Monday, March 31, 2008

Contemplaing on Contemplation

Contemplation 9 (do you have ideas?) Mixed Media 18 x 18 deep, gallery wrapped canvas

As you can see, I was able to get into the studio a bit this weekend. Yippee! You might recognize some parts of this particular piece. I think a while back I was showing some things I had done on rice paper and one was this particular image. After that, I tore the painted rice paper into strips along with another painted rice paper which was done with similar paint however without the image. I then wove them together as you can see here and attached the woven piece to some other rice paper. This almost felt like loosely woven was quite lovely to touch. So this hung around for a little while. Then I came up with this particular idea. The background has many, many layers of thin glazing. You might be able to see those if you click on the image to make it larger.

So for this one I am looking for ideas for the subtitle. As you can see it will go into the Contemplation Series, but I am not sure what to call it. Yes, my international friends, let me know your thoughts, too. Here are some I thought about, but was not sure how they might be received...Meditation, Focus and Silence.

So my questions are: Do you like any of these subtitles? Do you have other ideas which might come to mind when you view this work?

I look forward to hearing from you all...Have a Very Lovely Day!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Making Art

The first thing I want to share with you is personal. I know I said I was going to stop doing that, but this was also a part of art!

My dear husband decided he was going to make me an ART CAKE for my recent birthday. Now here is the thing...he doesn't really cook unless it involves a grill, and he has NEVER (yes, you have read that correct) baked anything! I thought...OMG, how in the world and what am I in for as far as a mess? But hey, the kindness was TREMENDOUS! So my son went upstairs to his room, my daughter and I went shopping and Steve started in the kitchen! When I returned home 3 beautiful layers of cake were cooling on the counter, the kitchen was spotless and (the best part) Steve was smiling! He insisted this had to be an ART CAKE, and I wasn't sure what he meant. This is it:

I think you will agree with me this was an incredibly sweet and kind gift. The cake was absolutely delicious, and Steve may have started something! By-the-way, "Mumphie" is what they call me around here, in case you wanted to know. I am pretty much only Mom when being spoken of to someone else.

The other thing today is not about cake baking or sweet families (although I could go on and on about the last subject). I haven't been in the studio all week...I know, I am ashamed, but wanted to confess. But I have been thinking about art a lot and doing a bit of sketching and doodling. Most of you know I travel a bit and often have a need to take along art supplies, etc. Today, I thought I would share a bit of that with you.
This is a bit of what I might carry along when going somewhere. The backpack, I gave myself. I have sketchbooks, inspiration books, ink, watercolor pencils and crayons, pens, brushes and a bit of water. The other thing I always have with me is my camera. I am always adding to and taking away from. I keep this downstairs, because sometimes I would rather be down here as opposed to being upstairs. From time to time, I will pull things from the studio to take a long if I will be away for any length of time.

But what about when I am just moving around this area...running errands, etc.? I keep a few things in my purse, too, which are always with me. Here is a sample of those bits and pieces.
I always have to have my little Moleskine. I carry like 3 of these books with me (sketch, address and calendar), a Rotoring sketch pen with extra ink, a set of Copic technical pens and my (new) iPod. The little knitted deal in the corner is what I use to stash the iPod so I can have my hands free (spent time knitting that this week...blah).

So tell me thing things you find helpful to carry with you and how you might find them useful. How do you carry them? What do you do for art when you are not in your studio?

Have a lovely weekend! Next week expect to see some studio work! :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Connecting with Physical Locations...

Many of you know things have been wild around here the last week or so. They seem to be settling down a bit, however we all know how that goes. Thank you all for the lovely comments on the conversation I had with Barbara Wilson! The interesting thing about doing these conversations is the artist is often reluctant to do them, but they are also curious about the process. But once the conversation is published they relax a little bit. I was thinking about how, as artists, we are often reluctant to give so much of ourselves and place it in the hands of another...and have to face trusting the other will do the right thing. I am happy to tell you, it seems the three people I have had the conversations with so far have come away from the process very pleased and feel they have also learned a lot...I know I do each and every time. Do you find it is difficult to give up control of your own process and make yourself vulnerable to a process?

But this is not what I wished to talk about today. Something has been pulling at my brain lately. I think the work with Andrea on the interview began the trigger in thinking about how her work reflected so much her life in Paris. I feel so drawn to it, because I love that city. Then there was Julianne who also shows so much of her life in New York City and as a musician. And Babs who lives in Oklahoma City can begin to show a great deal of the colors and culture of that state. I can see this, as well, because I also lived in Oklahoma for two years. So okay, what is messing with my head, you ask? How location and experience seems to be one of those important features to draw us to the art we like/love.

