Daniel Merriam Art for Sale

As many of you may know, I am in love with the artwork of Daniel Merriam. If you haven’t seen his amazing paintings yet, then please visit is web site (but be sure to come back!)

A while ago I received an email from a woman who has a giclee by Mr. Merriam that she is desperate to sell because of a “precipitous financial situation.” She asked me to help her out, and so I’m going to try to do what I can to help her find a good home for “Serenade,” shown above.

Of course, Gail has an interesting story to go along with her painting. It seems that she had been following Daniel Merriam’s work for several years in the ads in Art & Antiques magazine. Finally, they did a feature article on Daniel in the December 2003 edition. Gail took the article to Dan Fiorini, a gallery owner and friend and told him how much she wished she could get a print of “Serenade” – her favorite of all Merriam’s pictures. Dan vowed that, if there was a way to find one, he would do it.

After some correspondence, Mr. Fiorini found a colleague at another gallery who was a personal friend of Merriam’s, and she volunteered to contact him and see if he might have kept back a print that he would be willing to sell. (The original limited edition had been sold out long ago.) Merriam responded that, while he had not retained a copy for himself, he had never issued a print numbered “13” (13/100). So, it was arranged that he would issue a #13, add a remarque, and ship it to Fiorini Gallery & Frame, in St. Petersburg, Florida. A couple of months later, in early 2004, Gail brought her “monnkee” home.

The Certificate of Authenticity is from Monarch Editions, Daniel Merriam’s publisher. It is signed and numbered by the artist, as is the giclee itself. Gail says, “I suppose you could say that I bought it from the artist, since it really did not come from one of the galleries that sell his work.” She goes on to say, “It was my first adventure in buying ‘real art,’ and I had adored this particular work from the first time I saw it. I’ve always referred to it as me monnkee (think Jamaican accent) and it is breaking my heart to let him go – you should see his lips! The background is filled with faces – some easy to make out, some not. There are penciled-in lyrics to the ‘Garden Song’ that Merriam has him singing while he plays his ornate piano. Every time you gaze awhile, you see more in the scene. Wonderful!”
Gail is asking $3200 or best offer for this artwork.

You can contact Gail by sending an email to dibblegail at yahoo.com.

Book Arts Class

Skylar and Sloan

It’s four a.m., and I can’t sleep. It’s very dark and still except for the glow of the monitor and the hum of the CPU fan. Today will be my third consecutive day staying home from school. I have a nasty cold. It started with a sore throat and cough last week. I tried to fight it off by drinking lots of water and basically willing it to go away, but the cold had more tenacity than I did. By the end of school on Monday, I could barely talk. So I decided to just stay home and take care of myself. It’s hard to be in front of 130 twelve year olds when you feel lousy. And then I have the added joy of having to oh-so-discreetly cross my legs everytime I cough. It’s not a pretty sight. My husband hates it when I’m sick. Yesterday he said that if I would just think positive and act like I feel healthy, then I would be okay. So it’s all in my head, eh? Bring me a kleenex and leave me alone.

I’m not very good at lying around the house and doing nothing for the sake of getting better. So yesterday I scheduled some more ebay auctions for my gothic fairy collages. I’ve sold three so far but am in a quandry about how many times to list a piece before removing it from circulation. I don’t feel like giving up just because a collage hasn’t found a home yet. I know there’s somebody for each one of my small blessings; they just have to find their rightful owner. Maybe I’ll pull them after listing them three times and put them on the collage art page on my web site and try to sell them there.

Later on in the day I made some little sample books for the Book Arts class that I will start teaching on Monday after school. I have ten young ladies signed up for the class, and I’m very excited about making books with them.

For the first class I’m going to show a powerpoint presentation of some incredible artist books so they can get an idea of the unlimited possibilities for creating artist books. Many of the images I used are from the Guild of Book Workers’ 100th Anniversary Exhibition. You should really take a look at this site when you have some time to kill; the variety of artistic vision is breathtaking.

Next we’re going to make some 3″ X 4″ books that are folded from a single sheet of 8 1/2″ X 11″ paper. I got the recipes from Shereen LaPlantz’s great book Cover-to-Cover. I’m going to have lots of colored paper for them to use. I thought this would be a good way to introduce them to different types of folds, how to use a bone folder for scoring and creating nice tight creases (we’re going to use old credit cards as cheap imitation bone folders), and how to safely use an exacto blade for cutting.

I wanted them to make a little box in which they could put their finished books, and I found this neat Super Deluxe Tuckbox Template Maker where you can enter the dimensions of the box you want to create and it will make a custom template that you can print out on your computer. (The calculations on the template maker are a little off, so if you do this be sure to add .25 to all your dimensions, otherwise it will come out too small.) I printed my template on cardstock and made a cute little tuckbox for the books to fit in. I think the girls are really going to enjoy this.

I also plan on showing them my texture box so they can start collecting textures of their own since the next class will be all about decorating paper. I’m going to show them how to make a string stamp as their homework assignment. Hopefully at the next class we’ll have ten very cool string stamps that we can use to decorate our paper. I can’t wait!

My Gothic Fairies

Jeran and Nemanda

So I had an itch in my brain that I had to scratch. I wanted to make some collages. I had seen a lot of altered cabinet cards in the artsy, craftsy magazines lately, and I thought to myself, “That looks like fun.” But I didn’t want to do what they had all done. I wanted my altered images to be a little different, a little strange. I played around with some scans in Photoshop, and viola!, I created some strange little people to use in my art. I wanted fairies, but not too pretty. Gothic fairies. Gothic fairies with insect wings. A little dark around the edges. A little mysterious. Little gothic fairy children who befriend gargoyles.

