It’s taken some time, but I’ve learned that creating art intuitively is the very best approach for me. Not to say that it takes less effort or discipline, but the overall process is more enjoyable! Listening to my inner art voice is usually smart. Sometimes it guides me to trust myself… go in a different direction or be brave in my choices. The “process” of art making is why I make art after-all, if it’s not enjoyable, then I’m doing something wrong. These 2 turtles are a good example of starting a new piece intuitively. In the midst of playing with a very bold palette they appeared 😊. They are on their way… lots of collage and paint to come.
I LOVE to escape into creativity! it’s why I named my studio “artescape ” Lol. Escape… Lately… Not a, chance! I’m sitting at my studio this morning, oh so briefly, wondering when in the world I’m going to spend 3, 4 hours… the whole day, making art! Everything (nothing fun) lately has prevented that from occurring. Sometime or another, life is overwhelming, everything sort of stinks… Reflecting back to the 80’s of my young adulthood… it’s like Roseanne Roseannadanna says: “like I always say, it’s always something, if it’s not one thing it’s another “.
I’ve decided to embrace preparing for those glorious opportunities to be free, to be creative! So I’ve been painting papers, again. It’s amazing how much painted paper one needs to create a large mixed media piece, like a cow or a goat or a sea turtle. A lot! So when I don’t have time to fully escape, I enjoy playing around with my art stuff. Paint, rollers, stencils and paper, along with a fairly clean table (sometimes the floor) and I’m happy. It’s wonderful to turn on some music and just start painting with nothing particular in mind.
Like a lot of creative people, I’m messy… so every so often, when I’m spending too much time looking for the one thing I need but can’t find, I stop what I’m doing and organize to some degree. This is another way of preparing for future creative opportunities. I find that “thing” that I saved or a scrap of something I painted a while back, and ooooh, it leads to spotting another bit of something that is so perfectly paired with the first thing and so it goes. I start little piles of gathered items and eventually, they will be used together to create a piece of art, like the 2 square pieces in the photo below. (Works in progress) Just imagining the possibilities… I feel better already. Preparing can be creative and often times more enjoyable than finishing a piece of art. Soon, very soon, you’ll find me at my studio :)
I just finished my “residency” in Dr. Susan West’s classroom at Viera High School. 7 days, 150 students, 5 classes, lots and lots of paint, paper and glue. The plan was for me to teach my mixed-media technique of painting paper and creating a collage incorporating the paper and acrylic paint.
Day one: First of all… school starts early! I’m not really a “morning person” but managed to organize myself and wake up early to get to school on time each day. Time is limited! By the time I explained a little about myself, showed some examples of my work and talked about the project… the bell would ring. Wow… how in the world can we make this project happen within the 2 week plan.
Day two: I went home day one after 5 classes seriously considering a nap. Today was our project start day. I explained the process of painting layers of pattern on paper to provide for materials for collaging. Dr West had pre-cut their work surfaces (watercolor paper) to size. They decided on their subject choosing from a variety of Florida wildlife, sea-life or flora. They sketched 2 thumbnails of their chosen subject in their notebooks.
Day three: Today they prepared their background papers by deciding on their palette to contrast their background and foreground. They applied washes of acrylic to their backgrounds.
Day four: Finally… today we paint paper! Some of them really didn’t understand the necessity of these papers. My instructions were to just layer pattern in paint, fill up the paper eliminating the majority of white. Paint 3 to 5 pieces. We switched from paint brushes to small roller to speed up this part of the process. 30+ students in each class, with rollers and trays and lots of paint… I loved it!
Day five: Some of the students thanked me for coming to their class and teaching them. I really was enjoying this. Most of the students were on board with the project, making changes, thinking forward and being very creative. A few were avoiding eye contact with me… lol. I loved talking with them about their artwork. “Tell me about this”, “and why are you painting a green piece of paper with green paint and your animal is going to be green”?
Day six: We are painting paper and gluing and changing backgrounds. They are realizing now why they needed 5 pieces of painted paper in their different palette colors. It’s quiet. They are really engrossed in their projects.
Day seven: My last day. The goal was to continue with collaging the subject, adding collage elements to the background, correcting, refining etc. They had been required as part of their lesson plan to submit questions pertaining to being an artist, art education, art marketing etc. So today I answered some of the questions while they were cleaning up their spaces. Dr. West also emailed me a list of questions which I answered. They will be using those answers to write an article about the experience of having me work with them as an artist in residence.
They are still working on their projects… for a few more day. A lot of the artwork I saw them producing was excellent! I cannot wait to see all the completed projects. It was so interesting, getting to know them. They had very distinct personalities but were all pleasant and welcoming to me. I enjoyed working with them and talking with them each day.
I applaud you teachers! So many requirements, restraints… I can also see the appeal of teaching. You have such an impact on young lives.
The process took me several years to develop with lots of trial and error. It’s not a one-step thing.
1. Thanks to the bubbly, positive, kind girl in period one that ask everyone how they were, complimented their outfit and just cheered everyone on, every morning.
2. Thank you to the quiet young woman at the first table on the left who thanked me several times for coming to teach and share my art and helping her with her project.
3. Thank you to the young man doing the turtle who I didn’t think was at all interested in the project because he was working so slow. Thank you for coming up and asking me if I was returning this week to work with the class.
4. Thanks to Dr. West for inviting to come.
Happy New Year! Wishing you all a fresh beginning filled with hope for a happy and healthy 2016.
2015 was a good year for my art endeavors… most importantly I love the work I am doing. Secondly, a lot of work have found new homes :) , which is very gratifying.
