Friday, December 22, 2017

Collage Papers

As you may know, I recently released a book of collage papers that you can cut and use in your own work.  Here is a little video of me making two collages, inspired by Rex Ray, using my papers.
Find the book here.

I hope the book will inspire you to make your own collage papers as well. Mix them with found papers like book pages, discarded maps, and ephemera for a truly eclectic collection. Use to wrap small gifts, decorate gift tags, and other paper crafts.  Happy Solstice Season!

Find Collage Papers HERE.

I was going to crop these to squares, as you saw in the video, but in the end they looked better as rectangles.  Using a viewfinder, though, can be really helpful in deciding on a final composition.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

White Paint

I tested six different brands of white paint to see how they compared in opacity.

My favorite brand is Blick Matte Acrylic, but it is not available in Canada. I did find that the Holbein, Sennelier, and Pebeo were pretty comparable. I will test the Liquitex a little further to see how it performs in my regular painting practice.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Making Marks

I usually need a break after my busy teaching season, which ended this year with a workshop in Pensacola, FL the first week of November. Then there is Thanksgiving, for which I take time out to see family and cook.  Getting back into the studio for any kind of regular painting practice always takes some time and effort. It's a shift from teaching-traveling mode to more inward-looking, solitary, exploratory mode. The key is to align my expectations with the reality that this is a transition. As enthusiastic as I am to get into my studio after a long season of teaching, it's never easy.

I've been laying pretty low this week with a bad cold, and just poking my head into the studio to push paint around for an hour or two each day.  Works In Progress are great for this: I can just do one or two things to a few pieces with no pressure to finish them, but just to move them along somewhere.

Yesterday I did a little Mark-Making exercise: on a stack of cut-offs from my paper cutter, which are all about 5"x8", I used limited tools to make lines and patterns, paying attention to creating variety and leaving some breathing room.  Here are some of the results:

You can see from these that there is some overlap in the kinds of marks I made. For example the arch or half-circle shape appears in four of them, with variations in a couple of the others. The awkward scribble makes an appearance in a few of them. There is a pattern of irregular dots and dashes in some of them... And yet each one is unique. Each one has something - a color or a mark - that it does not share with others.

I think this kind of working-in-a-group, WITHOUT trying to make anything specific, often reveals some of our default marks, suggests new combinations, and generally greases the wheels for visual exploration. To me it is important that these "studies" have no pressure on them to BE anything other than the result of a process. If they went directly into the wood stove now, it would be fine; their purpose has been served. I've made them, and I've looked at them.

Friday, November 17, 2017

New Studio Construction

My new studio is finally under construction; it is an addition onto my house, which will be very convenient. Unlike the current studio, which is the upstairs of a barn, the new one will have running water - YAY!  A sink where I can wash my brushes and change my paint water. It will also have lots of vertical wall space and high ceilings. Here are a few photos from this week:

The digging begins.  The little building to the right is the back and side of the post office.

The digging is done.

Footings are being poured.
I'll post occasional pictures as it progresses.  I hope it will be done in the spring.

Monday, November 13, 2017

New Book of Collage Papers

My new book of collage papers is now available at Amazon!  This is a book you are meant to cut up and use the pieces in your own work. It includes over seventy 8.5"x11" full page patterns, all from my hand-painted papers, my original paintings, and collages. 

Lucie Duclos helped me design the cover.
I hope this book not only adds to your collage paper stash, but also inspires you to create more of your own hand-paint papers. There is no instruction in this book, just papers.  Check it out.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Mentoring Workshop

I have just a few spots available in my Mentoring Workshop coming up in March in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. This is a five-day workshop in which we all work independently - no instruction, no class assignments - and then I give individual feedback and coaching. We have group discussions and a few slide shows as well.  Here is a little video from my last mentoring workshop.
If you are interested in participating in the 2018 Mentoring Workshop, please e-mail me directly. I will send you the details and a way to sign up. The Atlantic Center for the Arts has light-filled, generous, studio space, comfortable accommodations, and meals right on campus. Five full days of focused art practice!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

North Country Studio Workshops 2018

In January 2018, North Country will offer thirteen simultaneous workshops. All workshops take place in the Visual and Performing Arts building (VAPA) on the campus of Bennington College. Faculty members have been recruited from around the United States, and each of them has won recognition both for artistic achievement and for teaching excellence.
 I am SO much looking forward to taking the printmaking workshop this winter, going back to being a student after teaching at the last session in 2016 (workshops happen every two years). It is an experience full of inspiration and connecting with artists in a wide variety of disciplines. There is concentrated studio time, terrific meals, housing right on campus. Yes, it is January in Vermont, but it's a great time to be indoors working and learning.

