Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Intuitive" (unavailable)


Intuitive is the opposite of preconceived. However, the more thoroughly you know something, the easier it is to be intuitive. It reminds me of a book by Malcolm Gladwell called Blink. The premise of the book is that an expert in any field can spot a counterfeit in their expertise in the blink of an eye. The same is true for design. The more you know, the more "intuitively" you will be able to make decisions in your process.

Working intuitively is also quite dependent on an individual artist's aesthetic and what they are trying to communicate. And after completing at least 170 (6 x 6's), I can guarantee you that intuitive efforts don't always turn out well! The most successful intuitive effort for me to date on this blog was posted on August 27th, and the piece is "Smudging Lines". If I could pull that off with every effort, I would be ecstatic!

There are a few things that would help facilitate this kind of success. One of the most helpful things for me is to look at all kinds of color arrangements and images that convey the mood I want to create. From there, I choose techniques that will set me in that direction. From there I respond intuitively by acting on any "hunch" that comes to mind. Most of the techniques I've learned have followed this pattern. By working intuitively, you will be surprised at how much you learned in all those workshops or exhibit experiences because they have a way of bubbling to the surface as you create.   And of course, blogging every day will really propel this process forward. Just something to think about.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Informed Practice" ($40.00)


So often the things we want to learn elude us because we don't have enough understanding to correct ourselves when practicing a new skill. Just act as though you are teaching someone else what you are trying to learn. You will soon know if you have enough understanding or if you need to go back to the teacher and ask some more questions.

I believe the "gesso man" has taken up permanent residence in my studio! This piece involves three dilute layers of gesso with color and writing in between. The flower was painted with gouache. And if I haven't mentioned it before, I have found a bleedproof white that I like better than Dr. Martin's. In Austin, Jerry's Artarama carries it and it is produced by Winsor Newton. It doesn't crystalize over time but maintains it's consistency to the end.

Another advantage of using gouache with image and lettering is that it can be removed quite easily. The flower image and white ruling pen letters running vertically on the left were diminished from a solid coverage by blotting with a damp paper towel. It almost looks like a stamped image. Just something to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Think" (sold)


School has started and teachers have prepared their materials in hopes that their students will learn. But learning does not take place simply because a teacher teaches. The student also must have a desire to learn. This quote is a take off on another quote...."You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." Learning doesn't happen by osmosis, it happens when we think and apply what we've learned.

White is a powerful color especially if it's white gesso. The ability of gesso to give as little or as much coverage as you desire makes it a powerful tool for transparent and illuminated images. This piece appears to be glowing and even more so as it is lit up on a computer screen.

I am experimenting with "veiled" effects and intensity of color. So you might see some unusual pieces as I go through this process. It has totally captivated my interest. This is a meditative process that can keep you engaged for hours.

It can be summed up in three points. First, practice applying gesso in different densities and stages using different sized segments of credit cards, shaper tools, or sponge brushes. Second, apply acrylics in very dilute layers with the same consistency as in watercolor. Third, use pens or pencils to create lines, lettering, or drawings either on blank paper or in between dried layers. Also try stamping into the wet gesso. By alternating or changing the sequence of any of these steps, you will come up with some interesting effects. Just something to try or think about.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Rest" ($60.00)

(adjusted price.....$60.00....mounted on a 1.50" depth clayboard)

Saying that rest is renewal is like an overstatement of the obvious. However, I have noticed that most people, myself included, tend to think that rest can be robbed with no consequences. The medical verdict is in. Our cells need replenishment and that only happens when we rest. Join me with a new commitment to set aside more time for rest.

As you can see, I am still experimenting a lot with gesso. In this piece, I randomly painted a very dilute portion of violet on blank paper first. Then came the gesso...also randomly applied but extending from edge to edge. Cobalt Blue and Transparent Burnt Sienna (very diluted) were then applied.

What I am particularly fond of is the illuminated effect that happens when transparent color is applied over gesso. The exciting part of this whole process is playing around with the sequence of layers. Mixing acrylics and applying them like watercolor is also part of this transparency. You will actually be able to paint over a layer and not disturb the layer underneath. Golden Fluid Acrylics are made for this type of watercolor application. Just something to try or think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Smudged Lines" (unavailable)

( the permanent collection of dee day)

Another word for "smudged" is "blurred". The overlapping of color and texture creates blurred lines which create textural beauty. In real life, smudged or blurred lines are the equivalent of making decisions that don't get you where you want to go. In truth, every decision is a "make or break" decision.

