Friday, January 23, 2015

Acrylic Paint Basics and a GIVEAWAY

I get a lot of questions about the basic aspects of acrylic paint - fluids vs. heavy body, opacity and transparency, drying time, different brands, and more.  So I made a little video demonstrating some of the differences between fluid acrylics and heavy body acrylics, including some student-grad acrylics, which are sort of in-between.  I also demonstrate a couple of things about opacity.
Read all about Golden Fluid Acrylics here. Watch a video here.

See an informational video about Golden heavy body acrylics here.

Utrecht Artist Acrlyics, owned by Blick Art Materials now
Holbein Acrlyic

All of the above are available at Blick Art Materials and many other art stores.  See my Favorite Materials Page for other suppliers (link in right margin). 

OK, now here is the good part: I have a set of Golden Fluid Acrylics to GIVE AWAY.
This is the set I'm giving away: ten 1-oz bottles of Golden Fluid Acrylics
To qualify for entering in the giveaway (randomly chosen), please comment on this post and make sure you identify yourself uniquely (not just "mary", but "mary in Illinois".  I will post the winner on Monday, and the winner is responsible for contacting me with a mailing address.  This giveaway is not geographically limited.

Next up in this "series" (not sure if it is a series yet) is a video about layering and drying time.  Let me know if there are particular topics you would like me to cover in "Acrylic Paint 101".  Think Basics, not fancy techniques but stuff about the paint itself.

Good luck!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Encaustic on Paper

I had another Wax Day the other week, with Jeri MacDonald (as soon as she gets her web site updated, I will post a link).  I love working with encaustic on paper.  This is 300# hot press watercolor paper, Arches, I believe.  We both work with encaustic medium, a few colors, oil stick or pigment stick, and a bit of oil paint. Here are a few of my 5"x5" pieces:
The pattern of circles on the left is incised with a stylus while the wax is warm.  Incised lines on the right, the dark ones, are rubbed with oil paint.

This one is probably not finished, well, definitely not finished. Not sure where it will go next.

The color in these that looks like Qinacridone Gold (an acrylic color) is Alizarin Orange.  I have it in encaustic paint and oil paint.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Out Takes from a Series

My last few posts have been about series I'm working on now:  the black and white pieces, and the neutrals.  For the most part I ALWAYS work in series; I always start with the idea that I will do multiple pieces exploring similar issues, whether it's color, technique, a certain combination of visual elements, or other set of parameters.  It is obvious to me, and perfectly acceptable, that not all the pieces I do come to a satisfactory conclusion.  Here are a few out takes, or I'll call them works in progress, from the neutral pieces I demonstrated in the last  post:

I may need to paint over more of this.  Letting it think a while.

This one is starting to look a little fussy to me.

I like the gestural, raw quality of the paint strokes in this one.

This one might be done, but I'm letting it sit a while before I decide.

Actually, this one is definitely done.  Love the minimal quality.

 Meanwhile, I still have the black and white series going, and started some 20"x20" pieces in addition to the 12"x12"s. 

Table full of Black and White Pieces in progress
Many of you know from my workshops that I emphasize working in series, or working in quantity, or at least working on several pieces at once.  It helps you let go of the preciousness of the individual piece, and explore an idea more deeply.  I am offering a one-day working specifically on Working In Series at Art and Soul in Portland this March.  Check it out here.  In my longer workshops we work on whatever the topic is, but always in multiples. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Some New Work in Nuetrals

I've been experimenting with layering acrylic paint and scraping through, creating texture and line with a minimum of colors.  You can see some pieces I did about a year ago here.  Mostly I've done these pieces as technique demonstrations, but thought I'd try to take it a bit further.  Here is a video on some of the techniques I'm using:

And a few of the finished works:

You can see the whole collection at Jane Davies Art Gallery.  And learn the techniques at my workshops in Gloucester, Whidbey IslandRhinebeck (OMEGA), and Dillman's Bay Resort in Wisconsin.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Have you made art goals or plans for 2015? Do they include making bad art?  Or allowing yourself just to play without concern for a finished product?  Giving yourself time and materials to explore without goals?  How are your art goals framed?  What do you count as "success"?  What constitutes a "good" day in the studio?  What would be your ultimate ideal art day?

