I did a mural! This was one of those serendipitous confluence situations where, on a long drive (as usual), I thought "I'll do murals." And then the next day I vocalized that I was going to do murals. And then the person I told said, "do you want to do a mural?" And here we have a portal in the new location of the Burbank boardgame store Geeky Teas.
Geeky Teas is a great place to not only purchase board games and teas, but also try out different games with your friends in their multiple themed game spaces. The portal mural is in the private game room. When I thought about a portal, A Wrinkle in Time immediately came to mind. I thought about how influential Madeleine L'Engle was on my young reader self, and I had just seen the movie. I love the marriage of science and intuition in her work (I guess that's SciFi, isn't it?), and wanted to make this a Tesseract. After googling "tesseract" I learned it's actually a geometric shape that is comparable to that paper folding game that kids do, and there are a multitude of ways to display it two-dimensionally. I chose one and threw some tumbling tesseracts into the portal.
Want to jump in? See more about how I made this on my Instagram highlights.
The trees in Zion National Park in late winter, heading into early spring, made me think of tinsel. That glint, in addition to the remarkable color of the landscape and the crazy texture of the rock faces, led me to work on a series of mixed media prints. This is the second of three planned pieces, and is available for purchase in my shop.
Texture: I started this piece off with a resist in the form of the texture of this rock face.
Color: The middle ground is a watercolor painting based on the river cutting through the red canyons of Zion.
Overlay/Line: I based my tinsel design on the top of this tree. Can you see it?
I have a new oil painting for you! I hybridized my normal abstract water series in order to try to capture this crazy washed-out (no pun intended) landscape below. I even used brushes for the entire second layer. I'm getting used to my line, gradually switching from knife to brush, and I feel like this piece should be in a children's room or book. What do you think? Does it have a place in your home? It's available here.
I'm still super excited about painting the desert. And, I found a spot without cacti. So, here is my rendering of the Joshua Tree desert scrub landscape in the middle of summer - it was over 100 degrees! The original photo sure looks it. I tried to restore some life to the painted version.
This piece is crazy busy but I do love it. I made it in an original homestead cabin in Joshua Tree, from photos I took in 100 degree heat earlier in the day. The only issue is the mulberry paper I used for the collage is so light it adds depth but it's tough to see! Darnit, I'll have to keep working with this subject matter.
Texture. I was inspired by the endless landscape of spaced trees that you can see from a slightly elevated vantage point in the park.
Color. The vibrancy of this natural landscape, despite the heat, was inspiring. I layered a cropped version of this landscape loosely interpreted with watercolors.
Collage. I like working with overexposures for these mixed media pieces, because they distill the image well. It gives me a clear idea of how my composition will work for the collage portion, and I have them printed onto photo paper so that I can trace the original image. Yes, this is in the piece, but the mulberry paper I used is quite transparent. So, it adds a nice depth but it's less of a compositional element that I had initially thought. I still think it perfectly embodies the desert in all its spirit, though.
Do you like this? It can be yours, here!
I paint with oil. But as I've been experimenting with mixed media on a small scale, primarily with watercolors, I've been introduced to acrylic gel mediums. Also, I have a bunch of pigment from Venice that I'm always looking for a project for. When I was going through my Zion National Park photos, I tried to come up with a way to capture the rock faces and minimal vegetation, and came up with this.
First, I used molding paste and a silicone tool thing that looks like it should be in a kitchen to create the lines in the rock face of the source photo. I used panel for this because I wanted something that could hold a more structural piece. Then, I mixed a drop of water with my raw Venetian pigments and went to town mixing them in with acrylic gel medium to get a paint/glaze on the surface. I had no idea how fun that would be.
I also do not trust those pigments. So I Krylon'd the whole thing with workable fixative as an extra insurance policy. I opted out of tinsel for the trees here and instead used a very light green mulberry paper to add the bushes. Finally, I used pen and ink to add in the trees. This was a very fun process! I'm looking forward to working like this more often.
I bought 1,000 pieces of silver tinsel, and this is what I did with it. A three-part 6 x 9 mixed media piece inspired by Zion National Park, which I am thrilled to send off to its new home with a dear friend. Also, I developed many lessons learned for collaging tinsel, if you ever find yourself in that situation.
Texture. The rock faces at various parts in Zion are crazy. The Earth did that. The first layer of this piece is an oil pastel resist of this rock face's texture.
Color. Zion is famous for the quality of its light. We went in February, which was a surprisingly great idea. The watercolor on this piece is inspired by this mountain river.
Collage. The most striking thing of the whole experience, to me, was how all of the trees looked like shining silver in their February nakedness. They were barely starting to bud, which added to the effect. I've been trying to figure out how to capture this since then, and, well, then came tinsel.
A few years ago, during The Great Turkey Road Trip, I collected photos of marble carvings and sculptures at early Christian sites near Roman and Greek ruins such as Heirapolis and Ephesus. The Christian church was very much in its infancy then, using architectural motifs and techniques taken from Roman temples. I found the workmanship fascinating, and also was surprised to realize that I was standing in a Turk-less Turkey. There were no Turks for the first few hundred years AD because they didn't exist yet.
Having spent time in Central Asia, where the precursors of modern Turkey hailed from, I wanted to express the overlapping demography of Turkey's history. So I marched myself down to the Grand Bazaar, found my ikat person, and bought some Central Asian silk ikats. This is a traditional style of weaving from Central Asia, which I use here to demonstrate the richness that comes from overlapping these two cultures: the Greco-Roman early Christian church, and the Seljuk settlers who arrived a few centuries later.
Landscape! This isn't abstract! Yes, sometimes I do landscapes. This one terrified me. It made me break out a calculator to calculate the difference in surface area between an 11 x 14 and a 16 x 20 because it took me so long. But I'm really pleased, even though it trends illustrative. More on that later, because I have a project up my sleeve.
This painting was part of an about six week period in which I did something that terrified me every. single. day. This was one of those things. It was a good month and a half. I had a little hiatus and it's time to get back at it because pushing the envelope is where it's at. And if it doesn't work... I may not share it here. Whatever, it's just paint, right?
(And pieces of my soul... gone forever. Right.)
Guys, I got brushes and actually used them. Bryce Canyon and I are having some moments. I'm having difficulty with the color red, so I decided to dial back the hoodoo pressure to go crazy literal with texture, and I picked a more normal-looking landscape and used lighter layers applied with brushes.
It looks illustrative to me, but I'm happy I got the color down. Now, time to be brave with texture for the next one. It's different from what I normally do, but it's trending in a direction I'm taking. What do you think?