Tuesday, September 23, 2014

New works

30" x 22"
watercolor and ink on paper

After spending a good part of the past year painting the city of Chicago, working with photo transfers combined with encaustic medium, I reached a point where I missed watercolor. It had also been on my mind to move toward nature-inspired places and things as subject matter. Even in the big city, I seem to find elements of nature everywhere.

8" x 8"
encaustic on panel

I also started teaching a weekly encaustic class and each week I incorporate a demo sharing different techniques. The first class was more about supplies and safety, with a short demo on how to build layers of wax and texture. I had to finish working on this piece at home and look forward to sharing the end result with the class. I will also be offering a 1-day encaustic workshop on October 25 at the North Shore Art League. The workshop will be an abbreviated version of the weekly class, but supplies are included and the cost is reasonable for those not sure if they are ready to make a weekly commitment.

The dragonfly has always been a symbol to me of creativity, artistic freedom, and beauty. I never tire of painting her. Life has been hectic both personally and professionally yet somehow when I go back to painting Ms. Dragonfly, I find peace and calm and the ability to center.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Bonsai, an interactive art form

Landscape painting has been on my mind a lot lately. I have spent the good portion of a year photographing and painting the incredible architecture in the city of Chicago, but now nature is calling out to me. Earth, rock, trees, green... mother nature is alive and constantly changing, the reason why I love painting her.

This week I became the owner of Serrissa Foetida. It has always been important to me to have live plants indoors (and outdoors when ever possible). I used to have bonsai, before I moved to Chicago, but am now rebuilding my indoor garden, slowly but surely. I think of these plants as sculptural art and the knowledge and care required to keep them alive makes this an interactive art form.

Serrissa Foetida Bonsai, Tree of a thousand stars
The Serissa foetida has small oval leaves, it can explode with small white star flowers several times per year giving it the nickname the "Tree of a thousand stars".

Taken from the book "Bonsai, the art of growing and keeping miniature trees" by Peter Chan:

"Bonsai is an art form. Like any of the other visual arts such as painting and sculpture, it has all the essential aesthetic elements of composition, balance, perspective, depth, texture, color, and so on. The analogy of bonsai with painting in general, and landscape painting in particular, is especially appropriate. The objectives both in landscape painting and in bonsai are the same, in each case to create on a reduced scale what one observes in nature." (p. 9)

I have painted the landscape featuring bonsai throughout the years. I plan on getting back into the roots (pun intended) of bonsai as subject and recently came to a clear understanding why I feel so connected to this after reading Peter Chan's book.

I also have my eye on a very old Chinese Elm, but these trees require a lifelong commitment of watering and care, something that a painting does not require.