Thursday, December 31, 2020

Practice with "Quickies"

 Many people bristle at the term "New Year's Resolution", and yet the new year does seem to offer an opportunity to RE-new, invite something new into your life, reassess and reset priorities. I think of goals more as guiding principles than endpoints that I must reach. The goals are not there to be 'achieved', but to guide, as reference points. They are also fluid - just like the painting process, they are open to revision based on changing environment, new input or ideas, or shifts in my mental landscape.

Read my interview with the Learning to Paint Podcast, "The Brilliance of Bite-Size", about learning and goal setting. 

Quickie, a quick study, 9"x6"

 In 2021, I would like to incorporate the practice of doing quickies - quick studies on paper. You can read here about the oil and cold wax class I took, in which we did four quick, small, studies each day before diving into the work. I won't do it every day, but I'll try to do a set of quickies a few times a week.

Here is a video of my first approach to quickies. I've given myself just a few tools and a few colors to work with.


To count as quickies, you are not allowed to agonize over them. Think of them as your warm-up exercises, or your sketchbook, not as pieces you'd show to someone else. They are your private playground, for your benefit as an artist. 

This is a group of 'Quickies', each 9"x6", with plenty of space around the edges to play with in cropping them. Each has the squeegee and palette knife applications, collage, a little spattering, and some have added line work.

2020 was a tough year by any measure, so let's be easy on ourselves in 2021. I'm going to try to invite opportunities and see what happens, rather than set rigid benchmark goals. How about you? What are your plans for 2021? Comment on this or e-mail me. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Mark Making in January

 My online course, Mark-Making, begins January 6. Here is some student work from a 2019 class. See details and sign up here.

We get to fling paint, scribble, spatter, drip, and more. Make your own tools, layer patterns over scribbles over spills.... All fun and lots of learning. See details here.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Oil and Cold Wax Medium

 I have been taking an online class with Jerry McLaughlin, in oil and cold wax medium, at the Winslow Art Center in Bainbridge Island, WA. Who cares where the class is; it's online. I try to take one intensive workshop each year, to learn something new, deepen my art practice, and also to remind myself what it is like to be a student. Working with an unfamiliar material, feeling ham handed and out of my depth, helps me understand some of the issues my students face. The class is AWESOME! Jerry is a very experienced and sympathetic teacher, very clear and knowledgeable. The format includes live zoom meetings and an online forum for posting work.

So I thought I'd share with you some of my early attempts to getting a handle on cold wax medium. It is an intriguing material, offering beautiful depth and textural possibilities. 

Jerry has us do four "quickies" each day on Arches Oil Paper.

12"x12", this one makes use of carving and pressing texture, wax paper transfer, and more.

Four more Quickies

I used a graphite-dipped waxed linen thread to make the wandering line.

Here I tried coating the thread in solvent-diluted green paint; the technique needs work.

All of the above are experimental and in process. I am working on 12x12 cheap wood panels from Amazon. They are a bit flimsy, but completely adequate to this use. Jerry McLaughlin and Rebecca Crowell host Cold Wax Academy, which is an amazing resource for anyone using cold wax medium. The site offers free videos and information, and membership entitles you to more interaction with Jerry and Rebecca. If you are interested in cold wax, check it out!

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Stripes in 2020

 This pandemic found me doing stripes. And more stripes. It is such a simple format, but I am finding unexpected possibilities for expression in it, as well as an opportunity to slow down and go deeper into this exploration. Here as a video about my current work.

And a few of the pieces I've made this year:

Me and my Sunshine Stripes 56"x66"

Sonoran Stripes 30"x40"

Long Stitch #2, 10"x20"

Sunshine Stripes, again, 36"x36"

Stitched Together #something, 20"x20"

Common Thread #something, 20"x20"

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Original Art for Sale

I am offering some of my larger works on paper, 19"x24", for sale, at a reduced price. I haven't framed them or shown them in a gallery, and I want them out of my studio to make room for more!

See them here on my gallery website. $270 includes shipping. You can order custom mats and frames at FrankenFrames if you don't have a local frame shop.

This is what "Re Surface #3" would look like with mat and frame.

Pieces are shipped flat and unframed. See them here.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Mark Making Online Starting in January

 I am offering my Mark Making Online Workshop beginning January 6, 2021. This is an online workshop consisting of video and downloadable pdf lessons. No live streaming, so you can do the assignments and post your work at your convenience throughout the six week class. We use a Wordpress blog for posting and commenting on work, and I offer personal feedback on every post.

Learn to express with line, pattern, masses of color and splatters!

How many ways can you make a line?

This is a "wall collage" I made about a year ago - I used pushpins to tack various markings to the studio wall in an ephemeral composition.

Discover the potential of drips and splatters...

... Use collage elements as your marks.

We will also make our own brushes and marking tools. Best if you have a space where you can work on the floor and fling a bit of paint. Basement, garage, or outdoors. Or make yourself a cardboard fence to keep paint off the furniture.

See details and sign up here.

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 Qu├ębec

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.