Saturday, September 5, 2009

Mixed Media Collage - what"s going on?

So, can any of you tell me why these small little collages 8 X 10 and 10 X 10 have not been juried into 2 shows? One up in Kirkland at Parklane and one down here in Canon Beach - both were collage exhibitions. This makes a difference to me because I can't get a fix on what the reason is they are not getting in to shows. Is it because they are too small? Is it because they are not considered fine art? Is it because they are too bright? Is it because they are too detailed? Is it because they each have words, some of which could be construed as a message - titles are Work, Life Spice; Planet Asia, Peddling; Earth Revisited; Sculpture Gate; Raku, the Source? Is it because of quality? Also look at several of the collages in August blogs - these 2 were the latest not to get juried in.
So readers, what do you think? I've never not been juried in before in any exhibition that I've entered so I'm at a loss. These are paintings I've just started doing this year and are interesting to me because I can use lots of different techniques and is a way for me to express detail. Are these a dead end? Do I stop doing this kind of work altogether? Please, your comments are appreciated!

Ta...Da.....Pub Sign

So here is the finished Pub Sign. Well actually 2 signs exactly alike which were hung on either side of an old sign which remained in place. We had the hanging and unveiling last night with some local friends over for some delicious soup, pizza and a fresh peach pie.
It took about 104 hours from start with initial consultation to hanging. In real life it is a little more yellow in the background than what it shows here. By yesterday when I was taking this picture the weather had started to become overcast and unfortunately today it's going to rain buckets and the wind is already fierce with 30 mph gusts.
So my next project other than teaching my upcoming classes and finishing our house is to assemble 18 paintings and start showing them to galleries. I'm really going to focus on finding regional representation even though this may be an uphill battle in this economy. First with my encaustics I think and 2nd with my newer large acrylics on canvas. They would find different galleries I believe who would be interested - no overlap.
It's interesting to realize that I do (and probably most artists do) go through a little bit of a depression after the completion of an intense bit of work - even if you're really happy with the final result and are glad to see it go to a good home. It's coming down from intense focus and intense work and intense creativity, but it's also natural and it does pass. The way I get through it without letting it overwhelm me is to clean up my studio and reorganize so that I can move on to new projects. This little time away allows me to figuratively clean out my mind too and get me some free space so to speak to allow for a fresh new idea for the next painting project to emerge. And it inevitably does. If the clean up time doesn't seem long enough, I take the time to blog, to update my website which needs to be done and to make some more business cards to hand out. Now is actually a good time to market and use that left side of the brain.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Pub Sign

The Pub sign has taken over my life! I've been working on it almost 6 hours a day since August 15th and I have just 5 more days until it has to be done. It's going up at the start of a one day festival here in Ocean Park in the center of the Long Beach Peninsula. The one thing about it other than how great it's turning out is that I got introduced to the One Shot Oil Enamel paints which are what outdoor sign painters typically use. The solvents are hellish but the paint drys to a wonderful shiny silky smooth vibrant color that I just love. I wear my paint respirator but still. Anyway the sign is actually two signs - each side identical or nearly so.

The man whose sign this will be had strong inclinations for the plants he wanted shown and they have turned out fabulous. One, the Gunnera - or Dinosaur Food, I nailed spot on and so far he's happy with it. Today I'm on the final background and then there will be the topcoat.

Check back for a picture - it's so much better than the concept sketch I did. And in the meantime I finished the workplan for a Mixed Media-Getting Started class to be held in Astoria on October 17th. And I've been encouraged to do an Mixed Media-Next Step class in December, an Encaustic Introduction class in January and perhaps a spring series. I'm really looking forward to this -- and of course painting, encaustics and moving in our new house by christmas!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Painting and the Arts community

I sold this painting last week to friend Sharon who must have seen this one hanging around my studio for a long time. I did the underpainting back at Patricia's studio before moving to the peninsula but didn't do anything with it. Then a month ago I started finishing it and became very happy with the strong gestural strokes and then with the addition of some composition corrections, it was done. And it looks beautiful on her dark blue wall surrounded by metal starfish, crab and salmon!

I've now got another of those paintings whose underpainting was done some time ago on my table and I've got some ideas to finish. So that and 2 more small collages are what I'm working on.

In addition, Julia Carter who is head of the Arts & Cultural Exchange in Astoria saw my work hanging at Azure in Illwaco. She called me and I went over and met with her and toured her lovely workspace and agreed to do at least 3 one day workshops over the next 6 months to a year so I'm busy now making a flyer advertising the class, working out the details of the workshop plan and coming up with a materials list. First up will be a mixed media class, and one will be an encaustic plan and then we'll see how it goes to decide what the rest will be. I'm excited about that.

