Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Series As Process

I am teaching my Series As Process workshop at Madeline Island School of the Arts in July.  Focusing on a group of paintings, rather than one painting at a time, is very freeing in many ways.  If "creating a series" sounds intimidating at all - as it does to me: it conjures pressure to finish a number of paintings so that they all hang together - consider "working in series" as a process.  It is the process of keeping multiple paintings in the works at once, so you don't get stuck on just one.  It gives you a way to move forward and gain momentum, and get OUT of the habit of becoming stuck.

I've talked about a recent series here and here

Here is part of a recent series of Big Fat Art pieces.  They are each 19.5"x25.5"
What makes them a series?  It's an attitude I brought to the work as I worked on these and others over the same period of time.  More finished pieces came out of this, but many many more of them are still in the works.  I like having a lot of works in process so I have room to play!
Three more  in the same size as above, that emerged from a process of working on multiples.  These are brand new (and photographed in bad lighting with my iPad, not professionally done) and I am excited to continue in this direction.
Below are some of my 4"x4" pieces from 2013 - 2015.  I've grouped them in "sub-series", as I generally worked on them in groups of six to eight at a time, but I consider the whole project as one series.  It is based solely on the size, so I was free to explore any content within that format.

See details and register for my Series As Process workshop here.
Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Buying Original Art

I found this article on Houzz, and it looked pretty compelling.  I buy original art, and over the years have accumulated a gorgeous collection, each piece unique and special, conjuring specific memories and emotions.  Open Studios is a great way to acquire original art at an affordable price, but buying from a show, especially at an art center, is exciting too. You support the artist and the art center at the same time.

9 Reasons to Buy a Painting

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Mentoring Workshop

This past week I was in Stowe, Vermont at the Helen Day Art Center with my mentoring workshop.  We all worked in one big studio, individually, and then came together for group discussions, lunch, and occasional silliness.  I offered one-on-one feedback and coaching to each participant, as needed, but also got inspiration and ideas from the group.  It was a fabulously synergistic experience!  I wish I had gotten more photos,  but I was busy painting.  Here are a few, though:
Part of my work space.  We each got a 6' table and a 4'x8' wall.

This is a bad view of the space itself.  The 4'x8' walls are moveable.

A piece from Leslie, after she discovered the technique of flinging house paint.

A sampling of Debbie's work

A sampling of Ree's work

After the flinging of house paint

"Green Acreage", one of my pieces I consider finished; 19.5"x25.5"

Another of my finished pieces, untitled, same size as above.

One more of my almost finished pieces.  I can see that the bit in the upper left needs to be painted over.
I will be doing more mentoring workshops; this one was the first, kind of experimental. What makes a mentoring workshop different from a regular one is that each participant works independently.  There is no instruction or assignments or demos, but I do give individual coaching and feedback.  I work alongside the participants.  The group has to be small - this one had eight participants, and that was about right.  It was made up of people I had worked with before in workshops, and I knew to be capable of independent work.

I have two workshops scheduled at Helen Day this year : 
  • Abstract Painting and Composition for Textile Artists; April 18 - 21, 2017
  • Big Fat Art, October 20 - 22, 2017
See them (and all of the spring workshops at Helen Day) here.  Scroll down for specific workshops.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Here is a really short video of making patterns.  I like to overlap patterns, use patterns of different scale, density, different colors, and varying amounts of contrast with the ground.

This is just an example of contrasting scale. The stripes on the left are painted, the ones on the right are collaged. 

In this painting, 12"x12", I used the contrast of scale and varying contrast of value to create the focal area.

This is the study I am demonstrating in the video.  It is 9"x12".

This is student work from a workshop.  We were creating small collages using contrasting patterns.

Student work from an online  class.  I love the very loose use of pattern here.

In this pattern study, 10"x10", I'm using various scales of pattern, and varying degrees of contrast.

I use the pattern of red/orange dashes, and the spatter of turquoise to bring this piece together.  It is 9"x9".

This is one of a series in which I played with pattern overlapping, and different scales of pattern.  I believe this is 10"x10".

