Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Silent Voices in a book

I've put together 11 paintings and accompanying poetry from the Silent Voices series to create a book. I've been working on this series for the last couple of years and decided it was time to start working on exhibition proposals. Since it can take a long time to get on a schedule I'll continue working on the series while submissions are going out. My idea was to produce a book that I could use as part of the proposal package. I tried a few print on demand sites and had some issues with template formatting or user friendliness. I spend a ton of time on the computer but that certainly doesn't qualify me for the Geek Squad. So anyway, I looked into Amazon - duh.... I love them and my Kindle. Now the series is in book form. Check it out - it's available here in paperback and here for Kindle. Of course it's in color so it would look best on a Kindle Fire and if you're a Prime member you can borrow it for free.

I'm almost done with painting #12 so I'm heading to the studio. Hope you're doing something creative today. Peace.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Get your hands in some paint

Today I thought I'd show off someone else's work - my granddaughter Maxine's watercolor painting. Now that she's 2 years old and old enough to sit at my drawing table I put together a tool box of art supplies for her. When she comes over for a visit one of the first things she does is grab my hand, pull me toward my studio and say "Painting Grandma?" So of course that's what we do. 

Max loves water and really loves dipping her brushes in it and sloshing around. That's how she usually paints - with brushes. This time she decided there's a better way to work with watercolors. This particular set of pan paints has glitter in it (unfortunately, hard to see in the photo). I don't know if that's why it seems to be softer than other kids watercolors but Maxine thought it was great fun to scoop it out of the pans with her fingers and smear it around on the paper. Every once in a while I'd give the paper a mist with my sprayer just to keep things moist and moving around. She loved to feel the spray too, she kept sticking her hands in it.

There's nothing like watching the creativity of children when they get their hands on some paint and I think she has as much to teach me as I have to teach her.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A dress burning

18 Years
acrylic on canvas

I took a little break from painting landscapes to go back to the Silent Voices series. This is the latest piece. So far I have 10 of these canvases done and one collage/acrylic piece on watercolor paper. Working on this image was a challenge. I used my granddaughter's dress for my reference and I burned through several  birthday candles in order to get the image down of the flame and wick. When I started I wasn't happy with the look of the dress burning so I mentioned to my son that it would be great if I could actually burn the dress and take photos. Well of course he thought that was an awesome idea - FIRE! Let's go! Lucky for me, my son and daughter-in-law didn't have a particular attachment to the dress that their daughter had outgrown so I was free to burn away.


The trick was getting shots without destroying the whole thing. I still needed it to paint from so I had to preserve most of it and hang it back up in the studio.

It took a minute for the flame to take but once it did it went up fast. As you can see, we got the fire stomped out before the dress was gone. So now it's on to another canvas. I don't have the next painting for this series worked out in my head yet so I may work on a landscape next.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Staying cool

Shadow Path

So far it's been a busy summer. I've been doing a lot of painting - YAY! If you go to the Silent Voices page you'll see the latest work in that series along with the prose that goes with each piece. I've also worked on some landscapes like the little one you see above. The Landscape page has a few updates. When I painted Shadow Path I was desperately in need of something cooler so I decided to forgo the red background I usually like to use for the landscapes and go with a cool blue. I really wanted to get out of the sun for a while and this country road looked like the perfect place to do that.

I've also been busy teaching classes and workshops. I especially love the the mini-workshop I do on Friday nights. I take my folks through a step-by-step process to finish a painting in the 3 hour session. Last week I had them do a version of the painting above - here are the results....

And so far, the highlight of the summer....

going to Ohio to visit my daughter and these 3 characters, my grandsons Josh, Jake and Kory. 

Hope you're having a happy and creative summer!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I went a little crazy

with texture.
 Passage 51, 12x12 mixed media

 Passage 51, detail
These two paintings are part of an ongoing series of textured mixed media abstracts that I've been working on for a while. Aside from landscapes and a couple of series involving social commentary, I love playing with different materials - papers, glue, paint, polished stones, texture gels, Styrofoam, tissue, whatever I can glue to a canvas. I just want to make something that's fun to run your hand over and feel the bumps, cracks and wrinkles. Fun!

 Passage 52, 12x12, mixed media

 Passage 52, detail

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Walk in the Park
acrylic on canvas

I decided to surprise everyone and do a landscape on something other than a red underpainting. This canvas had been painted blue with an abstract painting in mind. I decided to change that idea too. I think the early summer heat has me wishing for the spring temperatures to last a little longer. If I can't have the temps then at least I can paint something cooler.

One weekend Kelli and I took a girl's weekend and went to Hontoon Island State Park. It's an island east of us in Deland. We arrived by ferry and then spent the better part of the day wandering and taking pictures. This was one of the cooler areas. The nice shadowed trails were a pleasure with little bits of sunlight bouncing off the vegetation here and there. Other areas were more open and definitely hot. We were afraid if we didn't get off the island soon a park ranger was going to find our bleached bones scattered among the palm fronds. Maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but not by much. 

It's a beautiful place. I'd like to go back one of these days. I'll just plan on being a little smarter about reading the map.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I've been bouncing back and forth between 2 different series lately. You know I've been painting landscapes like crazy and I'm still doing that but I also needed to get back to the Silent Voices series too. Here's the latest painting in each of those groups.