I did not reach this on my own, though. So many little things have had an impact on that lately. I will explain, but first let me begin by showing you a painting (which you have probably seen before) I did while I lived in England.
Horizon 3 30 x 40 Mixed Media Deep, Gallery Wrapped Canvas

Many of the paintings I did when we lived in England were very different from the ones I do now. Many of the people who have been watching my art have commented on this. And I am not sure I could come up with some of these...even close...again. But Fiona said to me a day or two ago how she felt particularly drawn to these works I did in England. That in itself is not shocking as Fiona is English and lives in London, right? What you do not know is Fiona also grew up a matter of miles from where I lived in England. A very beautiful part of the country known as The New Forest. Yes, I lived and Fiona grew up in the middle of a National Forest. But don't you think it is interesting that although these are clearly expressionistic abstracts, she felt a stronger draw to them?

But this isn't the end of the story. Do you remember I was quite excited about the texture San was creating and showing at the same time Fiona was showing similar texture? I began to realize San's work is also very much a part of her physical location of Santa Fe. Consider that heavy adobe appearance of her work with the subtle flower of the desert. I love that part of the United States and am particularly pulled to it. Read her current post, too...see the home of her next painting. I think you will also find that interesting. And Fiona's work as it related to her urban life in London.

Horizon 9 24 x 36 Mixed Media Gallery Wrapped Canvas

This is a painting I did just after we returned from England last year. I was missing that island nation a great deal. Someone said the little patch on this one was a suitcase (I hadn't said I was missing England, though). I found it interesting. It is the last of the Horizon paintings I did. I wonder if I will ever do more?

At this point, you know the kind of work I have been doing here. I love this work and am settling into my life here [for however long it lasts :)], but now I am finding it interesting to see what is happening with my painting due to location. And I am looking for links in the works of others, too.

Do you see these links? Do you see the changes in my paintings? What draws you to the paintings of other people? Clearly, for me, it is more than location, but I have found it interesting to make the connections. I suppose this is why we like to paint in different locations, too. Should I break out of my little bedroom studio? Mmm, what do you think?

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Conversation With Barbara Wilson

Barbara you have a wide range of artistic talents. You have painted for many years, and those years of work show some fabulous art. Color is your thing and that is very clear. You have always enjoyed manipulating color wherever you can put your hands on it…even in the hair salon! You have not only painted, but additionally been an artists’ model. So you know a lot of facets to this work of creativity.

BW: Thank you Kim, for selecting me to be a part of your interview feature. I find it very interesting to learn about others and their path along the creative road, so this feature has really intrigued me.

K: It is very much my pleasure and honor, Babs.

A Patch of Blue

K: Will you tell us about your early experiences with art?

BW: Well, as is true probably with most artists, I've created since childhood. My greatest treasure was a box of crayons, and the bigger the better! I colored, drew, and finger painted my way to high school, where art class was the high spot in my day. I can't remember a time I wasn't involved in creating art in some form or another, be it painting, hair design, or making draperies for my daughter's dining room.

Painting Out Loud

K: What other paths lead you to the place where you are now?

BW: My first encounter with the adult art world came about when I was asked to model for painting classes at the Kansas City Art Institute. As I sat for hours, I fell in love with the smell of oil paint, and the entire atmosphere of artists at work. At that point I was hooked, and knew that someday I would be an oil painter, although the oils didn't come into play for several years.

K: I love this story. It is very familiar to me, as well…falling in love by being in an environment.

Collage in Green

K: Why do you think you continued to paint?

BW: I've continued to paint, because I can't not paint! I'm seldom happier than when at the easel, and begin to feel a certain something is missing if for several days I'm unable to be in the studio, doing something, however minor it might be.

K: It is lovely to be so in love with your work. I can say it really shows when this happens.

K: You work with a lot of different media. Will you talk about that a bit along with the tools you like to use?

BW: I do work in a lot of different media, yes. These include oil, acrylic, pastel, watercolor, and oil pastel. I find it fascinating to explore all the possibilities and the experiments, as well as the results obtained with each media. They are all so different.

As you know, my work is 'all over the place', and

I have been encouraged on more than one occasion to "find what I want to be, and what I want to do, and stay with it", in order to develop a unique style. A signature, if you will. This would be very boring for me, as personally, I basically paint for me,,,, what makes me happy. If other people enjoy what I do, then that's the cherry on the whipped cream!

I get very excited with new Art Toys,,,,and can't wait to try them out and see where they take me.

My favorite tool is a paint knife, and any object or tool that can be used as a paint knife. Some have been quite unusual! I love heavy texture and impasto in oil paintings,,,and would probably use oils exclusively,,,,,but I don't always have the patience for the drying time. Also, acrylic is much more satisfying in the mixed media pieces I've done, due to the faster drying.

