Monday, September 18, 2017

Land or Sea

"Land or Sea"
Image size 6" x 5.5"
Acrylic

Abstracts are fun because they can be interpreted in so many ways.  At first, I saw a crazy, turbulent wave, but I was walking past this painting a couple of days ago and it clearly looked like snow covered mountains.  

What do you think?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Storm's Coming

"Storm's Coming"
Image Size 6" x 6"
Encaustic

My heart goes out to my fellow Americans that are dealing with these hurricanes that have been battering our country.  

Monday, September 4, 2017

Light Rays

"Light Rays"
Image size 8" x 4"
Encaustic/Ink
I painted this small study intending to paint a larger version soon.  I love these colors and textures.  This is a combination of encaustic, alcohol inks and a small amount of pan pastel and oil paint.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Bubbles

"Bubbles"
Image size 9" x 12"
Acrylic

This week's painting is another acrylic pour.  I really like the feeling of texture that this has even though the paint is flat.  I think there must be a bunch of scuba divers just below this image causing all of the bubbles in the water.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse

"Eclipse"
Image size 6" x 6"
Encaustic

Although I wasn't  motivated to look at the eclipse today, I felt like I needed to acknowledge it in my weekly painting.  I did a layer of clear medium followed by a layer of white encaustic and inscribed the circles.  Then, I added raw umber oil paint to the circles and background. I wiped most of it off of the flat surface, added turquoise wax and some burnt sienna oil paint.  I like how the white wax came through when I fused it.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Moody Mist

"Moody Mist"
Image size 24" x 48"
Encaustic

This painting started out much brighter, but as I added layers, I found that I preferred the less distinct, softer colors.  There are probably 10 layers of wax and oil paint on some areas and at least 5-7 layers  on the majority of it.  

Monday, August 7, 2017

Perception

"Perception"
Image size 24" x 24"
Encaustic

This painting has much darker colors than I usually use, but as I was painting it, it seemed to need some punch.  I added oil paint and some shellac burning  to this as well as many layers and I like how the colors from previous layers are visible upon close inspection.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Sandy Shore

"Sandy Shore"
Image size 6.5" x 5.5"
Acrylic

I did this small study as an acrylic poured painting with no idea of what it would become.  It is obviously abstracted, but I saw water running over sand on the shore.  I added a little bit of white to give it the feeling of the foam at the edge of the water.  This would be fun as a large painting.  These small studies are great for giving ideas for more involved paintings.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Cloudy Calm

"Cloudy Calm"
Image size 54" x 13"
Encaustic

I really love the end result for this painting.  I've always liked skyscapes and the size of this one is really fun!  This photo doesn't show all of the layers that can be seen in person.  I think this is one of my favorite encaustics so far.  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Sweet Beverly

"Sweet Beverly"
Image size 15" x 12"
Watercolor
I've painted 3 different views of my friend Beverly wearing this fun red hat.  I haven't been totally happy with any of them, so you'll probably see another one sometime in the future.  I'm determined to get a really special painting out of these reference photos.

I want to paint more portraits so that I feel more comfortable with them.  I should probably pick a more forgiving medium so that I don't tighten up worrying about making a mistake that might not be fixable.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Skyscape III


"Skyscape III"
Image size 12" x 30"
Encaustic

Painting is my primary focus once again and really enjoyed finishing this encaustic painting.  I love the colors in it and the shine of the polished wax really makes the colors pop!





Monday, July 3, 2017

Biggest project ever

This week's post is a different type of art project, but it is the most difficult art project that I've ever finished.

My daughter's wedding was a couple of weeks ago and I got to see her wearing my art project - actually two different ones.

Although I hadn't sewn for 10 years, I wanted to try to make her wedding dress.  We found an incredible fabric in the fabric district in downtown LA which started dictating the beginning design of the dress.  There were a lot of changes along the way to the finished dress.

When I started college I chose to major in fashion design.  I stuck with it for about a year before changing my mind, so I did have a rudimentary understanding of pattern drafting.  I learned more during the making of these dresses than I ever did in college.  There were a lot of "one step forward, two (or three) steps back" kind of days over the past six months.  Unfortunately, all that I learned will probably never be useful because I won't do a project like this in the future.

Now that the dresses are finished and there were no wardrobe malfunctions the day of the wedding, I am really glad that I chose to take on such an important project.  There were countless days and (sleepless) nights that I questioned my ability to make something so important to my daughter's most special day and I certainly cut the finish date as close as it could possibly be (three days before the wedding - the night before I left to travel there).  My daughter looked beautiful and said she felt great wearing them, so that is all that matters.

