Sunday, February 18, 2018

Repetition of a Theme

Sixteen small paintings, some 8" X 8" X 2", some 10" X 10" X 2", all started with paper over the wood panel to give texture. That texture dictated much of the detail, either on the layered surface of the "ground" or by suggesting the trunks and limbs of the trees. 

The abstraction comes from many different colored layers of acrylic paint applied with a scraper. The trees are done with a sharp charcoal pencil. Oil pastel dragged over the texture adds highlights.

That's it! I have to stop painting now and get everything packed up for the show!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Six more larger paintings for the ACC show

These are all 40" X 40 " X 2", acrylic and mixed media with paper collage.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Some new paintings with collage for ACC

These paintings will go with me to Baltimore next week for the American Craft Council show. All are acrylic with charcoal, some oil pastel and a lot of collage on wood panels.

20" X 20" X 2" 

 20" X 20" X 2" 

 20" X 20" X 2" 

 20" X 20" X 2" 

 20" X 20" X 2" 

20" X 20" X 2" 

24" X 24" X 2" 

                                                              24" X 48" X 2" diptych

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Cold Wax and Oil - A Workshop with Cindy Walton

A few months ago my friend Fran Skiles (if you want to see some fabulous paintings, look at her website!) showed me the book Cold Wax Medium by Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin. It is a gorgeous book and I was immediately interested in this technique I'd never heard of. 

I have been asked more than once if my work is encaustic, I guess because of the layering I do with acrylic paint. The necessity of having a pot of hot wax in the studio had always kept me from experimenting with it. It seemed like a lot of trouble. But with cold wax, it appeared, one could get the intriguing layers without the fuss. 

On line I found a workshop in cold wax medium and oil with Cindy Walton (another great website to check out) in Asheville and signed up. 

The first part of the process was to mix oil paint with the cold wax and apply it to wood panels with a squeegee, let it get somewhat dry and repeat using another color. This resulted in a substantial thickness of wax on the surface of the board. 

By the end of that first day I knew I was in trouble. I couldn't stand not being able to get to the surface of the work. I had a visceral reaction to the thick wax buildup. Everyone else in the class was happily creating rich, colorful layers. I ended up scraping all my wax off and getting enormous relief from being able to feel the the hard wood of the panel again. 

I could then draw and score and scrape and apply thinner layers of wax with which I found my comfort zone. The wax does lend itself to line and I used pencils, pins and sticks to draw into the thin layers. I was frustrated that those lines were not as strong as I wanted them to be, being used to the black line of charcoal over my acrylic paintings. If I were to continue to experiment with this medium I would start with black gesso under the wax so that drawn lines would appear darker. 

When I got the pieces home I did more to them. I added bits of paper collage using my collection of thin papers I've painted and stamped. Tissue, deli paper and wax paper are a good weight to use with this medium and adhere well. The fact that the paintings had sat for a few days helped with this, too. The wax was just tacky enough to accept the collage without being too soft. I was able to apply a very thin coat of the cold wax to the backs of the pieces of paper and burnish them into place. I also added details with straight oil paint over the wax. Because I'm used to painting with acrylic I found painting details with oils challenging, so I didn't do very much of that or anything very complicated. Of course I couldn't use the acrylic over the oil, but you knew that. (Oil over acrylic is fine, but never acrylic over oil unless you want your painting to peel off.) 

So here they are. All 12" X 12" X 2". Materials used: oil paint, cold wax medium, charcoal, pastel (Incidentally, when using powdered pigment it is best to put a non-stick paper over the surface and burnish the powder into the wax.), painted deli and wax paper, tea bags

This was the last one in the bunch to work on. I was getting ready to add paper collage and accents of oil paint when Judy happened to walk into the studio to see how things were going on these new pieces. She talked me into leaving this one as is, saying it was in no need of any more enhancement. It was tough, but I complied!

Friday, December 22, 2017

A Diptych for Jill and Tim, shown in stages of progress

This painting was done to fulfill a commission from a lovely man, Tim, in Arizona, as a Christmas present for his wife, Jill. Although I've never met Tim in person, I call him a lovely man because everything about our correspondence through emails to complete this project was so very nice. 
I let him know he was the "professional artist's dream of a customer".

It is a diptych and measures a total of 36" high by 48" wide. It is on 2" deep wood panels and the images wrap around the sides. They have the option of hanging it as it is shown here or allowing for a gap between the panels. It would work either way.

Tim and Jill had seen my work in a gallery in Massachusetts over the summer. When they returned home from traveling they contacted me and sent photos of the area in their living room where they wanted the piece to hang. They also listed two paintings they found on my website that they were drawn to. And they suggested colors that would match their room. 

Having such good guidance made my job easy, particularly knowing what other paintings of mine caught their eyes; Taking Flight and Light Marks in the Sky (shown at the bottom of this post). I was able to take elements from both of the other paintings and combine them. 

Light Marks in the Sky has a circle as a main part of the composition so I started there. 

Rice paper was torn into arc-shaped pieces and applied with matte medium,
following the edge of the circle.

A layer of yellow ochre was applied with a brush first, then scraped flat to accentuate the surface detail. I used a spatula to spread the paint, getting it into the creases and highlighting the top edges.
I broke the handle of the spatula in my enthusiasm! I also used it to score lines into the paint.

The panels had been gessoed and scored with the end of a brush before the gesso dried to give the surface interest. Those lines show up under the spatula as well as the texture and edges of the rice paper. You can also see the ripples in the Baltic birch plywood from the planer, which I don't mind.

Again the spatula is used to add a horizon line of quinacridone gold 
with accents of dark grey charcoal. 

Referring to Taking Flight this time I added the silhouette of the birds 
and the dark shape at the bottom right.

The painting is covered over again with white, using the brush to apply the paint and the spatula to spread it. I did this to give the surface more interest through the layering.

A stamp I made and a roller are used to bring the top of the painting out again, 
creating another layer.

Yellow ochre mixed with white over the top. Another layer.

The birds are brought out again by applying paint and scraping for texture. Another of my stamps over the painted surface brings back that form at the bottom. 
The original circle is accentuated with  a smear of charcoal.

Trees and details are added with charcoal pencil and paint.

Here are the two paintings that I looked at for inspiration and combined for Jill's painting which I gave the title Reflection and Intention. Tim and Jill will understand why.

Light Marks in the Sky

Taking Flight