Well, semi- famous, I got mentioned in the SF Chronical’s SF Gate. I had a show 2 weeks ago with support of Urban Solutions, San Francisco Arts Commision and 2 Blocks of Art. It was fantastic show, I sold 3 paintings, did 2 interviews, got invited to a friend’s Open Studio in December and made some dough. I couldn’t have asked for more.
I am working on 4 new paintings right now and will be showing them along with some of my past work at the Open Studio, December 15th and 16th and my friends Studio/Gallery. It is called The Clay Underground. Here is the link to my friends place. http://www.theclayunderground.com/
Here’s the link to the article in the SF Gate: http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/The-stroll-that-became-a-headlong-run-3972369.php
Here is the link to my etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/RavensNestArt
I am trying out some new encaustic techniques this week and I have been having a blast. I have been given over the years pan pastels and regular pastels and I wanted to see what would happen if I used them with hot wax. This is not something the “teachers” ever recommend so I TOTALLY had to try it.
For my first technique was to lay some wax down on a clay board. After the wax cooled, I applied the pan pastels with a foam brush and a triangle of foam that is the same as a make-up applicator that you can purchase at any drug store for cheap. After laying down a bunch of pastel on top of the wax I laid down another layer of wax on top and when I was fusing the wax I got the coolest texture. Check it out!
I then painted my raven on top of the fused wax and this is the finished painting. I used extra damar in my black and indigo wax to get a high gloss as well as a thicker wax and was able to get really good height on my bird.
I did this a couple of times just so I could see what the different colors of pan pastels would look like with the wax. The 2 paintings shown above that are the completed paintings after I used technique I spoke about.
I then decided that I would like to try using pastels directly on the board under the first layers of hot wax. This is the image of the pre-wax pastels.
For this board, I decided to use some inexpensive pastel sticks that I had laying around that are super hard and crushed them up in my mortar & pestle and then applied them with the foam triangle as well my gloved hands. Below are the samples of pastels and the mortar & pestle.
It looked cool but it just looked like color pigment under wax so I needed to push it further. I added more pastel on top of what I had already done. I put white pastel on top of the yellow moon and different colors of blue around the moon and then put another layer of wax on top of that. And this is how it turned out. I will be painting some images over this base layer but was really excited about this new technique that I wanted to share it with you.
I feel like I have been at this for a long time and yet I still get freaked out when thinking about preparing for a show. My head plays all kinds of games: is anyone going to come? Are they going to like it? Will anyone buy my paintings? Will they think they are original and will they get it?
The list goes on and on, but I have to stop and listen to my heart. I am doing this because I love to paint. I want to share what I love with the rest of the world. Yes, I want people to come to my shows. Yes, I want people to buy my work (they already have). Yes, they are original and people so get it. I have to keep remembering that people like my work; they have actually said so – to my face.
Working with Encaustic is very difficult for me, coming from an oil painting background and having control over the paint to using wax, heating it up and feeling totally out of control really has been a learning experience for me. Sometimes I love the outcome and sometimes I think – what the hell just happened? Is is good? Do I like what happened? Should I just leave it? Should I throw it away? I have done both in the past and feel fine about the decisions I made about each one.
While trying to get ready for the last show, I was frantically trying to make sure everything was perfect. Well, being that I am human I forgot that I needed to put signs up for the titles and the prices but what happened was in the last minute I came up with a great idea and people like it.
I have to remember that I may not always be prepared, I may not please everyone but as long as my work makes me happy and brings me joy all the other stuff will come. People who matter will eventually see my work, I will start to remember all the things I need to have a successful show, I will sell my work and my life will be great! If I can stay positive and keep putting out into the world my work, great things will happen. I had 7 pieces in the last show and I would like to share them with you.
A few weeks ago I blogged about how I wanted to try to complete 50 paintings in 6 months. Well, I have been a busy beaver here in NorCal.