K: I love new ART TOYS, too! I find wandering in an art supply shop or online is very inspirational. I also agree with you about making your art for yourself and not following anyone’s idea of how it should progress. We all work differently, but this way works well for you. I also think as we get older, we find there are different reasons for doing what we love and we are going to do things the way that suits us…we have so much less to loose than when we were younger. You know?


K: You paint realistically and abstractly. You seem to prefer abstracts, though, is that true? Why do you think so?

BW: Well, actually, I feel that some of my work is more impressionist, rather than realistic, Kim. I greatly admire the talent required to create realism, but it's never been what I've wanted to do. I've always been drawn to the abstract, and I couldn't tell you why. I strive to create the type of art that I myself enjoy viewing. Abstract, expressionist, and non-representational have always been my love, and my focus. I am fascinated when a piece draws me in, makes me look deeper, and possibly search for what the artist was feeling. I do however love to see all the brush strokes, the various marks, the hand of the artist at work in any style of art.

K: Yes, I can see how you could see it as impressionistic. I can imagine you probably think abstractly, so visual abstraction just comes naturally to you. When you paint from intuition, I think it naturally translates into some form of abstract work. Now that I have said that, someone will correct me on that statement. You have a great appreciation for all kinds of art. That is clear.


K: Recently you have started painting smaller. How did you begin with that? Are you enjoying it?

BW: The smaller pieces I've recently been painting have been really fun, and I'm sure I'll continue to do those. It was quite a challenge in the beginning, but I was encouraged by a friend and fellow artist to continue, keep practicing, and I've really been glad I did. (Thank you, Lynnie!). They are great to pick up and work on as something else is drying,,,,,,but often I get carried away with them, and they can be very time consuming!

K: And it is wonderful you are finding success with sales of these in your new ETSY shop
, too.

K: You have also started using a lot of screen and paint skins in your work. How did that all start? Do you have more of those planned?

BW: The mixed media and collage work is a blast! Using found objects such as that wire screening opens up a whole new world of possibilities. I love twisting and tearing the wire, and manipulating it into shapes that add to the over all composition. The paint skins can add a 'quirkiness' of shape and form that either adds texture, or that become focal points in t and of themselves. I am currently getting my thoughts together for a medium sized commissioned collage. I will be working with a previously painted watercolor, and adding screening, and other collage elements.

K: Babs, this is wonderful. I am eager to see this larger piece.

Painting Out Loud II

K: How do you like to work…studio conditions, time of day, people around or not, etc.

BW: I find that I really must be alone, without distractions to work. So much of what I do is intuitive, and I need the solitude to free my mind and get into that place. I am not at all a 'morning person', so as with everything else in my life, I am at my artistic best later in the day, often into the late night.

K: You are so generous with your encouragement to other artists and I know a lot of them look to you for honesty when you speak. Do you ever find it difficult to come up with something to say to someone?

BW: Thank you, Kim. I have to say that I feel there is something to admire in any art, even if it's simply the way in which one color was put down in relation to another. Often, the smallest encouragement can mean a great deal to the person creating. Sometimes, it's what keeps us all going!

Being a self taught artist, I try to encourage others to keep trying, experimenting, looking for ways to improve, as the encouragement of others has many times been what keeps me 'throwing the paint around'. I feel that no matter who or where we are in the process, there's always more to learn. Sometimes we all need the pat on the back!

K: You are so right about that. You are a very kind and generous person.

Field Trip

K: Can you tell us about any experiences with shows or sales which are particularly interesting?

BW: I'm laughing, Kim,,,,, recalling a story I could tell you about an outdoor show in which all our 50 tents were blown away in a huge storm,,,but I doubt we have the space here!

Suffice it to say it was more than interesting!

As for sales, everyone knows that there is no feeling that compares to someone liking your work enough to put down their money in order to take it home! That said, I would still be painting, stacking them up, covering my own walls, if I never sold another piece. The joy is in the process!

K: Oh Boy! I would love to hear that story. I totally agree “The Joy is in the Process!” That quote is also on your blog, if I remember correctly.

SW Landscape

K: What is your favorite painting you have done?

BW: I really don't think I have a favorite painting that I've done. I'd like to think it's still in my future. Of course there are some that I've liked more than others, and some that I've sold that I didn't much care for at all! I do have a graphite portrait that I did of my daughter when she was seventeen that I wouldn't part with, so I suppose I'm wrong,,,,,that one would be a favorite

K: Our children are such inspirations. I can imagine your daughter’s portrait is very special to many people. And it is probably very private, too.

