On the Easel: Watch Yourself

Not much time so thought I'd show you samples for one of the classes I'm teaching in Houston this week.   Assemblings of a Mad Watchmaker.  

Before the magic of paint:

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...and PRESTO CHANGO:

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ON THE EASEL: Way Back Web Pages

So I took a little trip on the WayBack Machine.  This is a webpage that allows you to go back to a website, as it was, at a particular date.  I decide to take a little gander at page and see what art I was showcasing at the time.  What I actually found most interesting was my webpage design...oh how it's changed.

My very first webpage design...didn't last long but I kind of dug it.

My very first webpage design...didn't last long but I kind of dug it.

OMG...this one is downright horrible.  It would have been great in the 80's but I was using this in the early 2000s.

OMG...this one is downright horrible.  It would have been great in the 80's but I was using this in the early 2000s.

I really liked this one...mostly because I really like the art used in the background.  Alas the actual piece was destroyed in shipping...but at least I have this jpg.

I really liked this one...mostly because I really like the art used in the background.  Alas the actual piece was destroyed in shipping...but at least I have this jpg.

This one lasted for some time.  Students of mine will please not the "tricky burnt paper routine".

This one lasted for some time.  Students of mine will please not the "tricky burnt paper routine".

At last we come to this.  Not bad.  It features one of my all time favorite pieces entitled "Sienna".

At last we come to this.  Not bad.  It features one of my all time favorite pieces entitled "Sienna".

Now lets take a peek at some of the piece of art I found lurking around in the WayBack machine:

Fatima - Quite honestly this was not one of my favourites.  Ultimately this was cannibalized into other works of art.  Win some lose some.

Affirmation Totem - This guy was made from a guitar...and extra large Beefeater Gin bottle...which swivels and nods "yes".

Bear Necessity - This was commissioned for a fundraiser at the University of Montana.  He is a life-size and he's GRRRRRRREAT.

Techs Mechs - One of my favourite works with one of my favourite titles.  This was made from parts of an old gas pump.  

Expedition Hat - I went through a hat-making phase.  This one was wearable...but not exactly comfortable. 

Guadalupe Fire Hat - Talk about uncomfortable hats...this sucker was crazy heavy...but it looked cool on.  You could literally only wear it for a few minutes at a time.  The brim was solid steel.  

Guadalupe Fire Hat - Talk about uncomfortable hats...this sucker was crazy heavy...but it looked cool on.  You could literally only wear it for a few minutes at a time.  The brim was solid steel.  

Hope you enjoyed my little stroll into the past.

The Skinny: Oddity Shrines Go On Sale TODAY!

Tonight, Sunday  April 12 at 5pm PST My latest batch of Oddity Shrines will be going on sale.  All you have to do is head to this link: 

http://www.michaeldemeng.com/new-products/

at 5pm the products will be available. 

Here's a sneak peak: 

  PHANTOM OF THE ODD-PERA

 

PHANTOM OF THE ODD-PERA

THE PHILOSOPHER'S HEART

THE PHILOSOPHER'S HEART

THE BOY WHO FLOATED OVER THE MOON

THE BOY WHO FLOATED OVER THE MOON

SWISS GUARDIAN ANGEL

SWISS GUARDIAN ANGEL

METROPOLIS MARIA

METROPOLIS MARIA

PROTECTIVE HAND

PROTECTIVE HAND

CHAMSA

CHAMSA

FULLER BRUSH SHRINE

FULLER BRUSH SHRINE

Hope to see you there! 

THE SKINNY- Art in NOLA. Workshops in Petaluma and Houston

Here's what's going down: Check out some art.  Take some classes!

New Work Heading to New Orleans

I'll be sending new pieces to Graphite Gallery this Week...including a couple of torsos...Persephone and Hades.  If you happen to be hanging out in the French Quarter you should stop in.

Graphite Gallery, 936 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116
504-565-3739

https://www.facebook.com/graphitenola


Lots of classes coming up in a few weeks.  It kicks off with Art is You Petaluma.  Workshops include: Sacred Shrine to the Seemingly Insignificant Thing, Mixed Media Retratos, Mermaids and Nautical Oddities.  Bonus event: Dirty Rotten Egg Parade 

Click here to join the fun: http://www.eatcakecreate.com/petaluma/


Adorn Me has opened up a few classes to mixed media artists like myself.  If you're in the Houston area come on by and take a few classes.  Assemblings of a Mad Watchmaker, Sideshow Shrines, Sacred Shrine to the Seemingly Insignificant Thing, and a duo class with Andrea Matus called Scroll Mates.