This is another gesso piece with a different application. The process began with a blank sheet of paper. In this case I began with a paper at least 2.50x the size of the cropped version. (Cropping is still the most satisfying way of achieving division of space that looks spontaneous.) Subtle divisions of space were created with pencil lines from edge to edge and a few bits of unreadable text. I then applied gesso quite randomly, making sure to leave some of the paper untouched. The gesso was allowed to dry overnight. Two Golden Acrylic colors, (Green Gold and Transparent Red Oxide) were greatly diluted with water and mixed with a palette knife on a disposable plate. With a 2" brush, the bands of color were applied and crisscrossed from edge to edge. The way the unprimed paper and gessoed areas received the paint created the transparent and ethereal look.

The color for the bowl and brown sections was created with Caran d'Ache Ink (Grand Canyon) and blotted with a kleenex. Inks are a great addition to this process because most of them are transparent and have great staining power. Very great for smudging. (The ink was purchased from Paper and Ink Arts.)

Of course, the ink is not permanent and the surface will need to be sprayed with acrylic coating, followed by dilute matte medium to prepare for writing. These are exciting techniques and worth some experimentation. Just something to think about!

Friday, August 26, 2011

"Obvious Things" (unavailable)

( the permanent collection of dee day)

Many times there are things in life that are not obvious because there seems to be a veil over our understanding. Knowledge and truth can lift that veil so that the deeper things in life can be understood. (Implies a deeply spiritual application in our understanding of God.) In this piece the veil is represented by the thin layers of gesso that allow lines and color to peek through.

There was much excitement in the air when Yves Leterme came to teach in February of this year. (It is still hard to believe that we battled an ice storm that week!) His remarkable ability in executing gestural writing plus his gesso works made an impression on all of us who attended those classes. This is a cropped portion of one of those pieces with a few additional touches.

Long before Yves came to town, I was deeply attached to graphite and pencils of every kind. (And very fanatical about how sharp pencils should be!) So my desire is to develop pieces with gesso , pencil, and imagery and make them uniquely my own. The technique of applying the gesso is not complicated. I use (3) methods of application, depending on my goal. Credit cards cut in various widths, broad edged shaper tools, and sponge brushes are my tools of choice. You can cause the gesso to "pool" along an edge or scape it off, add water to the edge to soften and blot with a kleenex for very ethereal effects.

The soft divisions of space can be created with pen and ink, pencil lines, or soft color blocks. Soft diffusion of these lines or color are then created with the overlay of gesso.   If you use water soluble media, you will need to fix that layer with spray acrylic before applying gesso or you can use "thinned" layers of acrylic.  This technique is very conducive to the inclusion of drawing or small painted images within the piece. It is a meditative process of working which you might like to try. Just something to do or think about.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Lines" ($40.00)

(adjusted price......$40.00)

Lines are part of art and life. They are the shorthand for defining form and every object has form. In fact, everything occupying space has form and each artist has a unique interpretation of what they see. What are you observing today?

This is a contemporary piece with very strong contrasts. The most obvious contrast is the white, black, and red color combination. There is also a hugh contrast between hard and soft edges. Different textures are present as well. The overlapping black lines created with a stamp and the expressive lettering and imagery from the paste paper are playing off of each other. Finally, the horizontal bands are different sizes, creating yet another contrast.

When creating an abstract piece based on design principles, it is always prudent to think about contrasts. Just consider including the opposite of what is present in the first layer. It can be a bit "scary", but remember, it's only paper, canvas, or whatever else you're working on. Experimenting with contrasts will give you courage. In this piece there is contrast of line, direction, color, value, texture, shape and size. Just something to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Fertile Ground" (sold)


In today's culture of social networking and tech devices as close as your pocket...a state of silence must be planned with intention. It is so worth the effort as it provides fertile ground for inspiring thoughts, actions, and prayer. Plan for silence in your life today.

