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?

Challenge 30 in 30 - #3

Coral Forest
14 x 11
Oil and Cold Wax on Paper
This is the third of the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. I am a little behind all ready because I am!
Holiday Monday. Housekeeping, art wise and housekeeping, house wise, and drawing class. I think that could also count as 30 in 30 so I will post a snippet of what I liked about last nights drawing below! Feet, always a challenge. I love the feel of the charcoal and what it does on paper!

portion of life drawing

Challenge 30 in 30 days - #2

Beyond the Damage
12" x 12"
Oil and Cold Wax on Panel

Day 2 of the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. 
This panel was damaged while traveling to a workshop. Packed in my suitcase, it had several places as if a knife had pictured it. SO I decided to paint on it anyway. And I pictured it a bit more, I don't know if you can see where it is broken, because the damage has been camouflaged with the wonderful cold wax medium. I love painting with this, it is like frosting, and who doesn't like frosting!


22" x 30"
Acrylic on Paper

I was honored to be accepted in the  39th International Exhibition 2016 with Watercolor Art Society Houston. This painting is a bit more colorful than most of mine and I had a lot of fun with it. Adding watercolor crayon on top of the many layers gave me my chance to make marks, which I am loving to do anymore. I think it is like hidden messages, those in my head that I can't ever verbalize!

I am taking an on-line course right now with Nicholas Wilton which is really stretching my brain to think about where I want my art to go. If you have a chance, check out his web site and blog. I have been following his blog for many years. He is an excellent artist and teacher and shares his processes with such grace.

Forney Arts Council Top 40

The two paintings below were juried into the Forney Arts Council Top 40 exhibition. The show is running now through October 29 at the Crumbzz in Forney. If you haven't been there and live in the area, it is a delightful bistro open every day from 7:30-2:00.

The first painting below, I posted in process earlier. It seemed to need a few more characters to complete the scene, some are coming and some are going away. Kind of like people in our lives for whatever reasons or for no reason at all. But for each of them, I like to think they are there for a reason!
Abstract Figuration, Kathy Elliott
Going Away
Mixed Media on Paper
15" x 22"
The second painting started as overlapping bottles. It was fun to fracture and combine them into many different shapes.

Kathy Elliott, abstract artist,
Acrylic on Paper
15" x 22"


12" x 12"
Acrylic on wrapped Canvas
My latest paintings have had figures appear, pretty much wonky shaped people. It has been fun starting a painting with many abstracted shapes and multiple layers. Next, I look for images. When I find something to develop, it is then a process of addition and subtraction, eliminating part of the busy abstractions in the painting while bringing up some to make the shapes interesting and curious. And of course, adding lines and covering them up, because I love line! Sometimes, I think the images are people, or they remind me of bottles lined up on a shelf.  Possibly, they could be people that look like bottles or bottles that look like people. Or maybe they are just fun shapes. This is today's departure!
Drawing seems to be the key. But even more important is looking and seeing . It reminds me of looking at clouds and playing the game of "what do you see!"

Day 8 of 30 - Springing Forward - January 8

Artist Kathy Elliott  #oilandcoldwax # abstractart
Springing Forward
5" x 5"
Oil and Cold Wax on Paper

We are having a bit of a cold spell, but nothing to complain about when I look at weather in other places. So, why does this painting seem like spring? I am not sure, but I will go with it. The colors just seemed fun today. Maybe it has to do with spending the day with three of my favorite little people, my grandchildren! It's hard not to laugh and feel lighthearted when you hear their little conversations, such as wanting a guinea pig that talks for Christmas next year. If anyone knows how I can make that happen, let me know!

This is another "possible". A study that may grow or be a springboard for parts of it to become another painting. In the last few days, I have been putting photos of my work into Photoshop and cropping sections of them to use as a guideline for new work. These will most likely be done in acrylic since the oil and wax method is so unpredictable. Little bits of color seem to appear unexpectedly and as the painting sits, some of those will even change more as layers dry. Often little surprises seep though layers of paint. Two methods of working, one for my right brain, and one for my left! Thank you for stopping by!

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 28 of 30 - Sept 28

Painting in a series is good practice. It is an easy segue from one painting to another and leaves lots of room for experimentation and play. This 30 day challenge has opened my mind for several new series for me I am excited to continue. This painting is part of the Gridlock series, yes I now have a name for it, and can't wait to get more birds-eye photos of traffic patterns and jams! Of course while a passenger only or watching the morning traffic reports!

Looking for Red Lights
Oil and Wax on Panel
From Previous Posts
The Missing Piece

Off the Grid

Day 27 of 30 - Sept 27

Good Vibrations. This painting started with many layers of blues, you can see how they have poked through if you zoom in. It was the panel I put my leftover blues on. Next, I started spreading on my leftover reds. Again since it is oil and wax, the layers are not dry so continue to interact for a while. It was a start of something that I kept coming back to and deciding I wasn't ready to change. Yesterday, I decided to call it finished! It is small enough to hang in an innocuous place to give that pop of color!
Looking for a title this morning I thought of how the reds and turquoise blues vibrate off of each other. And now that old Beachboy's song is stuck in my head! Have a good day!

