Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas day!

My favorite gift was a visit from my sister and niece this past week. This is the only sketch I've done recently. I've been focusing more on "crafts" and less on "art" the past month, but I have lots of ideas I want to try soon.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This and that...

Art Journaling: Last year I tried to make cohesive pages surrounding the daily word prompt. It was a helpful exercise, but a bit stressful. This year I'm making sketches and seeing if they match any of the prompts. It's more relaxing.

Glass coaster and three glass candle holders

Douglas fir and cones

Last Friday, I took advantage of the sunshine and tried out Nature Printing Paper, which uses photographic technology. Place objects on the paper, expose to sun for 2 or 3 minutes, then soak in water for a minute and let dry.

As it is November and we're just above 45 degrees North Latitude, the sun was quite low in the sky at noon. You can see the elongated shadows in the photos. I don't know what I'm going to do with the pictures yet, but they sure were fun and easy to make. Nature Print Paper.

Yarn! Resistance is futile. I've been trying to avoid yarn stores for at least 5 years, but Yarnia opened up a few blocks away. Once I found out they make custom yarn, well, it was over. I'm resisting knitting, but I don't mind doing a little crocheting. It's a very relaxing and non-messy activity to do while watching TV with Bob. No ink or paint on my clothes!

I walked into Knit/Purl in downtown Portland for the first time today and found this pink-fuscia sock yarn to make a scarf for my niece. The color is called "Light of Love." I've always wondered how they've stayed in business. Well, their yarn is gorgeous and priced to match! It's a great treat to hang out in a place like this.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Art Journaling

It's November already. This is the month of several challenges such as NaNoWriMo and NaNoJouMo - which are, admittedly, pretty silly sounding. NaNoWriMo is for people wanting to write more - they accept a challenge to write a certain number of words each day of November. This site dawndsokol has NoNoJouMo (for National Nonstop Journaling Month) which challenges people to spend some time each day of November working in their art journal. Dawn gives a one word prompt every day and people can post their pages to the Flickr Group: NaNoJouMo.

Sadie's Halloween Costume last year:

This year she went as "Vicious Guard Dog" and barked at all of the trick-or-treaters.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

"Pear Mail" Series

The other set I created for the Oregon Society of Artists show are done in watercolor with clear encaustic on top. The boards are Claybord Aquabord. The surface is more absorbent in order to use water media more easily.

Since we were supposed to paint a series, I started with 1 pear and added on. I had a hard time thinking of a subject. We had a bowl of beautiful pears on the table so I started with those.

After I painted the watercolors, I looked at them for a few days. They were OK, but not really thrilling me. Did I want to hang them on my wall? I felt they were a little bit boring.

At the same time, I've been reading a couple of books on mail art. Oh my goodness - Pear Mail! Get it - P-air Mail. That's it! I added postage stamps, ink stamps and imagined sending the pears off to foreign lands: Spain, France, Germany and well, San Francisco. They are finished with 2 layers of encaustic medium.

Numbers 3 and 4 were purchased by an Oregon Society of Artist member before the show even opened! The other two are listed for $20 each.

Oregon Society of Artists Small Treasures Show

"The Road to Starbucks" Numbers 2, 1 and 4

I dropped off my art for the OSA Small Treasures show yesterday. They'll have over 150 sets of four 6 in by 6 in paintings in every media. The show runs October 31st through December 3rd, 2010. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 1 - 4 pm, closed on Monday. I'll be "sitting" as an attendee on Saturday, November 20.

Here's number 3 of my abstract encaustic series, titled "The Road to Starbucks:"

I'm sorry about the poor photographs. I just shoot and go. The real colors are not as strong nor as dull as they might appear online. These have embroidery thread, Pearl-ex sparkle powder and seed beads mixed in with the encaustic paint. The title is derived from the fact that "Starry Night" was already taken (smile.) Actually, they are intended as abstracts and were painted rotated 90 degrees to the right. They obviously can be turned in any direction one likes. Listed for $20 each.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Portland Open Studios - Weekend 2

We enjoyed visiting the Open Studios during the second weekend.
Chuck Sites' work is beautiful and technically striking. He uses encaustic on tempered glass and aluminum.

