I do have an overall plan for this little body of work, but I never know really where each painting will go, once I get going. Which is, of course, part of the fun of the process. I do particularly like this one, even if it is a bit blocky. Thinking of the word "fresh" when choosing palette.
Just finished this, and I realize I still need to erase the pencil lines and maybe modify the color of a thing or two, but I'm pretty happy with this one...another in the sort of hippie theme. :)
I feel like I'm on a roll, and it feels great!
My husband said something the other day that has had me tickled ever since. He said basically something like, if I weren't doing these little paintings, they wouldn't exist. They could only come from my own particular take on the world. So, yay me!
I think that's true of all artists (of all flavors - painters, musicians, writers, etc.) who are following their inner need to create, rather than trying to respond to the marketplace. I think of all the painters, writers and musicians without whom the world would be a much poorer place. Too bad our society makes it so hard for artists to survive by doing their art.
So, if you are an artist, keep that in mind: you are (hopefully) adding something of beauty or importance to the world by following your true creative voice, something that would not be in the world without your endeavors. :)
Anyway, I have taken forever to find that thing inside that needs expression, and of course, it keeps developing. I'm glad I started with representation, but I'm even more glad that I've moved past that. I'm really grooving on these shapes, compositions, and color combinations that I discover by the drawing and painting of them. Something like these little painting studies will probably make it onto large canvases in oil, and I'm really looking forward to that, too, but I may not be done with this round of little studies yet.
So here is another original work from the slightly twisted mind of yours truly. :)
It seems that there will just be times when life gets in the way of creativity. :(
My past two months have been full of all kinds of activity -- too little of which has been painting, but I finally cleared out my schedule and the studio enough on Sunday to get back in there and paint, and man, does it feel good.
The painting I spent the most time working on Sunday afternoon is still a mess. I think perhaps some canvases are just cursed, as that one has been ~20 different paintings over the past few months, and I've not been happy with any of them!
This one, on the other hand, came together fairly quickly and directly. I may do a tad more to it; haven't decided yet, but I can say I'm fairly happy with most parts of it, and with the whole. Yay!
Another New Painting: “Taco and Feud in Asia Minor”
This is another work that started out quite differently than it ended up. It was filled from corner to corner with ovals to start with, but then I kept taking out more and more stuff. I'm much happier with it now, though still not sure I'm 100% thrilled...
Progress Photos from the Painting "Food Forest" - 2012
Several people have told me how much they like seeing progress photos of paintings. Soooooo, I thought I'd share with you all some of my progress shots from recent works, starting with "Food Forest."
The process for this painting started with a photography session at an Urban Patchwork "food forest." Several artists were preparing work for a one-night show to benefit Austin's Urban Patchwork community gardens. I took quite a few photos, and then spent days just thinking about what I wanted my first painting for this show to be. I came up with my composition with some imagery drawn from many photos.
I don't always do sketches for works, and the one here is a pretty sad example, but sometimes all you need is a compositional thumbnail and that's all this was meant to be. (I can draw much better than this, really, and if I'd known I was going to share these sketches with anyone, maybe I would have). :)
I also painted this in acrylic -- Chroma's Atelier Interactive acrylics, which is mostly what I've used when trying to paint in acrylic. You may know that I'm an oil painter at heart, and find acrylics frustrating, but I knew I didn't have time for a new oil painting to dry in time for the show, so acrylics it was to be. (yikes!)
I started on a Friday afternoon, and finished the following Monday, which is pretty fast for me to complete an entire painting this size.
These are the only photos I took of the process, so I'm guessing each photo represents one's day's work. The final photo is color-accurate, AFAICT; the others are shot with a mishmash of lights in the studio (so the color temperatures are different from the actual painting and the final shot).
I have to admit, shaking up my medium really worked in this instance. I love this painting! It now hangs in the living room, so I get to enjoy it every day. Which is not to say that I won't part with it. :)
The new G+ Profile background is huge! For my tastes, the width is fine, but the height is about 1/3 larger than it needs to be. I can't even see the whole background image in my browser, even with the browser at full size. What to do with all that space, too? I'm a bit bamboozled.
I used black in the bottom...here's a screencap of the full window (after spending way too long trying to figure out just what proportions to make my image). Probably looks different on my tablets, too, and on your devices. :\
I started 3 more small sketches for watercolor paintings in the last day or two, erased one of them, ignored the second and painted only this one. This didn't turn out quite the way I envisioned, but I like it anyway, and it is inspiring a new set of oil paintings that I hope will be rather successful, but we'll all have to wait and see on that. :)
Over a thousand in about a week! I am truly humbled, and hope that you find my almost daily (or more) posts to your liking.
As you may know, I am a painter, currently working in abstraction, but with a good background in representation. I paint in oil, watercolor, acrylic, ink or mixed media, depending on what ideas I'm interested in exploring. I post mostly my own art, sometimes the art of others, some studio pics and other snapshots from my life. I have a website of my paintings, a blog, and an online shop of my work, which you can find on my profile.