Calloway Garden
This one is painted from a photo that my mother took in Calloway Gardens in Georgia. It's a little different than the other landscapes I've done. I hadn't done anything with such an abundance of flowers. It was a challenge but I loved it.

Below is the latest in Silent Voices. It's the most autobiographical in the series. Some of the pieces in this series now include prose. As I pull out the older pieces and sit with them for a while I may write prose for them also. I'm finding that it gives the paintings a new level of depth and understanding.

 (baby for adoption)

Fractured and broken in shades of grey.
The stories are sealed, the secrets not lies.
A life hidden and changed,
kept in tidy boxes so as not to disturb
the shining image of others.

Black on red, the letters controlled.
The signs were there, sending two lives down different roads.
One life unknown, the other unseen.

Imagination and grief hold hands under the mask
until the friction chafes and burns
with the once a year flame.
The lids break open, the cracks widen.
The flames get higher, the ash deepens.

Take cover.
Let the fire heal and the wounds return
to the soothing shadows.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Paint and fuzzy visitors

Outside the studio door I usually place an easel with a painting to display. Today I had one of my Golden Hour pieces on the easel. I stood at the door for a moment and then noticed that two catepillars were crawling around on the trees in my painting.

Here is one of the fuzzy little guys after he made it up to the top of the easel.

This is the painting that's sitting outside. The trees aren't THAT realistic. Maybe the texture I used made them think it was real bark :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

New series, new page

Hidden in shame lies are told
about us, by us.
Gratitude for sacrifice slams the door.
Our motherhoods removed
they think, they wish.
Behind the door our hearts beat, our arms empty, we wait.
Our children grow, we search and find.
Sometimes good, sometimes sad
but still we sit.....

Huddled together, a group outside.
The mainstream flows, comforted in their easy belief.
We push against the current hoping to get through.
Again the door slams shut.
Again we lean a little harder.
A small wave of light escapes from beneath.
Our stories are read.
Replies come fast and furious to put us in our place.
"just because you had a bad experience" they said.

Behind the door the words get larger.
Through mothers in exile silent voices heard.

I started a new page on the blog. If you want to see more please click on the link above called Silent Voices. I usually post these pieces on my adoption blog because they are about my experience as a mother of adoption loss but I decided to share them here also because they are after all - paintings. I've included the writing that I do to give a sense of the feeling behind the artwork.

The piece above is called Mothers in Exile (I'm sure you guessed that) and it was done on 300lb watercolor paper. I mainly used acrylic but also added a colored pencil piece that I had started years ago but never finished - that's the door part of the painting.  I cut letters out of a magazine and for a textured design element I added tissue paper that I then used white acrylic to dry brush and accent the texture.

So there it is, another series that's ongoing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The new portrait page

Just wanted to let you know that I added a new page to the blog - Portraits. There are only a few posted right now, I need to take pictures of a couple more that I did. I had pictures. Do I know where they are at the moment? No. It's been a few years since doing the pieces and at the time I only had my 35mm SLR so somewhere there are actually prints. Oh, how I love digital. Anyway, most of these portraits are done with colored pencil.

Kayla with Bubbles
colored pencil
This painting of Kayla was done on Canson pastel paper. The paper is a beautiful magenta color (I wish this pic was better. I had to take a new one from an old print so the photo isn't the best). Trying to work out the skin tones on that color of paper was a real pain in the rear!

Journey, Portrait of Kristen
mixed media
Now this one, it almost ended up in the trash. This piece is watercolor, gold leaf and colored pencil on Stonehenge printmaking paper. When I started with the watercolor washes I goofed and ended up with a splotch on the face where I didn't want it. I really wanted to keep the face pure and clean. When I tried to lift the color it wouldn't work. I was so aggravated I threw the thing down and walked away. Later I took it outside on the picnic table and just started throwing paint at it - literally. I added the gold and then just started scrubbing with the colored pencils. Sometimes it works out for the best when you attack something with a "nothing to lose" attitude.

Portrait of Sarah
colored pencil
This portrait of my daughter was done on a cream colored Stonehenge. I did this one slowly, building up the color layer by layer for a smooth, soft look.

When I can get to where the other 2 portraits are I'll take some photos of those and post them. I added the portrait page because now that I have the studio I have more time to take on commission work again. I'd especially like to play some more with the mixed media portraits. I also have some more landscapes I want to do and there's another series I'm deeply entrenched in, that I want to share soon. So many projects........... did I just say I have more time?

Monday, January 23, 2012

New painting and new show

Golden Hour

Hi artsy people. It's been a while since I've been here. It was the usual crazy busy holiday time so this month I'm getting back to the easel and a regular working routine again. I'm continuing on with the landscape series. The one above - Golden Hour is the first one in the group that I'm doing with branches and sky. I did this one from a photo I took in my yard. The sun had just hit that place in the sky where it turns everything it touches to gold, even the soft grey Spanish moss.

And, the paintings you see below you've seen before but I'm posting them again because they were just accepted in the upcoming Women Painters of the Southeast juried exhibition. What a nice way to start the new year!

Florida Prairie

Late Afternoon Prairie