And the sign project is coming along as well. I've finished cutting and sanding the marine plywood for the signs, 2 coats of oil based prime and 2 coats of oil based undercoat. I expect to start painting the design on Tuesday and hope to finish by Sunday next week and I'll put up a photo as soon as I can.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pub signs

Well, I'm doing a pub sign now. A friend of mine has a landscape business here on the peninsula "Strange Landscape Services" (his name is Ed Strange) and the only thing missing from his cute little house now is a pub sign. He goes all over to clients' yards for his business (as well as some very great local commercial accounts) but he also has fun sales from his yard. The sign has Gunneras (Dinosaur Food) a favorite plant, as well as Rhodies, a Sitka spruce (which is actually not bent in the sketch) and some daylilies.
All year he collects ceramic pots, concrete planters, funky garden art and plants, plants, plants - the cast off's from his jobs (which he brings back to brimming good health), and then for Memorial Day Weekend or Labor Day Weekend he pots everything up and sells it from his home - which is on the main drag of Ocean Park - perfect location. And the stuff he does and the way he puts it together is very cool.
Also, he's got great hanging baskets and window sill boxes and he's done some great rock scaping in the front of his house. The pub sign sketch (in colored pencil) and the house are above and you can see where the pub sign will be bolted on to when it's done. I'll take a picture of the actual sign and show you when it's up.
Ocean Park is going to have a "sunset walk" on the main drag on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend and the sign (actually 2 signs) will have to be done by then. Typically these events attract a lot of the tourists as well as locals. I may throw up my tent and sell some of my pottery tiles, small paintings and cards - nothing over $50. Love this life at the beach!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Finish of the Commission

So I began the research of finding out how to fix and preserve and image that has been printed from an ink-jet printer. Golden puts out digital grounds and varnishes which worked well so go see their website for the products and information for you artists out there - they have some great U tube video's you can play right on their website. In addition, I discovered that I could apply a Krylon fixative and put the UV varnish over that - drying between layers.

I also added some additional images that have personal meaning, gold stitches and tracings of the objects, a netting with symbolic meanings, extending the pine tree branches to enfold, embrace and support the other images. Pines being so much a part of our ocean dunes here on the Peninsula. Everything in the painting has symbolic meaning to myself or/and her. I also had to knock back the white and find an opaque or transparent color that worked and tied everything together, and even though it obscured the stamped words I decided that was ok as the words form an underpinning like a whisper, not a shout.

This picture doesn't look as vibrant as the real painting. My at home critic is unsure if he likes it since it has a lot more realistic images than my normal collage mixed media and is not as bright. And the jury is still out if the person who received this as a gift likes it. In the end there is always lots of uncertainty about a commission.

When I paint for the general public in gallery or exhibition hanging, I paint mixed media with a very bright palette and I paint for myself, until I am fully happy with the painting and there is a resonance I feel inside that I have expressed something I needed to and that it jumps from the wall in a certain way. All this is modified for commission because the painting has to resonate and jump for both of us, me and the client, not just necessarily for me I think.

The Restart of the Commission

So I began again by initially stamping words that reminded me of her and of the great time we always have when we meet her - usually for knitting at her beach front cafe. This I knew would be covered up by images but they are important to me to put them as the first layer, the underpinning of the painting and of a life well lived.
Then I added pictures I'd collected in a collage format. So you see the roses, the coffee and treats, the balls of yarn, the hands in the mandela remind me what she does for the young people and old people in our community here at the beach. People that need a friendly word of encouragement, recognition, personal attention, in a word-help.
I wanted a picture of her cute little dachshound to put front and center so I got her husband to hold Copper and I got a great digital picture which I adjusted in Photoshop, printed out on Japanese rice paper and then added to the picture though as you see here I removed it because it was smearing and I had to find a better way to fix the ink before incorporating. Thus began some research about how to do what I wanted to do.
I tell everyone that art is creative vision but it's also at least 1/2 problem solving.

The Beginning of a Commission

I was approached by a friends husband who wanted to commission a painting for his wife and he wanted these elements in the painting: her dog Copper, yarn (she's the community knitting guru), grapes (she also runs a great cafe) and roses. I told him I am a mixed media mostly abstract painter so I couldn't promise that any of the above would be recognizable, and he had seen my website, so I said I'd do it on condition that the painting should be returned no questions asked if she did not like it.
So when I start a commission I listen very carefully for the elements that a client wants, her colors and the wall colors and then I let it percolate and when I get this great idea, I start out and the painting turns out fantastic! NOT!!!!!! As you can see here from my initial start.

A friend of mine, Bernie, who has been doing commissions since he was very young says thats the first thing you rid your brain of is all of the specifics that the client wants to see in the painting. Then you find a way to express the subject, the way you feel about that subject in your style of painting.

