Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Year, New Home, New Inspiration

I am moving in a few days. That, combined with the holiday season, and my kids all home with me, has not been conducive to art-making.

This week I got the keys to my new place and I am having some rooms painted before I am living there. I was bringing boxes over tonight, and it was the first time I enjoyed watching the sun set over the ocean from the third floor. I was overwhelmed by the colors of the sky. I know I will want to paint sunsets once I start seeing them daily but I will have to find a way to make them unique.

In the mean time, I have decided to frame the mural I painted from my creative movement class and once I have figured out the proper wall space I can take it to be framed. I am also going to paint the wicker furniture for my daughter's room - she wants black with neon designs, so I guess my creativity will be taking a different direction for now!

New work posted will have to wait and once I am settled I will be back blogging.

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

size matters (in a stage production)

My interpretation of the 7 Stages of Creation (6 ft. 9 in. x 3 ft. 9 in.)

Tomorrow is the second half of the creative movement class that has caused me a great deal of stress and insecurity. Last month when we met for the first half of the class, we were introduced to creative movement as a way of expressing oneself as well as a tool that can be used in teaching other subjects in a school curriculum. I have always appreciated the performing arts and realize how wonderful it is to watch dancers move and create energy using their motion in space - but now I am being taught how to be the dancer, do the movements, and express my body in space! It is not something I ever have wanted to do and I am much happier sitting in the audience watching rather than being on the stage dancing.

This weekend I will be participating in a group dance with my cohorts, in front of an audience in the school's performing arts center, and I am not a happy camper! We are also going to perform our individual "life dance" the next day, and we have been encouraged to use props, creative dress, and music, all as a way of conveying the theme we have chosen for our life dance. I think there is an interesting karma that exists in all of our lives and it is up to each of us to identify it, learn from it, and flow with it.

A few weeks ago I painted a series of art cards based on the 7 Stages of Creation that Jeanne Carbonetti writes about in her book, "Making Pearls". I knew I did not want to trade these cards on an artist trading card website, and that I wanted to hold on to them. What I didn't realize then was that these cards would become the theme for the life dance I will be doing this weekend. It made sense to me to use the stages of creation - the ideas, the colors, the visual interpretation, and the message, when I do my dance. I have spent the past few weeks collecting my thoughts, finding a way to use this concept in visual art and then translate it into performing art. I decided to paint a mural and I am focusing on the colors of the 7 stages, and I also added the dragonfly; it is an important symbol to me and personalizes everything else I am doing. I will try to express these things when I dance. Let me just say right now that the "weak link" will be in my dance movements (and I am OK with that).

I felt the need to find proper dance attire, but more enthusiastically, I painted the mural and put together a brochure that I will hand out before my dance, to make sure my cohorts understand there is a specific theme behind each color in the 7 stages of creation. I also have a large piece of sheer white fabric but I am still not sure how I will incorporate using it.

Above I have posted the mural I will have on the stage (my security blanket is the visual art). I will be dancing to a song called "Across the Lake" by Dan Gibson, wearing a plain black leotard.

I am looking forward to putting this class behind me.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Encaustic transfers of original artwork

The holiday season is not going to stress me out, I am making that promise to myself! I am also in class next weekend, moving to a new home end of the month, and in order to remain somewhat peaceful (something I am not that good at) I have to make time for art, small scale art... that is why I enjoy making the art cards.

ATCs - small size works, quick results.

I have had many requests for geisha atcs. The geishas as a theme seems to be popular worldwide, (I had no idea), and I had already been painting geishas regularly. I decided to use the jpg images of my paintings to transfer into wax medium.

I am still trying to improve my transfer technique. Shown below are my first and 2nd batch of encaustic geisha atcs.

2nd attempt at geisha transfers

(this time I used an uncropped version of my painting)

1st attempt at geisha transfers

(cropped version of geisha painting)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

protecting your copyright

I recently had a disturbing experience with one of the websites I use to post my artwork and I want to share it. I know there is not too much I can do to control what happens once my art images are posted on the internet other than putting my copyright with every image posted. It makes you wonder how much you really want to make available on the world wide web.