I stopped by Bridget Benton's studio and finally bought a few pieces. An encaustic work, a printed piece and a photograph of a set of encaustic tiles. I'm really enjoying having them around.

Both of these artists will be influencing my work for a while. It's unavoidable.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Portland Open Studios - Weekend 1

I managed to make it to one studio this weekend. Kevin Noonan (see a link to his Flickr set on the sidebar.) works out of a studio on SE Division. He has some lovely large size encaustic portraits - large brushstrokes of color. He also has a great collection of large oil paintings of icons (Lincoln, Nixon, etc.) and pop art.

There are still two days left: October 16 and 17. Here's the website:

We had family in town this weekend, but I hope to see more next weekend. Bob even promised to go with me!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What did we end up with?

"Transformation", 6 in x 6 in, Encaustic, Pen and Silk on wood.

I used a cheese slicer to scrape off some of the top layers of wax. That's a fun tool to use!

This is the style:

So, anyway, my plans are not working out very well. I cancelled my "show" - I hesitated to start on the larger works and now my regular work has gotten very busy.

I don't have much energy due to health issues. I read a lot about artists who push through no matter what - work into the night if they have to, so on and so forth. I admire that, but I really only have so much energy. I have a lot of bills to pay and weight to lose. I can't let that stuff slip much more or we will be in trouble.

Art is still interesting to me, but I'm cutting back on some of the projects I want to do. I'm going to keep trying to get a workable schedule figured out so there is some time for it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Work in progress

I made this little piece (6' x 6' x .5") using wax encaustic, pigment and drawing on silk habotai. I really kind of liked it. It has some depth and interesting color combinations. I call it "Transformation."

THEN, as I looked at it, I thought perhaps I should add some texture and bronze oil stick on top for more depth! and some shimmer! I had just read this article:

The artist Jeffrey Hirst talks about pushing his work to the edge and maybe past it in order to improve. I would assume he then fixes it!
Here's "Transformation" part 2. The underlying colors haven't changed - it's just difficult to photograph encaustic and adding the top layer changes the look.

Hmm - I'm not sure I like pushing the work. Now I have to decide if I like this at all, and if I don't, can I scrape off the last layer without disturbing everything underneath? Decisions, decisions. Ugh. Well, next I need to gesso (using an absorbent gesso) the four 24" x 24" cradled boards I'll be using for the rust wall in the October exhibit. Sixteen times the excitement and opportunity to mess it up.

I know - courage!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Urban Sketchers

The Urban Sketchers are in town. They are holding a Symposium at PNCA.

I would like to have attended, but I didn't think I would have the energy and the skill. I don't practice nearly enough (except of Sadie, of course), but I love looking at their sketches.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The internet reaches out...

"All the paintings in this exhibition have Norrbyskär as a theme, an island south of Umeå in Northern Sweden"

For months, I've been anxiously awaiting the posting of an exhibit of paintings by one of my favorite watercolor artists, Nina Johansson.

She uses found objects in her work to apply paint to part of her paintings or to stencil. She is particularly good at getting the values correct and unifying her paintings. Most of her paintings seem to feature a building and its surrounding area. Sometimes she'll include a bit of trompe-l'oeil finery such as including a black and white photo "taped" to the painting.

I certainly don't have the means to travel to a remote Swedish island to see the exhibit right now so I'm glad she is sharing. She's posting a painting a day through July.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Upcoming Events

It was 60 degrees on Monday and expected to be 101 degrees on Thursday. How's that for the ramp-up to Summer?

Garden 2006

I have an opportunity to do a show in October. OK - so it will be seen by oh, say, no more than 20 people, but I'm excited. It will give me a goal and a chance to try it all out. My client has a very nice cafeteria with room for around 15 pieces of art. They've been rotating shows every month. It will give me a chance to gather together 15 works of art, frame and prepare them for hanging, create title cards, and an artist statement: ("I like color. Thank you very much".)
It will feature both encaustic and water color works. I have three months to prepare. Can I do it? Crossing my fingers!

