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

dancer

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.

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!

Amuse-Bouche – The Art Appetizer

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I am participating in a very interesting thesis project for Dylan Goodman.  On his website for Amuse-Bouche he explains the project:

“This project will strive to entice people to buy original artwork created by artists, starting with a small artistic sample, which will in turn help stimulate the appetite of the consumer, ideally resulting in larger, future purchases of artwork. The project will be based around a product, the ‘art box,’ that will make original artwork more accessible and less intimidating than a gallery or art dealer setting, while affording the artists a living through its sales. Each ‘art box’ will contain an original work of art, by various selected artists, that can be purchased at a flat rate through a subscription service or one time purchase option. These small, original samples of art, created and inspired by the artist will help build the artistic desire for art. It will also minimize the intimidating, scary aspects of entering the art buying world, which is often seen as elite or untouchable, while being available to everyone at a reasonable set price and easily accessible online.”

I heard about the project through his mother, a fellow etsy shop owner, and owner of Messy Bed Studio. She had posted the information on her blog, Messy Bed Studio, and I decided to take the plunge.  This is a little out of my comfort zone but I wanted to push myself.

After signing up, I received this package from Dylan:

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It was so nicely done with a great little handbook on how to participate.  I decided to do a very small mixed canvas, 4″ x 4,” in which I used a print of a vintage photograph, acrylic paints, and authentic ephemera and papers.

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I was then challenged to put the box together and make it part of the art.  Here is that work in progress:

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I decided to fill the box with strips of ephemera and “nest” the canvas in it.

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Here are some shots of the completed box and the canvas.

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The last step is to mail my box with the canvas back to Dylan re-using the box in which he sent the materials.  The boxes will be featured during an Amuse-Bouche exhibit this spring and will be included on the Amuse-Bouche website.  If the art box is sold, I will receive payment.  But I must admit that would be the proverbial icing on the cake….this has been a great project and I applaud Dylan and wish him all the best!

Recycling

Recycling

collage 1 second version

I ordered some little stacking cubes for storage in my studio recently.  They are very cleverly and sustainably made from recycled paper and packed very carefully.  Before I tossed the packing materials–recycled paper, of course–I noticed how pretty it actually was.   So I’ve been playing with some little collages using the packing material as the substrate.  I’m not sure how they will eventually turn out, but some assorted things on my work table seemed to want to be in them.

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I played with some painted texture on this one.  Silver paint on rubber matting pressed onto the packing material. And an oak leaf I picked up on a walk.

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This one I gessoed and added an image transferred on canvas cloth and a washi tape reproduction of a stamp.  The feather is from my best friend’s chicken.

I’m thinking of mounting these on 8 x 8 gallery wrapped canvases painted white so they will have a three dimensional aspect and the corrugation will show on the sides. Stay tuned……

Tuscan Landscapes and other things

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Tuscan Landscape (Detail)

Working on some more landscape collages.  One large (9 x 12) and two petites (4 x 4).  I love the ephemera in the large one.  Especially the vintage wallpaper “trees.”  Not sure if I can part with this one yet.  The petites will soon be in my Etsy Shop.

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tuscan on dresser

Two Petite Tuscan Landscape Collages….(4 x 4) works in progress.  Soon to be in StudioMiradero on Etsy.

                                       petite landscape colage                                                                                         petite bird collage

Now in my Etsy shop are some new embellished Moleskine journals.  Great for gifts!

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Redux

A few months ago I worked on a small piece….in fact worked it to death.  I set is aside.  First in the trash, and then I fished it out and stuffed it behind some other canvases.   This morning as I was getting out another canvas I saw it there.  While one layer of paint dried on my new canvas, I sliced out the part I liked from the little canvas.  A ragged little piece with a tiny vintage photobooth snapshot of a woman.

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I decided to try again.  Smaller. Less.  I worked with glazes.  I like how it turned out.  But best of all I liked that I ruined my first attempt with my desire for perfection and then salvaged something of it, not the least of which is the reminder to let go, to simpilfy, and keep trying.

close up of espana

espana