Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Art Of Mending (new encaustic series)

The Art Of Mending

 Last year I began sewing some of my own clothing and mending and patching and learning about slow fashion.  I came across the term 'visual mending' which led me down a path where I discovered Sashiko stitching and Boro garments.  The idea of something being made stronger and more beautiful by highlighting the mending process really struck me.  Japanese Boro garments honor a person's history by acting as a map of sorts.  Items are mended and handed down from generation to generation exemplifying the beauty of practicality and the value of spending time caring for something over spending money to replace that thing.  Pieces of Boro cloth sell for thousands of dollars and are considered very beautiful and valuable.  It occurred to me that if this same idea of visible mending was applied to people the world would be a much better place.  I wrote about this idea in my residency application last summer and tucked the idea away hoping that if I was accepted I would be able to translate the look of the Boro fabric into my work.  So I went to VSC with 9 boards, a limited pallet of encaustic paints and got right to work on these pieces.  I layered the Indio, blues and neutral white until the piece looked balanced and then I used my pin tool to stitch my work.  Once the stitching was complete I used  pigment sticks to fill in the stitches and wiped the excess away with paper towel and linseed oil.  A few of the pieces have image transfers from photographs of fabric, two are traditional Sashiko stitch patterns and the rest are just free form patchworks.  I really liked working with the limited pallet and went on to abstract this idea a bit and to play with it using other grounds (more on that later in the week).  I'm not sure where this series will go from here but I feel like I have a solid start to a larger body of work created around the idea of mending.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Back from the Vermont Studio Center...

::double rainbow over the main building on open studio night::

Saturday evening I returned from a two week artist residency at The Vermont Studio Center.  The experience was absolutely phenomenal.  It was my 1st time attending a residency and my 1st time away (on my own) in many, many years.  Today I'm going to talk a little bit about the experience and over the next week or two I will share the work I created while at VSC.  The Vermont Studio Center hosts 50 visual artists and writers every month year round.  It is a huge and well run program that offers a private room, private studio space and three hot meals each day.  Most people stay for 4 weeks but you can choose to only stay two (like me and 10 other peeps).  During my stay there were 17 poets and fiction writers and 37 visual and performance artists from all over the US and the world.  My days started with breakfast with breakfast from 7:30-8:00, followed by 4 hours of solid painting time.  Lunch was available 12:00-12:30 and then I worked for 4 more hours before breaking for yoga on M-W-F and catching up on email or going for a hike the other days(sooo much natural beauty...covered bridges, waterfalls and the gorgeous green mountains).  Dinner was served 6:00-6:30 and was followed by more studio time. Most nights there were presentations scheduled from 8:00-9:30 that were optional. There were two visual artists and a poet who did slide presentations during my two weeks, two of the nights fellow artists presented their work and spoke briefly and one of the nights was set aside for readings by the poets and fiction writers and there was an open studio night.  The experience of having solid solitary work time interspersed with absolutely delicious meals in the company of amazing and interesting artists and writers three times each day was one that I will carry with me for a long time. I worked on an encaustic series I had planned before I left, experimented with cold wax on paper and on boards, messed around with mono printing on paper and worked with some natural materials gathered by the river just outside my studio window.  Over the next week or two I will share a bit about the things I created and the processes I experimented with and what I learned about myself and my work while I was away.  If you have ever considered applying for a residency program, I have to say,  you should absolutely go for it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

New work, new medium, new colors-

Row, row, row your own boat
cold wax mixed media

The Last Best Place
encaustic mixed media

Just wanted to pop in and share two new pieces I finished up over the weekend. I spent much of last week messing around with cold wax medium and oil paint.  Have you ever used it?  There's not too much information out there on it right now, but a new book is coming out later this year and on-line there seems to be a lot of interest in it as a medium.   I really like the texture and the matte finish it offers and the fact that is it speeds up oil paint dry time so you can work in many layers over the course of a week or two.  I used palette knives for mixing colors and for application, mixed in pigment stick, oil pastel crayon and collage elements.  It's fun to mix it up a bit and explore new ways to work.  The 2nd piece is straight encaustic on the bottom and pigment stick, collage and encaustic on top.  The colors of summer are making their way into my work and the tiny bits of color peeking out here in the upper midwest tell me that it truly is just around the corner.  And on that note I wish you a warm, bright and lovely week-


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Monday, April 4, 2016

the road that leads to infinite possibilities and exciting news i think i forgot to share-

The Road That Leads To Infinite Possibilities
14" x 20"

 We make decisions everyday that lead us down one road or another.  This piece celebrates the way that yes changes everything. You know the old saying about 'everything in moderation'?  Well, I think I'm going to have to go with saying no in moderation and saying yes with wild abandon.  On that note,  I wanted to tell you about something I did last fall that took me way out of my comfort zone. I really had to push myself at each step of the process to say yes because no kept making a lot of noise.  I applied for an artist residency program at the Vermont Studio Center, and guess what...I got in!!!  It's something I had been thinking about for awhile but with the kid's schedules and Chuck's constant travel it never seemed within reach.  But this year my oldest is away at college, my middle child can drive and has a car and and my youngest is old enough to do everything but get himself to school and back.  I opted to do two weeks instead of four (baby step, right?) but I will be leaving just over a month from now and I'm super, super excited.  Now that I've gotten used to the idea that I am actually going,  I am starting to think about all the nitty gritty details like shipping panels and supplies and thinking about what series I will work on when I'm there.  I received a partial scholarship and will be doing a work study program to help cover the cost but I will have two full weeks to paint, meet other artist and writers, attend lectures, practice yoga and and paint and paint and paint some more in the gorgeous state of Vermont. What have you said yes to lately?