Whiplash

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Sometimes I feel like I get artistic whiplash as I go from one style and medium to another during the week.  But I know that this is part of my exploration–perhaps obsessive exploration–of who I as an artist.  Maybe it’s just all that pent up creative energy that had been dormant for 40 years.  I’m not sure, but I’ve learned to just go with it.

 

So here’s a look at my week.  I worked on the large 30×30 abstract above.  It now has about 10 layers of paint on it.  I’m not sure if it’s finished so I’m going to live with it for awhile.

 

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And now to switch gears…I’m taking a beautiful online class called Poetic Wax and Plaster taught by Ivy Newport and Petra Hrziwantzki and this was this week’s project using plaster.  I collaged the papers into the wet plaster and then as I was looking for something in my very messy studio table drawer I found this rhinestone crown I bought four years ago.  It’s been rattling around in my drawer all this time just waiting for the right moment.  This seemed to be that moment and I embedded it in the wet plaster.  Painting on the plaster was like doing a fresco, layering paint and mixing colors.  Very soothing.  And finally, we were challenged to write a 10 Word Poem to go with the piece.  Here is mine:

 

child of blossoms

and butterflies

she was her

own queen

Taking walks is my favorite form of exercise these days and I love to wander the grounds of the beautiful Music Academy of the West.  Never without my phone (which I use far more as a camera),  I came across some things I wanted to photograph and then edit.  Here they are:

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Sometimes I can see how all my work relates, sometimes not.  But I do know one thing.  This is a journey of value and meaning and I don’t see it ending any time soon….

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Give Back Your Heart To Itself

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Give Back Your Heart to Itself

encaustic collage

10×20

My journey back to art after more than 40 years has been one of continual re-discovery.  This month I am taking a beautiful online class called “Poetic Plaster and Wax” from two exceptional artists Ivy Newport and Petra Hrziwnattzki.

This piece is a project from the class and has great meaning to me as it is connected to one of my favorite poems, one that I discovered four years ago as I began to do art again.  It is by Derek Walcott, a Saint Lucia poet who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992, and is titled “Love After Love.”

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The piece contains the poem, handwritten in inks and graphite crayon, hidden slightly under layers of paint, pieces of old letters and other ephemera, and encaustic wax.  Incised with marks, it is finished with a rubbing of sepia oil paint.

It now hangs in my studio.

 

Tea bag art

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I’m taking a fantastic online class called Tiny Bags of Love taught by JeanneMarie Webb.  If you’re interested it’s available through Ivy Newport’s website. We are learning how to paint expressive little portraits on teabags!

JeanneMarie Webb is a fabulous artist and to watch her work is amazing. With abstract strokes she can convey a huge range of emotions in the tiny portraits painted with acrylics on these interesting 2 inch “canvases.”

 Here are a few of mine.

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I used this one in a little  encaustic collage.

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(available in my etsy shop StudioMiradero)

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And this one became part of a little 5×7 collage on watercolor paper in which I added handmade papers and a little ephemera.

(available in my etsy shop StudioMiradero)

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Preparing the tea bags

At JeanneMarie’s suggestion I’m using Rooibos tea bags for their lovely dark reddish stain.  The bags are steeped, dried, then the tea is removed, and they are gessoed before paint is applied.

Fruitful Destruction

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Mr. Muybridge’s Dancer

mixed media on canvas

10×10

This is the end result of what I’d like to call Fruitful Destruction.  I don’t know about you, but I can go crazy buying art supplies.  So for a month I’ve decided to go on an “art supply diet” and try to use up supplies I already have before buying something new.  Not sure if I’ll be able to keep to it, but I thought I’d try.

 I wanted to do another abstract canvas, a smaller one, so I dug out a collage I’d done 3 years ago on canvas.

This is what the original canvas looked like:

all the lovely music white

It was ok, but not very exciting, so I started peeling off the collage elements one at a time.  The leftover glue brought out some pretty interesting textures, and I decided to keep part of the strip of Muybridge photos.

Next, I gessoed over what was left and then started painting intuitively, using a palette of colors that I usually don’t use.  (Using up more supplies….)

In the end, I loved the result, and to tell the truth, there is something very liberating about destroying something and re-making it into something else.  I had no expectations and felt I had nothing to lose.

Another good lesson for me.

Getting out of my own way

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Into the Garden

30×30

acrylic on canvas

 

This past week I have continued my exploration of intuitive abstract painting.  I decided to go big.  This was the largest canvas I had ever done.  It totally intimidated me.  I got stuck about halfway through and was thoroughly frustrated.  So I put it away and just before I was getting ready to clean up my paint  (way too much left over) my eye caught on my art journal.  I decided to use up the paint.

