Monday, November 16, 2009

It's Done!

After a rest period I went in and added a bunch of shadows, did a bit more refining, and decided to add an acrylic varnish over all to give it a wet look. Now, given that I've used some pastels in this piece, that was tricky. Rather than "mixed media", I could almost say "kitchen sink"! This has ended up with:
* heavy watercolor paper
* layers of tissue paper and rice paper
* acrylic on top of that
* some pastel
* just a touch of charcoal
* adding a bit more paper
* more acrylic
* varnish over all
I guess I could try to throw in some ink somewhere, but I think I've done enough!

I've been calling this piece Splish, but in reality I'm going to ask my daughter to name it. Her birthday falls on Thanksgiving this year, and I can say I'm truly thankful she is my daughter. Fortunately, she never thinks to look at my blog unless I remind her, so she hasn't seen this in process.

Today I pick up some packaging supplies and tomorrow it gets shipped! Wish I could be there to sing happy birthday when she opens it!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day Two working on Splish

Quite a bit more acrylic and now some pastels have been added to the top of the mixed papers. I toned down the vivid yellow and the bright apple green, both the original paper colors. I also did a very small amount of refining of shapes. Part of what I like about this is how the paper pieces have determined the posture of the people - some are walking, some bend into the wind, etc. - and I didn't want to spoil that.

In looking at this piece from across the room I decided the "hole" in the middle was sucking the life out of it, so I went back and added another paper shape to fill that space, then went through the refining process with that guy.

Streaks of rain and shadowy puddles have been added with paint and/or pastel. I need to let this one sit a day or two and decide how much more it needs - or doesn't! One of my biggest problems artistically is knowing when I'm done. Often that last touch or flourish will ruin a piece for me. So, this one will sit and gel a bit now. Check back on Monday!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Working on a mixed media piece

Follow along as I work on this new mixed media piece. My daughter requested something like this for her birthday. She had a specific theme in mind for the image and she wanted the heavy texture similar to oil applied with a palette knife. I don't do oil, but I've been doing more and more acrylic and recently started experimenting with collage and with pastel. So, my challenge became how to give my "little girl" something in line with what she wants and still with my style and material choices:

I started with heavy, 300 lb., watercolor paper and layered on quite a bit of tissue paper. Big pieces, small pieces, several colors, many squished (a technical term) then spread back out to be deliberately wrinkly. A final layer of an aqua tissue paper went on top of the other layers except for the people and umbrellas. Both the black paper and some of the white have bits of glitter embedded, this chosen for the sense of rain drops.

I've started adding acrylic paint on top of the paper. It will get lots more acrylic and possibly some pastel before it's done. I'l post again in a day or two to see where we are by then.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Learning to "paint" with collage

Meet Marjorie! She's 97 years old, maybe 77 pounds dripping wet, and obviously THE person for whom the phrase "cute as a bug" was invented. She's also a regionally well-known and respected artist specializing in collage. She continues to create her own art and still gives the occasional workshop. Pretty amazing.

I was lucky to have the opportunity to participate in Marjorie's most recent workshop. She and a couple of volunteers drug a massive amount of supplies 45 minutes or so from Visalia to Three Rivers. Marjorie and her late husband lived here, and I think she has a very soft spot for this little community. So, a group of us gathered at a local gallery as part of the 1st Saturday event for November and began to learn to create a collage.

Marjorie speaks of "Reckless Abandon" and "Careful Planning" as the two approaches to this process. I'm not your basic careful planner, and I was in need of therapy anyway, so I began a meditative (though surprisingly fast) application of paper to board to create a painting.

OK, it'd no masterpiece, but I had great fun, and I feel more prepared to do this again. And, the Brandon-Mitchell Gallery in Visalia wants to have a show of the works created at Marjorie's workshop and/or as a result thereof.

Given that the local Student Art Show (featuring the work created during the 4 weeks of October that I "taught" at the grammar school) was also a part of 1st Saturday I was more than a little busy. Friday found me very involved in hanging the student show as well as doing some of the set up for the workshop. After the workshop my uncomplaining husband showed up with our old truck to load and deliver the tables, chairs, etc., back to folks who loaned them for the event. The last of that got done today. Oh, and along the way I managed to grab a few photos so I can put together another article for our weekly paper. That's WAY too much for me at one time, but the way this particular cookie almost "crumbled".

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Art-ful Life

My practice of art is like anything else in life, waxing and waning, productive and not, adventurous and cautious - well, I'm not often cautious. Lately I've been caught up in my own busy-ness. I have no one to blame, really not even myself; it's just one of those times. The one bit of let's be sure what we're doing here revolves around ego - mine. Back when I still worked a real job, it was very possible for me to confuse being busy with being important, necessary, productive or whatever. So, when I find myself looking at the calendar and seeing that my next free day is ten days away, I need to be certain of why I'm scheduling myself so heavily.

And, I've done that. I've looked at every single thing I've put on the calendar between now and November 14 (and just try to schedule anything for me then) and asked myself if I truly choose to be doing it. Once I own that the answer is "yes" for each and every workshop, parent-sitting, and all the other stuff, I am certain I'm not playing either Ms. Important or Ms. Victim - no one is making me do these things. While there are differing reasons behind say a school art show to be hung and the sitting with a neighbor's father so she can have time off, the reasons aren't what's important. That would be the choice. The mere fact that each thing on my presently ridiculous calendar is my choice.

So, as I sit looking at my worktable where the painting I finished a couple of weeks ago still sits on the easel, it's OK. I understand that this is simply me being a participant in life. And, I often find that after a break from my art I return with renewed vigor. Again, like capital L - Life. Exercise, then rest. Eat, then digest. Wake, then sleep. I wouldn't want my practice of art to become production line in nature; so these times of withdrawal from the worktable are not just acceptable but likely necessary.

The whole thing is another of Life's little balancing acts: Not enough discipline and I'll never get any painting done; too much discipline and I'll become stale. So, today I go off to fulfill the choice I placed on this square on the calendar, and I'm content to be doing it.