Saturday, March 30, 2013

"Emerging Spring"

(unavailable.....6" x 6".....experimental piece)

"Spring emerges from the thaw." Of course this quote is not applicable to Austin in terms of having snow and ice. I took some liberties because of the background I was experimenting with. It is true, though, in other parts of the country. Thank you God for planting me in Texas!

This is a pouring medium piece deconstructed with a sander and gesso. If you have some pouring medium pieces you are not particularly fond of, this is a way to change it into something else. First, you must adhere your piece to a gessobord or clayboard or masonite. It needs to be on a hard surface and dried over night. (Do not try to sand it immediately after adhering to the board or you will have a "hot mess" on your hands.)

The following morning you can sand the piece with an electric sander and rough sand paper. It will take a lot of sanding to take off some of the detail in the pour because the color is all the way through and not just on top of the paper. You will not be able to get it to the lightness you see in this posting just by sanding. 

The next stage is to apply gesso in thin layers with a sponge brush and then dip the brush in water and keep brushing the piece. The gesso will be dilute and very "sloppy". Hold it up and let it drip onto a paper plate or other surface and then dry with a hair dryer. You will repeat this process several times until you are satisfied with amount of pouring medium being revealed. 

In the last gesso application, I kept it undiluted and pushed it around with a credit card to get the more solid areas of white. Dry completely and spray with Acrylic Coating and then prepare for lettering or leave as is. Part of my experimentation was with the values of the lettering. I wrote in several places with pencil...followed by gray gouache...and then the actual quote was written with Moon Palace Sumi Ink. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Friday, March 29, 2013

"It Is Finished" (Part 2 - Final)

($450.00.....Mixed Media and Kiln Formed Glass....Mounted on a 2" depth Clayboard)

"It is finished." (John 19: 30) Of course, this is what Jesus uttered on the cross after drinking the wine vinegar. It's a day of remembering.

Several who follow my blog have shown interest in seeing the process in stages, followed by the final. So what you are seeing today is the second half of the piece and then the piece in totality. It is a progression. As you can see, the crosses are three different sizes from small to large measuring 3"....4"....and 5" width respectively. I also used the negative space of the cross to show the turquoise glass in two parts, then three parts, and then, the whole.

It is the equivalent of a visual crescendo in much the same way a piece of music goes from soft to loud. When dealing with a single "motif" in a piece, this is an effective way to make it more interesting. The same type of effect can also be achieved with gradated values by going from light to dark or dark to light. Having a crescendo and decrescendo side by side is also effective and introduces more complexity into your piece.

One last thing to notice is the crescendo effect in the lettering. I wrote "It is finished" with a very light gray gouache (Ult. Bl + Burnt Sienna + White) and a Speedball C-5 nib. I sprayed that with Acrylic Coating. Prepared the surface for lettering again and wrote it a bit darker and slightly overlapping the first lettering.  Followed the same steps and wrote it with Moon Palace Ink.

The advantage to fixing each layer is that you can wipe off a letter you don't like and not disturb the surface underneath. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"It Is Finished" (Part I - Final)

(12" x 36".....Image of the First Half of Piece....Mixed Media and Kiln Formed Glass)

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ." (Romans 3: 23, 24...NIV) The lettering finally got finished so this is Part I again and Part II will be posted tomorrow.

This piece and the details of a very large exhibit installation are why I haven't posted the last two days. It is a spectacular exhibit and I hope all of you can come to an Opening Reception for "Fully Alive" at Hill Country Bible Church of Austin. We have postponed the Opening until Friday, April 12, in lieu of other special services this week end.

This piece was quite complicated with many different components that needed to come together in order to make it work. Several weeks ago, I began to fire glass to see how it would look and then I completed the final firings last week.

I then needed to cut balsa wood and then sand and prime it with white gesso. The support was painted, wire attached, label on back so I did not need to turn it over after beginning the placement of all of the elements.

The next step was to adhere passages from Romans from a very old bible that had the gold tabs for each book. Some of those pieces are under the glass and intermingled under some of the rice paper throughout. I was also careful to place the text around key areas where I knew it would show on the sides. It is a very interesting edge when done that way.

And, of course, the text under the main glass pieces contain the heading from the book of Romans and other key passages that contribute to the main message of the piece. After all of that was done, the pieces were adhered to the board, and weighted down with books and rocks for several hours.

