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Posts from the ‘Painting’ Category

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!

How The West Has Changed Me

Western LandscapeI have been hit with a ton of bricks.

That’s what it feels like, anyway.  It has been over a week now and I still can’t fully immerse myself in the present.  Part of me is still on that trip.

At least now my memories have reached a dream-like stage.  I no longer look out my window expecting to see mountains.

Yet, I have been affected.  I have been knocked out of my shoes.   I am entirely at awe by what God has created.

Endless beauty

How will this effect my art?  I kept pondering that myself as we drove along and witnessed the changes of the terrain, the vast transformation upon the earth, and the kaleidoscope of colors that washed over it all, creating a spectrum of hues by the position of the sun or clouds.

I have finally come up with a few truths:

1.  Anything is possible.  There are no rules and endless potentials.  Witnessing the raw, wild beauty of the west made me realize that if God could create all these variations to the earth and sky, then how many more are out there? My art need not be bound as well!

2.  The earth possesses amazing capabilities.  Inspiration can be found in the textures of the land, the patterns in the sky, the layers of the earth exposed in the rock, and the twisted, gnarly foliage that dotted the land.  I have source material for many years to come!

3. There is no way that I could ever come close to replicating the beauty that I encountered.  I’ll have to let the responsibility lie in the photographs I took, which still don’t come close to the actual experience.  I have been humbled!

Amazing landscape

This exotic landscape will be source material for years to come!

What I do know is that 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.

This trip out west has given me a renewed sense of purpose and drive.  I am brimming with enthusiasm and itching to suck the marrow out of my experiences.  I can’t wait to see what happens!

Have you travelled out west?  (Or are fortunate to preside there?)  What have your experiences been and how have you been inspired by them?

Have an Enthralling Week!

Special Report: Studio News

The Fanbrush

The Fanbrush, looking a little out of place among my other brushes, has a hidden agenda!

Psst..over here.. in with the paintbrushes… I’m Phantom Fanbrush, a spy planted to monitor The Artist in her studio.

My directive is to figure out how the The Artist gets her inspiration and develops her work.  Periodically, I’ve come out of hiding to send out a report on The Artist’s current enterprises.

This is one such report.

There has been an abundance of activity in the studio lately.  Let me clarify, young activity.   The Artist appears to be hosting some sort of children’s art class with several young prodigies.  I suspect that her daughter may be among them.

They are a bit rambunctious but highly creative, and the artist seems to take a lot of joy out of instructing them in various messy, yet imaginative projects.

Kids creating

As a matter of fact, I have been hosting a weekly kid’s art camp for my daughter and 6 of her friends throughout the month of June. It has been a loads of fun, but I’m looking forward to getting my studio back to myself again!

There appears to be a decrease in actual paintings gracing the walls of the studio.  This occurred sometime in the beginning of the month when The Artist brought in a stack of frames and, in a flurry of activity, framed many of her larger artwork and carried them out of the studio.

I can only surmise that she has been exhibiting them somewhere.  Let’s hope that these showings generate sales for the artist, as well!

Art At Dawn June Events

I do, in fact, have a number of exhibits showing a multiple of paintings this summer. Please stop by to see them if you are in the area.

But the studio is not entirely empty.  Indeed, The Artist has been working diligently on a new series of of paintings that, I believe, are based on a trip that she and her family took last summer.

These paintings reveal a raw and organic quality.  I hesitate to call the colors ‘earthy’ since they are a wide spectrum of blues, yellows, and reds.  But, there seems to be a softer undertone in the palette.  She also incorporates the same energy and movement that has been evident in past paintings.

Spirit of the Banyan III- Acrylic Painting

One of my latest acrylic paintings titled, Spirit of the Banyan III. It is based on my observance of the abundant Banyan Trees that grew on street corners and on the sides of buildings on a trip to China that my family and I took last summer.

For the past week, I have been observing The Artist at her studio table during odd hours of the day, pulling up a piece of music from her phone, and creating a drawing in her sketchbook.  She often draws or paints in a flurry of activity while the song plays, then stops soon after.

Could this be a new ritual that The Artist is developing?  And why does the music change so dramatically each day?

Drawing based on "Closer To Fine" by the Indigo Girls

Truth be told,  I have just begun another 365 project. This time it is a daily drawing based on song. This drawing was created as I listened to “Closer to fine” by the Indigo Girls.

I sense that The Artist isn’t able to create as much as she would like.  I’ll often observe her entering the studio and stand in the threshold as if she’s basking in the energy there- then reluctantly leave when she hears a young voice call out “Mom!” from downstairs.

But, The Artist seems happy and hopeful.  I can perceive how passionate she is about her work, and she seems dedicated to pursuing her artistic goals.  If I had to guess, I’d say The Artist is riding a wave of inspiration and creativity.

With that, I will end my report for the present time.  I hope to continue regular updates in the future.  This is Phantom Fanbrush, signing off.

If you had a phantom fan brush, toothbrush, or tollbooth (excuse my geeky, obscure reference!) shadowing you, what would it say about you in your workspace?

Have a fantastic week!

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