The first layers of this piece were created with walnut ink and water soluble oil paint. I resurrected it from my archives, knowing that at some point, I had written a quote in Spanish that included the word silencio (silence). So here it is with a new line of lettering. The basic format (division of space) was created with horizontal bands going from edge to edge. The band at the bottom was created with a commercial stamp used in an unconventional way. I first mixed some walnut crystals with enough water to resemble melted ice cream. (The crystals produce a richer color than the premixed kind.) By brushing this ink on the stamp and applying it to dry paper repeatedly, some very interesting texture appeared. Dry this with a hair dryer, spray with acrylic coating, and then stamp again with white water soluble oil paint or Speedball printing ink. The technique involves using a brayer on a smooth surface to roll out the paint and then brayer onto the stamp. This process creates wonderful layers with elements of the stamp appearing throughout the texture. You can also remove parts of the white stamping with a damp paper towel to give it a "less contrived" look. Just something to think about.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"The Shade Tree" (sold)


If you are blessed to have a large tree either in your yard or surrounding area, then you can appreciate its significance. Perhaps you've noticed how quickly all of the parking places near a tree get "snapped up" as we continue to endure the Texas heat. Trees are good!

The primary appeal of the tree in this piece is the transparent watercolor plus a "wet into wet" application. The soft blurring of color is a great contrast to the hard edges of the tree's outline. The contrast in color was "bumped up" in the lettering and the dark areas of the foliage with the addition of Perylene Violet Gouache (WN). Violet is a split complement of green which gives a more subtle contrast than a direct complement.

Shapes and division of space are always present in my thinking process. By extending the tree from top to bottom and choosing a tree with interesting branching, I was able to mimic the same shapes that were present in the first layer of paste paper. Extending lettering, shapes, and imagery from edge to edge is so much more exciting than placing everything in the center. And that is something to really think about!

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Caliente" (unavailable)

( the permanent collection of dee day)

This particular color combination is fresh and exciting because it's a new twist on an old favorite. Red and green are the two most recognized complementaries on the color wheel. What you see here is a derivative of this classic favorite. Enjoy this "colorist" piece and these "hot" (caliente) colors!

As I have mentioned numerous times on my blog, most of my pieces, after the first month of blogging, begin with paste paper. (Recipes of this paste can be found if you google "paste paper".) After making your paste, the next step is to mix some of the paste with a portion of acrylic paint or any other water media or powdered pigments. I use Golden Acrylics with an ocassional tube of Liquitex. The advantage of paste paper are the textures that can be created in the paste before it dries.

The "hot" red in this piece was created with Napthol Red, Cadmium Orange, and a bit of Raw Umber and White. The green was created with Green Gold plus a bit of Raw Umber and White. If you also want some of the olive green, just add more Raw Umber and leave the white out. Color is an exciting thing to experiment with and playing around with it by referring to a color wheel is a great first step.

The gestural writing was written with Perylene Violet Gouache (WN). It's an excellent choice rather than always going for black or brown, especially when using a "hot" combination like this. Just something to think about.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"The Gate"

This is a (12" x 12") piece created for the Open Doors Gallery at Hill Country Bible Church NW in Austin, Texas. The passage is from the gospel of John. The gate is Jesus Christ and the contemporary translation is from The Message. Double click to read the passage and be blessed today.

These larger works always give me an opportunity to develop my concept more completely.
The background was developed from a spontaneously created first layer to establish an ethereal and timeless mood. Consequently, white gesso entered the process but only after the background was painted, sealed, and prepared to receive the lettering and soft edged patches of white. (Refer to earlier postings for surface preparation.) Notice that the white is emphasized more in all four corners. The capital "I" representing the person of Christ was my focal point with the lettering so I created the most ornate and flourished letter that could be found in all of the exemplars of spencerian in my library.

Even though there is a lot going on in the background, the division of space is still quite pronounced. I have come to fully understand how important shapes are, even in an abstract piece. They ground the piece and deserve careful attention. Just something to think about.

This piece will not be listed on ebay. Any interest should be directed to me by leaving a comment or sending me an e-mail. (Only my 6" x 6" work has a ten day listing on ebay.)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Unforgettable Moments" (Sold)


Shared experiences with a friend are often the memories we savor over time. These are the friends who share and regard conversations as a sacred trust. Savor those memories. They are a blessing from God and food for your soul.

