Saturday, October 22, 2016

Fondly Known As "Archie"

My "sculptural" paintings took a bit of a turn this last couple weeks when I decided to grow the relief images on the surface of my hardboards and actually make the sculptural parts...well, really sculptural.  I spent some time in the back studio, wadding Skratch into a mold I'd made years ago of a small head on one of my existing ceramic sculptures, "David Finds His Soul", which still stands in Art On The Boulevard gallery in Vancouver, WA.  A face that bears more than a small resemblance to my deceased husband, Neil.

I was able to adhere the resulting head to an acrylic and modeling paste painting I'd set aside a few weeks ago, that I was uninspired to finish until now. Using drywall mud on the surface, the Skratch head stuck nicely.  The organic patterns I had planned, that were to trail out from his shoulders, refused to be anything but architectural. Arches grew. And as no title has since come to mind for this piece, I'll just use the name Jim came up with, Archie.

It took a few days to "see" that there needed to be a hand, and that the hand held a tree, so I promptly painted one, before the image in my mind shifted again.  It's like that. Sometimes the image stays for a few days, or a few weeks, waiting for me to put it down on the painting, and sometimes it shifts. Now and again the next image is better, and often it isn't. It can certainly dessert me, and leave me with, "I have no idea what to put there!"

"Archie" has some deep meaning for me, and maybe one day I'll be able to verbalize it. I'll let you know, just as soon as I understand it myself.

I spent the afternoon yesterday with my sweet friend, Linda Tennant, and she pointed out to me how very nice silver Gilder's Paste would work rubbed on the edges of the painting. It brought it all together, giving Archie an added dimensional glow. It's subtle, but dramatic in it's way.  Sadly, the edges were cropped for this photo Jim took with his Lumix, so you'll have to take my word for it.   

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Madonna Of The Muffin Huts

This is another playful use of textural impressions on Hard Gesso, with sculptural details using Modeling Paste. FW Acrylic Inks washed on and wiped off repeatedly, details enhanced afterward.  
Just as I enjoy splashing primary colors onto wet watercolor paper and letting them blend, later creating images and scenes from what is already there, I'm having a great time with troweling on Modeling Paste with palette knife and painting images into the result.  

It took me awhile to locate the baby. The woman's posture and the child's gaze directed me to where there was one missing. It's funny how one little added detail will suddenly give a painting a story!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sculptural Paintings

Despite the ongoing racket and activity of Jim's and my roof being torn off and rebuilt by our handyman and roofing crew this last several days, I still creep along at a steady pace with my painting, whenever I can sneak down to the studio. Often this happens from 6 o'clock until 8:30 or 9PM. Jim and I installed some new lighting in the studio, so now I can see with breathtaking clarity the details and colors of my work! And the mistakes!! Yow.

The Golden Modeling Paste I used on the series of Cuneiform and Cave Painting pieces that now hang at Olympic Cellars Winery, I've started using sculpturally. I mean, painting the paste on with palette knifes to create more than just textures. Certainly a good marriage of my old and my new career skills!  

The above paintings are titled, "Blue Laurel" and "Nomadic Couple". The faces of "Nomadic Couple" weren't exactly easy to whip out with the palette knife, so dental tools were employed to carve and refine their delicate features. 

I love how the initial image on the board flows out like a dream image. And as I've said previously, it's safer to not judge it, and try to "fix" it. Afterward, sometimes after several days, the painting strikes me with a message. Maybe a metaphor that has meaning to me.  And sometimes the meaning eludes me, as it's perhaps intended for someone else.  These works, like my sculptures, are alive. They find their own way through the world, bring something to someone else. Like R2D2. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

"My Father's Sacred Ashes"

Another painting finished, using the Crackle Paste. I see so much online and on Facebook regarding "Intuitive Painting", and wondered what the heck that was.  The funny thing is, I've been working like that for a very long time.  It occurred to me that my sculpture has been that for decades, and now my painting fits that description, pretty much.  If it's what I think it is.  In my case, I simply get into the "zone" and put on canvas, board or paper impulsive imagery. Usually the first thing that comes to mind is the best one. The moment I stop to wonder about whether that idea is appropriate or what it means, or question the impulse and try to make it "better", it goes sour. Looks lame. And usually, when I wait expectantly, I get a title. Or often it will plop into my head as I am finishing the painting. I've given up wondering what the title means, or if others are going to expect an explanation. Years ago at gallery openings, when patrons asked what inspired me to sculpt what they saw on the pedestals, or what a title means, I finally got to the point I would shrug.  Strangely, most were pretty happy with that. Some nodded mysteriously, like we were both party to an intriguing secret. 