After I had made a few, I showed them to my sister. She does not like them at all. She said, “What do you think is causing you to make all this weird art lately?” Just my mood, I guess. But I have fallen in love with these little people. I give them a name. I give them a teeny bit of history, and then I set them free on eBay, and watch what happens (or doesn’t, as the case may be.) It’s all okay. I know that someone out there is going to look at Jaren and Nemanda, or Mizzy, Flora, and Little Vell (my favorites so far) and love them as much as I do.

I wanted my auction to look just right, so I wanted to make my own background and html formatting. I looked around at some of the free ebay selling assistants and decided on Auctiva. I felt like I had to learn something new all over again. So I spent about three sleepness nights emailing customer support, asking questions on the forums, tweaking and untweaking my template until it was just (almost) the way I wanted it. I spent ONE WHOLE DAY just trying to figure out how to get the background image I wanted to show up. And then when I finally figured it out, of course it was something so tiny and simple that I almost broke down and cried when I discovered it. Isn’t that just the way with the web? It can suck the life out of you and can almost make you break down and cry.

Mizzy, Flora, and Little Vell

A Slab of Beef and My Little Book

A humungous, over-sized replica of a piece of steak won the Grand Prize at the 3rd Annual National Juried Exhibition of the Art League of Northern California in Novato. This chunk of cow was amazing; it must have been about four feet by three feet in diameter, and it looked exactly like the meat I buy at Raley’s, from the fatty marbling down to the hand-drawn bar code on the label and the cellophane wrapping stretched over styrofoam with the blood pooling inside under the meat. It was displayed low to the ground on a pedestal and had a “Do Not Touch” sign placed in front of it. Good thing too, because I really wanted to feel what it was made of. I tried to get a closer look at the display label, but there were always people standing in front of it. I think it may have said “resin.”

I dragged my husband and my long-suffering son to the artists’ reception last Saturday night. We actually had to drive an hour and a half out of our way to get to Novato because we were going to visit my dad in Sacramento after the show. My son didn’t want to be going to his grandpa’s in the first place, so he was rather surly and unenthusiastic — you know, a typical mopey adolescent.

I had really talked myself into schmoozing while I was there. I was going to mingle with artists, network, bask in the glow of my art work. But it was not to be. The gallery was crowded, mostly noticeably by the front door where there were serving brie and fruit and other interesting tidbits. I tried to appease my son by directing him towards the free food, but that didn’t do much good.

Meanwhile, my husband and I snaked our way along the walls of the little gallery, looking at the art work. Some of it I loved – a huge oil painting of a woman in a sheik black mini-dress lying on the floor repairing a dishwasher really stood out. As did an assemblage piece made entirely of discarded radio tubes. There was a nice variety of types of art, from collage and ceramics to oils, watercolors, and photography. My piece was the only altered book or book art piece. It was in the back gallery on the wall across from the meat. It looked tiny and forlorn by comparison. And a couple little matchstick pieces had broken off from the top. Directly below my book was a painting (or was it a photograph?) of a dog in a funeral home. I liked the looks of that.

When we got to the back room where Fear was hanging I noticed two women pointing at it and talking. I wanted to get close to them so I could hear what they were saying, but the room was too small and crowded and noisy, and that sirloin was taking up so much room! I wondered if it would be kosher to walk up to them and say, “Hi, I’m the artist that made that. What do ya think?” But I was too chicken. So I waited until they left and Michael took a couple of pictures of me standing next to my pride and joy. Did I tell you before that my son picked out that one to enter? I let him choose the three of the six books in the Broken Doll series that I would submit because I couldn’t decide. He may be a surly teenager, but he is my absolute best source for truthfulness — no matter how the truth might hurt!

It’s hard to try to wheedle yourself into a conversation with strangers when you haven’t had a drink and your son and husband are hanging on your sleeve. It’s hard enough for me to engage in small talk even without those hindrances. So after making one and a half rounds again, (with one last look at my book to make sure it was still there) we left and headed up to Sacramento to see my dad.

Good News!

Kneel to the Prettiest

Last week I received an acceptance letter from the Art League of Northern California which is located near me in Novato. I had submitted jpegs of three of my Broken Doll altered books to their 3rd Annual National Juried Exhibition. I wasn’t sure which of the six altered books I should submit, so I let my son John decide. They rejected two of the pieces, but accepted Fear. The letter said they had over 400 entries and were only able to selet 62 pieces, so I’m pretty excited that one of my altered books were among those chosen. The Opening Reception is scheduled for Saturday, September 9, 2006 from 5 – 8 p.m. My husband will be in Greece, so hopefully my sister will be able to go with me for moral support.

Although I still have a lot of ideas for my Broken Dolls series of books that I want to play around with, I’ve decided to to some more Wall Hangings for a while. I need to take a break from the dark, weirdness of that other work for a while and work with some bright colors. I’ve had a book on my shelf for over a year now; it’s called Saffron Skies. I’ve had an idea for that book swirling in my head since I first got it, so I spent the afternoon painting paper shades of pink and splattering the pages with halo pink-gold and metallic gold. So much fun. And to make it even more enjoyable . . . I’m working in a clean, uncluttered work space!! HOORAY! We’ll see how long that lasts . . .