I'm newly in love with the following items:
1. Molding Paste. I'm not an acrylic artist, so adding texture is new to me. In order to capture the sculpturalness of rebar in the Robert Irwin Getty Garden bougainvillea "trees," I basically took this thing the consistency of frosting and frosted the panel using a special tool.
2. Pigment. Some say it's toxic to breathe. The Italian guy I bought it from in Venice assured me I could just add water and it would magically function like totally safe paint. I add acrylic gel medium because I have zero faith that that is true. And I am very careful with it! I used a burnt red, light yellow, and dark green to capture the colors/light of my source photo, and I really love how those colors mixed.
3. Artisanal Papers. Blick (formerly Utrecht), the art store, sells these packets of artisanal paper scraps for about $3 a pop, and I pick one up almost every time I go. For this piece, I cut out leaves from one type of paper, and mulberry paper dogs to capture the bokkeh. How did I make those perfect circles with limited resources in my Airbnb? A wine cork, of course!
Can you see how I got the final piece out of this source photo?
2019 kicked off with a one-two punch of Bachelorette Party and Joshua Tree art retreat/vacation in one long weekend. I loved connecting with old friends and meeting new ones at my friend Tiara's Bachelorette in LA, andI loved how the weekend incorporated wellness in a very Tiara way. We were all introduced to Sound Bath meditation at Unplug Meditation in West Hollywood.
I have never been one to meditate. Even with a dad who used meditation techniques to great effect on my classmates and friends, my brain could never quite buy in. I couldn't believe it when my friends assumed it would be right up my alley. However, they were right! Isn't it funny how sometimes your friends see things about you that you're somehow blind to? Anyway, yes, I love meditation now. I'm obsessed. I booked a sound bath at the Integratron, which was built to contact aliens. And I'm bringing my dad.
We did our sound bath right before I drove off to the desert, and one of the visualizations was a peaceful river. This is what I envisioned during that portion of the meditation, and it's the first thing I made on my art retreat. What a cool process - I should reference this when I get stressed out.
At the end of 2018, I took a chance on some new media and ideas. Instead of working from photographs to create an abstract composition, I tried working from inside myself - only. I came up with a few themes and designs based on those, then switched my media to ink. I tried to keep my typical layered approach by experimenting with resists and brushes and printing. Ultimately, I found that the process of each piece gave me an idea for a new piece. I ended up with this Typecase block printed Audre Lorde line of poetry on spilled water and ink.
Here I wanted to create a bubble effect, so I used a gel medium resist for circles. My earlier experiments yielded awkward results, so I did use a photograph for the composition - light on water (who is surprised) - which gave me a direction for those brush strokes that keep ending up in my finished ink product. Then, I overlayed the prime design with paper.
Here I embraced the brush stroke and stuck with the overlay, but ditched the resist.
My first two attempts are above and below. Below, I ran headlong into brush stroke issues. Ultimately, using seashells to add block printing over the top more or less saved it... yes? Above, I tried to get a more fluid look by adding ink to washes. It all kinda congregated in a mass in the middle, because I didn't let each layer dry in between (as in the Audre Lorde piece). So I tried to save it with charcoal and shell printing.
I've been playing around. Also, this was tedious and took forever, but it's gorgeous. Inspired by the way the sunset hits the rocks at the beach, I played around with everything but paint. This piece is 9 x 12 on board, and I used molding paste to sculpt the rocks. I then painted them in with ink instead of paint. Then, I used various artistic papers to collage in the water, and the foam of the waves. Finally, I used leftover holographic vinyl to catch the light.
Ink is an interesting medium! I'd never really worked much with it before, aside from a few drawings with pen and ink. I used a brush for this, and I really like the saturated matte effect. This piece was no joke to put together, and I still have a lot of source material, so I'm putting together a few smaller, similar works for Jackalope in Pasadena. I can't wait to share!
Driving back from Tahoe this summer, I decided to do murals in the same general style as my mixed media watercolors. That means I'd be incorporating three different images into one work. A few weeks later I went to see the Sequoias with a friend, and am now obsessed with doing a mural-sized triptych. I'm starting with 6 x 9 watercolors - here's the first one.
Texture: The white lines in the painting are roughly inspired by the bark in this photo.
Color: I used the light hitting this tree for my color inspiration.
Form: I overlayed a to-scale Sequoia out of cut mulberry paper on top. This is the most tedious but most satisfying part! I can't wait to work large.
Mixed media to the max. One of my favorite things about the Getty Center in Los Angeles is its garden. Let that sink in a minute, if you know me. I do not like flowers. They make me sneeze. Even when I paint them, I do it in a hurry and then the entire arrangement is banished to the porch. It's the architecture and sense of space, though, that socks me in the gut in the Getty garden.
The garden architect, Robert Irwin, is (according to the tour) not a plant guy. He isn't coming at this from a horticulture perspective, but from a fine art perspective of composition - color, texture and line. His only objective in picking plants was to fit those rules. I think the garden staff has their hands full keeping it up, but it is definitely worth it, and it changes with the seasons!
One of my favorite things in the garden are the "trees" made out of rebar and capped by bougainvillea. This is where the chairs are, so they provide much-needed shade. If you sit below, look up, and squint - this is what you get.
Also, it's almost bokkeh season, so here you are. This piece is 16 x 20, but I'm making some smaller ones to sell at Jackalope Art Fair in Pasadena in November, stay tuned! Also, I got to use a champagne cork to trace the circles. (Ok, it was cava, but still, #artlifegoals.)
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.