Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Storm Tree", a larger version

"Storm Tree", 8 x 8 encaustic image transfer

I spent the afternoon (and part of the morning too) working on a larger encaustic version of the storm tree. We have had record rainfall in New England and now that the rain has stopped I can go back to take spring photos that will work in my 4 season "Pathway" series but in the meantime, I am working with what I have from the photos I took last week (before there were visible signs of new leaf growth) when the biggest change in nature was the downed trees from all of the recent storms.

There were so many other things I should have been doing today... reading for school... working on my demo for the class I teach tomorrow night... working on another studio move... household chores... but all I wanted to do was focus on another encaustic painting. I am anxious to work larger although I want to use up all my 6 x 6 and 8 x 8 panels first. I also want to fill in my encaustic color palette but if I can wait until the conference in June, I will have access to specialty vendors and resources.

There is a Dick Blick art supplier in Boston that carries R&F encaustic paints and I may need to go there for a few more shades of green in order to complete my spring paintings. I am definitely addicted to this new medium.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

side tracked

Photograph and encaustic image transfer below; a visit to the local bird sanctuary continued to reflect the winter and early spring storms with barely a trace of new spring growth.
Very tall birches

Bushes still holding onto winter berries

My plan was to work on the dragonfly demo and start painting the grasses, covering portions of the dragonfly, in preparation for completing the final details next week in the class I teach. The only problem was I had visited the bird sanctuary a few days ago because I also wanted to start working on the spring season for my Pathways show... but the photos I took were still feeling too wintery. (I want spring to reflect new growth and new shades of green on shrubs and trees). What could I do with the photos I took?! I decided to use a few of them for small encaustic image transfers although I don't think these works will be incorporated into my show because they aren't "green" enough. I have so much fun painting with the wax, and working small makes it quick and easy. Gotta love immediate gratification.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Still Life

A few samples of my still life paintings

The two paintings below are examples of my initial washes and paint drips on white paper being used to create texture in the vases

Tonight when I teach, I will be painting a still life and my focus continues to be on how to build layers of washes to create a greater sense of depth. This is one of few lessons I teach where using a pencil first will come in handy, even though it's just to loosely mark a few general shapes in the composition.

I decided to post a few of my past still life paintings, all florals, just to get myself into the zone for tonight's lesson. I hope to have my work in progress to share in my blog tomorrow.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My Installation

Summer photographs, watercolor, and encaustics... followed by Autumn



Winter with Zen Fountain, and some of my poetry

Another 3 day weekend of classes and I am in the home stretch - the final seminar class and then I will have completed the master of education degree, in arts and learning. This weekend we were able to share with our cohort the work we have done since we started the school program and it was to be a culmination of our journey; visually, verbally, and musically. It was the first time I was able to see all my work, framed and displayed as if I was having a solo gallery show. I was pleased with the results although I could add or subtract the number of pieces I include based on my hanging space. I used my display panels, and natural light rather than my lighting system. I added meditative music with cushions for sitting, and even a zen fountain so the sound of water contributed to the feeling of movement through space. I included several poems I had written, played tibetan and native american flute recordings, and tried to create a peaceful, meditative space for viewing my art. I can now look forward to the final graduation show which will be held the beginning of May and then hope to share this body of work in a gallery setting.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Light and Dark

"Light and Dark", 24 x 18 watercolor painting

Last night we finished the masking tape resists. I waited to finish my painting so that I could demonstrate glazing techniques, thus the addition and appearance of a large yellow sphere (the sun?!) My focus was mostly on making sure my watercolor washes remained transparent and clean, not so much on details in the composition and subject matter. In the back of my mind I was thinking about the next juried show at the Cambridge Art Association, the theme title is "dark and light".

Next week I will be teaching still life, but this weekend (starting this afternoon) is the second half of voice and music class and we will be sharing our installations, something I have been working on since last summer. I am both nervous and excited and look forward to sharing photos of my work after the weekend.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tree Time

colorful washes with masking tape as a resist = fool proof lesson

We are working with a masking tape resist in Thursday night watercolor class. I like to teach this lesson because it allows the artist to focus on their use of watercolor washes and layering those washes without being inhibited or worrying about the details. Once the tape is placed on the paper the paint can be applied freely, then when the tape is lifted up the white paper only needs an additional wash so it is not as stark.

When we meet in class this week I will finish this painting by adding a few more touches - grounding the trees, a few more branch details, maybe adding white paint to better define the edges of the tree trunks. I will have to see if my students will allow me to share their works on this blog because I love how successful this lesson is.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ducks in a row

"Autumn Pathway", 6 x 6 encaustic image transfer, (version 2)

Summer, Autumn, and Winter are now completed. My 16 x 20 photographs are being framed along with my watercolor paintings, and I have the floater frames here at home for the encaustics. After last week's discovery, realizing the photo used in my first autumn encaustic painting did not match up to the photo I used for my watercolor (enlarged and framed for the show), I was compelled to paint another version of the pathway, this time using the exact same photograph that inspired my watercolor.

This was the first time I painted the watercolor, then the encaustic, and it definitely changed my focus. It was important to me that I did not use pigmented wax everywhere and that the photo transfered was evident in the composition.