Flickr.com is a free website people can use to post photos of anything - whether it be family photographs, images of artwork, or any other type of jpg. I have been using the site to post my artist trading cards and have been trading with other members; we view each other's cards once they are posted and then choose our individual trades. I decided to also post some of my larger paintings because I wanted to share the type of art I create with the members I have met. What I didn't expect was to find my painting images copied into random member made galleries! I had one member ask if he could use my painting in his gallery, and had another member copy the image and include it in his online gallery without even asking me! After this happened, I decided to review the flickr privacy controls and that is when I discovered that I had to change how accessible I wanted my images to be plus I had to decide how much I wanted to share.

In the past, I have had people visit my professional website and ask if they could copy my work for their personal reference. Many years ago a man that lived in Texas claimed to have known relatives of mine in Boston.. what are the chances? I always have known resolution of internet images is 72 dpi's and if someone is copying my work they are only getting a small thumbnail. But still, what can be done to prevent this from happening without permission? (my experience says very little without incurring legal fees).

I am about to get busy with the holiday season, the completion of another one of my courses, and even hope to continue to make time for new creating. I just felt compelled to share my warning about the lack of control over your internet copyright.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

weekend recovery

Creating a "4"

The letter "Q"

Giving good energy

My body is still aching and moaning from being in class all weekend. I always considered myself somewhat athletic although I am definitely feeling middle aged right now.

I am in a creative movement class and between now and my next weekend of classes (Dec. 11) I have to read several books and write a paper, have to choreograph and dance a "life dance", also have to design a creative movement lesson plan and I admit, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. Tomorrow I am leaving town to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my family in Chicago and I can't even focus on these assignments until I am back.

I have always managed to avoid dance class until now so this truly is a challenge. As a young girl my mother insisted I go to ballet class... I maybe lasted a month or 2 but then hated it with such a passion that I was allowed to quit! As an adult I have found appreciation in several "new age" type dance classes - yoga and zumba were both things I tried but honestly I prefer bicycling or swimming long distances for a workout. Unfortunately, there is no escaping the second weekend of creative movement class and I am going to try to enjoy the holiday only to focus on my assignments when I get back home.

The one comfort I have in the back of my mind is that I will definitely make props, design simple scenery using my artistic skills... I am already thinking about the roll of watercolor paper in my studio, and how I can paint trees or bamboo stalks with ink, then use different colors for background washes... maybe even referring to the 7 stages of creation I wrote about in my last post. For now, I have to sit with all of my post-class ideas until next week.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

making cards and trading

In Jeanne Carbonetti's book, "Making Pearls", she writes about the 7 stages of creation and the colors we associate with each stage. Her way of teaching is to identify the self expression that exists within every individual and then to let our creative muses take over. I decided to make a series of cards as a reminder of my own creative freedom and to conquer my inhibition with human form as subject matter. At some point I will be ready to trade these cards but for now I am "holding" (green stage).

Shown below are just a few of the cards I made over the weekend, most of which have already been traded out! I found traders or they found me from all over the country as well as in Vancouver, Singapore, and Finland.

This card led me to revisiting the Stages of Creation (from Carbonetti's book)

One of the cards I made at last week's watercolor class, a personal favorite

These 2 cards below were traded out as soon as I posted them!

Encaustic card, just dabbling

Since last week I have been rejuvenated with my online card trades and I spent the weekend making new atc's as well as posting and trading on one of my favorite websites, www.atcsforall.com

Trading on the site reminds me of the bartering I do whenever I work at the Paradise City art shows. I used to trade cards with anyone that wanted one of my cards but now I am a bit more selective and initiate trading as well as respond to requests based on what I see that I would like to add to my card collection.

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Blue Sky at the Pond", and other encaustic works

"Blue Sky at the Pond", 8 x 8 encaustic painting, the image was transfered into the wax then I added the colored wax to make it "come alive".

Shown here, the wood board already painted and fused with 3 layers of wax medium, along with the image I will be burnishing into the wax.