Feature wall - I plan on creating four 24x24 encaustic works for this.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Gratitude Day


After this long weekend and before I sit down to dealing with the inevitable letdown of real life, I want to list many things I am grateful for, in no particular order:

  • the beautiful sunshine we're enjoying after so many months of rain

  • that I drank just enough water to avoid sunstroke yesterday

  • the incredible effort and work of the volunteers and coordinators of the Lake Oswego Art Show

  • that I had enough energy to create and submit art and be a participant

  • my friend Jenny is home after 2 weeks in the hospital

  • the existence of Starbucks, cell phones and taxi cabs after I missed the last shuttle

  • I'm of the age that reunions are interesting and welcome

  • the friends I've reconnected with this past year and the new ones I've met

  • Bob's help framing the art works and attending the show with me

  • Bob doing the laundry, cleaning and barbecuing while I gallavanted around all weekend

  • the artists who teach and share their techniques in person and on-line

  • the people who support me and have supported me in the past that I often take for granted!
  • I have work/career that lets me indulge my interests

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Honorable Mention!

Today Bob and I left our house at 5 pm to go to the Lake Oswego Art Show - and we finally made it to George Rogers park at 6:50 pm. There was a traffic backup on Highway 43, so everything just crawled. We heard the last two songs of Lenny Rancher's band (he was in my class in high school) and wolfed down dinner. We went to a vendor booth and I picked up a birthday gift from an artist for a friend who admired her work two years ago. Then we rushed up the hill to the Art Center to attend a panel talk on "Why Wax?" which showed the work of 4 encaustic artists. We just had time to see the juried Encaustic show before they turned out the lights. Finally, we scurried over to the big tent for the Open Show and ran around looking for my art pieces.

Guess what?! "Begin Anywhere" won an Honorable Mention and it sold! I think it was Honorable Mention - the ribbon was yellow. As we were being kicked out of the tent, we found "Cabbage #1" which is still available.

"Begin Anywhere"

(Remember encaustic works often look better in person. *grin*)

How exciting is that? I have no idea who decides on the awards - perhaps I'll find out this weekend. I'm really happy. I'm looking forward to going back this weekend and spending some time actually looking at all the work there.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Encaustic Works for 2010 Lake Oswego Festival of Arts

Here are my two pieces for the Lake Oswego Festival of Arts show taking place June 25-June 27, 2010 in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Website is here.

"Cabbage #1"

"Begin Anywhere"

The right third of the painting turned out quite differently than I had imagined. I originally put down various colors of dots, then layered with more colors. When I scraped back, they did not please me. I added more color and stripes and that did not work either. I left it for a week and realized I wasn't getting the industrial abstract look I wanted. I added organic elements in the form of pen and pastel on mulberry rice paper fused to the picture with clear encaustic medium.

I had also planned to do a whimsical 3D work called "View from my (pretend) Beach house." That one will have to wait.

At first, I had a great time working on the pictures for the show. Then I hit the wall when I realized they just weren't what I had pictured in my mind. I spend an awful lot of time thinking and reading about art, but not that much time actually creating art.

I had to remind myself of the quote from Martha Beck that I wrote about here. Basically, it says if you want to be good at something, you need to do the work. I really haven't done that much encaustic painting since last year's show. I've taken a couple of life drawing classes and sketch on a regular basis, but I haven't produced any full size paintings. So, remember, to get better, keep doing!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Finally, the stars align...

I managed to clean up my basement studio space enough to actually start working on some projects, I'm caught up with work enough (sorta) to take a weekend off, it's beautiful out and the show deadline is next Sunday. In addition to planting flowers and visiting the Farmer's Market, I worked on some encaustic panels.

Here's a panel that has been painted on the sides and taped. Then I fuse a couple layers of encaustic layers to the surface.

