Category: collage

Step by step, how to rework a failed painting

Rock Garden painting
Failed painting
Failed painting

Some paintings come easy, while others require a lot of work until I’m happy with them (or I throw them out).  My painting Rock Garden was one of my more difficult pieces.  On my first try, I ended up with this version.  It had the elements of a strong composition with a clear focal point but I just didn’t like it.  It sat in my studio for the last three years but I couldn’t determine a way to “fix it”.  

In the meantime, I finished another painting River Rock that I needed a companion piece to hang with it in an upcoming show.  The only panel I had in the same size was this failed painting.

Work in progress
Work in progress

 

I needed both paintings to share the same color scheme, so I created some new collage papers to better match the companion painting’s colors.  I like to add lots of elements at first and then simplify the final painting by painting over of some of the areas.  At left is the next phase of the painting/collaging process. At this point, it’s complete chaos and is going to require a lot of editing. 

The colors still didn’t match the other painting that well and I needed to get rid of the red, the bright yellow and the ultramarine blue.  I dug up some more papers and collaged them over these colors.  Next, I picked the areas to keep and those to cover up.  I needed a strong focal point and more areas of calm.  There was a lot of overpainting to do and still more collage papers to add.  The work also needed greater contrast so I add in the light yellow and dark gray areas to expand the value range.  Below are the two final paintings, Rock Garden and River Rock.  Can you find the areas from the original painting that still shows in the finished work?  It’s a little like “Finding Waldo”! 

Rock Garden painting
Rock Garden, mixed media, 20″ x 16″
River Rock
River Rock, mixed media, 20″ x 16″

Creating a large painting from a small sketch

Construction Site painting
After developing some small paintings, I needed to figure out how to expand these ideas to fit onto bigger canvases. I initially thought it would be as simple as copying the idea onto a bigger surface.  But I’ve found that doesn’t really work.  The artwork seems flat without the original energy and inspiration that created the original small artwork and the work is too simplistic once slavishly enlarged.
While pondering this problem, I stumbled across a Robert Burridge YouTube painting video, one of his “BobBlasts”, titled “Making a small painting BIGGER!”.  He had some excellent advice including:
•  Scaling up my painting materials.  Using larger brushes, bigger buckets of water, and larger sheets of collage materials.
•  Standing up and using my whole body when I paint, not just my arms.
•  Not trying to copy the small artwork, just using it as a compositional guide.  Feeling free to add new elements and colors as I went along.

•  Stopping to take stock of where the painting was at and determining what areas need to be simplified and reined in to maintain the integrity of my original composition.

I took Bob’s advice and created the painting “Construction Site”.  It was fun and messy to make, and I manage to get paint all over myself and my studio.  I did have to go back in and calm things down a bit at the end, but I love the energy and spontaneity of the final artwork.

Working Small to Develop Big Ideas!

Small artwork sketches

I’ve been wanting to start a new collection of larger canvases for a solo show I have scheduled in April. But before jumping willy-nilly into it, I thought it would be helpful to decide the conceptual direction of the work.

Here, I created small paint sketches with slightly different ideas.  I’ve got three different themes on this paper alone (a circle look, a looser abstract style, and a tighter organic look).  Which direction do you think I should go?

I’d rather shop for paper than clothes

Beautiful, delicate rice papers

I am not a big fan of shopping. Don’t get me wrong. I love getting new clothes, yummy food from the grocery store, or pretty new earrings. But I just hate the actual going to the store, picking it out, and paying for it.  And living in New York City, that includes schlepping it home too!

But I do have one exception. I love shopping for art supplies. Even if I’m only browsing, it’s fun to see the rainbow of paint colors, try out the newest pens, and fondle the paintbrushes. But my most favorite thing to shop for is PAPER! Collage paper, drawing paper, watercolor paper, pastel paper, and more. I love them all but handmade rice paper holds a special place in my heart. It’s so delicate and comes in so many forms. I picked up these gorgeous rice papers at Blick Arts. Some of them are mulberry paper; some have gold leaf specks in them, and my favorite is the one on top of the pile with the dried leaves embedded into the paper. I’m planning on using them in a commission I’m working on. Have you ever used rice paper? What is your favorite type of paper?

What’s on your desk blotter?

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I have a beautiful wooden desk in my art studio where I work on my computer, doing sketching and more.  It’s too nice a piece to go with my paint splattered folding tables and Ikea bookshelves, but it didn’t fit in our New York apartment when we moved so I got to use it in my studio instead.

