Festivals and New Series

September 19, 2012

Driving between Johnson City and Asheville

This past weekend was a real blast – and a real learning experience!  We had fun staying with friends, eating really horribly (and by horribly I mean awesomely fattening and delicious), and talking art with folks.  We learned that maaaaaayyyyyybe I show better (and sell better) in galleries than in outdoor shows.  However, it was still a worthwhile experience.

I’m so glad I made the notecards!  People responded more to those than the prints.  I am looking to make an Etsy page for the prints and notecards a little later on…

I was fortunate enough to be assigned a corner booth so I had another wall on which to hang my work.  It really engaged people, and I conversed with many an inspired individual.

The sales weren’t great…BUT I got picked up by another gallery (signed the contract that Sunday after the show!) called Atelier Gallery!  Maybe that was the whole reason for the trip in the first place…  It’s in a great location in downtown Asheville on the corner of Lexington and College. They are very professional and energetic and represent some great artists.  I’m excited to work with them!

Relaxing, contemplating, and planning outside at Rembrandt’s Coffeehouse

Ah, the aftermath of a show…a sweet time of contemplation, readjusting, and  looking to the future.  I took some time yesterday to think about my next few paintings.  I have been off and on reading through Isaiah and have been very inspired by the redemptive story of God disciplining and reaching out to His people.

Some of the imagery is so powerful, and the redemptive prophesies are so great, I just HAVE to explore this visually!  The book is basically laid out in three sections: 1. God’s warning and judgement on his people who have turned away from Him. 2. As a result, Israel becomes captive to the Babylonians 3. God redeems the remnant (those left after the exile)

I am really looking forward to exploring what God has to say in these passages.  There will be female figures, maybe a male figure or two, caves, canopies, smoke, lions, lambs, trees, fire, fruit, flowers, and, of course, pattern.  Can’t wait!

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Art in Autumn Show Prep

September 11, 2012

Things are starting to pile up – in a good way!

I was fortunate enough to be juried into the Art In Autumn show in Weaverville, NC this year!  Weaverville is just outside of Asheville, and puts on this great art fair every year.  I also found out I have a corner booth, which means I have an extra wall on which to hang my work!  Awesome!

I decided to make a sign to hang in the tent that matches the font on my website – which is called “Amperzand”.  I am so in love with this font that I have also made it the font to my signage that will hang under each piece.  HA!

Here is the before and after.  I had to do some serious measuring and cropping in Photoshop to make sure it would fit just right on the wooden plaque I bought at Hobby Lobby.  I primed it, sanded it, then painted the whole thing gray, then traced the font onto the wood using graphite paper, then carefully painted the lettering in a BARELY off-white grey.  I just couldn’t do pure white.  Too harsh.

Before…

After!

My notecards that I ordered came in a few days ago – time to put them together in groups of 5.

Now came the time to decide how to lay out the tent.  Did I mention this was outdoors?  Every vendor has to have a 10′ x 10′ white tent in which to display his or her work.  More photos of the actual setup on the day of…but for now…

Not QUITE to scale, but good enough

Being a visual person (DUH), it is very helpful for me to visualize the layout to make sure it all fits correctly and looks good together.  I like being able to move pieces around manually until I get everything where I want it.  We actually did something very similar for planning the layout of the wedding reception, too, and it was very helpful!

Of course, through all the craziness of this week, there is always time to play with the dog. 🙂

Patrick playing with Murphy

Fluidity

September 2, 2012

Chandelier diptych (each canvas 8 x 8”)

Several months ago after talking with my husband (still so fun saying that!) about my artwork (which is he is so supportive of, by the way!), I was saying how I wanted my work to go in a more fluid direction.  I still love pattern, and will always use it, but I find myself wanting to create more fluidity in my work and create more transparent washes of color – almost disturbing the pattern a little bit.

This has been an interesting challenge with doing mixed media, as the very nature of it lends itself to hard edges and difficult transitions.  One solution to this is creating more drawing elements.  This diptych, shown above, will eventually include a drawing of this chandelier that I will leave the pencil lines and bring out the highlights with white acrylic.

