Tuesday, December 31, 2013

buh-bye 2013

At some point earlier this month, another artist started posting her Top 13 of '13 artworks. I thought this was a great idea. And then, I did nothing about it. I'm really good at identifying good ideas. I'm just not always good at the follow through. In my defense, I've been sick most of December, so a whole lot of things haven't quite happened to the extent that I've wanted them to. But I don't know that I could narrow it down to 13 works. I've been very prolific this year. I just added it up, and I completed 216 pieces this year. 216! Most of that was #art365 landscapes, and most of my sales this year were #art365 landscapes, which I suppose makes sense. I don't know if I'll get to 13 pieces, but here are some that stood out for different reasons. In no particular order:

Miller Mountain, acrylic on canvas, 30" x 40"
1. Miller Mountain was a commission which I reluctantly accepted. Started in 2012, but not completed to 2013. I wasn't sure I could do this. It was so far outside my comfort zone. I'm still amazed at myself every time I see it. This is probably one of those you can do anything you set your mind to lessons.

winter morning forest, acrylic and graphite on paper, 5.25" x 5.25"
2. winter morning forest was the first of the #art365 landscapes. Created for a mixed media challenge on google+ to use acrylic and graphite together. This is the only #art365 that is mixed media. I had no idea when I did this piece that I was beginning a new series exploring the changing light. I could have easily picked 13 just from this series. See the entire series here.

love wins,acrylic and ink on canvas, 32" x 32"
3. love wins was made right after the Supreme Court rulings on Prop. 8 and DOMA. I was so overjoyed for so many people. Your love might not look my love and that is okay. Love is still love and we need to support loves. We gain nothing by tearing love down.

kindness, acrylic and ink on canvas, 48" x 96"
4. kindness was the first of the large scale paintings I made for the Alternate Realites show funded by the grant from the IAC. I had never painted so large. (except for that mural ) This was what I set out to do. Full disclosure: it's on the chopping block, so to speak. I will likely get reworked/remade/recreated in 2014.

and this is how it felt that day, acrylic and ink on canvas, 48" x 96"
5. and this is how it felt that day was the second grant-work painting. I learned a lot on this piece. I was trying to not control every little thing that happened in the paint. This was really hard to do for me. I drew all over this piece part way through, trying to save it, trying to figure out what I was doing. And suddenly it started to work. And there were darks! I struggled so much getting light/dark contrast in my work. (Notice its absence above?)

seneca, acrylic and ink on canvas, 40" x 90"
6. seneca was an almost last minute addition to the Artistic License show. I only budgeted for 4 large scale paintings but I had lots of older canvases sitting around, so I reclaimed 3 of them and latched them together. This was genius because the other grant-work pieces required a van rental to get them anywhere, but this piece just gets unstrapped and the 3 canvases fit into my car easily and just get reattached when I get to where ever I'm heading. More importantly (maybe?) than that is I really gave myself permission to be messy on this piece. What freedom.

love wins was painted after this. Maybe I should have done this in chronological order? Oh, well.

untitled, encaustic, 2.5" x 3.75"
7. encaustics was on my art bucket list and I was lucky enough to try them out twice this year. This was my favorite piece. I was originally trying to recreate the #art365 landscapes in wax, but there is so much more that can be done with encaustic that I really need to explore. Earlier in the year, I had thought to write a grant proposal exploring encaustics further but then....

pulp painting
8. papermaking happened. Also on my bucket list, and I still have a papermaking post to write... I took a workshop at Hook Pottery Paper this fall and it was mind blowing. I had a very basic idea about papermaking, but I had never heard of pulp painting. The idea of layering in writing is not new in my work, but the idea that that writing could be done with pulp, so that the end result piece of artwork could be made of paper only... wow.

untitled monotype, 4" x 6"
9. printmaking returned. I was a printmaking major in college and hadn't done any printmaking since I graduated. Twitter made me get back to it. #printoctober was a challenge to print everyday and I simply incorporated it into my #art365 challenge. I began with monotypes and it took a while to get what I was trying to get. This piece made made me gasp when I pulled it. It won an award in Studio 659's Artistic License show.

untitled, linocut, 4" x 5", edition of 8
10. linocut edition I never cared about editions when I was printmaking. I would make them if I had to, but I just liked the process of printmaking. I never felt the need to actually have multiples. But with this one, I felt it was edition worthy.

