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Downtime and the New Year

2019 is coming to an end and I can not believe how quickly the time is passing!

I survived my first participation in the One of a Kind Holiday Show and with much success will look forward to returning next December. The attendance was incredible, I loved that the show was four days long, and because it occurs at the beginning of holiday season the atmosphere is more festive than the summer shows I have done in the past. A big bonus – weather is a non-issue, the show is held indoors, on the 7th floor of the Chicago Merchandise Mart.

My Booth, #2140

I also had time before the show to attend a three day pastel workshop hosted by the Chicago Pastel Painters, taught by Casey Klahn. I have been following Casey on social media for over a decade, and it was a treat to finally meet him and learn about soft pastels. I have just started exploring this medium and plan on combining pastel with encaustic monotypes. The more I use pastels, the more I am inspired.

Rocky Shoreline
soft pastel on board
18” x 24”

I am experimenting with the different papers and boards that allow the pastels to be the best they can be. Above, I used a pastel board thinking the encaustic medium would be easy to incorporate but I wasn’t happy with the stiffness in regards to the pastel dust. I decided not to add encaustic as I think the pastel would act like a barrier between the wax and the board.

Below, I added soft pastel to an encaustic monoprint on a Japanese Sekishu paper and I loved the way the pastels combined. I will continue to explore the combination of monotypes using encaustic and pastels.

Glow
mixed media on Sekishu
36” x 25”

 

After the new year, my next exhibition is “The Sum of the Parts” with the FUSEDChicago group at North Central College in Naperville, IL. I am exhibiting the Roadways Series, inspired after visiting Ireland. Each time I created a roadway composition, I thought about the wide open landscape, and the simplicity of color. I was on the west coast, and it felt like every road either led to the ocean or to the various shades of gray rocks in the Burren.

Roadways, a series of six paintings, each is 4″x4″
Roadways, study
encaustic on paper
17” x 10”
Road to Ballyvaughan
encaustic on panel
6” x 6”
Emerald Isle
encaustic on panel
30” x 24”

 

I resume teaching mixed media encaustic painting after the new year. All class information is available here :

Evanston Art Center

North Shore Art League.

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It’s almost show time, Folks!

It’s hard to believe that a month from today I’ll be exhibiting at the Wells Street Art Festival in Old Town, Chicago. The weather has felt more like Winter than Spring, it’s one of the biggest factors that contribute to the success or failure of a show.

My newest work is focused on organic patterns and brilliant color. Alcohol inks combined with encaustic medium have been an exciting addition. I have also been creating collages using alcohol ink on yupo or card stock, mounted on foam core then glued to the surface and sprayed with an assortment of Krylon products in order to best protect and preserve the work.

“Playful Garden” is the largest collage to date. I had to mount Yupo paper onto a cradled birch panel using heavy gel medium before I started the painting. After completion, I sprayed with Krylon Kamar, Krylon UV, and Krylon Crystal Clear. I am still going to have to watch out for inclement weather because this piece is delicate and quite large!

Playful Garden
alcohol ink collage on yupo
48” x 36”

 

A bit smaller, “Black Leaf” is painted with encaustic medium layered with alcohol ink, then collaged with painted foil paper.

Black Leaf
mixed media on board
12” x 12”

 

Other new mixed media works combine encaustic medium layered between alcohol inks on claybord, each panel is 6″x24″x2″ and can hang alone or combined horizontally.

Black Water, diptych
alcohol ink & encaustic on panel
12” x 24”

 

Zen Sunrise, diptych
alcohol ink & encaustic on panel
12” x 24”

 

Zen Place, diptych
alcohol ink & encaustic on panel
12” x 24”

 

At this point I am finishing up loose ends… wiring and painting cradled panel edges and soon I will have to narrow down what to bring to each show. I have PLENTY of choices!

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Alcohol Inks

I’m having the greatest time, playing around and learning about alcohol inks! The fun started by incorporating the inks and fusing layers of color into encaustic medium. The translucent qualities of the inks mesh beautifully with the similar translucency of wax medium. After an initial introduction to inks by combining them with encaustic medium, I decided to become a “purist” and focus on using the inks alone, working on papers, (so far, different weight Yupo papers as well as black card stock).

Tulips 16″x20″ ink collage on medium Yupo
Shadowbox frame with UV glass

I have needed to better educate myself, reading about different ink techniques on social media and other informative websites (the world wide web really does offer unlimited knowledge at your fingertips).

Favorite web source – Alcohol Ink Art Community

Right now I am learning about the archival qualities (or lack of them) and how to protect finished paintings. I use several layers of Krylon spray varnish followed by several layers of Krylon UV protection. I decided to also frame the Tulip collage above along with the Peonies painting below under UV glass even after using both protective sprays. I will watch and see if there is any fading over time.

Peonies 12″x9″ ink on card stock
Shadowbox frame with UV glass

The element of collage, adding literal depth to the visual depth, is a good fit with many of my recent works. It brings me back and reminds me of watercolor painting, the way I would add heavy spatter to create texture and translucent layers.

Full Harvest Moon from the Full Moon Series 30″x22″ watercolor on Arches

Creating collage, I cut up ink paintings that weren’t successful, mount pieces on foam core, and incorporate them until it feels like a good fit and composition.

Still Life 12″x12″ ink collage on card stock
Orchids 12″x12″ ink collage on card stock

I hope to attend an ink workshop taught by local artist Helen Dannelly next month, and will continue to pursue as many ways to learn more about this fascinating medium.

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New Year = New Bold Color

Kabuki, 3.5″x2.5″ mixed media

2019 began for me with an Award of Merit for my “Kabuki” painting in the Copley Society of Art small works show. This miniature painting was created by transferring the image of one of my 24″x18″ watercolor paintings fused into encaustic medium, then highlighted with pigmented wax and oil pastels. The translucent layers of wax allow for light to travel and keep the colors brilliant. You can visit the entire show online here – Copley Society of Art

I also have been focused on alcohol inks and discovering multiple ways this paint can be combined (safely) with encaustic medium, as well as painted directly on Yupo and other papers. The movement and layered color has been very liberating as I have taken my private studio practice in the direction of abstraction.

Nest 1, 12″x12″ alcohol ink and encaustic on panel
Nest 2, 12″x12″ alcohol ink and encaustic on panel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These paintings are successful when combined together as a diptych or as individual works. I’ve also started painting on larger sheets of Yupo paper, and will be playing/learning with different types of inks from various companies going forward.

So far, I have used Piñata and Ranger combined with extenders and 91% alcohol. I’ve been reading “Pigments of Your Imagination” by Cathy Taylor which made clear a connection for my love of watercolor wash techniques to a similar love for alcohol ink painting.

Living a creative life has always been my happy place. It feels good to be learning something new and unfamiliar… being vulnerable to trial and error opens the door to alternative thinking and creativity… after all, what else is there?

Polar Blast, 26″x20″ alcohol ink on Yupo
Underwater Cave, 20’x26″ alcohol ink on Yupo