Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Art of Arranging Art

What do you do when you have a big blank wall and a lot of paintings or photos to hang? How do you arrange them? It looks like a daunting task but really, it's something to have fun with. It doesn't have to be stressful. Here are a few tips to get you going. 

 👉 It's all about the planning. Start with the largest painting first and then arrange everything else around it. 
 👉 To make a plan lay each piece on a sheet of paper larger than the painting or frame and trace around it. Cut out the shape of each painting and use them to tape an arrangement on the wall. This way you can play with the arrangement without poking holes all over the place. It's much easier than hanging and rehanging the work.

 👉 Be aware of spacing between the artwork. You don't want to have them too close together because it can look cluttered. Also, don't hang work too close to the edge of a wall or too close to the corner of the room. 

 👉 Do you have a theme? Think about style and color combinations. You want things to coordinate but not everything has to be matchy matchy. You can mix photos and paintings, different types of frames and different content but you don't want things to clash either. It's nice if there's some kind of connection between the pieces but it's not absolutely necessary. If you love your collection, then by all means you can make it work. 

👉 Small pictures are great fill ins for groupings. Having different sizes and shapes makes for a more interesting arrangement.

I have a series of works that I painted based on aerial views of the Florida coast. I used photos I took from the plane as we approached Tampa Airport. In the pictures below I arranged 7 of these paintings in different ways. Sometimes hanging a series can make a real impact. 

The paintings in this series are different sizes ranging from 18x24 down to 11x14. Here I placed them in a pretty formal and symmetrical arrangement. Just like art, the style of arranging art is purely subjective. Some folks prefer symmetry and some don't.


The one below is a looser arrangement but still balanced. Even though no two paintings line up together I still think it works. The overall shape makes an arch over the seat. 

The next two arrangements are more structured. Some of the paintings are lined up in a row and they're more symmetrical.

This last one is like a circle of paintings. Again, nothing is lined up in a row but it feels balanced and could still work.

Finally, for this last picture I used some different work. This one mixes large and small, framed and unframed paintings. Matchy matchy is not the goal. Balance and loving the art on your walls is the goal. Take pieces you love and want to look at all the time, start with the placement of the biggest one first and then use the smaller ones in a group to balance the weight of the larger one. This wall looks good as is but it also leaves room for some possible additions. I hope you find these little tips helpful. Just have fun and play with your arrangements.

Wait! One last tip..... use your cell phone. When you have your size templates taped to the wall take a picture of the arrangement. Then try some other arrangements and do the same. Then you can compare the different ways of showing off the work and pick your favorite.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

So this happened

Remember the abstract from a few posts ago? Well, I'm still on my abstract kick. I call them my pandemic paintings because it seems that these paintings are what's keeping me sane at the moment. Times are stressful and doing the layers of paint glazes, textures, swirling lines and blocks of color are just what my psyche needs at the moment.

So anyway, I've been using graphite and colored pencils (specifically Prismacolor Art Stix) for the linear elements in these paintings.

I've used several different colors for the lines on these depending on the individual piece, all the same brand. I like the idea of a high gloss finish so I've been coating them with a gloss gel and varnish. I use a palette knife to apply it because I like the texture and I don't care for the marks that a brush leaves behind.

Here are two pictures of the same painting. In the top one, you can see some faint lines and circles I made with a purple colored pencil. They're glazed over with a translucent white acrylic. The picture below shows what the painting looks like after applying the gel varnish.

That was quite the shock when I went into the studio the next morning. I guess the moisture in the acrylic did something to that particular color. It wasn't affected by the light layers of acrylic prior to this so my only thought is length of time it took for the gel layer to dry. It stays wet so much longer that it changed that purple color. It didn't do that to any of the other colors I used on other paintings. For this one it really intensified the color and made it bleed through the acrylic layers. Interesting.

So now what do I do with it? Do I go back in and do more layers to tone it down? It'll come down to which way I like the painting better so I need to leave it be for a while and then decide.

Let me know what you think! Which one do you like better?

Monday, May 11, 2020

Looking Forward

Black Thread Woven

"Everyone needs time to develop their dreams. 
An egg in the nest doesn't become a bird overnight."
Lois Ehlert

Good Monday morning! What are you dreaming about right now? Painting is my dream job so all my dreams right now are about people. I'm dreaming of visiting my children and grandchildren and squeezing them with all the love I've got. I'm dreaming about not worrying about a virus. I'm dreaming of gallery openings and people laughing. I'm dreaming of hugging my friends and sharing a pie over a 3 hour lunch in our favorite pizza place. I'm dreaming of being at the beach, playing in the surf with the kids. 

It's all about friends and family. I'm looking forward to the dreams coming true.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Before, During and After

The last post was pretty heavy. It's a heavy subject that's very important to me and the next painting in the Don't Forget series is prepped on the canvas and ready to go. But, sometimes you need a break from heaviness and have to lighten things up a little - literally and mentally. After doing so many detailed nest paintings I needed to play so I was looking around my studio and realized I have some old abstract paintings that I didn't really feel all that connected to anymore.