So that's what's happening now.  You can always pop over to my Workshop page and see where I may be next.

 Click to see my 2015 Schedule

WAY COOL: The Place Tabor Lives

I've got a buddy in Portland, named Tabor Porter.  He is a jewelry artist who does spectacular work.  His other claim to fame is his home; he is, shall we say, a collector of things...especially unusually things.  The best part of visiting Tabor (other than being served ice cream and pie with morning coffee) is that his home is a veritable smorgasbord of oddities.  No matter where you look...you are bombarded with visually weird treats.  In fact a 250 lb concrete Mayan head greeted me at the door.  Once inside...visual overload...not a vacant spot on the wall.  

Here's Tabor now! That's not his real face...he's wearing a Bolivian mask made from tin.

An eye opener. A ceramic booze flask that was kept beneath one's pillow.

An eye opener. A ceramic booze flask that was kept beneath one's pillow.

Here's Goliath's severed head from a David and Goliath play.  Who doesn't need one of those?

Vintage Halloween goodies anyone?

More treats

Pillbox!!!!!!!!!

Shady characters

Another Pillbox!!!!

Another Pillbox!!!!

Put that in you pipe and smoke it.

Pretty cool, huh?  If your ever in Portland and meet Tabor...and he invites you to his home...say YES!!!!!!!!

As I mentioned he is also a phenomenal jewelry artist: 

Back to the Blog

So it's been some time since I've really done much blogging.  I've decided the time has come to jump back into the routine.  My goal is to do 3 posts every week.

Wednesdays: ON THE EASEL- these post will be about specific art pieces that I am working working on in the studio.  Lots of photos, symbolism and inspirations to be found here. 

Fridays:  WAY COOL - these will be cool artists, events, exhibits, places, music, books, shows that you should know about.  Way too cool not to share.  

Sundays: THE SKINNY - this will be my weekly post about my personal events.  My upcoming workshops, exhibits, sales, Etsy listings etc. will be here.  

Hope to see you here tomorrow for ON THE EASEL- Wizard of Odds: the TinMan

M

 

 

 

deMeng de los Muertos 2015! San Cristobal de las Casas

Strange Tales of Magic and Miracles:
Contemporary Ex Votos in San Cristobal
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexcio
Oct 26 – Nov  3, 2015 

Registration starts NOW!

Contact Colleen Darling to Register: 

805-688-1221

colleen950@gmail.com

Join Michael deMeng for a workshop in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico. We are celebrating our 8th year of dia de los Muertos workshops in Mexico and this will be a new city for us to visit so lots of exciting adventures await us.

The dia de los Muertos traditions are unique to this part of Mexico.  Mayan beliefs combined with parts of Catholicism are different in each village.  We will explore several village cemeteries and the city cemetery too.

We will spend 8 nights and 9 days exploring the lush highlands of Chiapas, a state rich in Mayan culture and history.   Workshop time will be combined with day trips to nearby villages and artist’s studios.  The city is completely walking friendly with several pedestrian walking streets and lots of shops and galleries to visit.  The local indigenous continue to wear the native dress of their village and they are all different so you are able to tell where people are from.

The food is delicious and we will do lots of sampling.  The specialties are tamales and cheese.  The local beverage is Pox, a white lightening sort of beverage used in ceremonies and just to drink.  It is becoming a popular boutique beverage too as Mezcal has made its way to the US.  There are many European ex-pats in San Cristobal and they have brought with them their culinary expertise.  Many choices of cuisines are available in the restaurants and an abundance of organic coffee is grown in Chiapas too.

Workshop Description: 

Have you ever had one of those experiences where something bad happened, or was about to happen and then…the unexpected occurs….what seemed to be an inevitable tragedy is suddenly thwarted by unexplained miracle.  I remember a number of years ago being on an the freeway in the Bay Area driving along at excessive speeds in the fast lane when a car in front of me slammed on the brakes.  This in turn led me to slam on my brakes.  Next thing I know I’m spinning out of control through the various freeway lanes, and then, out of the corner of my eye I see what I expect to be my doom: a large semi truck cruising toward me at high speed. Time slowed down and I was oddly calm given that at any moment I expected the large truck to come plowing into little ol’ me.  But the strangest thing happened…instead of being smooshed, I found my vehicle stopped, facing the traffic.  Looming in front of my Ford Mustang, the big semi was a car’s length away…stopped.   As to how the truck driver managed to brake in time, that remains a mystery, but it is one of those strange moments where you feel as if some mystical force intervened on your behalf.  

