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Posts from the ‘painting process’ Category

Pearls of Wisdom

Little Pearls of Wisdom- Art At Dawn

At a recent show it wasn’t my painting, or cards, or frames, or even the magnets that got the most attention…

It was my little Pearls Of Wisdom.

Sure, they seemed to like all my other items, and were interested in learning how I created them, what my inspiration was, and how long it takes to make them…

But these little guys stole the show.

So what are they?  A little side project of mine.

I am self-reliant and capable- Art At Dawn

They start off as pistachio shells.  I’ve been embedding them in some of my newer paintings and therefore have a lot of them lying around my studio.

I also started embedding aluminum foil and, if you’re familiar with my work, have a lot of words cut out from magazines and junk mail that I’ve used in my Word Paintings.  (Though the words needed to be smaller, so I dissected an old copy of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.)

Put them all together and this is what you get.

I can see you’re still bewildered.  Why would someone put all those together and come up with this?  Even if its kinda cool looking- Why???

Be Sincere Yet Decisive- Art At Dawn

Because I wanted a little something to give to people who visit me at my upcoming shows and events.  In the past I’ve given out pencils and chocolates- but I wanted something a little more special and personal.

This is one of those ideas that came to me as I was running, when creative thoughts seem to bubble up from nowhere.  My rumination was, What little thing can I give others to show my gratitude for their support and encouragement?

Be a light, not a judge- Art At Dawn

Somewhere around mile 3 this idea popped into my head.  I couldn’t rest until I created a prototype- and once I started, I couldn’t stop!

Would you like one of my pearls of wisdom?  If you’re in the Columbus area come visit me at an upcoming show (download and print a copy of upcoming shows here.), or order something from my online shop and I’ll include one,  AND/OR… Leave a comment below of one or more of your favorite pearls of wisdom and I will send you an actual pearl of wisdom along with my latest postcard of new images.

I wish you a week full of wisdom and inspiration!

What Have You Been Harvesting?


Harvesting by Theophrastos Triantafyilldis c.1930

The kids have descended into school and the the fall season is slowly unfolding.  I feel that I’ve only been able to plow the fields in short bursts, but I’ve already begun to see some of the fruits of my labors.

I’m referring, of course, to my art making process.  Its been slowly increasing after the summer months where I wasn’t able to do much of anything (due to other important things like family and vacation!)  But I’m proud to say that things are beginning to take off.

This season I’ve also been using a new fertilizer.  I’ve been guarding my time.  Meaning- I’ve had to say no to things I normally would say yes to.  But I’ve learned that overcommitment is the kiss of death to creativity.  If only I could stop the guilt from flooding me every time I turn something down!

So what have I been up to?  Let me count the ways:

Banyan Painting In Progress

A painting in progress based on my Banyan Tree Series

1. Paintings In Progress

At the moment I have at least 7 canvases in varying degrees of done-ness scattered around my studio.  Most are based on my Banyan Tree Series, but a few are other explorations and experimentations.  I can’t wait to show them to you when I’m finished!

New work from Art At Dawn

A selection of word painted mirrors, frames, boxes, ornaments, and magnets I’ve developed for upcoming shows and galleries.

2.  Word Painting Items

I began developing word painted ornaments and magnets last year for a few holiday shows and gallery shops.  (Word paintings= words cut out and embedded into the paint.) This year I’m expanding my line to include painted mirrors, frames, bowls, and plaques.  I will be part of a few more holiday shows this year and have just been invited to join a new gallery (all of which I will expand upon and give more specifics in my upcoming newsletter), so I’ve got some stock to build!

Elemental Wisdom Acrylic Painting

I have just created prints and cards based on my painting, Elemental Wisdom, and a few other more recent paintings.

3. More Prints and Cards

I have a few more prints and cards available in my online Selz shop, as well as the upcoming shows and galleries that carry my work.  I’m not sure what has taken me so long to offer them, but I’m glad it’s finally happening!

4. Miscellaneous Odds n’ Ends

  • I have a few exhibits coming up and have applied to a few others.  (again, more specifics will be given in my upcoming newsletter.  Please sign up so you can receive it!)
  • I’ve just begun to take another online web class, so you may see some changes to my website in the next coming weeks/months. (Good ones, I hope!)
  • I may be doing a collaboration with a friend of mine, but we’re just in the talking stage so I can’t expand further at this time.   I’m always striving to find new opportunities and broaden my horizons.

These are the moments I live for as an artist, when momentum has built and creativity is in full throttle.  To be churning out quality work is a bonus, but that often is decided after the fruit has ripened and the reaping has begun.

However, I can feel proud of what I’ve been able to achieve up to this point and look forward to participating in the harvest.

What kinds of projects are you involved in this fall season and what have you been harvesting?

Have a Nurturing and Fruitful Week!