Here is another one I am working on – with architectural drawing elements and collage.

Detail of “Making It Our Own” – about 3/4 of the way done

I also just completed a new circular painting called “Alter” with these same principles in mind.  I wanted the figure to BECOME the background – as if to fade away.  The intact part that remains is the “alter” of the heart.

Another challenge with this piece was the pose.  I didn’t want it to look seductive, but rather vulnerable.  Hopefully I succeeded.  There is a vulnerability that is happening in my own life with being a newlywed, but I am also still CONSTANTLY learning to be vulnerable spiritually and not let my heart become hardened.

This piece is all paint – no drawing or collage.  As “old school” as this sounds – I still love painting the figure.  It is challenging (especially using acrylic!!) and time-consuming, but the end result is worth it.

“Alter”, acrylic on canvas, 24” diameter

New Last Name and New Beginnings

August 17, 2012

Our wedding at Covenant Presbyterian – photo by Cali Ashton Photography

As promised, things got busy, things got wonderful, and now we are married (with GREAT photos by Cali Ashton Photography!)  I can’t imagine spending my life with anyone else.  He is my best friend.  He makes me laugh til I cry.  He is a spiritual leader.  He is my love. 🙂  BUT, I digress…

I have been a busy little bee in the studio – with the help of my new studio buddy, Murphy… 🙂

Here is Murphy doing what he does best – laying down, looking cute, and most likely thinking about food.

As I mentioned in earlier posts, I have been experimenting with some new forms and cranking out some new mixed media pieces, which have been really fun and challenging.  I have been phasing out self-portraiture in my work, and the mixed media pieces have offered a nice transition into new ideas and figures.

First piece with a chandelier…which I liked a lot.

I am also getting ready for the Art in Autumn show in Weaverville, NC, which will be my first outdoor show!  This means I (well, WE) had to buy a new white 10’x 10′ tent, and mesh wall panels on which to hang my work.  This was not cheap, so we are praying for good sales!

Spode Blue Italian

I am also expecting, as I have mentioned before, to use this “nesting” time as inspiration as well – which includes but is not limited to – our new everyday china, “Blue Italian” by Spode, birdcages, candles, furniture, and so on…

Birdcages on the mantle

Also, I went to a used bookstore here in Chattanooga (that I can’t remember the name of…oops) where I bought a book on fish and another about the Rococo period – both of which I plan on using as collage elements in the mixed media pieces.  The idea of a school of fish aimlessly being tossed to and fro by the current appeals to me for some reason.

Pictures of fish I cut out

I am also about halfway through a circular painting, too, which I will post about later.  I plan on always returning to this form in some way or another.  It’s too much a part of me.  Until then…

Gallery news

June 19, 2012

Exciting news!  I am officially represented by River Gallery in Chattanooga, TN!

new mixed media pieces hanging at River Gallery

Also, there are some exciting things happening at White Stone Gallery in Philadelphia.  Stay tuned…

In progress…

June 6, 2012

Wedding planning has taken its toll on my painting time lately.  Today I FINALLY was able to squeeze in some (much) needed painting time.

A few weeks ago I ordered some 8 x 8” canvases.  I made several of these for my show at The Arts Company a few years ago and sold almost all of them.  I figured it was time to revisit these little guys.

I started on a couple of new squares, and now I am making them a diptych.  I don’t know if I will do this for all 10 that I ordered, but I will definitely do a few more.

a new unnamed diptych!

I am also working on another larger mixed media piece – 20 x 20”.  I want to eventually incorporate some architectural “ghost” structures – like I mentioned in my last post.  I have used this yellow girl in several past paintings.  There is something sad yet beautiful about her.  She originated from William Blake – who is one of my all-time favorite olddeadguy artists.

unfinished – about halfway done

Here is my pallete I have been working with lately – light purples, dark earthy greens, muted yellows and pinks, and rich blues.

messy messy 🙂

Chairs and Other Obsessions

May 25, 2012

Lately I have been STRONGLY drawn to a few different types of imagery lately – chairs, ghost images of houses, and flowers.  Well, ok – I have always been drawn to flowers…but the attraction is a lot stronger lately.

