I was pleasantly surprised to hear I won Best of Show in the works on paper show at Lynn Arts. When I dropped off my 2 watercolor submissions I couldn't help but notice incredible paper collages and abstract works of art. I had hoped both of my paintings would be juried into the show but because the juror, Stacy Thomas-Vickory, specializes in printmaking, I didn't think my watercolors would impress her! Happy to say I was wrong.
"Bonsai", 30" x 22" watercolor on paper
"Bonsai" won the Best in Show award, "Snow Day" is also in the show, both of these paintings were demonstrations from the watercolor workshops I taught last year.
Years ago I bought 4 sheets of jumbo (40" x 26") watercolor paper and after framing two works in this size I realized the cost made it somewhat prohibitive. I keep my unframed watercolors in a flat paper file cabinet but the jumbo size is too large for the drawers. The two remaining sheets of jumbo paper have been rolled and tied up, sitting in a corner for the past eight years. After completing the 30" x 60" encaustic diptych "Turbulent Seas" earlier this month it felt comfortable working larger with watercolor and I decided I would bite the bullet and purchase a frame to accommodate this new work.
The first step to my treescape painting style is to use painters tape, masking out areas of the paper, setting the composition, then starting a building process by adding layers of color.
Once I have added several layers of background color I take off the tape and continue building layers. My motivation here was to not let myself get too literal with the trees and to try to rely more on line and color. I won't have time to look for a proper frame until the weekend, but I am thinking simple natural light wood with a plain white matt.
Below are the two jumbo works from years ago, both painted on jumbo paper, both sold.
My first challenge of 2012 was to paint larger using the encaustic medium, and this piece is my newest addition to the Water Life series.
"Turbulent Seas", 30" x 60" diptych, encaustic on panel
Note to self: if I am going to work larger painting with wax then I need to have much larger quantities of encaustic medium.
I had ordered additional medium for this project because I knew coating both of the 30" x 30" panels with 3 layers prior to adding pigment would require plenty of wax but I used up the entire333 ml block before I even added any pigmented wax. Fortunately I had back up quantities but I never expected to use so much so quickly into the painting process. The other note to self was that I was grateful I had my torch for fusing because the heat gun covers a much smaller area and it took a long time to fuse the entire surface of both panels.
I used painters tape to protect the edges, I wanted to keep it clean looking because I do not plan on adding a frame, the cradled panel will frame itself.
After applying 3 layers of clear wax medium I am finally ready to add color.
Every addition of colored wax is combined with a layer of clear medium that is then fused with heat.
It's a building process and everything took much longer because of the size involved.
Now that I have completed this project, I am ready to start the next one with the same motivation to continue working larger, this next project will be a watercolor.
Last night was the opening reception for the new members at the Copley Society of Art. It was my first official show participation and I wasn't sure what to expect. Maybe because it was a winter Saturday or maybe because the Copley Society is located in a great location on Newbury Street in Boston but I was blown away by the attendance. I made a few new friends, did some networking, even had several patrons approach me about my art. Time will tell if anything pans out or if I will be a part of future juried exhibitions.
Above, I am standing next to the wall in the front of the gallery where all of the new members accepted in 2011 are listed.
The reception was packed!
My painting "Storm Wave" (top right) was the only encaustic painting in the show.
New artist friends, Derek Uhlman (sculptor) and Marilene Sawaf (painter).
We took a group photo for gallery publicity, I counted 20 out of the 34 new members at the reception but I am not sure if others left before the photo was taken.
Many of the pieces in the show were large scale and I have been procrastinating with my next project... I am finally motivated to get to work.
Each of these panels are 30" x 30", a possible diptych is in the works.
Yesterday was the opening reception for the Swampscott Arts Association Winter Show and I decided to exhibit several newer encaustic paintings inspired by my visit to Tuscany last spring. The judge who determined award winners is the owner of Gaga Gallery, Julie Brooks. Her gallery has had some of the most interesting, eclectic art shows and receiving the 2nd place award from her was more confirmation that I am moving in a positive direction with the encaustic medium.
"Tuscan Vineyards", 12" x 12" oil pastel and encaustic on panel
Recently I had re-worked this piece and when I added the layers of oil pastel the mood became more ethereal and softer, I was much happier with the result. The judge's comment was "Love the texture, colors, the form of vertical rows intersecting, tree-like elements, how the sky is articulated. Great composition; how it is framed is also part of the appeal".
