Sunday, April 23, 2017

Color

"Conversations with Color"
30" x 24"
oil stick, encaustic on cradled birch panel


"Party Time"
7" x 14"
encaustic and watercolor collage


"Desert Cactus"
16" x 16"
mixed media on board


As evident by my newest paintings posted above, I have had color on the brain! The spring season is always inspirational to me, but I have been re-assessing where I want to be with my art which has led me toward abstract shapes combined with bold color and energized brushstrokes.

At home, I have been decluttering and replacing major furniture items with a simpler, cleaner look. As I often do, I changed the artwork in my living room to aid in the redecorating. "Conversations with Color" was created in order to add bold abstraction to the room and I am attached to this new painting, for now, but eventually I will include it in my festival exhibitions this summer. Being an artist has always had its advantages when it comes to decorating the walls in my home.

Also note - the large paper collage above the couch is by Nancy Thayer and the monoprint diptych on the right side of the wall is by Laura Moriarty.



The combination of encaustic medium with oil sticks has been instrumental in these new works, with a fresh awareness and reminder to use clean, bold color. I have been reviewing the R&F color chart below to make sure I have stimulating color combinations. Seeing color on a chart like this is helpful to me when planning a new painting.


Color and abstraction makes sense to me right now, in a world filled with chaos and turmoil. Kind of ironic, but art has always been the one place where everything always makes sense.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Chicago Art & Design Show at Navy Pier

Art festival season will be starting a few months earlier as I am getting ready to exhibit April 8-9 at Navy Pier. Fortunately, this is an indoor show and my usual stress about weather conditions is not an issue. My booth setup will be altered with the addition of electricity and track lighting (lighting always enhances presentation), and I am excited to be demonstrating encaustic painting techniques during the weekend show.

Highlighted in my booth will be 50 paintings of Buddha, viewing this series as a cohesive body of work is key. The photo below featured 20 paintings from the series last summer, and only filled one side of my booth. I plan on presenting all 50 pieces on the two back walls in my booth, keeping this series separate from miniatures and cityscapes. Making sense visually is always a challenge, particularly when I have distinct bodies of different work.

Buddha wall from last summer:



Large cityscape paintings will hang on the outer wall (fortunately I have a corner aisle and can utilize both sides of the panels), and the miniatures will be on free standing panels toward the front of my booth display, separate from the back walls. I am sharing a few samples of work below.

Cityscape:
"Approaching Michigan Avenue"
30" x 30"


"LaSalle Street"
40" x 30"


Miniatures:
"Wrigley Field"
3.5" x 2.5" triptych, 12" x 28" shadowbox frame

"The Chicago Theater"
2.5" x 3.5", 10" x 10" shadowbox frame


The show is free and open to the public. For more information visit the Amdur Productions website link below.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

My newest book: Buddha

Buddha
paintings and meditations

Description:

"Buddha, paintings and meditations" is a catalog of eighty mixed media encaustic paintings depicting the Buddha. Each painting is high resolution, full page color, and unique.

"For me, the Buddha represents both the teacher and the student. Each painting was a lesson and exploration as I embraced various encaustic techniques, always trusting the process. I began to realize that although we appear different on the exterior, within one’s self we possess the same human potential."

Groupings of similar Buddha silhouettes are preceded with an explanation or meditation that led to the creative processes. This art book features a collection of mixed media encaustic paintings inspired by Buddhist thinking.
                 
 Magcloud version -                                                      

Amazon version -


It's been an educational journey, learning about self publishing and all the options available on the internet these days. Different publishing websites require different files, and until I had hard copies in hand I wasn't sure which of these websites offered the best quality paper, or if font sizes were in sync with page sizes, or if my book cover was attention grabbing, or if..... the list went on and on! Most importantly, I questioned if photographed encaustic paintings translated successfully onto paper. 

I don't feel art books are meant to be published as e-books. Maybe I am a bit old fashioned but when I want to see a colorful image I also want to be able to touch the page or better yet, see it in person. This meant I had to upload and order printed copies of the book from every website I used. 

The best two versions I have found to date are Amazon and Magcloud. Both of these websites average the same production and shipping costs, both offer copies on demand, although Amazon does produce books much quicker. The quality of the book was very similar from both websites, but if you hold copies side by side the Magcloud version feels slightly heavier, almost silkier (and I thought a better quality). 

The book is currently available on both websites and can be seen in links below.

Amazon

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Re-working Old Paintings (and making them new)




Which painting is the revision?
It can be a scary decision to go back into a painting that felt finished and successful at one point... and as time goes by our vision and skills develop and change. Hopefully we become more adept. 

The paintings on the left are the updated versions. Each of these has been reworked using shellac burn techniques. Wisteria (top row) incorporates organic texture with the addition of white, pink, and yellow ochre shellac burn plus I toned down the flower blooms. I also added twigs with wax medium to build up the canopy, creating lots of three dimensional textures.

The Red Barn (bottom row) has become a more dramatic and fluid piece, the addition of a shellac burn loosened up what felt like a very tight, controlled perspective of the vineyard. I have heard mixed reviews on the changes I made to this piece but I am much happier since revising and I have to trust myself!

In addition to reworking older paintings, teaching weekly classes, and preparing for upcoming exhibitions, I just completed an art book featuring the Face of Buddha series. You can preview and/or purchase the book here - Buddha, paintings and meditations

This is my second art book and allows me to share the full impact of an entire series of work. My first book, A Year of the Full Moon, can be previewed and/or purchased here - A Year of the Full Moon

Art is my safe, happy place. During times of turmoil and political unrest, the art world keeps me centered, stimulated, focused, and calm.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Evolution of a Creative Process

It's funny to me, that I have paintings from several years ago and at the time I thought they were completed, satisfying art works. A few years go by, and what was once successful now looks incomplete or unsuccessful. Maybe this is typical of an artist as we are always evolving.

Because the process of creating is just as important to me as the end result I can go back and re-work a painting without being inhibited or worried about "what if I ruin it".  I often say in the classes I teach that the worst thing that can happen to your painting by trying something new is you ruin it, but you will learn from the process, and you can always paint another.

The Buddha paintings are part of an ongoing series (Buddha) and a reminder to me to be kind, tolerant, and open (to change and differences). Below, the paintings on the left are the new "improved" versions. I have incorporated a heavier use of oil sticks, they fuse beautifully into wax medium and add a softness to the bold colors I had originally chosen for the bright red and bright green faces.


Classes resumed in January and one of my weekly demonstrations was the use of combining powder pigment with shellac, then fused with a torch into encaustic medium, creating organic textures. I love the color intertwined randomly to form various patterns. There is a combination of control and lack of control. 

I completed the piece below without thinking about anything but color and pattern, and as I had time to look at the end result I realized it was very similar to a watercolor painting I had completed over ten years ago! The first piece below is a demo from last week in class, the painting below it is from A Year of the Full Moon.

It made me smile to think even though I have immersed myself with the encaustic medium for the past ten years, the core of what inspires me hasn't change. I have learned and continue to learn about the wonders of painting with beeswax (encaustic) and I continue to experiment with new techniques and materials, but the true vision, sensibility, and style of my work is the same as the years I spent engaged with impressionistic watercolor techniques. It feels to me like I have gone full circle and my love for impressionism shines through.