Let's engage. If you leave a comment on my posts (as long as it's not inappropriate, weird or mean), I will add you back. :)
I am presently seeking out new territory in my paintings, and it's too soon to show what I'm trying to learn now. So, for your viewing pleasure today, here is one of my favorite paintings from my encaustic period (which lasted maybe 3-4 years, and may not yet be over). This is the 4th in a series of 4 paintings of poppies - a very popular group of paintings.
The problem with working in watercolor is if you get the colors wrong, there's not a lot you can do to fix it. Initially, I got the colors wrong on this one. I had painted the webby type stuff in the background twice, ending up with a kind of burnt sienna (red-brown) color on the third layer of webbery. Not only did it clash with the more jewel like colors of the foreground imagery, but it made the whole piece very busy, and you couldn't really distinguish foreground from background.
Sooooo, I tried lifting the color with water (didn't work well), then lightly with a sponge (nope), then with a bit of light and careful scrubbing with a sponge (better), and finally, I gave up all hope of making this piece work and washed it under running water.
Yes, I washed a watercolor painting. It's on paper, you know. This is why I love the heavy Raffine "sketch" paper I'm using; it's tough! And has a lovely texture. :)
I took care not to pill the paper as I lightly helped some of the paint off of it, let it dry, and then had to repaint most of the foreground "characters," while adding a third. And now I rather like it.
Hope I don't get myself into this predicament again, but if I do, I know what to do now.
Haven't posted much work yet this year, as I am trying to stretch myself beyond my comfort zone -- and I have stretched -- but I'm not comfortable enough to share those pieces with you yet.
Here is one I started last night and just now finished that I am comfortable with: just a small watercolor pencil painting on paper. I started from the point of continuing my thoughts/impressions of Bontecou, but decided to aim for a simpler design and a slightly subdued (for me) palette. Not sure I was successful on either of those counts, but I do like this piece!
I do find doing these little studies to be very calming. And after 2 weeks of not having our usual daily life routine, and a few days of a visit from my old college roommate, I was more than ready for some calming! ;)
Not sure what to think of this one. I had one thing in mind when I started drawing out my sketch, but something completely different happened.
Then I decided to switch to pure watercolors; not a medium I consider myself to be terribly proficient at, but one that I do want to explore more at the moment.
Then I discovered that some of the colors I wanted to use were dried in the tube (they're probably from about 1988!), but then I discovered you can slit the tube open and apply a wet brush to the dried paint and so use what's in there more or less like pan watercolors. So that's a bit of a money-saver while I'm experimenting. Otherwise, there's a $100 set of paints I want to buy, and I'm not sure I can justify that right now.
Plus, I painted the background far too dark, so I sponged some of it off, but there's still a disappointing lack of contrast here.
Finally, this one just didn't give me that little thrill of creation as much as the previous 3 little paintings did, so I arrive at...hmmm.
Hoping the next one will be pretty groovy, though. I love the sketch. Now if I can just get the paints to behave. :)
This is the painting I was working on before my husband's accident, the one that was giving me fits. I abandoned my original idea soon after starting work on it, then decided my next idea wasn't a big enough idea to fill this rather bigger canvas (24" x 36"); then tried at least half a dozen other ideas before discovering I needed to finish the painting more or less the way I'd started it -- my second idea after all!
So I think I am done. This is a studio shot; will take a better picture someday when it's not raining (yay, rain!).
I haven't done much figurative work in the last two decades, but I did begin my serious study as an artist with 4-5 life drawing classes and 2-3 figurative painting classes. I also went to life drawing sessions around town for awhile.
This was maybe a 45-minute pose, and I was working in colored pencil (!), so I still didn't quite complete it. But after the pose was over, a small crowd gathered 'round to ooh and ahh. :)
Maybe the best figurative piece you will see from me. It will all be downhill from here! Ha!
OMG, this took about 6 weeks, or maybe 4, if you subtract interruptions by out-of-town visitors (which were fun, of course, so I'm not complaining). ;)
Ten feet 4 inches of custom desktop, made to fit so very tightly in this space. Not counting for the immense amount of time spent, but including the store-bought cabinets, this whole system cost less than 2 corner desks from Ikea (and this one's not made of particleboard), and 1/4 of something semi-equivalent from Pottery Barn, neither of which were just what I wanted, or iow -- This!
And I learned a lot! How to do a bunch of stuff, how not to do a thing or two, and that carpenters are awesome! Seriously, carpentry requires so much focus, math, clear thinking, rethinking, measuring, measuring, measuring, and measuring again, fitting, cutting, adjusting, taking good notes (or perhaps having an amazing memory, which I don't), and did I say focus? One tiny mistake can cost days of recovery. Don't ask me how I know. :\
So, yes, mistakes were made, though luckily, nothing too big or unrecoverable. If I were to do it over again (which, luckily, I don't need to), I learned a few things to do differently. And I only cut myself once, on the Japanese style sharp saw, from trying to put the safety cover back on (can you say ironic?) - tiny cuts, not bad.
