A lot of what goes into artwork may seem pretty mundane, but it’s necessary if you want to make art. If I want to use painted wood in some of the installations, I need to paint that wood — and sanding and priming comes first. If I want painted hearts on paper, I need to prepare that paper.
So, over a number of days, I primed wood scraps from Wine Country Cases in St. Helena (my thanks to them!) and painted art papers that will become part of the installations. You have to begin somewhere — and the best way to get it done is by taking one step at a time.
I was able to set everything out on tables at the Calistoga Art Center over a several-day period during the holidays, when things were quiet. (My heartfelt thanks — pun intended — to them for letting me do this!) That way I could work on this in assembly-line fashion.
I set out the wood scraps, and worked my way down the tables, priming the tops of each one. By the time I got to the end of the tables, the ones at the other end were ready for their second coat. Then, after some time to cure, I could repeat the process on the other side.
Part of this process was also a process of elimination — I was trying out different materials to see how they'd work. As much as I liked the small wooden hearts, I'm rethinking how I will use them.
Finally, everything was dry enough to get packed up and moved, so I could clear off the tables in the art center for classes again. There's still plenty more to do, though!
Karen Lynn Ingalls is an artist and art teacher in Napa Valley, California. She wants to spread love, in the form of art installations of hearts, as far and wide as possible, beginning in Napa Valley. The art she does apart from this project can be seen locally at Jessel Gallery in Napa, and online at www.KarenLynnIngalls.com.
Hearts Across the Valley is a 2017 community-based public art project in Napa Valley, California, created by artist and art teacher Karen Lynn Ingalls. A series of art installations in as many places throughout the valley as possible, it is intended to spread love across the valley, and beyond. Ultimately, hundreds of people will be involved in its creation, and the installations will be seen by valley residents and visitors alike.