And  I learned something very important for me….I need to remember to work in my journal.  It’s a place where I can get out of my own way and just experiment with colors, and composition, and texture.  I pulled out a copy of an old photo and just started gluing and painting and about an hour later I ended up happy, relaxed, and with this journal spread.  I did it with no expectations of the outcome.  There was the lesson.

 

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Art Journal Page

The next day when I came back to my painting, Into the Garden, I tried to bring some of that feeling back and I think it worked.  I’m happy with the results and the painting is now hanging just where I wanted it and it makes me smile every time I look at it.

Lesson learned.  (For now at least!)

Magazine Makeover

I’m doing an intriguing tutorial from the amazing and talented artist Robin Laws called Magazine Makeover.  It’s an unusual way to recycle magazine images into paintings using oil pastels and other mixed media, a great way to practice painting and drawing skills, and just a whole lot of fun as well.

My first attempt stayed pretty close to the original image.  After putting a coat of clear gesso over the page, I dove in with oil pastels.  I had a lot of fun with her sunglasses by adding green to the reflected palm trees.

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I got a little more adventurous with my second one.  She’s kind of fierce….

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And then I got braver and went more abstract and used a rather strange color palette.

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And finally I went even more abstract and added some collage elements.

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A great way to study faces, try out new materials, and simply have a great time creating!

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

 

 

IMG_2446Encaustic collage has become a favorite of mine.  I love gathering the materials almost as much as I love doing the actual collage.  I find many of my treasures in vintage stores and swap meets, and I’ve found wonderful things online, especially from etsy and ebay.

This piece includes a vintage map of Kansas I found at a swap meet.  I love the square shapes of the counties and the subtle coloring.  The old photo came from a vintage store in the nearby town of Carpinteria.  The drafting tool is from France and I found that on ebay.

In this piece I started with an 8×10 birch panel board covered with encaustic gesso.  Then I added two layers of natural white encaustic paint.  Next, I covered the inside of an old book cover with a layer of Venetian plaster.  After that dried, I began to layout my collage.

 

Here is my initial layout.

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Before I show you the next step, here’s a picture of my little wax set up.  It’s a small griddle (very inexpensive on amazon), small foil cake pans, an oven thermometer set on the griddle (for a more accurate temperature reading), an assortment of natural bristle and hake brushes, and the wax medium.  I use products from R & F.  The second photo shows some of my favorite tools and my practice board where I try things out.

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My first layer is the map.  After it has been fused, I add the rest of the pieces, layer by layer, consulting the photo I took with my phone so I don’t forget the composition!  The last item, the drafting tool, is attached with E6000 glue.

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The finished collage is then mounted to the wood panel using Yes glue.

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I finish the piece by incising lines (after the being sure the wax on the panel board is cool) and rubbing oil pastel into the lines.  The edges are finished with liquid pencil, rubbed on gently.  After a final fuse, the piece is finished.

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I get drop in frames for my pieces from two sources.  Amazon has very nice ones for several standard sizes and FramesUSA has a multitude of standard sizes and you can order custom ones as well.

 

I hope you enjoyed seeing my work process!

A New Direction

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It’s been a long while….I have spent much of the last year exploring all kinds of art from drawing, to painting, to encaustic collage.  It’s been a fantastic journey and I continue it still.

I have taken many wonderful classes, mostly online, and have loved learning in that manner.  From collage, to encaustic wax, to digital photography…I feel so fortunate to have had some fantastic instructors.

My latest exploration has taken me into large abstract paintings since I now have a lovely studio (with an easel) in which to work.  I work every day.  Making art has become like breathing.

I am very happy that my encaustic work is now on display at The Blue Door in Santa Barbara for the month of July.  Besides my etsy shop, StudioMiradero, this is the first time my art has been “out in public” and that has been really exciting.

Blue Door Wall

I continue to be very active on Instagram ( you can find me at instagram.com/jreid1031) and try to post daily and I have just designed and published a website!  You can find it at janetreidart.com

It seemed like time to return to the world of blogging so here I am!  I will post again soon….I promise.

 

 

 

Where have I been?

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Mixed media on Venetian plaster

6×6 each

(available in my etsy shop StudioMiradero)

It’s been awhile.  I apologize.  I’ve been so busy retiring (wonderful), being a grandma (so much fun) working on my etsy shop, but mostly painting, art journaling, and having a wonderful time on Instagram (addicting). I will do more posts soon to catch you up on my work. I promise…

Cloud’s illusions I recall…

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Cloud’s illusions I recall….

 (From Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell)

Small acrylic on paper from a wonderful class I took today at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Taking these classes is like meeting an old friend again from a very long time ago.  Soon I’ll have time to be with “her” every day if I want to.