Hanging Art with Kelsey

Kelsey texted me to come to Grace Church and bring some art to hang. M and Ein came along to help. We looked through each others work and started placing our work against the walls to see what would look good where. The wall was such a dark brown that only certain pieces worked in the space.

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We shifted and looked, shifted and looked and so on until we were satisfied of what piece we wanted where.

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We pulled out the hammer and nails and just eyeballed it. We didn’t use a tape measure or a level…basically a big “hanging art no no.” Why didn’t we call Ephraim!

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All of the work went well together in the end!

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Kelsey was a lot of fun to hang art with. She was just really relaxed and open to many different options. It made things very easy.

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Thanks to M for driving, carrying art, taking pictures, and general advice. Thanks to Ein for sniffing everything and being cute.

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Printmaking Workshop Part I

I am leaving for 10 days on a trip to Mures, Romania. I am going with a group from Grace Church to serve the orphans at Livada.

While there, I will be working as a summer camp group leader helping to create new and happy memories with the kids from the state group homes. We will be visiting the kids that are at risk of abandonment who live in the nearby Gypsy villages.

I also have an amazing opportunity to teach a printmaking – artisan card making – workshop (with the assistance of a translator) to a group of 10 girls over 16 years old. The girls often send out cards to their sponsors and to help with fundraising, so I will teach them to make their own cards!

To prepare for this trip, I ordered and packed the following supplies.

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Supply List
Block Printing Supplies
14 Block Print Ink – Black (1lb) all other colors  (1.25 oz) – silver, violet, turquoise blue, white, yellow, green, brown, gold, magenta, orange, blue, and red.
5 Linocutterset (comes with 2 handles and 6 cutters)
5 Soft Rubber Brayers 3inch
4 Artist Working Knife (for spreading and mixing ink)
2 Palette Pads 9×12 50 sheets
14 Mounted Linoleum Block 5×7
4 Mounted Linoleum 4×6
10 wooden spoons (for printing)
1 pack of cardstock (for printing on cards)
1 pack of envelopes
trash bags
hand cleaner – soap
small plastic cups (for water and clean up)
working aprons (hand sewn and donated by friends in my community)
stamp letters and ink pad (for message inside the card)

Drawing and Transfer Supplies
10 Pencil Sharpeners
20 Drawing Pencils (10 of each 2 b and 6b)
2 derwent Inktense Pencil Black
10 White Plastic Erasers
5 Sharpie Black
1 Stainless Steel Ruler 18in (for taring paper)
2 Newsprint Pad 9×12 50 sheets
2 Drawing Pad 9×12 80lb 50 sheets
1 Tracing Pad 9×12 25lb 50 sheets
1 package of white card stock paper 110lbs
1 box of 6 9 envelopes

I am bringing also a sample block already carved and some print samples.

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I have packed the workshop in a suitcase a little under 50 pounds.

When I return, I will blog about the specifics of the printmaking – artisan card making – workshop, and any art, music, or writing experiences I have along the journey!

Hanging Art with Ephraim

When the wall is bare, and you have lovely and thought provoking  art. Why not hang your lovely and thought provoking art piece in this bare wall space?

This WAS the bare wall.


The following post is about my friend Ephraim McNair hanging lovely and though provoking art.

Ephraim is a graphic and collage artist who worked in a gallery for a stint. He worked in the exhibitions offices of University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), and his alma mater, Western Michigan University. At UALR he enjoyed helping Nathan Larson manage and install pieces from the permanent collection in offices across campus. At Western, his favorite job was lighting exhibits from 30′ up on the air on the scissor lift.

We met through his wife Marita, whom I worked with at UALR. He initially hung the lovely and thought provoking art piece  “Orthodoxy” by artist Curt Bozif, in our home office.


“Orthodoxy” by Curt Bozif

This was when my art studio took over the entire front room.


Once we moved my studio, we wanted to move  “Orthodoxy” as well – so it wouldn’t get any paint splatters on it. Ephraim so graciously worked with us again – by hanging “Orthodoxy” as well as wrote for Paper Opera about this experience. The following is by Ephraim McNair:

Art hanging, June 1, 2014

The piece of art is 48″ tall x 96″ wide x 4“ deep canvas on masonite. It is solidly built, with vertical bracing on the back reinforcing the masonite, and perimeter framing to which the canvas is attached.

There are many ways this piece could be hung but the artist did not attach any wires or D rings to the back. Instead of installing our own, we took advantage of the structural soundness of the piece and hung it on some vertical rails mounted to the wall.


I brought a pretty basic tool box with me for the installation. Here is what we ended up using:
Drill bits
3″ drywall screws
Power drill with 2-headed apex (a phillips and slotted head on the same bit, these are super useful)
Tape measure
36″ Level
Stud finder
Masking tape

The first thing to do was determine position. We knew it should go behind the couch but how high above it? Micah took a seat and we measured a comfortable distance above his head from the floor. To that measurement we added the height of the painting, extended the tape measure and held it against the wall.