Those of you who follow my blog already know that chairs are one of my favorite contemporary icons. They imply a human presence so that you can imagine your own dear friend or loved one sitting across from you.

There is a subtle division of space in this piece found in the raw umber tones that cross the piece from edge to edge with the chairs helping to form the shape and connection. The chairs, of course, were painted with gouache and then soft pastel was brushed on by scraping it off onto a disposable plate first. The hake brush or old blush brush will provide the best application.

The soft ray of diagonal color certainly helped me to determine where to place those chairs as well as the direction of the square. The rectangular shape in the upper right quadrant was created with white gouache and the corner of a credit card. All of these design decisions begin with something. Remember that any cropped portion of a discarded piece can be your beginning. Just something to think about.

(All pieces with an adjusted price must be purchased through the artist.  New pieces are listed on e-bay for (10) days before having a price adjustment.  Contact me by leaving a comment or via e-mail.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

"The Chandelier" ($40.00)

(adjusted price......$40.00)

All spaces in any style look more opulent with a chandelier. There is something fascinating about the form, the detail, and most of all...the light. Enjoy the form of your chandelier whether it's simple or ornate.

The first layer of this piece has a very busy background, but it has an elegance by virtue of the "grayed down" color palette.

The best way to integrate an image into a busy setting is to create a solid color silhouette. It also helps to choose an image that has interesting form or detail. The choice of white also gave it a regal look.  If I had made it a black, lime green, or cadmium scarlett chandelier, the effect would have been totally different.

Notice also that the addition of the white dots and placement of the quote helped me to design my corners. I also added some charcoal powder to the vertical gray band to help ground the piece. Just a few things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Cowhide and Cactus" (unavailable)

( the permanent collection of dee day)

Those of you who have traveled very far in Texas have seen this "duo" time and time again. Frankly, I don't know how one state can have so much Prickly Pear cactus, but I love it! It's part of our persona. Pause today and thank God you live in Texas! (...and if you don't we love you anyway!)

This piece is a combination of acrylics, oils, and gouache. The paste paper background was the first layer and set the placement, tone, and texture of the piece. The second layer was the cactus...painted in oils "en plein air" on our property. The third layer was the cowhide...painted on a gesso base with gouache. And finally, the lettering was written with gouache.

The final piece was sprayed with a Krylon Archival Varnish intended for oils and acrylics and after the oil paint was dry. This is important because you cannot use a spray acrylic coating on top of oil paint. Notice also the division of space. That is the loveliest part of this composition and it just happened by reacting to the space divisions created in the cropping of the paste paper. Just something to think about.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"A Vessel" ($30.00)

(adjusted price.....$30.00)

The quote today is like an "over the top" statement of the obvious. However, knowing that we all have different qualities does not make us happy. What gives us peace and contentment about who we are is accepting that we each have a set of God given qualities that make us unique. By keeping your eyes focused on your own "running lane" can have joy in knowing your vessel is unique to you and only you can be all that you were created to be. You're unique!

This piece is a strong graphic. The contrasts are strong and all the edges are hard. It's in your face! If you are making a poster or trying to communicate a message that needs to be noticed and read...this is the technique for such an occasion. Black and white ( or almost white) plus one or two other colors works every time it's tried.

In other cases, you might want the lettering to be a lot more subtle. I often do. It all depends on what you want the viewer to notice first and how close you want them to be to your piece before reading it. In some cases, you might not want it to be read at all!

The technique of painting these pots was simple. The texture was initially over the entire space. All I needed to do was paint the negative space around each one and add shading around the opening. It's fun to try and most silhouette shapes will work. Just something to think about and perhaps try.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Beautiful Forms" ($60.00)

(adjusted price.....$60.00.....mounted on a 1.50" depth clayboard)

The design and pattern of growth in plant life, especially tropical plants, has always inspired me visually. Be inspired today by stopping to notice the beautiful forms radiating from floral and tropical plants.

When the artist chooses to allow the image to consume the design space, there is no place for the lettering to go except to march right over the image.

