Nature and Color
I'm a NYC city girl. I love buildings, sidewalks, graffiti, sharp angles, sarcasm, high heels, NPR, and I dress, mostly in black.
But spring is upon us so I decided to do something unusual. I went to the Denver Botanical Gardens and took my camera to see and record what's happening. Spring is renewal -- what has died is coming back to life. While there are aspects of this season I like (bleeding hearts in my garden — my Mom's favorite flower), my color palate is not happy. I like rich, jewel tones and this vision of pastels doesn't satisfy me. I love the colors of summer and fall.
But, surprise! I saw this flower sporting complementary colors and I was blown away. Maybe spring has some inspiration for me after all!
What seasons inspire you?
I have a friend in Paonia, CO who has been involved in supporting the Blue Sage Center for the Arts. As with most arts centers — especially ones in small mountain towns — raising money for their yearly budget is always a challenge. So when my friend asked me to create a piece for a fund-raising auction, of course I said yes. I believe in the power of art to change people's lives. It disturbs me that schools are eliminating the arts from their curriculum so I feel an urgency to support local community alternatives.
I was mailed a 6" x 6" wooden panel and asked not to exceed the edges. (Bummer since I already had a cool idea but it broke the rule!) My recent work is all about layering so I started with spreading acrylic paint onto the surface with a credit card. I chose blue and yellow to start with because I knew it made a great green when mixed together but I would also get some of the unmixed colors on my surface.
Once dry, I stenciled gesso over the surface with one of my favorite patterns. After that dried, I sprayed acrylic paint over the surface. Not sure what colors I used since it really doesn't matter. This is the intuitive part. Spray until you are happy! If you don't like what you are seeing, you can always cover it with white acrylic and start again.
I actually loved the piece at this point and it was difficult to add the final layer of a stenciled plant. But I thought it needed a focal point. So I used white acrylic ink and wasn't happy with the sharpness of the leaves. I used a white pencil and an acrylic pen to paint some of the leaves. I left the lower leaves alone because I liked having the lighter leaves on top making the lower leaves in shadow.
So it's done. I'm mailing it off tomorrow and let the auction begin!
What I'm Working On Now
Sometimes, we do mindless things to experiment and see where it leads us.
Lately, I've been obsessed with paper collage as a first layer of adding texture to my work. So, I've been covering mixed media paper (front and back) with torn pieces of decorative paper used for scrapbooking. I had a lot of this left over from my last Mixed Media Adventures Retreat and I love the idea of re-purposing stuff into the next iteration.
Over the next few weeks, I will share each new layer with you so you can actually see the changes I have made as well as hear what I am thinking.
First layer: Tear up papers into any shapes. Collage papers with fluid matte medium (I use Liquitex). Let dry. Repeat on the other side. Let dry. Flatten under weights for 1-2 days.
Because of the drying time, I usually work on 10-20 pages at a time.
More next week.
I traveled to California this week with my artist friend Judith to take a class from Susan Cornelis. I wanted to learn how Susan was able to sketch people in live settings. And I learned a lot.
Driving from Bodega Bay to Stinson Beach was an adventure since the past 2 days, we had a torrential rain storm and many roads were flooded. So we took the long way and found ourselves on a road without any cell connection (Siri! Where are you???)
It all turned out OK since we found this wonderful cheese factory, had lunch and sat outside to de-compress. (Yes, the rain finally stopped). Here is a photo of the strange trees that surrounded the pond. I am definitely painting those when I get back home.
I love learning from other artists and also going to places I've never been to. This area of California is amazing and I can't wait to return.
Carol Ann Waugh
I am a mixed media artist and love color and texture!