Moving right along

4th studio session of new painting

Sometimes it’s hard to get into the studio. I don’t mean like “I have too much to do” or “There’s no inspiration” or “There’s a truck in the way and it’s on fire.” But there are often other obstacles that I am not in control of.

If I have too much to do, I make time. It’s important to let yourself have the time to do what you love, even if it’s just a few minutes.

If there’s no inspiration, that’s the perfect time to paint! Your most creative moments may come out of working through it and not being tied to an idea– YOU’RE FREE!! ENJOY IT! See what happens!

If there’s a truck on fire, well, get an extinguisher and call the fire department. I mean, yeah, that’s going to put a damper in the day but hopefully the fumes won’t be too bad.  Ok, this one will sting a little but you’ll bounce back.

5th studio session of new painting
where I really attacked it

The thing that’s always getting in the way for me is my health. I’m often dizzy, have a migraine, in pain somewhere in my body. Most of my days I just work through it, set a goal of keeping up appearances, and relish the moment I get to sit on the couch with my pup and a warm blanket. But I’ve got to get in the studio– again, it’s making time to do what I love. And the frustration/anxiety/pain/bliss-getting-through-it is what feeds those pieces. This week, I’ve dealt with power outages that made the studio way too cold to work in and dizziness/migraines/sciatica that just seemed like that truck on fire, barricading me from the studio.  But I still got in there. It did take some time. It took energy to push myself to do something I did not feel like doing. But I kept thinking of that moment when it gets better. When the pile transforms from something I don’t like and want to end, to something I’m happy living with. Then there’s the painting. ūüėČ

See how it goes…

New painting in progress– I thought I’d photograph it at the end of each session because I’m always fascinated with the layers and evolution of a painting. This is an oil on linen and is 50×60″ which is a very large piece for me. In the beginning of a painting, I usually have no idea where it’s going; no plans, nothing. I just get out the paint and see what happens. When I talk to people about a finished piece I usually tell a story of all the phases it’s gone through…”You should have seen the painting underneath this one– it was so frustrating and I couldn’t figure out where to go next so I just covered it with a new painting!”

Well, I’ll try to document all phases of this one. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I can already see myself painting over this.

Current phase after the 3rd sitting:

Tons of tiny fun!

Sketches 1 and 2, oil on Arches paper, approx 9″ x 6″ paper size

While I’m painting larger pieces in the studio, I like to work out my ideas on a smaller scale to sort through my palette, composition, and drawing. This time, I took some Arches watercolor paper, taped it up, and gessoed the painting areas. Here’s the first little batch!

Sketch 3, oil on Arches paper, approx 9″ x 6″ paper size
Sketch 4, oil on Arches paper, approx 9″ x 6″ paper size
Sketch 5, oil on Arches paper, approx 9″ x 6″ paper size
Sketch 6, oil on Arches paper, approx 3.5″ x 3″ image size
Sketch 7, oil on Arches paper, approx 3″ x 3″ image size
Sketch 8, oil and graphite on Arches paper, approx 11.5″ x 5″ image size

Artists I Admire: Louise Philbrick

When we moved into our house, one of the items left behind by the 3-generation family that lived here before us was an old Briggs piano. It was left in the back of the garage and has acquired quite a few years of dust & leaves as well as being the home to at least a few critters. ¬†Some of the keys stuck and no one on Craigslist was interested in reviving it so we set out to find an artist that would give it a new life. ¬†After almost 6 years of searching, I found an artist! Being a friend of several friends, I connected with¬†Lousie Philbrick, who makes beautiful work out of piano pieces. She gladly drove up from Portland with tools in tow and disassembled it. She also catalogues and researches the history of each piano and often takes the wooden pieces with serial numbers on it to make the frames for her work. I know it’s a long process but I can’t wait to see what she creates out of it all!! ¬†I’ll keep you posted but, for now, check out her website and like her Facebook page!

Meter, 2013,¬†mixed media with grand piano parts on painted plywood,¬†14.75″ x 14.75 by Louise Philbrick

Back to what I know with some new toys

in progress

another in progress

Working in the studio again and the weather has been so nice that I’m able to open the windows and bust out the oil paint! This is making me immensely happy! I haven’t used my oil paint for quite some time and have really been feeling the need to use them again. I’ve been using casein and some acrylic for the better part of 2 years now. I really love working with casein but wanted the¬†luminosity¬†and thickness of oil for the ideas I’m trying to work through. But I’m not abandoning casein, by any means. In fact, both of these painting have a casein underpainting. Technically, the green one has a casein underpainting and the gray one is an oil painting over a half finished casein painting that wasn’t quite making the grade. But I used it as an underpainting of sorts.

new toys: old Grumbacher oil paint,
giant tubes of Sennelier,
and Shiva Paintstiks

The mark/drawing are made using Shiva Paintstiks, which are pigment compacted into a stick form with a minimal amount of linseed oil and wax.

