Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chihuly in Seattle

The past week I have been in Seattle helping my oldest daughter setup in her new home. I had never been to the Pacific Northwest before although I knew the beauty of the mountains combined with the dense tree growth would be artistically inspirational to me. I did not expect to absolutely fall in love with the area.

One highlight for me was visiting the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition located next door to the famous space needle. The exhibit rooms and garden were spectacular. To quote Dale Chihuly, "I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in a way they have never experienced".

A few highlights -
Northwest room 

Sealife room

Mille Fiori

Persian Ceiling

 Outdoor garden installations, absolutely spectacular.

Aside from the glass exhibition, there was an Aboriginal Art exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum but unfortunately the museum was closed on Monday and Tuesday and I could not get in to see it. I did visit Pike Market place several times (also location of the original Starbucks).

And I did manage a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island. The ferry allowed me views of both the Cascade Mountains (east of Seattle, seen below in the distance)

And the Olympic Mountains, west of the island, seen just below the clouds. This trip to Seattle now has me wanting to go back to spend more time closer to nature, hopefully that will happen before the end of the year.

Friday, August 17, 2012

NOAA radar images

NOAA stands for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They are the people that put out marine and hurricane warnings using doppler radar images. Throughout the summer I have been inspired by the weather, storms, and the energy associated with these events.

Hurricane Ernesto radar map from earlier this month

"Cyclogenesis", 6" x 6" encaustic on panel

"Eye of the Storm", 6" x 6" encaustic on panel

I have learned about weather terms used when describing various storms and decided to name these 2 paintings accordingly.

The abstracts are a new direction for me and although I plan on continuing to develop this series, I am also preparing for my upcoming shows and will include my small encaustic landscape paintings because of their salability. Below are additional versions of the same lighthouse I painted last week. I now have 30 shadowbox framed works ready to go along with assorted larger works.

Cape Cod lighthouse

Monday, August 13, 2012


Encaustic painting has led me into an entirely different creative process. I am also relating to abstract art for the first time with a simplified vision and new understanding.

"Upstream", 8" x 8" encaustic on panel

This morning I spent four hours painting two panels with over 20 layers of encaustic paint. I learned this process in the workshop Laura Moriarty taught at Castle Hill last month and I am continuing to work with the paint in new ways, knowing that each completed painting is a stepping stone toward improving and mastering the technique. 

I decided to paint both panels with the same layers of color however sculpting and shaping with scraping tools will be done without planning to match one piece to the next. This is an experiment to learn more about the sculptural qualities of the paint, to see what creates similarities and differences. Tomorrow I will sculpt the panel on the left, the one common denominator will be linear shape.

These 2 pieces will be additions to my newest series, Maps

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Places and Maps

"Cape Escape", encaustic triptych, 12" x 28"

I had in my mind that if I re-created with paint the places I visited during my week on Cape Cod, I would retain the feeling you get when you go on vacation, indefinitely. I already had the panels and frame, and by adding greater dimensionality with textured wax, then floating each piece in the shadowbox frame, I felt the paintings together had a life of its own.

Painting the dunes was the most challenging because of the tricky shadows and mounds of sand. At a distance the shadows work but close up, not so much. I started another dune painting at the same time and will finish that to be shown on its own.

Simultaneously, I am in the midst of discovering a new direction with my encaustic work, and I am excited about the unknown of where this is taking me.

The abstract paintings I began last month have developed with the underlying idea of maps, horizon lines, aerial views, earth, (and everything else that you have shared in comments on previous blog posts!) I am going to go with the flow. This is the third piece I have completed and you can see the other works together here. I am being consistent with the size for now and have thought about possibly attaching the entire body of 8" x 8" paintings together as a single piece, but it's still too soon for me to know where this will end.

Untitled, 8" x 8" encaustic on board

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cape Cod

Even though I am having tons of fun creating abstract works, I have to take a break until I receive the additional panels I ordered over the weekend. I want to remain consistent with the size of these paintings and feel that seeing the abstracts grouped together will connect the dots, or more literally, the horizon lines.

In the meantime, I have been inspired by my recent visit to Truro on Cape Cod last week.

"Cape Cod Lighthouse", 5" x 5" encaustic 

Cape Cod lighthouse is probably the most famous on the Cape, due to the fact that beach erosion forced the lighthouse to be moved 450 feet from the shoreline. The history of this lighthouse can be read here.

"Funnel Clouds in Truro", 5" x 5" encaustic

One late afternoon when we were sitting on the back porch of our hotel room we watched a storm approach. This particular storm made the news and when I found out later there were several funnel clouds that touched down over the water, I knew I had captured it.

A third painting I started today (of sand dunes) should be completed tomorrow. I plan on putting all three small works in a triptych frame.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Processing with Practice

Since last week I have been reviewing several new encaustic techniques I learned at the workshop I attended. I have not decided if I will continue in this style of encaustic painting or if I need to step back and re-assess the best direction for me to find the balance in nature I constantly strive to create with my art. This is such a new way of deciphering a landscape composition that I am sure the challenge is healthy.

Incorporating simple lines with inlay techniques help to establish essential landscape composition elements in these abstract paintings.

"Horizon Lines", 8" x 16" encaustic on panel, diptych 

It happened by chance, the 2nd 8" x 8" piece I completed at home this week pairs up beautifully with the first one completed in the workshop (shown together above), the horizontal inlay lines were placed at almost identical heights. 

Each of these paintings is 8" x 8"

Our first "assignment" during the workshop is shown below. We were limited to color choices and the primary focus was building up layers to allow for more interest when we scraped them away. I added the light yellow color a day later when our palette choices weren't limited by using the inlay technique. These linear additions changed an unsuccessful painting into something successful.

5" x 7" flat encausticbord 

At the end of the workshop I visited the Provincetown Art Association and Museum and saw the Motherwell exhibit. For someone that has always had a hard time connecting to abstract art, it was the first time I felt a strong connection to the simplicity of the line. I could relate to the openness of Motherwell's work, and the abstract shapes and color associations that represented tangible images. 

I continue processing thoughts of the simplified landscape and will see where it takes me. It's funny that when I was an art history major in undergrad school I avoided contemporary art with a passion. Now, 30+ years later, it's the one thing I am drawn toward in search of a better understanding not just in art but in life.