Friday, February 24, 2012

Working Large Update

I've been working on 22"x30" printmaking paper, encouraged by my 18"x24" cheap paper experiments and all your encouraging words about the video post.  Here are a few pieces:

This one is finished, for now.  It will really be finished when I come up with a title.

Ditto for this one:

Here is an earlier stage of the above:

 Another one finished, for now:

And its earlier stage (one of many):

For this next one I took the composition idea from cropping (in Photoshop) an encaustic piece on paper.  Read about it on The Sketchbook Challenge post.  Here is the crop I used for inspiration:

Here is the first stage.  This is before I knew I'd use this piece to interpret the above composition.  This is India ink, exterior latex house paint, and acrylic.

And this is where it is now.  Still in progress.

Thanks again for all your comments and encouragement.  Love to hear it when one of you gets inspired to try something new or experiment with processes I demonstrate.  I did get Steven Aimone's book, "Expressive Drawing", and it is helpful.  Thanks for the recommendation!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I was contacted recently by Autumn Kindlespire, who did some work on my book "Adventures in Mixed Media".  She is now working for a Ottlight, a company that makes really good indoor task lighting, perfect for artists.  She asked to interview me for their blog.  So here it is!  I'm not going to recommend Ottlight lightning until I've had a chance to try it.  Just wanted to give you the opportunity to see the interview if you are interested.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Working Large

Thanks so much to all of you who posted comments and e-mailed me about my Art and Yoga post.  You certainly gave me food for thought, and we will definitely continue this discussion.

I wanted to update you on my project of working large.  I posted last month about this and showed you the small changes I made in my studio to accommodate working large.  Well, the studio update was not enough.  No surprise.  To make large work I actually have to: Make. Large. Work.  And this is uncomfortable for me.  My usual methods don't scale up particularly well with my usual tools and techniques.  So here is what I did: I gave myself the assignment of working on 18"x24" cheap drawing paper with a limited palette of relatively inexpensive paint and a large (well, larger) brush.
Here are the pieces I did in the video:

 This third one I painted over quite a bit after the video, as I felt I'd overworked it and it needed a bit of simplification.  Here are a couple I did before and after the video, using the same techniques.
I think the next step is to work on real paper or on canvas at this size.  Or maybe do a whole bunch more playing on cheap drawing paper.  It is like working in a sketchbook, but just a lot bigger.  Fun!!!  I would like to hear about what challenges you face in your art making, and if you have found solutions or made inroads.  Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Art and Yoga

As an artist and a yoga practitioner I see connections between art and yoga ALL THE TIME.  I am longing to develop some kind of art workshop that focuses on those connections, one that presents art-making as a kind of yoga practice, as a meditation.  But when it comes time to verbally articulate that strong connection that I feel in my gut, I come up short.  So I thought I'd throw it out there and see what you think of the idea.  Here are a few (possibly disjointed) thoughts:
  • Yoga, done properly, calms and focuses the mind.  When I am in my art-making zone (which doesn't happen in every session; so be it) my mind is focused and in some non-linear place, transcending reason and logic.  Calm?  Maybe excited, maybe calm, it depends.  Maybe this is the switch-over to the right brain, as described by Betty Edwards in "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain".  Or maybe it is a more spiritual thing.  Or both.
  • In this "zone" I let go of attachment to a particular outcome.  In yoga, you don't strive to achieve a perfect posture, but rather let the posture be a vehicle for paying attention to your own body, your sensations, responses,  and finding your own edge.  You use the posture as a tool for awareness, not as a goal to achieve.  Likewise, in art-making you can pay attention to what IS, and pay attention to your own responses.  Let what is on the canvas/paper/cloth be what it is, and respond to that, rather than comparing it to some mental construct of what it ought to be.  Of course, it is always a balancing act, both in yoga and in art-making: where do you direct things a little, when do you allow yourself to be directed?
  • This connection may be a stretch (so to speak), but I see in art-making a distinct integration of process, material, and idea.  You can give varying importance to these elements, but they are all in there, united.  A distinguishing characteristic of yoga is that it unites mind, body, and spirit.  Some aspects of yoga emphasize the spiritual, where other emphasize the physical or mental, but in all yoga practices these elements are all there, united.   
Of course, I can't do a post without images, so here are a few of my recent encaustic pieces.

This is stage 2 of a work in progress, 8"x8".  I used a torch to burn the paper-laminated wood panel, then coated it with encaustic medium and a little color (alizarin orange):

This is a work on paper, 9"x9", using encaustic, collage, and india ink:

 This is also on paper, 4"x6", in encaustic and collage.  It is for a Post Card show, which will be on exhibit at the Sixth International Encaustics Conference this June:

In my relatively new encaustic endeavors I'm especially aware of the anxieties that can accompany exploration of new territory.  This is where the non-judgement and steadiness of effort - two pillars of yogic thought - come into play.  Let me know your thoughts!  Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Online Composition Workshop Coming Up

Beginning February 15, next week, I am offering my Keys to Dynamic Composition workshop online.  You can have all the drawing or painting skill in the world, great subject matter and a fantastic sense of color, and loads of techniques, but a piece lacking in compositional integrity falls short of its full potential.  If you feel you could use a stronger handle on the elements of composition, consider taking this class.  In each lesson we focus on a specific compositional type and use it to explore specific elements of composition - shape, line, color, value, texture, etc.

Above and below see a few examples from the class.

I will be opening the blog for this class tomorrow, a week in advance of the first lesson.  If you are interested, don't forget to read the Online Workshop Policies.  This explains how my online classes work.  Check out my other online offerings as well.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

More About Encaustics!

Daniella Woolf just blogged about our workshop and included a video of me doing the "Bennington Burn"!  Check it out here.