I had been taking a break from the studio after a long productive time working on the CSA project. I needed to redirect my mind and figure out what’s next. When I go through this process, I usually think back to things I know and how I studied art … figure drawings, self portraits, still lives … but I didn’t¬†necessarily want to take that route. So, instead, I thought OIL! Digging through my oil supplies, I found some really old tubes of Grumbacher paint that were given to me; the colors are not my typical color palette (there were mostly Thalo greens and blues) so I thought it would be the perfect way to open up and try something new. As you can see in the green painting above, I had fun using them and think I’ll definitely add them into the normal rotation.

Round up – Final CSA work

Barn Raising, Acrylic on Instant Film

¬†Here’s a round-up of the final paintings that I created for the CSA exhibition— enjoy! ¬†View larger images and details on my website:

The Next Generation, Acrylic & Ink on Instant Film

First Frost, Casein & Wax Pastel, 18″ x 18″

Wilted, Casein, Wax Pastel, & Graphite, 24″ x 24″

Milk-fed, Casein & Graphite, 24″ x 24″

Erasing the Land of the Arches, Casein & Wax Pastel, 18″ x 18″

CSA- looking back

When I updated my website to include all of the paintings that I’ve made for the CSA exhibits, I was surprised at how different the body of work was from what I was painting just prior to the project. ¬†And I was also surprised at how much work I had made! ¬†Here’s a screenshot of the CSA paintings¬†(those last three were done for the Tiny show at Spindleworks, made at the same time):

Updated work from the CSA exhibits + – fills a whole page!

¬†Here’s a screenshot of the body of work the was produced just before the CSA project (minus the first one which didn’t fit on the first page!):

The paintings from before the CSA project (minus that first one)

I’m really struck by the difference in palette; the older work was about dealing with migraines and chronic illness, so they were pretty dark and a bit angry. ¬†The CSA project allowed me to focus on something bigger than my own issues and something more cheerful– even though I always find a way to bring something haunting into my work!

One of the most intriguing results of this CSA experience, for me, has been evolving my perception of what my influences were– What I went in with and what I came out with. And other’s perceptions, too. The artists, the farmers, and the viewers. It’s not always about the food itself. For me, it barely was. As one of the other artists, Maina Handmaker said in this Forecaster article, “I learned a lot from them: not just about raising animals or picking vegetables, but really about raising a family and being connected to a place in the community.”

“The Hub” Monotype
One of the best interactions with a viewer of the original exhibit was with a woman who turned into a buyer– she fell so in love with a monotype that I had done of a barn on the farm because it brought back a memory from her childhood of visiting her grandparent’s farm. It was a place that her cousins and herself went to each year to¬†reunite¬†and have a grand time being kids. She was in tears as she told me this story and when I turned around – red dot! Even if she hadn’t purchased it, the story was so touching to me as was the¬†knowledge¬†that my piece had brought her back the emotions from that time in her life. And the conversation came from asking me why I titled it “The Hub” — I did so because the barn seemed to have a magnetic pull to me. Each time I visited the farm I was drawn to it. As her and her cousins were drawn to their grandparent’s barn.
Looking back at the entire experience, I’m so glad that I’ve been a part of it for so many different reasons. ¬†I’m sure I’ll keep thinking about it and talking about it here.¬†

More CSA work in progress

I don’t know where I’d be without the help of my husband— in general and in framing support, too! ¬†He’s cut mats and framed all of the work for the CSA show and I am so happy that he loves doing the technical work because it’s just too fussy for me. ¬†Give him things to measure and cut and he’s a happy fella. ¬†But don’t worry- I help him plenty with the photography for his Etsy shop. ¬†So let’s call it sort-of-even! ¬†(I still think I’ve made out on this deal)

I’m still chugging along on creating new paintings for the upcoming shows and I think I’ll just keep making work beyond any exhibition dates. ¬†I’ve purchased many panels to paint on and have gessoed a whole bunch of them. ¬†I love painting on a freshly gessoed board!