Monday, September 30, 2013

Holiday prep

I know tomorrow is only October 1, but before you know it the stores will be stocked with Christmas decorations and gift ideas. I spent the past few days painting new small works (6" x 6") in preparation for holiday season, with more on the way.

"Cafe Brauer, pond side"

Most afternoons I walk through the park, past Lincoln Park Zoo and the North Pond. I never realized how beautiful the landscape was and am constantly impressed with the beauty and tranquility that can be found in the city.

"Misty Morning"

This is a favorite place of mine (in Vermont) and I have painted it several times. I never tire of the misty morning feeling.

"Sunday Sail"

I had no idea sailing was so popular in Chicago. Every weekend I have seen the boats on the horizon and notice most of all the color of the lake - more of a sea foam green in contrast to sky blue.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Living with a painting

A few days ago I posted my newest work. I hung the painting on a wall in my apartment and lived with it long enough to know I needed to add details in the foreground. I just reworked this piece and feel like it makes better sense now. Can you see the difference?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Finding that Midwest edge

"Back from Oz"
18" x 24" encaustic on panel

Last month I was inspired by the farmhouses and barns less than two hours from Chicago in Michigan. The region's soil is matched to that of some of the best vineyards in France and the grapevines were full and lush. Being in the city has definitely changed my inspiration and perspective. My thought was by keeping this work black and white, it is less "pretty" and more sophisticated. This painting also reminds me of the Wizard of Oz, the scenes at the beginning and end, when Dorothy is in Kansas. Although this painting is a vineyard in Michigan and the crop here is grapes rather than corn, I just had to make a reference to the movie.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Caffeine and other things

One of the first things I did after moving to Chicago was to focus on networking. I was in search of art associations and groups in order to find a niche in the Chicago art scene. The opportunities are limitless as I continue to learn about galleries, exhibitions, and professional art groups. 

The first group I connected with was FusedChicago. I had already met several of the encaustic artists in this group from the conference I attended several years ago in Massachussetts. The chair person of Fused Chicago then told me about another local group, the Artist Breakfast Group. The artist breakfast group is a place where I have met art professionals and continue to learn about teaching and exhibit opportunities. The ABG is hosting their annual show next month at the Old Town Art Center and yesterday I had so much fun creating a coffee mug for the exhibit. Each exhibiting artist is required to donate at least 1 mug, proceeds go toward the group's expenses.

I decided to paint the red barn that is also in the painting I am planning on exhibiting. 

October happens to be Chicago Artists Month. Caffeine VII opens October 8, and another exhibition I will have several paintings included is at Jenny Learner's Studio 303, Zhou B Art Center opening October 18. 

Tonight is my artist reception at the Fine Arts building and it is a very busy art weekend with Chicago Art Expo also opening today. I will be visiting the expo tomorrow and will be going with my sponge-like attitude, take it all in and learn. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Primitive Art

"Deer and Buffalo Roaming"
24" x 24" encaustic on panel

Taken from my artist statement: As man’s impact on the landscape changes the world around us, there is still comfort in the ageless consistencies captured through primitive art. The exploration of cave paintings and Native symbols has influenced my recent work. Organic pigments created from soil and minerals used in the earliest art forms outline our history and the evolution of man. By presenting an interpretation of these “primitive scratchings” I bring the viewer closer to the indomitable human spirit.

Seeing the Lascaux Cave Paintings at the Field Museum led me to this newest work. I was inspired by the simplicity of ideas, execution, and textures. Using encaustic medium I built up texture, re-creating the limestone and cave wall environment. I combined the smooth texture of chiseled, painted figures (animals being the most common) with the rough cave-like limestone background.

Underneath the top layers of textured wax, there is evidence of earth-toned pigments peeking through. It was important to me to have both a smooth and bumpy surface; transparent qualities of the wax medium allows for effects that can not be captured with any other medium.

Detailed view of foreground, a better view of the smooth and rough surface.

Friday, September 6, 2013

City Life

I am finally planning on starting a new, larger painting next week. So much has happened these past few months and change continues to distract my creative juices. Today I finally made the time to see the Cave Paintings of Lascaux exhibit at the Field Museum. About a year ago I started a series of encaustic painting inspired by Aboriginal Art after I had visited my daughter in Seattle. Soon after that, I studied cave paintings in this country and developed a series of work, "Primitive". As time went by, I became side tracked and worked only on image transfers that depicted every day life and places I visited, but I knew I had not finished developing the series of primitive works I had started. Seeing the exhibit today was the catalyst I needed to get back at it.

Main entrance at the Field Museum in Chicago

The Field Museum was one of the most exciting field trips I went on as a child. I have memories of an enormous dinosaur skeleton in the main entrance to the museum and today I was able to revisit them. I do have to say the skeleton I saw today seemed much smaller but maybe I just got bigger.

Yesterday was the drop off for the show I am included in this month at the Fine Arts Building. The gallery is on the second floor and the show runs through the month of September. Below you can see several photos taken by the other artists included in the show with me: Pat Lagger, Karen Tichy, Michele Thrane, and Catherine Keebler. Show information and a few photos of the hanging are below.

*not included in the photo above is my painting, "Pathway" on the opposite wall

I will share more photos of the gallery space after the reception, but with 5 different styles of work, each of us including a piece in the medium we worked in before we worked with wax, will make for a varied, interesting show.

Mostly, I am anxious to get back to work. I continue to learn about the gallery scene here, attending art openings and exhibits when I can, hoping to better educate myself in where my art (and I) will best fit here. My younger daughter moved into her college dorm with my help last week, my older daughter moved in with me around the same time here in Chicago, and lots of changes continue to happen here. Looking forward to how all this translates with paint.