Whiplash

img_4596

 

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.

 

img_4602

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:

img_4600

img_4581

img_4595

 

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….

Advertisements

Tea bag art

image

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.

image

 

I used this one in a little  encaustic collage.

image

(available in my etsy shop StudioMiradero)

image

image

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)

image

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.

IMG_4131                  IMG_4130

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

IMG_4152     IMG_4151

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

IMG_4148  IMG_4150

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

IMG_4149

IMG_4147

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

Amuse-Bouche – The Art Appetizer

image

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:

image

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.

image

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

image

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

image

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

image

image

image

image

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!

Requiem for a Bibliophile

image

I went to see this amazing mixed media wall installation this afternoon.  It is part of a show called “Requiem for the Bibliophile” at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Barbara. This piece, by Nancy Gifford, is titled Lament, 2014. It is 10×32 feet and according to the explanation next to the piece “addresses many complexities about our relationship to physical books in the advent of the digital age….and conveys a reverential, elegiac ode to the printed book.” As a (soon to be retired) librarian and lifelong lover of books, I found it very moving.

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.

collage 2

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.

collage 3

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

   close up tuscan

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.

tuscan

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!

moleskines

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.

close up photo espana

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