Author Archives: Claudia McGill

About Claudia McGill

A person who does art and writes poetry. That's me!

Tiny House 9

Yes, another tiny house! I took another session of Build a Tiny House at the Smithsonian in July, 2022. Here is one of the houses I made.

It is larger than any other Tiny House I have made at about 15″. This is because I used a larger cardboard box as my base for the house. I can see that having more room to work with of course gives me more scope for architectural details and for decoration. And it makes me wonder about making even bigger, more elaborate ones…

I covered the box with black gesso and then used acrylic paints, markers, and collage for the surface decoration. Here are front and back views:

As you can see, it even has some stairs! (Not that they go anywhere, I just liked the idea of having stairs and I wanted to try out the techniques).

Here are more exterior views:

Here are some details from the exterior:

And details of the interior.

There you have it. Tiny House 9! Thank you to our instructor, Marcie Wolf-Hubbard, and classmates for a lot of fun.

Wordless Storybook Pages 11 and 12

In 2021 I completed a wordless artist book for my little granddaughter, who was about a year old at the time. I produced it by converting a discarded kid’s library book, using the same process I’ve used for similar books in the past.

Look here if you want to see more about how I make these books and to view one of my past books.

This particular volume does have a story, though. I had been working on it off and on for a long time and getting nowhere. Other projects kept coming along. One day I took it out to see about finishing it up and to consider what I might write to accompany the images. It struck me that it was fine just as it was, without words.

And I thought my granddaughter might like it when she is a little older, and she can make up stories to go with the pictures herself.

Like the content, the cover has no words. The book has no title. I guess it can be called whatever the reader wants.

Here are the next two pages. Want to make up your own story?

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2003 Calendar – September

Here’s a project I did in 2001-2002 that I had forgotten about. Now, here in 2022-2023, I will take a trip down memory lane and show it to you, once each month.

Why this schedule? Because it is a calendar. For 2003.

I made three of these – one for my son, one for my parents, and one for my husband. It’s the last one that I am showing to you. They were all alike except for the covers.

I hoped this calendar could be a small record of a certain time in our family. I do not know if my son still has his version, and my parents now are dead and their things scattered and gone, but here is the one we still have at our house, a voice speaking up again from the past.

If you want to know more about this calendar, look here.

Here is the collage image I used for the month of September, 2003. It’s called “September Vegetables” and was 11″ x 14″. I did the picture from vegetables we had on hand; I posed them in our kitchen. I think, but am not sure, that we grew the tomatoes.

Here is the page in the calendar.

Happy September!

As to the notes, for #1 and #3, my son was still in school at the time, so school things were on my mind. For #4, the fall was my busiest season for art shows and we were usually participating in one every weekend through October. Weather was always a worry and it paid to have a lot of clothes to choose from if things changed during the day. For #5, buckeyes, also known as horse chestnuts, were a childhood tradition for me. They were considered good luck and my grandfather always collected some and gave them to me so I could carry it with me and rub it for luck if I needed it. For #7, I hate shopping and crowds so I always did my Christmas shopping very early. For #8, we grew this flower in our yard and at this time of year each blossom was covered with bees.

Abstract Painting Class at Woodmere Museum, Spring 2022 – Part Five

In May/June 2022 I attended an abstract painting studio class at Woodmere Museum in Philadelphia, PA. Our group met in the museum’s teaching studio and spent 3 hours each Tuesday morning just painting with critiques from our instructor, Val Rossman. You may remember I took an earlier session of this class with her at the same location in fall, 2021.

This time was just as much fun. Thanks to her and my fellow students for a nice experience.

This week was the last full painting session we did in the class. For the sixth and last class, we did a little bit of work but spent most of the time in Critique Day – we brought in our painting(s) and chose one for the class to talk about. It’s a nice experience when it is done as we did in our class – we learn and we get to talk about our work and what it means and what and how we worked to accomplish our aims.

But I digress. In this the fifth class, I did two works. One was a reworking of a painting I did in the landscape class I had taken the previous summer. I just do not like doing landscapes and this painting always felt very forced to me:

So in this class I turned it into this:

It’s called “Fugitive” and is 18″ x 24″. I still don’t much like it but I am not going to do anything else to it.

I also did this painting:

It’s called “Interrupted Journey” and is 24″ x 18″. I keep wanting to add to it and then not doing it. I think that means it is finished, even if I feel an unfinished something about it. So that is why I named it as I did. Maybe this painting’s journey was meant to end before I thought.

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Well, that’s it for this session of abstract painting. I’ll be taking studio sessions again this fall of 2022 – let’s see what I come up with! I’ll show you when it happens.

Abstract Painting Class at Woodmere Museum, Spring 2022 – Part Four

In May/June 2022 I attended an abstract painting studio class at Woodmere Museum in Philadelphia, PA. Our group met in the museum’s teaching studio and spent 3 hours each Tuesday morning just painting with critiques from our instructor, Val Rossman. You may remember I took an earlier session of this class with her at the same location in fall, 2021.

This time was just as much fun. Thanks to her and my fellow students for a nice experience.

For this week our instructor discussed three different kinds of light: bright hot sunlight, winter light, and the light at sunset. Our challenge was to make an image somehow involving light as defined in these ways.

I was at a loss, and then I got the idea to try a painting with all three kinds of light. Here it is.