Now, to go clean up and put stuff away, and see if I can get my ancient computer working again! Woo-hoo!
I am still too early in my new and improved painting process to start showing my most recent work. It feels very different to me from what you might expect, and I am loving the process and the outcomes, but I need to crank out another 10 or 20 studies before I feel like I know what what I'm doing, and that what I'm doing is what I actually want to be doing. But so far, so good!
In the meantime, I thought I'd show you the partner to the earlier abstract landscape I posted a few days ago. That one was called "Steamy Spring" and this one is "Burning Ice." Two of a kind, and that's all I did like this. They still look great together. :)
Sold my last remaining matted print of this painting of Enchanted Rock, from my early representational days of painting. I still have 2 unmatted small prints left, and I imagine those will sell eventually, too.
This has been my most popular image for selling prints. And I still have the original. :)
I am considering whether I will resume printing giclees of any of my work, as my office space is likely to be completed within the month, and I'll have access to my good printer again.
If I choose to make any more of my images available as prints, I prefer printing them in small editions only on good fine art paper, and signing and numbering them, rather than offering unlimited, unsigned prints that can be printed on any old kind of surface through any online printing shops. I really can't imagine any of my work on metal or plastic, for example, and FAA (for example) doesn't give the artist the right to veto any media.
I started a new practice last week of mostly daily paintings. These are small works in oil (so far--in oil) exploring color, color relationships, paint application, composition, the relationship of form and color, etc. It's a great way to get back into the studio after last year's home improvement projects that so drastically affected my time and studio space, and therefore my ability to paint. I'm also working on larger canvases, but those will take longer to be ready to post.
I'll be posting studio shots of these at first, until the paintings are dry enough and the weather is cooperative enough to take more professional photos outside, so forgive the shine on the paintings, and know that someday there will be better, more true-to-color shots of these. Here's the first one.
Returning to another sketch in my heavy paper sketchbook, and continuing to explore more watercolor techniques a bit -- I used masking fluid on the plant-like parts of this one, so that I could make a delightful mess on the background without worrying about messing up the plant bits. This technique may be a keeper as I begin to work larger in watercolor. It's not so dramatic on these tiny pieces as I imagine it could be on larger ones.
I'm not super-thrilled with this one, but that's O.K. At least it's done, and out of my sketchbook. What I could paint over and improve if I were working in oil, I have to learn to get right the first time in watercolor. Or live with the less-than-stellar results.
Another bit of painting zen. I usually prefer to just be done when I arrive at that moment where I feel I have "finished" a work, and not go back to fix older works, letting each painting be a record of a small (or large) stretch of time. And then move on to a new chance to do better. :)
Thought I'd try out the Sennelier watercolor block I discovered the other day buried in my studio. Watercolor is a medium I'm not super familiar with. I did maybe 10-12 large watercolor still lifes back in the late 80's, but otherwise, I have mostly avoided it -- except for small watercolor pencil drawings (paintings?) over the last few years -- until just a few weeks ago.
This time, I soaked the paper pretty thoroughly, taped it down and started to paint. Hours later, the paper was still mostly wet, and the colors were still bleeding(!). So, this is more messy than I'm completely comfortable with, but there it is, fwiw. I added a bit of gouache to tame things a bit, and had already made quite a mess with drops of alcohol that got out of control. It's a hard-sized paper, too, and I don't think I like that "feature."
Good thing, too, because to buy this watercolor block today would cost $75.00 for 20 sheets. I guaran-damn-tee you I wouldn't have paid more than $20-30 at the most. I think.
Another old photo recently discovered; I think I was 19 or 20 at the time, or maybe 18. I recognize the location, White Rock Lake; my boyfriend of that time took the picture. We had a sort of on-again, off-again kind of relationship. He rented a house on the lake later in our relationship, so that's why I think it was later. FWIW, which ain't much. ;)
My first acrylic on canvas painting in almost 4 years; I've probably only done 12-14 acrylics on canvas, and I never was that comfortable with them; I'm much more at home with oils.
I did really enjoy working on this one. I started out with high-energy and quite abstract, and each subsequent day was slower and more studied...refining the image. I didn't mean to get so...representational with the artichokes (yes, the 3 flowers are 3 stages of artichokes seen and photographed together in an urban food forest-type garden several weeks ago).
I'm not sure if I'm done, but I think I might be (darn those color changes, though!). I see that this medium holds some promise for me; maybe I will finally find a way to merge abstraction and representation -- something that has been a goal for years! I can hardly wait to start the next one!
P.S. This is a studio shot; not the final photograph of this painting, which I hope to shoot tomorrow...so the colors may not be 100% accurate. :)
In between working on my series of color minis and larger works, I'm repainting some old failed works. This was one of my early experiments in acrylic, but is now more delightfully covered in oil paint; it has more or less the same color palette as the original, but the imagery is quite different! You can see the old intentionally scraped and gouged texture under the oils. Kind of fun, no?
