Friday, March 30, 2018

Pigment Sticks, Oil Pastels, and Other Drawing Materials

I've been experimenting with pigment sticks (like oil paint sticks), oil pastels, water soluble crayons, and colored pencils, on paper with several different grounds. I am using these with a couple of oil paint mediums: alkyd resin gel and odorless mineral spirits. This is not a tutorial, as I am pretty much a novice with the oil media, though I've experimented with it over the years.

I hope you enjoy this video of my explorations:

If you are interested in the materials I'm using, check out the links below. I have just ordered a few more mediums, and will also try cold wax with the pigment sticks and oil pastels. I am interested in finding new ways of painting, seeing what happens to the imagery when using different materials.

R&F  Pigment Sticks
Arches Oil Paper
Alkyd Resin
Prismacolor colored pencils
Caran d'Ache NeoPastel oil pastels
Holbein oil pastels
Sennelier oil pastels
Sandable Hard Gesso
Absorbent Ground
Caran d'Ache water soluble crayons

I also like to use 300# smooth (hot press) watercolor paper.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Mentoring Workshop at ACA

Last week I was at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, FL, with twelve mentoring students. This is an independent study workshop, in which everyone (including me) works on her own work, and I offer individual critique and facilitate group discussions. We used the dance studio, which has beautifully high ceilings, lots of natural light, and plenty of space for us each to have an 8'x8' wall to work on.

Here are a few studio shots:

A couple shots of my workspace:

And some of my works in process:

24"x24" on panel

20"x20" on canvas

36"x36" on canvas

24"x24" on panel

20"x20" on canvas

36"x36" on canvas

19"x25" on paper

19"x25" on paper

19"x25" on paper

19"x25" on paper

19"x25" on paper

19"x25" on paper
I began by working on larger canvases and then smaller canvases and panels. Then, for the last two days I worked on paper. For the whole week most of us (including me) worked on multiple pieces at once. Our housing and meals were right there on campus, so we had no obligations other than to paint!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Late Stages of a Painting

This piece is 20"x20" on wood panel. It has gone through many stages in a previous life, and then resurfaced to take a new direction. Here is the latest:

This is many layers after it came out of hiding.

Flattened out the top area with a grey-green

Added a bit of gray pattern in the middle and emphasized the gray circle on the right.

Painted over the drippy over in the top right, marked the gray circle with graphite and paint, and added some orange stripes inside the big orange orb on the lower left.

Toned down the gray circle on the right. Looks like I also tweaked the turquoise.
This may be done, or very close. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

From Sketchbook to Canvas

This is just one painting in process that I've begun using my sketchbook page as a starting point.

This work in progress is 36"x36".  It may change completely as it evolves, but you can see the influence of the sketchbook exercise in it.

This is the sketchbook page that I created as a "mood board" for the painting.
I never work on just one piece at a time, so I do have other paintings in the works that are similar in feel to the above. The one shown here is the one that most directly reflects the sketchbook starting point. I have no idea where it is going!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Back to the Sketchbook

I recently read a blog post by Alice Sheridan about how to make a "mood board" for your art. This sounds suspiciously like planning out your painting, which for me is a totally useless process. In fact, I find that planning only gets in the way. But I found Sheridan's approach interesting in that she insists that it is pretty open. It is not a "study", or a composition layout, but a collection of visual ideas you may want to play with in a painting.

Maybe this is a good role for my sketchbook, besides a place to off-load paint.

Here is the sketchbook page spread.

This is the page that is intended as the mood board.

I've started a couple of large paintings using these colors. I'll post them as they progress, and see if they bear any resemblance to the mood board. Another thing I'd like to try is to make a series of small pieces based on this mood board. If the paintings veer off into new directions, I will consider the mood board has done its job as a starting point, and we can part company.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Lines in Monoprint

I have been experimenting with ways of making line in monoprint techniques. Here is a video of it:

These are studies, starts, experiments, just to see what I can do with these processes. I am working on Cheap Drawing Paper (aka Blick's white sulphite drawing paper), with Golden OPEN acrylics.

