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Mixing Media and Inspiration

July 15, 2019

I’ve frequently observed how much one medium influences another. In the past year of doing mostly watercolors, this habit of working has found its way into my subconscious. When I want to work in acrylics, I find myself wanting to make them more fluid, and move around more on the canvas.

This past week I was creating a background with acrylics on a 30×40-inch canvas that will eventually have some abstract birds in the composition. I noticed a set of alcohol inks on the studio table that I hadn’t really used all that much at all since I was gifted with them a while back. So I started applying those over the acrylic colors and got this. It’s only a start, but I like what’s happening.

My M.O. is usually to just plunge in, do something, and ask questions later. So after having a little fun with these inks, I decided to refresh my memory about how other artists have been using them. I mainly wanted to know how permanent they are (they are, unless you disturb them too much with rubbing alcohol) and therefore I’ll want to fix them with clear acrylic spray for the canvas.

Here’s a YouTube video by Tim Holtz, who represents a specific manufacturer, but he gives you a pretty detailed descripton of the process. This video is 17 minutes long, so you may want to fast forward parts of it.

Imagine the possibilities for collage papers and even for gelli printing. Fun time!

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Are You Sitting Down?

July 11, 2019

If you’re not sitting down, you might want to do that now. I’ve decided to start posting to my blog again, at least on an experimental basis.

For the past year almost, I’ve entertained the thought that art blogs may be a thing of the past. After all, there’s Facebook and Instagram now, and people have acquired new habits of connecting. But this medium has called to me again, because when I want to find content from my artist friends, I still want to read their blogs. So why not provide that same service in return?

For this past year, I’ve been teaching a beginner class for watercolor. Because I’m a watercolor novice myself, I’m using it to get lots of practice and try to solve its mysteries. The medium requires plenty of patience and hours of practice. There are no short cuts.

This is not to say I’m not longing to return to abstracts and collage. I will in time, but am still thoroughly enjoying watercolors. You’ll probably notice in these images a tenacious quality here and there, especially if you’re a watercolorist. But I’m willing to put in the time to get it “right” — which to me means a feeling for the immediacy and luminosity that it demands.

As long as it’s fun, I’ll keep on doing it. Isn’t that what life is for? Have a creative day!

 

“Spring Creek” – Watercolor, 8×10 inches

 

“Deibert Park” – Watercolor, 5×7 inches

 

“View From the Boat” – Watercolor, 8×10 inches

Teaching is Learning

May 13, 2018

These words prove themselves to be true over and over again. Teaching is a wonderful way to learn, both in the preparation and practice that goes into the lesson to be taught, and in the discovery of new insights into each student’s unique way of seeing the world. I never tire of it, no matter what age group, experience, or abilities.

I am now teaching a beginning watercolor class, which has turned out to be a class for people who have never done any art to speak of at all. At first, I started out showing and demonstrating the different “rules” of watercolor and how to manage them. But soon we all relaxed and decided to just “go with the flow” — a completely apt description of the whole experience of watercolor. Here are their birds from Weeks 3 and 4.

Since I told them up front that it is not a drawing class, I provided bird photographs and showed them the time-honored technique of tracing an image on tracing paper, and then transferring that to watercolor paper by means of blackening the reverse side of the drawing. After they got a rough and very faint outline of their chosen bird, the fun began. We worked very wet and splashy, which was my goal. I wanted them to see from the beginning that watercolor is about water. I think they got it! The amazing and fresh rendition of the two baby bluebirds looking at each other is by an almost 90-year-old. She was thrilled with hers and rightly so.

If you want to learn something, prepare to teach it.

Road Trip

May 2, 2018

Eight years after leaving Florida, I decided last week to go back for the very first time, driving the entire 730 miles in one stretch. It was hard on my body, but did wonders for my spirit. I was able to reunite with several close friends — some of whom are artists from our group BRAVA, still meeting and having shows after 20 years — and spend quality time with family members that I don’t get to see often enough.

My first look at what eight years of growth can do to an already-congested area of the country was shocking, but shouldn’t have been surprising. New strip malls and restaurants on almost every corner. A whole new Tampa River Walk has sprung up since I left. Some wonderful lifelong friends and I had lunch outdoors overlooking the river at Ulele.

An important stop was at Michael Murphy Gallery, where they had just finished rearranging the walls and put this one up for my work:

Installation, Michael Murphy Gallery, Tampa, Florida

It was a thrill to see, for the first time, all of these paintings together since they left my studio a few at a time. The gallery looks wonderful. A few new artists, and some of the same ones as before.

The short 6 days made me sure that I will go back again much sooner than another eight  years. A week just isn’t enough time.

Getting Back Into the Flow

April 18, 2018

Finally, my space is starting to feel like an art studio again. After a year and a half of false starts, my daily art practice is back. Now that I have a new gallery for a total of two, I have plenty of reasons to paint. I know we shouldn’t need a “reason” but somehow it does affect my productivity.

This painting is brand new, and designated for the new gallery. I think they will like it and be able to sell it.

Underwater World – Acrylic on Canvas, 24x36x1.5 inches

In addition, I had a surprise studio sale 3 weeks ago, to a person who had seen my work at the local art center. He had later looked at my website and wanted to know about this specific one, which had been hanging in my studio for quite a while, and though I will miss it, I’m excited that it’s found a new forever home:

Gentle Wind – Acrylic on Canvas, 48x36x.75 inches

And the new series of acrylics on paper that I’ve been working on still doesn’t have a name. Here’s another one of those:

New Series, #1 — Acrylic on 300# Arches with hand-deckled edge, 8×8 inches FOR SALE $100 – Contact me

And the cherry on top of this delicious sundae is the watercolor class I’m teaching. It’s been a great diversion and a way for me to stay disciplined at improving my skills. But the best part is that this group of women has really jelled and we are having a blast.

Art is not just part of my life now. It is my life.