I added alizarin red, titanium white and dots in R&F Cadmium Green Light, R&F Bronze, red.

To the red, I added a layer of bronze, then a layer of R&F King's Blue encaustic paint. I plan on scraping back the blue. In the center stripe, I used a paper towel to dab on shellac and 3 colors of Jacquard's Pearl-Ex powdered pigment, then lit it on fire. (Fire, fire, fire! - Too much fun.) Actually, I didn't put enough shellac on at first - it seemed to need a layer instead of drops.

This is the begnning of a big cabbage. I really love the look of a nice cabbage.

Hmm - what will these turn out to be? Bob promised to put them together for me. More later!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Travel, work, looking at art...

Not a lot of making art. Here are a couple of photos from around the neighborhood.
Happy May!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A few more drawings from class

Here are a couple more of the 23 x 34 charcoal drawings. This model was very fun to draw - lots of muscles! Tonight I was kind of wishing I had signed up for spring term, but I have plenty of other things to do!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Drawing Class finished for the term

I just finished a term of drawing at The Drawing Studio. We work from photos and models. The first one is of my sister and her daughter. I used the same photo I used when I accidentally made them into zombies. Sorry for the flash. They say you need to get the eyes right. I think the mouth is really important as well since I did not get it quite right here.

The second one is from a photo of a statue. We don't usually end up with a presentation picture since we are practicing and working towards our 1000 drawings, but I wanted to post something! I enjoy working in a large format (these are 23 inches by 34 inches), but the charcoal dust and black hands are really a pain. Two showers, two days of dishes are the minimum needed to get my hands sort of clean.

It is pretty fun and I'm getting quicker and more comfortable at putting marks on the paper. I'll probably not take the class again until fall. I'd like to work on some color projects next.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Postcard Swap - received!

Yea! I've received one postcard a day for the last 5 days. They've arrived from New Zealand, Singapore, the US - including one that doesn't have a return address or a legible postmark! It's very fun and they're all handmade, beautiful works of art. I LOVE having something that I can hold and keep. It was fun participating in the November Journal Challenge and viewing the artwork of others, but it's even more fun to receive the artwork of others.

I finally made it down to the basement to work on an encaustic painting this week. However, today I'm off to paid work. The bank account is empty so time to try to fill it up. Repeat to myself: I do not have a trust fund, I do not have a trust fund. ;-)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Postcard Swap - my cards

I created various versions of these cards while I was on vacation using inks, stamps and a stencil made from a heart punch. I decided not to be too ambitious since the idea was to have fun and not stay up all night creating original watercolor paintings.

On the other side, I wrote a quote from Wendell Berry:
Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.

I have to say, I also like his:
Don't own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.

Um, and I don't like to complain, but I haven't received anything in the mail yet! If I don't see anything this week, I might need to ask if I happened to be left off the lists!

Click here to see the Flickr group of the other postcards that were created and sent.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Postcard swap

This looks fun - a postcard swap. Make 10 and receive 10. I'll post photos in a week when I'm done.

iHanna Blog Postcard Swap

Monday, January 11, 2010

January 2010 - the Quiet Returns

Sadie drawn from above with a purple Sai pen, December 2009

Our holidays are almost over - we had another Christmas party with Bob's parents on Saturday, they leave Wednesday and we can put everything away for this year. The festivities really are enjoyable, but are all-consuming. Today I slept a long time, then kept quiet for the afternoon. I haven't spent much time making art - although wrapping presents and baking cookies are still creative endeavors. I'm looking forward to easing back into painting and encaustic.

I did start attending an Intermediate Drawing Class last week with my friend Jan at the Drawing Studio. It's nice to have a scheduled evening of art to look forward to! As I keep hearing, consistent creativity keeps you in the flow! The fun thing about the intermediate class is that we can use paints in addition to charcoal and graphite. The class is longer at three hours so there are 2 breaks, more sessions with live models and freedom not to do all of the assigned exercises. The instructor points out that interesting work may be produced in the last hour when everyone is tired out.