Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Four Seasons of Pathways

Spring 2010

Winter 2009-2010

Autumn 2009

Summer 2009

Last summer I started working on a series of paintings inspired by the photographs I took when I visited a local bird sanctuary. Each photograph was interpreted as both a watercolor and encaustic painting. The encaustics I painted started as image transfers then were highlighted with pigmented wax (you will notice they are a reverse of the watercolor compositions).

Once my initial summer paintings were done, I realized how not being as familiar or as comfortable with the "up close and in your face" version of the pathway lead me to a less detailed depiction. Each time after that when I incorporated details in my encaustic image transfers, my watercolor paintings became more detailed as well. By springtime, I was concerned that I needed specific, accurate markings in the landscape and I worked toward that in my last watercolor.

I had taken other photographs, also interpreted with the wax medium as image transfers, but I have only painted the 4 watercolors (to date) that I am sharing in this post. I look forward to planning a solo show featuring the entire body of this work (35 pieces total, photographs, encaustics, and watercolors) some time next year.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Final Painting

"Spring Pathway", final version, 24 x 18 watercolor painting.
I struggled with the blandness that was still apparent in many of the bushes and branches, the rebirth of new green growth was still sparse.

The painting as it appeared this morning, missing crisp details and shadows in the pathway.

my initial paint washes and composition, this was just the starting point.

All week long I worked on the watercolor version of the pathway, inspired by the springtime photograph I took at the bird sanctuary. It was as if I felt pressure rather than pleasure, to paint the most intense version. I wanted this painting to be worthy of the year long series, but I just didn't get into the creative zone, not until today. I went through the motions of the initial paint washes, I knew the composition details (possibly I knew it too well from having painted it the prior 3 seasons!) and I felt like everything I did was just adequate. I was missing the energy and sharp contrasts. I thought about each layer of paint as I was adding it, and although I had the creative freedom to change what I needed in order to make the painting "work" despite what I saw in the photograph, I was battling with the reality that the colors of springtime were spring greens, and browns, and not the same as the full lush greens of summer, not the same as the warmth of autumn, and not the stark cool tones of winter.

I have decided the spring season is my least favorite season to paint based on the reality of the color palette!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Springtime at the Pond

Encaustic image transfer, 6 x 6

Photograph used for the image transfer

Last week I was able to finish another encaustic painting, right before I got busy with my graduation activities this weekend. I enjoyed working smaller again; the 20 x 16 encaustic I did a week ago was difficult to maintain a sense of balance between the black and white image transfer and the impressionistic colors added with the pigmented wax.

This week I hope to work on a spring representation in watercolor and then I will decide if my "Pathways and Transition" series is complete.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

completed work

"Spring Pathway", 20 x 16 encaustic image transfer

I was able to tone down the chaos in the foreground by adding another layer of wax medium and feel good about the results however photographing without causing glare is my ongoing challenge. I only have 2 more pieces to complete for the spring season of work in the series, then I will have to decide what I will use when it's time for a gallery show (and I am still looking for a venue) based on how much space I will have.

A year of photographing and visiting the bird sanctuary and the cycle continues, seasons change, and so does my art... when I posted this last piece I felt the need to include a poem by Robert Frost:

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference"

Monday, May 10, 2010

work still in progress

Spring Pathway, 20 x 16, encaustic image transfer

I wish I had more time today to take off color in the foreground and build up in the areas where I want more dimensionality. I still feel like I need to create a way to travel through the path without confusion. I am not sure if I want to add details with oil pastel or just simplify by removing some of the pigmented wax... so maybe this is a good time to stop.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Finishing what I started

"Spring Path", encaustic image transfer, 20 x 16 work in progress

What an intense, busy week... graduation is Saturday and I am taking time to figure out what will come next for me. In the meantime, I am focused on finishing the paintings to complete my "Pathways and Transitions" series. I had taken the photographs, even started 2 encaustic image transfers about a month ago, and today finally found the time to sit down and get back to work. The larger panel (20 x 16) is still hard for me to handle. When I transfer my photo image into the wax medium it takes a long time to burnish it into wax and I usually end up ripping it in spots. This step is tedious and time consuming but painting details with the pigmented wax seemed to be an even bigger challenge today. I had to stop working (mother's day dinner soon) but hope to continue tomorrow.

I used a black and white xerox transfer and have started adding color with the wax. There is still confusion in the path and my hope is once I add all the different shades of green combined with the earth tones of the path, I can establish more of a horizon line and create a stronger composition. (It was difficult to photograph this because direct light causes reflections). The final piece for the series will be the watercolor interpretation of the same photo. Hopefully, I can finish up by the end of the month.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Graduate Art Show

A series of portrait studies - literal and spiritual, encaustic and watercolor mediums

This past weekend I completed my thesis presentation and am now preparing to graduate with a Master of Education in Arts and Learning. The last school activity is the graduate art show which I have been busy organizing and hanging, the opening is this Thursday. I decided to hang the personal process artworks that I created during my course studies, very different from the landscape paintings I am known for. The encaustic works have captured my passion and now that I am finished with school I can focus on learning more and I look forward to the conference next month. Blogging was a way I was able to process my thoughts during graduate school and now that I am graduating I don't know how it will feel to continue... time will tell.