The electric griddle is out and my heated palette is back to work, melting pigmented wax as I continue to develop my series of encaustic paintings capturing a year of visits to the bird sanctuary. I knew I wanted to do a 2nd autumn painting in the 8 x 8 size and I have a bunch of cradled elephant board wood panels ready to go. I also still have 6 x 6 panels but I feel I am ready to take on working a bit larger. Having discovered the floating frames, the smaller works do look more complete but I admit I am open to size changes as this series progresses.

I also made several encaustic art cards in between working on the larger landscape painting.

2.5 x 3.5 encaustic card

Seen below, I used sepia ink with watercolor creating an abstract card that I thought could 'stand alone'. After I looked at it a while I realized it needed something more as a focal point and I felt like I could see snakes lurking so I decided to make several marks by following the pattern that was already there and now the card works better, it's called "Snake Eyes".

Card with encaustic highlights, "Snake Eyes"

Card with just sepia ink and watercolor wash

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Encaustic Image Transfers

Floating frame, outer dimensions are 10 x 10

8 x 8 encaustic image transfer, "Autumn Foliage"

Photograph used for image transfer

The watercolor class I teach ended last night and the next session doesn't start until the end of February. The geisha paintings were finished up and there was time left for me to share Artist Trading Cards and explain the benefits of networking with original art cards (rather than printed business cards). I made a few cards but mostly wanted to share my collection of cards from artists I have traded with all over the world!

Next on my creative list - to get back to using the autumn photographs I took to use as encaustic image transfers. I am working in a larger size now, 8 x 8 cradled wood panels, and have found that using floating frames creates a more complete presentation. I only purchased 2 frames because I wanted to make sure I liked the presentation, I think it makes the artwork look more substantial and will need to order more frames.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Geisha Si-ting"

I introduced ink stamps as a way of creating patterns in watercolor during last night's class. Painting and decorating the kimono fabric lends itself to the use of stamping. I discussed how a purist would not incorporate stamping in a watercolor painting but that as artists we have the right to make art and use mediums in any way we choose. It was important to me to let each of my students understand that if they were to submit their stamped paintings to a watercolor show their painting would not be considered a pure watercolor medium and that if they preferred to hand paint a pattern that was an option (they all plan on using the stamps!)

Next week is the last class and we will finish up the geishas and any other unfinished work. I can not believe how quickly time is passing us by.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

All that's left is the "lace" (almost)

I purposely am not finishing this painting right now so that I can show my class on Tuesday night how I will do the final details making corrections to the screen, plant pot and the geisha's hand. I also will be adding the "lace", the things that make the painting come alive. I need to add shading to ground the plant and the geisha. I cant decide if the screen needs to be darker although when I look at it with fresh eyes in a few days I am sure I will know what to do.

I had so much fun using layers of paint in the geisha's kimono although I still want to add patterns to the fabric with my ink stamps. There are only 2 classes left in this 8 week session and I want to save the last class for everyone to work on whatever they need to finish with me available to help them. I can't believe how fast time is flying by.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Geisha (work in progress)

Geisha drawing with initial paint wash

Last night in class I taught one of my favorite lessons - we first practice drawing skills using tracing paper (easy to erase), once we have a simple line drawing it is then transfered from the tracing paper to the watercolor paper. I almost always choose a geisha and really enjoy using watercolor washes to create intense color and depth in the background. I will outline the figure using paint and add details when I am ready to paint her kimono. Sometimes I add ink stamps for kimono fabric patterns although this lesson is really just another way to practice working wet and letting the paint drip and do whatever it wants to do.

I would have been working on the geisha painting today, getting it ready for the next class, but I had time to start my next encaustic using the larger 8 x 8 panels I ordered. I will post my newest work later or tomorrow but for now I need to take a break from looking at it so I can figure out what needs to happen next. Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

more fall inspiration

I like the linear pattern here

"Non-pattern" of leaves


Yes, there really are birds in the sanctuary

I love this time of year, the colors and the smells. Autumn continues to inspire me.