More plain rice paper was applied to partially cover some of the seams between the balsa wood and adjust the values to only show what I wanted to show of the text and mono printed rice papers. The lettering was the last detail.

And that is the way it works in the world of mixed media and kiln formed glass.....lots of steps! And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Monday, March 25, 2013

"It Is Finished" (Part I)

($450.00.....12" x 36"......Mixed Media and Kiln Formed Glass on a 2" depth Clayboard)

"It is finished." This is part of the text and the title of the piece. You are seeing the first half of a 12" x 36" piece. There is one more larger cross and one more smaller piece of glass with mixed media in between. You will see the actual lettering on the piece tomorrow although there is some pencil lettering in this first part.

There are significant things to learn when exploring new processes. And frankly, exploration is quite necessary in order to set yourself apart and establish a clear voice. Even while working on this piece after several practice runs on smaller ones, I have though of even more variations on this theme. So if you wonder why many artists like to work in a series or stay with a particular set of techniques for a long time, it is to discover everything that can be discovered until the well runs dry.

One of the things I've really noticed about my own personal aesthetic is that I love any materials that allow me to show transparency, translucency, and opacity and contrast all three in the same piece. Transparent glass is the premium material for transparency, but rice paper is the premium material for showing translucency. Depending on how many layers you apply, rice paper can reveal anything from a little to nothing. And that's what the process here is all about. 

I've carefully chosen what I want to reveal or conceal. There may be even more adjustments before tomorrow. For the most part, the piece is finished, all but the lettering, but I am opting to save that until early in the morning. It is ready to hang since all elements are adhered to the board, and the sides were painted and the wire and label were put on before adhering things to the board. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about. 

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

"White As Snow" (Final)

(unavailable......12" x 12....Mixed Media and Kiln Formed Glass on a 1.50" depth Clayboard)

"Though your sins be as scarlet, they can be whiter than snow." (Isaiah 1:18..NCV) I have placed the last draft from yesterday along with the final piece so those of you who are into these types of processes can see what a difference values make.

In the final piece, I removed all of the elements and painted the support with white gesso (2x). I also adhered quite a few plain pieces of rice paper...even covering part of the seams where the balsa wood pieces come together. This added a bit more continuity and gives the look of a continuous background that immediately shifts the focus to the glass pieces and the black lettering. 

While I have been working on this, I have also been working on a larger piece with the same images and color of glass. Believe me, it is much easier to work out all of these issues on a smaller work. The larger piece has now become much easier to create. 

Many of you have been in some of my mixed media classes, so I definitely wanted you to peek into my studio and watch the progression vicariously. Hope it gives you a clearer picture of how new ideas unfold and come to life.  The key is to start small and gradually go larger.  And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Friday, March 22, 2013

"White As Snow" (Draft 2)

(unavailable.....12" x 12".....Mixed Media and Glass on Balsa Wood attached to a 1.50" depth Clayboard)

"Though your sins be as scarlet, they can be as white as snow." (Isaiah 1:18 NCV) Just in case you think I am posting the same thing everyday, this is the completed background of a 12 x 12. The only thing missing is the lettering. So what I have been doing is showing you the piece as a progression. Tomorrow will be the last posting on this one....I promise.

As I said yesterday, I am actually compiling the elements of two pieces at once. There will be a 12 x 36 of the same type. Actually, I am glad I did this 12 x 12 first because I noticed some things....even after posting. Since none of the pieces are adhered to the board yet, I will remove them and paint the board that has no rice paper with white gesso. You can now see the black gesso and I'm have come to the conclusion that there is too much going on. My preference (I think) will be to tone down the background even more with white peeking through and allowing the glass elements to really take center stage.

In the larger piece, I will have  minimal elements showing through from the board underneath the glass. The power of this type of work is to keep the colors neutral and reveal only bits and pieces of texture and lettering. What I did like about my collage papers today is that there are enough of them to create an encaustic effect. The plain rice paper adhered over text or mono printing looks like it's covering it all up...until you spray it with Spray Acrylic Coating. That causes the rice paper to become translucent and consequently reveals part of the text or texture underneath. (Much in the same way that encaustic wax does when poured over an image.) 

Another thing I decided last night was to fire some of the transparent turquoise glass to create some more spots of color throughout the piece. It probably wasn't absolutely necessary on this piece but it will be necessary on the larger one.