This Little Light O’ Mine (+ video)

Drawing about Inspiration

The sketchbook drawing that sparked the flame- from a past 365 project

I have a little treat for you this week.  Last spring I shot some footage of myself painting, and decided to create a video of it.

It actually turned out to be several hours worth of footage on multiple projects- but you’ll be spared all of that.  Through the magic of iMovie, I was able to edit it down to a manageable size.

The result is a 5 minute video that I’ve titled, This Little Light O’ Mine.  It captures my painting process accompanied to music.

The music is a jazzy number by Yo-Yo Ma featuring the beautiful voice of Amelia Zirin-Brown.   I love how she starts out slow and sultry, how the music builds and picks up steam, and how she bellows it out at the end in a satisfying crescendo.

The painting began as a drawing in my sketchbook from a past 365 project in which I created a daily sketch based on a word or phrase.  That day’s word was Inspiration.  I liked the drawing and decided to do a painting based on it.

Inspiration acrylic painting

Inspired II- Acrylic- 14″x17″

I even wrote about it here.

As with many of my paintings, I felt that that there were some things I learned as I painted and wanted to expand upon.  This one was no exception.

So this is what I created and what my video captures:

Inspired III- Acrylic Painting

Inspired III- Acrylic- 18″x24″

But my video isn’t just about how I created that painting.

It’s a celebration.

It’s a celebration of being able to express myself in paint and letting my light shine.

There is more to the story.  As I was putting this all together, I remembered something my painting advisor from long ago, Kenneth Dingwall, said to me right before I graduated from art college.

He knew that I was about to marry and go off to live in London with my husband-to-be.  He knew that I would have bigger fish to fry as I began my life, post-college, and might have to put off painting as I pursued a career in illustration.

He said to me, “You have a passion for painting but may have to put it away for awhile.  I sense that you are the type of person that will carry that candle with you.  Just be sure to let it out someday.”

Well, Professor Dingwall, that day has come.  This video is dedicated to you for believing in me all those years ago.

Youtube Video- This Little Light O’ Mine

How about you?  What candle have you been carrying around that you’d like let shine again?

Have a wonderful, enlightening week!

Evolution of a Painting: Banyan Tree Series- Part 2

Detail from Banyan Tree Painting

A detail from a painting in my Banyan Tree Series.

You’re back!

Thanks for bearing with me on my previous long-winded explanation.  I hope it was helpful in describing how I got from there to here.

Where is here?  Here is taking an idea and creating something out of it.  Those banyan trees became a catalyst for a new exploration in my art.

There was something about those banyan trees that fascinated me.  I think I used the word, ‘audacious’ to characterize them in my blog post from last year.  I wrote:

They grew like weeds on the sides of buildings, through walls, and in the middle of city squares.  They were dense, twisted, and thrust their branches out towards the sun in whichever position pleased them.  Often a thick root would shoot from one of their upper branches into the ground- as if their portly trunk wasn’t enough!

Banyan Tree Detail

I discovered wisdom hidden in the nooks and crannies of the Banyan Trees.

My first step was to do a few sketches to get a feel for the trees and my approach to them.  I found that this was a very loose and freeing exercise, that I could be very liberal in my design and colors because the banyan trees themselves were so varied and diverse.

Banyan Tree Paintings on Paper

Mixed Medium works on paper

I took those drawings further by creating a series of works on paper with watercolors, oil pastels, and other mixed medium.  I spent a few days creating dozens of them, but in the end I only chose a handful of them that I deemed worthy of my vision to sign and frame.

I was itching to get back into my acrylic paints and had a small canvas calling to me.  So I began developing a painting that followed the same path as I had with the works on paper, but found that what works in one medium doesn’t always translate as well to another.  I had to rework it many times to get it to breathe on the canvas.

Spirit of the Banyan Tree Painting

Spirit of The Banyan Tree- 11″x14″- Acrylic

I decided to focus even further into the trees.  The subsequent paintings became more expansive in movement and design, yet honed in on only a small portion of the trees, as if through a magnifying glass.

Spirit of the Banyan II- 16"x19"- Acrylic

Spirit of the Banyan II- 16″x19″- Acrylic

I do want to make mention of a technique that I used in these paintings.  As I was priming the canvas, I embedded natural materials into the paint.  I used feathers, pistachio shells, and sticks- as well as paper and string- to give the paintings depth and texture.

Spirit of the Banyan III- Acrylic Painting

Spirit of the Banyan III

These last canvases are painted with a spectrum of colors that hint at the natural world but aren’t necessarily found there. (At least, not all at once!) The natural world intensified!  I also attempted to create a dialogue among those nooks and crannies of the banyan tree, using multiple layers of paint and even adding a few metallic colors.

