitcase I found at a flea market in Michigan.

Now transformed with paint and black velvet into a lovely display case for my small pouches.

Interested in picking up a Paranormals Pouch? Send me an email! Be sure to sign up for my Announcement List for updates on pouches and the new website!

The Mattress Factory Installation

September 8th, 2014

The Mattress Factory Art Museum, located in Pittsburgh, PA, is currently offering 1/2 price admission, with the new exhibit opening September 13, 2014. My favorite part of the experience was not in the main portion of the museum, but rather a satallite location down the alley way. This installation of objects and yarn took up the entire three-story house and was completely captivating! It began as a simple line, beckoning you follow. That line multiplied into layers and layers of intersecting shapes, some of which engulfed objects that suggested transition or transformation.


Gypsy Queen

September 1st, 2014

This was my design for the Gypsy Queen Ancho Chili Beer by Warped Wing Brewery.

Many thanks to my friend Mary, owner of Clash Dayton, for being an amazing muse!

A rough start.

With a few changes, I was finally able to get the image the way I wanted it.

A few additions to the scene.

After approval, I inked the drawing.

Originally, I intended to color the piece with acrylics.

I was not pleased with how the skin looked, so I decided to color her digitally, using the line work I photographed before painting.

I submitted this design and it was discussed that this was a smokey beer, so they wanted more of a night scene with a campfire.

The finished design!

Pittsburgh Adventures : Toonseum : Group Exhibit Ends 09:20:14

August 25th, 2014

When Universes Collide! The Ultimate Superhero Smackdown! An Exhibit of Original Artwork Spanning 70 Years!
Pittsburgh, PA
July 23 – September 20, 2014

When you enter the ToonSeum it looks like a small comic shop, but around every corner is a thoughtful and playful tribute to the comic arts.

The museum is divided into two main spaces, one for the main exhibit and a multi-media experience center with activities and costumes, so it is great for kids of all ages (like me!).

The hallway that connects the galleries also housed an exhibit of pixelated super heros in the Artist Trading Card format.

The main exhibit was a playful “battle” between superheros, and the debate was expressed in words and visuals.

I am a sucker for a behind-the-scenes experience and I loved seeing the original comics with their errors and changes.

One of my favorite animated characters! Battle Cat!

QUESTION: What’s better than a bad-ass cat woman?

ANSWER: A roomful of bad-ass cat/bat women!

Pittsburgh Adventures : Wood Street Galleries : Ends 09:07:14

August 24th, 2014

Wood Street Galleries
Pittsburgh, PA

The Wood Street Galleries are an extreme art destination! They are located on the 2nd and 3rd floors of a wedge-shaped building and the only way to access them is via the old elevator. I began on the 3rd floor and winced at the volume emitted from these Terminator-gone-artsy forms. Intense is the best way I can describe this exhibit of motorized forms. They slither and scream and appear to follow your movement around the room (or do they?), and they activated every RUN part of my lizard brain. The gallery attendant asked if I had been to the 2nd floor? When I responded no, he said he had to activate them, so he would accompany me there. While in the elevator, I commented that the piece on the 3rd floor was really loud, to which he calmly replied, “Oh, this one is louder.”

Rugs for Ellie!

August 20th, 2014


Things have been quiet around the Dollhouse Diary lately, as I have been focused on other projects. Since you are not be old enough to play with it for a few, I have some time to get back to it, but today you are a bit closer! Happy Birthday! Just because I have not been posting, does not mean the project has been abandoned. I have been collecting more items for decorating the house, TOF has been making furniture and Grandma Kollar has been making rugs! Here are two of her rugs and a tissue set she got for you!

I am currently trying to figure out how to make a living as an artist, but the dollhouse has been calling my name and I will get back to it soon, I promise! I am excited for the day that we can play with it together and you can add your special touches. I love you!

~ Amy Ant

SPACE : Group Show : Ends 08:31:14

August 18th, 2014

On a recent trip to Pittsburgh, I had the opportunity to explore the city by myself. SPACE was on the list of “must-sees” and their Cataloguing Pattern show held some true gems! I enjoyed the show in general, but my favorite work was a series of drawings by Kristin Kest. They were beautifully drawn and the images combined fair tales and fierce, adventurous women (and insect mothers)!

Some more images from the show…

7/11/2014 – 8/31/2014