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!

Art2Life Nicholas Wilton

I just completed the 12 week on-line course with Nicholas Wilton, quite the forever giving and sharing instructor. So much information and so much to look at, now I must debrief and re-visit many of the ideas and topics. As with any information you learn from other artists and master teachers, it is prudent to actually say, OK, what works for me???? As I grow as an artist, I learn something from each of the classes I have taken, from the teacher and the other students as well. At the end of the day, it is important to spend time examining the things I love about art and what makes it mine. I admire artists who make the bright energetic paintings, but then when I work like this, I end up subduing so much. So, is the hidden me really that energetic wild and crazy person I long to come out? The one wearing the high-heeled bright red, crazy shoes? Of course not, I laugh.... I am the quiet one in the comfortable, red canvas loafers! Close enough to exciting is moving from neutral to red loafers! I am experimenting with how to make that quiet more interesting! These are 9 paintings that are close to finished from the course, 12" x 12" panels. I was surprised that they seem so much alike when they all started out in different ways!

Also here are my shoes! Who knows, that actually is white paint on those heels, and I will try it again! Life is good. It is so awesome being able to spend time with paint or charcoal, in life drawing class with the most motivating instructor, with other artist friends and just friends who never seemingly tire and so patiently and kindly listen to me ramble! And then there all the amazing teachers and mentors that have taken me in. Thanks to all!

What about you? Is the art that is in you the same art that you love?

Walking With Friends

Walking with Friends won one of four Jurors Awards in the Society of Watercolor Artist's 2016 International Exhibition. The juror was Frank Eber, well know watercolor artist and teacher. The show includes work by artists I admire and have followed for a long time. Of course I am humbled and excited just to be included in the show. The exhibition will run until through May 28. 

The painting is watercolor and acrylic on paper. I enjoy painting layers of color, texture and line and then trying to make something come out of the shadows. 
Exhibit Location: Atrium Gallery, Central Library of Fort Worth, 500 W. Third Street, Fort Worth TX 76102 (corner of Lamar & West Third)
The on-line catalog is available here: SWA 2016 International Exhibition

Walking with Friends
22" x 15"
Acrylic on Paper

Just the Three of Us - Silent Auction February 27, 2016

Just the Three of Us
14" x 11"
Mixed Media on Panel
I am honored to have my painting, "The Three of Us, My Echo, My Shadow, and Me" in the show sponsored by Arts for Rural Texas (ARTS) to create funds to support art. The show is presented by ACT (Artists Changing Tomorrow) in which artists contribute a painting for the silent auction held every other year. This is my second time to have a painting in the auction. The auction will take place February 27, 2016.

The exhibit and silent auction raise funds for ARTS, a 501(c)(3) foundation which applies their funding to expand art education in an effort to offset cutbacks in art education in the schools.
All art donated for the auction can be viewed here.

This painting started with India ink on paper with lines drawn with a pen, string, and more including a stick from the yard. Adding acrylic made the ink turn a dark blue. Then I just played with the figurative shapes that came out of the mingling of the colors. and added more acrylic paint in muted colors. More lines were added with Caran d'ache, which are lovely water soluble crayons, (so much fun to play with), they can have that mind of their own! When the painting was finished, or so deemed finished by moi, I attached it to a Ampersand panel and sealed it, ready to be framed in a black floater frame by the sponsors at ACT.

New Work: Bottle Series Part 1

I have taken a break from posting, but not from painting. It appears my time is spent researching, drawing, and playing with concepts, colors, or really messy paint! When I first started painting, I just knew I wanted to learn to paint, but really didn't have a subject matter in mind. Just paint! After almost 8 years, I have gone in so many directions, it makes even my head spin! What I have decided is only what I don't want to paint, realistic portraits, folk art, and waterfalls! Probably a few more, but I will stop there. What I have decided is to play with series, and boy do I have about 8 of them going right now! And I like to abstract whatever it is! So first I will post some from my bottle series. And sometimes the bottles become people or buildings or whatever. But it has been fun and I have over 40 now on paper with acrylic. These were started from drawings, adding paint and more line work.
15"x 22"
Mixed Media on Paper

Red Bottles
11"x 15"
Acrylic and Ink on Paper

April 22 - What Do I Really Do with My Time?

The days goes so quickly and sometimes I need to just stop and reflect on what I have done. Besides enjoying my family and playing with my three precious grandchildren, I have spent a lot of time painting, drawing and experimenting. Starting with January, [text deleted, a whole lot of text!]..... Ok.... I had to put it all down her, but when I looked at what the last four months looked like, I decided, nope..... I can't let it be known how much time I really spent doing art, looking at art, entering shows, taking classes and workshops, spending money on supplies, etc...... blah, blah blah.... nope, you would think I have no other life! By the way, I am having way too much fun and this is my life!!

