Discovering Your True Artistic Self

Each sheet of twelve studies, began the same way.  All started on a 22” x 30” sheet of Arches Oil Paper.   All were sectioned into 12 individual blank spaces, and all used a limited pallet.  They usually started with mark making, using Art Graf, stencils, oil bar and Cray Pas and ended with Cold Wax and oil paint. Play in the beginning was very important.   The play progressed into them telling me what they wanted to become.

Nicholas Wilton, a great artist and teacher, uses this approach to creating.  He will be having a free workshop, that you might be interested in. Here is the link to sign up https://art2life.lpages.co/2021-free-a2l-workshop/   While introducing the workshop, he had three questions to ask you.  Below are the questions and how I answered.  I think they tie really well into my journey of discovering what I love and where I am going with this series.

 1.  What are the parts that you love about your work?             

         a.  Arches oil paper

         b.  Cold Wax medium how it creates texture and transparency

         c.  black lines (on again and off again, heavy and light, marks)

         d.  High intensity and high contrast

         e.  oil paint (how it glistens and mixes; mixing is sensual)

         f.   movement (I tend to always have movement and rhythm)

2.   What is the reason you are creating this way?

         a.  more freedom

         b.  playful

         c.  expressing with no limitations

         d.  experimental

         e.  sensual

         f.  learning to fearlessly be myself

         g. with Covid in the background, it fills a need, physically, spiritually and emotionally

3.  How will your art look in the future, perhaps 3 years from now?

          a.   By letting go of control, I believe I will have more growth in a shorter amount of time.

          b.  I probably will be painting large 36″ x 36″ or even larger

          c.  I can imagine my paintings being more visceral, fearless and raw

          d.  I will be disclosing more of my true self

Please try asking yourself these questions, they are quite revealing and might increase your growth in a real way.

The painting above is called “Another Tomorrow” 36” x 36” Cold wax oil, and mixed media on Arches oil paper is the third painting of my Twelve of Twelve series.  Again, because of our need to isolate and stay home due to Covid, it has made my art more colorful and passionate.  I notice my work is becoming less inhibited and sensual.

Thank you again for your time.  I appreciate you.

 


About Arches Oil Paper


Let’s talk about Arches Oil Paper.  Since I’m going to be continually using this substrate throughout my Twelve of Twelve series, I thought you might want to know a little about this surface.  This paper comes in a variety of sizes. I purchase Arches Oil Paper from Dick Blick. 

PRO’s

  1. Weight 140 lbs, 100% Cotton, Acid Free and sized
  2. Needs no preparation prior to use, use paint or mixed media directly
  3. Slightly toothy
  4. Absorbant
  5. Archival
  6. Economical
  7. Can be framed without glass
  8. Can be varnished or sealed with Cold Wax
  9. Easy to store
  10. Great for transparent colors
  11. Allows quick drying, especially when you like to paint wet on wet like me
  12. Oil will not soak through paper
  13. Doesn’t curl or buckle when saturated
  14. Weighs practically nothing, easy to transporting during travel and Plein Air
  15. Colors don’t shift in value or intensity
  16. Very strong
  17. Can be used with a variety of mediums, including watercolor, acrylic, mixed media and collage
  18. Because of its verstatility there is no need to purchase different types of paper
  19. Arches oil paper is formulated to protect the paper fibers, without priming
  20. Framing is easy, just mount paper on board

CON’S 

  1. Paint can’t be scrubbed off like canvas; it will leave a stain to only be covered by opaque paint or medium
  2. May need to take some time to think ahead before painting, similar to watercolor
  3. Water abrades paper when scrubbed

I have never found a paper that shows off pigment with such clarity and purity.  It is such a sensual substrate, that allows such wonderful interaction between the artist and the material. Additionally, Cold Wax medium and oil paint is a perfect match made in heaven when combined.  Using Cold Wax and Oil paint with Arches oil paper, allows for the wonderful transparencies initially and in layers creating the most beautiful affects and pleasant surprises. And as the layers build one can see the visible work.  This paper is amazing.  


 


A Life Of Its Own


I am continuing my Twelve of Twelve series, in which I have chosen 12 studies to enlarge up to 36” x 36”.  There will be many observations that I want to share along the way.

I believe the most important piece of creating art is the emotion and energy.  Can you recreate the original piece of art or study and still retain its essence or soul?  

