I just realized I jumped the gun on my Stencil Girl link. My post doesn’t go live until June 15th…. So check them out NOW but remember to go back on the 15th to see my Stencilgirl Talk. My Etsy Shop is ready to go so click on through to see all the new work…. Oh yeah and don’t forget to breathe…
Hello dear readers, I promised I would get back to blogging more regularly and here I am! I’m excited to be the guest blogger for Stencil Girl stencils this week and I want you to check it out at stencilgirl talk. They gave me 4 stencils of my choice from their vast collection and asked me to cut loose and produce. The post walks you through all the steps of making my latest expressive paintings – not a surprise I revisited a theme that keeps popping up in my work – BREATHE.
When I’m working on these expressive paintings I like to have a whole bunch of canvases and wood panels to work on at one time. I think that frees me up to experiment more with pattern and color combinations so no one piece gets too precious. I really can “mess it up” because if I do I just add another layer and push the composition to a place I like, if it doesn’t work – no worries I have 10 other canvases that I am experimenting on. This time I used my stencil girl stencils for pattern then cut my own stencils for the figure and the lotus to create my focal point. I have made that stencil in 3 sizes so I can experiment with scale and repetition. I am happy with what I came up with.
I just posted all these paintings on my Etsy Shop. I have painting in these series and others for small 6×8” pieces for $20 up to 18×24” pieces for $275 and everything in between. I hope you’ll check out my shop and see detail photos of this entire series and my guest blogger post on Stencil Girl Talk to see all the steps in making the work.
Until next time – be well.
I have been wandering and wondering both artistically and spiritually for a long time – probably my whole life. I am always working out a new puzzle trying a new technique and making it my own. In some ways that makes me a nomad in the art world. People ask “What do you do?” – what they want in reply is something they can get their head around like, landscapes, or still life, or abstract, or some medium they can pin me down on, but I never have a good answer. I am always trying new things and by the time my audience gets used to where I’m at I’m usually moving on. I don’t think this has helped my art career much. People here at the Bishop’s Ranch still tell me they miss my landscapes – and sometimes I’ll still paint a landscape for them – but after some 100 plus landscapes of the Ranch surrounds I was itchy to move on. Over the years I’ve explored printmaking, collage, encaustic, watercolor, fabric art and I have enjoyed them all and dug in deep enough to teach a class and share what I’ve learned. Right now I like the loose label Mixed Media artist. I doesn’t really mean much to anyone and that suits me fine – that way I’m never in a box I can’t paint my way out of!
Spiritually my trajectory has been more a meander than a direct path as well. I consider myself a Christian (I got baptized at the age of 23, a young adult wandering and wondering). I am a nodgie, scab-picking Christian – full of doubt and wonder at the same time. Over the years yoga and tai chi have offered me comfort in my times of need and I have come to enjoy what Buddhism has to share though I have barely scratch the surface of it’s depths. So when I stumbled upon Stephen Batchelor in a interview with the amazing On Being host Krista Tippit, his wandering and wondering spoke to me. He has published a number of books including Buddhism Without Beliefs and Faith to Doubt. In this interview (OnBEING interview with Stephen Batchelor) he spoke of the Buddhist core concept of the Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path was taught by the Buddha and are as follows: right view, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. While I was listening to the interview I began to doodle a folded roll of cloth, eight folds on top of each other, eight birds, eight growing plants. Later when I googled, eightfold path images they all came up as compasses with 8 crossing strands and ships wheels with 8 spokes. It’s funny how I didn’t see it as 8 crossing concepts but one concept folded in on itself, anyhow that is the origin story of this painting in my new series of work I’m calling Signs & Symbols. Like all the other artistic wanderings I’ve done I don’t know how long I’ll stay here but I feel like I have lots to learn and explore and I am excited to share that exploration with you.
A couple of weekends ago I taught a Mixed Media Art Journaling class at the Mendocino Art Center. The center is located in the quaint artsy coastal town of Mendocino in on the Northern California coast. It’s a beautiful little town and a lovely place to teach. On Saturday, after teaching, I made my way to the local bookstore and as I often do, I found myself thumbing through the poetry section. This poem of Mary Oliver’s spoke to me and I used it as my inspiration for my Sunday demonstration in my workshop the next day.