Below you can see my other piece in the show, "Early Morning in Cortona" (top right corner) and I actually had thought that was a more interesting painting. I am on the left, talking to Mimi Andler, one of the Swampscott Arts Association members that was just telling me how she preferred my watercolor paintings more than the newer encaustic work!
Today I hung 11 paintings at Marblehead Natural Healing and we firmed up the dates for the upcoming encaustic workshops - February 5 and February 19. I have also committed to teaching an encaustic workshop at Lynn Arts on May 12. It's been over a month since I have had time to work in the studio and this morning I finally bit the bullet and ordered 2 large wood panels, each panel is 30" x 30" and my hope/plan is to work on a diptych (possibly an addition to the Water Life series). I keep hearing bigger is better, what do you think?
Photos of my paintings and the workshop space at Marblehead Natural Healing are shown below.
The first week of the new year has led me into several new teaching opportunities. I continue to teach watercolor painting at Montserrat College of Art but after the demonstration I held during my reception in December at Lynn Arts, there was so much interest with encaustic painting techniques that I am now scheduled to teach a 1 day workshop on May 12 (details for the workshop will be listed on theLynn Arts websitesoon).
I am also offering another 1 day encaustic workshop in February atMarblehead Natural Healing. My paintings will be hanging on display starting Monday and details for the upcoming workshop will be posted next week.
Dr. Devorah and I together decided which pieces I would hang in her office space and four of her favorites were older paintings from The Lotus Series.
The other 10 paintings are from my Pathways series, hopefully everything will fit in her space when I hang on Monday!
Reflecting and summarizing events from the past year has always helped me to plan new goals for the coming year. Initially I wasn't feeling the success of 2011 because of an overall decrease in art sales but then as I reviewed each month, I realized 2011 was actually a year of personal bests.
I painted what became the first piece in the Water Life series, "Low Tide". Capturing the motion and mood of the ocean, painting free-hand with the encaustic medium, began with this painting. I continued to develop this series throughout the year.
"Low Tide", 16" x 20" encaustic on panel
I taught 1 of the 2 annual watercolor workshops I offer through Montserrat College of Art. Some of my best paintings are the result of class demonstrations.
I entered a juried photography show at Lynn Arts and my photograph was one of the three award winning photos in the show.
"After the Storm", 16" x 20", b/w photograph
I travelled to the Tuscany region in Italy, was inspired by the medieval cities and vineyards, and came home to discover I had won a 3rd place award in the Swampscott Arts Association spring show.
"Spring Pathway", 20" x 16", encaustic on panel
My encaustic painting, "Storm Wave" was accepted into the Cambridge Art Association National Prize show.
"Storm Wave", 16" x 20", encaustic on panel
I re-designed my website and decided it was time to take charge and manage it without outside help. I changed the entire layout and continue to maintain my updates on a more timely basis.
The Marblehead Festival of Arts is an annual juried Fourth of July art event that attracts artists throughout Essex County. My mixed media piece, "Gray Day at the Beach" received the Best of Show award in the mixed media exhibit, and my watercolor painting, "Howling at the Moon" received the Edward Carey award in the painting exhibit.
"Gray Day at the Beach", 8" x 8" encaustic on panel
"Howling at the Moon", 30" x 22" watercolor on paper
(this was my demo painting from the February watercolor workshop I taught )
I also applied for an artist membership at the Copley Society in Boston. The application procedure began in July (and was not completed until September).
The Salem Art Association in conjunction with the Peabody Essex Museum hosted a juried water themed show and my painting "Waves" was accepted.
"Waves", 18" x 24" encaustic on panel
I received word my painting "Howling at the Moon" was accepted into the New England Watercolor Society Annual Show. I also heard that I was accepted as an artist member to the Copley Society.
"Waves" received 2nd place in the Swampscott Arts Association fall show. I taught another watercolor workshop at Montserrat College of Art and completed another successful demonstration painting.
My solo show opened at Lynn Arts and I featured the Pathways and Transition series. I also demonstrated encaustic painting techniques during my opening reception and am now looking into teaching encaustic workshops through Lynn Arts.
Sales during the holiday season were generated through the Fine Art America website.
2011 was a year of both personal and professional growth. I hope to continue on the same creative path in 2012. I already have a speaking engagement at the Enterprise Center at Salem State University in February and my passion for pursuing the business of the arts may even lead to a book writing attempt.
I don't know what the coming year will bring but I am determined to follow my heart and my instincts and continue to open myself to new opportunities. Happy New Year.