Friday, November 30, 2012

Confidence, Cures for Being an Amature, and Paint it Like You Mean It

encaustic on birch 6x6
I was cruising around youtube the other day and I came across this guy.  I liked what he had to say - so I am sharing it here.

I know that I get a wee tentative when I paint.  I'm always questioning myself if this is right, or that is the right shape or color - or whatever.   I'm hesitant about brush strokes.  I don't use enough paint.  In doing that I have a lot of rework, because I don't believe in my decisions, and many of my paintings look kinda wishy-washy.  These are not the ones you see here.  They are the ones that get scraped back and end up in my recycled wax box. :)  I'm not this way in my real life, so why am I this way when I paint?  Not sure, but I know its time turn the corner and to walk the walk. 

In painting - lets just put it this way and cut to the chase - paint it like you mean it - really.  Be decisive, be confident.   In the end, its art. Its your interpretation.  Its how you see it.  Paint on!  Happy Friday everyone!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Orange on Monday, Books and the Red Breasted Nuthatch

the Nuthatch
detail from a larger painting
The Reader
Sometimes things have a funny way of coming together.   I've been wanting a reference book on birds.  I've been thinking on it pretty hard, actually.  But, for whatever reason, I haven't had time to stop at Barnes and Nobel to look there for what I was thinking I was wanting. 
On the way home last week, I did stop... finally.  But not at B&N.  I made a stop at a Goodwill store that I pass by regularly.  No reason, to stop there - other than to look through their books.  There it was - Book of North American Birds.  A beautiful book that had been passed on - unused. 
There were some other books that I couldn't pass up.  One is a first edition, signed by the author 1918.  Another is a home handyman guide that has pressed flowers between the pages.  The last, another that had news clippings tucked into the pages - all dated from the 50's.  Then to top it off... I received a $2 bill in change.  So, proof in the pudding - yes... thoughts become things.

This sweet little birdie is a red breasted nuthatch.  I don't see them where I live.  Yet, he just had to be part of this larger painting that you can see here.  His sweet little belly is orange even though he is called red breasted.  Orange is my favorite color and favorite color is also the color prompt at Fearless and Fly.  I actually believe its the happiest color going.  How can one not smile, while thinking of orange?  Oranges, orange popcicles, orange sunrises and sunsets.  See what I mean?

Today I am also linking in with Mandarin Orange Monday.  Thanks to Lori at LoriKart for hosting.  You can see what others are up to on this Monday, by hitting the button below.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Giving Thanks, Encaustic Portrait, The Reader

The Reader
encaustic on birch 18x24
Its Thanksgiving in the US.  Yesterday, actually.  It is the day that families gather, a large meal is shared and for one day we all give thanks for the wonderful things that have gone throughout the year.  Today, thank you to those of you who provide great inspiration in your artwork every Friday.  Thank you also, for your kind comments that help fuel the fire in us all and keep us going creatively.  Its been a good year.
I thought it would be fun to show you the process of creating the painting above.  She is the painting that I talked about in this post - she is the "another version" of the portrait there.  Needless to say she is dramatically different then her beginnings. 

She started like a Picasso on a panel made with Flora Bowley's style.  She then got mad, lost weight, then gained weight, she even looked like she ate something sour...  I got kinda frustrated at her at one point and decided to melt her hair.  That was the tipping point when my husband decided she was "way to scary" and that he didn't like her.  It was about Halloween.  So she sat for a few weeks, until it came to me what to do to set her right, soften her and make her way less scary.  Over the past two days she went from sour grapes in the bottom right corner to The Reader, above. 
She needs a few corrections here and there, but for the most part, she is done.  I'll work a little more on her fingers and finalize her hair and I see now, I need to fix the corner of her mouth..  but, I am promising myself I will not fall into the spin cycle.  
Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Friday.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Spin Cycle, Practice and Face Painting

I've been practicing.  I feel that I know enough to be dangerous, but not enough to bring it home over the finish line.  I'm pretty good up to the 80-85% mark, then I'm a little wobbly after that.  So, I decided to try some warm ups this week and focus on trying to keep a fresh look + trying some other head positions.  I'm a little unsure on using warms and cools in colors and how the shadows actually fall.  As I go through this realm of unsurity, before I know it I've dropped into the endless spin cycle - making corrections here, then there, and then another round, again and again.  So, these studies have rules... fast (or at least faster), few corrections and decisive strokes with fresh color.

