Sunday, February 28, 2010

Say Something

Say Something
Mixed Media
I'm posting one more from this series and then I'll get back to showing you the hubcap (which is almost done). Here you see a portion of a face and a plastic clothes hanger - you may not notice at first but look at the lower right corner. I'm going to leave it at that and let you take from it what you will. The media included in this one are acrylic, handmade paper and a plastic hanger.
So...... say something.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Myth of Perfection

Myth of Perfection
Mixed media on canvas

Good morning! It's another chilly start in the south. I've got a few minutes before heading off to work today so I thought I'd share another piece in the Body of Work series. This one is called Myth of Perfection. I'll go back to the altered book later and show you some more pages from that but I thought bringing out the canvases would be nice.

I think the words on the canvas pretty much say it all. Isn't perfection what we're supposed to be striving for? I know women understand this pressure to look perfect. Just look at the women's fashion magazines and the airbrushed models. Who in the world could possibly live up to those standards? I truly think these magazines are a bad influence on young women. They send a damaging message - you're not okay. As we get older we add more things to the list of things to be perfect at - raising kids, careers, housekeeping and caring for elderly parents. We put so much pressure on ourselves - yes, there's the outside influences but we allow those influences to push us to the point of extremes. There's nothing wrong with having high standards but there has to be some sanity thrown in there too, some feeling of it's okay if everything is not exactly perfect. It's okay to let the less important things sit for a while so we can sit for a while and be at peace.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Body of Work

Ok, this is totally different. This is not the abstract work that I usually do, or the landscape work that I enjoy doing. This is something that started a couple of years ago even though I haven't shared it until now.

In my late 40's I started thinking about where I am and where I'm going, what's expected of me as a female, what's important in my life. Maybe that's just the mid-life thing talking. Maybe it's the recent experience I've had with cancer that's adding to the conversation and giving me the feeling that's it's time to pull these pieces out of the closet and give them exposure. Maybe it's just that I'm in my 50's now. I thought about the things that women have done to themselves and to the other females in their lives over the course of centuries, from foot binding to corset wearing to plastic surgery. Things done for the sake of image, societal standing and financial survival. We did what we had to do. Do we still have to do these things? Have we evolved beyond this stage? Maybe, maybe not...

This 2-page spread in the book is about medical tourism.... these are actual vacation packages. Do you realize you can go on a cruise and have a tummy tuck and facelift at the same time?

So these thoughts turned into a book. Not your usual kind of book - this was an old book that was painted and collaged into a new work. I had seen some people doing altered books and I was fascinated by them. I love books so my first thought was - SACRILEGE! How can you do these things to a book? But then I thought.... what's wrong with transforming a discarded thing into a work of art. I found the process interesting, thought provoking, creative and challenging. Each 2 page spread became a work of art with a different story all related to the same theme. Then as the images and thoughts developed I started working on canvases that related to the book theme. In coming posts I'll show you some of those canvases. This has now turned into a series of works based on this same theme - women and body image.

As women, what are your thoughts on this issue? Ok, you're not all female out there so as a human what are your thoughts?


Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday morning quickie

Hi, Just thought I'd post the progress on the hubcap. Now this is not the same side of the hubcap as the previous picture. The other side still has the first layer of green on it. I decided to do both sides to make it reversible. This side is almost done, will post the other side later in the week when I have time to work on it. This is going to be a pretty busy week so I'm not sure how much I'll be painting or blogging.

Off I go....see you at Red Swan,

Friday, February 19, 2010

Yesterday's Progress

It was a good productive day in the studio yesterday. Remember the hubcap? Back to work on that. Amazing Hubby sandblasted it for me and then I gave it a primer coat. Next was a coat of gesso, a layer of crumpled tissue paper and a thin layer of acrylic paint. We'll see where it goes from here.

While layers of the hubcap were drying I worked on a new canvas - this one 48x48. It takes up quite a chunk of space in the studio! I had to work flat for the first layer of texture so I had it on the dining room table for a couple of days. The rest of the painting can be worked on the easel. At the top of the photo you can see where I'm putting in the lines for the geometric shapes.

Today I'm at Red Swan all day so I'll get back to the studio over the weekend. Hope you're having fun and TGIF!

BTW..... if you're interested in taking our workshop next month, send us an email and we'll get a registration form to you.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Acrylic Textures Workshop

Good morning people! I'm thrilled to announce ~ it's Thursday! I love Thursdays, it's studio day. I'm actually here to announce that we have a workshop coming up so you can mark your calendars. We're doing a half-day workshop on acrylic textures. Work on canvas with acrylic mediums to achieve exciting textures and color patterns. In this workshop you will learn about texture mediums and how to use them in an archival way with acrylic paint on canvas. Paint abstractly or use textures to enhance your realistic work. Do you like palette knife painting? Collage or assemblage? Interested in the look of encaustic painting? Just love texture? Then this workshop is for you. Once you learn these skills, the possibilities are endless!

Join us Sunday, March 21st from 1-5 at Red Swan Paint & Art . They are located at 2730 NE 14th St in the Oakbrook Plaza. The cost of the workshop is 45.00 and we'll be providing some of the supplies. When you sign up you'll get a list of the supplies to bring. Contact us for more info.