I have been preparing for Open Studio in October and wanted to have at least 50 paintings by then. I am coming along pretty well; I have been doing between 2 and 5 per week. When I posted my blog a few weeks ago I had completed 32 encaustic paintings. Some of those were small 2.5″ x 3.5″ but paintings non the less and worth counting in my opinion. Since my post a few weeks ago I have begun and completed 15 new paintings.
On a sad note, I was trying to get into Fort Mason’s Open Studio and was contacted by them with their pricing and I feel very depressed because I have been priced out of Fort Mason’s Open Studio. They want $23 an hour for 12 hours MINIMUM on Saturday and 10 hours on Sunday. That is $506 dollars plus $175 cleaning fee and a $10 sign fee. So it will cost $700 for the whole weekend. I just feel like crying – with NO guarantee. I know my paintings are good but I can’t afford to put out that kind of money. I could share the space with someone but all the artist’s I know don’t even have $350 dollars to spare. I am not sure what kind of artist’s can afford that kind of money. If they have it, they probably have their own studio; I know it’s a great space but seriously….$700!
If you would like to see what else I have been up to you can go to my Etsy Store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/RavensNestArt
I am going to have to come up with another plan for Open Studio. I will find another place AND I will have at least 50 paintings. I have to think positive, I know things are going to happen for me.
Here are the new paintings I have completed in the past 2 weeks! 14 new ones – yeah I said it right – 14! Check ’em out!
I feel so grateful to have a studio space in the back yard of my home. I know so many artists who work in their small studios, bedrooms, kitchens and apartments. For me to be able to come home from work and fix myself a drink and walk out to my back yard and into my studio is truly a blessing. It’s all there for me, all the things I need to be creative. I have been really forcing my self to focus and spend more time in my studio, I have a goal of 50 paintings in 6 months. This week it really paid off. I felt so good; the creative juices were flowing I completed 9 encaustic paintings and 1 acrylic painting. It felt so great to complete so much work, something I had been trying to do.
I wanted to really focus this week and try a bunch of new things. I wanted to get more texture into my work as well as keeping areas really smooth. One of the things I really love about Encaustic Paintings are how they look like glass from the side when they are really smooth. I wanted to try to incorporate smoothness and texture together so I did a lot of little paintings to see what worked and what didn’t – and yes, I did count those into my 9 finished pieces.
I also found that I really like the way my paintings look with frames. I have some painting that I covered with wax on the top and the sides which is cool also but having a frame on a picture is something else altogether.
All in all I had a really wonderful week. I feel that I really accomplished a lot, I completed work that I had previously started. I started and finished a few paintings and I got back into the swing of painting with acrylic paint. Next stop, finish a painting I started a while ago that is an oil painting.
I love my life, my home, my work and most of all my partner! LIFE IS GOOD!
Check out my work at http://www.etsy.com/shop/RavensNestArt
I have been doing a lot of sketching and thinking these past few weeks. Thinking of new ways to paint, new images that mean something to me. I was sitting outside one nice spring evening and watching all the birds in our back yard. I began sketching like crazy with some fun ideas.
I have been wanting to paint with encaustic for a long time and recently I have been wanting to include the sides too. I did some research and couldn’t find anything so I headed out on my own. I figured that the sides would need to be gessoed and so I bought some R&F Gesso and Golden Gesso for hardboard to see what would work the best. They both work well but the Golden lasts a lot longer; I think it’s a better value for your money. So I began painting the edges and then covering them with the wax.
The result of cover the sides was really exciting for me, I loved the way it looked. I love the way the boards look before I do any alterations to them. I typically cover my boards with 5 layers of medium mixed with damar crystals because of the amount of incising that I end up doing during the painting, I want to have a lot of wax to work with so this is what works for me. I kept wanting to touch the pieces and hold them in my hands. It felt great!
