Tuesday, November 23, 2010

W.orld W.ide W.eb - the endless possibilities

The past few days I have been focusing on taking advantage of different tools available on the internet that allow me to share, promote, and sell my artwork. I have been overwhelmed by the unlimited resources and although I have maintained a personal website (www.fineartbyrobin.com) for over ten years, I decided there was more I could be doing to become more visible on the web. As we enter another holiday season, I will be curious to see if joining various websites will actually make a difference in my art sales although either way I know being visible on the internet is always a good thing.

I decided to include links to these new websites on my blog and you can see them on the right side column. My first new addition was joining the Encaustic Art website where I hope to both share and learn from other encaustic artists. I never would have found this site if it weren't for my newest follower, Wax Beach Artist, and my ability to find her blog which lead me to this site. The next addition happened over the weekend when I had a friend request on facebook from someone local in my town who created, manages, and promotes the greenlifesavor website and she asked me if I would be interested in sharing my artwork on her website. Then yesterday I decided to join the fineartamerica website, mainly because I had heard from my friend and fellow blogger Deborah that the site allowed for artists to offer for sale both prints and note cards of their work and that they actually created everything for the artist, assuming the artist wanted to offer that service to their patrons.

There is a wealth of knowledge just waiting for us to tap into, all just a keyboard and computer monitor away. I have recently been educated and inspired by Katharine Cartwright's blog and Joanne Mattera's blog and continue to learn from these wonderfully insightful and experienced teachers.

Now that the watercolor class I teach is over, I have more time to focus on the business of art along with developing my skills (just in time for the holiday season). My demo painting from the last class was inspired by color and mood along with the upcoming winter season.

Romantic Reflections, watercolor, 18" x 24"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Opening to Possibilities

This week I let myself drift into several new ways of using the encaustic medium. I have always been cautious when it comes to exposing my art to the public eye but I have been more willing to take chances on my blog. Sometimes I use your feedback here and then decide which pieces I will feature in upcoming shows and it really is nice having this venue for previewing my artwork. 

I demonstrated encaustic image transfers on Tuesday night although I didn't have time to complete this transfer until the next day. Dimensional landscape painting has been my way of incorporating wax in my artwork for the past year and a half.

Frozen Pond, 8" x 8'

At the demo I also talked about the endless possibilities artists have been using wax medium and I also decided to try a few new things. There are actual maple leaves in the collage below, but I wanted them to look more like skeletons so they are flattened and encased in wax. 

Red Maple, 8" x 8"

I walk my dog every morning and even though the ocean has never been a subject I have gravitated toward, I felt like I had to try to paint the way the water and sky made me feel. I never would have attempted an abstract if it weren't for all the questions and preparations I made before the demonstration. I also came to realize I know more about this medium than I originally thought.

Gray Day at the Beach, 10" x 10"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Eucalyptus, encaustic collage

Had to add more details to my collage! Working with organic material felt a lot like arranging flowers in a vase. I had fun building depth by layering leaves.

I have several other projects happening, some are still in progress, some are complete, all are encaustics, soon to be shared.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Go with the Flow

Eucalyptus, 6" x 6" mixed media collage, is this finished?

This morning I decided to transfer a black and white landscape image onto the green tinted colored panel that I prepared last night. It was a disaster! I am still feeling so naive and under educated when it comes to encaustic painting but the best way for me to learn is by trial and error hopefully with an occasional success. I melted off the transfer because it just wasn't going to work the way I had envisioned and then I started adding other colors only to feel like I ended up with mush. I melted off wax once again and sat in front of my panel wondering why nothing was working for me today. Then I started playing with my heated palette and pushing the panel onto it not caring what happened because I had already failed twice... I had the wax dripping off, then tried building it up more, then melted it down again, and did this until I felt comfortable with the color remaining on the panel. When I was finished, it looked like the color of eucalyptus. I had dried eucalyptus in the house, and the next thing I knew, I was dunking the leaves into my wax medium and adhering it to the colored panel. The DVD I watched yesterday ("Encaustic with a Textile Sensibility" by Daniella Woolf) had included a section on collage and I learned that a variety of organic materials were preserved in the wax.