Spring brings a lot of juried shows to enter, and I am excited to report I have received more acceptances than regrets! (a good sign!)
Two of my paintings also received awards and this makes the process even more exciting, although to me, just being accepted is a reward in itself. The paintings are shown below with the information about the show and the award if there was one.
Between Friends
14" x 11"
International Society of Acrylic Painters On-Line Show
Fourth Place
Walking Side by Side
14" x 22"
Texas Friends and Neighbors (Irving, TX)
First Place Acrylic
(woo hoo, a blue ribbon!!!)
Among Friends
14"x 22"

Texas Visual Arts Association Show Citation
Mixed Media
14" x 22"
Texas Visual Arts Association Show Citation

I continue to draw from models with guidance, a lot of guidance, and that seems to be sneaking into my work, mostly unexpectedly, and often a big surprise. I still have lots of layers and scrape back in, playing a game of push and pull, add and subtract, and more often than I care to admit, I just cover it up and start over!! Although these are all on paper, I am also playing with oil and acrylic on canvas or panel. Thanks for dropping by!

Untitled. Acrylic on Paper

12" x 9"
Acrylic on Paper
I have taken a break form posting but not from painting. I am finishing a short online course where we painted 100 small and not necessarily finished drawing/paintings. Layers and layers of paint and scraping back into the surface are some of the techniques used. These are done with acrylic on paper from Dick Blick that is 90 pound and very inexpensive. It has a nice weight for simple studies and the more paint you layer on as well as matte medium, the nicer and more like leather the paper becomes.
It has been a fun exercise and a a nice diversion from the weather. I hope everyone is starting to thaw out!

Day 27 of 30 - Study 3 - January 28
Study 3
12" x 9"
Acrylic on Paper
This is the third of the dissection of the larger painting. This one really shows where alcohol was sprayed on one of the layers while the acrylic was wet. I need to tone that down a bit. I like to be able to look at a painting and wonder what created the texture, not thinking to myself, that is bubble wrap, that is corrugated cardboard, that is alcohol. It is a challenge to figure out how much to cover and scrape yet still keep that mystery of what caused it. This is my challenge for the next step. How much to tone down? The last of the four will be posted tomorrow. But I will keep tweaking them I have a feeling!

Day 15 of 30 - Neutral and Red Study - January 15
Neutral and Red Study
8" x 5"
Oil and Cold Wax on Cradled Panel
Starting with turquoise layers and building up to many colors, this was then covered with some of my favorite neutrals, including Titanium Buff, Unbleached Titanium, and Pale Grey (which is not really a grey, but more in the beige grey tones). Scraping back after the layers set a few days, the red tones were allowed to simmer. Some of the turquoise is also coming to the surface, so I will let this study rest and see how it looks after the top layers settle in.

Lisa Pressman Workshop

The past three days I was fortunate to study with the highly energetic and exciting Lisa Pressman at The Encaustic Center. Lisa's teachings were more than the technical use of cold wax and oil paint, but included everything from how to create the layers and textures and depth, to the really important stuff of creating paintings with meaningful messages that tell a story. Wow, that is a lot to think about! Her enthusiasm for making a painting your own is something to strive for.
I find that the process is what lures me in. I love the layers and the textures. Often I start with really bright colors and then start knocking them back. And often, like in this painting, I find images emerge. Sometimes it is windows, doors, or worn broken structures, and sometimes it appears as if the images are human. So, I am going to continue to play and see where this leads me!
Oil and Cold Wax
I Am Because We Are
12" x 12"
Oil and Cold Wax on Panel

Between Friends

Entering a show with a painting is always a bit intimidating. To be accepted is always an prize in itself! I was honored to receive an award for Best of Show with "Between Friends" at Texas Visual Arts Association (TVAA). The painting was in the show Driven to Abstraction at The Plaza of Americas in their gallery at the lobby level during the month of September. They have wonderful revolving shows every month. If you haven't checked this out, you should!
Click here Texas Visual Art Association
Between Friends
11" x 14"
Mixed Media on Panel
people in

Day 30 of 30 -Sept 30

Alpha to Omega! Finis'! Conclusion! However, it is just the beginning. The first time I did the challenge in January 2014, I felt relief when it was over, but I was proud to have completed the goal. This time, I feel as if I have just opened the door, or window. I have more ideas and loftier ideals! Who knows, next time I may paint bigger! Or ban the color blue - oh my! Thank you, Leslie, for hosting this challenge! Thank you to my fellow artist friends for sharing your paintings, techniques, and kind words of support and encouragement. You have opened my eyes, and I do hate good byes! So for now, I will just do a Happy Dance!!! Thank goodness I don't live in a glass house!