One more thing for those who are creating assemblages or pieces with adhered elements on the is very wise to install your screw eyes and wire and information on the back before you attach everything. The advantage (especially when you're down to the wire) is that you will have no worry about elements getting damaged or no time to have adhesive dry sufficiently). And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

"White As Snow" (draft)

(unavailable....6" x 6".....Cropped Portion of a Larger Piece)

"Though your sins be as scarlet, they can be as white as snow." (Isaiah 1:18 NCV) This is a cropped portion of yet another 12" x 12" piece for an Easter Exhibit. The meaning of the cross is spelled out in this passage with a comparison that even a child can understand. (The complete piece will be posted tomorrow.)

The interesting thing about working with mono printed rice papers, old book pages, and plain rice paper is the ability to adjust the values as you create the piece. Some of the sections in this cropped version might change a bit before I finish. 

This piece also represents a culmination of mixed media techniques I have been experimenting with in smaller versions. Even this piece is the precursor for another one that is 12" x 36". I am using the same materials in both pieces and have been working on the elements for both simultaneously. 

The raised areas are pieces of balsa wood painted with white gesso and then wrapped in mono printed papers, text, and plain rice paper. There will also be several smaller pieces of the solid transparent turquoise glass fitted inbetween the balsa wood pieces like a puzzle. The idea is to use more of the mono printed papers (all neutral colors) than the text pages. To create continuity, I also hand cut a zig zag stamp which appears randomly in the mono printed papers and is also etched into the glass paint before firing. 

This type of a repeat is a unifying factor and provides rhythm in the piece. The take away from all of this is an insight into process. There are many steps to completing a piece of artwork and working smaller first is an important step. And every piece is a learning process in which many decisions have to be made. So take a deep breath and work methodically and consistently to accomplish your goals whether it is in art or some other area. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Come To The Feast"

($150.00......12" x 12"....Acrylics on 300 lb. HP....Mounted on a 1.50" depth Clayboard)

"The table of the Lord is set with flowers and food. Come to the feast!" This is a 12" x 12" acrylic painting created for the Easter Exhibit. This quote was based on a parable from Luke 14. You might want to check it out for all of the details.

Today I am convinced that artists must have the patience of Job! Trying to wait on acrylic paint to dry is like watching water boil. It simply takes forever...especially when done with a palette knife. Between the hair dryer and a fan, I finally finished this piece. 

You may remember seeing the draft several days ago. The very abstract flowers are a bit more defined and I also made a title change. The thing that kept me going on this piece is the amount of texture and very simple shapes and division of space. The black centers keep your eye moving from one area to another. The blue flowers make one continuous shape and touch three sides of the design space. The two white flowers also touch all four sides.  To have a dynamic painting, the major shapes should touch at least two sides of the design space.

I kept the lettering light and airy to match the mood of the piece. But I must say that writing on this surface was no easy task! If you could see the original, you would see how textural it really is, and it didn't help that with my first try, I thought the paint was dry, but discovered it was still wet underneath. 

If my time constraints weren't so tight, it would definitely have been better to let it dry for a day or two before lettering. Lesson learned! And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Ninguna Condenacion" (Part 2 of 2)

($350.00....Two Companion 8" x 8" pieces...Pouring Medium on 300 lb. HP....Mounted on a 2" depth Clayboard)

"There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1) This is the second part of the piece posted yesterday. It will be in an upcoming Easter Exhibit called "Fully Alive". The Opening Reception will be on Friday, April 12th.

In any kind of artwork there is an element of fear. It almost sounds like an oxymoron because most of us love to create art. So it seems a bit ironic that there are times when we have fear and trepidation about going to the studio and getting to work. The underlying reason is that nagging internal critic that tells us we cannot possibly create what we have in hearts to create. And the fear of failing can be so strong that it is more comfortable and easier to not even start.

The reason I know these things is because I've read and personally experienced  them and I have talked to enough artists and ask enough questions to get down to the bottom line of why their work never gets done. There are some other reasons that come into play besides fear.

I have noticed that when I teach something that requires paying close attention to details and practicing techniques until they're mastered, that some in the class are quite disappointed. The initial excitement gives way to the realization that success might not come after one session of class. Indeed it won't!

