New work and upcoming exhibitions

I have four new pieces in the upcoming "Flux" exhibition at the Chaffey Museum of Art (September 24 - November 4, 2015) sponsored by LAXWAX, the L.A. Chapter of the IEA (International Encaustic Artists).  I've been incorporating more collage  with interesting handmade papers, pages from old books (dictionaries, calculus books, dictionaries, etc.), fibers (sari threads, cording, etc.),  as well as returning to making lines and marks with crayon.

"Flux" at Chaffey Museum of Art, 217 S. Lemon Avenue, Ontario, CA  91792  
Gallery hours:  Thursday - Sunday  (12noon - 4:00pm)
Free Admission
 http://www.chaffeymuseum.org/

Exhibition opens:  Thursday, September 24, 2015

Artists’ Reception: Sunday, October 18, 2015                             Time:  2:00 to 4:00 pm
Closing Reception: Sunday November 15, 2015                          Time:  2:00 to 4:00 p

 

The Hour Before Dawn, 16" x 16", encaustic and mixed media on panel

The Hour Before Dawn, 16" x 16", encaustic and mixed media on panel

The Final Proposition, 16" x 16", encaustic and mixed media on panel

The Final Proposition, 16" x 16", encaustic and mixed media on panel

New work!

My time in the studio has been very limited because of family demands which have required an all-consuming left-brain focus.  Detailed budgets and financial projections, complicated legal matters, scheduling delays and dealing with the attendant emotional reactivity that can accompany these situations has consumed my time for the past few months.   On one hand, my creativity has been at a dead-stop standstill.  But interestingly, I found myself thinking about my work often, and through creating order out of confusion and finding patterns in data, I was able to apply that same approach in the studio.  These new pieces represent my mindset of these past few months.  I have arranged blocks of color and texture, in much the same way that I organized the finances and legal machinations.  Block by block, step by step.  Coalescing similarities and isolating disparities, I've created a visual record of my efforts.

Something new: Contemporary Crafts Market - June 5, 6, & 7 2015

I've participated in a couple of outdoor art exhibitions/fairs, and decided that encaustic paintings and southern California heat weren't a good mix.  But this event is in the air conditioned Pasadena Convention Center, and I've always enjoyed going to it as a customer. They have a terrific range of art and craft - all of it high-quality - and I've bought a couple of lovely art works there, along with the requisite jewelry and pottery.   I'll be sharing a booth with three other artists:  Rick Drobner, ceramist and painter; Michael Child, furniture maker and Laura McCormac, stone sculptor.   Hope you can join us!  

CCM postcard

Pasadena Society of Artists Group Exhibition: "Come Together, Fall Apart"

"Come Together, Fall Apart"

"Come Together, Fall Apart" features more than 50 artworks which will be installed in the Pasadena Central Library.  Media include watercolor, ceramics, mixed media, collage, encaustic, fused glass, photography, etchings and ink drawings.   The exhibition is on display from May 1 - May 31.
I have four new works in this exhibition (the image on the top right of the announcement card is one of them:  "Isolation", encaustic and mixed media on panel.

We hope you can join us for the Artists' Reception on Sunday, May 3 , 2015 (2:00pm - 4:00pm)
Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut Street, Pasadena 91101  (Hours: M-Th 9a-9p / Fri-Sat 9a-6p / Sun 1p -5p


 

"Portraiture...and other stuff" Exhibition - Saturday, October 18

If you're in the South Pasadena area on Saturday night (October 18, 6:00p-9:00p), join us for an art exhibition "Portraiture & Other Stuff". Brad Colerick will be playing songs from his new CD release. And It's South Pasadena's Arts Crawl night - lots of galleries, music and great food in the neighborhood.   I have several portraits in the feature gallery and "other stuff" in the back gallery.  Hope you can join us!

SOPA October Portraiture and Other Stuff

Struggling and remembering

I started another in the Portrait Series today - oil stick on encaustic using a tetrachromy palette - and struggled with it all afternoon.  At first it was the difficulty of painting on the smooth encaustic background.  It's so smooth that it's like trying to paint on glass. The least bit of pressure with the brush and the paint is simply wiped off. Changes in brushes and pressure helped.  Then there was the rude awakening that comes from forgetting the cardinal rule in painting portraits - you have to know the shape and angle of the face, where the features go and how they relate to one another.  I painted two beautiful eyes, but they clearly belonged to two very different people. They were both beautiful renderings - not overworked and very expressive - and I wanted to keep them.  But clearly one of them had to be reworked.  My next attempt made the subject look very Asian - but only in one eye - and that was very disturbing.  Again, I was very happy with the way I'd painted the eye, but ... it had to go.  Now came the trap of obsessing over the "Difficult Eye" and I worked on it much too long and stopped cycling through the painting....   and it's still not right.  Although it was a challenging afternoon,  I got a good start on the painting and a better start on remembering how to paint portraits....  Take the time to make an accurate sketch; do a quick study to work out the challenges with the media and the color harmonies; stop obsessing on one feature and cycle through the painting; breathe.   And in the morning, I'll look at the painting with fresh eyes.   And I'll post the finished portrait here.