Just a sampling of easy-to-make patterns

"Pattern Play", 8"x8", features a variety of patterns interacting and overlapping.
Patterns are easy and fun.  Using them, however, requires careful observation and restraint.  A little goes a long way. Try it out  Play with pattern and see where it takes you!

Monday, January 2, 2017

A Continuing Series

This is a continuation from the previous post, in which I described my inspiration and exploration of the central cluster format. Here are some of the pieces, both in process and finished.
Spare Parts #4

Spare Parts #4

Spare Parts #2

Spare Parts #3

Spare Parts #6

Spare Parts #7

Spare Parts #8

Spare Parts #9

Spare Parts #10 - In Process

Spare Parts #11 - In Process

Spare Parts #12

Spare Parts #13

These are fun, and I will continue the exploration.  I would love to see if this can scale up, but for now I am going to keep them small.  I am using brush (acrylic paint), brayer (acrylic paint), collage, scribbling (crayon, graphite, Pitt pen), spattering (High Flow paint).

Thursday, December 29, 2016

An Update on the Drip Paintings

You may have seen this post with the video about using High Flow paint.  Here are six of the finished pieces.  I am calling them "Splash", for lack of better skills at creating titles.  To me they are landscapes, evoking various moods, places, natural features.  #6 suggests to me the surface of the sun, or a warning about the earth's heating.
Splash #6

Splash #1

Splash #2

Splash #3

Splash #4

Splash #5
To me, a little of this dripping goes a long way, so covering up a lot of the initial layers of drips was important to the process.  Thanks for visiting.  The above are available as prints on Fine Art America.  I just added some other product options such as throw pillows, duvet covers, tote bags, etc., which you will see when you click the individual images on FAA. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Fabulous Idea from Carla Sonheim

Carla Sonheim, an artist / illustrator that I much admire, sent a really fun newsletter with three good reasons why one-liners matter.  One-liners are drawings you do with one line, never raising your drawing implement from the page.  I included Carla's idea of one-liners in my Sketchbook Practice online class.  Here are a few of my one-liners - of CHICKENS, of course!

In my one-liner exercise, they had to be completed in thirty seconds or less, which is why two of the chickens are missing their heads.

Here are Carla's two elephants:
Check out Carla's Special Newsletter here.  And try some one-liners, for fun, or for any of the reasons Carla gives you.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

My Work in an iPhone App Video!

Well, this is a surprise.  Check it out:

My work is available as prints on Fine Art America.
Check out the video on their site.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Another Group of Work

I am really drawn to work that is more spare than I can seem to manage.  In several of my workshops this year I have had students working in this way.  Maybe 'spare' is not quite the right word.  Central cluster, breathing space around all four sides.  Here are just a few images of student work ('student' isn't quite the right word either, as these are all experienced artists)
These are gel prints by Leslie Fry, who is a sculptor.

One of many "studies" or "starts" by Sarah Bunker.

Ann Crain worked so fast and furiously in my workshop, I could not keep up with her!  Fascinating to see her process, and the pieces definitely capture her loose, free, expressive style.

These are studies done by Kate Webster, who kindly assisted me in Gloucester and at Omega.  I just loved these bold and confident collages.  She doesn't have a web site.

The above two images show the work of Linda Hazell, who was at the Omega workshop.  She doesn't have a web site either; I hope she makes one soon, as I would love to see more of her work!
I am actually TAKING one of my own online workshops - 100 Drawings on Cheap Paper.  It is actually a continuation of the one that began last August, for a small group of students who wanted to continue in a self-directed way.  We have two-week blocks in which to make our own lesson, and then make ten pieces that address the parameters of that lesson.  I am thinking of exploring this central cluster + breathing room for my next "lesson", but I have to define it a little more clearly. I'm taking some time to play with the idea freely.

Sixteen starts. This is the easy part.

One of the starts, unadulterated

The piece above with a bit of collage and spattering

This one might be even finished!  Beginner's luck.
All of the above are 30cm x 30cm (10"x10").