I made some minor edits to this piece that I posted earlier today, based on responses to my question from that post. You can see the previous version as the next piece in this album, which now needs a different title, as the last 3 paintings were not really inspired by Bontecou anymore.
Isn't it amazing you can ask your fellow G+-ers a question at 3:22 and 20 minutes have several helpful answers?
I think I am finished with this now. Off to start one more in this not-so-series series. ;)
Here's another painting that is a bit of a departure for me - one that I feel will move my work forward in some ways, eventually. This was done in acrylic, due to time constraints, and that change in mediums shook up my usual process quite a bit. I usually work in oil, and like it to dry as slowly as possible, so that I can keep working into wet paint for days.
Also, this was a composition based on a number of photographs taken in an urban food forest for a show to benefit the food growers community. I don't usually work either from life or from photographs so much anymore. I did not intend for the flower heads of the artichoke plants to become so representational, but I must say that I am actually quite thrilled with this whole painting, and I look forward to seeing how it will influence my work in the future.
I got a bit bolder with the colors on this painting. This was intended to be a continuation of the same visual idea from the painting I posted yesterday. The fact that it isn't quite seems to be proof of something, but what exactly, I'm not sure. Another goofy composition, but I love it!
I'm posting only another detail, though. My last 4-5 larger paintings have each taken me through some creative changes and ended up in a different place than the preceding work...and the same is happening with this one.
I'm beginning to suspect I need to work out these changes without benefit or hindrance of comments or lack of comments. It's going to be hard for me not to share these as I finish them with the excitement that I always feel after resolving some new painting issues, but I have many more issues to resolve, and I think I must keep primarily my own counsel for the next 5-10 paintings.
OK, one last thing before I buckle down and get back to painting.
I don't post many photos of me, because I am 100% the opposite of photogenic, and most photos of me don't look like me (my husband agrees, and he has the same issue -- he's much, much cuter than the camera makes him look).
All that said, some time back, a good friend took this photo in black and white and hand-colored it. Today, I scanned it in without removing it from the frame, so I think the streaks are due to the glass. This is one of the few pictures of me I do like. :)
I may (or may not) be done with this painting, started last week and based on the sketch below right. The sketch itself is based on a sculpture in tan canvas and black wire by one of my favorite sculptors, Lee Bontecou.
I haven't really developed a set way to get started with the work I've been doing for the past 6 months. I usually have a period of getting very lost while developing my composition, and then have to paint my way out. I hoped working from a sketch and a planned composition would be a good way to start my paintings, and suspected other things would occur as I was working.
I think I may have tried too hard to stay true to the original sketch in this one, though clearly, it's not 100% true to the sketch, either. I did intentionally simplify the shapes, but as I have mentioned elsewhere, the drawing exploded off the canvas a bit, and the color got very intense. Not my fault! ;)
Yes, yes, of course it's my fault...I work rather intuitively, having spent years already thinking about every minor move. Perhaps I am relying too much on my intuition these days. I don't know.
Since I'm trying not to post new work for awhile, I thought I'd post one of my favorite older series. These are from 2007, when I was working exclusively in encaustic (hot pigmented wax). I did all 4 of these in one short afternoon painting session, inspired by a glimpse of poppy plants I had spied in a BBC story about opium in Afghanistan. Mine are more colorful and benign. ;)
Here are a couple more watercolor and ink paintings from Friday night. I like the sprites in a forest kind of vibe in the one on the left, and the one on the right I think could be the beginning of a nice composition for a larger oil painting. :)
It was exactly 6 months ago today that my husband fell off his bike and broke his leg. Yesterday, he woke up feeling like walking again.
We did our grocery shopping yesterday with him using only his cane, and today we rolled the living room carpet back out again, and even danced a tiny jig (no moving of feet, in his case -- I just danced around him). :D
It feels good, having him feeling more or less better again. Yep, just like the doc said, 6 months is pretty much about how long it takes to get to that mostly-healed-bone plateau. Progress, progress. It's great.
Here is my second entry for the Best Twelve of Twelve. This is perhaps the first abstract painting I have developed from a sketch. (yeah, I know!). I have created other compositions based on portions of previous compositions, but I haven't usually planned my abstractions out in advance, as I kind of liked getting lost in the process, and then having to paint my way out.
In doing this one, I discovered there is not a direct translation from sketch to paint, at least, not for me, not at this time, as each material makes different demands, and each new decision changes the outcome.
If you'd like to compare this to the original idea and see what turned out differently in the translation from colored pencil to paint, here is a link to the sketch: http://goo.gl/SF9Wg
For #AbstractArtMonday. Many, many thanks to +Esther Hardman for doing such a great job for the past ~month, and we will miss you as curator. Thanks also to +Dawn Ellen Miller for taking over today curator duties today. I very much appreciate it!
