Thursday, October 6, 2016

Revisiting, A New Direction

Landscape, nature, organic shapes and colors, are always a part of my creative process. Breaking down an idea visually to it's core, creating space with simple shapes and form, is an on going challenge in my work. You have probably heard the expression "less is more"... that is the underlying theme in these new abstract works.

I plan to continue exploring layered textures using encaustic (purified beeswax combined with resin and pigment), pan pastels, and various other mixed media materials in order to create visual and literal depth.

I want to take you on a journey into wide open landscape and space.

"On the Water"
10" x 8" mixed media on panel

8" x 10" mixed media on panel

8" x 8" mixed media on panel

I have also been focusing on the Face of Buddha, this series can be viewed in it's entirety here.
Sticking with the "less is more" concept has been a challenge, that's why I like doing it.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Upcoming Solo Show

Next month I will be in Boston at the Copley Society of Art, celebrating the opening of my miniature works featured in the Red Room Gallery. I will have the opportunity to talk about the inspiration behind the two distinctly different body of works, cityscape vs. landscape, and how the two places I have lived impact my creative inspiration and vision. 

The opening is Thursday October 13, 5:30-7:30pm
The gallery talk is Saturday October 15, 1-3pm

These miniature works are mostly 2.5"x3.5" floated and mounted in 10"x10" shadow box frames, are available for purchase, and will be sold directly off the walls (and a great way to find affordable art for the upcoming holiday season).

More information and a preview of the work will be available on the Copley Society of Art website here

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Back to School

My teaching schedule will be resuming in September and the last few weeks of summer vacation have allowed me the time to play with paints, finish working on my upcoming solo show, and have the time to do nothing!

"Miniature Moments" opens October 12 in the Red Room Gallery at the Copley Society of Art in Boston. Most of the pieces are minis, 2.5 x 3.5 presented in shadowbox frames however I have also included three 12x12's exemplifying the contrast between the two places I have lived, Chicago and the New England coast. Inspiration came from my childhood visits to the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Chicago Art Institute, and my desire to create miniature dioramas that transport to a different time and place.

The opening reception is October 13 followed by an artist talk October 15. I am looking forward to re-connecting with twenty five years of a New England past. Specific show information soon to be available on the Copley Society website -

12" x 12" mixed media

"Wrigley Building"
12" x 12" mixed media

I will also have a painting included in the upcoming fall show hosted at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, juried by Paula Daher, sponsored by the Copley Society.

"Birch and Moss"
24" x 18" encaustic

The Face of Buddha series continues, as I work toward my goal of 100 Faces of Buddha to complete the series. The piece below transformed as it became more sculptural than past works. The larger size also allowed me a freer hand, creating vibrant colors with heavy textures. You can see the complete series here - Face of Buddha

"Dancing Dragonflies"
30" x 30" mixed media

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Buddha knows

I admit, I was nervous to share the "Face of Buddha" series of paintings at my first summer art festival, although I was sure I wanted to display these paintings as a single grouping, similar to an installation.

First installation at the Wells Street Festival of Arts -

Second installation at the Art in the Village festival -

Panoramic photo of all 3 tent walls, I also incorporated landscape paintings when the buddha installation shrunk down in size - 

My biggest concern was that patrons would view these paintings as trendy and not understand the simple message behind each of them, that even though we are all physically, intellectually, spiritually different, in essence we are the same. My vision for this series has been to create variety using color, texture, shapes, to impress an idea without having to say a single word. The entire series can be viewed on my website here Face of Buddha      

I exceeded my expectations at these two shows and have spent time trying to replenish the practically sold out series! Here is one of my newest groupings designed for a specific patron after the shows ended -

And all that remains in the series (for now) - 

It's been a hard working, exhausting summer so far and I am looking forward to a much needed break (on vacation) for the coming week. When I return, I need to shift gears and continue developing new work for my upcoming solo exhibition at the Copley Society of Art this October. The theme of the show is "small packages" and I plan to feature small works inspired by my time living in New England as well as life back in Chicago.

I also resume teaching fall sessions at both the Evanston Art Center and North Shore Art league, class information and registration will be posted in August.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


"Storm Sky"
30" x 40" encaustic on panel

"Storm Sky", small version
8" x 16" encaustic on panel, diptych

"Sitting at the Pond"
6" x 12" encaustic on panel, diptych

Ready for the summer festival season to begin? The first event I am participating in is the Wells Street Art Festival   

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Seasonal Inspiration

Finally, the month of May... spring is here, I see fresh new greens in the grass and trees, and flowers finally have appeared. Seasonal landscapes have always inspired my art and recently I decided to paint the same image using different encaustic techniques each time. I was exploring and open to the possibilities.

Lupines grow wild and peak during the end of spring. In Sugar Hill, New Hampshire there is a festival every year and I crave the New England landscape when I think about the blue-lavender flowers sitting in turquoise-green open fields, tucked in between the White Mountains, covered by the warm hues of sunrise or sunset.

"Lupine Sunset" (below) is 16" x 16", encaustic on a cradled encausticbord panel. This piece was the first of the series that recently became lessons for myself.

I started by using an electric tjanting tool to draw directly on the board with encaustic paint. I was consumed by the colors and textures created by continuous motion using the tool and at one point had thought this painting would remain very linear and abstract (2nd image below) but soon realized it did not have enough depth as a drawing. I decided to pour orange tinted wax medium on the sky background, and green tinted medium on the foreground, and was happier with the quieted contrasting colors between land and sky. Pouring the wax also allowed for a greater sense of depth, visually and literally.

