Monday, December 26, 2011

Spacious Skies: Old Works

Today as some are enjoying a quiet, relaxing day after Christmas, my industrious husband is cleaning out our garage. A box of my old art work has been sitting out there, neglected and falling prey to dust, mildew, and spiders (the main reason I have put off taking care of it). But today turned out to be the day to open the box, and realize that everything inside is still in pretty good shape. And I found some long forgotten work I'd done that looks pretty good! Here are three watercolors I found today. I see that my love of big horizons is on display in these sketches, something that comes from growing up on the prairie.

These muted scenes are a nice reminder of my ongoing love affair with watercolor and lonely, muted landscapes.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Encaustic Painting

"Couldn't you just use the same griddle we use for food?" asked my practical minded husband as I was unpacking my newly purchased griddle to use for encaustic painting. My encaustic starter kit had arrived a few days earlier and now with griddle and heat gun in hand, I was ready to try encaustic painting at home. Last October I'd had the privilege of taking an encaustic workshop with Serena Barton in Portland and immediately fell in love with this medium. Even though I was somewhat hesitant to try it out at home, in the back of my mind, I knew resistance was futile.

So here is my first home effort.

Before the first layer of wax, I painted a watercolor background, and stamped with hand carved stamps. The butterfly actually began as a stamped image which I then layered over with paint, followed by some incising marks and rubbed oil paint. I also used some oil paint stick and pastel. Though you aren't able to see it, there is also a layer of collaged tissue paper from an old dress pattern with some pastel drawing in the bottom part. I love the effect of wax over watercolor! It creates a beautiful depth and luminosity to the painting.

And here is another one I did the next day.

This one includes some collage elements and image transfer. The haiku (that might not be a real haiku) collaged into the painting reads:

No one travels
Along this road but I
This autumn evening

Hence the subdued tone of the work.

So now I know I can do encaustic at home with very little mess or trouble. I don't have a studio (yet) so I bought a big plastic tub that the griddle with paint tins fits into, along with the heat gun and other supplies. When not in use, it's easily stored away on a shelf in the garage. In February, I'll be taking a class in encaustic locally to learn more about this exciting medium. I can't wait!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Time Out for Christmas Cards

One of my favorite traditions at Christmas time is sending and receiving cards. I love it even more in this digital age when so much of our communication is online. This year I decided to make cards.

To make the cards, I first made some simple styrofoam stamps and then have been using a combination of collage and painted wash backgrounds for the cards. An old Christmas song book has been a wonderful source of cheerful messages and beautiful design elements.

My homemade cards are not perfect, which to me is part of the allure in these times of the mass produced, perfectly polished aesthetic.

Making cards gives me an excuse to do art during a busy time, and share a small piece of my creativity with those I love. My paint party Friday friends may wonder about the actual painting involved in making these cards -- and I'll admit I've missed connecting with you and wanted to check in. Plus, I did use watercolor for the backgrounds and acrylic for the stamping!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you're all finding a way to make art in the busy holiday season!