My bench mark of success in the studio is showing up and making marks.  Really.  If I show up and put some marks on a surface, it counts as a good day.  Whether good art or finished art shows up is another matter, and doesn't enter into this particular equation.  In art making, quantity breeds quality.  This is the basis of my 100 Drawings class, which has just got underway (another iteration starting in September), and it seems to be the case in my own art practice.  It's a working hypothesis anyway.

I posted last week about the black and white pieces I'm doing. They are really about mark-making, getting variety in the quality of marks.  I began another dozen of them today, and plan to keep working on them for a while to explore this non-color vocabulary.

Here is a video of me working on these black and white marks:

And these are some of the pieces at various stages of the process.  They are in no particular order, except the first and second images are the same piece.

Thanks for visiting!  Don't forget to play.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Black and White

I've been in awe of Mayako Nakamuro's black and white work for a couple of years now since discovering her on Flickr.  The rawness and energy of the mark making is breath taking.  See her work on Pinterest as well.

Using her as inspiration, I began a series of 12"x12" black and white pieces, using India ink, graphite, acrylic, and crayon:

1. I'm considering this and the two below provisionally finished.



A dozen or so pieces in various stages of the process
#2 above, in process

Another in process: a layer of marks, then a layer of paint

This is the first layer: India ink washes, graphite, pencil, and white Caran d'Ache crayon

Same materials as above, the first layer

This is the piece above, with a layer of paint.
I'm finding working in black and white very freeing.  It allows me to pay more attention to the quality of marks and the range of value.  When stuck in a rut, it can be extremely helpful to look at the work of another artist and use it as a springboard.  Some shy away from "copying" another artist, but I feel that even if you begin by copying, if you do enough pieces you inevitably make them your own.  For this group I really did have a couple of Nakamura's pieces up on my computer screen, and referred to them when I felt I was repeating my same old familiar marks.  But for the most part I feel I found a way to move forward with my own work.  THANK YOU Mayako Nakamura for the inspiration!!

Hope you all have a fabulous holiday!

Yesterday was my birthday, and I want to thank all of you who posted birthday on my FaceBook page.  It was, indeed, a very happy birthday!

Friday, December 19, 2014

September Workshop in Wisconsin

I am teaching a workshop at Dillman's Bay Resort in northern Wisconsin, September 13 - 18.  They've just opened it for registration, and made a really spectacular (I think) presentation page. Dillman's has an excellent website, with information on all kinds of activities: kayaking, swimming, yoga, etc.  It will be like summer camp (in the fall) plus art.  Looks like you could bring your whole family, and they would all be happily occupied while we make abstract paintings.

In the studio one thing I've been working on is linear pieces in black and white.  Full disclosure: part of this is in preparation for 100 Drawings on Cheap Paper, which starts January 7 (full) and September 9 (open for registration).  Still, it is fun and eye-opening to return to a vocabulary that does not include color.  Color is such a strong language that it is easy to lose sensitivity to other elements in the presence of it.

The following are 9"x12", acrylic, graphite, and ink on cheap drawing paper:

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wax Day

Yesterday I spent the day at Jeri McDonald's studio doing small encaustic paintings on paper. I haven't done encaustic in a while, and it was great to get back to it.
5"x5" (they are all 5"x5"), encaustic and oil paint on 300# paper

5"x5", encaustic and oil paint on 300# paper

This one is unresolved.

This one is barely started, but I love the line work.

This one is not done, but close.

Jeri's palette

My palette

Jeri's piece, which I bought last spring, 5"x5"

Another of Jeri's, 5"x5"

My favorite suppliers of encaustic materials and tools are R&F Paints and Enkaustikos.  Enkaustikos offers anodized aluminum plates that you can put on your pancake griddle and create a better heated palette (more even heat than the pancake griddle alone).  The light aluminum surface is nice if you are working with color.  Jeri works exclusively with the pancake griddle, as she works mostly in black, white, and neutrals.  I use R&F's heated palette

I LOVE working with another artist or small group of artists.  Somehow, chatting while working provides just enough distraction to not get too hung up on the frustrations of making art.  The obvious advantage is getting another pair of eyes on your work.  It was a really fun day, and I hope we can do it again soon.