Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weeks 4 and 5 at the Studio

The last two weeks have been really busy with paper writing and research but low and behold, I head for the studio again today. This and last week I worked a lot on my paper for my Fellowship at Princeton of which the draft is due in about 6 days. More than half is written and more to come. On Thursday I go to school to talk to another focus group...maybe two. My research topic is about students attending college who are wired and linked but lack skills and/or confidence when using a computer for school work and yes, this is a reality to some degree. So, I have spent a lot time reading, tallying, and assessing surveys to students and faculty. I am so incredibly grateful to those who are filling out the surveys so maybe at some level we can help our students even more who have these barriers or at the least understand that this problem is "out there" in an age when technology is so wide spread.

I have also been working on my Uncreative Writing class projects. I am taking the class with Kenny Goldsmith who is a primary editor and founder of The class is a roller coaster ride. We go off the topic and into other topics especially in the area of conceptual, abstract and non-objective art. We look at the intricacies of language as it exists, is used, borrowed and placed both in context and out of context. My last assignment was to place my borrowed saying on the land. Let me share with you the slide show and turn on your speakers. (Frankly, as a creative person, it is pretty damn hard to be uncreative.)

For PC users:

For MAC Users:

What better way to do this than to explore Marshall McLuhan? There are other static pieces I have created with digital tools such as one about health care and a tribute to Joseph Cornell which I will collate into an efolio.

With that being said and a lot of really snowy days (and I love the snow but c'mon now), I have focused on priming panels and settling on a imprimatura. My painting panels are from Cheap Joe's Art Stuff and they are actually cheap and are really archival. They are smooth tung wood which is cradled on nicely mitered supports. Very neat indeed. I will double prime these with gesso and I have the badge to prove it as I dropped the open container of gesso on Wednesday and got sprayed all over my black pants. Now I have a pair of pants that show the badge of being an artist and will now accompany me to get additional marks and badges as I work.

With making small paintings on different colored grounds (the imprimitura), I think I have finally settled on a ground. The burnt sienna looks red and washy and the raw sienna looks better but the blues and cool colors don't glow as much. Compromise is certainly needed. So, I have put on a coat of raw sienna first and burnt sienna second. Voila! They glow now! But, longing for collage, I plan on ordering larger panels and collaging and working the surface much more like my older shadow boxes but with no shadow.

Also, I have two prints in the current show at the Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts show Marks and Remarks and I will post them. One is called Backlit John (below~my husband with a guitar) and the other is my brother in law Tom (at top of blog). Both are midnight blue ink on Rives BFK paper.

Soon I will have access to a press again and am talking to a local art center about offering a monotype workshop in the fall. Stay tuned. Also, I applied for Associate Membership through the Riverfront and after going through the jurying process I am happy to say, it was a success.
In spite of the weather, I return to the studio today. I hope this week affords me some good studio time and I love the snow but hopefully, we are nearly into spring so I can get outside and do some plein air works! More to come next week!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Week 3 in the Studio

Well this week has been really interesting. The weather really forced me to use my studio time wisely and to paint fast. A few days ago I decided to begin a painting based on a photograph. I had already made a sketch some time ago so this painting was ripe for a subject in oils. The imprimatura was ochre (a raw sienna scumble) and the paint was applied very quickly and thick, of course, in the lighter parts. The transparent purple/blues of the shadows on the foot paths seemed a bit lost. This first layer was done with Liquin. I decided that the second layer would be Liquin Fine Detail Medium.

Fortunately it snowed allowing the painting to dry for a few days and then I could pick up again with the small panel. The application of Liquin Fine Detail mixed into the paint went well. I managed to keep it from getting too runny. It took about 2 hours to finish the painting but mind you, these panels are very small. What I also did was purposely try to infuse additional colors into the darks and pay close attention to the variations of green. (Green, for me, is the MOST challenging color.)

If you look closely there are some moments of cobalt violet (a delicious color put out by Old Holland) and cadmium red. These colors were not in the original reference which was pretty straightforward and not too terribly interesting.

I think generally the painting worked out pretty well. I lost some detail due to the "flowy" quality of the medium but that is something I will have to master. I then decided to do a quick study using only Liquin Fine Detail Medium. This proved to be quite a challenge as the medium settles and follows gravity as its consistency is that of a thin syrup.

The paint was very, very soft but that is okay. It seemed like due to its fluidity it wanted to be caressed, moved, softened and worked nicely against the imprimatura of the burnt sienna applied to the panel. Hmmmm, I wonder if I figured out (sort of) how Vermeer did it.

My friend Jay in the studio next to me loaned me a book of essays called the Mystery of the Rectangle and in that they explore Vermeer's work. Very telling! Also, some video Podcasts that I downloaded from the National Gallery show close-ups of his work and there are NO hard edges! Amazing. So, I continue to look at the Master and wonder at his craft.

I hope the snow does not interfere next week as I will be attempting to complete at least one watercolor and prime a few panels for more explorations of oil painting. Stay tuned! More to come. Also, I will begin to write the most important parts of my paper for my Princeton Fellowship. I am sure it will be a very busy week. But, the quiet time is in the studio and the oils smell good!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Week 2 in the Studio

This week in the studio I continued my exploration of different painting medium and ground colors. I produced two more small still life paintings again, working in oil and trying to paint more quickly. One of my goals is to reduce the number of layers to do a modified direct painting (direct painting with perhaps an additional layer or two). For those who don't know my older process of oil painting, I would work up 3 layers in a limited palette in acrylic and then do several successive layers in oil. My medium of choice was Liquin and my support was primed museum board with an imprimatura of raw sienna.

This week's first painting, Lemon with Blue Pinch Pot, (above) was created using a cradled tung board primed with gesso and a burnt sienna ground. This painting was a challenge as the pinch pot was very uneven and shiny. The reflections of the lemon were somewhat greenish on the surface. I forced the background to be very, very dark by mixing blue and black on the sienna ground. I purposely softened some edges.

When I returned to the studio I was not satisfied with it so I added some more color and thinned it with Fine Detail Liquin. This seemed to work very well. The Liquin Fine Detail Medium will run if you use too much so it has to be relatively dense with paint but will still create a nice glaze. So, essentially this painting was 2 layers. Not bad! I reduced my usual 8-10 layers down to 2!

I really like the cradled tung wood panels made by Cheap Joe's Art Stuff. They have a smooth, fine surface and sit nicely on the easel. So, using the same panels I did another still life painting...this time of two walnuts and an apple. It is called Diamond (below).

This image is created using only Liquin Fine Detail Medium. The panel is primed and then an acrylic imprimatura of raw sienna is applied and must dry at least one day before applying oils. (I have found that color glows on both raw and burnt sienna and I do not, as a rule, ever paint on white.) This painting went fairly quickly. I softened some of the edges with my fingers. What surprised me most was the walnuts were not nearly as difficult to paint as I thought they would be. However, the apple presented quite a challenge with all of the nuances in its reflective surface.
Next week in the studio I will have a lot more time to paint and will also be priming panels. I plan on finishing two watercolors, a modified direct oil painting of a landscape from a photo using Liquin Fine Detail Medium and making another small still life this time trying Dorland's wax medium. (I am actually fearful of this as I have never used it but we shall see if I like it.) So, stay tuned!