Monday, October 20, 2014

And Then It Was Done

If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.
~Author Unknown -

They say that the only constant in life is the fact that things will change, and this autumn is marking a time of big change for me.  Big change.  I've worked at my job for 25 years now, and sadly, it's coming to a close at the end of the month.  I look around my work space and find it hard to believe I won't be coming here before long.  I never defined myself by my job--I'm a dental receptionist/office manager so I guess I wouldn't--the "real me" be it student, yogini, or artist was always outside of work.  When I reflect back, however, I know that my years working here have been time well spent, and while I didn't define myself by my job, it was a full part of me.  It was a good environment for me; a steady pace without many highs or lows.  Quiet.  Good people.  I've spent half of my life here, in this very room, where I now sit typing this blog entry.   The days are long, but the years are short my friends.  Take time to savor.   

I've started a small series to mark this change in my life.  I imagine I'll be moving back and forth between encaustics and oil and cold wax.  At any rate, this is a 6x6 encaustic painting entitled, "And Then It Was Done."  First in the series.  More to follow.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Small Squares

I have long wanted to paint a series of wood panels and combine them to create one large piece of
art...can I just say that I have determined that procrastination is a form of self-torture?  Sometimes you just have to do it...stop thinking or planning so much and just get it done!  Thankfully, the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge gave me a kick in the pants, and, after all, I already had the small wood panels and the piece of plywood (24 x 24) that the 6x6 panels will ultimately be attached to.

I prepped five panels and have four of the five complete; tonight I will gesso another five.  I'm working with oil and cold wax, which is quickly becoming my favorite medium. Here are two of my "completed" panels...they may change a bit as things come together. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Space Between

What art offers is space — a certain breathing room for the spirit. ~John Updike

When I titled this painting, for some odd reason, I was thinking about the breath.   Specifically, the pause between the inhale and exhale--that space where consciousness expands and infinite possibility exists.   I believe that when you pay attention to the breath you become a witness to spirit--your spirit.  I also believe that creating art in any form offers us the same glimpse.  

"The Space Between" is my day five painting for the 30 day painting challenge.  

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I Am Seeking Too

I recently discovered the journals of Elisabeth Couloigner on Pinterest, specifically her "I'm Searching" series.  I am captivated by the simplicity of color and texture that she employes, and have come to realize that it's those very things in art that really makes my heart sing.  It's why I love abstracts so much, especially those that lean toward the subdued.  I try to get colorful, but it just doesn't feel right to me--maybe down the line, who knows!

At any rate, I have been inspired to start my own journal in response to Elisabeth's "I'm Searching."  I've actually been looking at just this kind of thing to use as a way to start my day or before a painting session, so I dug out a moleskine journal, and "I Am Seeking Too" was born.  Interestingly, it's the one place that I enjoy using acrylics these days--I think it's the surface of the journal paper.  The real win, however, is that I'm playing, learning, and gathering ideas for future abstracts all at the same time. I will be using some of my daily journal paintings for part of the 30 day challenge I'm participating in.  I really, really want to keep up with everyone, and this is one way that I know I can. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

There All Along

"When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about." Rumi

I've decided to participate in a 30 paintings in 30 days challenge via the Artists helping Artists podcast. While they won't all be encaustic, I'm happy to have this painting to present for day one. I basically stepped away from encaustics for the month of August and, instead, focused on oil and cold wax. It was a good decision, I believe. Coming back to it today felt good and right. 

"There All Along" 8x8 encaustic, oil, and image transfer on cradled birch panel. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Walk Toward Me

“In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.”
I ran across this quote by Rumi today, which is just lovely, as Rumi is apt to be, and it got me to thinking...I wonder, how many times have you heard the question, "Where does art come from?"  Have you thought about it?  Does it matter to you?   Do we think about these things too much?  Can the question ever really be answered?  Is your answer the only relevant answer--for you? 

I liken the Rumi quote to the Sanskrit word, namaste.  We've all heard it spoken; it's part of our popular culture now, but more than a greeting, the word namaste is saying that we recognize a spark of divinity in another person, and that that same spark resides within us.  Is art, perhaps, the physical manifestation of the witnessing of our divinity? 

"Walk Toward Me" 10x10 oil and cold wax on wood panel. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

So I Changed

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” Rumi

I've been struggling a bit with my encaustic painting, and have been on a self-imposed break to regroup.  I'm pretty hard on myself when I paint.  Perhaps it's because I'm looking to deliver a piece of myself onto the board or canvas, and if I can't feel my presence, neither will anyone else.  That is my purpose, that is what drives me: to feel the catch in my heart when I know I've done it.  To have the colors, textures and lines translate into an expression of well, my soul.  I'm not saying I've created a masterpiece or that the feeling happens as strongly with every painting, it doesn't.  What I mean is that I am no longer waving my hands about and saying in a childlike manner, "see me, see me!" Instead, I grow older and wiser (hopefully) and feel like it's a kind of offering.  Something that people can take or not, like or not--it's still me.  

