Saturday, January 29, 2011

Second black and white encaustic

10 x 10 encautic and graphite

This has been in the studio for a few months. When I think a painting might need something else, I let it sit and revisit it from time to time. Finally I decided that it was fine the way it was. Just today I "finished" an acrylic, that I don't like. I spent time trying different things. Nothing worked. I'll paint over it . . put some glazes over it and see what happens.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Shadows in my basement

This caught my eye while in my basement.

These shadows were cast from a combination of a vintage lounge chair (very heavy, from the 30's for 40's probably, without cushions), that I never redid, and a metal shopping cart, that I sometimes bring to flea markets and art fairs.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I feel drawn to this piece by Matthew Harris . . .

the composition, colors (look at that muted sage!), texture, scraps of worn fabric, and threads; the threads look like they're pieced together by hand. I enjoy looking at it. Ideas about using cloth in a collage pop into my mind now and then. It started when I discovered Jude Hill's typepad Spirit Cloth blog. Years ago I did sewing (machine), needlepoint, and cross stitch. I've always loved vintage crazy quilts. But there are artists today who have such organic colors and textures, frayed edges and the hand stitching . . mmmmm. . . love it!! Too many ideas . . too little time.

Mixed medium on paper

New medium for me (acrylic and mixed medium) and new substrate (paper).

10 x 14 Mixed Medium on paper

Friday, January 21, 2011

Encaustic painting

I painted this a few months ago, before I decided to go with a (almost) totally black and white palate . . . taken with my new camera . . . AND . . . just today, I figured out how to crop it in Iphoto.

                                  16 x 16 encaustic & oil on cradled panel

This will be the start of a series called semiotics (sign/symbol). This image is the third painting on this substate, and the beeswax is very thick. The word encaustic artist/teacher, Cari Hernandez, has used for one of her paintings is luscious. That's how I feel about encaustic paint, and this one in particular; as I paint, fuse, and visually "take in" it's organic, uneven surface. There were many  paintings before, as I was learning how to control the wax and get a smooth surface. Now that I know how to do that (I like to know all "angles" of a medium before I feel comfortable with chosing one way), I intend to use a looser touch with more texture. (The encaustic below is newer, and it is the start of the b/w palette.) It was quite a challenge to paint in many, many layers; get the design and compostion the way I wanted, seal each layer to the one below it with a torch; and keep the surface relatively smooth . . . teaching myself for about 4-5 months of daily painting. 

I've been working on an acrylic & MM on paper, and it's almost done (another learning session with a new medium).

I found an installation of an artist, Jeffrey Allen Price, on the internet today, and it reminded me a little of this one . . . rust (his are real) and circles.

It is very large and is made up of squares of a cloth that look similar to some kind of organic felt with rust.  On the website the photo shows piles of squares stacked in piles on the floor, and the squares that are attached are one large wall hanging in the picture above.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another drawing from my past

20 x 25 pastel
(the paper is black, but my old camera must not recognize that!)

I found these drawings when my basement flooded.  They were in a large portfolio propped up against a table.  I rescued some, but others were ruined. Ah . . the problems of living in a building built in 1934. The upper left corner got some water.  I enjoy drawing the figure, but haven't done it in a while. Abstract work has "moved" in. Noticing compositions in aged walls. There's plenty in downtown Detroit. Love Mary Beuk's abstract photos of aged surfaces. Her images inspired me to take the wall photos on this page.

Got my new camera a few days ago, along with a separate instruction book 
specifically for this camera. This book is quite good, but I'm planning to take a 10 week adult ed. digital photography class at CCS (College for Creative Studies) in Detroit. Misplaced the small info manuel that came with the camera, so I don't even know how to set the time and date until I find it!!! I want to learn FAST!! . . . learn computer-speak ("gidgets, gadgets, widgets, wadgets"!!!), and it won't happen fast.  I don't want to spend hours and hours surfing for info, but it looks like that's what I'll have to do.  I'D RATHER BE MAKING ART!!

I have a recent mixed media painting on paper that I will be posting, but I want to take the photo with my new camera . . . ah . . to cultivate patience . . . not easy for me!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hoping to center my eye . . draw?

"The Zen of Seeing"

I picked this up yesterday, buried in my book shelves.  I had bought it probably 15 yrs. ago. I had read only a little then, highlighted some sentences in the beginning, but never read it. I have a LOT of books, and when I moved back to Michigan from Connecticut, I gave away about 200 to a local community college.  That still left me with a LOT more. Somehow I had decided not to give this one away. What a difference in my perspective now as I read it. Other artists' work that appeals to me usually has space and seems to be more spontaeneous, as in "taking out the left brain." I don't operate too easily with my left brain, but it does get in there to judge myself!  I have been thinking of drawing but haven't done it.  As I've been exploring acrylic (can't glue paper to substrate with oil!), I'm getting a little frustrated, but I don't want to stop the flow I'd been experiencing with encaustic . . . SO . . . there's a part of me that just wants to make marks on paper without looking (not blind contour as this would be following an existing image), and I'm wondering if I post this, that that will make me accountable to do that . . totally remove the left brain!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

First black and white encaustic

Maybe I shouldn't be so fussy about the images of my paintings that this little camera produces. I started exploring abstract about a yr ago, and the results weren't to my liking. I used to use an abstract background and place a figure or a face somewhere in it. I was thinking today, that I was doing that, not only because I love the face and figure, but to somehow ground the painting with a strong focal point. I'm still working to incorporate tension, space, a focal point, contrast in tone in a compostion that appeals to me.

