You've followed me through every awkward phase of my painting and blogging journey, dear reader (well, I'm sure there will be more of those yet) Now get ready for the awkwardness of my baby giraffe-like video legs. Thanks in advance for your patience as I learn editing software, camera settings and all the things!
Here's a video in three parts. With each one the stopping point was a 24-hour pause where I spent time pondering the painting and sneaking up on it during different lighting and from various angles. In this piece, on a piece of plywood my niece previously painted and then donated to my pile of paint-overs, tools used include brushes, rubber wedge, squeegee, deli paper, paper towel and fingers. Charcoal and acrylic paint, liberal use of water. Underpainting in fluorescent orange.
As I ponder my own tumultuous year, I find myself stronger, more courageous, more open and also more prone to tears, softer and quieter - I catch my breath at the breadth and depth of this year's journey. We are still. here, - you and I, dear reader. Still wild, still wonder-filled, still digging for courage.
And here's a little taste of what's been percolating in the studio in preparation for the first auction of 2021 at Artistic Souls Gallery! Click on the link to head over to their Facebook page and join in the fun!
It's funny what you might stumble upon while hiking in the gorge. Including this tangled root web, which dazzled me and also tested my crampon-enhanced boots with slick bark and mud. I joked, in the moment, that the advertisement for said crampons might read "Prevents slipping on snow, ice, mud and rock. Will not prevent tripping. " Ha!
And then I stumbled upon this poet, Louis MacNeice, while tumbling down the rabbit hole of googling poetry. And voila! An Irish poet (and an outsider, no less) I hadn't heard of and now delight in. And as the tree becomes a talking tower, perhaps this woman can become - not just woman - but world.
About the art: Beginning with an image from a recent hike and a piece of unprimed, repurposed plywood...drawing with charcoal coming in with layers of paint and moving it around with whatever tools my hands can grab. Fighting the very heavily=grained plywood for several layers, then surrendering to the texture and allowing it to dominate the painting. It is, after all, a painting of trees and roots and wood. Which, in its abstracted form, very well could be a talking tower.
Thanks so much for the responses to our READER GIVEAWAY wish list request! Wonder Mike, after much grumbling and stretching, left his cozy spot on the sofa to choose a winner - congratulations Lisa G! An original painting is coming your way!
On the day of Winter Solstice, we can breathe with a delicious sigh, knowing the days will begin to lengthen and the world will warm. Perhaps a silly thought, with January and February still firmly in our sights, yet it makes me smile. We've come this far. And now, the turning point.
In the meantime, the windy, dark and snowy gorge beckons. I am slowly mastering the art of the right layers, the best pace, the seeing eyes. My hiking companion points out how challenging it is to keep our attention on the surroundings when descending - the mind wants wander to everyday things when the downhill easy stride begins. Even in this place of exquisite beauty, there is monkey mind. Oy.
With 2021 approaching, I want to go FISHING! That is, cast a wide net for feedback on what YOU, dear reader, want to see more of (or less of) in this blog in the New Year. More how to? Less philosophy? Video? More appearances by Wonder Mike? More abstracts? More whimsy? Less of everything except PIE? All comments are welcome!
Now's your chance to get SUPER OPINIONATED and GET REWARDED!
Leave a comment below with YOUR wishlist for malarkey central! Wonder Mike will pick a winner at random to receive piece of original art FREE! And thank you SO much for your help. xo
I listen to the trees and think of the humans of the world. We, too, groan in the winds of change - pandemic, news, fear, loss, loneliness. We are reluctant to embrace this thing, and who can blame us? But we must, it seems, "go down past things coming up" for a little while longer. I hold in my one hand the fact that I desire spring, warmth and companionship without worry. In my other hand, I hold the knowledge that it won't be today. In a recent interview with Brene Brown, Barack Obama spoke of the ability to hold opposing truths and to function in that place of discomfort as a sign of strength and resilience.
As 2020 goes "down into the dark decayed", I wish for you (and for me, dear reader) the ability to hold opposing truths as comfortably as you can. And perhaps a lovely, warm slice of pie. Whatever flavor is your favorite. :)
About the art: using the same technique as "Blowing Like Shadows", this piece was created with a strong underpainting and then masking with painter's tape before the final layers of color. I was so immersed in the process that I neglected to get pics along the way....so you will have to.use your "imaJENnation" !!!
