Monday, March 26, 2012

Workshop Awareness

The past two Saturday's I have been teaching a watercolor workshop at Montserrat College. The class is small, 5 students total, which makes for more time to give individualized help. Unfortunately, I have not been "turned on" by my demo work this session. I decided to do some homework and I plan on bringing in "Crevices" to the last class this Saturday. It exemplifies several of the techniques I have been teaching and because I worked dryer, the painting looks a little different from my usual. I continuously used 2 brushes - one wet with water, the other wet with pigment, and was able to move and contour the crevices in a more dramatic way.

"Crevices", 24" x 18" watercolor on paper

At home this weekend I also completed one of my demo paintings by adding spatter to brighten what was a too subdued Buddha bust. I am happier with this piece now that I added color.

"Seven Chakras" 16" x 12" watercolor on paper

The meditative mood conveyed in this painting ties into all of the chakra treescape paintings by use of colorful spatter representing each chakra level and is going to be an addition to the series. 

My students let me photograph what they were working on in class this past Saturday (some are works in progress) and as you can see there is a wide variety of style.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Following One's Heart

The 4th primary chakra is the heart chakra also known as Anahata. This chakra represents one's ability to make decisions by following your heart rather than letting unfulfilled emotions cloud judgement.

"Anahata", 22" x 30", watercolor on paper

I have never been religious or spiritual consciously, but over time I have come to realize that making art inspired by Buddhist philosophy (and science) can bring a deeper meaning to what I do. Several years ago when my life was upside down and I was moving toward the life changing decision of filing for divorce, I became a student (briefly) of Buddhism. At that time I was focused on basics and understanding myself better, Buddhism made sense to me. Now, I am back to creating art with the intention of finding a better understanding in my every day life through the logic of Hindu Tantric Chakra studies. Seeing the biophysical and spiritual correlation to our bodies and minds, and using that knowledge to live a more complete, fulfilling life, is something to embrace. These Chakra paintings have become my reminder. 

I have 2 more chakras to paint in order to complete the series and with each piece I have experienced a renewed awareness. Sitting and planning out the composition of the trees with painters tape, ripping piece after piece, small and large strips, has become a rhythmic and soothing routine. These paintings are therapuetic and I am happy to be sharing them.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


It's been a busy seven days. I met with an editing consultant last week, the morning after I attended an artist talk about sketch books, journaling and book making. I realize now that I want to create an art book featuring my paintings (rather than writing the story that led me into the art world). I have already used apple software to design books and I am currently exploring blurb. The hardest part of this project will be filtering down and choosing what pieces I want to include.

Red was the color of today, I completed the 4th chakra painting (I am still not sure if I will use the turquoise painting, "Vishuddha", because I don't want the owl to be a distraction and may do another version for the series).

The root chakra known as Muladhara, symbolizes our ability to ground ourselves to the physical world.

"Muladhara", root chakra, 22" x 30" watercolor

other chakra paintings to date -

Swadhisthana, sacral chakra

Vishuddha, throat chakra

Sahasrara, crown chakra

Thursday, March 8, 2012

7 Chakras

Something interesting has happened with the Treescape series I started last week, I have made sense out of it (don't you love when that happens!) by using the Chakra system as a guide. I am not too informed when it comes to meditation, holistic healing, or yoga, and I have been using the internet to learn more. The colors associated with the energy force in each body region have inspired me and I am going to incorporate the violet and orange treescapes from last week with the five remaining chakra colors to create a series of seven paintings. The end result will be "1000 Trees", each painting will be an extension of the next. The Crown Chakra also known as Sahasrara, is usually represented with 1000 petalled lotus; it is the state of mind equivalent to pure consciousness.

7 Chakras, a study

In my sketch above, you can see how I painted a model with notes so that I would remember which colors were associated with specific body regions. Rather than using circular energy forms to represent the chakras, I am painting trees. Lots and lots of trees. I will have time to work on more treescapes this weekend and now that I know what direction I am moving toward, it feels good. Once all seven paintings are hanging side by side, viewing them will feel like a journey.

On a separate note, has anyone else noticed the new format for blogspot? It took me a while to figure out what was going on, and I had to download picasa in order to manage photo storage space. There are also new features I will have to learn, don't you just love technology and it's never ending "improvements"?!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Treescape #3

"Crescent Moon", 22" x 30" watercolor 

I am still wandering around in a very dense forest (in my mind) and feel the need to continue painting treescapes. Hopefully I will get this out of my system soon but for now I am just gonna go with the flow, layering color with exaggerated linear elements. I start teaching March 17 (the last class I taught ended right before Thanksgiving) and the new treescapes have been a much needed reconnection with watercolor.

Photographing unframed watercolor paintings has never been a problem for me but I have recently noticed a huge difference when the photo is taken in bright sunlight outdoors compared to indirect light. I am not sure which is best to use but indirect light is probably closest to what the painting would look like hanging on a wall under glass. I wonder what other artists do about photographing their works?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

more... Treescapes

"Night Owl", 22" x 30" watercolor

I spent the past 60 hours (wow!) alone with my paints and in the mood to have some fun. Yesterday I was able to complete Treescape 02 - my primary focus was the mosaic-styled tree design created from the tape resist, combined with the linear qualities of the tree forms, layered with color. Today I wanted to add a focal point to a new treescape composition, thus the night owl appeared. I still want to work on (yet another treescape) leaving the resist areas whiter, possibly using bright shades of red next time? The Treescape series (yes, it seems to have turned into a series on my website) is about hard and soft edges, linear form, and layered color. I can tell I am going to have fun creating additional pieces in this series although right now I am a little burnt out from all my non- stop play time, I need a break from all this fun!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Another Treescape

"Treescape 02", 22" x 30" watercolor on paper

Painting with watercolor has always been my happy place and it had been a while since my paints were out. I get side tracked at times, working toward the next "winning" piece rather than focusing on just having fun and today was time for play. I love using tape as a resist, creating tree impressions that are layered with watercolor washes. At one point I felt like I used too much water and the paint was not as vibrant as it could have been so tomorrow I may do the same thing again, trying to remember to use less water.

Once the tape is down I add paint freely, it takes several layers of color in order to create depth.

Next, I took off some of the tape then added more wash color. I did not want the trees to all look like they had the same amount of paint.

At this point I thought the painting could have been complete because I really liked the linear qualities of the white, but then I decided to add even more wash color. I must have been thinking about my new purple duvet cover when I picked color today... this painting compliments my bedroom perfectly!