Deja Vu

K: I ask this question a lot, but what do you think was the most helpful in finding your artistic voice?

BW: You mentioned the Hair Salon. Owning my own business has been an excellent teacher of discipline and dedication, which also applies to the art world. It's also played a large role in my artistic development, as coloring hair, and coloring on canvas both require a lot of the same thought processes. Color theory, color mixing, hues, values, and depth are all terms interchangeable in both realms. There's also a certain sense of rhythm, and balance, whether it be in cutting, coloring or designing hair,,,,or working a paint brush or knife.

K: I have had this conversation with the woman who cuts my hair…how our professions are the same. While there is no way I would take up the scissors to cut hair, I can totally understand the art.


K: What inspires you?

BW: Oh, I am inspired by so many things! A song,,,or just it's lyrics, a shadow on the sidewalk, or just a vague and random thought. I have an on-going series of work entitled "Internal Landscape". These paintings are so called, as they are inspired by emotions. Mine or those of others.

K: I love that title… “Internal Landscape”…perfect!

K: Do you have favorite artists?

BW: Boy, do I have favorites! Too many to name actually,,,and I think it changes all the time too. Recently I was at a hotel filled with amazing abstracts by artists I've never heard of,,,,and at least for that weekend, they were my favorite.

K: Oh you sound so like me…too many to name.

Sunrise for Faye

K: I know you also like poetry. Do you write any? Do you ever find yourself painting in response to a poem you have read?

BW: I do love poetry, yes. In the style of Rod McKuen, and the musical poetry of Leonard Cohen, and (yes, really!) Willie Nelson. I've recently discovered the poetry of a Blogger member named Singleton, whose mingling of the words amazes me! I have written some poetry in the past, but it's been quite some time ago. I also enjoy writing whimsical limericks for friends and family, mostly my three sisters. I painted an aceo in response to Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne", and also one in response to Willie's "Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground".

K: Oh I believe you…I am also a fan of Willie Nelson! He is very much a poet with his songs.

Blues Guitar

K: What else would you like to share with us?

BW: I woujld like to share my favorite expression and encourage everyone to "Expect A Miracle". We receive them daily, if we know where to look!

Babs, you are so right! That is a beautiful way to end an incredible conversation. Thank you for your wise, wonderful insights. This has been an honor for me. I want to encourage everyone to visit your blog.

Exciting Times

Untitled, 18 x 24 Acrylic on deep, gallery wrapped canvas.

This is an old painting which I have never really shown people. Up to today I just was not sure about it. Today it shows you just the energy I have been feeling over the weekend! Let me tell you what happened.

On Friday, my very schedule driven husband wanted to toss everything up in the air and "fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants" for the evening. He didn't want a real dinner, but just some nice snacks and wine! This is totally unlike him, but I thought he was just feeling festive because it was a holiday weekend. He didn't have any time off, but it seemed like he was feeling good about the weekend in general. For me, I thought...."whatever!" It had been a busy day with the door bell ringing several time, the phone ringing and trying to get some of these "snacks" together for the evening. We were sitting around kind of doing our own kind of thing here and the door bell rang AGAIN! I said, "Steve, please get that I am so tired of that thing ringing." So he gets up and goes to the door. The next thing I know he is saying, "Kim, you must come here and help me!" I thought, 'what now?'

So off I go to the door and who was there? My daughter! Yes, she had spent all day getting here from California (a trip she, my son and my husband had been planning since Christmas)! I was so shocked, I didn't think I could stand up! I miss her so much being so far away. She has been here 3 days now (and gets to be here a few more before going back to school), and I can still hardly believe it! So this painting kind of shows you how I am feeling...just excited and over the top with fireworks going off all the time!

I know you all have seen where she has posted on this blog from time to time. And I understand if you can't comprehend how excited I am feeling to have her here. I know I do not talk too much about my personal life here and promise not to get into that, but this surprise will have an affect on my postings here the first of the week. So I wanted to let you know I will respond to each and every comment may just take me a bit longer to get back to you.

I have a feeling this experience will show itself in a painting before long. So for all of you who have commented on me staying on track...I may be showing you how that isn't always true for me.

So today, tell me how something special has affected your work. This life of creativity we lead is not a linear one to be sure...I like to call it a web. What do you call it?

Now I also want to remind you...tomorrow I will be having another conversation with an incredibly talented artist. I know you are going to not only enjoy the conversation I have with Barbara Wilson, but you are going to learn a great deal. It will be very exciting and insightful.

Friday, March 21, 2008


There is a very good reason I am showing you old work today. I promise...well, aside from the fact that I am still working on the new stuff. I will tell you...