In this case, that poses a problem because the plant was painted with gouache. For that reason, the piece was sprayed with Krylon Acrylic Spray Coating. Even though that seals the gouache, it also creates a resist. The surface is prepared to receive the bleedproof white by applying a layer of diluted Gel Matte Medium. (two parts water to one part medium....mixed with a palette knife) You will still experience the surface repelling this layer, so you must brush...dry with hair dryer...brush...dry with hair dryer and eventually the heat will cause it to attach. I also dropped a couple of drops of gum arabic into the gouache to give me a thin hairline.

Just something to think about if you want to write over gouache. (Even Acryl Gouache will not give you a writing surface as good as this.)

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Thoughts" (sold)


Thoughts enter and exit our minds at an accelerated rate each and every day. The wise person will gather up the good ones and throw the rest away. Gather up the thoughts that are positive....the ones that move you forward in life.

Today's piece leaves no middle ground for the viewer. You will either love it or hate it. What can I say! It simply evolved. And I do have days like that where I simply don't want to do things in a conventional way.

I did try to think about shapes and color as the elements that would unify the craziness. Otherwise, I just followed my instincts. You could call it a "jazz" or "improvisational" process. I will admit that I'm partial to the combination of turquoise green and lime green together.

The one new thing that is not present in any other (6" x 6") is the imprint of letters into dried gesso with metal stamps. It gives the look and feel of letter press. Also notice that every corner is strikingly different. Try your hand at this "funky" improvisational process. It's really quite satisfying.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"Threshold" ($40.00)

(adjusted price......$40.00)

Prayer is a holy activity that anyone can access immediately. The visual of stepping over a threshold brings the point home. If you want to know God...pray.

This doorway and the steps leading up to it appear to be floating in the air. Details were omitted that would have given context to the doorway. The "floating doorway" gives credence to the quote because the threshold that is crossed is obviously in the mind.

Anytime I want to focus on the ethereal, white seems to enter the process. So after painting the doorway, I sprayed the piece with Krylon Acrylic Coating to seal the gouache. With the help of white gesso and a 1.50" broad edged shaper tool, I was able to apply the gesso and take it off in areas to achieve the desired effect. The corner of a discarded credit card was used to inscribe gestural marks into the gesso. Rubbing alcohol and a stiff brush will remove any gesso or acrylic paint to create more texture. Just something to think about and experiment with.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Paradise" (unavailable)


So often we think a planned trip to a "cool" place is paradise. (In this Texas heat wave, that's probably true!)  But a deeper truth is realizing that any place where mind and body can relax is called paradise. This thought gives a new appreciation for that favorite chair, patio, or porch setting where you enjoy relaxing on a daily basis.

There are numerous ways to portray an image or establish a mood. An artist has the option of going completely abstract or completely real or some combination of the two. I enjoy bouncing back and forth with different combinations of the two. It could actually be said that even a photograph is abstract because the viewer is seeing a flattened image of what they would see if they had the opportunity to view the real thing.

In this piece, there were lovely textures in the background. The decision to let the greens and blues represent trees and water was an easy one. And even though the lawn chair image looks real, there are only two values represented...actual hue and slightly darker hue. A more realistic image would have midtones, direct light, reflected light, etc.

This piece makes the case for gouache if you want a solid matte coverage of color. It is the best choice. Even acrylics and oils will not give you this kind of coverage with one coat. This is also the reason why it is the best choice for lettering. If you have not used gouache (opaque watercolor) for lettering, there is a simple way to achieve the right proportion of water. Mix enough water to achieve the consistency of melted ice cream. You might also want to add a drop of gum arabic. Test it by writing with it. If it doesn't flow from the pen, add more water. If it's too thin, add more gouache. Try painting and writing with gouache on a regular basis and you will soon see for yourself what a treasure it is.

Winsor Newton Gouache is reliable and can be found in most art stores. However, M. Graham & Co. makes a superior gouache. It must be ordered from Paper & Ink Arts (

Friday, August 12, 2011

"Drawing" ($30.00)

(adjusted price.....$30.00)

Even if you don't consider yourself an artist, you might be surprised if you simply picked up a pencil and paper. Just look at an object and act as though you are tracing it. I've never experienced an activity that shoves me to the right side of my brain more completely. So next time you feel "blocked" creatively, just start drawing!

