Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Show Within A Show"

For the past three years, the Paradise City Arts Festivals have sponsored a "show-within-a-show" by offering their exhibiting artists an opportunity to submit work to be displayed in an additional exhibit space during the three day art festival. This year the theme is "crEATe: Food as Artistic Inspiration". Works in all media will be displayed in a designated area, anything from dinnerware, serving platters, dining tables, boards, bowls... to sculpture and wall art both abstract and representational, as long as it relates to food or eating. The exhibit is part of the region wide celebration Table for 10: The Art, History and Science of Food, organized by 10 local museums affiliated with the Five Colleges of the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts.

I decided to participate with both encaustic and watercolor works, although the idea of painting an encaustic still life was definitely challenging! I used my photograph taken at last week's local art reception and decided to crop it and then focused on the patterns I saw in the composition rather than a realistic representation of the actual food. I was also intrigued with the color triad - greens, yellowish whites, to reds.

"Reception Time!", 10 x 10, encaustic

My other work, (and it does require some imagination to make the connection), is the sugar cane painting I did when I was in Louisiana two weeks ago.

"Sugar Cane", 32 x 26, watercolor and ink

All artists exhibiting at Paradise City will be allowed to exhibit in "crEATe" if they choose to participate and I think it will be interesting to see how the food theme is interpreted.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Good Karma

Small work sold at opening reception

Winner of the Marian Court College Award, yours truly

Only a few award winners attended last night's reception - Me, Clayton Curtis, and Carmela Martin

Last night was the opening reception for the Swampscott Arts Association summer show. It was the first time the SAA held a summer show and the theme "small works" was encouraged but not required. I decided to submit 3 smaller encaustic works because I am now ready to share what I have been learning how to do the past year (mixed media encaustic image transfers), and I was pleasantly surprised with not just being an award recipient but with an art sale too! This positive feedback was the exact encouragement I needed as I am about to expose the public to my year long series of encaustic works. The fall Paradise City show over Columbus Day weekend requires planning even now, figuring out display space and how many pieces I will be able to fit comfortably in my booth. The small works are an attractive price-point ($75 in the shadowbox frame) and based on the success from last night's show, I will continue to build my small works inventory. I know what I will be doing over the next few weeks!

I wonder if any other of my artist friends are finding smaller works as a better direction for art sales these days. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Busy... summer shows and events

It may be the middle of summer but last week I had to make a decision on my advertisement for the fall Paradise City guide (hopefully my choice to feature a winter scene was not too premature). This show is one of the highlights of the year for me and I want to take advantage of all of the marketing and advertising they offer to their participating artists.

Today was also the drop off for 2 local art association summer shows; Swampscott Art Association, the opening reception is this Thursday night, 6 30 - 8pm at Marian Court College in Swampscott. The other show is at LynnArts, Inc. and it's a members show (non juried). The opening reception is Saturday, July 31, 2 - 4pm. at 25 Exchange St. in Lynn. It's always fun when I can attend the openings and network with my fellow artists and friends. I decided to submit all encaustic works so it will be interesting for me to get feedback on how I am doing with this newly learned medium.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Alligators and Dragonflies, oh my!

The last few days I have periodically been working on a small dragonfly encaustic. The dragonflies are everywhere, and there are so many species. I was trying to use a new technique I had learned at the conference from last month, transferring a pencil drawing onto the wax, etching the outline, then adding oil pastel, and carefully adding another layer of wax medium to seal it. My biggest challenge was to not move the oil pastel once I added the top layer of medium and to keep the wax layer even but I will need to continue practicing this.

"3 Dragonflies", encaustic and oil pastel

My Louisiana "art" vacation is coming to a close although I will be leaving with an entirely new inspiration to be continued when I am back home. I have spent all my time in the country and yesterday finally made it to Avery Island where I saw the most incredible Cypress with Spanish Moss, old Oak trees, not to mention alligators, egrets, and cranes. We didn't get there until late afternoon but the heat is so intense that it was exhausting just walking around and taking pictures. I am happy to report there is no oil entering the bayou around the island (at least not at this point) and the local wildlife was abundant and visible.

I was in awe, the alligators seemed almost friendly!

On the island, there are over 200 species of bamboo. It was the first time I saw bamboo growing naturally outdoors.

Spanish moss covered all sorts of trees around Avery Island.

How old is this oak tree??

Bird nesting area, egrets can be seen on the right.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cajun Cottage in Cajun Country

After the 4th of July I headed south for a week; what a change of pace and lifestyle in Cajun Country, the area in Louisiana known as Acadiana. I wasn't sure how it would be, painting outdoors using a gas griddle not to mention working in the intense heat and humidity, plus I have been an urban dweller my entire life (we do have electricity, running water, and as of last night internet and TV!) I am with my fiance and this is his home when he isn't working in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil spill has slowed almost all platform and repair work and until BP gets everything resolved there is little to no work in what is usually the busiest season. The media has talked about the oil being on every beach along the coastal gulf states but so far there isn't oil right here. I hope to visit Avery Island this afternoon to take some photos and see the wildlife.

I was lucky I could use the front porch for my encaustic painting; it's been luxurious having the ability to setup outdoors with the AC running in the house steps away from where I am working. There is something very settling about hearing the crickets, the roosters and the occasional thunder, combined with the pitter patter of rain on a tin roof.

Pictured below is "Buddha in the Garden", 6 x 6 encaustic with black/white image transfer. This was my first piece and I was most concerned about figuring out the heat adjustments, using gas rather than an electric griddle. There are so many factors that effect the encaustic medium and I am still learning every time I paint another piece.

One of Terry's gardens, the photo used for the encaustic above still in color.

Setup on the front porch -

Sugar cane field next door -

Home to one of the sugar cane farmers -

My next painting will be a watercolor; every day I take new photos and when I get back home I will have an entirely new inspiration to keep me busy through the summer.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

4th of July Festivities

The weather has been incredible and the town of Marblehead is in full swing as it celebrates the 4th of July with the annual four day Festival of Arts. I spent most of yesterday at the local bird sanctuary painting the pond and pathways in a more secluded area away from town rather than near the busy harbor and shopping district. I have always felt more connected to nature and it is my meditation to recapture solitude in my artwork. I know I have been focused on pathways for a year now but I was once taught that when it was time to move on to a new theme or series, I would just know it, and that it was important to trust my instincts ... and so I continue to paint pathways.

The downside to this subject matter was the "Painting the Town" theme is better defined with the buildings and landmarks that represent the summer holiday season. Nevertheless, I did with my artwork what I enjoy most. Today was the reception and there were over 30 artworks, every one was beautiful to me. Most of the themes were harbor scenes and a few street scenes ... several nature lovers (like myself).

"Greenery at the Pond", watercolor and ink, 30 x 23
This painting was my second attempt from yesterday and after having spent the morning working on an undesired "muddy mess", I welcomed the simplicity of details in lines with simple color washes in this version.

"Greenery at the Pond", encaustic image transfer, 8 x 8
I wanted to also use a photo from yesterday as an encaustic image transfer. I burnished the image into wax medium then highlighted with color details. I tried to find a balance between the black and white photographic details and the green and yellows that were the most striking colors of the day.