Thursday, October 15, 2020

My Great Canadian Border Crossing

 Here are more Before and After images of pieces that came in my Great Canadian Border Crossing. I had artists in Canada send me a "start", which I added to and sent back. With the US-Canada border closed I have missed my trips to various parts of Canada this year.

Each of these pieces is approximately 5"x7".








Jeanne - Jeanne did the collage, I added the line.


 There are more to come in a future post. Enjoy! Thanks for visiting, and thanks for participating.


Friday, September 18, 2020

Here is What a Zoom Workshop Looks Like

 I did a Zoom workshop on Professional Practices for the Artist, which did not involve any art-making, just lecture, discussion, writing, Q&A. Easy squeezy. Then, though Port Townsend School of the Arts, I taught a workshop called Time to Paint. Three days of Zoom interaction: demonstration, painting/drawing/collaging, and then looking at work, offering feedback, Q&A, etc. Here are a few pix:

Me with a demo piece

Everyone, almost, holding up their art

Mary Anne's dog with Mary Anne

My dog, Pearl, had to get into the shot.

We're all finding new ways of doing what we do. Zoom is a great tool for learning, but I'm still trying to find a combination of platforms that will facilitate teaching and learning in better ways.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

My Great Canadian Border Crossing

 Here are a few images, before and after, that have come out of my Canadian Border Crossing project, which you can read about here. This has been so much fun! And there are a lot more art pieces in the works. THANK YOU to my Canadian friends who have participated.

Patricia in Alberta

Marylou in Alberta

Lorna in Québec

Karen in Alberta

Deirdre in British Columbia

Brenda in Newfoundland

I have just named the provinces, not the cities, of the artists. My additions to the works are merely additions. I was not trying to 'finish' the pieces, just take them one more step along their journeys.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Lessons from Stripes

If you've been following me on social media, you'll be aware that I've been addicted to stripes for the last few months. Here are a few things I've learned from immersing myself in this format:

Value is at least as important as color, if not more so. We sort of know this intellectually, but it has really hit home with this stripes series. It is the lighter values that give a piece its sense of space and presence. I go through a lot of white paint!

Detail of work in progress

The lighter values are deceptive: they look almost white on the palette, but in the piece they are much darker. The paints do dry to a slightly darker value than they are wet, but still, the difference between the palette and the context of the piece (next to other colors) is surprising.

Detail of work in progress

Color is SO relative. Something that looks like a dull terracotta on the palette (alizarin crimson + white) is clearly purple on the piece. This happens over and over again, the color 'changing' between the palette and the piece. And it is not the lighting, I swear.

A very little of the dark, bright, and sweet colors go a long way. By 'sweet' I mean mid-light values of 'pure' colors, not muted with grays. 'Pastels' is probably what I'm referring to.

Sunshine Stripes, 11"x14", acrylic and collage on paper. This piece looks bright, and it is. But look at how much square footage is occupied by muted, neutral, and very very light colors.


This is a detail shot of the above, turned 90 degrees.

A detail shot of a piece that includes the high contrast of black and bright red.

This is the piece in its totality. 12"x24"

I enjoy playing with degrees of contrast. Subtle contrast, medium contrast, and dramatic contrast. Contrast of value seems to be the strongest language, but contrast of color and of intensity are also interesting.

So it's great to play with all of these formal issues in this prescribed format of stripes - the exploration could go on and on! But what are the stripes about? What can they express? These are very slow paintings, so I spend a lot of time contemplating while steeped in color. I see mostly geological phenomena in these: layers of sediment, clay and earth, seawater, sand, rocks, and also landscape. But they are also inspired by the Quilts of Gee's Bend, which are made of fabrics worn out and given new life. The stripes, by their nature, set up rhythms, based on spacing of the colors, and the improvisational aspect of them (I never plan them out, but make them up as I go along) is like visual jazz. I leave them open to the viewer's interpretation, and hope you enjoy them on may levels.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

The Great Canadian Border Crossing

 Since the Canadian border (and many others) is closed to US residents, and I am missing my visits to Canada this summer, I have launched a little project I'm calling my "Great Canadian Border Crossing". I've reached out to my Canadian contacts and asked them to send me an Art Start, no larger than 5"x7" or 13 cm x18 cm. I will add to it and then send it back across the border.

If you are in Canada and would like to participate, send me one piece of art that is a Start, not a finished piece and not something cut from a discarded piece. Make something fresh for this project. 

