Sunday, December 8, 2013

Work In Progress

Well I haven't done a beeswax collage in months and since it is FREEZING out (literally) I decided today would be a good day to heat up the wax. Took me awhile to get warmed up (no pun intended) since it had been so long. It's a completely different medium and the pieces of paper change when you add the wax--darkens them, makes them more transparent, etc--but I got back into the swing and here's where I am so far.

I'll keep posting as I progress.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Holiday Gift Tags

Well, it's that time of year again... Working on getting gifts wrapped and mailed. Here are some hand-painted gift tags I made today; just to add a personal touch.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Design Ideas

I've been talking with my dear friend and Muse, Lucie Duclos, about using some of my art as designs for a product line of cards, journals, etc. So just for fun I worked with some of my pieces to see how they might look, and voilà! This is just the bare bones beginning without additional design details but I'm excited by the possibilities and inspired to keep on creating!

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Few More Pieces

Here are a couple of additional pieces I've been working on. Just got back from a week in the Loire Valley and I worked on these when I got back.  

This first piece is in my favorite palette using many pieces from things I've found while in France as well as other bits from my collage stash. I think it's finished; at least it's finished for now...

Below is a piece I did and realized I didn't like. The piece in the middle wasn't right--too big, not the right colors; it just looked stuck on. So I went back and reworked it. It's still not finished but moving in a better direction. I like the Cubist feel and I'm trying to work with that.


And this is another spread from my collage journal experimenting with some brighter color.

Having fun doing art (most days...). I can't believe I have to leave this incredible place in two weeks.

Friday, September 27, 2013

France So Far

Well I've been here in the beautiful Lot Valley for almost three weeks and I have yet to post anything! I have been completely overwhelmed by the beauty of this place. The weather has run the gamut from cold and rainy, cool and overcast to hot and sunny. I have taken so many photographs to try and capture the lush panoramas but it is impossible to get a sense of the expansiveness without being here. And of course I intended to blog every week to keep up with all my wonderful experiences and photos but here I am, three weeks in and just now making an appearance.

So I decided to concentrate on posting my art journey here and get to the rest of my experiences when I can. I have been painting and making collage. I have a little "studio" set up at one end of the long wooden table in the kitchen of our gîte at Fraysse Haut. I've mostly been trying to experiment with different things, working on some of the painting/collage pieces that are near and dear to my heart, but also trying to just put paint and/or paper on paper and try to push myself a little more our of my comfort zone. So here's my artistic journey so far.

Here's my creative corner that I set up when we first arrived.

My little art supply area.

With works in progress.

This is a collage I started at home and finished here.

The next two are pieces I worked on here using some things I found at local brocantes and vide greniers.

Next are a couple of spreads from my collage journal.

A Study in Blue

Here is a collage landscape and an abstract painting with collage playing with neutrals (inspired by Jane Davies).

 No. 17

So that's where I am as of today. Some are finished pieces, some I'm not sure and some just experiments. Working to broaden my scope, my techniques and my overall creative dexterity. Also encouraging myself to actually paint more to get more comfortable with using paint and color (even though I still love my neutral palette). I find I'm still focusing on "finished work" more that I want to so I keep pushing myself to try different things and loosen up! I also have a new 23 year old friend named Judith who is joining me several days a week to work on her own artistic creations. That is giving me additional perspective as well!

Alors, à bientôt et à la prochaine!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Latest In The Series

Here is another piece in the series of earthy neutrals I've been working with. Also--another spread in my collage journal.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Newest Work

Here are a couple of the new pieces I have been working on since my painting workshop. The first piece is small—about 7.5" x 7.5"—so I'm thinking about putting it on a larger white background when I frame it.

Abstract Painting Workshop

It's been a couple of weeks now (time does fly) since I attended Jane Davies' Abstract Painting workshop on Whidbey Island. It was such a great opportunity to work with her directly and have a class full of people to learn from as well. My goal was to learn more about how to paint with acrylics--something I had really never done before taking Jane's online class Sketchbook Practice. The class was very fun and I learned so much about technique and process. She is a GREAT teacher and taking the online class followed by the 4-day intensive workshop was just what I needed to catapult me into artist mode. I have been working on art since I returned (the days I haven't been able to actually work in my studio I have been THINKING about art) and even doodling to get warmed up in the mornings. I am in the making art groove and attempting to stay in that open, free experimental mode—easier said than done but the doodling is helping. Below are some of the pieces I did during the workshop.

This first piece I had a lot of trouble with. The exercise was in working with complementary colors. I chose green/red and struggled (Image 1). It was hard for me to get good greens and felt like Christmas. The first shot is where I got stuck. I didn't like the composition, the colors and I didn't know where to go from this point. So I put it aside and after Jane's demonstration of using the brayer and her words of wisdom on process and painting over things that just weren't working, I pulled out the brayer, the Green Gold and White paint and went to town; I figured I had nothing to lose at this point (Image 2). Then I went back in with abandon, experimenting with colors, textures and painting over anything that I didn't like (Image 3); et voilà! The best thing is that I learned so much from working on this piece; it really set me free.