Curiosity & learning at a batik & marbling workshop

Curiosity continually motivates me and directs my life, and I could easily be a professional "student" - learning simply for the sake of learning.  But now that I am teaching encaustic painting workshops, I find myself drawn to techniques and skills that not only can be used to enhance my own work, but can also be passed on to my students.   

And so I was delighted to attend a 2-day "Marbling & Batik on Fabric" workshop, co-hosted and taught by textile artist, Lynda Brothers and Indonesian Master Batik artist, Ferril Nawir.  They make a terrific teaching team:  knowledgeable, supportive, fun, enthusiastic, helpful, endlessly patient and so experienced that no matter what difficulties I got into (generally from trying to combine every technique they taught into one piece), they were able to help me recover.

The two sample pieces below incorporate traditional batik, direct dye painting, pen and ink, marbling and stencils.   (Note that there are white "patches" that will disappear once the pieces have been steamed-cleaned.)

batikworkshop.jpg

I am completely entranced with the possibilities of these two very different, but very complementary techniques - and I am already experimenting with incorporating them into my encaustic works.   I am deeply grateful to Lynda and Ferril for sharing their knowledge!  If you get an opportunity, attend one of their workshops!  

Click on the links to see their work:  Lynda Brothers  and  Ferril Nawir 

New encaustic portrait

I discovered encaustic paintings (Fayum portraits) many years ago at the British Museum in London and was always tempted to imagine that I could come to know these individuals by staring into their overly large eyes.   Even though it is obvious that many of these portraits were produced by the same artist/workshop and are often variations on a facial theme, I am still entranced by their direct gazes.  

I wanted to paint a contemporary portrait that incorporated many of the same devices used by these 2000-year-old artists:  a tetrachromy palette* (4 colors), relatively flat lighting with a soft light source from the right, details in the hair etched into the encaustic surface and large eyes that gaze directly at the viewer.   Unlike the Fayum portraits, her face is painted primarily with oil stick - using fingers and brushes.  The next series of portraits will embrace all of the ancient techniques - with all their challenges - and hopefully I will be able to capture the same immediacy and charm as the ancients did.

(*  Tetrachromy palette:  white (either lead or chalk), black (bluish black from charred vines), yellow ochre, and red ochre. )  Click this link for more reading on the Fayum portraits.

"Portrait of a Muse" encaustic & oil stick on panel, 10"x8"

"Portrait of a Muse" encaustic & oil stick on panel, 10"x8"

Dreaming like old dogs….

I am like an old dog.... circling and circling before I can lie down comfortably in my bed (ie, my studio), and actually get to the work of dreaming - which, for me, is the precursor to creating.  I sat with a cup of hot, black coffee and delighted in the view: white clouds bumping against the mountains; fuzzy red-orange peaches peeking from the green leaves; swaggering and raucous (and much loved) crows holding court in the apricot tree; silly squirrels defying gravity with their wire-walking antics.  I got up, gathered some books that I want to make transfers from, set them in a pile on the floor.  Went downstairs for a fresh cup of coffee.  Back to the studio.  Sat on the couch with Cami (young dog) - who has a much clearer understanding of how to dream than I ever will - and rubbed her belly.  Went downstairs and fed the fish.  Back upstairs to the studio.  Wrote in my journal.  Got up.  Downstairs to the cellar for a new light bulb.  Back upstairs.  New bulb in, sat down.  Collected the workshop signup sheets and put them in their binder.  Which got me back to the office - big mistake - and then I answered email and paid a few bills.  Rule #1:  On studio days, do NOT, repeat do NOT, turn on the computer.  It is a giant vortex that sucks me down a worm hole of alternate reality that is the antithesis of studio work.  And now, look!  I'm blogging.  sigh.  But this is cleansing, clearing, dusting the cobwebs and clutter from my thoughts - which now are being taken over by the inner scold:  "For the love of the saints, will you just get in the studio and WORK?!!"   Okay, okay.... I'm going back in the studio and turning on the hot palettes.  ...And that gets me started:  the smell of the melting wax is so evocative and alluring that I begin my studio day.

 

Thinking out loud about journaling vs. blogging

I've always journaled...  it helps me clear the clutter in my thinking, clarify what's bugging me, and ground me in gratitude... so at first I thought that journaling was the old-school version of blogging. But it is critically different ....my journals are private, never shared except in small excerpts, or perhaps reconstituted into a dialogue days or weeks later.  My journal holds pages of gushing enthusiasms, borderline-psychotic rants, dark despairs, overwhelming gratitude for my life, mildly embarassing anecdotes, pointed and not-kind judgments, as well as a chronicle of events and thoughts that are often boring, even to me.  I don't edit my journaling - occasionally crossing out a word that didn't quite convey my thought is the extent of any editing I do.  But in writing this blog, I've already started editing, re-reading, checking for clarity of thought, flow of language.   I'm already well aware that what I write here is no longer mine once I click "Post".  Even if no one reads this, once my words cross the border from my computer to the internet, they are no longer in my sphere of control and they have the potential to take on a life that I can only dimly envision.   And yet, I am a writer and a talker and I love nothing more than a dialogue and a sharing of ideas and enthusiasms, and I can see the possibilities that blogging brings to connecting disparate and geographically distant people.  That appeals to me.  So here it is:  my first blog.