My first series of encaustic paintings were done this summer with the photos I took at the local bird sanctuary. I have been unable to focus on new encaustic paintings since the studio residency in August... until now. I went back to the bird sanctuary and took more photos, knowing I will do the next encaustics using the fall palette I saw in nature today. I just ordered 8 x 8 wood panels although I still have a few in the 6 x 6 size in case I want to stick to smaller works. My hope is that this winter I will go back to photograph, and again in spring time. A year of visiting the bird sanctuary will bring a year of seasonal inspiration.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Goodnight, Moon"

This morning I was able to finish my demo painting from the class I teach on Tuesday nights. It has been a difficult few weeks for me and sadly I have to share that my dog had to end his short life on Monday. He had become paralyzed from a ruptured disc. Rather than dwelling on the depth of grief I have been trying to put to rest, I will just share my painting. It is an expression of my emotions with color and simplicity in shapes. I decided to title this painting, "Goodnight, Moon" and it refers to an ending of a day, or a life, and the peacefulness that goes along with that.

Friday, October 16, 2009

new watercolor demo

work in progress - masking tape resist

It has been difficult for me to focus since returning from the show however my dog is home from the hospital, and hopefully going to gain strength. I won't know for another 2 weeks if he will be able to function independently and it is going to be my difficult task to accept whatever happens. I am doing all I can possibly do for him, and now I have to sit and wait. I think anyone who is a pet owner and lover knows that their pet fills a certain space in their life. The unconditional love is unlike any other. Now is one of those times I will turn to my art to find comfort and peace.

I am hoping to finish the class demo I started at Tuesday night's class next week. I will add another wash of color because I feel like I need intense yellow/orange/red in this piece. There is masking tape on the paper which is creating a resist in the shape of the trees, this allows for greater freedom in applying the paint. Once I take the tape off, I will add yet another watercolor wash to fill in where the stark white paper is exposed. I also need a darker shade at the bottom in order to ground the trees. I will want to keep this painting simple with shapes, but I want the color to be intense.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

post-show recap

I was so lucky. I had a great show, lots of sales, and I met some interesting people. I had so much interest in the small framed encaustic art cards and I enjoyed educating the patrons that were interested in hearing about the process. I feel fortunate and I know many of the artists at the show did not even cover their expenses. I wish I could enjoy in the success I had but I came home to bad news about my dog. Although he was improving from a ruptured disc when I left town, something changed yesterday and he is now facing permanent paralysis. I guess it makes things fall into perspective when you are facing life and death of a loved one (or pet as it may be) vs. making profits in the professional world. There is nothing I can do to help my dog, other than wait to see if he responds to the additional treatments. I will know by Thursday what needs to be done with him and my heart is aching.

I was going to write a long, entertaining recap of each day at the show, how the large paintings I sold went to people that were really connected to the works, but instead I will just post photos of my dog, Bruno.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

pre show anxiety...

Encaustics are in the front right corner, behind them are the sumi-e paintings, and my large watercolors line the back wall of my booth. I still have to setup my desk with notecards and prints, something I will do before the show opens this morning.

Sitting here having coffee at my hotel, I am thinking about the final details left for me to do in order for my booth to be complete. I brought fewer display panels this time and have an unusual arrangement - I wanted to make a separate space for the encaustics, sumi-e and watercolors and I am hoping my work still flows even though there are 3 different mediums. I have priced the small encaustic framed cards at $65 each, and everyone keeps telling me it's too low a price! I am excited to finally introduce these to the public and am anxious to see the response I get. It's a rainy morning but it's suppose to clear up mid day. Attendance is the key.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Crazy Week

Tonight is week 3 of the watercolor class I teach and I look forward to sharing with my students the stages I went through and the problems I had to solve in order to make the demo painting feel right to me. I will show them the photographs I took as I applied each new layer of paint and talk about my creative process. I will also start a new painting to demonstrate wash techniques using a masking tape resist. My main objective is to continue to demonstrate how working wet with layers of watercolor washes leads to a fluid, transparent, use of the paint.

Tomorrow I have to load my car with my display panels, lighting, and show inventory that is being stored at my studio. I have a speaking engagement at a local art college on Thursday and will need to finish loading my car later on Thursday with the rest of my show inventory that is at my home. Once the car is packed up I will barely have room to move!

