Monday, November 13, 2017

It Started With an Exploding Watermelon.............

"Dawning" watercolor

Painting Challenge

Today's painting began as another of those challenges that I often give to a class or workshop. This one came from my watercolor class at The Eye Studio. We were working wet-on-wet color gradations (so in other words just letting our paint run from one end of the paper to the other---in this case bottom to top).As the paint made its way down the paper we added a light yellow, letting the colors bleed together. Then when the paper was still slightly wet we dropped bits of light green onto the paper. I also dropped bits of red paint.

So when mine was done it looked like the painting below. Since it looked like an exploding watermelon I had jokingly named it "Front Row Seats at the Gallagher Concert".

And what is the challenge? 

To find an image in the abstraction. To me the green and red "spots" seemed to float through the air rather like specks of dust, pollen, or bits of plant and insect life catching the early morning sunlight. I was imagining the dawning of a day as seen from the ground and looking up.
Negative space painting was used in the bottom half of the painting giving a somewhat dreamy quality to the part of the earth still waking up.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Cross-training in the Arts!

Kiln-Fused Glass Garden Sculpture


So..... I'm Cross-training......                                                                                              huh????

Cross-training is athletic training in sports other than the athlete's usual sport. The goal is to improve overall performance. It takes advantage of the particular effectiveness of one training method to negate the shortcomings of another. In business, companies will often cross train employees so that they gain an understanding of other parts of the business.

Lately I have been cross-training as well, but not in the usual way. No exercise machines or athletic regimens here in the art studio. Well I do participate in an exercise program three times per week and since it is dance-based, I am combining arts and athletics. So maybe that's how I've come to refer to my other forays into various media as cross-training.

So how does a painter cross-train? 

So how does a painter cross-train? Usually by working in other media to help enhance their skills. In all visual art forms we work with composition, color, value, line, form, shape, repetition, rhythm and emphasis. And sometimes when we work in the same media all the time we get a bit stale and need to spice things up. 

When I was teaching children's classes I worked in various media (paint, clay, wire sculpture, construction paper, crayons) and I found that whatever I was teaching to the children always influenced my personal artwork. And I was more experimental and willing to try new things because I was working with so many different types of art when I worked with young students.

Now that I'm not working with children I need to do a little something different every now and then to keep my ideas fresh. So I've been working with glass, which I love. Many years ago I created several stained glass pieces and loved the luminous quality of the light passing through colored and textured glass.

A little over a year ago I had an opportunity to learn kiln-fused glass techniques at the Eye Studio. I loved the way I was able to experiment with composition in such a tactile manner, moving glass pieces around until I was satisfied with the result. 

I made several functional pieces (bowls, trays, plates etc) and just a couple of decorative wall pieces. This is my first garden sculpture, and in this piece I have returned to a familiar subject for me: Land, Sky, Water. Many of my functional pieces are themed around a series I call "The Land Between the Waters".

I haven't broken away too much from the 2-dimensional format in this piece, but perhaps the next will be a little more 3-dimensional.


Stayed tuned for Cross-training Part 2.

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