I've been primarily an oil painter, and then added encaustics to the mix in 2006. In 2008, I decided to give acrylics another try, using the interactive acrylics that are supposed to behave more like oils. Well, they are better, but are still not like painting in oil (and they still smell like plastic--nothing like the lovely smell of linseed oil and turps in the morning ;-) ) .
I did 10 large paintings in almost as few days, working very very fast.
We had some pretty fierce storms here in Austin and throughout Texas last night. A tornado touched down near San Antonio, damaging 6 homes, though thankfully, no one was hurt.
I was in the edge of a tornado touchdown once in Dallas that was kind of scary. We think that a small tornado may have been involved in a very fierce storm that hit our central Austin neighborhood a few years ago, complete with very high winds that were twisting all the large trees around in the most amazing way and terrifying hail that sounded like gunfire as it broke house and car windows all around us. The next day, the whole neighborhood looked like all the trees had exploded, and many large trees were uprooted.
So to recognize the power of tornadoes that often affect those of us in Texas and the midwest, here's a painting of a tornado that took place in Dallas in 2006. It's kind of pretty, though; don't you agree?
This year (so far), I am experimenting with lots of ways of finding images and lots of ways of painting them. So I thought I would share them all in one album, since as a group, they look a little wild, and I look a little unfocused. Gotta try stuff, though, or else how will you learn new ways to paint?
I got up before the sun hit the yardarm this morning, so I was able to shoot photos of quite a few small oil paintings, and finally, I think I have the color close to accurate on this one.
This is the first of my "Fragments" series -- favorite snippets from larger works repainted on smaller canvases. I think I prefer this in the horizontal orientation. They look like snuggling friends to me (I see lots of characters in my abstract paintings. Do you?). What I was exploring here was painting in very thick paint over previous layers of thick paint in different colors. I still like it better in the larger painting this was drawn from ("Comin' Through!" - http://marilynfenn.com/art/abstract/?titleid=490), as I think some even cooler brush accidents happened in that one, but this one is sweet, too.
For today's FirstFridayArtWalk, here is the first oil painting I've completed this year that I'm happy with. :)
It's also my first attempt to interpret my recent watercolor mini-painting series into an oil painting, and I've pushed myself in several other ways with this one, too. Perhaps a bit too much pushing for one painting, but I do like it and I'm ready to try another, having learned a few things though this work.
Forgive the slight sheen on this one. I will need to try and take a better photo later.
This work is a large painting made up of twenty 12″x12″ panels attached to a 4′ x 6′ sheet of cradled plywood. The first panel, “The Seed,” was the spark for the whole series, with each subsequent panel unfolding from an edge of the previous panel, yet with the freedom for each new panel to go in a different direction than the one before. (I only had one or two panels on my easel at a time (small space) ).
The idea behind this series was inspired by ecological succession, a natural sequential process in which there is a gradual supplanting of one community of life forms by another, each stage building upon the previous stage.
Some of the imagery in this piece is based on images from life, such as aerial images of river courses, pancake ice, and mud flats. You'll recognize some Hubble space images: a spiral galaxy, the Pleides, a quasar. Some of the panels are straight out of my imagination, and I'll leave the rest for you to decide.
The year 2006 represents a turning point in my long journey as a painter. While I had been painting representationally from the beginning, I had also toyed with attempting abstraction all along. Not too many were successful, however (it's harder than you may think; some of you know!).
But abstract paintings make my little heart go pitter-pat even more so than representational work, and I was determined to keep trying to find a way to paint my own good abstract paintings. This was an attempt in a series of (sadly) only two; should have done more along these lines. I had a commission for a representational Italian landscape just after doing these. This was also the year I rediscovered encaustic and started my series of paintings of tornadoes and nuclear bombs in encaustic.
Argh! Interruptions, and then I never seemed to get back to working this way.
So, here it is, a rare abstract watery piece for #Waterscapeartwednesday curated by +Terrill Welch
Still not ready to post new work, so here is a large painting I did in the studio after returning home from my 2002 Italy trip, based on the small study I showed yesterday. Unfortunately, there's a bit of glare in the photo below, and the painting has been sold, so this is the best shot I have of it.
A small sketch from a few years ago; this is based on a photo I took while touring the Ethnographic Museum in Rumšiškės, Lithuania, the town where my grandfather emigrated from, and where some of my family still live on a small farm.
I never met my grandfather, as he died from black lung when my mom was 13. He was a coal miner and had also been gassed fighting for the US in WWI. During my trip in 1993, I met his still surviving sister who lived on that farm in Rumšiškės. She became ill during my two-month stay in Lithuania, and died the day after I left. :(
It was so awesome to have met her, and my other relatives, though. This is just one of the many beautiful images from that trip, and so far, the only one I have painted.
Personally, I think this painting is a mess. I've painted it 3 or 4 different times, each time almost completely obliterating what was there before. I repainted it quickly for that art show in February (the show that is still continuing until who knows when?), but when my paintings do finally come home, this one is going in the rework pile.
Here's what I like: the colors, the thickness of the paint, some of the flow-y kind of shapes. There's a smidge of white paint applied with a palette knife in a previous incarnation kind of in the lower mid section that I've been attached to, but I may have to not worry about keeping that.
