Please join me at an Art Walk Thursday 6/20

I will be participating in the Art of Point Richmond Art Walk, Thursday June 20th. It will be from 5-8pm and bound to be a lot of fun. There will be loads of other artists along with a farmer’s market filled with delicious fruits and vegetables.

I will be showcasing some new encaustic paintings……

Here is a sneak peak!

seascape study in red woodgrain

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The Crafter’s Workshop & Encaustic Painting Demo Success

How many of you have either wanted to or have demoed art materials before?

I love demoing/teaching about art supplies and all the different ways one can use them. There is nothing like showing and sharing what you know and seeing that light in someone’s eyes when they realize all the possibilities. Believe me when I tell you – what we can accomplish with art is endless and there is always something new to learn and explore.

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I have done a lot of demos and sometimes I have just “winged” it and sometimes I have planned it down to the very last detail. I want to talk to today about planning, what strategies I use when preparing to share my knowledge and teach fun projects or just basic techniques. Today I want to share with you how I plan and execute a successful demo using Encaustic Paint, Mixed Media supplies and my favorite thing – The Crafter’s Workshop Stencils.

stencil pictures

There are a few things to take into consideration when planning a demo; who will be there, what could I possibly need, what can go wrong, what can go right, how can I be sure to have everything I need for what I want to demo and last but not least – where will I be during this demo.

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Last weekend I was asked to give a 45 minute lecture on encaustic painting and then demo for the rest of the day. I thought about what I would bring, what I would need for a successful demo and lecture. I think I may have brought too much, but I felt better to be over prepared than underprepared.  One of my favorite things to use in encaustic painting are The Crafter’s Workshop Stencils. They are so versatile and easy to use, easy to clean up and they are great for demoing from beginners all the way to  professionals. There is nothing like using a stencil and seeing such immediate and awesome results with stencils.

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Ok, so I thought about what I needed to bring – Next I needed to think about who was going to be attending the lecture and the demo. I asked the manager/owner of the store who he thought would be attending and he said all new encaustic students will be attending the lecture and he wasn’t sure about the demo. It is always best to teach to the lowest common denominator. I talked about the basics; how to set up your studio and safety. Next, I talked about all the fun things one gets to use in the studio. There is so many fun things one can use in a studio such as heated pallets, colored bees wax, professional and found tools,  blow torches and practically anything else you can think of.

After my lecture I went out into the store to demo for the rest of the day. It was great fun! I was able to work on a bunch of different projects all at one time. I talked about the projects along with teaching all types of techniques. It was like a bunch of mini classes all during the day. I was prepared for all types of questions and there were some really good ones. It’s so exciting to watch people learn and understand what you teaching. It was great fun!

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The last thing I wanted to do to prepare for this demo was to make a list of all the different things people could do with encaustics. I made a list of all the different projects and brought more than enough material for each project along with extra substrates incase something got messed up. I have found that it is important to go with the flow and not worry too much, it seems there will always be something you weren’t prepared for. That day it was electricity. The extension chord didn’t work – no big deal – just finish setting up while it got fixed. I sometimes forget that people attending are flexible and will wait.

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I was prepared for all types of questions and there were some really good ones. It’s so exciting to watch people learn and understand what you teaching. I guess the most important thing to remember about demoing: HAVE FUN!

Here is a picture of me having fun!

torchey

Selling on Esty & Goodsmiths

I have been wanting to get a website together but feel very overwhelmed by the whole prospect. I am very smart when it comes to many things but haven’t put a website together before. I think I can do it but feel scared so in the meantime I have put all my art on Esty and Goodsmiths on line stores.

I have done pretty ok during the first year, selling a few things here and there but not great. I was beginning to wonder if it was really worth all the trouble. This past year I participated in 6 different shows and sold quite a bit of my art and was beginning to think about putting my own website together and taking my stuff off of Etsy and Goodsmiths. Lately my paintings, handmade books, journals, photo albums and address book sales are taking off. I have sold quite a few things on Etsy – including selling to a woman who lives in Spain. I think it’s pretty cool to send my paintings overseas.

I keep thinking I want to get my own website together but I wonder how much exposure I will get by promoting my site myself. I know that I have the potential to have a much larger audience on Etsy (not so much Goodsmiths because it’s not as well known) than from my own website but eventually I will get over my fears, sit down and act on what I have wanted for awhile. I know that there are many sites out there to help me with my website, I just have to find the right one.

