I started this piece as a low-stakes challenge to myself to find the right Bryce color palette. I'd struck out twice before this, on larger surfaces with more grandiose plans. This time I told myself "just play with the watercolor palette and be patient with it." So, I took the three-layer approach as I did with my Yellowstone pieces, and had some fun.
Do you see the small vertical white lines all over the first photo? Those are hoodoos. They are these hoodoos, making up a crazy amphitheater. I used this composition of hoodoos to set the tone, in an oil pastel resist.
This is the middle ground of the painting. Here is where I got to know my earth tones, and exactly how much primary color I could put in them before sending the whole thing out of whack. I love these guys in the foreground. I like to imagine what they are standing around talking about.
Finally, I added this texture from the sandstone in Snow Canyon in the greyest blue mulberry paper I could find in my stash. Did you know that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was filmed here? It's an impressive place that I'm looking forward to exploring more with future pieces.
There is something about the way foothills and mountains look when they are backlit by a good sunset. I've tried painting them multiple times and just haven't been able to pull off my vision. Now that I'm exploring mixed media, I tried something different that came out exactly the way I'd hoped after an inspiring weekend in Joshua Tree.
I took this source photo of sunset in Joshua Tree, put it in 8 x 10, freehand watercolored an 8 x 10 piece of paper using what I assessed were the appropriate daylight colors for the landscape, shaded that in with charcoal, and Krylon'd the whole thing. Then came the tedious part. I traced each section of the design, relying heavily on my source photo, and chose translucent mulberry decor papers to perform the appropriate role in the appropriate space. (Fun Fact: You can get multi-packs of clippings of these fancy papers for about $3 at Blick stores.) I didn't try to match each color exactly, but I tried to ensure that the colors I chose performed the essence of what I experienced while immersed in all that blue dusk. I'm ordering prints, and they'll be for sale soon!
I'd never really spent any time in the desert until March. I do really like having trees above my head. But there is something about the starkness of the desert - what life exists really thrives! It's beautiful and stunning and unique, and each living thing is show-cased. In Joshua Tree the plant life is particularly crazy. There is an entire garden of these cholla cacti, but this one in particular, all on its own outside of the cholla garden, was the first one to impress me. And it was a lot of fun to paint!
As you can see, I took some liberty with the color as usual. If you look closely, though, you will see the purples and yellows even in the original photo. Playing with, and pushing, those lights and darks using color theory is how I'm working with oils these days. I just ordered fabric for a scarf, and can't wait to see how it turns out!
I've been diligently putting in 10 hours of creative practice per week, and nothing checks off more of those boxes of hours than carving linoleum blocks to create these designs. I made them to use with Shibori textiles, but then they were sitting around and I thought I should probably actually make art out of them. Each design is from a mosaic motif on an inner upper arch in the legendary Haghia Sophia in Istanbul. I love bringing them back to life! I am not sure where I will ultimately take this concept... but here is the start of my experimenting.
My mom had said she would love a print of these designs on a specific color peach, so I watercolored one of the colors of peach we saw in southern Utah in February. I also experimented with layering, so here is an oil pastel resist design of a motif carved into some wall in Venice. You'll notice a theme emerging.
When I was in Venice, I took a bunch of photos of every little ornamental crest or design that I found on the city's walls. I imagine they each belong to a family, and that the content of the design has something to do with the family's background. The first one has grapes. These two are leafy floral - probably grapevines again.
I combined the design from a wrought iron gate with another crest, showing leaves, under another Haghia Sophia print.
And here we have one of the lions of San Marco, usurped by Byzantine design. It's ironic, really, considering the Venetians plundered Constantinople and even their four famous horses from San Marco were actually... wait for it... Byzantine, from Constantinople's hippodrome.
It was a fun experiment, but I'm thinking of simplifying what I do with the block prints. What do you think?
I self-identify as a painter. I like the squishy-ness and forgiveness of a viscous liquid medium. Ever since I bought some pigments in Venice, though, I've been trying to figure out how to incorporate them into artwork without going full Da Vinci and mixing my own everything from scratch... Look. I walked away from Chemistry in 2002 and have not looked back. So drawing and collaging all of a sudden became way less intimidating then chemicals! And here we are. Here are some of my latest experiments. First, Bryce Canyon. No, it doesn't look like that but this fun watercolor / charcoal / pastel / paper collage mixed media piece set a good foundation for how I'm processing those canyon colors.
This piece is two-fold, I don't think it's done, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. First, I was playing around with photo transfers. I have some cool overexposures I've been trying to decide what to do with, and I figured out this technique of transferring photocopy toner onto paper using acrylic gel medium - voila! Then I watercolored over it. And now I'm not sure what to do. It needs another layer... I may have some story illustration in my future. What do you think should be happening in this picture?
I put a bunch of things together in this piece. First, before adhering three overexposed photo transfers, I put some of my Venetian pigment onto the paper and squished it in with the gel medium. Then I went to town with some pastels and conte, adding color and some Venetial motifs that I collected photos of in the streets of Venice. Clearly this was fun... it's another good foundation for taking the work in new directions. What do you think? Stay tuned for how these experiments show up in my next round of work!