There are a few spots available in the Metal Jewelry workshop, with Tim Lazure, and a few in the Sculptural Woodworking with Sylvie Rosenthal.  I would love to see you there as a fellow student.

Tim Lazure

Sylvie Rosenthal

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Another Weekend of Big Fat Art

This Big Fat Art Weekend was in Stowe, Vermont, at the Helen Day Art Center. We laid down masses of color using various techniques, then made lines, shapes, and patterns, painted over previous layers, kept adding stuff and painting over stuff... we flung house paint and High Flow paint, scribbled and dripped, made marks, and made a mess.  Here are some of the students' results (all to be considered works in process) and all around 18"x24" - 22"-30" except where noted.

This one is much larger, maybe 36"x48"

Next year at Helen Day, I will be offering another Big Fat Art Weekend, November 9 - 11.  I will also be teaching a workshop with Suzanne Seigel the week of October 15 - 19.  She will teach techniques for preparing collage papers; then I will teach a collage class.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

More Pictures from Big Fat Art

A few more pix from my Big Fat Art workshop at Port Townsend School of the Arts. Check out their other offerings.  It was fabulous to be on such a vibrant, creative campus. After my workshop I participated in the Port Townsend Ukulele Festival, right there at Fort Worden, presented by Centrum.

One of my demo pieces in process

One of my demo pieces in process

One of my demo pieces in process

student work in progress

student work in progress

student work in progress

student work in progress

student work in progress

student work in progress

student work in progress

student work in progress

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Big Fat Art in Port Townsend

Last weekend I had the pleasure of teachiIt was my Big Fat Art Weekend workshop, and I had an absolutely awesome group, making Big Fat Art! PTSA is in its third season of offering classes and workshops in all types of media, on the campus of Fort Worden State Park, which is home to a number of creative non-profits.  Centrum, Copper Canyon Press, and Madrona Mind Body Institute are just a few.  It is SO COOL that all events from various organizations are coordinated on this calendar, so you can design your own experience. It is inspiring to see so many creative organizations fostering a spirit of cross-pollination and working together.
Detail shots from a few of my demo pieces.

I sometimes play my ukulele in class, to give students a break from my talking and breathing down their necks. 
I will post more pictures of student work in a later post, once I get them organized.

My next gig is teaching at the Vermont Ukulele Harvest, on October 14.  Check it out here.  And see a few videos on our FB page.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

More Daily Paintings

It has definitely proved to be a challenge to finish a painting every day.  But it does push me to be in the studio more frequently, even when I don't have loads of time.  Here are a few of the latest, which are up on my Daily Paintworks Gallery.

These are all 6"x6", acrylic on panel, some with collage:

Daily Painting #10

Daily Painting #11

Daily Painting #12

Daily Painting #13

These small paintings give me an opportunity to focus my visual ideas. It is a way of paring down a visual statement, trying to get it clear and simple. I would like to use this format to make studies for larger works. Not sure how that will work, or IF it will work.  I don't generally use sketches or studies to create larger work. But the practice of finishing a piece in one or two sittings is similar to my Five Minute Paintings, in that it makes me focus and make aesthetic decisions more readily.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Enhancing a Color Area

Here is a short video demo on how I like to make an area of color more interesting and nuanced.  The key is subtlety, very low contrast variations on one color:

If you play the ukulele or would like to learn how to play the ukulele, I am teaching at the Vermont Ukulele Harvest, October 14, and also taking the workshops by other teachers. Check it out!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

My Daily Painting Practice

I have managed to finish at least one painting per day since I started the Daily Painting. My goal is to keep it up as almost daily painting. I can't make it a priority on travel days or teaching days, but most week days while I am not away teaching I should be able to finish a small painting. The small format (I am working 6"x6") is very user-friendly.  I am painting directly on gessoed wood panels.