On Tuesday, Robert Genn talked about Emotion in Buying in his popular newsletter, Painters Keys. His posting was talking about how he observed a couple buying a painting, and they knew immediately they loved it. Once they realized that, they immediately went into the size, colors, etc. They almost did not acknowledge why they were drawn to a particular painting, they just knew they were and moved right into the facts. You can read the post and see my response here.

This, you say, is the reason you are pulling out old stuff? Well, with these, I have some emotional responses from people who do not paint. I thought it would be interesting to share the responses with you who do paint.

This painting is called, Near Violet, which I painted in response to the light I found so intriguing when we first moved to England (24 x 36 Acrylic). A friend was visiting us when we lived in England and saw this painting. He was very taken with it immediately (but couldn't get it back to his country with him). The entire time he was visiting, he kept looking at it. I asked why he liked it, but he wasn't sure. On the other hand, I have never had anyone else who connected with this painting the way he did. As a matter of fact, my son often walks by it and shakes his head wondering what in the world I am thinking not to have painted over it yet.

This is probably one of the most traditional works I have ever done...I know, I know you are laughing. These are Channel Spring 1 and 2 (18 x 18, Acrylic). My mother fell in love with these. She doesn't seem to be able to get her head around anything else I create, but these seemed to work for her. They are now framed (in very traditional oak frames made by my father) hanging above her bed. For me, they hold very little with the exception of test canvases. I was about to paint over them when she saw them, too. So once again, she saw it and boom.

This is Elizabeth's Painting (24 x 36, Acrylic). I was clearly experimenting with pouring here and had a good time doing so. When my daughter saw this painting she adored it. When my children love any paintings, they belong to matter what! My daughter is quite classic in her tastes, so what drew her to this painting? She loves wearing skirts, pearls, etc. But this painting spoke to her and is now in her little cottage in California. Here is the thing, my husband feels sorry that I have had so many problems with this painting...all of those runs have to mean I made a mistake! I have to say, my daughter's educational background is very creative and being a writer she sees things others often do not. Does that explain it?

I find it interesting to see how non-artists respond to any paintings. I am usually really jazzed when a painting speaks to them...of course I am. But when I hear statements like, "Any child could have done that can you call that painting?" I am offended (and this is not in response to my work, but in a museum or one would be that rude to say that to my face, would they). But it tells so much about people in listening to what they have to means very little to the art itself. Of course it makes us question, but what is said by these people comes from a place of not understanding expression. What do you think? Tell me about your experience with responses to your work by non-artists. I know there are some beautiful/hilarious stories out there.

And speaking of children...Fiona (you know Fiona from yesterday's post) poses an interesting question on her blog. Her question is "Why Is Art Like Childhood?" Do you have any thoughts on this? I responded to Fiona on this subject.

Everyone have a beautiful Weekend! Remember next week...early in the week, too. I will be having another conversation! This time, it is with Barbara probably know her as Babs! You are going to love getting to know this wonderful artists even more.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

More About Textures, Art Friends and Sharing

Yesterday I was so excited, encouraged, and greatly inspired by every one's comments and suggestions about textures in paintings. Thank you all so much for coming here to talk about art with me each day.

Additionally, when I was making my "blog" rounds yesterday I was shocked to see two paintings featured which were so different, but so similar in textures. I love both of these paintings so very much and want to share them with you. The other exciting thing is they each have a very exciting story to go along with them. So go ahead, grab a cup of tea or a mug of coffee and sit back with I tell you about them.

First, many of you probably know San Meredith who writes the blog, A Life With a View. Yesterday San wrote about some women who were trying to renovate their homes after the hurricane, Katrina, wrecked havoc on their city of New Orleans. San tells of selling paintings, then being asked to donate a painting to help raise funds to build a school in Guatemala. San tells a warm and beautiful story on her blog, so please go there now and read what she has to say. Go ahead and then come back...

While you are there, take a very close look at the painting, Blossom, San did for the school fund raiser. Look at the beautiful texture and the lovely colors. Although the collage part appears Asian, to me, the texture is cross-cultural and speaks of the adobe textures of San's Sante Fe, New Mexico, USA. I find this heavy, architectural texture so very appealing and in San's painting the tension is just perfect with the application of the Blossom print. How do you like it?