Here's what I don't like: the overall composition, the feeling of the painting. It never really became something. I'm sure I either didn't push it far enough, or I pushed it too far. I think the big flower in the middle on the right is demanding almost all of the attention, so I'm considering wiping it out. OTOH, I could just keep piling on the paint and pushing it around until it works, but it'd probably be helpful if I had a clear sense of a strong composition.
So let me have it; hit me with your best shot. Really, this painting embarrasses me so much, I almost didn't post it even for critique. (and wouldn't you know, a lot of people say they love it! Argh!).
Numero uno: +Terry Dyke (best husband ever, super nice guy, smartest man I've ever met, and awesomely talented thinker, writer, and a whole, whole bunch of groovy other things). Follow him; you won't be sorry (probably; standard disclaimers apply). ;)
Here are some of my other favorite G+ people, (in no particular order):
This is one of the few encaustic paintings of mine that still has a place hanging on one of my walls. It's full of beautiful little moments, if I do say so myself, and I take great pleasure nightly in looking at those little moments -- moments that can almost only be made with hot pigmented wax.
I'll probably get back to encaustics again after the weather cools down some around here (presently, we are still in the mid to upper 80's F). ;)
Finally finished getting our taxes ready for the accountant to work his magic, and I am now also almost finished reading an excellent book on colors (which ones are fugitive and so to be avoided and which are recommended to use)...just 4 more chapters. I'm taking notes, and plan to search through my tubes of paint and mark the not-to-be-used for serious work tubes. Dang! :(
I have been painting; some small oil paintings are in various states of not-quite-doneness, one 24" x 24" oil painting is coming along quite nicely, but surprisingly, and will take several more days, I think, and I have 3 sketches ready to paint as watercolors.
So, I thought I'd go ahead and finally share my 3rd painting from this year, which I haven't shown before. It's a bit busy, a combo of 2 things I've been exploring recently. I finally decided I like it after all. :)
Oh, I'm so glad I found these; I really was wondering what happened to the first one, which was a colored pencil study for a color woodcut that I never made. The second sketch was an ink study for a single-color (B/W) woodcut that I did make, which came out well. The third image was just an ink sketch of an in-progress painting in my tiny studio setup in the tiny house I shared with a roommate in 1988. I did complete two paintings like that in the sketch -- very colorful ones. :)
Today, I thought I'd share a set of paintings -- a study I did on location in a beautiful village in Tuscany, and then the large work I created from it later in the studio, based on the study plus photos. I've also included a shot of the study on location. :)
I have to admit to liking the study a little more; if I could go back in time, I would tell myself to loosen up already! Sigh!
They say it's your birthday, well, it's my birthday, too, yeah!
I was born on Queen Elizabeth's birthday. Happy Birthday to the Queen! And me! And a whole bunch of other cool folks. :)
I enter a new decade of life today. Auspicious.
The year I entered the last new decade, I bought my first and current house with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, left the corporate world forever (buh-bye!), spent almost a month in Italy, painting and looking at art, and at the end of the year, I started showing my art professionally and selling it. It was an extremely happy year!
Ten years before that, I graduated from art school, right at the end of the year. Another fabulous year that brought with it also a 2-month long trip to Russia and Lithuania -- the land of my ancestors, where I got to meet many cousins and my grandfather's sister. After that, I moved back to Austin again to get on with the business of paying for my education, and continuing to figure out where I was headed as a painter.
When I was 20, I left my parents' house and moved to Austin for the first time, entered the University of Texas, fell in love with this city, and with a few different guys (serially, though none "took").
My horoscope for today says: "You are at a significant turning point and you must...wipe the slate clean to free you from previous plans...[and] commit to giving one hundred percent until you reach your goals."
OTOH, my fortune cookie fortune says "Success is a journey, not a destination."
So, here's what I'm going to do. Eat breakfast, finish my coffee, and then head to my studio to spend the day painting. Party tonight with many good friends.
Continue to commit to becoming the best painter I can be. Try to work less as a web designer, but get paid more for the work I do.
And enjoy the ride. I think it's going to be a great decade! :)
I want to learn to love acrylics. I am primarily an oil painter -- I love the thickness of oil, the blendability, the beauty of the colors, and especially the open working time.
I started a new acrylic on canvas painting last night, and I'm pretty excited about trying this medium again. It seems to be going well, but we'll see how today's session fares.
So, to all my acrylic painter friends (especially you who have switched from oil), what is the one big tip you could give me to help me be successful this time? I should note, I am using Chroma Interactive acrylics on this painting, so I have a little more blending time than with regular acrylics...
Thanks in advance for your favorite tip! I'll be in the studio working, but will check in from time to time, so I hope some of you see this and can give me a pointer or two. Have a great Saturday!
Some of you may remember that about a month ago, I mentioned I was starting a new series that represents a slight (or maybe not so slight) change in direction.