Here's the circle again. I edited in Iphoto, which I've never learned until now. I pumped up the contrast. It seems hard to me to take a picture of a painting and have it look as I see it in reality. This photo re-editing of contrast doesn't show the visual depth of the tone and the surface.

10 x 10 encaustic on cradled panel


Friday, January 14, 2011

A neutral palette

About 6 mos ago I began to realize how much I like black and white, different shades of grey and muted rust and gold, script, symbols (I've been putting circles into almost all of my work for a long time.  For some reason I can't NOT put them in), old charts, maps, line drawings combined with some muted texture.  After I saw Leslie Avon Miller's work on fb, and was drawn to it, I decided to drop strong color and go with black, greys, and white. We'll see how long I have the courage to do that.

Here are a few black and white "abstract composition" photos of an old building that houses artists studios in Detroit (Russell Industrial Center).  They were having open studios.  I'm eager to get that new camera in the mail.  As I remember, that day I was excited that I had made the decision to go with this new palette, and these little compositions caught my eye.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Some charcoal sketches

These were done in a figure drawing class in art school. As I look at them now, I can see errors in the planes of the body, and things I would revise, but I'll leave them as they are.

The assignment for this was to prepare a surface and then sketch the figure on it. Hence the rectangle on her back.

Seduced by encaustic

I'm very proud that I taught myself encaustics. Workshops here in MI were scarce and cost prohibitive in other states.  I first saw a youtube artist doing encaustics.  I have absolutely no idea why I was drawn to that, but it seemed so easy in her video . . an Australian artist, with family and children, going to art school.  She just had no fear, and I could sense that.

I bought beeswax and damar resin crystals and used oil paint and a heat gun, not knowing the particulars about proportions . . . and I took off!  I became obsessed with getting information, as I worked, questions came up.  First I thought, "Oh, it's so easy to make an abstract" and then I came to realize how quickly, and I mean QUICKLY, I could lose control of the direction of the image. But somehow that didn't stop me.  I was committed.  It stumps me why I became driven to conquer this medium.  I do know that I like natural mediums (oil, charcoal, graphite, gouache, etc.).  Acrylic seemed like plastic to me (it is!) and dried so quickly I couldn't manipulate it.  But this encaustic medium! . . . sensual, as in "of the senses. I remember as a child in a Catholic elementary school, that we had to attend mass every day, and a strong sense memory of that ritual was being entranced by the smell of the beeswax candles and their creamy transluscency (also incense at high mass).

I began to teach myself through books (3), DVD's (5), AND the internet.  I spent dozens and dozens and dozens of hours (months) researching encaustic artists, their websites and blogs, fb, suppliers (R &F website was wonderful). A nice artist on fb began answering my questions.  And I inundated a local encaustic artist with questions . . . poor woman!  I wanted to learn how to use this medium to get the effects I wanted.  I have the tendency to want to know EVERYTHING about a subject that I am passionate about, so that I have the knowledge to use it (this happened with the piano, visual art, and spirituality) in the way that is useful to me.

Until I get my new camera, I won't post pics of my encaustic work (the very basic one I have now, not SLR, seems to distort the image and the tone and color is way off.  I have a fussy eye.  Years ago, a carpenter working on something in my home called me "eagle eye", because I could tell, by an extremely small measure, know when a vertical or horizontal surface was off.  He was replacing ironwork on the front porch of our home with pillars in Louisiana).  So here are some pics of my encaustic supplies and encaustic work area.  I am blessed to have a very large studio and I live above it.  I will also post later some pics of charcoal figure drawings.

The seduction with this medium propelled me into working daily (all day and into the night) with my art.

So now my hand is practicing to catch up with my eye.

Grinding and weighing damar crystals to mix in melted beeswax

Stacks of medium and tools

Metal work surface purchased from local welder

Japanese propane cooking torch and R&F encaustic paint

Metal work surface and jewelry bench in rear.

Cutting wood to make cradled panels

Rejected surfaces that I scraped from substrate!  Wax can be remelted and used again.

Setting up this site issues!

I spent about two hours yesterday trying to configure this blog with things I've seen on other blogs.  Initially it doesn't seem that hard, but when I log in, it tells me that I have to pick a different email than the one I had.  I've done that 3 times!  It says create a google mail or use a yahoo mail.  I have a yahoo mail (different than the one I ordinarily use) and have gone through the steps 3 times, but it still puts me on a gtempaccount email.  I'm thinking that they must want me get a google email. Since I had a computer issue years ago that I believe resulted from a dating site I was on, I've been leery of too much clicking.  This man got into my computer and changed my emails!  Also . . I picture I have on my profile (encaustic supplies) does not show up on the icon that others see for my blog.  And a few other things.  So this blog may go along slowly, as far as how I want it to look.  Too bad these blogger instructions aren't visual!  When I see a page of written, technical instructions, my mind blurs.  There are advantages and disadvantages of being a very visual person, and this is a disadvantage!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Beginning . . .

I'm learning how to set up this blog, as I'm somewhat computer/digital challenged.  As I'm a re-emerging artist, I'm currently working to build up a body of paintings.  I've been teaching myself encaustic painting for the last 8 mos, and am now diverting to mixed medium (acrylic and all the new uses . . have shyed away from that, but now that there are "open" acrylics available, I'm taking another stab at it . . not in paintings yet, but practicing in journal, paper, and collage).  I'm also will be learning how to operate an SLR digital camera, which will be coming in the mail soon . . with a book.  I'll see how much I can learn on my own (book) before I invest in a class.  SO . . it will be a while before I have pics of my work here.  In the meantime . . I will post photos from my very basic camera.  Pictures that move my eye and my insides.

I love to look at art that moves me, and I love to be moved.