Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Time Flies!

Small Still life - 3.5 x 2.5
I used a jpg image of one of my still life paintings, transfered it into wax medium, then added colored wax for details.

Another jpg image of my recent still life painting done in watercolor, transfered into wax

3.5 x 2.5 image transfer from the spring visit to the bird sanctuary. I am also painting the same image in 20 x 16 (work in progress)

One of the photos taken this past week, the pathway at Sanctuary Pond in April.

Finishing up the year of visits to the bird sanctuary meant taking spring photographs of the paths and pond this past week, then deciding what I will use for my final watercolor and encaustic paintings in the series. I can't believe how fast time went by and I remember last summer so clearly when I first started working on the series during my studio residency. It felt good to warm-up with the small encaustic image transfer and I have already prepped a 16 x 20 panel with encaustic medium. I had to order the xerox copy of the photo at Staples because my printer is small and now that I have it I can get started on the fun stuff - transferring the image and adding pigmented wax. If I don't get started tomorrow it will have to wait until after the weekend, my last weekend of classes.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


It's hard to believe but a little less than two years ago I decided to go back to school and now I am ready to present all the work I have accomplished since I began. This Friday night is my thesis presentation followed by a public art show of everyone's work in my graduating class (all 14 of us!

I have learned how to expose my vulnerabilities and weaknesses in art expression, and by doing this I have found a balance in my art-making and a willingness to exhibit my creative process, not just the end result. I have discovered new mediums as well as new subject matter and for the first time I am going to show works I would have considered private, but these works are the essence of my creative process since being in graduate school.

My current body of professional works are not just watercolor landscapes anymore, but encaustic paintings and photographs as well. These are the works I am looking to exhibit and in the next week or two I will hear if I was accepted to show next year in a local gallery. As much as I love the translucent qualities of the watercolor medium, I am also intrigued with the luminous effects of wax using the encaustic medium. I look forward to learning more about encaustics at the upcoming conference hope to pursue teaching at the college level now that I will have a master degree. I feel like the future holds the potential for endless possibilities.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thesis work, almost done

"The Shadow", displayed in a 38 x 30 frame

Since last weekend, I have been totally focused on my thesis paper, my creative process art portfolio, and my graduate school art show. Once my paper was written I could finish up an art piece I started at the student residency last summer. It was the last piece to figure out, titled "The Shadow". The artwork I have done since I started graduate school has been progressively challenging my creative spirit and this final piece is a result of understanding my inner critic. All my insecurities, all the personality traits I feel I am lacking, all the things I am not, exist in the idea of the shadow. For me it became necessary to express the idea of the shadow in a visual art form.

I am already thinking about what I will do once I have my master degree... it's possible more schooling could be part of my future. Learning and participating in graduate school at this point in my life has truly been a gift.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

3 Dimensionality

Self Portrait, 8 x 8 encaustic

My second encaustic portrait became a real challenge when I decided to use the wax to create a 3-dimensional feature, the nose. It's hard enough for me to look in the mirror but this became more of an experiment with the medium than it did on the accuracy of the finished portrait. I think I built up and melted down my face 3 or 4 times, each time I was risking loosing the image transfer. I had to fill in with the colored wax where the image started to dissolve. The other challenge with this project was trying to photograph the finished portrait; the 3-dimensionality of the nose created lighting challenges not to mention color distortions. I will want to try to continue building up the wax in future works but for now I have to switch gears in order to focus on writing my thesis paper.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Self Portraits

Self Portrait, 11 x 14 encaustic collage

Work in progress, 8 x 8 encaustic image transfer
I plan to refine some of the black paint and add another layer of wax medium.

This weekend was the first half of my final class toward the completion of my graduate degree. We spent the weekend reviewing our almost two years of learning in classes, writing papers, creating art, and now we have to organize our thoughts in order to put together our thesis papers and presentations. Wow.

I know for me it has been so incredible being this stimulated and inspired to create art, all kinds of art, and as a result I have discovered a love for the art of encaustic painting. I decided my thesis presentation will include the work I did at home, separate from the work I do for selling at shows. It's always been an interesting conversation when artists talk about the existence of two kinds of art; the art they make to sell, and the art they make for the sake of making art which is sometimes very personal and not always shared publicly.

We will also be having an art show for public viewing and this is where I will share my transition from watercolors to encaustics via the use of photography. I am on sensory overload thinking about all the things I need to do in the next few weeks but I wanted to share the final work I created this weekend, the culmination of my movement toward overcoming my personal fear of painting portraits. I no longer fear them...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New Artist Statement

Spring is in the air and yesterday I spent time re-writing and updating my artist statement. I decided it was time to change my focus from watercolor painting to include my use of photography as well as encaustics. I think it's a healthy exercise to always maintain an explanation of why we make art and what our creative process is.

Artist Statement:
"To live life with intensity, passion, and expression; this is why I am inspired to create art. Capturing a place and time in nature is the most common theme in my paintings and I find there is a constant serenity in the natural elements that surround us. I recognize that we each see things in our own way and it has become my ongoing challenge to translate what appeals to our senses in the real world into an artistic expression. By using color and shape as a base for viewing the theme in my paintings, I strive toward discovering a happy medium between photographic realism and spiritual impressionism. The landscape is my foundation for interpreting nature as it is rendered into a sense of balance and wholeness. My most successful paintings draw the viewer into the feeling I have created and a shared communication develops between us. As my art-making journey continues to change and grow, I have opened myself to the endless possibilities of constantly changing artistic expression. Currently I am exploring the essential connection between seeing and capturing the composition through the camera lens, then re-interpreting it with encaustics as well as with watercolor."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

simple still life

"Spring Azaleas", 32 x 26 watercolor painting

This just flowed out of me, and I reminded myself to keep it simple... that's how I finished the demo from class the other night. My focus has been on landscapes the past few years although there was something rejuvenating about painting a straight-forward vase with flowers. Now that it's done, I am moving on to the next art project, take a wild guess what medium it will be... (encaustics!)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Back to basics

work in progress

Last week when I painted for the class I teach, I had planned on doing a still life demo - a simple vase with flowers and leaves. I ended up painting a hideous, oversized dragonfly with very stiff, unexciting flowers (I had posted the photo here but it was so bad just now I had to delete it!) I thought I would "figure it out" at the next class (last night's class) but I soon realized it was just a bad painting, not meant to be "fixed". I don't mind when I have the occasional bomb for a demo as long as I can redeem myself on some level... whether it be working through the problems I create or just starting over with success second time around. That's what happened last night.

It's been a few years since I have even wanted to paint a still life, landscapes are my current passion. As I worked on this, I wanted and needed to let the paint flow freely, and I just responded to the drips, incorporating vibrant color always using lots of water. Today I will add a few details to the greenery and flowers, maybe add some background glazes, and that's it. My mantra for the day... less is more.