I can't decide if I need to add other elements to this (silver markings, depth in pigment) because collage with wax is so new to me. I keep thinking about my original idea which was to incorporate pencil drawing into this panel, guess I got side tracked. I can still smell the eucalyptus, I wonder how long the scent will last.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

And so it goes...

I continue to prepare panels, collect transfer images from my photos, and make notes for the demo I am going to be presenting on Tuesday night at the Swampscott Arts Association. I have spent most of my energy during this past year and a half learning how to transfer images into wax medium, then add layers of colored wax to create dimensionality within the transfer, and I feel confident that I can share my process stress-free. Preparing for the demo has made me more aware of all the different ways other artists are using encaustic that are different from what I am doing. It's overwhelming!

This past June I had purchased several DVD's at the encaustic conference I attended and finally I made the time to watch one of them this week. I highly recommend Daniella Woolf's DVD, "Encaustic With a Textile Sensibility" and a visit to her websiteDaniella demonstrates so many different techniques in such an easy to understand way.

I have already prepared several panels with wax medium (above) and at the demo I will have enough of a ground to proceed comfortably into the image transfer. After watching Daniella's DVD I decided to add colored wax before I transfer one of my images although I have never done this before and I may try and work on this in the morning rather than try something new for the first time with an audience watching. I am thinking about drawing the image with colored pencil and transferring it as a drawing rather than a photograph...

Ready, Set, Go!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Performance Art

Last night I went to a reception that was absolutely fabulous! I taught several workshops at Express Yourself last month and was thrilled when I was invited to attend this event. Artist Nancy Ostrovsky painted to the rhythms and beat of Stan Stickland and his drummers while we all watched her transform a blank canvas into an energized painting. Last year the Express Yourself organization performed for the president as they were awarded and recognized nationally for the work they do with disadvantaged youths.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Winter Show, featured artist

This morning I received an email from my friend Barbara, the president of the Swampscott Arts Association, asking me if I would be interested in having one of my paintings featured on the winter show exhibit announcement for the SAA. I was flattered and happily agreed, then she and I met and together we designed the show card. We kept the design simple and although I had to crop my painting I was pleased with the way the finished card looks.

What is different about this show from past winter shows is that it is being held in a gallery exhibition space in Salem rather than at the college in town where we usually exhibit. Normally we get publicity in the local papers but sending out postcards is a requirement of the gallery and not typical of a SAA show. It's two months away but before you know it, the holidays will be upon us and it was nice to get the card done before craziness sets in.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

prep work day

A week from Tuesday I will be doing an art demonstration with encaustic (wax) paints and although I have done many watercolor demonstrations in the past, I have never done an encaustic demo. I was hired by the local art association and I know some of the membership, but I always like to do as much prep work ahead of time so the demo will run smoothly. Today I decided to prepare several wood boards and because I plan on doing an encaustic image transfer, I thought it would be good practice to work out which image, what size, and assorted other details.

This photo of a country road in New Iberia, Louisiana, was one of my favorites from my visit there over the summer.

8" x 8" encaustic image transfer - I ended up working on this most of the day and now I may have to find something else to use the night of the demo!

My photo used for the image transfer is seen below, next to another copy of the image already burnished and transferred with colored wax details added to it.

I prepared another smaller cradled birch panel, 6" x 6", ready with 3 layers of wax medium. You can also see all of the small works waiting for images to be transfered and painted above. There aren't enough hours in a day and I even had an extra hour today!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Musical Inspiration

I have been working (slowly) on a demo painting from the class I teach on Thursday nights. I wanted to  blend impressionistic brushstrokes into representational form. This weekend I decided to download and purchase some Andrea Bocelli music along with several other classical Italian singers and something happened to me when I took out my paints, I got lost in my creative process, for hours and hours. It was heavenly.

Halloween proved to be a bit of a distraction but this morning I think I finished working on my newest  pathway painting. This has been an ongoing theme in my art for almost a year and a half now, and I do think I am about ready to see what's waiting for me on the other side. (I have to admit, viewing this painting works best at a distance). I hope the feeling I was trying to convey translates on your computer monitor.

"Another Pathway", watercolor, 30" x 22"