The Fully Complex Scope of Being
About the art: beginning with an old painting covered in white gesso, a notanized photograph and the images of heavily sculpted paintings in my mind, thickly sketching the darks of a face in colored pencil and then adding thin layers of oil paint mixed with liquin. Using only palette knife, rubber wedge and fingers, adding thicker layers and stepping WAY back between them. Does this look like a face from 10 feet away? Yup. Ok, keep going. Resisting the urge to overly define. Resisting the urge to add colors other than my pre-selected limited palette. Letting the highlights speak. Letting the darks anchor. Walking away with a smile.
About the art: beginning (as I am in 2023) with an old painting which has been gesso'd over. In this case, the painting was also cut in half. Jumping off from a hike-inspired photo and beginning to build the layers with thin washes of oil added with a rubber wedge and draaaaaagggged hither and yon. Adding layers of thicker paint and paint mixed with cold wax with a palette knife. Dragging the paint into vertical cliffs with a rubber wedge. Carving back into the layers of paint with oil pencils and a scribbly hand. Walking away as a new Lola.
The best chance to be whole
About the art: beginning with a thickly gesso'd layer over an old painting on 300 lb arches watercolor paper. Laying in wet horizontal lines of oil paint with a rubber wedge and dragging downward and at angles, creating a rough structure of "cliff and rock" inspired by hiking photographs. Varying many neutrals, creating mud and then bringing it back to color with some brighter paint and a palette knife. Carving back into the layers with chopsticks and flat blades. Allowing paint thinner to run along some portions to create texture. The requisite 80 million layers exist in this large piece, which is, by far, my new favorite.
Wonder Mike and Lilly are falling all over themselves with excitement! They couldn't choose just one winner of the reader giveaway...they chose TWO! Leslie M and Traycee, you're the winners of a free piece of original art! Email me at email@example.com with your address, and the shipping pooches will have your treasure on the way in a jiffy. And thank you for participating!
The Escalation of a Double Dog Dare
Wonder Mike and Lilly say it's been way too long since a reader challenge was issued. So I dare you, fierce creative, to leave a comment below with something you would secretly love to be dared to try in the coming year. One commenter will be selected at random by a couple of pooches who love peanut butter and sushi. That lucky human will receive a piece of original art in the mail. Woot!
About the art: beginning with an inspiration photo from a recent hike and a painting which was previously demolished with gesso. Loosely indicating a high horizon line and leaving the rest to chance. Using only rubber wedge and paper towel, slowly adding layers of oil point in broad strokes to create a landscape. Allowing the eye to fill in the details. Carving through layers of paint with the wedge to expose previous layers. Resisting the urge to refine details. Adding a few pops of color and then walking away.
I'm lost in space again in the studio. It's an exhilarating place to be.
Fueled by our most recent read, a delightful book in the Monk and Robot series. Filled with tea-serving traveling monks, robots who live in the wild and philosophies that just leave me weeping with delight. Life as imagined on this moon world is something to be carefully sipped and savored.
What have I done this past year? I've thrown purposeful productivity to the wind in favor of a more meandering existence. I mean, I get the important things done, but maybe the most important thing is really simply existing. Just being is good enough. In fact, it's splendidly marvelous. It does result in a very random path in the studio, with no less than ten paintings in various stages of exploration. Each of them on top of a prior painting that has been recycled.
And, thanks to the insightful recommendations of reader/artist Carol E, there is a huge container of cold wax and a new book of inspirational techniques waiting to become...something. Atoms arranged in the right way, perhaps?
About the art - using the Afterlight app to insert an inspirational photo of a space helmet into a portrait reference photo, I created a jumping off point for a light pencil sketch on linen. Choosing an extremely narrow color palette and adding thinned layers of oil paint with rubber wedge, brush and fingers. Allowing dragged paint to become highlights and reflections. Wondering what the woman in the helmet is pondering.
The Power of Your Presence
In the studio, that continues to look like buckets of gesso.
Painting over old work, creating backgrounds for new. The more I paint over, the more I want to paint over. You creatives may understand this - the weight of old work. Don't get me wrong, I am proud of what I've created and shared over the years, but the feeling of old paintings around is like a dress with the tags still on it from three years ago - it's time to make room for things that SING, both in my gallery of work and in my wardrobe. :)
Most of the pieces being painted over get a little time-lapse video posted over on my instagram feed. Today's piece is painted on top of one of those gesso'd pieces. Already building the foundations of 2023. Oh yeah!
About the art: beginning with a rough portrait sketch in colored pencil and jumping off with a limited palette of colors in oils. Embracing the way oil paint moves under the rubber wedge and exposing sub-layers with it. As always, resisting the urge for perfection and allowing texture and peculiarity to emerge.
Walk OUt From Under Everything
I have a mighty will. As I imagine you do, dear reader - spirited creator, deeply feeling human that you are. A mighty will can get things done, can provide strength and endurance and tenacity and is good for triumphing against ill odds. But a mighty will will also get you taking on too much, solving problems that are not yours to fix, making things more complicated (perhaps) than they need to or should be. When your will is strong, it is hard to walk out from under anything, let alone everything.
But in facing away from and seeing other than the worries we are covered by, we have a glimpse of a sweet expansiveness - open to, available for, free from and rejoicing in the thing beyond that covering. I'm going to point my spaceship that-a-way. Wanna join?
About the art: beginning with a panel of a gesso covered old painting, a quick sketch and then layers of oil paint to create a visage. Painting over the entire thing with liquin- thinned color and pushing away the excess to leave a deeply textured surface. Using rubber wedge to carve into wet paint. Adding a paint thinner to allow some parts to run and create more exquisite texture. Adding back a few lost details with a small brush and a steady hand.
Want to see a video of the process? Head to Instagram.com/jenjovanart and check out the reel!
Building The New Empire
I don't know about you, dear reader, but I spend a lot of time ruminating and standing in the ruins. Some of the habit of rumination can be attributed to introversion, being highly sensitive, having survived trauma and abuse. But I believe a good portion of it is simply habit. My brain falls into replaying conversations, and dissecting what went wrong instead of working on building the new empire. Wiest's words are part of a larger writing which begins with this: Your new life is going to cost you your old one. Whoa.
And here we are - art imitating life, as the old paintings are obliterated by gesso and the new empire takes form on top of them. And again, whoa.
About the art: another piece emerging over top of a prior painting. Keeping to a limited palette and using mostly rubber wedge and palette knife and fingers, trying to capture mood and emotion. Resisting the urge to overly define her garment or the background, allowing the paint to move and suggest.