It’s called “Three Kinds of Light” and is 24″ x 18″ At the bottom is winter light, then above it sunset light, and then above that bright hot sunlight.

After three years…

Yesterday, August 27, 2022, I participated in the Lansdale Festival of the Arts in Lansdale, PA. It’s the first show I’ve done since the pandemic started and it’s three years since I was last at this location in August, 2019. The show was canceled in 2020 for the pandemic and last year for bad weather, so we were happy to have a hot sunny day for this year’s date.

I’ve pretty much stopped doing shows, and I don’t know when I’ll be at another one. So I’ll tell you a little about it.

As background, I have a long history at this show – I think I first attended it in 1996, maybe. It’s held in a park and is a well-run easy-going event, always one of my favorite places to exhibit.

Friday night we packed up the car. Since I am not doing shows regularly, we had gotten rid of our old big car and found a new car since our last outing, and it’s much smaller. It took us some time to pack up this new car, Jen McGill her name is, and get her ready to take us to the show.

A bit squeezed in, we arrived at the park about 7:45 AM and were directed to Space 31.

First thing, get the tent set up. And then the racks, and unload the artwork from the car.

Next, put the covers on the racks. Start arranging the artwork. Set up the table for small works. Then clear off the chairs so we can sit down and we’re all done.

Here is a view of the various panels in the display. It’s always a challenge to put the art in places so that each piece looks well and fits in with its surrounding pieces. Sometimes this is hard with the variety of colors and patterns I fill each piece with – I don’t want people to have trouble picking individual pieces out of the crowd.

Once settled in the day went well. I felt as if I had never been away from the show world. It helped that the setting and many of the exhibitors were familiar to me, as well as the show organizers.

By chance I posted this piece yesterday:

I displayed it at this show, as you can see in the above photos. And guess what, it won third prize in my category, Acrylics, Oil, and Mixed Media. That was a nice surprise.

Well, that’s about it for the show. We had a nice day, a lot of pleasant conversations, made some sales, and managed to re-pack Jen McGill and fit ourselves into our spaces for the trip home. Once we got home and unpacked, we settled down for our traditional after-show dinner, pizza.

Thank you to everyone at the Lansdale Festival of the Arts who made this show possible.

Abstract Painting Class at Woodmere Museum, Spring 2022 – Part Three

In May/June 2022 I attended an abstract painting studio class at Woodmere Museum in Philadelphia, PA. Our group met in the museum’s teaching studio and spent 3 hours each Tuesday morning just painting with critiques from our instructor, Val Rossman. You may remember I took an earlier session of this class with her at the same location in fall, 2021.

This time was just as much fun. Thanks to her and my fellow students for a nice experience.

Continuing with the assignment given in the first class (to look around the studio at the random splashes of color left behind on surfaces by the many students who have passed through the studio, and to take them as inspiration for some work), I started this large painting with blocks of color.

As a bit of history, I had ordered a couple of 40″ x 30″ canvases some time back, and I don’t know why, as I usually don’t paint that large. Anyway, they sat in storage until I happened to remember them, and I thought – why not try something on one of them?

I hauled it over to the class and got busy. By the time I left class, I had covered the canvas with a totally abstract composition of colors. I stood back to admire it and then I got back to work, because I knew that in its second life it would find its voice and meaning. I worked on it for the next week and here is where it ended up.

It’s called “In the Current State of Things” and is 40″ x 30″ on canvas.

Wordless Storybook Pages 9 and 10

In 2021 I completed a wordless artist book for my little granddaughter, who was about a year old at the time. I produced it by converting a discarded kid’s library book, using the same process I’ve used for similar books in the past.

Look here if you want to see more about how I make these books and to view one of my past books.

This particular volume does have a story, though. I had been working on it off and on for a long time and getting nowhere. Other projects kept coming along. One day I took it out to see about finishing it up and to consider what I might write to accompany the images. It struck me that it was fine just as it was, without words.

And I thought my granddaughter might like it when she is a little older, and she can make up stories to go with the pictures herself.

Like the content, the cover has no words. The book has no title. I guess it can be called whatever the reader wants.

Here are the next two pages. Want to make up your own story?

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Postcard – Lady and Bird

I made this postcard in July, 2022, to submit to the Compassion event at the American Visionary Museum. Take a look here if you want to know what I am talking about. The cards will be on display in the Sideshow (the shop at the museum) and then for sale starting in September with all proceeds going to the museum.

Abstract Painting Class at Woodmere Museum, Spring 2022 – Part Two

In May/June I attended an abstract painting studio class at Woodmere Museum in Philadelphia, PA. Our group met in the museum’s teaching studio and spent 3 hours each Tuesday morning just painting with critiques from our instructor, Val Rossman. You may remember I took an earlier session of this class with her at the same location in fall, 2021. This time was just as much fun. Thanks to her and my fellow students for a nice experience.

Continuing with the assignment given in the first class (to look around the studio at the random splashes of color left behind on surfaces by the many students who have passed through the studio, and to take them as inspiration for some work), I created these two paintings.

I show them to you together as I made them at the same time, moving from one to the other. As before, I did a lot of work in the class and then finished at home, but…to be honest, these were both pretty much finished when I left class.

This one is called “In the Midday Heat” and it is 24″ x 18″.

This one is called “Dancing in My Living Room” and is 24″ x 18″.