I'm still working on the swimmers from last week.  I was actually kinda hoping to be done with them by now.  I can say one is done.  I have declared her complete.  I had really thought that two were done.  But, now that I have revisited, I think there are a few more corrections to do.  This thought process, by the way, is actually the kiss of death because opens the door to fall into the dreaded spin cycle. When I get to that spot where I'm so close to being done.... just like 10-15% left to go... I start over working things and over thinking, and over analyzing.   I make a correction here, that throws things off and leads to a correction there and before you know it - I have made a lot of little corrections.   In wax, like any other paint - mud is inevitable when we churn and aren't decisive in our choices of color and stroke.  Colors build up and layers build up that end up losing the fresh clarity of confidence.  So, in between the spin cycle of working on the swimmers, I'm doing these small studies.  They are an attempt to get over the finish line with clear colors and confidence without the churn of overworking things.   Practice, practice, practice... its true.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Elles: Pompidou at SAM, Women in Art and Seattle Shopping

I went to the Elles: Pompidou exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum, yesterday.  It is a gathering more than 130 works of art by 75 Women artists that rocked the art world from 1907-2007.  It was not only paintings, but video, sculpture, photography and installations.   I can't say that every piece there resonated with me, nor can I say that I really loved any one piece.  Yet, the thought that some of this art was produced in the 1950's and it is still compelling today is remarkable.  These women walked up to the edge, looked over, and with no fear they leaped.  They put themselves out there in ways that were remarkable for the times.  They created daring and creative works that challenged the stereotype of the art world.  They showed humor, sensuality and innovation through modern and contemporary art.  I left there not sure whether I liked it, or didn't like it.  But I do know that I keep thinking about it and the amazing courage these women artists demonstrated. They pushed the envelope of women in art in a provocative and thought provoking way.  There was no internet, no connectivity, no social media in their time.  They just did what they did.  They were compelled to make a statement for women through art and they broke the trail for the rest of us to follow.
Artists include Sonia Delaunay, Frida Kahlo, Dora Maar, Diane Arbus, Marina Abramović, Louise Bourgeois, Atsuko Tanaka, Cindy Sherman, Sophie Calle, Hannah Wilke, Nan Goldin and Tania Bruguera, among others.

If you are up for a bit of shopping after leaving the SAM, there are some stops that make the day complete.  I love beautiful paper as much as I love beautiful fabric.  Often, I have no idea what to do with it, but I love looking.  de Medici Ming is a sweet find in Seattle.  If you love fine papers you need to go here.  Its across University Street towards the south of the SAM.  Its a tiny little place, but packed with pure paper goodness.  After you leave paper heaven, continue heading south to Spring street.  On the corner you will find Watson Kennedy.  Its no wonder they won an award for outstanding visual retailing.  Plan an hour here.  It will take you that long to make one lap through and see all the eye candy.  Gifts galore and amazing merchandise to fill your senses.  Next door you will find Far4, which is a unique small little boutique with interesting selection of porcelain pieces as well as a collection of local artist's work and beautiful glass pieces.  The sweet white pomegranate above is from their fruit and vegetable collection.

Also, one of my favorite local encaustic artists, Stephanie Hargrave is showing for the month of November at the Partrica Rovzar Gallery.  The gallery on the corner of University Street and Second, across from the SAM.

Hungry?  TASTE, the restaurant at the SAM is the perfect choice. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Style Observations, Variations and Arriving in the Middle