Good Vibrations
Oil and Wax on Panel

Day 23 of 30 Sept 23

The painting is not on a surface, but on a plane which is imagined. It moves in a mind. It is not there physically at all. It is an illusion, a piece of magic, so that what you see is not what you see. (Philip Guston)

Smoke and Mirrors is a phrase used in may ways but the original reference relates to magician's illusions. Deception, imagination, interpretation. I have trouble  focusing on one meaning for this one, so I leave it to the viewer!

Smoke and Mirrors
Oil and Wax on Panel

Day 22 of 30 - Sept 22

Although I moan about living in a big city with a lot of concrete, I am still enamored with the skyline, whether it be day or night. Again playing with the luscious oil and wax mixture, I played back and forth with layers of color, scraping, making marks and adding more color.

Today I attended an art reception for Southwest Watercolor Society. I felt honored to have a work in the show, especially when I saw the show and the competition. It is humbling for sure!
Have a good day1
Downtown Blues
Oil and Wax on Panel

Day 21 of 30 - Sept 21

This painting I have named Uptown Blues, only because the images are not as tall as the ones in its sister piece, Downtown Blues, that you will see tomorrow! Yes, I doubled up today! The first few layers are very dark, then I layered many neutrals, tans and creamy off whites. Next, I started cutting into the neutrals and carving lines and then covering the lines and scraping back, smooshing things around, adding more color ..... it goes on forever! Yes, I do love the process!

Retirement doing something you love is just the icing on the cake, next to grandchildren hugs that is!

Uptown Blues
Oil and Wax

Day 19 of 30 - Sept 19

I have fallen in love with cold wax as a medium. The mixture of oil and wax has an empowering air to it. It can be spread thin or thick, scraped back when wet or dry, carved into, stamped on, and pushed around. A little solvent brushed, wiped or dribbled on it changes it's properties and as I am learning, it can have a mind of its own! Using oil and cold wax is like a new experiment every time.
It's refreshing! Have a good Friday!

Rivets and Blues
Oil and Wax on Panel

Day 18 of 30 - Sept 18

This small piece is just playing with value - lights and darks. The first layers are very dark, next came then the blues. But it was still just lots of darks.

Along the way, I decided to lighten it up and make it more neutral. Then it came alive like a city at night, with the florescent lights and the dark skies. Maybe people are out there celebrating, like maybe even celebrating a birthday! If it is your birthday, I hope it is a great one!!!! KK. :)

Night Watch
8'" x 8"
Oil and Wax

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 14 of 30 - Sept 14

I have read when people are asked their favorite color, the answer most often is BLUE. There are many emotions associated with blue. Sometimes it depends on the shade such as ice blue, royal blue, baby blue, sky blue, midnight blue, aqua blue, etc.
Blue symbolizes freedom and new beginnings. Blue skies seem to indicate optimism. Blue is powerful, protective, calming, faithful...... Or blue represents sadness and melancholy. I can feel all of those emotions with blue depending on the blue, or the day! I love blue!

The first layers were created with shades of red, followed by neutral buff and off -whites and of course, blues! As the oil paint and wax started to dry, I used a metal comb and made line work over the entire surface. After turning it every which way, I decided it was too busy, so next I began whittling some shapes with my palette knife, and either scraping back or adding more paint. Lastly, I added some carved lines to further define some shapes, while leaving a good portion of the original marks made with the comb. I like the texture made with the comb but think it would be better suited to a large painting.

My Blue Place
Oil and Wax on Panel

Day 9 of 30 - Sept 9

Robin Williams was such an amazing character. He made people laugh, listen and think!. A wise, comical, cynical and cunningly truthful guy, loved by many. This is one of his lines that I really like.

You're only given one little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it.

In this painting, I gave myself permission to experiment wildly with no plan. I have no idea what came first. It has so many layers it may need two hangers to support it! I tied it back together in the end with the main colors. But knowing there could be more beneath intrigues and taunts me. 

I have another quote I like because at times it reminds me of so many people I know, and ok, I admit, myself as well!

Your crazy is showing.  You might want to tuck that back in.
Author Unknown

So between these two, "the spark of madness" and "tucking that crazy back in", there is a fine line of balance in both life and painting! If I tuck that crazy back in, I can create a ho hum painting, which can be OK if that is my intent. Serene, calm, peaceful. Or could I go crazy? I want to experiment with that spark of madness! I mustn't lose it!

Spark of Madness
12" x 12"
Oil and Wax on Cradled Panel