Art is a process and each step needs to be savored and enjoyed. The truth of the matter is that we have all learned more from our successes than our failures, so if something doesn't work out, chalk it up to experience learned, make some notes (literally) and then carry on. Be intentional about doing your work and not giving into fear. Once you get started, you'll be just fine. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, March 18, 2013

"Ninguna Condenacion" (Part 1 of 2)

($350.00......Two Companion 8" x 8" pieces.....Pouring Medium on 300 lb HP...mounted on 2.00" depth clayboard)

"There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1) This piece is the final of the first in a pair of 8"x 8" pieces for "Fully Alive" upcoming Easter Exhibit. The second piece will actually have the full text from this passage.

Today's piece was scanned rather than photographed and you can clearly see by comparing the two postings (draft from yesterday and today) that the scanned image is much brighter and clearer and looks like the original. So any time you have the choice between scanning and photographing, remember that scanning is always the best option. 

Even if you don't blog, but simply want a record of your work, this is the best option. And just an FYI if the piece is larger, Kinko's is able to scan your original artwork on a larger copier. I have had 12 x 12's scanned there for around $5.00 and the image is crystal clear. It is best not to depend on your iphoto album unless you have everything backed up because once the image is gone and the piece has been sold, your are out of luck.

I have been very bad about not doing a better job of curating my own work, so my goal this year is to keep better track of my pieces and where they go. Believe me, you will not remember where it went a year or so from now!

Scanning is also much better for lettering and other fine details. Even if your piece is too large to make a scanned image, try to scan at least key portions of the details as well as a photograph of the larger work. It is always good to have a visual record of YOUR work since your next piece begins where the last one left off. It is your work that tells you the most about who you are as an artist and to notice your own habitual marks and the pieces you've created that actually bring a smile to your face.

Those moments of enjoying your work should be savored and cherished as gifts to be shared and a vision to be expanded. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"Ninguna Condenacion" (Draft)

(draft only)

"There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1) This is a draft of Part I of "Ninguna Condenacion" (means "no condemnation" in Spanish). I am giving you a sneak preview of the first of two companion pieces for an upcoming Easter Exhibit at Hill Country Bible Church NW.

Process is so important and most people enjoy "peeking" into someone's else's process and thought patterns. So you can see (if you look closely) that I have not completed the second word of Roman Versals...condenacion. The process here involved writing the same phrase in Spanish and English in the background with a Speedball C-5 nib and White Bleedproof Gouache (Winsor Newton). As I have said before, this brand does not crystallize like Dr. Martin's brand so it has become my favorite and is available at Jerry's or Asel's Art Supply here in Austin.

You might remember that I did this same combination of lettering styles in a smaller posting earlier last week in preparation for this larger piece. So after the background expressive lettering was completed, I sprayed the surface with Spray Acrylic Coating (3x)....drying in between. I then left it overnight to dry. (This same process could have been done with line work, gestural marks, or drawings rather than lettering.) 

This morning I prepared the surface for lettering again with (2) parts water to (1) part gel matte medium and then practiced versals. I wrote the final letters on tracing paper with a black pen and laid it over the background lettering to make sure I was getting the optimal overlay. I then placed another sheet of tracing paper with a scribbled area of a 3B graphite pencil underneath the tracing paper with the letters and rewrote the monoline romans to transfer it to the surface. You could also use Saral Transfer Paper or Graphite Paper, but it leaves a heavy line and smudges that then have to be removed. My experience has been that it is far better to make your own transfer paper than use the commercial kind. You can also use white or any color of watercolor pencil to create a different color transfer. Using a very sharp pencil will also ensure a thinner line and less chance of smudges. 

The techniques I have just explained can help you create several layers of lettering or other types of imagery simply by spraying the surface (3x) and then preparing the surface to receive more line work. You are essentially creating a new surface with the previous layer completely protected. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

"Abundance" (unfinished)

(unfinished piece....acrylics on 300 lb. HP)

"I have come that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance." (Amplified Version) This piece does not yet have the scripture inclusion because it is not finished. This is acrylic with a very heavy application with a palette knife and now needs a day or two to dry. I will post the finished piece sometime next week.

It is often quite nice to see the progression of work rather than the finished piece. Because time is of the essence, this works for me this particular week since an Easter Exhibit is right around the corner. However, the past several postings of gestural writing and versals will come into play again as I come closer to the finish line. 

Nothing shows that art is a process like seeing things in steps. It is very instructive to take photographs of your work in progress so as not to forget how you actually did the piece (6) months from now. I guarantee you will not remember what you did unless you record the process with your digital camera and also save actual cropped off piece of the actual paint with notes.  