But this is really just the ending of my story. Yes, I am telling you about it backwards (did you expect any less?). I have been watching, closely, my friend Fiona Long's blog. You see, Fiona, who lives in London, UK is interested in textures, too, and urban art. As an art student, she has many people always judging her work. Last week she was chosen, as one of fifty, to show her painting, The Wall, at the very prestigious Royal College of Art in the State of the Art Competition to benefit the Prince's Trust. The exhibit was on Monday, March 17, 2008 and was touted as a great success. Here is Fiona's painting, The Wall:

But this is what I want you to see. I want you to consider how these two very fabulous artists on different continents, stimulated by very different surroundings have used a similar texture in very different ways to great success.

Here is the very beautiful Fiona with her very beautiful painting.

I think both of these artists are incredible painters. They are beautiful people and have shared a lot on this blog, so I know they share a lot in their lives beyond here. I encourage you to read and comment on their blogs (and on this blog). Congratulations to you both for work very well done. It is an honor to know you both.

So do you find this kind of texture interesting? Would you have an interest in trying it?

Please note: You may wonder why I featured photographs here of Fiona's work and not San's. I do not take images from anyone else without their agreement. At the moment I know San is very busy, but I wanted to get this information out to you. Fiona offered the photos, so I chose to use them. The important things are you get the information and I have not used copyrighted images without permission.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Please let me know...

If anyone has any problems commenting on this blog, please send me an email and let me know.

Contemplation 8

As promised earlier this week, this is the other painting I worked on this past weekend. As you can see, I chose to use more rice paper. This was one of tissue weight which began with cleaning brushes off. At one point I even pressed a small wet canvas into the middle of the whole thing. I began to really like the way it worked and wanted to include it into a painting.

This is Contemplation 8 (Dreams) of Mixed Media on 18 x 18 deep, gallery wrapped canvas.

There are a lot of layers of glazing on this particular canvas edge. The border around the rice paper application is applied with a palette knife. If you click on the image, you can see there are lots of colors in this including a bit of copper. The center emblem is actually more of a wine color than black, too.

I do not think the gestural marks have any meaning, however if you know different please let me know.

As Elis said in yesterday's comments paper (and in my case, rice paper) takes the paint is a very appealing way. I think that is exactly why I am drawn to using it right now. I also find the tension created with a variety of textures appealing, so applying it as a collage type item works the best for me. As you can see in Contemplation 8, I have the smooth surface where the glazes were added, the heavily textured surface of the paint applied with the palette knives and the rice paper add three distinct textures to this relatively small canvas.

Here is today's question...How do you use textures in your work? Is it literal? Or maybe it is subtle. I would like to hear from you on this subject.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Using Rice Paper

Lately I have been working with a fair amount of rice paper applications to my paintings. At first I was just crumbling it up, wetting it and letting it dry like that. Then I would spread it out and using acrylic medium apply it to the painted canvas (you can see examples of this in earlier posting on this blog or on my web site in the Contemplation Series). But my work has progressed from there...I am now using any left over paint to paint the rice paper or even to just clean off brushes. Below is a photo which shows a stack of various weights of painted paper. Some is thin like tissue and other is thick. Some I purchased in sheets and other in a roll. You might be able to see some of my paintings in a few of these...

Sometimes, I don't use the rice paper for cleaning brushes, but will use it to take prints from a wet canvas. Like I have said before, I will apply the paint thickly to a canvas, then press a series of rice papers over the wet paint and lift it off...sometimes doing it more than one time. I love the different textures and looks you can get depending on how the paper is removed.

The example below shows a couple of "liftings" from a canvas. You can see the lines of the overlap. One thing which was interesting about this was I applied the paint thickly onto the canvas directly from the tubes or tubs. When I first took a lift, there was no white visible. With a couple of other lifts, the white magically appeared. It was so much fun to see this happen.

Other times I do not do it this way. Below you will see some thin "tissue" rice paper. This was hanging up (see the clothes pins - pegs - in the photo). I liked the way the blues and paynes gray worked on this particular paper. When I had a thin brush in the cream paint, I hit it with a few gestural marks. I do not know any Asian language, so if this says something, it is completely coincidental (if you know it says something, please let me know).

I have this one in the back of my head to use in some way. I am just not sure yet how it will play out.

So how about you? Do you have a stack of "papers" (maybe not in paper form, either...I also have a collection of dry acrylic paint blobs) which influence your work? And is happenstance appealing to you?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Music 3 (Feathers and Family)

Music 3 (Feathers and Family) 12 x 24 Mixed Media on Deep, Gallery Wrapped Canvas

I have been busy in my studio over the weekend completing a couple of paintings. This is one, and I will show you more as the week goes on.

The CD I listened to for this painting was a German Band, Die Zimmermaenner. I am not a speaker of German, so many of the words made no sense to me. The music sounded like people skipping through the park...thus the smaller canvas and lighter lines...with feathers. On this particular CD, there is a song where there are some English words spoken (not sung) by a man with a very deep voice. He says, over and over, "Mama, Baby, Joe". It is a very odd song to my English ears, but it is very catchy, too.