I pulled this one out and decided it was too dark, too tight and just wasn't me anymore so I did this....

And then after more layers and lines with acrylic and graphite, some scrubbing back and then more layers, I ended up with this.

acrylic and graphite

You can still see remnants of the old painting peeking through and I like that. It gives the painting depth but it also has a lighter feel now. A new perspective on an old painting and a lightness of being.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Children, a Nest Evolution and SOS

I want to tell you about a new series I'm working on but first a little history... Some of you may be familiar with my Silent Voices series. If you look up top at the tabs you can find the series there. It's not complete but I will be adding more work there soon. To see the full series to date on my website click here. Anyway, that series is about infant adoption from my experience - the first/birth mother's point of view. In a few of those paintings I used the nest symbol as part of the work. From there I started exploring the bird nest as the main subject for my work and I LOVE doing them. If you go to my website you'll see a lot of them there. What does this have to do with the new series?

Don't Forget

Over the last couple of years I've watched the stories about children at the border being held in detention camps or being taken from their families and flown to states far away to be put in foster homes with strangers. For many of us in the adoption community those stories are horrifying because we're all too familiar with the trauma of losing a child. First mothers know what it's like to have a child taken away. Adoptees and foster youth are too familiar with the loss of families.

I've watched year after year the stories of children dying in school shootings and nothing seems to stop them from happening. We see a story, shake our heads and scroll on to the next story. Just another day in the US. I recently saw an article saying that this past March was the first March without a school shooting since 2002. What a horrible statistic. And speaking of school, I've also seen articles about people debating whether or not children should be provided free meals at school. Why would anyone want a child to go hungry??

In the big business of domestic infant adoption, babies are only valued as commodities. Some people don't think children should get meals from the school system. School shootings don't seem to stop unless there's a pandemic keeping kids home from school. Why don't we value our children more? Why aren't we keeping them safer? Why have we forgotten the little ones at the border or the ones who were sent away? Why do so many live in poverty here?

I'm calling this series Don't Forget. It's my way of bringing attention to children. I'm including something related to babies and children with my nests as a reminder of children's needs. Too often they're the forgotten ones because the wants of adults end up overriding the needs of children. Money, egos, and adult desires get in the way of doing what's right for them.

For any paintings I sell from this series I'll donate 10% to Saving Our Sisters, an organization near and dear to my heart. Their focus is family preservation and saving vulnerable pregnant women from the predatory infant adoption industry. SOS and their "sisters on the ground" bring emotional and financial help to expectant moms so they can keep and raise their babies.

The piece above, Don't Forget, is the first painting in the series. Below are the next 2. I'll share more as I do them. I'd love to hear your thoughts about these and maybe even some suggestions for different items to include in future paintings.



The nature inspired nests and the adoption inspired nests are coming together in this new group. Working in a series can be a powerful way to evolve but that's a topic for another post.

Be safe, healthy and creative!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Love in the time of Covid-19

Yes, I'm back. I bet you thought I'd never post again. I wasn't sure I would either but times they are a changin'. A lot's changed in the last year and a half so there's lots to share with you. I'm not going to play catch up all in one post though. Maybe sharing bits and pieces as I go will get me back in the habit of posting again.

This is a tough time for all of us. It's hard to keep the spirits up sometimes but I'm working on it. I'm also working on working if that makes sense. Working in the studio is not a problem. I've always been an introvert so this work at home thing is heaven for me. I love solitude. What I have to work on is sharing the work that comes from that studio time. So now I'm spending more time online and getting back to this blog.

My biggest news.... last year I became co-owner of an art collective. I'm one of 6 painters at Gallery B in downtown Ocala. I've been part of the gallery for less than a year and now, here we are, with temporarily closed doors. All my time and energy has been toward the gallery and I love it! We're a close group that has so much fun working together. Of course we're looking forward to opening again when this mess is over, we just don't know how long that's going to take. So in the meantime, we're all just working on ways to keep sharing the love, our love for our friends and family and our love for art. The big gallery news is 👇

I love this photo! This was the coolest thing to happen at our gallery since we opened. That building on the right is Citizens First Bank. It's the first branch to open in Ocala and they contacted us at the gallery because they wanted to purchase original art for inside the bank. The bank is located directly across the street from our gallery. They were amazing to work with and in the photo above you see four of us from the gallery delivering the art across the street and leading the art parade is the bank President Lindsey Blaise. Our friend and photographer Jenny Eggers risked life and limb getting out in the middle of the intersection to get this shot of us taking our art to the bank.

Here are a few pics from inside our gallery...

The doorway opens into our neighbor's beautiful store, Greiner's Clothing

We're so fortunate to have this space. We have 6 painters - the other 5 artists are Julie Shealy, Sandy Sanders, Cheryl Ritter, Bobbie Deuell and Laurie Kopec. We also have a potter, Gene Hotaling and woodworker, Garrett Boutwell. 

That's it for now. I'll share again soon, I swear! I have some updating to do and a lot of new artwork to share too so check in again. Until then, stay safe and healthy. 

Much love,