Friday I am off to Northampton, my booth will be setup and ready for the show opening on Saturday morning.

It's going to be non-stop busy for me for the next 7 days. Hoping for good weather and lots of show visitors.
Happy Autumn!

Friday, October 2, 2009

"Autumn Leaves"

Final painting - adding leaf reflections in the water is a play on pattern and color

adding a leaf collage allowed me to bring in fresh autumn color plus an element of 3-d

colors here are not crisp and clean

The past few days I watched my demonstration painting for the class I teach get from decent to worse to awful! I ruined what could have been a subtle, gentle autumn landscape (refer to images in previous post) by trying to create intense fall colors on top of a midsummer color scheme. My initial paint wash was going to be greens, blues, and jewel tones. Because I decided to change the time of year from the summer photo I was using to the colors I am seeing every time I walk outside this week, it was a challenge to say the least. I did not want subtle color, I wanted intense color.

The only way I could get the crisp yellows/oranges/reds was by collage. I feel like this painting became more about color and texture than actual landscape.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

class demo in progress, changing plans

after adding fall color to the 2nd layer of washes

class demo, initial wash

I always include a painting demonstration during each of the classes I teach. I think the best way to learn is by watching, then 'doing'. And I always like to start a new class session with a basic landscape painting, covering tips about composition, shapes, and color.

I brought in several photographs I took over the summer thinking I would use one for my demo painting. Once I started using all the different summer greens in the foliage I thought to myself that I had spent the last 2 months working on paintings that were summer scenes; I needed to change my color palette so I could embrace the fall shades that are invading New England this time of year. I found an older landscape photo with autumn colors and even though it wasn't taken in the same exact location it was from the same town in Vermont.

Now I will have to make the fall colors work into what I had already started.

One of the things I like best about being an artist is the artistic freedom to change and do whatever I want in my paintings as long as it works for me visually. I am hoping I can pull this off successfully.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

non-traditional framing

"Yellow Calla Lily", new black matt, frame

In between teaching and working on my class demo from Tuesday night (I will be posting images later) I have been preparing work for upcoming art association shows. Now that my booth artwork has been determined I know what I can submit to October shows. I always try to recycle the frames I own and I had to get a larger matt to fit this painting of the yellow calla lily into my 32 x 26 frame. I ended up doing something I NEVER do - I put a black matt with a yellow edge in this frame! The unspoken (and sometimes spoken) rule with watercolor framing is that the matt should always be a shade of white so that it does not distract from the painting. Many watercolor "societies" will not accept work to their shows unless the work is in a white matt.

I feel the black matt helps to focus on the painting and is actually less distracting than a traditional white matt. The added outline of yellow in the inside of the matt opening felt like a perfect fit to me. If my painting is not accepted to the show I am submitting it to I am going to hope it had nothing to do with the matt but rather was based on the actual painting.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

watercolor classes begin tonight!

Assortment of some of my encaustic cards (unframed)

Encaustic paintings (on elephant board)
Watercolor paintings (unframed)

Up until today, my time has been spent finalizing my new booth setup. I am traveling with fewer display panels and smaller artworks. I always put together thumbnail images of the works for the show and then I spend time deciding if I have the right pieces, the right price ranges too. I usually make changes along the way but I need the visual aids. Seeing the works on paper will let me figure out where to place them when it's time to hang. It's all part of my pre-show preparation process.

I start teaching tonight and look forward to a new demo, a new painting...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

plugging away

Colored photo painted into wax medium, pigmented wax on top

Black and white xerox image transfer burnished into wax medium, also painted with pigmented wax

Still focusing on getting my small works ready for the Columbus Day show - I now have 37 framed pieces with only 13 frames remaining. At this point I feel I have enough to make a strong presentation but I will probably make more cards.

In between the small works, I tried a different encaustic procedure where I mounted a photo into wax medium and then added pigmented wax on top of it; the color remained noticeable. I think it's interesting to compare both works done in 2 different ways using the same image, which do you prefer?

Friday, September 11, 2009

after viewing with fresh eyes...

This morning I felt the trees were too stiff and I added thin branches and a few more greenery details. I also signed my name, which means this is finished now.