The second version, "Sugar Hill" is 24" x 18", encaustic on a cradled encausticbord (below). It was important to me to not loose the abstract, impressionistic details of the wax drawing. I had to create depth using layers of contrasting color.

The 3rd version, "Field of Dreams" 30" x 40" encaustic and oil stick on a cradled encausticbord panel. This time I poured the wax first (2nd image below) and made sure I left the sunset colors transparent, a light wash of colors, a technique very reminiscent of how I apply watercolor washes to paper. I poured color in the grassy foreground, and proceeded to add depth and details using both the tjanting tool and oil sticks. Working large is always a challenge, but after exploring the different ways to apply layers of wax, I feel the wash technique is the most successful.

Nothing can replace the love I have for New England and it's landscapes, and now that I live in the city of Chicago at least I can revisit my favorite places in my paintings.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Face of Buddha

We are in the midst of primary elections here and there is no escape ... from the daily news, the debates ... the disrespect between candidates, between different political parties, and the lack of compassion and respect has led me to a feeling of disconnect and political hopelessness. I rarely let myself get caught in political controversy. I don't like conflict.

In general, when I am challenged with relationships in life, I have always found personal comfort in Buddhist philosophy; to simply lead a moral life, to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and to develop wisdom and understanding.  The search for a quiet, tranquil place has led me to a new series, "Face of Buddha". My goal is to create 100 Buddha paintings, some inspired by actual statuary others inspired by feelings and abstract concepts. I plan on sharing these during the upcoming festival (and election) season and hope I am able to encourage meditative thoughts and actions.

All of the paintings in the series are 10" x 8", mixed media encaustic on cradled birch panels, (and priced at $250). I have completed 15 paintings to date and plan on continuing developing the series until I reach my goal of 100.

Monday, February 1, 2016

New directions

January came and went, and after recovering from the holidays my creative energy was focused on continuing the development of two distinct bodies of new work. In addition, I resumed teaching encaustic painting classes and workshops at two locations on the North Shore of Chicago. Class information is posted on websites for The Evanston Art Center, The North Shore Art League

In the fall I started working with encaustic using a Tjanting tool combined with a wax pour. My desire to create time and place by simply using color and the sensibility of depth has kept me entranced.  Understanding abstract art and painting with pure feeling led to the "Elemental" series. A few new samples below:

encaustic on cradled wood panel
10" x 22"

encaustic on cradled wood panel, diptych
10" x 20" 

I decided to submit "Ice" to the juried winter show at the Copley Society of Art and the best feedback for me was hearing this piece was accepted into the show.

encaustic on cradled wood panels, hexaptych
8" x 12"

I have also been developing a new collection of encaustic monotypes. I decided to incorporate traditional silk scrolls for the presentation of many of these works. I often cut and collage the prints using the white space on the scroll to enhance the work. A few new samples below:

"Yellow Mountains" 
34” x 9”

59.5” x 23.5”

Wisdom Tree
65” x 15”

Another highlight for me will occur in March when I am curating my student's show at the North Shore Art League. Ten past and present students have been invited to display up to three encaustic pieces and we are looking forward to sharing with the public how creatively each artist uses the medium. I will be sharing more show details as they become available.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Year of the Full Moon, the book

I am now offering the Full Moon Series of watercolor paintings in paperback 8.5" x 11" book form. You can purchase directly from the paypal link (top right column), and/or preview the paintings on my website - A Year of Moons

The Full Moon series is a year long interpretation of the visual effects of the lunar cycle. Each painting represents my dream-like rendition of the seasonal landscape and captures the mystical nature of the moon. I have also included several poems along with a brief description of the Native American inspiration behind each of the paintings.

The cost is $36 which includes tax and shipping, available anywhere in the U.S. Once your order is placed it will take approximately 10 days before your book will be received.

Additional inquiries can be sent to me here.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Earth's Energy and the beginning of a New Series

a :  a large number of animate or inanimate things massed together and usually in motion :  throng <swarms of sightseers> swarm
of locusts> swarm of meteors>

b :  a number of similar geological features or phenomena close together in space or time swarm
of dikes> swarm>

“We think the natural world has a lot to teach us about efficiency,” said Kerbel. “And bees and other swarming animals are among nature’s best examples of teamwork and efficiency. Our technology injects swarm theory into a grid that has historically been simple and manual, and makes it intelligent and automatic.”

* From the Environmental Defense fund website -

Classes have kept me away from blogging regularly, and now that the fall sessions are coming to an end I have time to share the new direction my work has taken; thinking about the landscape, earth, and the energy sources that nature provides. In a way, the Swarm Series reminds me of my Full Moon Series as both series interpret energy in the natural world. The moons were painted using watercolor, and spatters of color to create energy radiating from the full moon. I was interviewed by a local reporter when I was in the midst of the full moon series and he wrote an article that best described my artistic direction. A favorite quote from the article:

"Painting, Samiljan learned, was less about recreating what it is she saw, but is, in fact, more about transferring energy. Accessibility, then, becomes contingent on each specific viewer's impression. There's something in her paintings she hopes appeals to a wide audience, she says." The entire article is available here - Full Moon Fever

Swarms of color using encaustic medium and pigments, pouring layers of wax to create a greater visual depth of energetic brush strokes, are a similar interpretation with these new encaustic paintings but this time energy is not celestial, it's earthly. I look forward to sharing more new work as the series develops.