Making Choices

I haven’t posted in a while and it is about time! Recently, I finished an on-line course with Cheryl Taves, The Artists Mindset. It was a 12 week course with a lot of journaling and prompts to actually get in touch with my artist self. What do I love, and what do I not love (just as important, I learned!). The journaling has become an important part of my life, and I miss it when I don’t take the time to do this. I highly recommend Cheryl’s course, by the way. It not only jump starts your creative side, but it totally challenges the reasoning side, why do we do this? And what are the roadblocks we set up for ourselves?

As always, finishing is one of my biggest challenges, and time is another. Thus, I am trying to tackle both issues as best I can! This painting has had so many lives, I cannot count. It has many colors and layers beneath and it has been a friend (and enemy) in my studio for months. But this morning, I knew what I wanted to do and I think, I am pretty sure, it is finished! I am not sure about the title, so if you have a suggestion, let me know!

This painting became a looking inside and looking outside type of work. It reminds me of doors and windows we might encounter in daily life. We can choose to walk through the door when it becomes clearly there, or we can choose to pass on by. We may not know the outcome either way, unless the choice is made. I’m talking metaphorically, as well as the physical door of course. Windows are the same, windows into our soul? Windows into others souls. How often we don’t really look at the person we are talking to and wonder if they are really ok. Is there something we can do to make their day a little brighter?

I learned a new word last week, sonder, the realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own. I realize, yes, I may have a lot going on, but so does every single person I know! And as busy as life can be, I am so very fortunate to have the life I do, the love of the friends and family, and the mindset to accept any challenges that lie ahead . And this, my friends, is the door I choose to walk through today, trying to be positive, accept changes I have no control over, and looking for challenges that create excitement. Peeking through the windows with openness and no expectations. And sending good thoughts to each of you as you navigate this somewhat crazy world today in whatever you have going on!

Challenge: Closure on Previous Starts

Starts, to be conquered!

I decided to challenge myself and do the very thing everyone is talking about, clear the clutter. But to clear the clutter, I must finish what chaos I have begun. It is much easier to start more chaos than bring what I have to a solution, a finish, the end.  The difficulty lies in figuring out how to tame the chaos, well somewhat. Too much refinement becomes boring for sure!

So, I am going to post my chaotic starts, staring with my first challenge, the paintings that are figurative underlings, abstract figurative images. I will give myself a deadline of two weeks. Unless I need more time. Nothing is too precious, and nothing is off limits. I hope I can make these more different that they look now. They all appear to be too related to each other! Too many same shapes, too many similar colors, and on and on. What would your challenge be?

Summer Line Challenges

Well, it seems that I am on an 8-month update schedule for blogging, maybe I need to step in up a bit!
"Simplify" still is on my mind, but I'm not there yet!

Our Advanced Studio Seminar with Michael O'Keefe ended in April with an amazing show at a location in the Cedars in Dallas. As a class we all grew and learned from Michael, from other visiting artist critiques, and from each other. Not to mention learning from ourselves, digging deeper, exploring and sometimes surprising ourselves with what we discovered. In the end, we became a closely knit set of comrades and found the experience exhilarating, educational, exhausting, and encouraging!

In July I attended another workshop with one of my all time favorite teachers, Lisa Pressman, and another favorite, Jeff Hirst. We were as a group doing very diverse work, some using encaustic, some oil and cold wax, and still yet, we were introduced to printmaking with encaustic collagraph.

In the end, it seems our marks are so individual to each of us and they pushed us to the next level. Which leads to what I have been doing when life keeps me away from the studio or class

I have been exploring with LINES - mark making in journals and notebooks or any piece of paper that is near! I love playing with black and white, be it ink, charcoal, graphite, wax, or whatever. I love exploring different marks with the way the implement is held, turned, twisted, and if it is in the dominant or non dominant hand, not to mention when one closes their eyes. And then there is the space of the page, how many ways can it be divided?  

Then the rabbit hole appears, what if I play with color.... ahhh... this month, my goal.... color!

So these I share today!
Movement from one side to another of the page. minimal, think about space divisions!

Think about connections, between squares without any real thought!
Is that possible?