I am still looking for you, relief print, 6" x 4"
11. I am still looking for you. I created a series of styrofoam relief prints and I ended up using these in later paintings. (see number 13.) The important thing that came out of this was the peeling paint look of old sign paintings. This informed the Post No Bills series which I'm currently working on.

live prairie IX, collagraph 
12. live priaire was a series of collagraphs I made at SLAC's Anniversary Show opening. There are 9 prints all are up for silent auction. (ending soon!) 50% of the sales from my work will be donated to the NWI-NAA. I previously donated to the NAA for April's 10% for Autism. There 
are lots of other artists participating in the silent auction. The artwork can be seen at Paul Henry's Art Gallery or online here. Look for some sort of Autism Awareness promotion next April.

the inevitable, acrylic on canvas, 22" x 28"
13. the inevitable was the beginning of the graffiti series which was later renamed Post No Bills. After #printoctober was finished, I was still very interested in printmaking. The graphic nature of it was quite a contrast to the way I paint. It forced me to focus on mark making in a new way. I was already trying to show my hand and I began to wonder if I could create paintings with printmaking tools. (I can.) This piece began as an experiment in technique but I wanted to finish it, and it launched a new series. 

Well, I made it to 13 pieces. It has been a good year.  The #art365 project has been a success. It created in me the habit of making art everyday, whether I much felt like it or not. It had to be done. 216 pieces of artwork - that doesn't count little sketches or unfinished work - that is a huge accomplishment. I've certainly never made that much work in other years. I am looking forward to 2014 and hope to make it even better than 2013. Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

in the studio

Is it really Sunday already? I've been hibernating for most of this week, but still managed little tiny bits of work on this piece every day. It has now named itself: asunder. This word will be added in later on in the layering in the upper right quadrant. ink and acrylic, 22" x 30". 

There's still time to join the #postcardswap! Sign up by January 5th!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Throwback Thursday

This week's Throwback Thursday is burst, 2010acrylic on canvas, 48" x 36". This was painted for the show at Gary Public Library, (like last week's embrace) and is still one of my favorite pieces.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

in the studio

This week was spent working slowly on the worst enemy

Small layers because I haven't wanted to overwork it, and I felt there were some good things happening early on. Also small layers because work was keeping me busy and I've been sick on top of that. Still a work in progress. I think this painting wants to be a drawing.

So I started a drawing to try to work on a similar idea. The text is from a mixed media piece I worked on about a year ago. ink and mask. More to come in the next week.

Reminder: The #postcardswap sign up deadline is January 5th!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Another more recent throwback: embrace, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 48" x 36".  This was in the first show I had when I started painting again, at the Gary Public Library. Since then it's shown in several other galleries in Northwest Indiana.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

in the studio

This has been a slow week for art making. I even got lazy about photographing and posting. oops. I finished up where is it? (I think. I'm letting it sit for a bit.)

And I started I am my own worst enemy. This title may get shortened, by the time it is done. I don't know what that UR in the corner was part of, but I always think BUTTER. I know butter doesn't end in -ur but that's what it makes me think of. Maybe it's just the color. I'm hoping at this point to leave a lot of the UR in the finished piece.

Also this week, the postcard swap was relaunched! Already there are artists signed up in 11 states! You can join, too! This was lots of fun to see unfold and a great chance to "meet" lots of artists. Join here  or follow along with the #postcardswap hashtag.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I almost forgot it was Thursday. It's been that kind of week. Restraint, Constraint, Confusion. I have no idea what that means now, but it sounds like I wasn't very happy with something or someone. Sometime around the mid 90's in Southern California, pastel on paper.

fun fact to know and share: The title was capitalized. Somewhere along the way, and I'm not sure when it happened, I stopped capitalizing titles. It drives me crazy when my work titles are capitalized in galleries by someone trying to be helpful, when I deliberately wrote them in lowercase.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

postcard swap #2


Before the last postcard swap was even over, artists were asking me if I was going to do it again. And artists who missed the deadline wanted to join. My plan, right now, is to shoot for twice a year. And that time is here already. Last time we had 25 artists in 14 US States and 3 countries!

Jen Billig
So this is the plan: I'm looking for a group of artists willing to part with one of their creations in return for another artist's work. You will be randomly given another artist's name and address to send it to. 

This is not a partnership. You will get a piece from one artist and send yours to another. In this way you will connect with 2 different artists. By all means load your postcard up with all your contact info.

There is no cost, other than your supplies and the postage. I am in the US, but that doesn't mean everyone else is. You might have international postage. 

Yanik Falardeau

It's a postcard. It does not need an envelope. But: be thoughtful in your work. The USPS will surely handle it carefully, right? If you are using media that is not water safe or could smudge, maybe you put it in an envelope anyway. If you chance this, it will rain on the delivery day. Just because. The same with threads and wires. Will it get caught in the sorting machines? Use your discretion with this. Do I need to mention ink/paint should be dry? You want your work to show up in decent condition, and you want the piece you get to be in good shape. 