The painting is done with acrylics. I had begun with a base painting (click on the painting to see more) I thought would be the way I would go with this. But when I began to add glazes over it, I really liked the way it began to look, so I added the rice paper "feather" blocks and the feather like gestural mark and liked it a lot better.

I also give my apologies for not including a link to the group, however I am unable to locate a web site. If anyone knows of a web site, please let me know and I will include it.

What have you been working on lately? Let me know what you think of this one.

Note: I have been told this band actually does have a good site on MySpace, so try this link. Thanks Elizabeth for letting me know.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Conversation With Julianne Richards

Julianne Richards is an extraordinary artist living in New York City. Her range of interests is varied and she draws on these interests for her paintings. She is known as The Colorspeaker. I hope you will enjoy getting to know Julianne and her art through this lively conversation, then visit her web site

K: Hello Julianne,

K: I know you have a background in music. Will you tell us a little about that first?

JR: I began playing guitar at seventeen and spent much of my teens and early twenties touring, making records, and playing in bands. Then, I decided to go solo and moved to NYC and signed with Geffen Records and made a solo record with them…this is all before painting found me! I never even thought about another “full time” creative career, until…hmmm. Until, I just hit a wall with the music business, and anther unreleased album…So, I was rather lost and down and uncertain of what I wanted to do for the first time in a quite a while.

Then, one day, a friend stopped by, and he had found a paint brush, and two tubes of paint, one black and one blue. He gave them to me, partly joking… I never stopped painting, though.

K: How long have you been painting?

JR: That was about six years ago. The last two years have been the most aggressive, in terms of development, and getting completely involved with the internet, and creating a presence there….

K: I can see some influence of your music in your paintings. Do you feel there is a strong influence there?

JR: Well, in terms of certain things, like finding one’s own signature style, are, I have found, it is most definitely related. And this is probably so with all of the arts…When you dedicate oneself utterly 100%, you discover things about the process of creation itself, but also, even more intense personal things , such as where your essence of who you really are is within the work you are creating…music will always be a part of my being, and the merge into visual artistic expression has made me see things in hindsight in regards to my musical journey that I wasn‘t aware of back then…but lately I feel fortunate to have had both, and that I see now see them as assets to each other.

K: In what way?

JR: Style development is the first thing that keeps coming up...

K: What mediums do you prefer using?

JR: Well, at the present time I am using acrylics and mediums to mix with them. I am very into interference and iridescent paints. My work is mostly on canvas now and growing steadily larger in size, 30”x40”, 36”x 48” and upward.

K: Do you use different ones for different stages in your painting process?

JR: I was experimenting with just about everything last year, oil pastels became a part of even my larger pieces. However, one of my influences (an artist I admire greatly) suggested I settle down to something specific and get it down, because I wasn’t that happy, I was really just searching…and for me having my own developed sense of style is the ground work for me to then build upon, and that is very intertwined with my personal sense of self as well. For me, the two are inextricably linked.

K: What is your process?

JR: Lately, in the process of discovering a style, I have begun working in stages, and slowing down considerably. I start with a color usually mixed with another interference or an iridescent acrylic. Then, I use a water soaked wide flat brush and this mixture, and paint my entire canvas, or sometimes paper, thoroughly, often taking a sponge to soak up any additional run off and sort of sponging my back round until the canvas takes most of it. After that, I take it, lay it on the floor and put a fan on it for bit…Often, I will be working on several pieces at a time, all at different stages. I will do this process of laying down and different mixes of colors and /or mediums and some imagery , then stopping; Let them dry, all the while this allows me to keep passing through the room and observing them, often at different angles, before I begin the next step in the creating of the piece. This is not a rigid or steadfast method, as I sometimes move through a piece with less pausing to observe, and, in those cases, I often have created some of my best work. It just depends.

Overall, however, through slowing down, I have found a natural insight into knowing when the painting is finished, and /or not doing what I feel emotionally, which transfers into busy, overly painted pieces; Thus leaving me emotionally linked to a painting which leaves me looking at the visual version of how I feel. By forcing myself to stop, and let each layer dry, I am changing it (the way I create) into something very much like a meditative exercise. I am literally working out where I am at emotionally inside, and through this “practice” of pacing of myself, and stepping back frequently, I am gaining control over my thoughts, and often, I will find something very specific (when the painting is done) that I was remembering and working it out….this has been a recent realization. And unique in that, I really did not know just how profoundly powerful the sub-conscious is, in regards to the creation of art. It is on the paintings where I have had these experiences that I have become intensely aware of just how much is stored up in our memories, dreams, and even in the present…

Visual art, perhaps in conjunction with, or even more so than my musical path, has really made me conscious of its communicative and expressive nature, and the endless possibilities its use in such a way…. It is different for everyone, I am sure,

Yet, for me, it has definitely awakened its transcendent possibilities….