The wedding was perfect and I had such a wonderful time.  The photos below are ones taken by guests.  We should have the professional ones in a few weeks and I'm excited to see how the photographer caught Michelle in the dresses.

This first two pictures are of the wedding dress:


These next two are of the dress and overskirt that I made for the reception:

Monday, June 26, 2017

Churn

"Churn"
Image Size 6" x 6"
Acrylic

I tried a technique that is new to me this week.  I've been seeing videos on Youtube for poured acrylics and really like the effect.  It was very fun to try and I'm sure I will do more.  I have so much acrylic and this would be a good way to use some of it since I don't paint with acrylic very often.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sunstone Villa

"Sunstone Villa"
Image Size 8" x 8"
Watercolor
My daughter's wedding was this past Friday up in Santa Ynez, CA at the Sunstone Winery Villa.  This beautiful villa was built with stones and various other materials imported from Europe.  It is an amazing property and being there feels as though you've traveled to another country.  

The wedding was amazing and the setting was magical.  I'm so happy to have gained a wonderful son-in-law.  I am truly blessed.

I painted this on a cradled panel with a textured finish meant for oils and acrylics.  I painted it in watercolor because my daughter wanted to give it to the wedding photographer as a gift and my acrylics are at my son's house and oils would have taken too long to dry.

The texture adds an interesting effect and it was fun working on a non-porous surface with watercolor.  I sprayed it with a sealer so that it could be displayed on an easel.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

Max's Woodland Friends

"Max's Woodland Friends"
Image size 10' x 8'
Acrylic

My first grand baby was born a few weeks ago and I painted this mural in his room.  My daughter-in-law came up with the idea and her theme for the room is "Woodland Animals" so we put in her favorites.  My favorite is the raccoon peeking out of the hole in the tree.  The book that bear is reading still needs to have the title put on it, but I didn't know my grand baby's name until he was born and I haven't had time to put the finishing details on it since he was born.

I've been working on making dresses for my daughter's wedding so I haven't had much time to get down to San Diego since he was born.  I've only seen him a few times.  After my daughter's wedding I will make up for lost time.  I miss his sweet little face!!

Here are some close ups:

He still needs his whiskers....



Monday, June 5, 2017

Marine Layer

"Marine Layer"
Image size 5" x 6.5"
Encaustic
This is my "June Gloom" painting but I thought that sounded a little too negative so I named it Marine Layer, which is what our June Gloom is anyway.

Just encaustic on this one with no fancy techniques.  Two more weeks until my daughter's wedding.  After that,  I will be able to spend more time creating art.

Monday, May 29, 2017

May Gray

"May Gray"
Image Size 6" x 6"
Encaustic
Here in Southern California every year we get June Gloom.  The days start out overcast and sometimes stay that way all day.  I've always enjoyed that month of atmospheric calm before the heat of summer comes.
Sometimes we also get May Gray.  This year, we've only had it a couple of days in the past week or so.  As I was painting this small painting, that is what came to mind.  My intention when I started was to do some inscribing and playing around with techniques new to me, but when I saw how this was evolving, I had to leave it alone.  
I'm sure "June Gloom" will be another painting for me.  

Monday, May 22, 2017

Stormy Day

"Stormy Day"
Image Size 11" x 14"
Encaustic
I painted this on an unprimed, cradled board so that the wood could show through the wax in some areas.  I love blue and rust together so that is what I chose for my color palette this week.  This has a little amber shellac and white shellac as well as wax.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Powerful Crest

"Powerful Crest"
Image size 8" x 8"
Encaustic
I love the colors in this painting.  They are soothing, happy and are perfect for my obsession with waves.   Obviously, I love painting waves and I hope you're not getting tired of seeing them because I'm sure I will be painting quite a few more.  In the past, I've enjoyed adding a lot of white to the waves by flicking the wax onto the surface and lightly fusing so that the end result is very textural.  I wanted this painting to have a softer effect so I fused the white dots of color until the surface was smooth.  That makes the white specks have softer edges and they are more translucent than opaque.  I'm happy with the result and for such a small painting the totally smooth surface makes it look like a glazed tile.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Stratum

"Stratum"
Image size 12" x 24"
Encaustic

I didn't get a very good picture of this painting.  The white blotches are reflections from spotlights.  I started this painting on a cradled board that had a base of encaustic gesso.  I planned to start the painting with watercolor so I painted the gesso on with a lot of texture hoping to have that show up through the watercolor.  Unfortunately, unlike regular acrylic gesso that becomes permanent when dry, the encaustic gesso is reactivated by water so the texture went away when I used the watercolor. 