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

Then I worked on a series of pieces that used neutrals and more muted colors, working again on exercises of opposites: quiet space vs. busy space, soft edges vs. hard edges and high contrast vs. minimal contrast. Here's what I came up with.

I really like these, particularly the color palette, and I have been working in this vein since I returned.

Friday, July 19, 2013

New Collage

On my way to Port Townsend to visit my Muse and take an abstract painting workshop with Jane Davies. Very excited!! My goal is to work on art everyday so here is a little collage I worked on yesterday and finished up today. It's a spread in my Collage Journal (I started this awhile ago using a kids board book). I posted the covers and one other spread in earlier posts.

 I should have more to post from Port Townsend this week.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Jane Davies Sketchbook Practice Lesson 6

This is the final Lesson from the class.

In just under the wire here. I have been working on these grids for about a week and a half. I really got into this last lesson, particularly Activity 2, and I've just run out of time. I am planning to do Activity 3 over the next few weeks.

For all of these activities, I struggled with paint and color but I learned a LOT and have figured a few things out; mostly I think I just need to practice more so that I am more confident in my paint strokes.

Activity 1—Closed and Open Grids

Closed Grid – collage papers

Closed Grid–pastels. I felt a little intimidated
about using paint and was more comfortable with
oil pastels. I worked with a color palette I'm
not completely happy with but I wanted to
try something brighter/lighter than I would
normally choose.

Closed Grid – acrylic and collage. I just decided
to dive in with the paints; simple blocks of color and
a variety of collage papers including tissue paper
and some hand-made papers. Also added a little
sgraffito and scribble.

Open Grid – acrylic and collage paper with some
bubble wrap dots. You can really see the struggle I had
with the paint here...

Open Grid – acrylic and collage paper. Here I kept
the paint simple (Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold) and
did more of a wash. Then I added a darker layer
using a stencil. There were actually some areas of
black paint but they were too heavy so I
used some collage papers to cover them.

Open Grid – Quinacridone Gold again and Green Gold
with some large bubble wrap circles. I used some
stencils again. Wasn't wild about the colors at first but
when I added the collage elements, I ended up liking it.

Activity 2 — Reassembling the Grid

I really learned a lot from this, experimenting with paint, over-painting, textures and diverse materials/effects. Some of the original paintings seem a little busy but I wanted to create a lot of different areas of interest for the reconstruction. On the last couple, I tried to simplify (could be my new mantra) and I liked those too. But what I REALLY liked was reassembling them on the computer in closed grids. I like this so much I worked until midnight last night and was back at it a 7 this morning. I just love the way they all came out. And on so many of them, each individual square is it's own unique piece of art. I did these grids for all six paintings but I only had time to cut up four of them and make open grids. And I still need to go back in and add to the open grids but I am planning to do that at a later date. All pieces are approximately 9x12.

I added some iridescent gold circles, stencil,
lines from open flute corrugate, cork circles, white
gel pen scribble red dots from eraser tip and
black pattern from shelf cover material.

Here I added gold bubble wrap dots, cork circles,
white gel pen scribbles, a white grid pattern from some
woven ribbon I have and a little turquoise oil pastel.

Some of the same materials/techniques as above with
the addition of black fabric paint squiggle.

Mostly acrylic paint with some scribbles, a
little stencil, some white gel pen dots and some of
my finger prints.

This one really needs some background and additional
painted areas. I plan to add to this at a later date.

Same techniques/materials as above. I was trying to
simplify more here, which made the grid assembly more
challenging in some ways.

This was my last painting and I managed to keep it pretty simple
and yet create areas of interest through texture, color juxtaposition
and contrast.

Jane's comments:

Wow! Really great work on this, Arlene. Glad you were able to do the checkerboard grid on the computer so you could cut the actual pieces up into open grids. The original paintings are just perfect! Good examples of how interesting a piece can get when you are going for VARIETY, and not unity. Great job on the re-assembly, especially in the open grids. I think your intention to simplify in the last couple is well founded. You need some quiet space to make the busy areas come alive.

Oh, I forgot to comment on the Activity 1 pieces: very nice job on closed and open grids. Particularly nice balance of open space and pattern/texture in the open grids.

Also a nice comment from one of the other students:

Not to preempt the teacher; but your work is so impressive that I just couldn't resist to tell you this. The original paintings are so beautiful - the colors, the lines and the textures, all work together like a symphony. As a result the re-assembled pieces look so good. I love both versions. You inspired me. Thank You.  

This class was such a great experience and really helped to open me up and free me up. I am really looking forward to expanding on what I've learned here at Jane's Abstract Painting workshop next week. I filled and entire sketchbook plus two-thirds of two additional sketchbooks. Transitioning to artist's mode.