Thoughts & process


So after a sort of quiet online day yesterday I feel I can find a few words to share today about my new lithography print "Looking forward". {I'm a quiet person and just can't talk all the time.} I have assembled some images of where I found inspiration, source material, and process.

This skeleton of a house is a current project my husband and his company are working on. They have gutted it, torn off the additions, and what remains is the original 19th century structure. Looking at it I thought, "Really, you guys are rescuing this?!" His response was "Yeah most people may just want to tear it down, but it is a historic building." He values that history and the individuals who built it 100+ years ago and I for one know that he can turn that into something amazing. I have seen it happen.

The actual house was shifted off it's original site, to the side of the lot so a full basement could be poured. Just yesterday it was moved back in place. Amazing. And now it is ready to begin it's new life. All of this is a metaphor, of beginning a new life.

The idea of taking something that has inherent value although it may not be easily recognized, is interesting to me. I have been thinking of birds again and looking at some of my earlier work as well as drawings I did as a child.  Then I made a few drawings and a watercolor of the house {oh I forgot to photograph that one, oops!} and decided to make it the center of this print. Other imagery includes an interlocking pattern as a symbol for a plan, a bird, cloud, rainbow, and water patterns.

I hand pulled only fifteen prints of this image, because I like for editions to be small, 50 or under. My love is making original, one of a kind pieces and I hope for the viewer to make a connection to an idea or image in the piece. Art is something you live with. I also painted each print by hand using handmade watercolor and have listed them in my Gallery Store and Etsy shop.

Thank you for reading a little bit about my thoughts today. I appreciate it!

ps. Thank you Jena for your post about The Working Proof! Jena also has a new space, Miss Modish.

poetry & drawing

This is what is on my wall, and this is what I'm thinking about.

Yesterday {in my own mind} I considered the synergy between making a drawing or painting {or other art form, but that is what I know} and writing poetry. A friend sent me a poem and as I read and reread it, I was trying to connect to her line of thinking. What brought her from this word to this image I wondered? What metaphors are suggested by this word? How did she think of this next line? I felt a thread, fine and strong between this poem {poetry in general perhaps} and the drawing process. I find it amazing and interesting to look into the window of someone's thinking.

The other day, as I was beginning a watercolor painting I noticed I was beginning with blue, my own deep shade, somewhere between prussian and phthalo. Why have I begun each of these pieces with blue I wonder? Why not begin with yellow ochre? And yet I know a pool of blue paint isn't just a blue shape, it is a metaphor, at times {for me} a metaphor for origin. And yet, if I were to lead you further on a path, through a line of thinking in the process of drawing, would it be interesting or leave you feeling disenchanted? Would it dissect the piece beyond mystery? I like for there to be questions in art, or wonderings. Not the kind where the piece means whatever the viewer wants it to, because that's too easy. Art making is intentional as is the meaning.

Even so, understanding or explaining may be tricky because I get so involved in the process, that the thoughts become nondescript, like a language with no words. I have always thought that making art is my first language. Only when I am finished can I step away and {try to} gauge in terms what is taking place. Perhaps you can relate?

Making watercolor by hand


I'm back to show you some pics of my process for making handmade watercolor paint. When I was in graduate school I took a course called "Materials & Techniques" led by my favorite professor. She taught us to make painting grounds {true gesso, hide glue etc.} and all kinds of paint {watercolor, egg tempera, oil, casein, pastels, etc.} from scratch. Well as you can imagine, I loved it! I mean, look at all those jars of color! {That alone sends me, in a good way, but anyway.} It may sound silly to say but I feel connected to my "roots" when making my own paint. The colors when mixed by hand are vibrant, intense, and with watercolor I have flexibility to paint the way I want. I can control how opaque or transparent I want the paint just by adjusting the amount of medium, pigment, or water. I don't call myself a traditional "watercolorist" but I do love making paint by hand, the old fashioned way. And while it is not difficult it does take time, and that makes it even more beautiful.

Handmade watercolor begins with dry pigments, and grinding them into a glass palette with water until it forms a paste. Once the paste is blended I add a medium to bind it, gum arabic. And this grinding, mixing method is continued with each color. Once I have my 'basic' colors made I can then make further mixtures on my palette when working. While I prefer a giant piece of glass for my palette, I want to mention I have had this palette since I was a girl. I remember sitting on the beach taking watercolor lessons and trying to paint the waves. There is even still a small shrimp boat I drew on the front in pencil when I was about twelve.

Tomorrow I will share a few ideas that have been buzzing around my brain, incorporated in these new works and others. The ones you see here on my table are part of a new collection of {affordable} handmade watercolor paintings that I just added to my Gallery Store.

Thanks for reading today,