I Go Down to The Shore
I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in our moving out,
and I say, ok, I am miserable,
what shall –
what should I do? And the sea says
in it’s lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.
–Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
The poem speaks to where I am right now- “I have work to do”. I had a summer with busy parts and lazy parts, visits, travels and guests. It is wonderful to get out of the routine, get out of the ordinary, to play with the rhythm of the day and the rhythm of the week. But at some point it is time to return to ordinary time. There is comfort in the return – the structure of rising early, exercise, and getting down to the business at hand. This week was that for me, doing Ranch work, making sketches for a commission, meetings, emails, even this blog, all of it. My to-do list has been sitting ignored for some time now and this week it’s boxes were checked, things completed new items added. It is both daunting and invigorating to return. So forgive me if I brush past you in my bustle, like the sea, “I have work to do”.
As you all probably know if you have been following for awhile I have been spray painting everything I can think of; fabric, wood, paper anything and everything is fair game for my spray paint experiments and I am in love with the results. Now I have a new amazing tool in my toolbox that I have been lusting after for years. For my birthday a while back my husband got me a serger also called an overlock machine. It is what makes a finished edge in most manufactured clothes and can create a rolled hem…for you stitchers out there you know this is an amazing tool. Don’t worry faithful Bernina sewing machine you will always be my first love but the Juki serger can do things you can’t. So now I have combined my obsession with spray paint and the wonder of a machine rolled hem and created these, if I do say so myself, fabulous napkins. I am getting ready for a studio sale in a few weeks and I’m in frantic maker mode. These little beauties with be one of many creative wonders for sale. The sale is November 19th-20th from 3pm-7pm both days. If you are local I hope you will come by and bring some friends. The sale is in my studio at The Bishop’s Ranch directions. For those of you far away I’ll be putting the napkins on my Etsy shop soon (not there yet – no time ugh I need an assistant!) here is a link to that anyway because there is some sweet stuff that will be out to view at my studio too.
Those of you who have been watching my blog know that I have been loving the spray paint these days! I’ve been using it on fabric and encaustic collage and enjoying the layered results. So when my son wanted to design some t-shirts he was inspired by what I’ve been doing to try spray paint and stencils. He leafed through his sketchbook and found some bold images that would work great. Then he cut his stencils using a heat pen on clear acetate and was ready to spray. All summer he has been spraying and making cool stuff using his designs layered over some pattern stencils from my stash. For his birthday all he wanted was to have some friends over and have a t-shirt spraying party! I love that I could share the creative process with him and I’m blessed that I got to watch and learn as he tried different color and pattern combinations – inspiration coming back at me. Pretty soon my demi-adult will be back at college diving into his visual studies major- WOW – I can’t wait to see where the inspiration goes!
I taught and encaustic collage workshop this weekend and because it was a small group I was able to set up a work station and do some creating also! And because it was a small group I decided to share with them an encaustic technique that I’ve been exploring that combines paper collage and the encaustic wax with the spray paint techniques I’ve been using with fabric. It was a lot of techniques for them to wade through but they had the time and space of the whole weekend and the lovely, supportive hospitality of the Ranch to allow them to create and explore. One of my students has worked extensively with encaustic but not so much with collage and she shared some techniques and tools she has picked up along the way, including using silk in her pieces. I was inspired by what she had done and got out some silk organza I had stenciled a few weeks ago. It acts a bit like tissue paper would be gives a different texture that is lovely.
Combining the collage techniques with the stencils spray paint on the encaustic creates an amazing effect. Each thin application of wax is a distinct layer. In these examples I have both spray painted and glued papers to the base wood, then applied a layer of encaustic wax – stenciled pattern with spray paint on that then add tissue paper or silk organza that had stenciled patterns and images. All these thin layers of pattern and color creates a piece full of depth and intrigue.
I hope to play around with all these mediums more this summer, combining and sharing what I know and gathering new ideas from others willing to share.
I will share more from the workshop later in the week – I have put these little beauties up for sale on my Etsy shop for under $50- hope you’ll check them out! NEW WORK