Waaay too high. From the ceiling there was only a few inches to where the top of the painting would be. While it made room to sit on the couch comfortably, the resulting proportion above and below the piece would have been rather unbalanced. Instead we opted to set the piece about level with the top of the piano and put enough room between the couch and art so sitters wouldn’t feel like they should lean their head on the painting.

There was a good deal more measuring that went on which informed the final decision but I won’t bore you with the details. Personally, I rather enjoy examining a space numerically before working it and discovering spatial relationships.

Once we knew where we wanted the painting, I got out the stud finder and ran some masking tape along the width of the area where the painting would end up. The tape provides a surface for the stud finder to run on without marring the paint as well as a medium for marking the location of found studs.

After we found the studs, we prepared the rails for installation. Micah drilled pilot holes several inches from both ends and drilled in the screws so that the points of each were just poking through. The rails are 1-by-2’s and in order to maximize support for the depth of the painting, we put the screws in so the 2″ length would be perpendicular to the wall. Then we marked one L(eft), the other R(ight) and indicated which end we intended to use as the top.

Once the rails were prepped we marked the location of the top of the rails on the wall at our chosen support studs. This is the most important step in regards to the levelness of the painting; “Measure once cut twice” definitely applies here.

Calculating the location of the top of the rails was very straightforward. We simply measured the height of the (p)iano, added to that the (h)eight of the painting and then removed 1″ from the total for the width of the wood forming the painting’s structure. This can be expressed with the equation p + h – 1″ = measure for top of rail.

L.K. and Micah’s carpet is the comfortable squishy residential kind so I measured from the top of the toe board, which wasn’t that high, to eliminate any variance in rug density. On the wall, I penciled a T with the top bar at the measure, and, after re-measuring both marks, asked for the level.

Holding the level and the rail together, we put the top of the rail at the top of the T and plumbed the rail before pushing the screw points into the the wall. We circled the resulting marks and drilled pilot holes at those points.

At one of the marks the drill went right into the wall with no resistance after the first quarter inch of drywall. A clear indication that we had missed the stud! We checked the stud position and adjusted our rail, re-measured and re-marked its top, plumbed it and then tried again. Resistance all the way through! We had hit the stud.

With the pilot holes drilled, we screwed the rails to the wall,  lifted the painting into place and stepped back to admire our handiwork. Since we were confident in the position of our rails we didn’t even bother checking that the painting was level.

With the painting up, the finishing touches revolved around organizing the room and justifying it to established focal points and the wonderful painting which had finally found its home.


“It makes a certain kind of sense to put the largest painting in ones collection in the largest room of the house,” Micah said.

Art Studio Series: Dan

Dan Bina is an artist and professional living in Brooklyn, New York. I solely know him from Facebook. He went to school with mutual friends at Kansas City Art Institute. I saw his work from another friends post and requested to be his friend. He accepted my friend request, and now I get to vicariously live through his artist life in New York! Dan’s wife Katya Mezhibovskaya is also an artist and her website is katyamezhibovskaya.com

Dan’s website is danbina.com and shop Kahokia is kahokia.bigcartel.com

Dan Bina’s Art Studio – Dan writes about his studio below.

“My Brooklyn based home studio functions as a personal laboratory for developing a multitude of works.”

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“It’s primary function is to provide a dedicated space to make messes in and keep them active for a duration of time. This is facilitated and aided by two functional doors and being able to close them.”

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“The tight quarters in my studio are a challenge to work around and simultaneous projects do get in the way of each other resulting in this series of pictures which serve to highlight chaos as an aspect to the creative act.” 

Dan Bina working in his Brooklyn studio

Cobra Basket, Harry Potter, and Clearance Cookies from Walgreens?

That’s right, another art night – this one for May 2014!
The night started with Ein smelling something delicious!


Ein of course was smelling M’s delicious cooking and baking. What’s on the menu, you may ask? corn chowder soup and home made fresh-out-of-the-oven rolls.

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And for dessert, from scratch chocolate chip cookies! My favorite part about these cookies is when you get a bite of a salt piece. It is delicious.

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Did I mention that Ein loves chocolate chip cookies (just the bites without the chocolate chips).


As for projects – there was drawing.

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There was fibers- yarn and felt.

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There was photo editing.

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And there was paperwork? Yes! There was paperwork.


There was also writing of stories and playing of clarinet! Also, Micah started a blog!

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Some topics of the night: Harry Potter, Enneagram and other personality types, Cobra basket, working with felt, the creative process, Ein loving who she is, cookie display, turning drawings into a coloring book, potential group names (BYOA – bring your own art, Running with Scissors, Art Paper Scissors), and best most recent purchases (a bunny door stop, Moonrise Kingdom,  Breyers Chocolate Oreo Ice Cream, A ticket to Seattle, Clearance Cookies – with Belgium chocolate – at Walgreens).


More photos of the night

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A special thank you to Niki Zimmerman Images for taking and providing some of the pictures of the night!