Sunday, August 25, 2013

in the studio

This week I spent most days still working on out of reach...

but, I also got to try encaustics! That's painting with melted wax, for those of you not familiar with the lingo. You can see work in progress pics in the encaustics post here. It was pretty amazing and I'm glad I got to finally try it! I would like to try translating the #art365 landscapes into encaustic. This will take a lot of practice, as there is quite a learning curve.

And a pair of #art365 landscapes. The first field, crown point, sold less than an hour after it was posted! If only everything sold that fast! The second is the same field, crown point. These are small canvases, which were purchased pre-#art365 and I felt were too small to do anything. Now I kind of like them, and I like working on this field, so I expect to do a few more.

This week I firmed up three upcoming shows: one of my large scale paintings will be in TEXT: Louder Than Words at Studio 659, two #art365 landscapes will be in SLAC's Hot! at The Sip, and somewhere in the neighborhood of sixty(!) #art365 landscapes will be part of a two person show at Paul Henry's Art Gallery, where I will be showing with the charming Brabant Lenting.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Encaustics is something I've wanted to try for the last few years. And it hasn't really happened. 

                                      UNTIL TODAY!
Are there trumpets and streamers? There should be. It's on my art bucket list. More on that later.

Some artists get in a rut. They do the same thing over and over, usually because they've had some success. Success is good! Sales are good! But really, you need to keep learning and trying new things. I am trying not to be the artist that gets in a rut. I try to keep challenging myself.
So when Deborah Landry said she was giving an encaustic lesson in her studio and invited me to join, I had to say yes! 

So what exactly am I so excited about? Painting with hot wax. And there's a bit of process. (I barely scratched the surface with these.) And some of happy accidents. And a bunch of not so happy accidents. And a whole lot of is it done? or could I make it better? And if I try to make it better, will I ruin it? Here are a few in progress shots from the 1st one. This is 3.5" by 4.5".

I was shooting for an #art365 landscape sort of look, without trying for one specifically. Lots of this I didn't plan. Okay, almost all of this I didn't plan. One of the really wild things, which I didn't expect, was the wax continues to move after the heat gun is taken away. I thought it would stay where it was once it stopped being heated. It doesn't. It contracts, and seems to follow the heat. I made four paintings total today. The three below are 2.5" x 3.5"

This next one started with a yellow base layer of paint. I decided to never do that again. Note the accidental "sun" which happened in the middle photo.

For this last one, I went back to a light blue base, which I used in the first one. I also tried to have something closer to that overall look. I don't think I really succeeded in that. One thing I think I would do in the future would be to actually mix some colors before I paint them onto the boards. Another thing would be to paint the wax on with very fine brushes and potentially heat it less. I'm clearly at the bottom of a very large learning curve.

So my art bucket list... is art things I want to try. Not so much before I die, but you know, it will be harder to try them when I'm dead. I wanted to paint really big, and I've done that. And I love it! 

So encaustics was also on my bucket list. Encaustics is something I can see incorporating into my work. Layering text and drawings can also be added into the pieces, which is an additional bonus. Also on my bucket list: throwing pottery on a wheel. Plein aire painting. Sometimes getting back to gum dichromate printing is on the list. Some days welding. It's a short list, I know. And while encaustics makes some sense in with my current work, welding and pottery, not so much. I just think they'd be cool things to know.

So, to the artists reading: what's on your art bucket list?

And if you want to see more encaustics, from artists who actually know what they're doing, take a look at Deborah Landry and Abigail Markov. They have entirely different aesthetics, and really show the broad range of work which can be done with wax.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

in the studio

This week's big accomplishment was the rework of this was only a dream. Rework actually doesn't begin to cover it. It was 24" x 48" and I wasn't quite happy with it. I had experimented with some things on it and learned a lot, but the end just wasn't there. And because it was so long, I upended the canvas to save room. This canvas had originally painted vertically and seeing it that way made me feel like it still wanted to be in that orientation. But then, it was so skinny. So I added in another canvas and now I had 48" x 60" which is more substantial. I forgot how hard it is to reach the top of 48". That extra 8" makes quite a difference. Needless to say, it looks nothing like the last version. I am however happy with this piece. There is ink text in the background which says:
this was only a dream but now I am awake.
but some days I wish I was still asleep. 

this was only a dream, acrylic and ink on canvas, 48" x 60"
I began working on another piece, tentatively titled out of reach. I changed the composition from yesterday, only to step back and realize the change didn't work. This piece will have a few more days' work. The color will be changing as well. This was just blocking in the underpainting.

out of reach, work in progress
acrylic and ink, 48" x 24"

And I finished the bicycle pieces. If you haven't been following along, another artist donated a whole huge stack of canvases to me, right after I agreed to donate a piece of work to Habitat for Humanity. The good karma had to be paid forward. I do from time to time make overt offerings to the good karma gods and a stack of canvases was going to need a karmic thank you. So my pay it forward, good karma plan is to offer up these two paintings in auction with no minimum bid. Right now they have bids of $5 and $10. (I said no minimum bid and I wasn't kidding!) The links will take you to my facebook page. If you aren't on facebook and would like to bid, or would like to bid privately, contact me and I will update the bid for you.

bicycle I, acrylic on canvas panel, 24" x 36"
bicycle II, acrylic on canvas panel, 24" x 36"
Why bicycles? Because my 10 year old son finally learned how to ride a bike. He hasn't even wanted to try for the last few years and was very self conscious about it. Mean mommy that I am, I made him try it. It took a couple of days of me running alongside, holding the bike up. (Thankfully, only a few days because that was exhausting!) Now he is out for bike rides every day. That joy and pride and freedom inspired these two pieces.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

the postcards: part 3

Here are the remaining postcards from last months postcard swap. What a great adventure! I am so glad I decided to go ahead and do this and that so many artists agreed to come along for the ride. Again links to the artists are included. Please visit their websites and blogs and connect with them on social media.

