Thursday, May 23, 2013

Old paper, The Written Word and Fussbudget

encaustic and paper on birch 6 x 6
There are a lot of old books in this world.  Lots of old paper and the written word.  I've never really been one to "deface" a book..  Yet, it seems such a shame to let all that good paper go to waste.  I stumbled upon a "vintage" dictionary - well, one from the early 70's.  I guess that does count as vintage - or at least all most.  It does have a nice ring to it - vintage.  Seems to add a little extra being that its old and salvaged.  I do love vintage paper in artwork.  And,  I do love books, and words and the randomness it brings when a single page is pulled out of context and used. I love how the words show through in places adding an extra element. 

Wax lends itself pretty well to paper - especially if I mount it on a birch panel.  I've been getting some new small works together for my upcoming show for June.  I needed to shake it up a bit and try some new things.  I've noticed lots of really cool artwork done on old book pages and decided to to use this as inspiration.  Fussbudget here is one of a few that I have dreamed up lately.  Its been fun to just let go and paint whatever subject comes to mind.  Using the old book pages seems to get my imagination going and release any seriousness that I've been feeling lately.  I really like the finished/unfinished, see through aspect of these - the partial and hidden view kind of piques the interest and makes you linger just a little bit longer.  Fun, I think.

I'm sorry I missed the party last week.  Too much on the plate - and overflowing for the next couple of weeks, I'm afraid.  I'll do my best to cruise the blogs and see all the amazing art out in the world.  Party on! and Keep on the creative trail :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New Favorites - Art Brushes for Encaustic

An artist's tools are the most important part of the game aside from imagination, I think.  Good brushes for painting are a must.  I'm a fine line girl.  I need the ability to lay in some delicate line in my paintings.  For wax, its challenging and I've been struggling with the proper tools to use for getting in the small stuff in the style of painting that I like to do.

I've discovered some new brushes that - for wax - are really good.  They are round camel hair and super cheap - which is a bonus.  They keep their point, they hold the wax well and they stay warm for a wee longer than other brushes..  I found them at Artist and Craftsman in the U District in Seattle.  I also LOVE these brushes for the bigger areas - here.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Commuting, Birds and The Fall

encaustic 6 x 8

I live on the commuter highway - the flight path for the crows.  At dawn they head to the south.  From where they start, I really have no idea.  Some say its near the water tower, some say - north, somewhere.  But, its true, its like they go to work in the morning - every day.  Depending on the air currents, they sometimes fly right over our house and sometimes way out over the lake.  Sometimes very high and sometimes very low.  I'm talking hundreds of them - a staggering amount.  I have seen a cluster of them take a rest on their commute.  Hundreds of crows hanging in the town center parking lot all talking at once.  Its loud and raucous and its an incredible feeling to stand among them and just listen. 
Then, at dusk, they return home.  They fly by us again, heading north.  In the evenings, they are playful - dipping and diving and playing along their journey home.  In the mornings - its all business. 
I find the crows to be so interesting.  I like them.  Many don't.  They are naughty, really naughty.  We all have crow stories to tell.  Yet, I still like them.  There just is something about them that intrigues me. 

Its a heart breaker to tell this story - My husband and I found Mama and her nest gone this past Sunday morning.  I did find the nest at the base of the Hanoki.  It was a tragedy.  Four baby birds all dead from the fall of the nest.  So sad.  We're not sure what happened.  I don't think it was a predator, nor a crow.  It wasn't windy that night.  We think that maybe the nest just fell.  That it wasn't secure in its place.  I did see Mama again.  Its like she came to say goodbye to us.  She was sitting on the neighbor's railing.  She called to us so we would see her.  She fluffed up her feathers and shook her self.  Then she flew away, leaving our life as fast as she came into it. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Encaustic on Glass, Faces and Warm Ups

encaustic on glass
 I'm trying to loosen up..... again.  I get a leeettle too tight and fussy when it comes to painting.  So, I've come to trying to be good about doing warm ups.   I remember way back in gym class and in sports - we'd do warm ups.  We run a little, jumping jacks, sprints - whatever - but the idea is to get the blood flowing and circulating before diving into the nitty gritty of a workout.

After taking the painting faces in wax class with Charlie Levin - I got really intrigued by Charlie's forte which is painting wax on glass or Plexiglas.  Honestly - I wouldn't have thought it could be done.  So, I, naturally being just my pure inquisitive anal self - had to give it a try.  I had this piece of glass and decided to take a run at it.  Well, its hard - this is like my 25th try or so.  I use it as my warm up.  I scrape off the old wax face with a razor blade and give it another go.  Its hard because not only am I trying to paint a face but... I have to think backwards.  What goes down first on the glass is what you see as the top layer on the other side of the glass..  so, painting "inside out" is what Charlie says.  And it is... highlights and the things you want to see "on top" go on the glass first and then layering from there backwards.  In this picture, you are looking at the side of the glass that there physically is no wax - it is all built up on the back side.  The luminosity is magical.

I kinda liked this last face on the glass, so I stopped doing that warm up for a while, so I could enjoy what I had created for a short time, before scrapping it off and going again.  So, I broke out the oil paints and did this little number.  I'm trying new colors and new ways and i seem to be able to figure things out better using oils rather than wax.  Although, this one reealllly doesn't qualify as a warm up because it took too long - lost ground on that leeeeettle too tight and fussy thing - but i like her.  Now to figure out how to translate what I did here to wax.  Need more warm ups.

oil on hardboard
Happy Friday - and a Mama update - She's still there - but now she is perching on the side of her nest rather than all hunkered down inside... I'm wondering if that means we have some hatching going on :)  Will keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mama, Perseverance and Trust

This is Mama.  She is a sweet Robin that has built her nest in our Hanoki Cypress along side of our house.  She would have gone unnoticed except that I happened to see her fly into her secret hideaway one day.  I've been checking on her here and there.  Trying not to be too obtrusive.  I don't want to scare her.  I want to see her raise her little babies in the protection of these limbs.
Mama had a test these past couple of days.  We had some roof work done - power washing and repair work.  People working above her head.   I talked to her.  I told her to trust and to know that she was safe there.  The workers wouldn't harm her and she just needed to know that it would all be OK.  I don't really speak bird, but I thought at least I'd give it a try on the off chance she would understand at some level that I was offering some help and advice.
She did it - she persevered - she stayed and hunkered down. I was really worried that she would abandon ship with all the commotion. No doubt she was scared, yet determined not to leave her little family to be.  I'm pretty proud of this sweet little Mama.  We should be seeing babies pretty soon :)
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