Maybe we are.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

New Work, "Serious Painting"

Recently I discovered through a friend, a brilliant artist whom I know only through Facebook, a Golden medium I didn't know about.  It's called Modeling Paste, and comes in a flexible version, for canvas or paper, and a version that's only for hard surfaces.  I like them both. But the hard version is a little more fun, and I've begun painting on hardboard surfaces, anyway.  After the gesso is dry, I trowel on the paste, and let it set for a couple days. It can be carved or sanded, and stains beautifully. I've used FW Acrylic Inks on them, mostly.  

On the heels of this wonderful discovery, I woke up with a dream image of sort of Human figure cuneiform images in my mind.  You know that moment when you're just becoming conscious and there's this last "stamp" of image that appears, not connected to a dream at all? I took it as an imprint from the Muse herself, and went with it.  Why not? So the first image above sports the female versions on the top and the male below.  Well, I only woke up seeing the male versions, to be truthful, but when I laid the pen to paper, later, the female came quite readily. The female second from the right appears to be pregnant, and holds a lamp, together with her sister to the left. The males always seem to be dancing, ceremonially, and some hold staffs, with two matching, side by side. 

In the second image, the painting has fossil/cave painting figures, that seem to be flowing into the depths of a cave.  I know if I try to interpret these, I'd be wrong, so I'll leave that to the viewer!  

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Crackled Earth, Suspended Trees

What a relief it is that our sulky, hot-tempered El Nino has taken his toys and gone home, leaving us waiting for what his sister has in mind for us, the rest of the year. She is more prone to tearful rages, but is often more cool and aloof.  We'll see.  Looks like she has already started her gentle rains in our Pacific Northwest.

I have been playing more seriously with Golden textural mediums, acrylic bases for paintings on hardboard surfaces, lately.  I'm having a lot of fun with the crackle paste, which shrinks a bit as it dries, leaving a crazed surface similar to the glaze at the bottom of a Japanese tea bowl.  I discovered how staining the surface on one side with a diluted mix of water and instant espresso crystals immediately draws the dark liquid across through the cracks in a very dramatic way!  This acrylic painting was inspired by a little sketch I did on a sticky note sheet a number of months ago.  I like it so much, and I take it as a good sign that each time I study it, theme and variations of this image pops into my imagination, wanting to be expressed. SOON!

Cradled hardboard with espresso and acrylic paint, 8" x 10" 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Creative Transparency

Some of my best ideas come either in the shower, or out walking on our property.  Or when the rain is showering me as I walk on our property. Forest and water seem to be great conduits for the Muse, and I'll take all the conductivity I can get.  

Today there were some pretty phenomenal images that passed through my mind, and as usual, about 82% of them were gone by the time I was sitting at my drafting table, but the gist was layers of images painted on transparencies, laid over each other and scanned. I have water media polyester transparency film here in the studio that I've done nothing with but cut stencils out of, so that seemed a good place to start.  Don't believe them when they claim one can watercolor on them.  What a mess! However, some of this image of a woman was watercolor, and when I realized how awful that was, I reinforced with acrylic paint on the back of the film.  Much better!  Still not like paper, but more versatile in that, well, you can layer it over other background stuff! I took some of my Masa Printmaking Paper I have crinkled and done paint spills on in the past, and laid the face over it before scanning.  Even the signature was slipped in at the last minute, white Liquetex Ink on a transparency
bit, like a physical watermark! It's sort of disconcerting I don't have a "hard copy" of this image, but the upside is, I can re-use the bits and pieces over and over, in different ways.  