Kelly Dombrowski
acrylic on paper
John Hyde
ink on paper
Clinton Mason
ink on paper
Megan Green
film and ink
Arjen Stolk
Dawn Diamantopoulos
watercolor pencil
Lori Hutton
watercolor, cut paper
Kimberly Rottina
mixed media with collage
Carol Estes

The rest of the postcards from the swap can be seen in part 1 and part 2. Thank you again to all the artists who participated. The postcard swap will return in January, with sign ups in December. Many of the artists featured in these posts have already expressed interest in the next swap. Join us then!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

in the studio

Tuesday, I took a road trip with some friends and my younger son, Gabe. Gabe is known to my facebook friends for his (often unintended) hilarity. In our adventure, he played the role of the mostly well meaning, but slightly annoying neighbor kid, cast for comedic breaks. We were exploring historic sites along the Ideal Stretch of the Lincoln Highway, and slightly beyond. Dyer to La Porte with several stops in between. Like most older highways, a newer, shinier, wider road has mostly taken over the same route and what's left is a back road. The back roads are always more interesting. This inspired several #art365 pieces. 

cornfields, acrylic on canvas, 16" x 20"

corn tassels, acrylic on canvas, 16" x 20"

beans and corn, acrylic on canvas, 16" x 20"

the edge of the field (queen anne's lace), acrylic on canvas, 16" x 20"

And while I thought there might or might not be more in this series, today I woke up to find a friend tagged me in a pic on facebook with the view of a pond she said looked like one of my paintings. Which it did. I pretty much had to paint it.

steam rising (fishing pond), acrylic on canvas, 16" x 20"

This piece also gave me some other ideas mid-painting which I hope to explore next week. Finally, I worked on the bicycle paintings. They are getting closer. I've been bouncing back and forth between them, working on them both just about every day this week. Still in progress. It has not been lost on me that I have now spent more time on these than I did on consideration.

I hope to get these done in the next week. Then, one or two of you may get some new artwork for you walls at a great price, because I plan to sell them as silent auctions for one week, as an offering to the good karma gods.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

the postcards: part 2


Yanik Falardeau
mixed media

Here's the 2nd batch of postcards from our postcard swap. In July, 25 artists agreed to send a little piece of their artwork out into the world and get a little piece of someone else's art back. It was for fun, and cool way to "meet" other artists and see some artwork we wouldn't have seen any other way. On google+, twitter, and facebook, you can follow the #postcardswap hashtag to see more. Artist links are provided, go check them out. Find them and see more of what they are all about.

Jerry Shawback

Julia Spencer
mixed media
Deborah Landry
Suzanne Levine
mixed media

Anjuli Johnson

Erin Campbell
gouache, acrylic, ink

Michelle Pendergrass

See the first batch of postcards here. update: See part 3 here.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

in the studio

I have very little to show for this week. The postcard swap was due, and while I started a drawing which I reworked, and did two #art365 landscape paintings for it, I wasn't sold on any of them. Every day over the last two weeks, there has been an artist posting something awesome. Ack! The pressure! Finally I settled on this watercolor pencil piece.

My abstract work is all figuratively based, that is, I use the human form as an underlying architecture, or structure for the piece. How much is left of the figure when I'm done, is sometimes recognizable and sometimes not. I tend to flow back and forth between the two. This is a little more recognizable, to me, anyway. I realize that other people don't necessarily see what I see and I don't always see what they see, and all of that is fine. So while the postcard piece I settled on may seem a bit unusual stylistically, it meshes in with my last painting, consideration. 

This was the piece I began at the end of last week (which I mentioned in last week's in the studio update, but didn't show you) and I zipped right through it. It was fast. And I feel like it is a really significant piece within my own artistic evolution. I want to hang this in my living room, and if I had a 7.5' wall, it would already be up. But I don't. The three canvases aren't attached, so it may work its way into a corner yet.

consideration, acrylic and ink, 40" x 90"
I am tired of considering every single thing.

I began a larger #art365 landscape, but I painted over it. And then I painted over that. Sometimes, that's how it goes. And sometimes it goes like this: I agreed to donate a piece to Habitat for Humanity (thistle, from last week, if you're wondering) for their Silent Auction fundraiser. Later that day, I was offered a dozen canvases from another artist. Good karma, baby! Good karma is something I take very seriously. And I think being grateful is a big part of encouraging good karma. Here's my pay it forward, thanks for the good karma plan: I started working on these two canvas panels. They are each 24" x 36". The photo below shows some initial ink drawings based on the joy and pride of my son learning to ride his bike (finally). When they are finished, I will offer them up, as a silent auction, with no minimum bid. I will leave it open for 1 week. This should result in one or two of you getting some new work for your walls at a pretty significant discount.