Fill each square, vary the inside shapes.

Encaustic monotype, squares taped off then removed.

From one square to another, movement and varied line thickness

Graphite, flow, gestural

Disjointed, slow moves, Non dominant hand

Encaustic Collagraph

Simply Simplify

January is almost gone and as usual I am behind! But what's the hurry, right?
Starting the new year, I like to look back at the previous year and then look ahead and plan somewhat for the new year. I tend to over estimate what I can get done reasonably in any given amount of time! Thus it goes. For the upcoming year, I continue to take classes, drawing and panting, as well as a mentorship. Hopefully, I can make some decisions on what to keep and what to leave behind. I have decided my word for the year is "SIMPLIFY!"

The painting below, Closely Woven, was accepted to the Visual Art Society of Texas, 125-Mile juried show. It received a merchandise award from Richeson Art Supply so I am salivating on what colors I want to order!
Closely Woven
20" x 20"

I taught my first class in Oil and Cold Wax in September at Artist's Showplace Gallery in Dallas, Texas and had the best experience. I will teach again in October. This class is "Finding your Voice using Oils and Cold Wax". I am not sure if we continue to search for our voice in art, but there are many ways to explore what we want to paint. Oil mixed with cold wax as a medium allows us to play and explore, then cover and obliterate, all the while creating scrumptious texture to go back into. It is slightly addictive.

Artist's Showplace invited me to exhibit in the New Beginnings show with two other lovely artists, Jo Moncrief, and Sarah Joseph. the show is up until February 2, 2018. I have 15 paintings in the show, mostly oil with the cold wax and a few with acrylic finished with cold wax. 

I am lucky to have so many opportunities to study with amazing teachers, both locally and away. Michael O'Keefe and Ellen Soderquist offer life drawing classes,  both amazing teachers. Jay Bailey offers sessions as well and I try to go when I can, he is awesome. For my painting classes, I am studying design with Jane Jones through March. Jerry McLaughlin, Oil and Cold Wax book co-author will be here in May, and I look forward to that also. Lisa Pressman is also on my list! (Teacher extraordinaire!) And this past year, I have found an artist I can't wait to study with, Dawn Emerson. Check out her book and videos! 

I also turned my garage into my studio this past year and it has been so great to be outside of the house, both for the mess and for the lack of distraction of working at home. Even if it is just across the driveway! Pictures at another time!

So, back to SIMLIFY. I hope to simplify my work, simplify my processes, clean out unused art supplies and slow down and enjoy each new piece I work on. I need to focus on what I know and not feel like I need to continue to know everything that is new and exciting out there! That is a tough one, there is so much to learn! My list of what to simplify, needs to be simplified! 

Thank you for taking the time to check in with me! Hope you are having a great new year!




Figurative Drawing and Honoring the Models

About 7 years ago, 3 years into my art journey, I decided to attempt life drawing classes. With the guidance of excellent teachers, I know how much there is yet to learn and be able to apply as well as how difficult it is to see all the nuances of the human body. The models continue to be an inspiration to me, they have the patience, calmness and self control to be still in the moment, often very long moments, actually. Each one is different, and each is amazing and beautiful. I am attempting to have more stillness and calm in my life, without letting my mind race when I go there. Today, I honor those models who exude that meditative calmness than leaves me grateful that I have this opportunity to see into their kind souls.... past the anatomy and into the spirit of the soul, the humanity in each of us.

My natural style is not classical, nor photo realistic. Perhaps it could be called expressive drawing.
It comes from within and it changes over time. Today I am sharing some playful drawings using encaustic monotype process. These were not done with the model in from of me, but I would love to do that! The process involves drawing on a large heated metal plate with bars of pigmented wax. The bar melts as it hits the heated plate. The next step is to lay paper on top of the wax drawing and it transfers creating a monotype. This method takes your hand out of the drawing, what translates to the paper is always a bit of a surprise. My intent is to draw more into them during class, but I kind of like what happened just as they are!

These are printed on 30" x 22"Arnhem paper.


Encaustic monotype 1


  Figurative encaustic monotype 2
 Figurative encaustic monotype 3