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Temple Attendants

It's been awhile since I posted here, it seems so easy to get carried away with life, forgetting the priorities and habitual joys that have defined it until, like Wile E. Coyote, I looked down and saw my trajectory had taken me off the cliff and into space. My feet forgot somewhere along the past weeks that they were no longer touching "ground".

On a vacation visit to Lake Crescent, Washington, recently, Jim and I stayed in accommodations near the lake, enjoying a few days of rest.  Jim got some nice photography time in, and I tried out a new sketchbook I'd ordered, designed for wet media.  It sucked.  The sizing on and in the paper was so water-resistant, the watercolors slid around and nearly came off the surface again with each paint stroke. Hmm.  What to do with this book? Oh, yeah, mixed media! Or, whatever wonderful wet media I love to play with.  So this sub-standard book has become a perfect place to practice collage and acrylic painting techniques.  

Or acrylic ink stamping. Or whatever.  I refer to this study as "Temple Attendants".  Not sure what their story is. It's waiting to be written.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

An Old Friend

I stumbled across an image of a sculpture I'd created maybe fifteen years ago, and sold at one of my fave galleries so soon after he was completed, I never got a chance to get him to the pro photographer in time.  Fortunately, my dear Neil was a fair photographer, and we did get this image of "Milestone" before he was gone.  He's about 21inches tall, I think.  I wonder how my children are all faring out there in the world, snug in their homes, scattered around the globe.

Monday, April 4, 2016

A Two-Handed Blind Contour Portrait

Not long ago, a group of us Feral Creatives gathered at the home of one of our sisterhood over looking the salt water. We laughed, drank, ate and arted.  At some point, I had passed out small pieces of heavy watercolor paper, and asked each of the group to pick a partner. Without looking at the paper, we were to draw an ink line of our partner's face (and vice versa), never lifting the pen until the drawing was done. The results, of course, were hysterically funny, and we wiped the tears from our eyes in astonishment of our efforts.  Some traded their sketches, and took them home.  

My partner was my dear friend, Pam. This is the ink contour she did of me, and I've had it sitting on display in my living room for months, just as it was. Today I filled it in with watercolor (we'd given each other permission to do so), as I love to do with blind contour selfies sometimes. Okay, well, all the time.  Not a bad collaboration, right?  

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Beyond The Crevice In Our Understanding

This is a painfully inadequate photo taken on my iPad of a new abstract painting I've done (I couldn't fit it onto my scanner) as a homework assignment for my new online class with Karine Swenson, a marvelous painter. It's called, Abstraction: Diving Deeper. It's not the first abstract I did for this course, but it's the one I'm satisfied with....a bit. It incorporates my familiar pigment spills with acrylic painting on watercolor paper, with texture created from Golden Molding Paste.  The molding paste was then painted over, and sanded back, to interesting effect, I think.  I've had mixed reactions from fellow students. What do you think, should I move on to canvas or board from paper?  It would solve some of the wrinkle problems, maybe.  

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Segmented Nocturnal Tuliary

I know, what the heck is that?  Not sure.  The critters sneak onto my work through the cracks in my imagination.  They start as the involuntary images that pop briefly into view when my eyes are closed in bed at night, waiting for sleep.  The next thing I know, they've slithered onto my paintings, making themselves comfortably at home. This one is iridescent, catching the light on it's armor.  Let's hope it doesn't eat paper.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Communion In The Hall Of The Ancestors

Yes, it's been a bit since I've posted on my blog.  No excuse, just distracted, I guess.  I've been enjoying a class taught by Richard Jesse Watson on sculpting with found objects. It turns out that my lovely Skratch clay works very well for such things, and when I'm finished with my driftwood/kiln brick/Skratch sculpture made in class, I will post it.

Meanwhile....Still playing with my leftover sheets of Pigment Spill experiments, and suddenly "saw" the images and story in this one, after months of not knowing what the heck it could be. I have a cousin who has shared a magnificent tiger painting he did on Facebook, its power and elegance blow me away.  Maybe this isn't magnificent tiger stuff, but it tickled me to play with it.  I love doodling over stuff that's already there!