"Pathways and Transitions", the official title of my installation, is what I am presenting for my graduate school art show. We are sharing our work the weekend of March 19th but then will have time to adjust or change if necessary, before the official show that runs for the month of May. Because I am still planning on painting the spring season, my series will not be completed until after graduation. I am already looking forward to next month's visit to the bird sanctuary so that I can focus on my final set of paintings.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Autumn Pathway, comparing versions

Autumn Pathway, 8 x 8 encaustic image transfer (photo used here is slightly different from the photo shown below)

Autumn pathway, photo

Autumn Pathway, 24 x 18 watercolor painting

I woke up this morning and knew I still had some work to do on my painting. I could see where the trees on the left needed more volume and I also felt there should be more details in the front right corner. I ended up adding more shadows in the distant part of the path as well and hopefully there is a greater feeling of depth and movement.

What I didn't realize until I took the time to look closely at the photograph I used for my encaustic was that I had chosen a different snapshot for my image transfer than the one I used for the watercolor. The two photos are so similar but because I am putting a show together with the theme being the transition of art mediums starting with a photograph, then interpreting it as a watercolor painting, and then as an encaustic image transfer, I feel it is key to have the exact same photo for both painted versions. Guess what I am going to be doing for the rest of the weekend?!

Friday, March 5, 2010

demo painting from class

This painting will be included in my "Pathways and Transitions" series:
"Autumn Pathway"

My painting has possessed me since last night's class. I started this as a demonstration painting a week ago when I introduced watercolor washes using a spray bottle and a whole lotta water. My last blog post showed the early stages and I forced myself to not do too much before last night because I wanted to show my students specific techniques using 2 brushes - one with paint, the other with just water, together both brushes are used for controlling the paint's direction.

I am always challenged when I use the yellow/orange palette because watercolor paper can turn muddy so easily. I worked on this all afternoon and at one point I was ready to tear it up! I thought it was muddy and confusing, but I was so absorbed in the painting. I took my dog for a walk, came back to view what seemed to feel like a dimensional, successful autumn landscape. In the morning when I look at this with fresh eyes, I will know if it's ready to be signed.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Color... says it all

Autumn path, 24 x 18 watercolor (work in progress)

Yesterday I had to force myself to stop painting. I wanted to work on the demo from last week's class so that I could teach techniques beyond initial washes but when I get in the zone and have my table set up with lots of time to focus, it is almost impossible for me to stop!

I needed to add new color to the initial wash ... touches of blue for the sky, some greens, alizarin too, and I also wanted to add depth and set the composition with a few details (tree branches and grasses). I needed a horizon line where the path fades into the woods. Yes, this is another study from photographs taken at the bird sanctuary, and because I am so familiar with this place and the seasonal changes it feels like a needed exercise (practice is always good). I also referred to my encaustic version I painted from the same photograph. My current motivation and artistic drive is to recapture a moment in time, in a variety of mediums (the theme of my current body of work).

Looking at the painting this morning I think the branches are too dark on the right and I will have to find a way to break up the dark lines when I add fall foliage. I will sit with the painting as it is now, not letting myself do anymore work on it until class tomorrow night. I believe one of the best ways to learn is by watching it happen.

Monday, March 1, 2010

School, Work, and Making Art; it all ties together.

These are the actual works I will be using in my installation. The encaustic image transfers are shown followed by their photograph equivalent.
*You may notice the image transfer is the reverse of the original photo although I did alter some of the photographic details when I painted with wax.

Winter -
8 x 8 encaustic
16 x 20 photo
8 x 8 encaustic
20 x 16 photo
Autumn -
8 x 8 encaustic
20 x 16 photo
*this is the photograph I am using for my demo painting in the watercolor class I am teaching on Thursday nights. I will be posting updates on this work in progress in the next day or two now that my school weekend is over.
8 x 8 encaustic
16 x 20 photo
Summer -
6 x 6 encaustic
20 x 16 photo
24 x 18 encaustic followed by the first photograph of the series, 20 x 16

I spent the weekend in a music and voice class, the last class in my master's program, to be followed by a creative arts seminar, and then graduation in May. Even though we always get our syllabus weeks ahead of time, the things we are going to cover in class are never really clear until the first weekend. Between now and March 19 our biggest "assignment" is to create an installation that is a reflection of the assignments we have done the past year and a half, the art we have made, and the common thread that connects it all together. I have been able to open myself up to learning beyond my comfort zone, embracing new mediums without the fear of failure. I never would have considered a mixed media show of my work prior to graduate school.

My installation will include the large 16 x 20 photos of three seasons at the bird sanctuary and their counterpart of encaustic image transfers. I have decided not to include the watercolor paintings in this show because that is the one medium I was doing before I started graduate school and this show will be a sample of my artistic growth and courage to explore new mediums. I have decided to also include a zen fountain, a few inspirational books of poetry, and cushions for sitting and meditating in the space I am creating. The space needs to be interactive. We will be required to incorporate song and music (I am not prepared to blog about that at this point!) I know my goal will be to try to create sacred meditative space, surrounded by the nature theme of my artwork.

For me, this can be a practice show before the actual "professional" gallery show I am trying to put together. Who knew when I decided to bite the bullet and frame my photographs last week that I would be using them in 3 weeks rather than a year from now! I also know I need to learn more about the encaustic medium which is why I have enrolled in the annual encaustic conference taking place this June at Montserrat College of Art (where I am currently teaching in the continuing ed. department). Last year I missed the conference because it was a school weekend, but I did go to one post-conference workshop; this year I can do both.

encaustic conference information -