I have seen artists try to copy the original by tracing, using the grid method, a projector or printer to enlarge a painting.  What happens when you do this?

It is a priority for me to not only keep the integrity of the original piece, but also not to lose its freshness and vitality.  And as I scale up the small studies to a larger format, I have to allow the creation to have a life of its own.

Some of the undertakings I considered prior to increasing the size were:

  1. Keeping the same mediums and substrate; arches oil paper, oil paint and cold wax, mixed media 
  1. Establishing the major shapes and composition, and allowing change if needed to make stronger
  1. Understanding the original and its transparencies, layers and textures; what came first, what is over, what is under, how can I increase the same effect in a larger scale
  1. Using the same tools but larger, that includes stencils, rollers, bowl scrapers, brushes , etc.
  1. And what is the mood and essence that I want to repeat from the original piece?

 As I enlarge the original, I am always focusing on improving the composition.  But, I also had to allow myself to drift off into another direction if called.  I still want to create something new and exciting.  The study is the starting off point, not the destination.

Year of the Ox
6" x 6" Study

The painting above is called “The Year of the Ox” and is the second painting of my “Twelve of Twelve” series.  I hope I captured the energy and celebration of the coming Chinese New Year, “The Year of the Ox”.   We have all had a tough 2020.  “The Year of the Ox”, brings us the opportunity to work hard and deliberate and also to acknowledge the opportunity for resetting our lives to create a more positive future for ourselves and others. 


Evolution Of An Artist Series

Who knew that my desire to learn more about mark making and abstraction would take me on another journey? From November 2019 to March 2020, I created 120 small cold wax studies on arches oil paper. The studies allowed me to grow quickly, and began to influence my style when painting figures and landscapes. I noticed that I was enjoying creating freely and channeling my authentic self. I was discovering my power of imagination and allowing my spirit to enter the expression.

I kept the studies tucked away for nine months, wondering what to do with them. What was my next step?  I knew that this journey and exploration needed to continue.  Even though the paintings are small, averaging 6” x 6”, they still lent themselves to a larger scale. I decided to select 12 studies to enlarge to 36” x 36”.  Going deeper allows me to explore the possibilities and create a series that not only brings me joy, but also creates a cohesive body of work.

The collection will have a common theme:

  1. Using cold wax medium and mixed media
  2. Substrate Arches oil paper
  3. All squares
  4. Abstraction
  5. All the same size 36” x 36”
  6. High chroma
  7. Subconscious exploration

The painting above is the first of my new series called Tis-sa-ack.  In creating the larger piece, the water element became more apparent, something I didn’t notice in the smaller one.  My husband mentioned that it looked like Half Dome in Yosemite.  I also got the same feeling, even though I was not trying to make the painting literal in any way. The long blue shape to the left created the energy of a waterfall.  Thus, the name Tis-sa-ack (crying girl in Native American Paiute language), is the original name for Half Dome, which is the name of a mother from a native legend.

Creating a series allows the artist to evolve and grow. I found that the process allows me to reveal my subconscious emotions in a visual way. As I explore the series, more ideas will come up and allow me to push the series and my ability to a higher level.

 I would love to hear of your experiences in creating a series.


One Hundred and Twenty Abstracts

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From November 2019 to March 2020, I created one hundred and twenty, 6” x 6” Cold Wax and Oil paintings, including mixed media on sheets of Arches Oil Paper.

Each painting started with a line using Art Graf. I then either added home made paper, stencil, charcoal, and other mixed media, combined with Oil and Cold wax medium.

My initial intention was to become familiar with abstract design and mark making. Each sheet was a theme of color.  Sometimes, I kept in sync with my original intention and sometimes, I surpisingly veered off.  But all times, I found something new about myself.

I love working on Arches oil paper.  It doesn’t need to be gessoed.  Paint and medium can be directly applied to the paper without concern.  It also allows for such wonderful marks and texture and shows off the oil paint beautifully.

Painting from the inside out causes you to repeat things that have meaning for you.  I started to recognize patterns and marks that are my own.

I decided to pull my favorites from the one hundred and twenty studies and further the series by increasing the size.  I am able to increase the 6” x 6” to 36” x 36” using a roll large roll of Arches Oil Paper.  I  have so many ideas and content, I can’t wait to get started.  More on this next week.

Wish me luck!

PS I have posted some of the smaller paintings and they are also available in my portfolio if you are interested