Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Swampscott Makes News

As the entire east coast prepared for Hurricane Irene, my daughters and I were home bound and ready to take whatever action would keep us safe. Fortunately, there was minimal damage in town, none to our home, although 14 boats were ripped away from their moorings. For this reason, Swampscott was a news headliner.

Watching the cleanup yesterday was a main event. Last time I checked there were just under 14,000 residents in this coastal town, just 15 miles North of Boston.

As summer comes to a close (with the first day of school tomorrow) I am ready to get back into the studio. It's been a hectic month with everything going on except for art activities, although I did submit one of my new Water Life paintings to a juried water themed show in Salem, "Just Add Water". This show is running in conjunction with "Ripple Effect, the art of H2O" at the Peabody Essex Museum, and will be juried by Sarah Fraser Robbins, director of the nature center at the museum.

I will hear tomorrow if my piece was accepted.

"Waves", 18" x 24", encaustic on panel

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Can you articulate?

About a month ago I re-wrote my artist statement, which spiraled into a personal journey of me asking myself once again what I was trying to accomplish with my art. I know as artists we are often asked what inspires us, and as easy as it is for me to express myself with paint, it is equally as hard for me to articulate that same thought with words. I think this is why art is such an important modality in learning.

Can you articulate in one paragraph why you make art? (please share if you can)

I tried to articulate... but as often as I sign onto my computer, it seems I am editing!

"Every season in nature has a unique color palette, energized and transformed by the endless cycle of rebirth. I walk through the woods and feel secure in the arms of Mother Nature, cushioned by her earth tones, viewing what was once a budding branch, now a full-bodied tree. The waves and currents change along the coast, and I am in awe of their movement. Nothing stays the same and the cycle never ends."

This paragraph is a summary and a starting point to help you understand what inspires me. I continue to explain in more detail the processes I use with each body of work featured on my website.

It is easy enough to search out other artist statements online. I find some artists to be so technical I am easily confused about what they are trying to explain, and other artists so vague I feel lost. Because I am applying for an artist membership at The Copley Society I have been forced to review what it is I am doing, and why. The one thing I am clear about is my love of the land, the changing seasons, and the life force that exists.

*if you want to read the rest of my artist statement visit "About the Artist"

Thursday, August 11, 2011

End of Summer, II

One of the goals I set for myself this summer was to paint with wax on a larger scale. I wanted to continue working on the Water Life series and to build a strong body of work with hopes of featuring this series of paintings at the upcoming Paradise City show in October. I achieved my goal this week.

"End of Summer II", 18" x 24" encaustic painting completed yesterday

"End of Summer I", 18" x 24" encaustic painting completed earlier this week

After painting the first seascape I thought it would be impressive if I created a second piece that could work as a diptych as well as on it's own. Either way I place the paintings together (see below), the colors are slightly off and although the flow of the waves does work, there is a warm serenity in one painting, and cold turbulence in the other. I decided to put each of these in a simple black floater frame and when I am setting up the entire body of Water Life paintings at the show I can then decide the best display.

It's hard to believe school will be back in session several weeks from now and the easy days of summer will come to an end. I feel depleted from the many hours spent working on these two paintings. I plan on resting for the next few days, and will wait to see where my creative juices take me next.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

End of Summer

It really feels like fall is lurking around the corner... at least that's the way the ocean looked to me today.

"End of Summer", 18" x 24" encaustic painting

Monday, August 8, 2011

Balancing Act

Ever since I started using my photographs and combining them with encaustic paints, I have been more aware of details in a composition. Today I was able to complete another mixed media work. 

"Early Morning" (Cortona), 14" x 11" encaustic image transfer

It was important to me to leave some of the photograph alone, (without any wax textures), and to find a balance between the flat surfaces of the photo combined with the textured surfaces of the wax. Every time I transfer an image into wax medium, it is always a balancing act. Sometimes less of the photograph is showing depending on how much pigment I add with encaustic paint, but I am always creating the key composition elements from one of my photographs that inspired me.

My summer has definitely been focused on encaustic paintings and image transfers although I am still teaching watercolor painting in the fall at Montserrat College of Art. I received notification today that a painting I submitted to the New England Watercolor Society was accepted into their annual juried exhibition. I am pleased to be a part of this exhibit, although I will have a two hour drive to the "hand delivery only" drop off and pick up location in Westfield, MA. If you are interested in seeing the show or want to know more about the exhibit you can visit the NEWS website.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Etching with Wax

Last month I participated in a "plein air" paint event and I had decided to challenge myself by using the encaustic medium outdoors for the first time. The end result was a not so exciting mixed media collage. I was inspired by the beach, tide, rocks, and sand on the shoreline, but I did not feel I had the "plein air" expertise with encaustic to pull all of these elements together successfully. After retrieving my painting from the month long exhibit I was able to look at it with fresh eyes and I knew exactly what to do. Rather than building up additional layers of wax, I etched into the existing layers and I was able to bring more color into the composition surface. I also got lost in the process and found the repetitive etching marks to be a key addition to the revival of this painting.

"Devereux Beach", 8" x 8" mixed media collage