My art process. Military Life. My Cause.

Taking a Step Back

As I create, I MUST take a step back. The bigger the piece, the bigger the "step" back must be. I need to see the piece on my easel with fresh eyes. Sometimes that means I have to take it off the easel for a while in order to know what is next. So currently my BIG step back is from "The Weight of Time" and the topics I covered while working on that piece.
 I am exploring my voice. Revisiting things that I have long forgotten and other new interests that are blossoming.  Assigning myself personal challenges, to see where they take me, but most importantly, I am doing what refreshes me! In many ways color and shape help me process what words cannot. What that means for my blog is more pictures and in-process shots. More insights into the thought behind my decisions (I will explain what I can, as I discover it for myself).
I long for community with other artists, so thoughtful questions and feedback are welcome. Feel free to try out some of the techniques or offer what has worked for you. 

I bought two 36"x36" panels late summer to start experimenting with cold wax (made by Gamlin). My interest was piqued a couple years ago when visiting some artist studios in Asheville, NC.

It looks like I was loving the reds and oranges more than normal at this time…...

I have a designer friend that I enjoy working we collaborated on how to change the color scheme to work with her room. I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS TYPE OF COLLABORATING before.....interesting, but quite difficult. I like this in-process shot of it very much- but my favorite green had to go.

The last shot before I delivered this piece to add to her home office #oneroomchallenge (it is a designer thing). I hadn't heard of it before working with her.

I love her striking dark gray walls. I love having my work in her rooms. So well designed and lit. Made it SO worth going out of my comfort zone a bit (that's what friends are for, RIGHT?!).

The forgotten colored pencils..... I seem to gravitate toward bright and bold and you can see the pencils in the bottom left that are just nubs to prove it. So I got this idea, what if I limited my color palette to the ones in the top row? What will I come up with?....jury is still out. It feels almost like the challenge I had my freshman year at VCU when we did a semester of grayscale. Boy was my work BRIGHT and BOLD second semester. I think the idea was to help us focus on the basics and give us less choices. Don't worry, I am not going to start painting in gray scale, I just couldn't handle that. I also bought a NEW set for when my little muted experiment is done!

This one is my second 36" by 36" panel (since it is not recommended to use cold wax with canvas). I thought I was done with this piece....but that pink area just bothered me. As I started adding, I discovered a couple things!

I have to stick with my gut, not likes or comments on instagram. It made my #bestnine2016 and I still just wasn't thrilled. I knew I didn't want to cover it up completely because it had some good elements already. I have been using a nail with the cold wax that just seems right, not too big or small, hard enough to scratch away even older wax but easy to control. I love printmaking, so it brings me great joy that I was able to use some different methods on this piece.  I mixed the wax and tried to print on the panel from a piece of glass, but it wasn't smooth enough. In the bottom left, I was able to get these happy green dots using a small panel with excess paint. In the next method I used a large piece of paper that I had used to remove excess paint from another panel earlier that night and it was THRILLED with the results (seen in the bottom right).

A detail of what this piece looked like before all the green. As I am working with the wax, I am trying to layer high contrasting colors so when I scratch through, there will be the pop of the paint underneath. I am not sure if doing sections or having it better planned out would help me? With these last two I covered them up completely. It feels like a complete goodbye. I may try to plan my layers differently soon but the spontaneity is appealing in some regards. 

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This lovely blue and pink and green piece is now the orange piece below. I put a LOT more paint than I needed on this medium size piece. I used the small panel to remove some and attempted to create another point of interest in the piece. I not only used the nail to scratch but I have rubber scrapers to scratch and create different effects. The grid-like marks are made with the rubber, eraser-like tool. I don't always listen to music but the night I worked on the green panel (above) and the orange panel (below) music seemed more important. I was just pushing myself to go out on a limb. I feel that even though I have been painting professionally for over a decade (wow, that makes me sound old), when I introduce a new factor, I must experiment to see what needs to happen in order to find out if I really love it and if there is a good reason for me to use this "new" thing...whatever it is. Mark-making, scgraffito, printing, and finding balance between controlled elements are not new to me. Neither is letting go. But as I step back, I see though it is not "new", it has been quite a while (about 7 years) since I have been really interested in bringing all these elements into my oil paintings.