Time to paint,

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Waxwings and Brad Pitt

Saturday morning Robins

Sunday morning Waxwings

It's been a busy few days. The last 2 days were long ones at work and of course there's the Olympics to be watched in the evening. The weekend was great! I hope you all had a nice Valentine's day. Amazing Hubby and I spent the day watching birds and movies. First the happy little birds and then Inglourious Basterds - interesting combo.

I think our bird watching has been much improved by the frigid weather up north. Yes, I know the pictures are crummy but I had so much fun watching these guys over the weekend I just had to share. Saturday morning the commotion outside was the robins. This isn't the first time they've been to visit but it's the first time they found the bathing facility. Sunday morning it was even busier out there. The bath sits between 2 trees and these Cedar Waxwings - hundreds of them - had a freeway going between them with occasional rest stops. They completely cleaned the berries off the one tree. I'd never seen the Waxwings before even though their territory does come this far south. They're pretty little things. Both mornings all I could do was grab the little camera and park myself at the window. I would've loved to have the big camera set up on the tripod outside to really capture them but if I tried to set anything up it would've scared them off.

Anyway, that was my little wildlife excitement for the weekend. Today, I teach art class and then I'm in the studio til Friday morning - can't wait! I'll be starting the hubcap painting this week along with a 48x48 abstract. I'll keep you posted.

Have a great day,

Saturday, February 13, 2010

More layers

Mosaic 4
More layers, more layers, more layers. It was time to zero in on the colorful shapes and tone down the others. I woke up this morning and just didn't like what was going on on the right hand side of the painting so I did some drybrushing with a white that has a touch of green in it. You can still see some of the underneath color, it has more depth now. What I ended up with is acrylic, gold leaf and tissue paper on canvas. I think it's done. If you have a different opinion, share it, don't be shy. I can take it (as long as you're not too brutal).

While I'm painting I'm watching the speed skaters in Vancouver, what an inspiration. Maybe I should try speed painting - set a timer and do 30 minute expressions. That could be fun, and messy!

Short post today.... the kids are coming over for dinner tonight. Can't wait to see them! Have a lovely evening and if I'm not on here again tomorrow ~ a very happy Valentine's Day!

Peace, and go kiss someone,

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Another Stage

It's another stage..... don't know if it's a good one or not. I'm happy with some things, not so happy with others. I added some more tissue, a little gold leaf and of course some more color and geometric shapes. Changes will be happening soon - maybe some drastic ones. Maybe I'd better sleep on it. hmmm....

Supper time,
have a good night,

Next Stage

Here's the next stage in this piece, building layers gradually and adding some tissue paper. I don't really have a plan right now, just going with intuition so we'll see where it ends up.
Lunch time,

More Starts

Good morning! It's studio day. Does this mean I have to focus now? This unfinished canvas you see above is I think number 12 (could be 13) in a nice big pile of started paintings. Last night was poker night - for Amazing Hubby, not me - and that usually means that I'm parked in front of the tv in the living room channel surfing. Well I now have tv in my studio so I can channel surf in there on poker night. Yay for multi-tasking! So, this old canvas was calling to me. I don't remember what the purpose was for the red paint and gold leaf but now it's been re-purposed. Time to decide which piece to work on today - one of the pile of canvases, the colored pencil piece or the hubcap. Later I'll show you what I decide.

Have a beautiful day,

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Update on the Landscape

Hi All,

Here is the latest version of the landscape. Muuuuuuuuch better but still not done. You opinion is always welcome here. Raining all day here in central Florida. Great day for painting.

Peace to all,

Monday, February 8, 2010

VAA Exhibition

Jane Troesch assessing arrangement of works in the VAA exhbition.

Cheryl Gates adjusting a painting in the VAA exhibition.

Hey All,

These are photos of the Villages Art Association (VAA) Exhibition that we were asked to judge yesterday at the Villages Annex. As always we were happy to have an opportunity to look at the artists work, but let me say, in case you have never juried or judged an art show, it really is work. It's always difficult to make a choices when you are comparing pieces of artwork by various artists, but this one caused us a little extra time in decision making as we changed our minds numerous times.

We were very pleased to have plenty of award worthy pieces to choose from. The first, second and third awards were fairly easy to pick. The problem came when we found 5 pieces that had to be reduced to 3 for merit awards. After much deliberation, it was down to 4 then we changed our minds many times as all 4 were meritorious in our opinions. Finally, with reluctance we narrowed it to 3 and moved on to choosing 5 pieces for Honorable Mention.

There may be some judges that take this job lightly, we never do. In Carlynne's words, "It matters a lot to the artist." Judging is not just choosing winning artwork. One must know why the work was chosen beyond just the personal taste of the judge. If a judge tells you his/her personal taste never enters into it, they are wrong. Much as we try to leave it out, it is always there. Our personal criteria generally allows for technique and technical skill, creativity and composition, and of course must fall within the parameters of the requirements of the exhibition.