One of my recent sales is “The Visit”, a large mixed-media collage on cradled board. It is the 7th piece of the “Girl Series”; young women who are confident, connected to their environment, feminine and strong. I captured the process of “The Visit”as I worked… starting with a small drawing in my sketch book and translating it to a 36″x 48” cradled board.
For a look at more of my work, go to my website reneedecator.com
To see more about painting papers go here.
Many years ago… before I painted things like turtles and fish, coral reefs and octopus, I was primarily painting the tropical landscape. I had a commission to paint a piece with bananas and big tropical foliage. I started the piece as I start most any painting… with big areas of color, followed by more layers of overlapping color. I was working at a studio on the piece when a friend strolled by and innocently stated that the big shape in the middle “looked like a turtle”. “It’s going to be pink bananas”, I replied. I took the piece home and leaned against a wall to observe for the next few days until I could get back to it, but every time I looked at it, all I could see was that big turtle shape. I planned to continue on painting it as bananas, but in an attempt to be a more intuitive artist, I started the pink bananas on another canvas and finished the original piece as the turtle it was meant to be :)
I’ve learned to listen to my heart a little more… and voices, creative voices of my own and those of my friends, now and then.
I paint turtles… thank goodness. The ocean is a mighty mysterious place. Just as in every other part of creation, it’s design is amazingly beautiful and mesmerizing. I’m working on two commissions of underwater scenes right now at my studio and thought I would share some of the progress.
Summer is my favorite season, and strangely enough I love Florida summers. Yes… it gets too hot and humid to breathe some days, but that is what the ocean, the springs and swimming pools are for. This summer has been a unique experience for me. I broke my leg at the end of May and I am still non-weight bearing now in mid August. Other than almost daily swimming pool therapy, I am sitting inside this summer.
After three trips down to my studio to pack up art supplies and bring them back to my house, I am working. The first 6 weeks home recovering, I built houses for the HOME show exhibit I organized for Fifth Avenue Art Gallery. See More About HOME. I built beach houses and bird homes and a mountain cabin diorama… oh, and a chicken house. Now that all the “building” is over, I am back to painting papers and making mixed-media collages.
It’s hard to believe that soon… very soon, the fall art show circuit gets into full gear. I only do a few shows in the Fall… especially this year, but lots of new work is needed! At my studio I have these great tall legged tables that I work at so I can move around to different works in progress. Here, at home I have had to adjust to worker smaller, better planning and rotating artwork and supplies. It’s nice to be home with my pups, Beau and Sweet Pea… they love everything I do :)
Today, just back from physical therapy… I am working with my gelli plates to paint some new papers for collaging with. One benefit to not being able to get out much is that the typical distractions of life are fewer and there is more time to work.
A Very Big THANK-YOU, to all my family and friends who have cared for me in so many amazing ways this summer!
I found a great sign for my studio; one of those weathered-looking ones with big, bold text: THIS IS MY HAPPY PLACE! I have lots of happy places… my home, my studio, my garden, my kitchen; blessed with friends and family who are encouraging and creating art that expresses my view of life… I am pretty much happy in general.
I have been enjoying my studio immensely of late… It looks pretty crazy there, most of the time with stacks of “art stuff”, everywhere. I am doing more and more mixed-media… and you have to have lots of “stuff” to work with!
Essentials of mixed-media: paper, string, wire, old books, wax, resin, bottle-caps (rusty and smashed flat) TREASURES!
Two of my newest pieces sold recently and that is a huge motivator to get busy and start new work with all those ideas that are always popping up in my head. I am starting a new collage/acrylic piece along the same lines as the girl with the octopus. It will incorporate more sea-life; jellyfish and sharks. I am still in the composition stage; drawing and putting textures down. I was so excited to see the reaction to “Nocturne” (the girl with the octopus). I’m always a little nervous when hanging a piece at an outdoor art show for thousands of people to see… and comment on. It was great to see people stop in their tracks and take a long look, then ask what the medium was…
I love the intricate process of painting the layers of design on tissue paper then collaging it onto the board and finishing the piece with more layers of paint. A visitor to my studio asked why I don’t “just paint it”… and yes I could, but I love the combination of mediums and the effect I can achieve.
This turtle has been so much fun to work on… incorporating lots of design elements by applying paint using some of my favorite stencils. Most of my turtle paintings push the color and design aspects just beyond what you see in nature. This piece will be featured at the Ponce Inlet, Florida Marine Science Center’s Turtle Day coming up in April.
When I switched from oils to acrylics several years ago the primary reason was the fast drying time. I don’t like waiting, preferring to make changes as I go.
Currently, I am LOVING incorporating collage into my paintings. I keep coming back to the best description I can think of; painting with pattern. Where I would traditionally paint lights and darks and mid-tones… I am collaging with painted paper, or in some cases, applying paint in a pattern directly on to the canvas or board.
I love challenges in my art. I create them to try and keep my work fresh; sometimes with texture applied to the substrate before I have any ideas of subject matter. Most recently with using pattern.
The first step is to paint the papers I will be using to collage with. Some days that is all I concentrate on. I use acrylic paint, stencils, rubber stamps, bubble wrap…etc. on lightweight paper.
I like to first “prime” the paper with either white, black or gray gesso. Then lay out my palette and get started covering each paper with design .
here is a short video at my studio: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCfwfZHEdos
I promise, that next time… I will record footage with the camera rotated to fill the screen properly. Work in progress :)
I would love your feedback.
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