I had found with the work I was trying to do that I was attempting to make new strides in several directions at once, and it turned out they weren't necessarily compatible directions!
For one, I wanted to emphasize the brushwork more, and find a way to make the brushstroke form the shape -- that they would become one, like the blood and bones of Chinese calligraphic strokes.
I also wanted to stretch my color decision-making process, in part by reducing the number of tubes of color I was using to perhaps between 6 tubes to no more than 8 or 10 (or 12) tubes. Well, you get the idea. This was partly a result of my color studies last month.
And the third major thing I wanted to do was to really push my own understanding of and conception of what makes a good and interesting non-objective composition.
I figured it would be easiest to work out all these ideas by painting in acrylic - a medium with which I have very little experience, but am learning to like for this purpose, at least.
So, for today's #firstfridayartwalk , I decided to go ahead and share with you the first successful acrylic painting sketch in this new direction, from those several weeks ago. It is sketchy and a bit thin on the paint, as I got where I was going in this painting with almost no struggle or rework at all! Amazingly enough. But I'm letting it stand as a record of my 1st successful attempt, plus, I fear if I try to "improve" it at all, I'll really just end up with something completely different. So it remains, as of this writing. :)
Anyway, I am loving this new exploration (dare I use that word?), and I love this painting! I don't have any clever titles for this series yet, so for now, the working title is:
In 1991, I was lucky enough to get a work scholarship to SAIC's Oxbow summer art camp, near the resort town of Saugatuck, Michigan -- where I cleaned all the toilets and showers in the camp before breakfast, and then got to spend the rest of the day in painting classes, and the evenings hanging around the campfires on the beach shooting the sh*t with other art students...and tossing back a few brews.
One day for a landscape painting class, I climbed up on top of the highest hill, set my easel up in the sand and started painting the lagoon which threaded through little tree-covered hills on its way to Lake Michigan.
A strong gust of wind tossed my painting into the sand, and there was nothing for it but to incorporate the now embedded sand into the painting, because there no way that sand was going to be released from the wet oil paint.
Turns out it makes a really cool surface on which to paint (though it sucks up the paint something fierce!). I wasn't happy with my initial results, though, so I completed this painting several years later, stylizing it with a bit of whimsy.
That's lake Michigan at the top of the picture, and a few times we canoed up the lagoon to watch the sunset and swim in the lake. It was a terrific experience!
10 years ago, my husband and I flew to Italy on Sept. 11 (2002, for the calendar-challenged). We were flying on buddy passes -- in other words on standby -- which meant we could get seats on Sept. 11, but not any other day in time for a painting workshop I was to attend.
It was a hard time to be traveling elsewhere in the world as an American, if you remember how much we were hated just a year after 9-11. We tried to stay low-key about it, and eventually people figured we were Canadian or British.
And just in case you think I forgot, my heart goes out to everybody who died and suffered that day, and everyone who died, was maimed or in any way hurt every day since then as a result of the wars we have waged in response. Oh, yeah, might as well throw in everyone who has died in any war or police action or airplane crash, car wreck or as a result of violence or illness. OK, this is getting out of hand, but you get the drift. (clearly, I have a few boundary issues).
While I'm working on some new studies that I'm not yet ready to show you, I thought I'd share one of my first abstract landscapes, from 2006, the year I decided to move away from representation. Not that I have been completely able to stay away from representation -- in 2006-07, I did about 20 paintings of tornadoes and 5 of nuclear bombs, and in 2011, I did 17 still lifes of toys, and in 2012, some drawings of vines, and well...the need to represent just seems to pop up every now and again.
But that said, this was one of 2 paintings in this series, which miraculously almost, but still quite haven't sold. They're hanging in one of our bathrooms, so I still get to enjoy them daily. Oddly enough, 7 years later, I'm still trying to figure out how I want to paint abstractly. :)
Starting this past week or two, I've been spending 2-3 hours every day going through boxes of who-knows-what from the attic. I just moved that pile of 24 boxes there from deep storage to an open space for sorting purposes. I think I'll start the sort tomorrow.
Then there's another pile of similar unknown stuff about the same size to sort through. :(
I think this mess happened because I had a request for an interview with the Weather Channel (regarding my tornado paintings), and they wanted to meet with me at my home studio slightly before we got all the remodeling of the attic done 3 years ago, so we scrambled and stuffed things willy-nilly everywhere, and haven't touched any of it since!
I am determined we will finish finishing out the attic this year! And I'm very excited about it, too! A place to sew, a place to read, a place to store portfolios of art on paper, a little library even...
I finally finished the watercolor I was working on last weekend. I'm not sure what to think of it. I decided to try a new approach, a sort of accidental approach, wherein I splattered a few drops of paint on the dry paper, then quickly brushed them into a shape (hence, connecting the dots). It was an interesting way to discover new shapes, but I'm not completely comfortable with the shapes thus discovered. And then, of course, I embellished. :)
There are quite a few things I like about it, even the color palette, which is a bit intense, but...well, O.K. FWIW.
