Thursday, October 20, 2016

new cold wax work-

The Very Thought Of You
cold wax, oil, mixed media
24" x 24"

Counting On It
cold wax, oil, encaustic
14" x 14"

Two new pieces in a new (and very messy) medium.  'The Very Thought Of You' has been in the works for months and it was created with cold wax and oil paint and .a few bits of newsprint. 'Counting On It' is a reworking of a painting from late summer. that I finished this afternoon.  It was created with cold wax, oil paint, oil pastels and encaustic paint. I was in the studio most of this rainy day and it felt so good...but now I'm worn out and ready to call it an early night.  Just want to say a quick hello and share :)

sweet dreams-

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

from sea to shining sea...

from sea to shining sea

Hey are you?  Another long pause here on the blog but I've been posting regularly to instagram (@bethbillups).  Pop X came and went and my installation was everything I wanted it to be but I'll save that for another post.  One with lots of photos and some thoughts on the whole process.  This piece has been hanging around the studio for quite some time but it never felt quite finished....not sure why but it just needed something, turns out it was more wax :)  I painted the image using layers of cold wax and oil paint which I then carved into the surface and set it aside to dry for a few weeks  months.  This morning I applied  three layers of clear encaustic medium and's done.  I have so many cold wax paintings in the works right now and I'm really enjoying the process of playing and learning to slow down and let pieces evolve over days, weeks and months.  Here's hoping you are finding time to create and savoring moments of quiet amid the chaos.


Friday, September 9, 2016

The rabbit hole...

talking blocks
wild hare (indigo)

This is by far the longest I've been away from this blog.  I fell down a rabbit hole of endless words, wood and wax.  Throw in two college visits, a quick trip to see old friends and a family vacation and there you have immersion in the be here now thing.  I have just over 500 word blocks complete and I need to start on the picture blocks.  Pop X 2016 opens September 22 and the installation date is just over a week away.  I'm not really stressed but I am working non-stop to get things ready.  But...every now and then I need a little creative diversion.  I worked late and woke up early to finish up this pair of wild hares.  Nothing like a little bunny love to set the refresh button.  I have all the basic words covered and more but I'm interested in knowing if you had to pick three words to tell your story what they be?!?  Mine would have to be 'back to work'. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Summer road trip work-

The Long Way Home::Are We There Yet?::U-Turn

Planning a last minute family road trip to round out a summer of people coming and going.  The three pieces above are cold wax and oil paint on wood and all three are 14"x14". These pieces serve as a reminder to look out the window and take in the view, that it's about the journey and that sometimes you've got to go back back from whence you came.

Happy summer and safe travels wherever the road takes you this summer!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

hand stitched support...


I spent all last week sanding, gluing and waxing over 200 talking blocks while watching the Democratic National Convention.  Yesterday I took some time off  and ordered a lawn sign, made a donation and made a shirt Alabama Chanin Style.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Use your words...

A friend came to visit over the weekend and she helped me get started on my Pop X installation.  As we sat out on the back porch for hours each morning and afternoon sanding blocks, cutting paper and pasting paper onto wood we talked about the power of words.  Looking at the roots of words, words hidden in words and words that mean different things to different people.  As I mentioned in my last post, I am creating this installation to engage the Ann Arbor community in conversation, to let people tell their stories and for people to hear what others have to say.  The weight of this idea really hit me hard as we talked about recent events here in this country and abroad and I realized just how important it is that we all do a lot more listening and a lot more speaking up.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Summer color and summer news-

Water's Edge

Night Garden

Summer is in full swing and the 5 of us are scattered to the wind.  Between us, in June and July, we are in Ann Arbor, Nebraska, Northern Michigan, Southern Illinois, Chicago, San Francisco, New York and Ontario...and this is not counting C's work travel!  Lots of fun and adventure kicking off this season with breaks in between where we are all here to hang out and catch up.

I have another week and a half off before I start teaching summer classes at The Ann Arbor Art Center and I've been in the studio every day painting with cold wax and oil paint.  I am totally addicted to this new to me medium. I love the depth of color and the gorgeous texture the thick buttery wax creates and the brightness and clarity it maintains when applied that is very different than my encaustic work.  I have quite a few pieces in the works in a variety of sizes that I will continue to share as they are completed...which may be awhile given what I am sharing in the next paragraph :)

I am super excited to share two new bits of work related news.  The 1st is that I have been invited to participate in Art Prize 2016.  'The Art Of Mending' will be shown in the main Lobby of the FifthThird Bank/ Warner Norcross and Judd LLP building.  If you are in or near Grand Rapids or are looking for a late summer adventure that will feed your soul I highly recommend exploring this art filled community event.  The 2nd bit of news is super, super exciting.  This year I submitted a proposal for POP-X 2016 which is a 10 day public art installation that is up in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor September 22nd to October 1st....and I am one of eight artists that have been chosen!!!  It is hard to describe my project so I am including my actual proposal (and mentioning that 500 blocks will not be enough and I am now up to 700...yikes!)

For POP X 2016 my proposal ’Talking Blocks’ is a dynamic and interactive art installation that invites the Ann Arbor community and its visitors to express themselves in short phrases, six word stories, poetry and full sentences.  The installation will be made up of a tall, free standing, black, four sided wood structure with multiple long black shelves on all four sides. The freestanding rectangle structure will be centered inside of the 100 sq ft house so that the public can enter the structure and walk all the way around it.  Having the structure centered, rather than lining the walls will take advantage of the natural light inside and will allow the installation to be viewed through the windows from the outside.  The interactive part of the display will be five hundred 2” high reclaimed wood blocks of varying lengths.  Four hundred of the  blocks will have words on them and the other hundred will have images form my work on them.  Things like, but not limited to, houses, boats, water, butterflies, rainbows, roads, people and birds.  The words and images will be printed on archival paper, bonded to the blocks with bookbinding glue, the block will then be coated in four thin layers of encaustic medium.  Each layer will be fused to the layer below creating a finish which is durable and impervious to water. I will then cover the blocks in black oil stick and wipe the excess away, leaving the black to fill in the bubbles and lines in the wax highlighting the texture and depth of the layers.  The words and images can be combined in infinite variations creating an ongoing conversation that will change by the hour and the day.  ‘Talking Blocks’ offers a way for the community to share ideas and to be heard, and will introduce many people to the ancient art of encaustic painting.  On it’s own each of the 500 blocks isn’t really much but when put together they will say a lot.

And while we're on the subject of new I wanted to mention a few other things I am exploring.  The 1st involves a new company I think many of you may have heard from if you are a working artist.  VIDA and Co. is a new style licensing company that is very interesting.  I have used three of my 'Art Of Mending' paintings to design long cashmere/silk scarves.  Check them out and let me know what you think and if you have any information or experience with this company I'd love to hear about it.  I have also ordered a 10" square print of one of my larger paintings on wood panel.  I'm not sure how the work will translate as a print but I'm hoping I will love it.  I experimented with prints on paper many years ago and wasn't thrilled with them but I think the wood will help keep the image more dimensional.  And lastly, I'm looking into getting some temporary tattoos printed with my artwork.  The night swimmers are begging to be first :)

Here's hoping your summer is off to a great start and that you are soaking up the sunshine!