Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I'm writing about my process in painting in preparation for my MFA thesis.  This paint was one of the first I started in the fall.  It began as en plein air and morphed several times in the studio.  This was the painting about a month ago.  At any rate, I kept fussing with it and it became very over-worked.  I hung it up on the wall for a few weeks and I revisited today.  I have completely changed my style from this.  While I haven't totally abandoned landscape, my landscapes have changed.  I have also been making a lot more non-representational work.  Stay tuned. I'll be updating soon.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Chicago Visit - Journal Entry

I am in Chicago for my nephew's wedding.  I was not really thrilled about spending my Christmas break in Chicago but it is turning out to be a good thing.

Today we visited the famed Art Institute.  I was able to immerse myself in amazing art, visit with family and get lost in the process. The AIC is huge.  Their collection is at least equal to if not better than the MET in my opinion.    I could have spent at least another day there but the family was done.

My focus today was on the structure and composition of the great painters starting from around the mid-19th century.  I was not particularly interested in the Impressionists today although I thoroughly enjoyed Monet's London scenes and Irises.  I wanted to focus primarily on the structures and composition of post-impressionist painters.  I have decided that I want my thesis to more fully explore the lesser known painting movements such as Symbolism along with some of the fie American and Canadian painters that I feel were neglected from the annals of Art History.

I was struck, literally boiled over by the huge canvasses of Vuilliard.  While researching them I learned that they were created to be "painted tapestries".  I am the painting nerd who takes photos of the details to see how they handled foliage.  Vuilliard did lots of foliage.

I am also interested in the symbolists, the Klimts, the Munchs, the art Nouveau of Mucha and the similarity of these artists to the Group of Seven.  There is a stylized method which these artists employ that I think is beautiful.

I will always have a sweet spot for Van Gogh.  I was astonished to find two paintings of his that I had never seen...the Drinkers and the Poet's Garden.

I studied Cezanne's compositions and gradations as well as Inness, under the recommendation of Bob.  I think I get it now.

I am also quite intrigued by the art that is hanging in our little Airbnb.  The textures are great.  Mostly non-representational but they are giving me ideas.  I thought they might be encaustics at first but alas I believe they are acrylic with the help of some texture gels and such.  Something I want to explore when I begin my practice at the studio.

I took photos.  I want to revisit some old paintings with a squeegee or some other such tool.  The oils I will have to top with more oils but I have that great set that Annelise gave me.

I have ordered some acrylics but I was disappointed in the size.  I  am ordering some student grade acrylics in at least quart sizes for quick studies.  I don't think they will be a problem with the integrity of the surface as long as they are the base layers.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Orange and Blue

This is Orange and Blue.  I painted this large 28x28 close-up of marigolds that were growing in my garden.  I am intrigued by marigolds because they are overlooked and considered "common".  I don't think the average person pays much attention to them.  

I planted them because they are a natural type of pest control.  At the time I didn't think they were particularly beautiful until I tried to paint one.  This painting was a labor of love and observation. I started with direct observation in the garden.  I picked them before the first heavy frost.  I photographed them before they wilted.   It took months.  The yellow-orange color was elusive.  I couldn't quite get-it right.  I finished it with a Thio violet glaze. 

I am intrigued by the symbolism and spirituality associated with the humble marigold.  It was named for "Mary's gold", implying most likely the blessed mother.  The Mexican people use them for El dia de los Muertos.  They decorate shrines and graves with marigolds which are in peak season in late October and early November.   They are celebrated in India.  

The exploration of certain flowers and plants has lead to more exploration.  I find myself researching symbolism in flowers and trees.  I think I'm going to continue on this path awhile. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Giant Ass

So during my summer Intensive I created this giant ass.  It was inspired by a woman I saw at the Dollar General Store.  She had a disproportionate derriere.  I was working with spray foam insulation and it reminded me of cellulite.  I had to experiment with paint as many did not adhere properly.  I finally chose spray enamel.  I entered it in a show called "Instinct".  The dimensions are about 3' wide by 2' high and about 2' deep.

I am back to painting for the moment.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


So I am going to blog again.