There are many types of drawing. Some drawings are perfectly rendered and require much time and effort. There is another type of drawing that is done quickly with gestural strokes and not lifting your pencil or charcoal from the paper. The type of drawing I prefer to do is probably more in the realm of sketching. It is extremely edited and even plays around a bit with distortion.

In this piece, my reference photo was an antique store in a small Texas town. If your eyes were closed for more than 10 seconds, you would miss seeing the town entirely! Just looking at the photo and thinking about drawing it made me tired. There was an overwhelming amount of detail. So I decided to do what Alan Cober does when he draws. (One of my favorite illustrators.) He just omits the things he doesn't want to draw. What a concept! It's called editing. We can all forget that we are the artist and we can choose what to include. The "drawing police" will not give us a citation if we fail to include every detail, for heaven's sake! And if the drawing isn't perfect...that's even better.

It becomes even more expressive if you draw on an abstract background or a few smudges on the paper. This whole expressive process becomes even more addictive when you create your drawing with a pointed pen and play with the quality of the lines. That's exactly what I did in this piece and it was completely satisfying. I even created the lettering with a very "nonchalant" attitude. Sometimes, perfect lettering has to go! You will know when you're through as soon as the drawing is convincing. (You can tell what it represents.)

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

" A Clear Mind" (sold)


It is very frustrating and difficult to be in a "creative flow" when there is too much clutter in the work space and things are not where they're supposed to be. The organizational "gurus" in the world have figured out that if our desk or work space is cluttered, then so is our mind. That is precisely why the anitque drafting table in this piece has been cleared of everything. It was done to drive home the truth of this thought. Obviously, a desk or table needs minimal items on it, but when there is so much "stuff" you can't find anything, it's time to clear the surface which in turn will also clear your mind.

When creating this piece, I did not want too many elements cluttering the space. (pun intended!) So the only way to keep it from causing the viewer's eyes to glaze over was to position the table to create some diagonal lines. It also created a lot of interest in one of the corners. The diagonals in the legs of the table also created more interesting shapes.

Depth, especially in an abstract piece, is not only created by lines, but also by layering. The vertical band on the right began with ruling pen and burnt sienna lettering. It was too prominent so out came the diluted white gesso. I applied it with a sponge brush in thin layers until I achieved the right level of transparency. The pencil lettering was written on top of that, but it was still not right until I smudged some umber and burnt sienna over it with my fingers. So goes the process of layering. If I had not placed that vertical band in the piece, the directional lines of the table would have taken my eyes out of the piece entirely. Just something to think about when designing your piece.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"A Signature" (unavailable)


Most of the time a signature refers to the written name of a person. However, there is a broader definition that refers to a distinctive action or characteristic of a person's style. For instance, if you see enough of one artist's work, you can immediately tell that it was done by that artist. Each artist has their habitual marks or arrangement of elements, or techniques that visually describe who they are. None of us can run away from our signature. It is who we are!

I actually created this background some time ago, but never could write a quote that seemed to fit. The "aha" moment for me was realizing that the gestural marks in the background reminded me of someone's signature. Better yet, I had made a gestural mark with a brush, the corner of a credit card, and a pointed shaper tool. I also used a credit card to incise some lines in the paper while it was wet. This does add some energy, especially when they are inscribed at an angle or veer off in a different direction.

The inkwell is from my personal collection and I'm particularly fond of the shape. You might not be able to pick up the subtle nuance of the dark values in the pen, bottle, and shadows, but they are not black. I mixed up Ult. Blue, Winsor Violet, and a bit of Burnt Sienna (in gouache) to create a color that looks like black. It is a livelier color combination with the yellow green background because yellow and purple are complements. It is one of those details that can make a huge difference, especially in the original.

As always, these comments might spark your imagination to try a few new things or just give you something to think about.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Deadline" ($30.00)

(adjusted price......$30.00)

Isn't it amazing how quickly our thinking and actions change when there is a deadline? There is nothing that galvanizes our thoughts and increases our focus when we know something is due in short order. Embrace your deadlines. They're a good thing!