K: What inspires you…other than music?

JR: Other artists, without a doubt. Particularly when I began, and though not as much as it used to, taking the time to get out of my own head, and its seemingly constant nagging need to create, and just totally immersing myself in another artist process, whether it be writing, poetry, music, or a visual format, is, for me,

an important, and sometimes forgotten, part of simply enjoying art in its most basic format, for the simple, yet necessary sheer joy of it.

K: What has helped you find your voice?

JR: Growing up! And a relentless, on-going search for purity…It is something I struggled with a great deal when I was younger, really, until a few years ago. I had this obsession with art and purity-and I really got lost for a while with these conflicting philosophical views, such as the only "true art" could only be from an artist who never new fame or fortune of any kind while they were alive. They wrote only because it was all they could do, and then, decades later, we declared them "monumental" in terms of their contribution to literature, painting, etc.

I had to move away from that because it really is just my mind," busy, busy busy."

So, when such thinking starts, I do get busy, but with a paint brush.

K: Tell us what you studio is like? What can you not live without in your studio?

JR: I couldn't live without my studio! I live in a railroad apartment (three rooms in a long narrow row) in NYC’s downtown East Village… I built a 7 foot loft and I work underneath, it is a room in the back and the loft takes up nearly the whole room. I have my large floor standing easel, and then my smaller table top easel. However, my entire apartment is canvases everywhere. The kitchen is full of them, paint brushes and buckets of water in the sink, on the shelves, even

Next to the computer! And then there is the whole computer and the system I have set up, which is directly related to the uploading of my work on-line-That is really another story. I have two computers, a Mac and a PC, and there still seems like I always need more memory, or power, always something...

K: What are the greatest challenges with your work?

JR: Slowing down. But I would have to say it is the business part of my work that constantly struggle with…I know that if I am going to post it on line and take offers to sell it that it comes with the territory, but I really struggle with being “all business.”

Art and commerce just, for me, don't mix. As a working songwriter, I had all these "people" who were

Supposed to handle all these “things that I really loathed“. And then I realized how I had to come to terms with it myself, because now matter how much money you make, the responsibilities, and the lifestyle of having managers, or whatever, is, for me, not far the very thing I was trying to pay my way out of…and it is the money is still running the show.

K: Talk about how you work through your commissions.

JR: I have only done three, and I am working on my third.

They have been a learning experience, and I am open to do them, but I can only really base my experiences with them on clients who I discovered, after I was asked to do a large piece in the clients chosen colors, that working with someone and trying to give them something that they do not know how to translate to you, Is a challenge, to say the least. However, I think, that getting better, more confident, and becoming more secure in the aforementioned part of business and creative decisions will probably will make a world of difference.

K: Is there a person/artist who is/has been influential in your paintings?

JR: Well, yes of course. Obviously, all artists are different in that I am one who does not get concerned when someone likes my work and expresses it, or even if they ask me specifics about my methods which I have discovered is what artists seem to call "their creative secrets."

I just don't think about it. But other artists, and I found this to be true in most creative circles, do get

threatened. It is an unfortunate, and therefore delicate, part of some of the so -called “artistic temperament.” That said, I love Filomena Booth's work. Casey Kahn's pastels-really beautiful.

I think Nancy Deckles is talented. Filomena's work has really moved me, and I am happy to say she knows it and has been genuine in her response to my telling her...and Casey and I stay in touch via internet…Amazing how much the cyber connection has made a whole new world of opportunities, for all kinds of art, and just about anything else as well..

K: Do you like writing about your art?

JR: I do now. I think it is much more linked with my psyche and therefore the title of the work comes to me before the painting Is even finished. That helps.

K: Do you think writing about your work (publically or privately) makes a difference in the results?

JR: I try not to think about the public part. Of course, there are always things we should or shouldn't say, but

I am a rather (yes even brutal) overly honest person, especially in regards to artwork. It used to get me into trouble when I was much younger. Ha-ha….

K: Are there other visual art forms you are attracted to?

JR: There is not much creatively that doesn't at least make me pause...

K: Where do you see your art going from here?

JR: Forward would be nice...

Thank you so much, Julianne, for taking the time to talk with us today. It has been a real pleasure to have this conversation and see your work. We all have so much to learn from each other and you have shared a lot with us today. I wish you the very best with your future projects.