I wanted to protect the surface from scratches where I slide my computer in and out of the way, so I taped down a large piece of drawing paper in that area.  I use it to write down short notes or unconsciously doodle/stamp/stencil on it.  When one side gets full, I flip around the sheet and continue filling up the opposite side.  I looked down today for a place to add another note and realized it was completely full…no empty space available.  Obviously, it’s time for a new blotter sheet!  Maybe I’ll save this one to use in some of my collage work.  🙂

Feeling Blue?  I know just the place for you

Harbor Town

The color blue evokes serenity, spirituality, infinity.  Lay back and look at heaven.  The 5th chakra:  the throat, voice and self-expression.  Deep blues: singing, listening.  Sea and shadow.  Blue symbolizes the Virgin Mary.  Krishna has blue skin.  Fifty-three percent of the world’s flags have blue.  It’s the color most commonly used in corporate identities.  Miles Davis was kind of blue.  What kind of blue are you?

Harbor Town, mixed media on cradled panel, 32″ x 32″, $1800

This painting was inspired by the Boston Harbor which I lived near a few years ago.  The water is made from many layers of translucent mulberry paper which I painted all these wonderful shades of blue.

“BLUE” Exhibition at the Front Street Gallery

I am exhibition my painting title “Harbor Town” in the BLUE exhibition at the Front Street Gallery in Patterson, New York. The show opened on October 18 and runs through December 6.  The gallery has extended hours on October 24 & 25 as part of the ArtEast Open Studio Tour.

See a BLUE slide show at the gallery website http://frontstreetgallery.org.  Front Street Gallery is at 21 Front Street in Patterson, New York, across the street from the Metro North train Station.

Featuring Gretchen Hoffman Abene, Patrick J. Cicalo, Shelley Dell, Andrew Dines, Ken Dreyfack, Kathy Ferguson, Matt Frieburghaus, Sarah K. Gray, Nicole Hughes, Annette Jaret, Lise Kjaer, Sassoon Kosian, Galina Krasskova, Tanya Kukucka, Pamela Lambros, Hannah Raine Brenner-Leonard, Alex Lindquist, Amanda Lynne, Eugene Posolli, Karen Schaffel, Ilona Sirman, Jane Soodalter, Fran Traina, Meaghan Troup, Rosanne Walsh, Dayna Wenzel, Joann Zwolski.

The therapy of scissor work

File May 05, 3 25 18 PM

I’ve struggled to create some work for my licensing company, Wild Apple, that I think they will like.  I have sketched out and discarded a number of ideas.  Nothing seems creative enough or unique enough to stand out from the competition.  I finally realized that I’m going about it the wrong way.  Instead of trying to create something I think they will like, I should create something that I find enjoyment in making instead.  Then if the paintings don’t meet their needs, at least I had fun creating something uniquely mine.

What art technique do I find fun to do?  I’ve always loved scissor work.  By that, I mean I can sit for hours cutting out intricate shapes out of paper.  Many people might find this boring or tedious, but I think it is meditative and therapeutic.  I just finished cutting out about 200 flowers and leaves and I’ve started painting them.  I have no clear idea of where I’m going with them and how to incorporate them into my work.  I’m going to take my advice and I just play around, enjoying myself and see where it leads.

All that glitters is not gold

Nope, it’s silver!  A silver bowl to be precise.

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Sadly, I’ve reached the age where I can’t read without glasses.  I’ve bought a half a dozen pairs to have one in every room, but they all seem to end up on my bedroom nightstand instead.  This table is already cluttered with an iPad, an iPhone, and a computer as well as books, magazines and a lamp. I needed to get organized and make a place to store these glasses and their cases.  What I needed was a bowl!  I thought it would be fun to make my own.

First, I blew up a latex balloon and taped it to a glass jar so it would be easier to handle.  Then I cut up a pile of small paper rectangles out of an old math textbook and some plain newsprint.  I used the math papers first as they would make up the inside of the bowl that would be seen in the finished product.  I painted the balloon with acrylic matt medium and placed the paper on it, followed by more medium, more paper, and so on using the plain newsprint for the outer layers.  Overall, there were about 5 layers of paper.  I let it dry overnight, and then popped the balloon, peeling it off the paper bowl and cut out the top edge to even it out.

bowl one

I painted the inside of the bowl with translucent acrylic paint so I could still see the math papers.  Next, I painted the outside of the bowl with sizing and covered it with silver-leaf for some shine (because a girl can never have too much bling)!  I finished the bowl by varnishing it inside and out to seal the papers and prevent the silver from tarnishing.  What can I papier mache next?

bowls 2