The Swimmers Series
Encaustic on 4 12x24 Birch Panels

The joy of being an Artist is when we go off on a tangent and paint several of something - its a series.  I've been working on these 4 this week.  They are actually 4 separate paintings.  Its been an interesting process to work up four similar paintings together.  I've never done this before.  I have lots of open paintings in various stages in my studio (seven to be exact), but I've not worked four of the same before in variation.  I decided to give it a try based on some of the comments from last week, where my fellow PPFrs, actually do work up variations of one subject.
What's been interesting is how these swimmers have morphed.  The boy on the left was the first one.  He is fresh, kinda rustic and not overworked... at all.  They've been worked simultaneously and all started out looking kinda  like him.  The next girl until about an hour ago, had a similar look to her friend on the left.  Then she morphed and skewed away from that style crossed over to be more like the others.  The next girl, she has had 5 different faces and two different bodies.  I had a body that I liked, but after the first face went awry, I couldn't get a replacement face to work.  I learned that face and body are a unit.  Either they work as a whole together or I need to start over in total not in parts.  What's interesting is that she has looked like the same girl in the face every time.  I guess she wanted to show up regardless of what body she was on. 

The boy on the far right had gotten a bit overworked in the face, but his hands are still at a good stage... so, what to do - based on the learning's of the girl to his left, do I keep working the face and risk overworking it or do I start all over again?  Needless to say... he is sitting for the moment, while I decide what to do.  I'm actually a salvager, so I'm sure I'll take at least one more run at him to keep those hands.  My favorite is the boy on the far left and I've been reluctant to work on him at all and just leaving him as he originally showed up.   He is actually based on the style of a German artist. 

This has been such an interesting lesson in style and how it seems I want or need to paint.  The more I try to duplicate the style of the one on the left - the more they end up away from that and settling into, I guess where they should be.  They are teaching me that my style and voice show through.  And no matter if I try to paint in someone else's style, my own style is going to find a way to override.  I used to find this kind of frustrating.  I haven't been a fan of this style I have.  But, the more I paint, the more the style is refining and becoming something I do like. I have to thank Flora Bowley for helping to free up my thinking.  Finally, I'm at the point where  I am embracing my style rather than fighting it.  It's taken a while, I don't know if any of you have found this to be true on your artful journey.

This foursome isn't meant to be too realistic, because for me that adds too much pressure and a load of expectations.  So here they are... in the middle.  They still need some work to be finished up.  I need to figure out the bodies.  So more work, more discovery, more learning.   Happy Friday! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

FILM26:: W is for......

Welcome to November and the letter W for FILM26.
I have my letter tile photos complete, but alas... I'm a little behind on the W photos as my muse.   I'll be playing a bit of catch up over the next letters and weeks as I wrap up this project.  So, stay tuned for more letter photos before the end of the year.
Me and W
I didn't forget about V... I just got a bit behind.

Me and V
And.. for those of you who are interested..  the 21 Day Meditiation challenge over at Deepak Chopra's place started today.  Its not too late to join in.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Portrait Painting, Baby Steps and Conga LInes

Baby steps can sometimes seem like a penance that we have to pay, a necessary discipline in getting from A to B.  Yes, forward progress but slow going with these little tiny steps.  It seems to take forever to get where we are going.  Where's the leaps and bounds?

So what if we shake this concept?  What if we re-frame baby steps as dance steps in life's conga line?  A place where we can shake and move our bodies to the beat of the music, dance all night and have fun following the line and where it leads.

Conga lines are fun.  They are fueled with joy and music and yes, little steps in rhythm to the beat.  There are whoops and hollers, bodies swaying and lots of color and awesome music.
What if we view baby steps in this way rather than as... well, baby steps. 

I haven't done a portrait for a while and was wanting to give it a try with my new painting technique.  Here's the first run at it.  For some reason when it comes to faces I have trouble with adding drama.  I get all worried and fearful of dark darks and light lights.  I stall and always back pedal to some medium ground.  Yet, I so admire the high drama portraits like those of Jeff Schaller

I don't know what I am looking for in this regard to make it more like hot chili peppers rather than plain white rice.  But, I'm taking another run at this same girl and am currently working on another version of this portrait- which I am trying really hard to be brave and add drama.  She's not ready to show yet but I feel I am making progress toward some unknown goal of - "the perfect style".  baby steps in the right direction - or perhaps fun hip hop, conga steps that lead to some big drama, changes, and abandon to the wind and courage in creativity.  Hmmmmm.. do you hear the music?  do you sense a hand reaching out for you join in?  I do.  I'm up and I'm in the conga line dancing my baby steps and having fun as I follow where ever this line leads me.

Thoughts and prayers for those that have been affected by Sandy. 
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