Monday, June 30, 2008

Tools & Encaustic

I had a ball at Larry Calkin's class. Find him at . He didn't just have torches and fire. He had woodworking tools. I love tools and everything they can do!
Larry was so cool. He is so into his work that when he has an idea he just drops down to the ground to work it out.

This piece 2' X 2'. It's large and a bit out there. In the holes I am going to add a scene of some sort. I'm not sure what yet. The blue you see is a chemical mix starting with steel wool and turning this beautiful blue after couple days. I loved the color obviously. It may be my first monotone encaustic.

I have done a bit of 3D or 2.5D before but not to this extent. This is actually some packaging I found. How cool is that? This is a green (eco wise) painting.

Everyone at the workshop worked on something completely different. It really felt good to be working in a group and not have the responsibility of teaching them. I cannot paint and teach at the same time. There is something about having a bunch of torch weilding novices that keeps me from relaxing into the zone.

Enjoy your summer. It's crazy hot here in Washington.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

From Funked to Pumped

I think that most of us suffer a funk every once in a while. I certainly have for the last few days. I have come to accept that funks are part and parcel of the artist's personality. We just cannot create all the time. We are emotional beings and with that comes not just the highs but the lows.

I have twelve panels prepped and ready for designs but I have just been looking at them. I know what they are going to look like but it is nowhere except my head.

Pictured is the only one of the series I have completed. It's simple and stark, black and white. The whole series is going to be. I'm feelin' like a colorless child. I hope I still have the black and white series in me after this weekend. I know the color will return.

What is taking me from the funk is that tomorrow morning I begin an advanced encaustics workshop at Dakota Art Workshops. It's with Larry Calkin who I have heard nothing but good about. He usually teaches at Pratt in Seattle but that is an awful city drive. I'll take back roads to LaConner the next few days and see nothing but Washington's majesty on the trip.

Wish me luck. I've never had an encaustics class so I'm really excited to be learning instead of teaching. I am pretty experimental so it was all fun for me. Wax on. Wax off. I think having a sign shop for so many years has given me a leg up on process and paints of all sorts.

This class will benefit my students also. I know some of the stuff I'll learn about will not be practical to teach in a retail setting but I will be able to offer the whole ball of wax out of my home studio.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Who is an artist?

A few years ago I was asked to write something telling what I would do if I couldn't be an artist. I wrote that I would probably work in a gallery, have artist friends, attend art shows, and spend time in art museums. Basically, I'd do all the things that artists do. What would I then be?

Today, I think of the people I know who are right on the cusp, people who are artists and don't know it, people who are so talented and brilliant that they would leave a hole in the world were their works not seen. These people may never know their own talents and that they are truly artists.

The particular person I am thinking of is my best and most wonderful friend, Maritza Riley. Maritza has an eye for the gorgeous. Her decorating, sewing, even setting the table, are all artistic. Yet, Maritza doesn't consider herself an artist. She can do with her hands what few people can. She can create and she can make the world a more beautiful place. As artists, that's what most of us want to do.

Maritza created the quilt , above, I hold in my hands and my heart. I was with her, even helped, when she picked out the fabric but never knew that it would be her gift to me. I am awed with it's beauty. I love wrapping in it. I want to take it everywhere. I want to sleep under it and picnic on it.
The picture doesn't show it but the value pattern is flawless. The colors are exquisite. The greeens flow to the aqua and slowly fill the frame until the middle becomes the creamy white center with the tiniest little roses. The cinnamon flowers appear as butterflies resting on the bed. Who but an artist could create this?
Just between you and I, Maritza, my friend, who I dearly love, is an artist in the biggest sense of the word. I feel so happy and fortunate to have found her in this lifetime.
I raise a glass to all of you who sit on that cusp. You unknown and quiet artists. You humble creators of beautiful things.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Busy Week

Yowza! Have you ever had one of those weeks where you don't have a minute to stop and breathe? This was one of those for me. I have a real love/hate relationship with those weeks. I feel productive but I don't feel mellow and relaxed which is my favorite frame of mind.
Saturday was a teaching day. I LOVE teaching. I love the students and I especially love watching them get excited about encaustic. They always do. It's such a sensual, tactile medium that you can't help but fall in love as you work it. Though teaching is incredibly rewarding , I am drained when it is over. Encaustic is not a very portable medium so I end up packing up suitcases of stuff for a day of teaching at Everett Artist's Supply and Framing, and then packing it all back up to take it home.
I have a couple private teaching sessions coming up and it's a treat to have someone come to my studio to learn. All of the tools are at our disposal and I can get farther along when they are close by. I have allot of equipment here that can't be dragged to the store.
My friend Karon,, and I installed a small show at Uncle Elizabeth', right on Pike on Capitol Hill in Seattle. It will be there for two months. Though it was a bit of work we did get to spend some time visiting at dinner. Seattle has a great vibe. I feel the energy of the people there. I live out in a rural area so I travel just to go to Starbucks. I do fantasize about living above a retail store in some funky loft and spending my days painting. I don't think that will happen. I do love the birdsongs out here at beautiful Storm Lake.
I'm very excited about a show coming up in September. Karon and I are at Local Color right in the heart of Pike Place Market. The place feels good. It's comfy and well lit. We'll send out cards for that one and have anice opening. I hope some of you can make it to the opening which will be announced here soon.
Ooh ooh ooh. I almost forgot. I was dying for some small bisqe or porcelain dolls that had been dug up from the grounds of an old factory in Germany. I think they are from the 1800's. I saw them at Artfest for more money than I had, but Kecia at had some on her etsy for $15.00 I am so excited about them. They make wonderful necklaces.
Lastly, I will have Karon show me how to link to everyone I mention in this blog. It can't be that hard. I don't care for you having to look at all the web addresses I've added.