Send with a self-addressed envelope for its return to:

Jane Davies PO Box 45, Rupert, Vermont 05768

I will add something to it (not promising to 'finish' it) and send it back. I will respond in this way to every piece of mail I receive before September 15.

On the left is the piece as I received it; on the right is the piece with my additions. It is on its way back to Cape Breton Island, to North Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Time to Paint

Do you ever time your painting sessions?

In my workshop Time to Paint, we engage in exercises that require you to paint (or collage or make marks) continuously, without hesitation, for a given segment of time. These range from 20 seconds to 30 minutes, and we do a LOT of them.

I have found that given a limited time to create a compelling image or visual statement, the brain has to get out of the way, and I have to make visual decision more quickly and intuitively. We begin with fairly directed exercises, with specific parameters, then move on to open ended timed painting.

This workshop is an opportunity to give your visual response a workout (and your brain a rest). You will also have time to work on the images generated by the timed experiments, and see how the exercises have affected the fluidity of your process. 

I am offering Time to Paint as a live stream workshop on Zoom, through Port Townsend School of the Arts, September 8 - 10. No travel necessary, work from you own studio! Space is limited. Take a look at the specifics, and sign up here.

Three pieces, 19"x25", on my wall, after a thirty-minute painting session
A group of five-minute paintings, each 9"x12" on cheap drawing paper

Check out the workshop here. Or try timed paintings on your own!

Friday, July 31, 2020

Mini-Collage Series

Here is a fun little exercise I do to get in the mode of working fluidly, without hesitation or angst. It is really simple, but the key is to do it in quantity. I make these little cut-paper collages on 4.5"x6" pieces of bristol. Each collage has three shapes in three different colors.

After I have made loads of them, I crop some of them, and add a little line and pattern detail. It is fun, relaxing, and gets me out of thinking mode and into a visual groove.

I will be offering an online class on the Mini-Collage, but for now, here is an overview of the process:

Here are some of the little collage pieces:

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Painting Stripes

Here is a little bit of thinking out loud while I paint stripes.
I've been asked a few times if I would be teaching a workshop on stripes, but for now I'm just offering a little window into my own process. I'm not sure what people want to learn when they say they want me to teach a workshop on painting stripes. There aren't any tricks or special techniques involved, and it is a very slow process. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

No, It's Not Finished, and Yes, It's Too Busy

The two questions I get most frequently when asked to comment on someone's work are:
Is it finished?
Is it too busy?
The answers are NO and YES, respectively. If you have to ask, then it is not finished. Only you can say when your piece is finished. It has to speak to you, the artist, to qualify as a genuine expression of you. What counts as finished for me may not be finished for you, and vice versa.  Is it too busy? Again, if you have to ask, then it is.

Which is not to say that you don't need occasional feedback or direction from either a teacher or another artist. It is very useful and eye-opening to get someone else's take on your work. Here are a couple of ways you might re-frame the questions in a way that may elicit more useful answers:

What do you see?
Can you suggest a couple of ways I might move forward on this piece?
What stands out to you the most?

If the person says "Don't touch it; it's finished", then put it aside (out of your visual field) and look at it the next day with (your own) fresh eyes.

But don't ask the questions until you have worked on the piece over some time, come back to it with fresh eyes, and done your own looking, seeing, making decisions. It is YOUR art, and you are the only one who can really discover what that is. The discovering is an ongoing process.

For more on seeing, observing, your own work, see my book,

Sunday, July 12, 2020

New Stripes Available as Prints and Products

I delivered a batch of my new Stripes paintings to Edgewater Gallery last week, where they will be on view and for sale later this month. Meanwhile, you can see them, and purchase prints and products, on Pixels/Fine Art America.

Deep Dive #1 18x24" acrylic on panel

Deep Dive #2, 24x24" acrylic on panel

Stitched Together #1, 20x20" acrylic on canvas

Stitched Together #2, 18x24" acrylic on panel

Stitched Together, 18x24" acrylic on panel

Stitched Together #4, 18x24" acrylic on panel

Stitched Together #5, 24x24" acrylic and collage on panel

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Student Work from De-Stress

Here are a few pieces from participants in the last De-Stress class back in March and April. It is offered again, beginning on July 1. Read about it here.

Transfer drawing and collage

Transfer drawing over brayered paint

Blind contour transfer drawing

Transfer drawing and collage

Mandala magic!

Somber Stripes

Mandala oval!

Grid Collage

Embellished Stripes
Grid Collage

Animated Mandala, with FISH!!