 My base of watercolor was a dark blue that I dripped onto the board and some muted green in the background.  Then, I added a layer of clear medium.  Once that was fused I started adding oil paint, encaustic layers and some inks.  I love the colors in this painting and the soft background colors which were done with the oil paints.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Tranquility

"Tranquility"
Image size 15.5"x 15.5"
Encaustic

There are many times when deciding on a title for a painting is very difficult, but this one came to me easily.  As I look at these colors and the movement in the painting, I feel very tranquil.  Most of the textures in this painting are from various layers of wax, but the white paint was added as a shellac burn.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Below The Surface

"Below The Surface"
Image size 12" x 12"
Encaustic

I wanted to work more with layers and textures this week and get a sense of atmospheric depth.  I used a variety of transparencies of wax and some layers of alcohol inks in the lower part.  My surface was an cradled board that I didn't gesso. The unfinished wood gives a bit softer look than if the background had been the bright white of a gessoed surface.

The striations in the top light layer in the bottom portion were achieved by using a cheap, thin brush that is missing half of the bristles.  That gave a nice texture that shows more in person than in this photo.  

Monday, April 17, 2017

California Oranges

California Oranges
Image size 6" x 9"
Watercolor on TerraSkin

Several decades ago, we moved into a house that had 12 mature Valencia orange trees.  Where the house was built was originally an orange grove and they left many of them. I was so excited to start juicing fresh orange juice every morning (I was young and much more motivated then).  It was December and the oranges were a beautiful, deep orange color so I was sure they were ripe.  I picked a bucket full and with my new juicer I was able to fill a large pitcher of fresh juice.

I filled a glass with ice, poured my fresh juice and took my first sip.  YUCK!!! It was so sour!  I started adding sugar as you would with lemon juice.  As I was doing it, I was a bit concerned that my healthy fresh juice was becoming a sugary mess.  Also, I was wondering what I was going to do with so many trees full of horrible tasting oranges.

I found out that even though the oranges look ripe and ready to pick in December, they actually aren't fully ripe and ready to juice until about June.  I'm not sure why the flowers and new fruit, which are on the trees in early spring, are on the tree at the same time as the orange fruit, but that is how my reference pictures show.

Now, I have 5 very small valencia orange trees that I'm hoping to get fruit from this year for the first time.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

This painting was done on TerraSkin, that surface that is a mixture of stone dust and non-toxic resin.  The paint sits on the surface and the paints mingle in interesting ways.  I love this surface, but haven't worked on it for a very long time.  I simply forgot about it.  That is a sure sign that I have way too many art supplies.  

Monday, April 10, 2017

Stormy Canyon

"Stormy Canyon"
Image size 21" x 4"
Encaustic and ink
I used the OSB (I call it chipboard) as a support for this, hoping that the texture of the layered pieces of wood would show a lot.  I put one layer of clear medium and then rubbed burnt sienna oil paint onto the surface, filling all of the depressed areas.  I left several areas with very little wax so that the wood could show, but it really doesn't as much as I had hoped.  I do like this color palette and the layers of wax and ink though.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Metal Threads

"Metal Threads"
Image Size 5.5" x 6.5"
Encaustic
I experimented a bit more with the metallic leaf pieces that I have and I added some gold threads as well.  The first layer of thread doesn't really show, so I added the second layer as the last element of the painting and coated it with a thin layer of clear medium to protect it.  I have several layers of the metallic chips and they give a very nice sense of the layering in the piece.  I also did a little bit of shellac burning which ended up as the little dots - a different effect than usual, and added some alcohol inks for some transparent color in the early stages.

Overall, it was an enjoyable experiment.  It's nice to work small to try things out, but I think I need to do a large abstract using these techniques.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spray

"Spray"
Image size 8" x 9.5"
Encaustic

I didn't intend to paint another wave, but that is what came out of my paintbrushes.  I do so love to paint water.  I also like to play around with the spray from a crashing wave.  My finger is a little bit burnt from doing that, but it's temporary.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Musing

"Musing"
Image size 11" x 14"
Encaustic, oil, ink

I really love the textural quality of the paint and the colors mixing in this painting.  I worked on a cradled board and didn't put any gesso on it so I applied the wax to the unfinished wood.  Some of the wood is peeking through the colors and I think it gives a softer effect than having the colors sitting on a bright white surface.  