I am leaving the media open, but it must be handmade by you in someway. Photography/digital arts is okay as long as it's your original work. Prints/postcards that you've had made of your work are not acceptable. Don't send the postcard from your last show. You should be making something for this project.
Jerry Shawback

Let me know that you want to be a part of this! If you can create a postcard you can be a part of the swap. Know some friends or other artists who might be interested? Pass this along and invite them! If you're in, send an email with your mailing address here. Sign up by January 5th. I will get your artist address to you within a week of the deadline (or two depending on the response) and your postcard needs to be postmarked by January 31st. Please be sure you follow through. It will suck to be the person who sent off a piece of artwork and didn't get one in return.

When your postcard is done, send a jpeg of it to the above email along with a website if you want me to link to it. I'll put together some follow up posts featuring your work. I had 3 follow up posts after the last one. And if you post it online, tag me in it and I'll share it! Tag it with #postcardswap, and you'll be able to check out other artists' work as well!


Ready? Sign up and start creating!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

in the studio

I'm still working on the graffiti pieces, and while I'm still referring to them as graffiti pieces, I think the series is taking on the name Post No Bills. This feels more in line with the look I am after than the idea of graffiti. I'm thinking about hand painted billboards on the sides of old brick buildings and the paint is peeling and weathering and wearing away. I'm thinking about the signs for shows and concerts that get put up on construction walls, covering one another. 

Most of this week was spent on help. I think this one may be done.

I also got back to work on where is it? which had been on hold while I was waiting impatiently for the ink to dry. This still has at least a couple of days to go.

Post No Bills may actually find its way into one of the pieces. Next up: I am my own worst enemy.

It's just about time for the next postcard swap! The call to join will be out next week!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Throwback Thursday

When I first returned to art making, I started with pastel drawings, and I was working in my sunroom. As the weather got cooler, I needed to find something to do which was smaller and could be done inside. I decided to try to recreate the look of some older etchings, which had layers of writings. It took a while to get the process on this right, but I settled on a series of alternating layers using ink and masked ink washes. I started making these in 2009, and this drawing is from 2010. It is the cheeriest of all of them, most have a funny-sad quality about them. You can see the entire series here. I then did two additional series in the same style which can be seen here.

i dreamed a dream, ink, 6.5" x 6"

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

SLAC live art auction

Last month, I participated in a live art event at Paul Henry's Art Gallery in Hammond. All of the work created during the event is being silent auctioned and a portion of the proceeds is being donated to the National Autism Association of Northwest Indiana. This organization helps a lot of families in the area and even provides grants to help offset the high medical costs associated with caring for a child with autism. I donated to them in April's 10% for autism. I promised a recap with all the artists' work, but another group member has done me one better and actually posted the silent auction online! Bids for last year's auction had to be done in person in the gallery, but now anyone can bid anywhere!

live prairie III

live prairie VI

I have 9 one of a kind collagraph prints in this auction, and so far only one has a bid. Starting bids on my work are $20-35. This is an excellent opportunity to pick up some artwork, potentially below market value, and support a great cause.

100% of the sales from the collaborative piece will be donated. I will be donating 50% of the sales. Other artists are donating at least 10%. Included in the auction is artwork by: Paul Benninghoff, Gary L. Price, Chris Guzman, Al Castor, and Leslie Lambert. More artists may be added. The auction continues through the first week of January. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

in the studio

I spent most of the week working on the piece now titled where is it?  including making this relief print which is on the piece in several places but not quite visible/readable. I still need to work a little further on this to get it to where I want it. In the meantime, this print on paper is being given away on my facebook page Monday morning. edit: the giveaway is over, but I do them a couple of times a year, so if you are on facebook, give my page a like so you know when they happen!

So here is where where is it? stands now. Still tacky ink printed on Friday. Need to make a mental note about printing oil based inks in re: my lack of patience.

I still have a few more layers planned for this one and the inevitable  is also on hold as I try to work out the printmaking text bit, so I started a third piece, help, which is still early on in the whole layering process.  And this new canvas is a little lumpy from the paint underneath, which I didn't sand or gesso at all. This was part of the plan, to let the original painting act as underpainting, but it's a little lumpier than I'd like. The 'help' was original and I'm still deciding how much of it to leave unaltered. It's starting to look a little more unified but I've just about eliminated the 3 columns of printing I did on it. I may try printing in mask, to remove later. I'll have to do some experiments with that. Still so many ideas to work through! And I'm starting to feel the need to do some looser drawing to balance all this process out.

In other related news, I've started writing another grant idea. I have an artist willing to mentor me in a new process and have already booked a show for this as yet un-created new body of work in 2015. Good things are happening!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Throwback Thursday

It's Thanksgiving here in the US today and I wondered what I might post for today's Throwback Thursday that could be somewhat festive, and I thought: gourds. Yep, gourds might actually tie in nicely and I have a bunch of gourds in still lifes from October 2011's 30 Day Sketch Challenge. And then I remembered acorn squash, and thought that was even better. I'll be having some acorn squash today, and probably a lot of you will, too.

acorn squash, watercolor pencil
There  are a couple of other acorn squash sketches in this series. This was before my #art365 series and the idea of sketching everyday for a whole month seemed pretty intimidating. Also, I'm not really a sketcher, so I went back to basics and set up fruit still lifes, which evolved into gourds and then squash. If you want to see the whole series, there's an album on facebook here. I did show some of these pieces in the Tryptophan Trance show at Hoosier Highlander. 