Creating a piece based on geometric forms is not much different from creating a piece that gives a nod to realistic imagery. All artwork is based on a compilation of shapes.

The irregular striped pattern was made more interesting by adding blue to the brilliant orange and black. The edges were softened with water and a sponge brush. Because blue is the direct complement to orange, the combination and soft edges created a highly charged surface. The only problem was too many vertical lines. The curved line in the upper left hand corner was already in the paste paper design. By stamping and repeating that curve in the lower right corner, the vertical lines were broken up and contained.

Try your own experiments by creating an abstract piece with geometric forms. Very exciting!

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, August 8, 2011

"Anchored" ($60.00)

(adjusted price....$60.00.....mounted on a 1.50" depth clayboard)

Everyone has a routine. By thoughtfully planning and improving a daily routine, anyone can move their dreams forward. It's the routine that firmly anchors us to the habits that make our dreams come true. Enjoy your routine today!

Abstraction in artwork gives the viewer the "essence" of a concept. In this piece, the overall mood and feeling is reminiscent of the coast. The colors, texture, and division of space are the elements that create the "beach" feeling. It wasn't necessary to paint the waves crashing on the shore or having sea gulls realistically painted in the sky.

These are actually my favorite type of paintings to create because of the mystery involved. The repetition of the vertical lines not only reminds me of the picket fences I've seen at the beach but echoes the concept of a daily routine...something happening over and over again.

Abstraction is a fun and exhilarating way to explore the elements and principles of design. Everything does not need to be rendered precisely. Think about the "essence" of any subject and it will open up many creative doors for you.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"Salient Periods" ($40.00)

(adjusted price......$40.00)

Salient is an unusual word that most of us don't use very often. It means prominent, conspicuous or most noticeable. There are places that mark the salient periods of my life. How about you?

Line drawings are very expressive, especially if they are not done perfectly, which is the very thing that makes children's artwork so compelling. Most of the time they are referred to as contour drawings. It is an excellent way to learn how to draw. (Include just enough details to make it convincing.)

This drawing was created using a pointed pen and raw umber gouache over a background with watercolor effects. The placement of the drawing was positioned in a way to create shapes that connect and extend from edge to edge. By using some of the background color to write lettering in opposing corners, I have created interest and variety in all four corners. Designing the corners keeps the viewer's eye within the piece.

It is not the most dynamic piece I've created but it is far superior than having a line drawing on a blank sheet of paper. You might find it very fulfilling to create drawings over less successful pieces. It might bring them to life again. Just something to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

"A Long Stem Rose" ($40.00)

(adjusted price.....$40.00)

Fellowship is defined as companionship or sharing as well as having a common interest. Having fellowship with a friend is like receiving a long stem rose. Especially wonderful is having a friend who is a soul mate and seems to be traveling the same road. That, my friend, is a treasure!

Maintaining the viewer's interest in a piece without going into visual overload is a delicate balancing act. If there are too few design elements, boredom sets in. On the other hand, if there are too many elements, confusion and a sense of chaos occurs.

The "g" in the background is a case in point. I think it works because it was created while the paste was wet and is completed "wedded" to the background. If the "g" had been written after the fact, it would have appeared contrived and out of place. It also provided some curved lines to contrast with the straight verticals. The rose also provided curves as well as a color contrast.

Once again, the initial process of creating spontaneous texture has to do with the technique chosen. Trying to do it directly with everything figured out in advance is not the best way to achieve spontaneity. Monoprinting, enlarging an image so much that it becomes unrecognizable, and cropping are other options besides paste paper. This is a perfect day to try your hand at spontaneous texture. Keep it as unplanned and fun as possible.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Friday, August 5, 2011

"Lemons" (sold)


To our surprise, the ornamental lemon tree by our back door produced these lemons last fall. So of course I wanted to paint them and that old familiar quote came to mind..."When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." This is my version.

The lemons were painted with gouache. They seem to pop right off of the page because the red orange background is a direct complement to the green leaves. Many interesting effects can be achieved by realizing that every color transition creates an edge. By stopping the branch where the yellow in the background begins creates a feeling that the branch is behind the yellow and emerged out of nowhere.