My notebook of cutout collections

It is always fascinating to me how the subconscious works itself out – if I let it.  When I am in an art-making frenzy for a show (or just in general) I always love seeing how similar motifs appear over a series.

For instance, I just recently discovered that a couple of years ago (while I was still single) I kept painting myself.  Alone.  In pretty dresses.  Not just any pretty dresses though – old BRIDESMAID’S dresses – which, at the time, were the fanciest dresses I owned – which was the original reason I chose them.

However, I was also fighting the loneliness, self-doubt, and spiritual struggles that came with me wanting to already be married, but still being single.  Looking back, I can see the struggles and triumphs that I faced as a single woman wanting to be in a different life situation, and it came out through my art.

“A Certain Place”, acrylic on canvas, 30” in diameter, 2009

I see it in the poses of the figures.  I see it in the dresses that I chose.  I see it in the color palette.  I see it in the highly patterned backgrounds juxtaposed with the realistic figure.

I am excited to see what these new obsessions – chairs, flowers, mixed media instead of straight painting, ghost images of houses – coupled with so many life changes – moving to a new city, being engaged, being married – will manifest in the coming months leading up to the wedding and beyond.

MORE CHAIRS!

I have always loved cutting things out and arranging them together.  I used to do it as more of a way to sketch out ideas for paintings, but these are starting to take me in a new direction.

I cut these out of an old botanical illustration book.

Some of these cutouts have been in my notebook for years, and I am just now using them.  I am quite the packrat when it comes to art materials, which is serving me well right now in this new phase of life and art.  Some of these images that I cut out years ago have a completely different meaning to me now.

Love the Bleeding Heart – will have to use that flower carefully.

Flowers and toile

May 18, 2012

The other day Mom and I went to Import Flowers in Nashville, and had a wonderful time looking at flowers for the wedding!

I suspect some of these flowers will start making their way into paintings soon!

Also, I HAD to show a photo of our china – Blue Italian by Spode – which actually does relate to some art that I have done in the past, but have considering bringing back some elements of…strange sentence…anyways…

Several years ago I used to buy toile fabric and wrap it around stretcher bars, and then incorporate some of the figures in with my own figures.  I think I shall try this again.

Here is one more flower pic. 🙂

AVA Show

May 11, 2012

Last Friday night the Association for the Visual Arts (AVA) opened their new show called “Micro-Analysis: A Small Works Exhibition”.

It was a juried show, and since I had several small pieces (the size restriction was no larger than 12 inches), I decided to submit three images.

This is the one that got in!

Loss of Self, mixed media on canvas, 12 x 12”

The show will be up until June 16th, so if you are in the Chattanooga area, please stop by and take a look!

The title, Loss of Self refers to those moments of spiritual rapture when your human identity is lost and your spiritual identity is found.

The Next Chapter

May 9, 2012

Well, let’s see…since I last blogged, I have moved to Chattanooga, started working at another gallery, and became engaged!

Outside the Ellington Agricultural Center – by Cali Ashton Photography

Life is moving really fast for me right now, but so is my artwork.

I have started doing mixed media pieces – in an attempt to broaden my portfolio and to go through some ideas more quickly.  Another change – all the new mixed media pieces are SQUARES.  I have worked with the square format before, but it has been a long time.  I am so used to the compositions required of circular canvases that I have had to relearn some elements about the square composition.

Cloud, mixed media on canvas, 20 x 20”

In addition to the many life changes, I feel that my artwork is going through a stylistic change as well.  Creating the mixed media pieces has allowed me the freedom and experimentation to transition to the next phase.

The piece above, Cloud, was an important piece for me to get through.  I have so much swirling around in my own head right now – wedding plans, family, Murphy (the dog), more wedding plans, friends having babies and adopting, living in a new city, taking time to hear from God, working at the gallery, building my relationship with my future husband, more wedding plans…you get the picture.  I could do a whole series of “Clouds”…maybe I will just do that…

I am excited for this next phase in life – new website, renewed blog, new art series, and new husband!

Check back often – I am going to be better at updating.