This is a 12" x 12" painted on 300 lb. HP with acrylic paint and a palette knife. It is simply too late in the game to do oils which have such a long drying and curing process...especially if you paint heavier and with a palette knife. However, for any of you on my art team who have waited to the last hour to work in oils, you will need to go get some Krylon Quick Dry for oil paints and spray your piece every day all this next week with a fan blowing on it 24/7. The Quick Dry allows the painting to continue to dry through the layering of spray.

Since my primary artistic voice includes gestural marks and lettering, the acrylic paint will give me a better opportunity to include any kind of lettering with pen, ink or gouache that I want by preparing the surface for lettering after the acrylic paint has dried. The "take away" from today is to photograph or record your process if you truly want to gain ground with every piece. The quote...."A picture is worth a thousand words."....hold very true in this process of creating art. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Friday, March 15, 2013

"Rest vs. Unbelief"

($60.00......6" x 6"....Mixed Media on 140 HP.....Mounted on a 1.50" depth Clayboard)

"Rest is the opposite of unbelief." This is the essence of the message from Hebrews 4. As you have noticed, I am rather stuck on this particular passage for an upcoming exhibit. It goes to the heart of what it means to be "Fully Alive" as a Christ follower, so bear with me as I complete my work. I am now ready for the larger works.

The challenge of this piece was enormous and why I am so late posting today. The background of pouring medium was very dark, but did have the association of looking like marbled paper so I decided to go with it, in spite of the complexity of making it look integrated with the text pages. 

In this case, I needed the text pages, otherwise the lettering would not have been easy to read. So by dividing the space into contrasting sizes of horizontal bands and by including another bit of text in the largest band, I was able to give significant weight to both types of bands.

It also helped to bring some mono printed rice paper into the bottom section, which gives the illusion that a portion of the large colored band was peeking through. This is otherwise referred to as an "echo" which is one of the keys to good integration. I also did some deconstruction to create erratic edges, a sense of timelessness, and providing more echoes of the text where the area was a bit static.

If you like this type of mixed media work and you are not a lettering artist, you might want to introduce some erratic marks / lines with a pencil or charcoal pencil. Pencil, of course, will be a lot more subtle. The important thing is not to introduce elements in the work that don't appear to go together. Text pages go with this type of background because of the association historically of marbled papers and books.

Also notice how other mixed media artists combine different elements. Being able to analyze and figure that out will go a long way in understanding design. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

"Mi Reposo"

($60.00......6" x 6"......Pouring Medium.....Mounted on a 1.50" depth Clayboard)

"Stop striving and enter His rest." This is a paraphrase from Hebrews 4:13. It will be submitted for an upcoming Easter Exhibit. "Entraran mi reposo" is Spanish for "Enter my rest."

In this piece, I pumped up the volume in the lettering by combining gestural writing, Roman Versals, and Spencerian Script. There are many people who want lettering to be extremely readable, but I love expressive and gestural writing as well, so this is an illustration of how they can be combined to satisfy my artistic voice and also satisfy the average person who thinks all lettering should be readable. 

This is a pouring medium background from my stash. I am preparing to write on two similar surfaces in an 8" x 8" size so this piece was a precursor to the larger ones. I did the expressive background lettering with a pointed pen. (The surface had been prepared for lettering with (2) parts water to (1) part Gel Matte Medium with (3) applications.) After this lettering was dried, I sprayed it (2x) with Spray Acrylic Coating and prepared it for lettering again.

Next came the Roman Versals, written on tracing paper so I could position it over the expressive lettering. I then transferred it to the piece by scribbling on another sheet of tracing paper with a 3B pencil and slipping it beneath the tracing paper with the lettering and rewriting to transfer it to the piece. The Versals were written with a pointed pen. The one line of Spencerian Script was written last. 

So this is how I prepare to do lettering on larger works. Doing them in a smaller format is the ticket and also gives me another completed piece. The piece is now ready to be sprayed again with Spray Acrylic Coating (3x) and then mounted on a 1.50" depth Ampersand Clayboard. After the sides are painted black, the entire piece will be sprayed one last time with Golden Spray Varnish for Acrylics. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"At Rest"

(unavailable.....4" x 6".....Practice Piece....Pouring Med. on 140 lb. HP .....mounted on Gator Board)

"Enter God's rest through prayer and meditation." Lettering is on my agenda today so this is a practice piece with very casual Roman Versals.

