Sunday, October 30, 2011

Recent sketch

9" x 12" soft pastel and ink 

One theme that consistently reappears in my work is the tree-filled landscape. Simple lines give the impression of dense growth and depth, often depicted when the branches are bare.

I usually sketch during break times when I am working as a substitute teacher; the pastels travel easily although I am limited to working smaller.

Below you can see some of my watercolor paintings with the same linear qualities:

My ongoing challenge is to explore working with a subject I know and reinterpret it in new ways. Less is more.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tuscan landscape, redux

Today turned into a fix-it day and I decided to have some fun. I reworked one of my Tuscany paintings with the attitude that the worst I could do was ruin it, it already was not working for me the way it was so there was no down side!

"Tuscan Vineyards"
12" x 12" encaustic and oil pastel on panel

I built up layers of clear wax medium plus I decided to use oil pastel in between each layer. I wanted to loose the texture and details from the earlier version and dilute some of the background colors. I am still learning how to fuse the wax with just the right amount of heat. I was able to develop a more ethereal, dream like feeling with the addition of oil pastels.

The first version is shown below - 

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Final Pathway

The final piece to be included in my "Pathways and Transition" series was completed today. For me it's the closure I needed.

"Winter Pathway"
18" x 24" encaustic on panel

My other large encaustic paintings can be seen below, shown in the order in which they were painted. The show will also feature photographs, watercolors, and smaller encaustic paintings.

"Summer Pathway"
24" x 18" encaustic on panel

"Spring Pathway"
20" x 16" encaustic on panel

"Autumn Pathway"
24" x 18" encaustic on panel

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Autumn Painting

"Autumn Pathway", 24" x 18" encaustic on panel

Below is the photograph I used for the transfer, although I had it printed in black and white. You may notice that the transfer process reverses the image.

I have been focusing on the final details for my upcoming solo show next month and I decided to add a large encaustic painting to the "Pathways and Transition" series. I already had the 24" x 18" encausticbord here at home and thought the autumn pathway in that size would be a welcome addition. (I will also try to make time to paint the winter pathway in a larger size but will have to order another panel). The autumn and winter encaustic paintings I had originally done in this series are only 8" x 8".

I photographed the stages of my image transfer process and you can see how the initial transfer is a simple black and white photo. The paper I use is inexpensive and rips easily but these gaps will not show up once I add colored wax.

After adding initial color to the first layer, it is a building process of fusing wax medium and pigmented wax. In the morning I will decide if I need to make any changes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Assessing and Next Up

Booth setup from the weekend 

This past weekend was the Paradise City fine art and craft show in Northampton, MA; my 6th year exhibiting in this particular show, and definitely the most exhausting exhibition and display setup that I do in the course of a year. My newest challenge was making room for both encaustic and watercolor paintings without confusing patrons and potential customers. I wanted to display my large landscapes (watercolor) along with my encaustic "water life" paintings. I made the decision to not bring any encaustic landscapes because I need most of them for my solo show opening locally next month but ... looking back now I can say it would have been a better mesh of themed work if I had only landscape paintings in both the watercolor and encaustic mediums.

As I answered questions and explained the encaustic process at the show, I realized that this medium was confusing to a majority of patrons. I made changes and adjusted my display throughout the weekend but going forward I will not be combining different mediums unless they have the same theme.

Fortunately, next up is my solo show at Lynn Arts where that is exactly what I am doing! My photographs, hanging next to the watercolor interpretation of that photograph, next to the encaustic image transfer of that same photograph. The flow between each piece already exists.

First day at the show, most of my encaustic paintings are hanging grouped together rather than spread around.

Day 2 at the show, I added my giclee prints to the booth. I realized smaller, less expensive pieces needed to be included.

Was the show a success? The attendance was there (so they said), but most of the 2-d artists were having a tough time. I felt fortunate that I had prints, note cards, and small works. Part of doing these shows is the selling opportunity, but the other part is the PR aspect and having the first hand conversations with the people that want to connect with artists. A combination of current economic turmoil and extreme weekend temperatures (mid and upper 80's) definitely impacted all of the exhibitors.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Northampton, here I come!

My panels are finally dry although if you look real close you may notice the water stain from the flooding earlier this week. My car is packed and loaded up. And once again I am looking forward to what I consider to be a working vacation at the Paradise City 3-day art show.

I love visiting the western part of Massachusetts this time of year. The leaves are changing colors and I am always inspired. I spent a long time deciding which paintings I should bring to the show and I knew I wanted warm, burnt orange, autumn colored watercolors along with my newest series of encaustic paintings from the Water Life series. To help myself work through the details I always print pdf's. Below you can see my choices (although size does not translate). I am also bringing small encaustic works in shadowbox frames along with small prints, hand painted and printed note cards. Something for everyone! Northampton here I come ...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mother Nature, boss of us all

Later this week I am on the road to Northampton for the Paradise City art show. The only problem is, we had some serious rain and flooding early this morning. Totally unexpected.

I store art supplies in my garage which is on ground level - watercolor papers, paints, boards and frames, an assortment of mediums. More importantly, I also store my display panels, electrical lighting, and show materials.

The storm I heard at 5am turned out to be massive, we had 6 inches of rain.

Mr. Policeman checking things out in front at 7am

Across the street

Back door, Charlie surveying the situation

What is so unbelievable to me is I always watch the news and feel terrible when places I have visited are devastated by storms and floods, but it's never been something I experienced first hand until now.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Second Workshop

Yesterday I taught the second and final watercolor workshop of the fall, we shared a wonderful mix of skill levels, and regardless of previous experience, everyone was able to learn several new techniques. I always demonstrate when I teach, and below is my demo from the day (I was able to finish it today).

"Snow Day", 22" x 30"

Last spring when I taught a weekend workshop, I had started a basic watercolor wash but never developed the painting. Using this yesterday allowed me the opportunity to show how painting snow was similar in technique to painting clouds, as well as mountains. 

Below you can see some of the works in progress from yesterday, a few of their paintings are complete.

 We had such wonderful energy and I look forward to the next workshop, but right now it's time to switch gears and prepare for the 3-day Paradise City fine arts and craft show opening this Saturday in Northampton.