Choices are made based on how well the artist used the picture plane compared to their fellow exhibiting artist. In this particular show, we were comparing all media as opposed to others that divide the awards into categories based on media. Experimental as Carlynne and I are as artists, we have used most all media and have a pretty good idea what is involved in each piece. This is extremely helpful when it comes to a exhibit that groups all media together.

Here is a list of the top award winners in the VAA Exhibition, located in the Villages Annex:

First Place: "C" Delight, by Rich Davis We loved this abstract piece in blue. The compositionwas flawless. We would not change a thing.

Second Place: "Independent Woman" by Barbara Wensel Severns A beautiful portrait in pastel. Lovely job.

Third Place: "Bugsy" by Donna Caputo A little colored pencil portrait of her dog in an interesting pose. Wonderful textures.

As you can see, all of these works are different media, subject matter and technique. We were happy it came out that way.

Cheryl Gates and Jane Troesch of the VAA hired us to judge and were wonderfully accommodating to our needs as we performed our job. The members of the VAA that we met on Sunday could not have been more gracious. We are grateful to them for making our job as easy as possible and yes, we will be back to do a demo or workshop for you any time.

Peace and happy painting,

Saturday, February 6, 2010


You saw this one in an earlier post today. I put it up again so you could see the difference between that and where the piece is now.

It still doesn't look like much but it's got a lot more color on it now. It's not just the addition of color, it's the change in the color from applying the mineral spirits. I have no idea if this one is going to work, too soon to tell so we'll see what happens.

Tomorrow morning Kelli and I head to the Villages to judge an art show, hopefully we'll be able to find the venue. The Villages is HUGE so if we don't show up for class on Monday would one of our students please send out a search party?


Critique Please

Hey All,

Please take a look at this painting and tell me what you think it needs or is it complete as is? I am trying to do a series of very, I mean VERY, loose landscapes, sort of impressionistic (just call me Kelli Monet) with texture (did you think not?) and some bright colors. Sort of a mix of Minimalism, Color Field and Impressionism all rolled into one. (Mincolfimpism?) I am all about the texture, but I want it just barely recognizable as a landscape. Be honest, I can take it.

Thanks a bunch.
Peace and love,

Beginnings and Tom Hanks

If you are an artist, how many pieces do you work on at once? Here's 6 paintings that are underway right now. 5 of them just have the first layers on. I just can't seem to start one and stay with it til the very end. There must be traveling around the studio to different tables with different materials at different stages of drying. And why not, I don't travel any where else.

All the acrylics here are little 8x8 canvases. The colored pencil on board is 22x22. Seems a little backwards doesn't it? I think the next acrylic is going to be 48x48 but I'll have to do a little rearranging in the studio to fit that on the easel.

Can you tell I like complimentary colors?

What's this doing here? Yes, I still do colored pencil. It doesn't look like much right now. This is the first scribble stage done last night. Very soon it will be smeared and pushed around with mineral spirits. If you want to try this technique, do it on cold press illustration board - works great, you can really move the color on this surface.

A softer palette to start, but you know there's brighter color to come.

Trying to figure out what to do next...... I might leave this one for a while and work on the others. First things first ~ do I listen to Etta again or switch to Adam Lambert? I could start the afternoon with Mozart and then play more high energy later when I need it. OR.... I could have Tom Hanks keep me company with an old movie. I think I spend just as much time figuring out who I want with me in the studio as what to actually do in the studio. This is important stuff, the right vibe is at stake.

Have a golden afternoon,

Friday, February 5, 2010

A New Beginning

Hallelujah!! Finally, the beginning of a new painting that I do not hate. OK, I don't love it yet, but it still has potential. I have an idea in my head (I was going to say vision, but actually it's not that clear yet), for a series of landscapes that have intense color and texture (of course) and are recognizable as landscapes, but very, very loose. I am playing with technique; I used natural sponges, brushes and palette knives on this one. I am going to adjust the color and change the foreground. I will let you know what happens.

Peace and love,

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Me and Etta

Mosaic 3

This one is now finished! I had a good time in the studio today ~ me and Etta James. Nothing like some music to help get in the groove. I'd love to know how in the world she did some of her songs. I love to sing along with whoever is in my CD player but there's some tunes that she does that just amaze me - like, Baby, What You Want Me to Do. If you haven't heard this, listen to it. If I try to sing this I end up in a coughing fit! Some things are just best left up to the pros.

Anyway, back to the painting ~I added some layers to this one. I did some glazing with the acrylic and I also added some layers of tissue paper. I thought this would add some depth. Any comments.... thoughts.... critiques.....

Hope you're having a good evening,

Monday, February 1, 2010

2 more stages

Hi and welcome to February!

Here are 2 more steps in the progression of this piece. I'm building up layers of the geometric shapes, mostly with acrylic but I'm also adding a few pieces in tissue paper. I took these 2 photos a couple of days apart so the lighting is a little different in each. It looks lighter in the upper right corner background but I really didn't do anything to it. The first one was taken during the day and the second one I took after dark this evening so the studio lights had a part in that.

Anyway, the layering will continue. I'm not sure how much farther I'm going to go. We'll see what the painting has to say about it.

Hope everyone is staying warm and dry,