So the color scheme is actually two for the price of one. Not only is there a direct complement...there is an analagous color scheme as well. (Three or four colors used that are next to each other on the color wheel.) In this case, they are red, orange, yellow, and green. All of the basic color information is on color wheels that can be purchased at any art store. Seeing a piece and having it explained is another way to see whether or not you might like to try a particular color arrangement yourself. Try it for yourself. You might come up with something totally surprising.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"A Duet" (unavailable)


The two characteristics that seem to consistently describe a successful person are determination and discipline. Some people are born with more determination than others, but more often than not, both qualities must be given careful thought and practice. The "carrot" to motivate us to to develop these qualities is achievement. Just something to think about.

Sometimes when creating paste paper, I get sudden urges to do things to create more interesting textures. I especially like to create texture that doesn't look contrived. After applying my paste on this piece, I created some italic letters with a broad edged shaper tool. As I hung the piece to dry, I decided to spray that area with water...followed quickly by placing a trash bag on the floor! The texture turned out incredibly well and I have new technique under my belt.

The point in sharing this is that you might want to try this yourself, but more importantly, don't be afraid to follow your "gut instinct" and experiment by doing whatever comes to mind. After all, it's not life's only paper!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Palm Trees" (unavailable)

( the permanent collection of Dee Day) 

Visual symbols that help remind us of an important truth are great, especially if the symbol is something we see everyday. That's what I'm doing each day...selecting a contemporary icon to reveal an inspiring or humorous quote. I grew up in the Rio Grande Valley (southern tip of Texas), so palm trees are one of my favorite icons.

The palm tree was painted in oils over a paste paper background using acrylic paint. The palm tree branches were deliberately painted to the edge to create more shapes in unequal sizes. I have been playing around with oils "en plein air" (painting outside) in a very loose impressionistic style. It's fun and challenging simultaneously.

For my lettering artist friends, moon palace ink (diluted with water and a drop of gum arabic) was used for the quote. As you can see, it performs beautifully over dried oil paint. For the stamp in the lower rt. corner, I used Speedball Printing Ink (water soluble). Brayer a bit of ink over a glass or smooth surface....then brayer the stamp...stamp the image. This is truly a mixed media piece!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Waiting" (sold)


No one likes the process of waiting for something. However, the attitude of remaining patient rather than complaining, is the soil in which patience grows. Especially be patient with yourself while striving to reach your goals. Remember that good things come to those who wait!

The idea in this piece was to create shapes and edges that seem to drift off into eternity. That was my way of translating "waiting". It often does seem like an eternity before dreams come true. Also, remember the importance of edges. Soft edges are ethereal, especially when combined with similar values in the color transitions. These soft edges only occur when working "wet into wet". Using diluted color even with the lettering also sustains the desired effect. Think how differently this would have looked had the lettering been done in black. It would have ruined the "slow motion" effect of the mood. Even the feather has subtle value changes from the background. The white specks were created by scraping white soft pastel on the paper and pressing down with a palette knife.

The mood of a piece is so important. Visual communication is all about one message coming through loud and clear. Confusion occurs when the artist tries to communicate too much in the same piece. Just something to think about.

Monday, August 1, 2011

"In The Weeds" (sold)


Many days of Texas heat have scorched much plant life...even the weeds! But I have noticed that even with the scarcity of rain, the wild yucca plants remain green amidst the brown weeds. It serves as a visual reminder that there is beauty even when life throws you in the weeds. (Thanks to my many friends who have shown their concern and offered their prayers during this month of recovery. Jim is progressing nicely as he eases back into a normal schedule.)

The month of July was a chance for me to rethink my process a bit and share those thoughts with you.

I discovered that more creative thought and less stress occurs if I view each week as a collection. So instead of working on one piece and one posting at a time, I now write quotes, choose images, and backgrounds for a week. By taking a loose leaf notebook and filling it with sheet protector pages (purchased at any office supply), I place a black sheet of cover stock in each sheet protector and then place all of my backgrounds in the sleeves. The quotes are then placed with the selected background and then I am able to work on different aspects of all seven pieces. It also enables me to go anywhere with my notebook to have a "think" session. Another advantage of working this way is that the energy from one piece carries over to the others, creating a chain reaction. It's worth a try, even if you are simply working on two or three pieces.