Collage of the thirty paintings - Sept. 2014

The Happy Dance
Oil and Wax on Panel

Day 20 of 30 - Sept 20

Although I do like color, I really love neutrals. I went for a walk yesterday and was mesmerized looking at the variations and striations in the concrete and asphalt. We have a lot of that in Dallas, no pine trees, rambling streams, or majestic mountains to look at like other places I love to visit, so I tend to look more at my feet! But even the stains and marks combined with textures and other minutia are intriguing. Old crumbly buildings and deteriorating surfaces have the same appeal. When I started painting, I did not know what to paint. I sometimes used other peoples photos because I was so used to looking but not seeing. I am working on this! Seeing and feeling the place! 
There is so much that can be read into things that are falling apart. There is still an innate beauty. If you see a crumbly, scraggly looking place, please send me a photo!!! Have a good day!

Peeking Through
Oil and Wax on Panel

Day 16 of 30 - Sept 16

This painting has in its background four generations of what I thought were really it, done, finis! I hung it at each of its four completed stages, took final photos and stepped away. At the end of the day, I just felt it was wrong. I lost track of its roots but comparing photos I found all four of the paintings little birthmark. About 5 little horizontal dots in the same place. I know the tool I used and it signified the lineage. Sometimes my paintings seem to reveal people in the background and in this one, they have returned. They speak to me and tell me move on, you are done......

I may tweak it a bit. But today, I am done!

Four Generations
Oil and Wax on Cradled Panel

Day 15 of 30 - Sept 15

Today marks the half-way point of the 30 paintings in 30 days. This is a great exercise for me. I learn from doing, from re-doing, and from others.  It makes me plan for the next painting and it makes me keep several going in case I get really stumped, which I do often!

Texture was the start of this painting. I had a strip of the mesh, cheesecloth like fabric left from another painting and embedded it on the bottom strip of the panel. Many layers of oil and wax later, it seemed too much for the size of the painting, so I picked the fabric off, in pieces at this point. This was a pleasant surprise as it left an interesting texture of its own. I often work in a grid like format, not necessarily planned, it just happens. I was a high school math teacher, I loved teaching graphs, I still love grid paper, and I love the feel of not making it perfectly aligned. 

Floppy Grid
Oil and Wax on Panel

Day 12 of 30 - Sept 12

Yesterday, I posted a painting aptly named Sleep Deprivation. Today, I have toned the crazies down and created a place of restful tranquility. The ups and downs of life can definitely affect your creativity and how you tell the story on the canvas. Calm after a storm makes it easier to arrive at a resting point in the painting, just like it does in life.

In painting, I resort to subtle colors, softer shapes and flowing line work. I am less likely to continue adding layers of paint and cold wax and scraping deeper. It is as if the painting is saying, stop, be still, listen. It isn't always that easy in life. But maybe visualizing those same thoughts is a start, combined with lots of love and gratitude. Wishing everyone a calm place today!
A Calm Place
Oil and Wax on Cradled Panel

Day 11 of 30 - Sept 11

One of  the difficult parts of painting is finding an appropriate name for the piece! Some artists plan ahead and name the painting first, which guides them in the creative process. I envy those who can do that!

However, this painting speaks to me as Sleep Deprivation. There are hidden things going on including the random, alarming reds which mimic a racing mind. The scratched lines and marks are a suggestion of the concerns that keep the cycle going. Beneath the busy-ness is a hint of of calm, teasing and taunting. Today it has a name.

Here's wishing all a restful sleep, especially those who need it most!

Sleep Deprivation
Oil and Wax on Cradled Panel

Day 10 of 30 - Sept 10

I have been experimenting with color, or better stated, more color than usual for me.
My tendency is to use subtle value changes and neutralized colors. Blues are my go-to favorites, as you can obviously tell.
This small painting started with many dark layers. Then I collaged a small misshapen square of handmade paper on the surface. Adding and subtracting paint and line work, I eventually scraped much of the paint off the paper and then smoothed yellows and golds over a grid.
Some of the remaining colors were much darker, but blending cold wax and solvent over the surface left a blue violet mixture. There is actually a 3D effect going on since the paper was so thick.
Let the Sunshine In
Mixed Media on Cradled Panel