While I've disappeared into the world of web work during the day, I am still painting nights and weekends, and my latest painting is just taking forever! Two weeks of bits and pieces of time working in a mostly new technique for me on a 36" x 36" canvas (palette knife with Dorland's cold wax medium). I'm hoping it will come together before Friday Art Critique...
Thanks to my Irish grandma, a wee bit of a wild lass whom I only met once or twice. She may have given me the genetic gift of art, as in her tamer moments, she hand-painted china, and very beautifully at that. So I thought I'd share one of my many green paintings with you for St. Patrick's Day. This one has a great title for today, too:
This was apparently my 9th (not) daily drawing from 2011, which was also not 100% successful -- a little doodle in ink, watercolor and possibly acrylic on cold press watercolor paper. I don't like cold-press paper; it's too textured for these little paintings. I was searching for forms and visual language at a very small scale.
I hate not having my name on my painting, in case someone notices it somewhere and wants to know who painted it. But, my signature, which I usually reduce to just M. Fenn, always feels like it ruins the painting. And I find it really hard to paint in a way that is not too obtrusive, and not too clumsy. A friend mentioned "oil pens" that she said you can get at Jerry's, but I've never seen such a thing, and can't find them online.
What do y'all do?
I may have just finished this painting, maybe. Only a little tweakage since last posting it: a bit more paint, a few less objects. Now I need to sign it, but where, and how?
A day late for the Easter bunny, here is a white on white painting I did during a spate of small still lifes of toys last fall. This was lit with a warm light casting cool shadows to the left, and a cool light casting warm shadows to the right. My husband is responsible for the title. ;)
From the painters among you, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what makes your best palette.
Below are four of mine, the 1st 3 retired, due to too much gouging of the wood--which happened when I would scrape down the dried paint in my attempts to obtain a smoother surface for new paint--plus they're just too small!
The 4th is a large (18x24") plastic palette I used for years a while back, then sanded down. I may use it again, because I love having a large palette, but in the end I really prefer a glass palette. It's so much easier to obtain a clean surface to begin anew every day.
I'm thinking of ordering the glass cutting board shown below in the 5th picture, it's a little smaller than I'd like, but so is my studio and my painting table that it needs to fit on. But it would work in my space very well, I think.
Well, I promised +Emily Rose a story from art school, and since this is the first day I am participating in +Friday Art Critique, I thought the following tidbit might be kind of fun to read.
In the summer of 1991, I was lucky enough to get to go to SAIC's Oxbow Art Camp near Saugatuck, Michigan on a work scholarship (my job was to clean all the bathrooms daily).
One of the classes I took there was "Figure in the Landscape" with the wonderful, but gruff, figure painting teacher, Dan Gustin. Susannah Coffey was supposed to be co-teaching it, but didn't (curses!), but we had a few prestigious guest artists attend.
So, after a morning session painting models in the gorgeous landscape, we gathered for a critique with Professor Gustin and a guest artist from Yale, I think it was. I presented my morning's work, including the following painting, which I hadn't had time to finish.
Before I had much of a chance to say anything about this work, the two teachers got into quite an animated and lengthy discussion about the brilliance of the way I had painted the scarf on the model's head as a flat yellow triangle, thus introducing abstraction into an otherwise representational painting, and referring to the whole art history of the 20th century, or some other such high-falutin interpretation.
I couldn't get a word in edgewise to tell them I just hadn't finished painting her scarf!
However, it made for a lively debate between these two brilliant men (I'll refrain from mentioning what this practice is sometimes otherwise known as). ;)
P.S. +bb blacha posted a link yesterday to a review on Two Coats of Paint about an entire book on art critiques written by another SAIC professor, James Elkins (I always seem to be reading one of his delightful books) -- particularly art critiques at SAIC, so it should be an entertaining read: http://goo.gl/Rz047
More ancient work: in figure drawing classes, we often drew skeletons; in this case, within the body from a source of my choosing (I chose a photograph), though sometimes we also drew the skeleton from live models. In either case, you have to figure out how the skeleton fits under all that skin and muscle.
My favorite quote of the night, about one of my paintings (currently titled "Bonnard's Boudoir;" may have to change it)! It was meant as a compliment, and I took it as one. I love it! That's exactly what I want to paint: almost something!
Our opening was tonight, and it was so much fun! Why don't I do this more often? I always have such a good time, and there was a great and interesting crowd there tonight; artists, authors, musicians, old and young and in-between.
Saw old friends, made new ones. Even got a couple more artists who want websites from me (though that was the furthest thing from my mind tonight)!
But best of all, there seemed to be quite a bit of genuinely positive interest in my work. Very gratifying! :)
I was having so much fun, I almost forgot to take pictures, so these are all I got.
Here's the next piece I did after the one I posted yesterday. I was aiming to create a painting with some nice space in it (and I do like the space here). Then it got goofy. And I let my husband convince me to stop where I did. Not sure if I should have. But here it is.