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Summer’s Arrival

It rained and rained and it was cold, damp, and dreary… and I woke up July 1 and finally summer is here! Despite the horrendous weather of May and June, art festival season is upon us. Two festival exhibitions are behind me now with four more to go. My next exhibition will be filled with color, collage, and florals.

Summer’s Arrival
alcohol ink collage on yupo
26” x 34”

 

The back wall of my display is the Face of Buddha, an ongoing series, each painting is 10″x8″ and a small single painting becomes a larger installation depending on how many are purchased and hung together in a patron’s home. Below is a photo from ten days ago, Buddha installation is on the back wall.

Floral collages below are just some of the paintings that I plan to feature end of the month at the Glencoe Festival of Arts.

Sun Soaked Poppies
alcohol ink collage on yupo
24” x 18”
Still Life with Vase
alcohol ink collage on yupo
26” x 20”
Playful Garden
alcohol ink collage on yupo
48” x 36”

 

I’m still working through details on the next festival setup, the unknown factor is always the paintings that haven’t happened yet. I have several extra large frames waiting for two more 36″x26″ collages, just not sure if I’ll have time to finish both before the end of July.

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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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Revival; before and after

Springtime is when I have to start planning my exhibition space for the upcoming summer festival season. It forces me to review art inventory, and re-assess what paintings are “show worthy”, and those that need to be re-worked. Ever since I started incorporating alcohol inks into encaustic medium, I have found a new way to create visual energy on a two dimensional surface.

Beach Memories, 16″x20″ final version
Beach Memories, before the addition of inks

 

I have taken a handful of older paintings and made them new again by fusing the inks into the wax base. The two mediums compliment each other and the translucent layering captures motion and depth.

Goldenrod, 12″x12″ final version
Goldenrod, before the addition of inks

 

I worked with an encaustic monotype as the base layer for the first time (seen below), then added layers of wax medium combined with alcohol inks. I love the way the inks loosen and free up the composition.

Mountain View, 8″x8″ final version
Mountain View, monotype before the addition of wax and ink

 

I am also working with cradled panels as a ground (rather than papers), adding the inks first, then combining wax medium with additional layers of ink to create greater depth, movement, and life on a flat surface. I’ll be anxious to share this new combination of encaustic and inks in person rather than on the internet and am looking forward to the summer art season.

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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