This scrap of a pouring medium piece provided an excellent background for a bit of lettering in preparation for a pair of 8" x 8" pieces for an upcoming exhibit. I like to practice for about three days in advance, especially if I haven't written these letters in awhile. So all of my lists and notes about anything will be in Roman Versals for a few days now. 

In the meantime, mixed media is still going on with more glass in the kiln, carving a hand cut stamp, and cutting more balsa wood. And so this is how it goes when preparing for an exhibit. It is similar to weaving and adding different colors of yarn and even changing the pattern a bit.

So the blog is just another way of establishing a rhythm of practice that goes on and on in spite of any other things going on. My desire to work early in the morning keeps me engaged on a daily basis and is the equivalent of practicing my scales so I can play a Mozart Sonata with some degree of proficiency. 

It does become a bit "dicey" when there are several skill levels in play at the same time, so my advice is to add new techniques to your repertoire cautiously and NEVER right before an exhibit. You could end up pulling your hair out and vowing never to create anything again. So be kind to yourself and don't try to learn and combine new things two weeks before pieces are due.

Let me reiterate again, that if you want to become proficient at anything, you must find a strategy that gets you into your studio everyday. Trying to create one perfect piece is a "setup" for failure. It is far better to create as many smaller pieces as you can and then you will have the experience and confidence to work on the larger piece. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"The Motif"

(unavailable....6" x 6" Experimental Piece.....Mixed Media and Kiln Formed Glass Mounted on a 1.50" depth Board)

"Values are the motif in art and life." A motif is a salient feature of a particular thing. In the case of my quote today, values are the salient feature of a piece of artwork or a life. Without values, neither has the right foundation.

Values are the "sneakiest" of all of the design elements. I haven't quite figured out why that is except for the fact that most artists (including me) get caught up in the focal point, the colors, the line work and all of the other elements first because they are more obvious. However, it is the contrasting values that make the hugh difference.  Without value contrasts, there is essentially no piece of speak of.

The most common error I've seen in my own work and in others is not having the darks dark enough or the lights light enough. So when you're working on something and can't seem to figure out what the problem is, always, always, always check the values. If you can't seem to tell what the values really are, then make a black and white copy of your piece and you will see it immediately.

Without the dark values, the piece will be weakened considerably. That's exactly what I was experimenting with today. Doing yet one more experiment in order to more clearly define my values in a larger work I am presently creating. I can see very clearly from my experiment today, that I will be very selective where I place text pages and may choose to paint the balsa wood white rather than black. And then use mono printed rice papers to create the "tone on tone" look I am after. Hence, the need to do smaller works to see if things work before committing to a larger work and becoming frustrated.

So this piece is all old book pages and rice papers adhered to smaller sections of balsa wood (painted black) and then making it fit together with the two pieces of glass. So my conclusion after today is that the text needs to be used very sparingly and probably exclusively under my glass pieces and leaving the rest with a variation of neutral tones with texture created from the mono printing. 

So the process I have been sharing shows a series of steps that are quite necessary in order to create a large work. Now I have a much better idea of what the next step needs to be. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Monday, March 11, 2013

"Foundation of Freedom"

($175.00.....6" x 6"....Mixed Media & Kiln Formed Glass in a 4" width Custom Frame)

"Trust in God is the foundation of freedom." Freedom of religion is a very important freedom as seen in the Texas and United States Constitution. This is yet another piece for an upcoming exhibit. (Thanks to all of you for your well wishes and prayers last week. I am feeling better now.)

Even when I was not feeling well last week, my mind kept going over the importance of process which invariably involves practice. I've already begun working on a 12" x 36" mixed media and glass piece which would have not been possible without going through the process on smaller pieces. 

Larger works can become overwhelming and even come to a stand still without having done the ground work of "test fires" (so to speak). The piece today is a bit different than other text pages I've done because I played around with the exposed black background as a more integral part of dividing the space. I rather like it and will more than likely want to continue experimenting with the amount of black exposed and perhaps including color patterns in those areas.

And of course, this is the whole point of working small and working everyday. All of the ideas that come to mind cannot be realized in on just one large piece. By working small, the materials, techniques, and integration issues can be worked out with minimal time and expense.

