Sunday, June 28, 2009

Evolution of a Painting

After concentrating on making books lately, I took a detour and began a new painting. Or, more accurately, recycled an old painting. It was one I started after my first acrylic painting class, based on an Irish landscape photograph in a book. I added a couple on horseback using clip art images and used student-grade paints. My title was “Riding the Hills.”

I never really liked the painting since the imagery was based on other people’s work. And, at that point, I really didn’t have a lot of experience painting or much skill doing realism. My favorite part was the real sand mixed with acrylic medium and spread over the canvas with a palette knife. It represented stone walls.

Falling asleep one night, I had a vision of painting over the whole canvas, only leaving the sand area. I could abstract the initial idea with a blur of green hills the riders might see on horseback as the landscape whooshed past.

So, I got out all my green paints as well as favorite yellows and blues to mix green from. I extended some of the sand walls with white paint but accidentally got some on the very brown sand. I liked the effect and decided to paint over all the sand sections with white. The texture was fantastic!

Turning the painting on different sides, those former stone walls could be a branch, a twig, a tree, or some other vague organic shape. Then, I began filling in the other areas with different green segments. After a while, that seemed too stiff so I began mixing the greens all over the whole canvas. The piece began to have some movement in it.

Some sand areas I greened over entirely. I liked how it looked. Working on my mixed-media nature sampler books heightened my connection to Nature; the evolving image appeared to be a very simplified and streamlined statement of nature and Her attraction. Not a romp through green hills, but a close-up of a very small segment of Her grandeur.

The next time I worked on it, the white seemed too jarring, so I covered it with various browns. It still seemed too green overall. So, I darkened the interior areas and being freer with my big bristle brush. Where I had been so careful before, keeping within the lines, now I was swishing it around until I found some color combinations I like.

acrylic on canvas
24" x 30"


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Functional Works of Art

These lovely wool bed socks were made by my friend Nancy. She made the wool from a felted sweater and the top inner lining is in white cashmere. Exquisite embroidery adorns the tops, the edges, and the bottom joining foot beds. They are gorgeous works of art!

I am so inspired by fiber artists, like Nancy. Whenver I receive my latest copy of Cloth, Paper & Scissors, I am awed by the beauty brought about with thread, needles, sewing machines, patience, careful hands, and great imaginations. My grandmother was a great one with a sewing machine. There's a family story of her coming home from work, clearing the table, and making an outfit to wear on date that very night!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mixed-Media Nature Sampler Book Part Two

Here are more pages from one of my nature sampler book. These get more into the mixed-media theme; all photos are ones I've taken.

acrylics on watercolor paper (left) and painted Ginko leaf encased in vinyl over cotton mesh (right)

ink jet transfer on fabric with staples (left) and hand stitching on fabric (right)

hand stitching on fabric with leather pocket and tree coin

handmade copper leaves on a twig over heavy upholstery fabric (left) and cotton fabric (right)

flower-patterned fabric over glossy photo (left) and photo printed on embossed scrapbooking paper (right)

more of my photos printed on watercolor paper (left & right)

part of a poor, sweet butterfly I found on the ground lying in two parts sandwiched between two mica pieces attached with brads onto copper mesh (right)

watercolor paper with acrylic (left) and gelatin print on watercolor paper (right)

gelatin print on brown paper (left) and plastic fabric flower pattern (right)

metallic crayon rubbings on gel pen paper (left) and Inca dove in tree printed on watercolor paper (right)

dried and pressed Evening Primrose on paint sample chip (left) and Black Swallowtail caterpillar chomping on fennel printed on velum

Mexican Sycamore trees, long view (left) and close-up (right) on ribbed card-making paper

Esperanza (Yellow Bells) on velum paper (right)

small wildflower and baby Mexican Sycamore leaf under clear packing tape on paint sample (right)

Yesterday, I went with a friend to a local pottery studio. She was interested in taking a class so we went and talked to the very nice instructor/owner. They have both wheel throwing and handbuilding classes each month. Clay is calling to my friend and I think she’ll answer the call and begin a wheel throwing class in July.

While I’m intrigued, I don’t hear clay calling me. At least, not right now. I’m much too interested in book binding (I’m taking another class) and painting.