Obviously, I needed to start over again.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Work in Progress

This is a new old painting I've been working on and just took up again to finish. As you can see there was an older start of a painting underneath the yellow (and it's really a true yellow not a greenish yellow) and some stencilling as well, and I painted over it with a transparent yellow to unify it. Then began collaging and found my footing although I'm not yet satisfied with the wording or the images in the red circles and I think I have some details to add to give it more interest. So this shows a work in progress and I'll show you it when it's totally finished and I'm happy with it.

On a second note, I've been painting my house exterior trim indoors but in a well ventilated space, before it gets put up in the siding project and have spent about 2 weeks being dizzy and having some horrendous headaches. Woke up 2 nights ago and had a clear thought that regardless of the warning labels on the acrylic latex paint can - I needed a full face mask respirator (not the flimsy paper filters) with activated charcoal cartridges etc. So my husband picked one up at Home Depot/Lowes for about $30. And I started feeling better the first day and today, my mind is sharp and I'm not dizzy at all. So for all you acrylic painters out there - over time you can start getting a reaction to the acrylic paint fumes - both fine art quality acrylic paint and house grade acrylic paint, especially if you are close to what you are painting and breathing in those fumes. PROTECT YOURSELF!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Here's the picture

So, here's the picture that wouldn't get done, but is now! Along with a closeup of a section on the right. You can see in the background where the dripping paint flowed sideways but I've put a whole new twist on the original. Oh, and it was 10 X 10 not 8 X 10.

Incidently, I don't know what these will be when I start out. I may have a picture from my picture stash that is arresting or a series of words that bring on thoughts or memories and sometimes as I work things just pop into my right brain and I choose to add it. Like I had some paper towels that I had used to sop up old acrylic and this is the center that I collaged over. I also included a piece of rug backing that I frequently paint through to it - stuck it on with Golden Acrylic Soft Gel which does a good job holding bulky things to paintings. And I've used some parts of my own old paintings that were part of the theme and have meaning to me though not to anyone else and that's ok. In fact, if I don't include things that have meaning for me even if other people don't know then the painting is less satisfying for me.

I think how this theme came about was musing about global warming initially and then came the words Eden at the end and then came the snakes and a part of a picture of my feeling on 911. This reflects then taking the global warming issue as a human responsibility to it's worst case scenario ending and relating it to a widely held belief of humanities initial curse.

So what do you think? My friend Sharon now says I have 2 readers that follow so I'm challenged to keep posting.

Below are 2 of the close up's I took to show parts of the painting that are not easy to see.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The painting that won't die

I've had a small painting 8X10 in my studio that I started a couple of months ago. Tried to do some dripping like I used to do on watercolor paper with the inks only this time I was doing it on canvas with thinned down fluid acrylics. Sorta, maybe, didn't quite work. Then I added a paper towel full of old wiped up paint-straightened out and then I applied some bubblewrap as a stencil to it. It was intriguing but wasn't sure it would ever work. Had a concept but didn't quite make it. So I left it for months. Well yesterday and today I pushed forward and put on a lot more detail and it does work! It's drying now but will get a photo tomorrow and put it up here for comments.

I also took another look at that commission painting I'm doing and told myself "this is another one where you have to go all the way through to the end before you're going to know if it works and was worth doing." If this doesn't work I'll have to start over with a new concept and this time I'll make it according to my current work and not pay so close attention to the client colors or realistic images of client objects they want included. That's what often doesn't work for me. Look for photo's tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sample Collage

So I thought I'd see if I could post a Collage I'd recently done and here it is - yayy I did it. So all, tell me what you think. I did this early this year and it's now in Shoalwater Gallery here on the Peninsula for the summer. Shoalwater is trying out abstracts to see if there will be a tourist audience interested in them. They are showing 4 of my encaustics, 3 of these collages and 2 other mixed media pieces. I also show at Azure Day Spa who take all of my large pieces and display on wonderful white walls 10-12 feet tall!!

Eater Up of Art Making Time

Yes, I too have just set up (hurried for sure) my new blog. I usually spend way too much time thinking about these types of things..the name of the blog, the look, the pictures, the titles and everything else. But this time I decided to wing it! Because I want this to be about having and working with interesting ideas and/or what creatively is happening in my studio or inspiring me to new work!

Also, I want to start putting up what's coming out of my studio each day as a way to make sure that something is coming out each day. Yes I know, I'm building a house, putting in a landscape, helping my friend Sharon put in her landscape, querying my husband about his latest trip to Home Depot and walking my dogs on the bay or the beach but hey - for me the thing I long for the most is getting into that studio and doing something creative.

So Collages are on my radar right now. Made directly on canvases and likely to have words and fabric and threads and interesting papers and lots of color and acrylic paint. Mostly smallish like 8 X 10 but going up to as big as 16 X 20's. In other words I just got my order in from Blick and I'm ready to go. Now I just have to figure out how to post my pictures to the website. Hmmmm and then next it'll be twitter!