In Mexico there is an art form that addresses such strange inexplicable events called ex votos.  Ex votos are small paintings, typically on tin and often not much larger than 12 inches in any dimension.  They are depictions of the moment of tragedy or potential tragedy that was thwarted by divine intervention.  Somewhere towards the top of these tiny painting would be the image of the patron saint responsible for the miracle; on the bottom is a written description of the miracle with the date and location of the events.  This was an art form that really thrived in the 1800s, though it does continue to this day.   Typically the process would be that a miracle would occur, the recipient would convey the information to a local artisan who would in turn paint out the scene with the description. The ex voto would then be hung in a church with a simple nail in the top.  Many Mexican churches have an entire wall devoted to these little paintings; a mosaic of miracles.

Samples of  Traditional ex Votos:

This year’s deMeng de los Muertos workshop takes us to the mysterious mountain village of San Cristobal.  On the Mexican government’s list of most magical places (Pueblo Magiko), this seemed like more than an ideal setting to explore the magic of ex votos…but in a slightly more contemporary way.  In this class we are going to create mixed media interpretations of this artform.  Collage, painting and assemblage will be used to create a representation of a personal miracle.  One thing I should mention, not all of ex votos are entirely serious, in fact many are rather humorous.  So if you don’t have a near death experience, that’s ok.  You could just as easily create an ex voto depicting the time your little sister tried to pelt you with a water balloon but…thank the heavens…a hummingbird popped it in mid air.  Did I mention that a bit of artistic license and embellishment of events is not out of the realm of possibilities?

Sample Mixed Media Ex Votos:

Itinerary:

 Monday October 26th  - Arrival day.  Flights come into Tuxtla Gutierrez (TGZ) and then a shuttle brings you into San Cristobal.  It is a 40 min. ride on a good highway as you climb from the steamy lowlands up into the mountains.  San Cristobal is at about 6900ft.  We will settle into the hotel and regroup from the various flights.

Tuesday October 27th – Breakfast.  Workshop begins at 10am.   Lunch at 1pm and a walk around the city to get oriented.  Return to the workshop.  Welcome dinner at 7:30pm

Wednesday October 28th – Breakfast.  Workshop begins at 10am.  Lunch  at 1 pm  return to the workshop .  Late afternoon and evening free.  Dinner on your own.

Thursday October 29th  - Breakfast.  Workshop begins at 10am.    A visit to the Taller Lenateros graphics art studio and then lunch.  Return to the workshop.  Late afternoon and evening free.    Dinner on you own.

Friday October 30th - Breakfast   Workshop begins at 10am.   Lunch at 1pm followed by a visit to the Mayan museum of medicine.  Late afternoon and evening free.  Dinner on your own

Saturday October 31st – Breakfast.  Free day with optional excursions to Palenque, Lagos de Montebello, Canon Sumidero.  More information to follow.

Sunday November 1st – Breakfast.  Excursion to the villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan.  It is market day in San Juan Chamula so there will be lots to see.  Lunch included.  Evening free

Monday November 2nd – Breakfast.  Final workshop and critique.  Lunch.   Afternoon free.  Dia de los Muertos events in the evening and Farewell dinner.

Tuesday November 3rd - Breakfast.  Departures.  Adios y Gracias.

(This itinerary is subject to change.  I will be in San Cristobal in February to make the final arrangements.  I will be adding some more excursions and finding some new art happenings too.)

There are optional trips to the archeological site of Palenque and Tonina about 5 hours away.  If you are interested you can arrive a few days early so that you have enough time to really see them.  There is a day trip available also.  It is a long one, about 14 hours.

 

Airfare is not included.  When searching for airfares the San Cristobal: Angel Albino Corzo International Airport (TGZ) .

 Included: Workshop, hotel, 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 2 dinners, and tours with an English speaking guide.
Shared Double    $1950
Single                   $2300

Deposit:  $250 to secure your spot.   Please pay by check
To reserve your spot contact:

Colleen Darling

805-688-1221

colleen950@gmail.com

 

My Art Memes of 2014

Happy 2015 everyone! Over the last year I created a few Art inspired memes for Facebook and Instagram so I thought I'd share them with you to inspire a creative new year.  

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