The result is playful, exuberant, and full of life and movement.  They are my new favorites!  They look nothing like my first attempts.  Yet, I could not have created them without first developing my previous drawings and paintings.

What’s next?

I’m not done yet!  I still feel as if there is more to explore in those banyan trees.  But I’ve developed a new set of eyes from my trip out West which has inspired me to take more liberties and widen my range.  To quote from this blog post about it:

“…I’ll be experimenting with a wider spectrum of colors and investigating textures, layers, densities, and translucencies.  I’ll be taking more liberties and breaking more rules.”

Landscape out West

The inspiration I gleaned from the landscape out West is sure to infiltrate my future work.

I can’t wait to get started and will be sure to show you my work as it develops.  Perhaps there will be a Part 3 in a few months!  But along the way, be sure to like me on Facebook, where I will periodically post works in progress as well as inspiration I discover in the process.

Have a glorious week!

Evolution of a Painting: Banyan Tree Series- Part 1

References for Banyan Tree Paintings

Drawings and Photos that went into creating my Banyan Tree Paintings- Shown here as a work in progress

Its been waaaaay too long since I’ve shared my painting process!

I should know since it has been way too long since I’ve actually been able to paint.  But not for long- 1 more week until the kids are back to school!!

Once that happens, I may have to go into hibernation to create more work and catch up on my business.  Don’t worry, I’ll leave you with my Banyan Tree series.

I’ve decided to break this post up into 2 parts.  Part 1 will be a is my trip to China last year (where I discovered Banyan Trees) and a crazy story that explains why I created a separate page on my website for archived posts from a previous blog.

I think I’ll start with the blog explanation first.  (Those of you that subscribe to my newsletter may have heard part of this story already- I hope you’ll stick around for the juicy bits!)

Not too long ago I had a blog on another, non-Wordpress site.  It was named after my one of my favorite artists, Marc Chagall.  I called it “The Flying C_____. ” (Except it didn’t have a ____ after the C!  There is a reason I am being careful about repeating his name, as you shall see..)  He was an early modernist artist and his style and use of colors had been a large influence on my art up to that time.

Screen Shot of The Flying hippo

A Screen Shot of my previous blog with a name change to prevent any more legal trouble.

I had created my previous blog while I was in the process of rediscovering my creativity and forging my art career.  This was a very exploratory period for me, and my blog reflected it.  It began with many starts and stops, but as time went on, I became more confident and my blog started to reflect it.  I even began to gather a small but loyal following.

That all changed one day when I received an email from a law firm in Paris, representing the artist’s family, asking me to Cease and Desist from using my blog title and domain.

Once I verified that this was for real, I was caught with two emotions.  A part of me was flattered that I was singled out by the The Artist’s family (Chagall passed away in 1985) and part of an international exchange.  I was honored to be contacted by them, even though I knew I was a peon, just getting in their way.  I couldn’t help but feel a little star struck!

The other part of me was frustrated.  There was no doubt in my mind that I would comply, but that didn’t change the fact that the blog name was on all my business cards and marketing materials.  Luckily, my business name had nothing to do with my blog name, or I would have been in real trouble!

Then there was the problem of what to do about my blog.

I could have just created a new blog on the same site and redirected everyone there, but I knew that I needed a website and it would only be logical to include a blog into that site.  My problem was, I had to give myself time to create a new website and blog- And I couldn’t publicly tell anyone why I was doing it because of the pending Cease and Desist!

So I stopped writing blog posts and attempted to lead my followers to my new website, which was still a work in progress (with construction dust flying everywhere!)  It was not the seamless transition that I had hoped for, but I did the best I could.

There is a point to this story– There were some darn good blog posts on that previous blog site, some of which I’d love to link to when I talk about certain topics.  (Like the Banyan Trees!) But these links are hard to do with a now blocked site.

But I think I’ve found a way.

I still have access to that closed site (Now called The Flying Hippo, to avoid any further confrontation!) and was able to carry over relevant blog posts to a new page on my current website called Archived Posts.  This is an imperfect process and I’m still working on the formatting, but if you read my blogposts: My Travels to the Other Side of the World and Back and Finding Inspiration in China you’ll understand why I felt they were important to my story.

Again, please excuse the appearance of these blog posts as I try and work out all the formatting bugs!

Banyan Tree on side of Railroad Tracks

In my previous blogpost, Finding Inspiration in China, I describe the fascination I have for Banyan Trees.

They’ll explain about my trip to China last summer and the Banyan Trees that I encountered there.  Then it will make much more sense next week when I explain my paintings based on them.

I hope you don’t mind the extra reading!

Join me next week as I delve into how I created my Banyan Paintings and what I envision for them in the future.  Also. let me know what you think about this crazy story and if you have any suggestions on how I could better link the 2 blog sites together.

Until then, Have an amazing week!

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