After applying some of the leftover color from my palette along with clear medium, I rubbed some oil paints in some areas.  Then I applied another layer of clear medium and heated it to move the oil paint around.  This is becoming one of my favorite techniques in encaustic painting.  I also added some alcohol inks in the lower portion including some gold ink, which gives just a little bit of an accent.  I also did a little shellac burn with amber shellac, but it doesn't really show and didn't react as I wanted.  There is also a bit of oil pastel in one of the layers.  

A little of this and a little of that makes for some interesting results.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Chilis

"Chilis"
Image size 7.5" x 11"
Watercolor

I worked on saturated paper for this painting and played with the push/pull of color and value.  I got the background too dark so I used white watercolor to lighten it up and really like the effect.  I don't usually used white watercolor because that is considered a no no to watercolor purists and that is how I was taught to paint, but I don't think we should be constrained by such rules when creating.  It was very freeing to do something that goes against what I was taught to do.  It makes me feel like such a rebel. 😉

Monday, March 6, 2017

Arid Landscape

"Arid Landscape"
Image size 8" x 16"
Encaustic and Metallic Leaf

This is another encaustic and metallic leaf painting.  The layers of metallic leaf looks a bit like rocks to me.  It was another fun experiment.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Ribbons

"Ribbons"
Image size 8" x 12"
Mixed Media
We have a local art supply store that has classes and demos each month.  Last week I went to a demo for Akua printing inks.  I am not a printmaker, but had heard about these inks and wanted to learn more.  We were able to play with the supplies and we each made a mono print.  Once I got home I added to it with colored pencils.  I don't really need another medium, but I can see that printmaking could be a really fun artistic outlet.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Rondo

"Rondo"
Image Size 22" x 20"
Watercolor

Rondo is a beautiful town in Spain that is perched above a very deep gorge.  These buildings are right on the edge, which is so dramatic.  Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable being inside one of them, but this town has been around since the 15th century so I guess the buildings are not likely to fall off of the cliff.  Still, cliff dwelling is not for me.

The white buildings probably look too white to be that old, but in every town that I visited, I saw someone painting a building white.  The towns were so pristine!  I've never seen so many white buildings!

I drew this over 5 years ago and decided it was time to finish it.  The actual size of the painting is 22" x 30", but after painting it, I noticed that the tree was right in the middle of the painting.  I am usually aware of placing something in the middle, but it's amazing how many times I end up with a major element right in the middle, which is a no no.  I don't consider the tree to be that major, but because of the value contrast between that and the white buildings, that's what happened.  Below is the actual painting so you can see what I mean.

If this was painted on a canvas, I would be stuck with it, but since it's on paper, I can crop it to any size I want!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Big Sky

"Big Sky"
Image size 11" x 15"
Watercolor
The reference photo for this painting is from 2000.  We used to go to Big Sky, Montana at Christmas each year to ski.  I am not a skier, but I was content to sit by the fire with a good book and coffee (or wine).
I love the look of shadows on snow and wanted to try to paint a snow scene this week since it is winter.  I started this painting as a poured painting, but when I removed the resist that I had used to preserve my different values, most of the blue pigment came off.  I thought I was using Arches paper, but I don't think the pigment would have lifted off on that paper.  Paint sits on the surface more with some of the other brands and will lift too easily.  It wasn't a big deal to continue painting it in the traditional manner, but it does give a different effect.  At least the base color continues throughout the painting and gives it a cohesive look, which is one of the results that I love with poured paintings.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Metallic Motion

"Metallic Motion"
Image size 5.5" x 6.5"
Encaustic

I have some metallic leaf (not gold leaf) that I've had for years and never tried it in any paintings.  It is chopped up in a plastic bag and is a combination of colors - copper, burgundy, charcoal, gold - you get the picture.  