"So I Changed" is 16x16 cold wax and oil on a cradled panel.  I posted two photos showing the transformation in my layers on my last post on August 2nd.  This is now the finished painting.  

Saturday, August 2, 2014

On The Easel Lately

"The beginning is the most important part of the work." Plato

In my dreams I often find myself in front of a very large canvas holding an equally large palate knife.  I smooth the paint along and it flows like soft frosting.  The room is quiet; the only sounds are the scratch of the knife as it moves along the canvas and that of my breath.  The act of painting itself seems effortless and natural--graceful even, with movements akin to a waltz. I am meant to do this.

Maybe I've watched the Gerhard Richter documentary too many times, who knows, but seriously, this a recurring dream.   I'm not questioning whether I know what I'm doing or not; I'm just painting.  If only that state of mind would follow me into my waking hours!  I have at least 6 encaustic paintings started and I'm stalled, which is why I've been allowing myself some cold wax time.  It's kind of like the buttery paint of my dreams!

My first layers....   

I image not much of the red will remain-just hints perhaps, but it's just the beginning and like Plato says, it's the most important part of the work.  Surely not for it's great beauty, but rather for the process; for the seed of yourself that is exposed and implanted before your brain and ego get involved.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Birth The Unbound

The past week or two I have been experimenting with oil and cold wax in between my time with encaustics. I'm looking to get out of my own way, trying to become less rigid, which may take some doing but it's something I really need to cultivate! My paints are laid out on my table and instead of full on painting sessions, I find myself pondering what to do next as I walk by.  I stop and I dabble, then I think some more as I continue on my way.  Perhaps the next time I stop I'm there for an hour.  I'm just letting myself be free with the process--I'm not trying so hard, I'm just letting myself experiment and create.   My favorite time, however, has been the early morning.  Sleepy-eyed but with fresh perspective there are no boundaries. 

I'm keeping the palette simple-just a few colors that I love. That's what it's all about after all-doing what you love. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Lost In the Call

"Let the caller and the called disappear; be lost in the call." Rumi

I have been painting a lot.  Sadly, however, I have not been producing anything I'd care to share, and have been scraping the wax off my paintings as quickly as I put it on.  It's frustrating, yes, but truthfully it makes me a little sad.  Sad because I start doubting myself; I begin wondering what I'm doing aside from wasting time and money.  I will be the first to tell you that I'm self-taught, that I'm not always clear about what I'm doing technique wise or compositionally (I hope that's a word.) I will also tell you that despite wanting to pull my hair out the majority of the time, I love painting.  Time is irrelevant and non-existent when I'm painting.  I talk to myself, I wonder, I try colors, I'm curious and I am fully engaged. I am lost in the call.

"Lost In the Call" is my first oil and cold wax painting.  It's 12x12 on a canvas panel.  It was an interesting process--quite different from my normal encaustic painting, but fun.  I plan on playing with this medium a bit more!     

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Community Art Exhibition

I'm so happy and excited to be a part of the juried community art exhibition at Moraine Valley! It runs from May 28th to July 31st. As someone very new to art shows, I am beyond excited that my encaustic paintings will be hanging on a wall that isn't mine! It's just thrilling really!

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Step Toward Home

“Close your eyes and follow your breath to the still place that leads to the invisible path that leads you home.”  ~ St. Teresa of Avila

My painting, “A Step Toward Home,” was nearly finished when I took a good hard look at my work and said to myself, “If you are going to do this, than do it.”  The next thing I knew, there was a big splotch of encaustic paint covering what had been a “perfectly good” painting.  Now perfectly good is fine, and sometimes you can be happy with it, but there are those times when something inside says you can do more.  Honestly, I didn’t know which way to go after laying down that paint so I just added more.  I fused and I scraped and I cursed myself repeatedly, but in the end I was indeed one step closer to home—I finally painted something that was me to the core…if that makes sense.  This painting business is a highly emotional journey—and I’m so happy that I found my way here!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Without Regret or Apology

I'm painting with much more frequency these days, and with that comes a better sense of personal style. I've struggled with that for some time-knowing there was something there that needed to get out, needed to be created, but whatever it was just out of reach. 

My newest painting, entitled "Without Regret or Apology" is about finding and embracing my personal style. Knowing I love muted, dark colors, rusty bits and things showing age and wear. I'm not whimsical or perky; my soul is quiet and reflective. I love whimsy and perky, but it's just not mine to create. 

This painting is off to The Art Center-Highland Park where it will be part of a fundraising event in May.  12x12 encaustic and oil on cradled panel. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Encaustic Nature in Art

I am honored, excited, and truthfully a bit nervous to be a part of the encaustic exhibit at The Art Center of Mount Prospect that opens this evening! Two of my paintings were accepted, "Dust Bowl" and "Unsettled Plains." This is my first show ever!