My ideas that spring evening came to fruition this past weekend when I started with covering the sides of my boards and painting with a few birds that we have visiting our yard and one bird that I saw on a walk in Muir Woods last year. I am very excited about this new series and will have a few more coming next week so stay tuned! If you would like to see what else I have going on you can check out my etsy site at : http://www.etsy.com/shop/RavensNestArt
I want to share with you Dear Readers my art process. How do I start an encaustic painting? What do I do in the middle and how do I know it done?
1. The first thing that happens is that I have an idea, I then break out one of my sketch books. I always have one around me; whether I am at home or riding to work or in my studio. I typically have 3-4 sketch books going at one time. I keep them all around my house, in my purse, in my studio and next to my bed because I never know when I might have an idea and for me – “if it’s not written down it doesn’t exist”.
2. The second step in my process is to draw and sketch my idea. I typically will go through 2-10 pages of my sketch book. It is how I can bring my ideas come to life. If I am on my way to work or in bed I will keep the sketch book handy and then bring it to my studio to redraw it in my bigger sketch book that I keep there. I will use colour pencils or pens to highlight certain areas, spots that I want to concentrate on. Usually I am using a black, blue or burgundy pen for the basic part of my drawing.
3. The next step for me is to pull out all my papers, ephemera and any other goodies I have laying around that I think will go well with what I am trying to put out there. This part is typically with out colour because colour is so important to me and so important to my work. I don’t the colour to distract me from the objects I using for the painting. I want the pieces to work on their own and to look good/balanced within the whole. I will take a picture of what I have laid out and then look at it very critically away from the studio. Then I will bring the picture to my sketch book and make any changes or alterations that I feel are needed.
4. Once I am happy with the layout, I will bring in the colour for the painting. I will bring out my colour pencils or pens and do some sketching while trying to find the balance between the colours and the items I will be using for this painting. It will be very simple with large blocks of colour to give me a feeling of what I want to bring to the piece.
5. After I have added colour to my sketch book I set up my station with all the things I have laid out; but I will have more items there too because I want to leave my self open to change. Once I begin painting sometimes things look different and I’ll need to add or subtract items or change the colours. I usually stop a lot in the beginning and use all my pictures/ drawings and colors as reference. Once I am about 1/2 way through I can see what it will look like and visualize what needs to go where and what else I need to do to complete the painting.
6. After I feel the painting is completed, I will step away for a while and then come back to it make sure I feel it’s complete. During the process, I will take a lot of notes next to the painting; I have brown craft paper down underneath the painting which works great for keeping a clean surface as well as a perfect place to write down notes. I really like writing and taking a lot of notes about my paintings. Writing helps me see my work from another perspective; the teacher in me never leaves and this is the best way for me to critique my work. I try to see my work from all different angles. I know when my work/painting is finished because I look at it and FEEL JOY! I hope you like this as much as I do.
I have been thinking about the fact that Mother’s Day is fast approaching and I don’t know what to get my Moms (yes, that’s right – plural). I have a birth mother and an adopted mother both with which whom I love. I wanted to get them something heartfelt but don’t have a lot of money. I know my birth mother’s favorite colors are purple and orange and my adopted Mom loves blue and green. I decided that I would make some small encaustic paintings in their honor.
I sat down in my studio with the idea that I was going to make 2 paintings for both of my Moms. What happened was that I ended up being super productive and completed 10 paintings in one day (ONE DAY), which is so amazing for me. I was in the Zone! I am happy with how some of them turned out and not so happy with others but I have had some compliments from people I don’t even know so whose to say what moves people and what things people connect with.
When it comes to me and my Mothers; it doesn’t matter that I am almost 50 years old, I still feel like a kid when it comes to my Mothers. I want to do the best, be the best I can be for them.