For this painting,  I placed my wood support (that had been gessoed) face down on the hot pancake griddle that I use as my palette.  The melted wax on my palette from previous paintings transferred onto the wood as would happen if you were making a mono print.  That mingled color became my background.  Then, I started adding the metal leaf.  I wasn't sure what would happen to it when I used my heat gun.  I was afraid that the heat would cause it to shrivel up, but it really didn't change at all.  I added some black and rust colored oil paint in certain areas as I continued to layer wax and metal leaf.  I also added clear shellac with white powdered pigment added.  I knew from past experience that my white mixture wouldn't catch on fire as nicely as plain shellac does, so I used a long lighter to heat each area of the white until it moved and took on the texture that I wanted.  I think my proportion of pigment powder to shellac is too heavy with pigment powder and not enough shellac for it to burn nicely.   I wanted the color to be very opaque, which is why I had the mixture heavy on  powder.  Next time, I'll add more clear shellac to my existing mixture and see if the white is still opaque enough and if it burns better.

The metallic element of this painting adds a nice texture.  The first layers that I applied have more wax covering them so they are less reflective, but having additional layers on top of each other adds different levels of shine and gives a real sense of dimension.

I'm looking forward to trying this on a larger painting.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Wave Break

"Wave Break"
Image size 8" x 8"
Encaustic

I painted this on a bisque (unglazed) tile.  That should be the perfect surface for encaustic since it is porous, but I think it's almost too porous.  It takes a lot of wax to build up a nice, smooth surface because it keeps sinking into the tile.  I like the square shape and I have a couple of boxes of these left over from a previous craft project, so I'll probably use them for encaustic again.  I think I will begin with a layer of encaustic gesso next time to control the permeability of the surface.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Cloudy South Carolina

"Cloudy South Carolina"
Image Size 8" x 10"
Pastels
We've been having some crazy storms this week.  Well, crazy by California standards anyway.  I always enjoy the rain, but we really need a week or more to dry out now before we get any more storms.  
The reference photo for this painting was taken several years ago when I was visiting friends in  Charleston, South Carolina.  We visited a Middleton Plantation and I took a lot of pictures of the beautiful grounds.  This was one of them.
I tried pastels again this week, but handled them in a different manner.  Last week's painting was almost completely blended and this week, I didn't blend the pastels at all - at least not with my fingers.  There is always a certain amount of blending done when you layer colors on top of each other.
The support I used for this was a rust colored sanded pastel paper.  I'm sorry I don't know which brand,  because I've had it a while in my stash of pastel papers.  I didn't blend with my fingers because I wanted the bits of rust color to come through in the finished painting.  I think that adds a bit of energy and cohesiveness to the painting.  It probably would have looked nice to have a fully blended sky with the clouds, but that will be for another painting.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Untamed Wave

"Untamed Wave"
Image size 6" x 8"
Pastel
I'm back to waves.  They are so much fun to paint!  This one is done in pastel.  I haven't used pastels for almost 2 years.  I can't believe that!  I really do enjoy working with them and have so many pastels and supports to use for pastels that I should be using them for a painting every week for the next 10 years!
Of course, you know I'm not going to do THAT, but I think I will concentrate on using them more often.  I love the variety of texture that can be achieved with them. 

For this painting, I applied fine pumice gel on a mat board using crisscrossing brush strokes.  The texture doesn't show very much in the finished painting because I blended most of the color with my finger.  Some of the final additions of white and gray are not blended, which gives a bit of variety to the painting. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Vail Creek

"Vail Creek"
Image Size 6" x 8"
Ceracolors 

I tried working with the Ceracolors again.  This time, I didn't plan to heat them.  I worked on Bristol board with a plate finish, which is a very smooth surface.  I usually don't work on papers with a completely smooth finish, like bristol or hot press, but I do like the looser feeling that I am forced to get using this finish.  It's very hard (for me) to get smooth washes on this surface, which is good, because it forces me to work in a different manner.

It was fun working with the Ceracolors, but I was using them by painting thin veils of color,  which doesn't really show the waxy appearance for which they are intended.   Next time I won't thin them so much and will paint more layers to see what results I can get.  Also, I still need to try mixing them with my encaustic paints to see what happens.

So much to do......


Monday, January 2, 2017

Silver Linings

"Silver Linings"
Image size 6" x 6"
Encaustic

We've been having rain lately with lots of interesting clouds and skies so I was inspired to play with abstracted cloud shapes in encaustic for my painting this week.  As I was working on it, the title popped into my head.  That made me think of how blessed I am in my life.  I plan to keep that in mind as one of my New Year's Resolutions.  It's so easy to let day to day irritations intrude on our sense of thanksgiving.  Staying more focused on the present and appreciating everyone that is in my life is going to be a priority in 2017.

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