So if you are not yet convinced that working small and frequently is for you, than perhaps a play date with a friend might be a consideration. And then you have a partner in crime as well as an enjoyable afternoon. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, March 4, 2013

"El Palabra"

(unavailable....4" x 6" Experimental Mixed Media Piece.....Mounted on Masonite)

"El palabra es eterno." This is Spanish for..."The Word is eternal." This is yet another experimental piece as I am preparing for a much larger piece with mixed media and kiln formed glass.

There is no better way to practice with your materials than doing a small piece. Even one per week is completely doable for most artists. It is the only habit I've developed that has increased "fluidity" in my work. In order to go to the next level, it is imperative to work with your materials until it becomes second nature. Not all pieces will be successful, but the chances are a hundred percent greater in direct proportion to the hours spent in the studio. 

For instance, I learned several things in this piece. The Bible pages I used were a bit too dark so I guarantee I will be very selective with the pages and amount of aging when working on my larger piece. The jury is also still out on this particular glass inclusion. It does replicate the background swirls to some degree, but I prefer to have it look as though it is embedded into the work by using a thicker material for the support that is the same depth of the glass.

So the point is, that even though this was not as successful as I would have liked, the value of seeing it in a completed state is instructive as I move forward to make other decisions in a larger work. This piece is a 4" x 6" which is easy to complete. Another good size with a rectangular shape is a 6" x 8". 

So even if you're not blogging every day, you might still want to consider doing several small pieces with the same elements that you plan to include in a larger work. It pays great dividends by giving you a more successful piece in the end. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

"A Gift"

($150.00....12" x 12" Experimental Piece....Water Soluble Oils on 300 lb. HP ...Mounted on a 1.50" depth Clayboard)

"Every day is a gift." It's short, it's sweet, and it's true. Enjoy each day and count it a blessing!

This is another gestural landscape, but this one is based on a reference photo taken from the second story porch of our house. Since I have been painting these types of landscapes, I have been noticing the sky a every day and even pulling off of the road to take pictures. It is utterly amazing how quickly the sky changes and how it reminds us of the expansiveness of the universe.

It is also a very natural and obvious way of learning how to divide your space. You can have the sky taking up most of the space or flip it and have the land taking up the space. Either way and all the ways in between are good lessons in space division. 

There are other ways to divide your space that every artist should be familiar with...especially if you're working in mixed media. The cruciform is the most versatile. It is nothing more than dividing the space into four quadrants. It amounts to touching the edges vertically and horizontally and unequally. In other words, you could have the vertical division line to the far left or far right and the horizontal division either very low or very high. Playing around with this format will give you all kinds of possibilities.

Whenever you find yourself in a confused and unorganized design space, thinking in terms of a particular format will go a long way in helping you out of your confusion. So just think about it. You could paint four unequal quadrants a different color if working with a cruciform format or you could have unequal horizontal bands (as in a landscape.) These are just two exciting formats that will give you a lot of mileage. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

Friday, March 1, 2013

"In Him"

($150.00....12" x 12"....Water Soluble Oils on 300 lb. HP.....Mounted on a 1.50" depth Clayboard)

"In Him we live, and move, and have our being." (Acts 17:28...Amp.) This gestural landscape piece was created to potentially be a part of the upcoming Easter Exhibit at Hill Country Bible Church NW. 

Even though I have defined these types of pieces as "gestural landscapes", they really are based on color as the focal point rather than a particular landscape. It is a great way to practice with different color combinations and the techniques involved with the palette knife. After completing well over a hundred small oil paintings, I am still learning things about palette knife applications and have now added cement trowels and other larger knives to my collection.

For instance, a large plastic trowel is great for laying down the first color. In this painting that color happened to be a pale yellow. It worked better than my smaller palette knives so I now have a better and more efficient way of laying down that first color. 

If you've never tried horizontal bands of color, you might want to step your toe in the water on this one and use whatever medium you're presently using. It could easily be done with acrylics, pouring medium, watercolor, pastels, etc. It's a great exercise in helping understand how to mix colors using a limited palette and judging what surfaces work better. Today I worked on 300 lb. HP Watercolor Paper which is a great surface for oils and palette knives. 

Another advantage is having cropping options by working larger. That option goes away by working on a pre-stretched canvas. One other thing I did differently in this piece has to do with the lettering. It was inscribed into the paint with a Speedball C-5 nib and wiped off after every stroke. The lettering at the top was done with a palette knife, turned to create the thicks and thins of the strokes. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.