Here are some of the results:

Deli paper line (trace monotype) with crayon resist line on gel plate

Same processes as above

Deli paper line with string mask line on gel plate

Deli paper line with crayon and gel print
The GelliArts site has loads and loads of tutorials on monoprints, and on using the gel plate with various media. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Works in Progress

I have taken a bit of a break from posting, but hope to get  back to a more regular schedule. Last week I taught three classes at Art and Soul in Portland, Oregon. Great event! And SUPER well attended this year. I'm looking forward to next year.  More on that when all is finalized.

Meanwhile, here are some pieces I've been working on this week. A couple of the black and white ones are finished, the rest are in progress.

18"x24", finished but no title yet; canvas

20"x20", finished but not titled yet; canvas
18"x18" an earlier stage of the following image

Another step along the way of the above image. It's gone a bit further now, but still in process; canvas
The following is one piece in three recent stages.  There were many stages leading up to this point, and I don't know how much tweaking it will take to finish. This is 20"x20" on panel:

I'm thinking this is close to done, but I'm going to let it sit for a while and see what it says to me later.

Thank you for visiting!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Flinging Paint Around

I have been flinging paint around in bright, warm colors to counteract the cold, short, gray days of winter here in Vermont. Here are some pieces, some in progress, from the new series.

The first three are 12"x12" on panel:

The next three are 36"x36" on canvas, ALL in process, none finished.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Collage Papers

As you may know, I recently released a book of collage papers that you can cut and use in your own work.  Here is a little video of me making two collages, inspired by Rex Ray, using my papers.
Find the book here.

I hope the book will inspire you to make your own collage papers as well. Mix them with found papers like book pages, discarded maps, and ephemera for a truly eclectic collection. Use to wrap small gifts, decorate gift tags, and other paper crafts.  Happy Solstice Season!

Find Collage Papers HERE.

I was going to crop these to squares, as you saw in the video, but in the end they looked better as rectangles.  Using a viewfinder, though, can be really helpful in deciding on a final composition.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

White Paint

I tested six different brands of white paint to see how they compared in opacity.

My favorite brand is Blick Matte Acrylic, but it is not available in Canada. I did find that the Holbein, Sennelier, and Pebeo were pretty comparable. I will test the Liquitex a little further to see how it performs in my regular painting practice.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Making Marks

I usually need a break after my busy teaching season, which ended this year with a workshop in Pensacola, FL the first week of November. Then there is Thanksgiving, for which I take time out to see family and cook.  Getting back into the studio for any kind of regular painting practice always takes some time and effort. It's a shift from teaching-traveling mode to more inward-looking, solitary, exploratory mode. The key is to align my expectations with the reality that this is a transition. As enthusiastic as I am to get into my studio after a long season of teaching, it's never easy.

I've been laying pretty low this week with a bad cold, and just poking my head into the studio to push paint around for an hour or two each day.  Works In Progress are great for this: I can just do one or two things to a few pieces with no pressure to finish them, but just to move them along somewhere.

Yesterday I did a little Mark-Making exercise: on a stack of cut-offs from my paper cutter, which are all about 5"x8", I used limited tools to make lines and patterns, paying attention to creating variety and leaving some breathing room.  Here are some of the results:

You can see from these that there is some overlap in the kinds of marks I made. For example the arch or half-circle shape appears in four of them, with variations in a couple of the others. The awkward scribble makes an appearance in a few of them. There is a pattern of irregular dots and dashes in some of them... And yet each one is unique. Each one has something - a color or a mark - that it does not share with others.

I think this kind of working-in-a-group, WITHOUT trying to make anything specific, often reveals some of our default marks, suggests new combinations, and generally greases the wheels for visual exploration. To me it is important that these "studies" have no pressure on them to BE anything other than the result of a process. If they went directly into the wood stove now, it would be fine; their purpose has been served. I've made them, and I've looked at them.