As a former retail employee, I hope you are not out shopping today, and as an artist (aka a very small business) I hope you will shop local / small businesses. Your purchases do make a very big impact there. Buy art! Buy my art! And if you want to buy art that isn't mine and can't find it, I know lots of other artists who would also appreciate your support. 

Finally, a small piece of holiday advice: gourds look like they will last forever, but they don't. Trust me on this.

So thank you interweb viewers, for checking in and having a look at whatever random things I post, and for the pluses and likes and shares and retweets. They are all very appreciated. Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

in the studio

This week  has been all about experimenting. Did I say that last week, too? Probably. I've got more ideas than time right now. I could really use an art vacation.

Finished? Maybe? Nah, just on hold. It needs some printing on top, but I haven't carved the plate(s?) yet. the inevitable graffiti piece, 24" x 28". Ideas for 2-3 more of these. I'm using paint only because the ink I currently have is water soluble, which means additional brush work could disrupt the image, and would have to be framed under glass. 

I also wanted to tackle prairie pieces, and complete them entirely in printmaking. On canvas. With paint. Part way through I thought, you know, you could just print with ink on paper... But seriously, where's the challenge in that? (Look for that at a later date. It's on my to do list.) I started rolling out a couple of colors of paint, as a sort of underpainting, and printed a bit over it. The more I looked at the image, the more I thought it was done, and several other artists agreed. These are 14" x 18"

So naturally, I had to try it again.

and again.

I have one more canvas rolled out, but not yet printed. This was not at all what I had imagined for this, so I still need to try that out, too.

Saturday, I went to Hook Pottery Paper and got a paper making lesson, which has opened up a whole Pandora's box of ideas. Gah! It was amazing. I have to go back. Paper making was on my art bucket list.

This image is a sheet of cotton paper, 8" x 10" and the text on the paper is written in thinned paper pulp. I didn't know you could do that! So many places to take this! The paper we made is drying and I'll have it back after the holiday. Look for a blog post about it next month.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I'm still working through finding older work to be a part of the Studio Sale at Renditions Studio's engaging the Arts Party this weekend. I have plenty of work. It's the organizing and pricing and schlepping that's really the hard part. And I'm procrastinating, which will make it even harder.

These are polaroid transfer prints, printed from slides. The slides are long lost at this point. These are from the first solo show I had after I graduated, they were all shot in Northern Orange County, California, 1993. I was still doing lots of photography back then, and it was right before somebody decided that everything - greeting cards, coffee mugs, t-shirts - needed to have polaroid transfers. There are 22 left, but I'm just going to post a few. I have some landscapes and some architectural shots, too.

Polaroid transfers are made by underdeveloping the old peel apart polaroid film, and applying the negative (the black paper you threw away) to a sheet of printmaking paper. The underdeveloping causes the color shifts. It's not an app. It's the real thing.

These are unmatted and unframed, on paper sized approximately 8" x 10" and will ship flat.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

in the studio

This week in the studio has been all about experimenting. I had the idea to print on my paintings and had an old canvas that was never really completed. I'm still not done with this. I think I actually will finish this piece and I could see a series develop out of what I'm learning this week.

I'm printing with existing plates on this canvas and I'm using acrylic paint, not ink. The block ink I have right now is water soluble so it would get incorporated into the next layer if I were to paint over it. I will need to get some permanent block ink before I really finish working through this idea. For now, acrylic paint is fine.

Here are some work in progress pics. I began with the acrylic paint of the original painting and added in ink linework, followed by:

relief printing (styrofoam)

acrylic paint, relief printing (styrofoam)
I'm not crazy about the brick pattern that forms with the styrofoam plate printing. They print much better when burnished from the backside of the canvas. This is going back to these prints and I need to get some positive space text and not just negative space text. I'm also thinking about carving blocks for each word of text, and even creating an entire alphabet, so I could have a sort of movable text. I think both of these ideas allow for a lot more flexibility and a somewhat cleaner looking end result.

acrylic (text)

relief printing (collagraph)

relief printing (collagraph)
While my original printing-on-paintings idea wasn't to have this end result, it does remind me of the peeling paint/graffiti/old painted billboards look of the styrofoam prints which I liked and that is where I can see this particular piece heading. There will be several more collagraph layers added. The two on there right now are just cardboard plates. It's also sparked a bunch of other old ideas that never quite resolved themselves. The experimenting will continue...