I will let you all know when I have a website and will link it to this blog. I just want to share with you the painting I have sold this past week that will be heading out to Spain on Tuesday.

Je t'aime Paris

I am FAMOUS!

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

 

 

My last 2 months

My last two months have been so busy with shows that I haven’t had time to do anything but paint and prepare for upcoming shows. I have sold a lot of work….yay me…..had a few live  interviews and really felt like an artist. I will be working for the next two months for another Open Studio that I was invited to participate. I am so thrilled at how these past few months have turned out that I know I traveling in the right direction.

I will be sharing my new larger work on this blog in the next few weeks. I have decided that my work is too small. I need to increase the size so I bought boards that are the largest I have ever worked on and have started 2 of them and feel so great about it.  They are 24″ x 24″ and 24″ x 48″….. I can’t wait to share them with you.

One of the new techniques I have been working on is how to get the most texture I can out of the hot wax. I have been trying to put art materials together that don’t normally “go together” and using them to benefit me and what my vision is.

I will be sharing with you some samples coming soon. If you would like to see what else I have been up to please visit my etsy store.

http://www.etsy.come/store/RavensNestArt

The picture below is from my last show.

Preparing for Shows – September & October

My last post I talked about thinking like an artist. Well, I have been living the life of an artist which includes NOT being on the computer, that is why it’s been awhile since my last post. I have been trying to get my art out there into the world. I have applied to be in a book, I applied for a juried encaustic show in New Mexico. I should hear back from both of them by the middle of September.  I am feeling pretty good and no matter what happens, whether I get in the book or in the show it will be okay. I am trying, I am working to become a true artist and I feel my art is good enough for all those things and more! I know it’s just a matter of time before other people know it.

Recently I was asked to participate in an art walk put on by Urban Solutions SF, a non-profit organization here in San Francisco. I will be participating September 28th  as well as October. It is very exciting because it will be 2 blocks of art with live music and art at every turn. The Central Market area of San Francisco is an up and coming art mecca and I am proud to be a part of the new growth. I am really looking forward to have a show with all my art and talk to the people in the neighborhood. I want to do what ever it takes to put myself and my art out into the world.

I will also be participating in the Mulford Gardens Art & Music Festival, September 29, 2012. It is located in San Leandro, California and will be from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. I have been making a lot of handmade note cards,  handmade journals and handmade address books for this festival.  I will be selling a lot of other goodies that I have put together for this show along with all my art.

Here is a slide show of some of the stationery sets and handmade journals I will be selling at this festival. I hope you all come out, it should be quite fun.

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I Love My Studio!

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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

 

Thinking about Mother’s Day

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

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Here are the “non” mother’s day paintings:

Rêve d’art or dreaming of art

I have been dreaming of art this past week and am really excited about my new series that I will be working on. I wanted to make sure I could do what I imagined; so this past week I spent a lot of time sketching and painting. The paintings I am posting this week are sketches for a larger project. I am so excited I can barely contain myself. Every time I think about it or talk about it I want to jump out of my skin; go home and start painting. This is the most inspired I have really felt since I started my journey of encaustic painting.

I am going to bring the things I love all together – teaching – french and painting encaustic. I love more than these 3 things but these are the 3 things I am bringing together for this series. I will be painting the entire alphabet  – one board at a time. A-Z in French and with lovely articles in French. I will be using an old fashioned writing tool, the writing paper I used when I was a child. The kind that’s really large, it has a solid line at the top and the bottom and the dotted line in the middle. I will be writing in French each word and will be bringing the pictures to life with old fashioned drawings and painting of each item.

In this blog post I am using things I cherish for my sketches; as you may remember from a few blogs previous I talked about how I love keys and so this week I focused on my technique using keys (the French word for key is Clé). I used keys and mirrors in these 5 paintings, they are just sketches to help me with how I want the final pieces to come out. It was a really great exercise, it helped me see what worked and what didn’t. What I needed to do to make sure the viewer saw the old fashioned writing paper. In some of the sketches the paper is easier to see than others. I want to make sure before I begin my actual painting that I understand what the wax will do to my pictures and to my writing and what is the best way to keep the integrity of the wax and the images while still bringing to life my dreams.

Here is a sneak preview.

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My Childhood Art Then and Now

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!