This time it is about my MFA.  Yes.  I enrolled in a Master of Fine Arts Program this past summer.   I have been looking for a low residency MFA and one afternoon I heard an ad on my Public Radio Station.   "...Wilson College's new MFA for visual artists and choreographers."  What?   Visual Artists and Choreographers?

I emailed them.

I am a crazy person.

I commuted to a four week summer intensive and I loved it.   I was uncomfortable being a middle aged, chubby mom.    I got torn down.  I was humiliated by the professors.  We all were.  The six of us.  Three visual artists and three dancers.

I was put completely out of my comfort zone.  Most of our classes took place in the dance studio.  We started with body/mind centering or meditation.  We learned about performance, systems theory, abject art, uncanny art.

Then we were set loose in our studios.  We were told to drop the familiar materials and try something completely different.  I did.

I started sculpting.  I created things with spray foam insulation.  I made a giant ass.  I took silk and shredded it, dyed it, draped it, painted it.  I made tits and weird faces out of the spray foam.  I learned how to build armatures out of paper and cardboard.

At the end of the four week intensive, I was all about world domination.  I felt badass.

So I will soldier on.  I only have a few more weeks of the online class.  I have another one in the spring.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Hungry Tulips

So my latest painting in progress.  It needs a few fixes.  I like to post these on here because I can see the glitches better.  Some of it is oil paint shine.  I also need to tweak that flower on the right.  I will also go over the darks in the back.  Some of the streaking is caused by glare, however.

So I'm in this Old Masters' Style Flower phase.  I am studying with a painter who studied at the Schuler School of Art in Baltimore.  She is very knowledgeable and a good friend.  She makes home made Maroger medium and her husband hand crafts weighted wooden palettes.  It is very old school but I am enjoying the process.  I find it very meditative.

I started this painting in March when I picked up a pot of Parrot Tulips at the garden center.  Their color and shape intrigued me.    Of course, they looked nothing like they did the following week so I used photos that I took.  I also borrowed some photos of leaves and buds.  The flower on the right is purely manufactured from my imagination so I will have to revisit it.  I have been using Monarch and Sable brushes, Maroger medium and Grumbacher Paint.  I'm thinking of just painting my mutant Rhubarb plant next. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Yellow Iris Painting

In my painting life, I've decided to slow down a bit.  Exhibiting became exhausting and I didn't feel that I was "growing" so much in my art.  I find that it is very easy to become focused on selling rather than investigating.  I did not like that and I do not like that about the art "scene".  At the Lancaster gallery I was required to produce several new paintings for each month I exhibted while trying to work full time and raise teenagers.  While I did sell a few paintings, I felt that the quality began to suffer as I tried to meet deadlines.  I enjoyed several invitational exhibits over the last few years and now I just want to focus on the painting process. 

I've considered pursuing my MFA through one of the many low-residency programs, but the cost and the committment seemed prohibitive.  So I enrolled in a low-cost oil painting class at our local York Art Association with an instructor who taught me watercolor painting almost twenty years ago.  Nancy Wiseman is a fine artist, trained in the classical old masters' style.  I was a bit hesitant as I have been known for my loose style, but thought, "I like Nancy, so what the heck?"

I came in to a room set up with the typical still life arrangements of fruits and pots. I confess that I felt underwhelmed, having painted many of these arrangements in college.  I took my spot among many middle aged women and began to paint.  I was almost immediately chastised by Nancy.  She is quite the regimented instructor and I have a lot of sloppy habits.  Eventually I caved and bought the paint and the brushes that she recommended.  I also bought a balanced hardwood palette, handcrafted by her husband and her hand-blended maroger medium.  I toyed with her fruits and pots but confess that I did not really like the process or products.   

Nancy however, would not let me quit that easily.  She called me at home to remind me to register for her classes.  On the third round of sessions I began painting Nancy's flowers.  She is a wonderful gardener and brought in irisis.  She also photographed the irises because they would not last through the completion of the painting.  I began with a purple iris.  I worked on a second purple iris over the summer in my own studio.   One class, I forgot my reference photo for the purple and started on the yellow.  This was my third, and only completed iris at this point. I absolutely loved painting this.  I learned so much about this delicate process.  It took almost the entire ten week session (3 hours a week) but I think I can say that I am finished with this one.