Here are 6 sweet mother’s day encaustic paintings that I did and am listing them on Esty right now. http://www.etsy.com/shop/RavensNestArt
Here are the “non” mother’s day paintings:
In a previous post “Encaustic Paintings and My Life”, I spoke of my Art that I had done as a child and that I was very inspired by it. I decided to post the art and talk about my feelings about it; why is was so great to have the physical art work and why it is so inspiring to me. I chose one painting to start with. My very FIRST painting that I did as a child. I was 3 years old when this painting was done. (circa 1966) I am very proud of it. I can’t believe it has survived and it is 46 years old.
Having all my childhood pictures is very bittersweet for me. I love having them but I feel sad that it took me so long to come back to my passion. I am grateful that I have this in my life now and I know I don’t ever have to put this part of me aside. I can keep this part of me alive and thriving. I always wondered why it’s good and appropriate for young children to create art in school but the older they get the more frivolous it becomes? Why do schools always cut the creative part of the schooling before anything else? It seems like art and music are always getting the ax. Well, that was how it was in my family too when I was growing up. “Do something that is worthwhile and that will make you money”, my Mother would say to me. It was always a power struggle when I was growing up, I wanted to do what made me feel good (art) and my parents wanted me to take math and science classes. Even though I was very good at math and science, I was driven to create, I hounded them so much in high school that they allowed me to take 2 classes in high school. I had 2 free periods, so instead of leaving school early like the rest of my peers; I stayed in school and took art classes. I took a painting and a ceramics class; I adored them both and wished I could continue after high school but I was told that if they were going to pay for my education I had to take the classes they wanted me to. Needless to say I didn’t continue with my art classes.
I love art, I love the process of it and the outcome whether people think it is worthy of showing or not. I love it all, the good, the bad and the ugly. When I was older and much wiser I decided to go back to school and guess what classes I took??? ART – that’s right my friends – ART! I tried everything. Painting, ceramics, sculpture, mono-printing, intaglio, figure drawing and anything else I could cram into my 18 units. I even went to summer school. I loved both of the schools that I went to and feel that I got an outstanding education. I began taking art classes at San Francisco City College and then went on to finish my education at Parsons School of Design in Paris, France where I graduated with a BFA and began living my dream life.
A few years went by and life happened; I stopped painting and began working for a company that was “art based” but I wasn’t painting anymore. I was doing graphic design and creating invitations. It was fun and creative for me; making invitations from the inception to completion. I was making a lot of money and was extremely unhappy. I worked at this company for 15 years and then decided I needed a change so I quit. I went through a bunch of different jobs until the job I have now. I am happy, content and excited about art again. I am creating AND making money. I feel like I have the best of both worlds. I don’t think doing art is frivolous, I think it necessary and important in every child’s development to be able to express themselves in different ways. I would love it if government and families would see the necessity of art being included in the curriculum to have a well rounded education.
I am taking my original childhood art and using them as inspiration for new encaustic paintings. This will be the first of many to come!
I love keys, painting and Paris; you could say I am a Franco-file. Since living there and going to school there, Paris has held a special place in my heart. I love the key to my old French Apartment, it was one of those old skeleton keys and it was hard to open my heavy wooden door but I loved it none the less. This encaustic painting is from my heart, from my memories of France and with all the love I have for my life right now, my past life and my future. I have decided not to be afraid anymore; I am not going to be afraid of doing new things, afraid of what people will think, afraid of becoming popular, afraid of people liking or loving my work. I want to live in my life without fear!
Encaustic painting is living without fear for me! I am going for it and really enjoying myself, I am scared out of my mind but I am still doing it. When I first moved to France I didn’t speak ONE word of French but I still went and I learned French. I was scared out of my mind then and it was a hard road for me but one that was worth walking down. I would never change that experience for anything. This feels the same to me, I am learning as I go down this path and even though it’s hard it’s worth it!
The keys to love for me is living the life I have always dreamed and that included painting, writing and sharing my joy with all who will listen.
LISTEN – LOOK – LOVE and ENJOY THE KEYS TO MY LOVE!