You can see my daily paintings, as well as studies and experimental pieces for sale here.  See the entire gallery of Daily Paintworks here.  Sell your own work on Daily Paintworks!

Here are four of my daily paintings. Of course, I still work in multiples, so there are more of each of these, some finished, as you'll see on my DPW gallery, and some still in the works. I would love to hear your own thoughts on a daily painting practice.  Have you tried it?  Have you been doing it for years? How does it work for you?

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Daily Painting

I had the pleasure of Carol Marine's attendance at my workshop in Bend, Oregon, the other week at Art in the Mountains.  Carol is the person behind the Daily Paintworks web site and the author of "Daily Painting".  Though she is primarily a representational painter, and works in oils, I found we had much in common as artists.
In addition to inspiring daily painting, with loads of examples, Carol has a great section on composition. Though her process is different from mine, her essential message is exactly the same: trust your instincts; if a piece feels/looks "right", don't question it.  If it does not feel right, that is the time to refer to some basic rules and guidelines.  Don't start with the rules; start with your gut feeling, your visual intuition.

In her book Carol advocates completing one small painting per day, or as frequently as possible.  I am inspired to give it a try! My usual approach is to start a whole bunch of paintings, and work on them all over the course of whatever-time-I-have-available between workshops.  I never, NEVER, put pressure on myself to finish anything, but allow paintings to come to maturity in their own time. And they do, if I am paying attention.  I've started working on 6"x6" panels, and have completed several in the last several days.  Of course I've made many beginnings, but the practice is to finish one per day, and this makes a greats counterpoint to my usual practice.

Daily Painting #1, 6"x6"

Daily Painting #4, 6"x6"
See these and other on my Daily Paintworks Gallery.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Another Color Mixing Tutorial

This one is about mixing analogous colors, those that are adjacent on the color wheel. I am using the same pigments that I used in the color wheel demonstration:  Napthol Red Medium and Naples Yellow Hue in this case. A standard color wheel often has twelve colors: three primaries, three secondaries, and six tertiary colors (those in between primary and secondary colors).  This is an arbitrary division of colors that gives us a convenient vocabulary.  There are, of course, infinite variations and gradations.  In this demo I simply mix a greater number of gradations between red and yellow than I do in the color wheel.

You can find my new series of technique videos - The Elements of Visual Language -  here.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Color Mixing Demonstration

I will be releasing a series of videos that demonstrate techniques that I reference in my new book, "Abstract Painting: The Elements of Visual Language".  While shooting the videos, we decided to do a number of short chapters on color mixing that could be available at no cost.  This is the first in the series.  I hope you enjoy it!

It is really fun to explore various groups of primary colors this way. It gives you real insight into the potential of specific pigments.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Back from Madeline Island

Wow!  And island in Lake Superior is a fabulous place to spend a week.  Here are a few pictures of our Series As Process workshop at Madeline Island School of the Arts. In addition to the workshop space being well appointed and well laid out, the meals were terrific, there were beverages of all sorts available at all times (water, seltzer, coffee, soda, wine) at no cost, great wifi in every building, and bicycles available for anyone's use.  The staff seemed delighted to attend to our every need.  The studio is accessible twenty-four hours, so students could work at night if they chose, or go in early in the morning.  And the island is beautiful!

Big Bay State Park is just up the road, with hiking trails, beaches, places to jump into the lake.  And the Big Bay Town Park offers access to a beautiful lagoon and an awesome beach, with canoe and kayak rentals.  With daylight extending until about 9:00 pm, I was able to explore both of these parks in the evenings, hiking along the shore, canoeing in the lagoon, and I did jump in the lake (brrrr!) too.

I will definitely be returning to MISA in 2019, July 22 - 26.

One Student's work on one project

Demo example, in process