About the art: beginning with a repurposed wood panel (I think part of a wardrobe door perhaps?) and throwing layers of paint on it. The goal was to build interesting colors, texture and varying lines and patterns. I got pretty wild with the color for a sec! But knowing I wanted a night scene, I toned it down a wee bit. Using a circle-shaped board, I coated it with thick paint in neutral moon-tones and pressed it into the layers to keep it spotty but round. Then hours of tearing painter's tape (the torn edges make everything more organic) and rolling it down firmly with a brayer. A fast coat of glaze, sprayed with a water bottle while partly cured and then toweled back in places. Let the paint dry, pull off the tape and VOILA! A final coat of clear spray added to protect the colored pencil markings within the paint.
I jest, but only lightly.
These many hikes deep into the gorge, even standing at the top of a mountain gobsmacked by the views, I contemplate what it means about me. It is human nature, I think, to examine everything in relation to ourselves and our own lives. Initially, the mountain meant I was getting stronger, my spine was healing, my willingness to be cold, wet, muddy, tired, hungry and uncomfortable was growing. These are all good things, but still, all about me.
After a while, the hikes became an exercise in how long two (or more) humans can slog through extreme conditions over many miles and still enjoy each other's company, or tolerate silence, or maintain conversation. (The answer is: it's easy if you're of like minds) But it still wasn't about the mountain.
But recently, on hike with extreme wind and some challenging mud and cold, it became more about the mountain. The mountain and its unyieldingly treacherous face. The mountain and its stony, jagged skin and sinewy fingers at its windswept summit. The mountain and its voice in burbling streams and thundering waterfalls. The mountain and its behemoth body, both sheltering from wind and blocking the warmth of the sun.
Perhaps I am, finally, learning...
About the art: the end of a hike found me in Hood River exploring a small gallery in which there were a number of charcoal drawings on bare wood. Intrigued, I had to run to the studio and grab the charcoal and a wood panel. I added a limited palette of acrylic paint to the base drawing with a palette knife, fingers and a paper towel. Once dry, the entire piece was sprayed with a sealer to protect the exposed charcoal. I really like the effect, so will be exploring this again.
On a recent hike, thinking I would love to create art with a piece of charcoal from the gorge, I attempted to remove a small piece of charred wood from tree after tree. Each of these had been reduced to blackened hulls. Yet they were harder than I ever imagined - unbreakable. Ultimately, I recovered a small chunk from the forest floor - a tiny piece of a branch, perhaps, that had fallen off in the fire. The trees were otherwise unwilling to part with even the tiniest piece.
In an odd way, the petrified trees have become part of the mountain...bony, pointy fingers reaching up and reminding us of the peril that exists at certain times of the year. That Mother Nature can turn her gaze upon things and, like Medusa, turn them to stone.
About the art: In this piece I returned to the compositional fundamentals I learned from studying Brian Rutenberg earlier this year, which I call V, Saddle and Border Snake. In this one, the tree crossing the diagonal stand in place of a vertical Border Snake, and I think functions well as the focal point and in providing an unusual perspective. The small hotspots of cadmium red on the two trees are the whole painting, in a way. Resist, resist I say! (to myself when I want that glorious color undiluted everywhere). They provide the perfect counterbalance to the cool Saddle of the lower portion.
In that moment of openness and looking, sometimes I can also see. See the woman inside. See the expression of that woman on the outside. See where the window between inside and outside wants thinning. Here in this space - this blog and these words, the art and its inspiration, dear reader, I move closer and ever closer to in-here and out-there sameness.
I am so grateful for you and the incredible encouragement and positivity you have given me here since the blog's inception in 2014...whoa. Wherever you are, here is a hug from me to you. xo
About the art: Taking a cue from a recent portraiture course, I created first a representational painting of the gorge from one of my hike photos, and then bravely, BOLDLY vandalized that painting with with painter's tape and fluorescent paint.
December 6-7: Artistic Souls Gallery's final art auction of the year! Featuring a mountain of malarkey and a rather loud whisper of whimsy. :). Head on over to their Facebook page to take part in what is sure to be an energetic, enthusiastic bidding extravaganza!