These are the 1st two cold wax paintings I did while at The Vermont Studio Center. I wasn't really happy with them while I was working on them because they felt so flat and I wanted texture from the wax. Working on paper is very different than working on wood and I had to allow myself the time time to play and experiment freely. After working them over a few days time I was able to get some movement and texture in each piece by using oil pastels between layers of wax. Partially because I taped my edges I think they look a lot like illustrations. Theses two pieces have grown on me but I've switched back to working on wood now that I'm home. I am really loving painting with the cold wax, oil paints and palette knives...messy in a different way than encaustic and it's nice to move between the two mediums. Have you worked with cold wax and oil paint? Love it or hate it?
Another resident came into my studio while I was working on The Art Of Mending pieces and suggested that it might be interesting for me to use the same color pallet and style but to work bigger and loosen things up. I really like the result and plan to use these two pieces as a jumping off point for even larger paintings. I ordered two 24" square panels and a 24" x 36" panel which I'm excited to get to work on. Normally I buy large sheets of plywood and cut them to size for larger work but they are very, very heavy and I move my work around a lot as I paint and scrape and layer and heat set. So, I decided to order cradled panels and see if it makes working large easier.
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.
::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.