Tag Archives: encaustic

Dream Nest

Years ago, before I went to art school, I made stuff.  Being naturally artistic, this stuff was well crafted and made with a tremendous sense of play. I made mobiles with broken stained glass that was wrapped with wire – like jewels.  I made painted paper flowers which I still see here and there at the houses of friends and family members who delighted in these whimsical things.  My husband happened upon a junk yard whose owner/operator wound up teaching me to cut and weld steel.  I painted metal cutouts and gave them as gifts and sold a few too.  I had a few years of decent sales making these things and even paid for a workshop in Colorado, where I decided to Go Back To School for an Art Degree.

While in school, and since then to a certain degree, I have been creating large scale projects that are not necessarily fit for sale to the average buyer.  Smaller things were now laying around more as ‘studies’ for larger work, but not for sale.  Friends and family began to ask how they could acquire smallish work of mine.  “When’s your next show?” they would ask.  I signed up for – and backed out of – numerous coffee shop gallery shows over recent years, hemming and hawing at the simple act of making things to sell.  I am not entirely sure why this is.  I like making money when I can, especially now that I have lost most of my paying jobs.  (that will be changing in the coming weeks… more on that soon…)  But for some reason, I was stalled in the sales department.

Anyway, instead of worrying too much about it, I decided that it’s a new year and time for some new challenges.  Plenty of people, varied in skill, style and wares, have thrown their hat into the virtual sales ring of Etsy and maybe it’s high time I gave it a shot.  I am still applying to higher level art shows and opportunities where I can, but along the way, if someone likes something I am making, they can now buy it on Etsy.  Working on small works of art keeps me primed for the larger scale projects.  Etsy is a place for these small works and exercises to realize new life with a buyer. This is an exciting prospect.

In the spirit of starting small, I listed 3 new paintings today, all of them encaustic, 5″x5″, heart themed in time for Valentine’s Day.  Please stop by the new Micromovements, Dream Nest Etsy shop today to check out these new works.  Just for good measure, I’ll share images below as well.  It is my plan to update as often as new jobs and travels allow.  So stay tuned…. as always, I’ll keep you posted.  In the meantime, let me know what you think of the new work!!

In Situ

Greetings from an unusually snowy day here in Southwestern Ohio.  This weather has the kids off of school and the pace slowed down to a more artful clip and I am relishing it.  Last weekend I hung my recent encaustic paintings at Pleasant Perk Coffee Shop in Pleasant Ridge and I am happy with the results.  As much as I enjoy making the art and playing around with materials and researching the concepts, my least favorite part of being an artist is the whole business of showing it off.  To put it mildly, it makes my skin crawl.

One would think that I would have gotten over this in art school, and to a certain extent I guess I did while I was there.  But it has been quite awhile since I have made a point of showing what I might consider a “body of work” and this coffee shop show is a baby step in that direction.  I am approaching this show as more of a works-in-progress kind of thing versus anything epic.  And I am comfortable with this.  You may recognize some of the works in these snapshots, while others have never been photographed.  If you are in the area, I encourage you to stop by the shop and see these paintings in situ. There will be a small opening this friday from 5-7 pm.  I hope to see you there!

With this show up, I have the studio cleaned and ready for its next burst of activity.  The next few months are likely to be extremely busy as many projects and labors of love come to fruition.  One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to be a little more frequent with the blogging so that when I sit down to catch up on it, it doesn’t seem so daunting a task.  So stay tuned and keep an eye out for news on new work, new classes, benefit concerts, drawing for the corporate set, and large scale commission work. It should be pretty exciting!

In the meantime, Happy 2010 to all.  I’m going to go play in the snow and make some art.

Stillpoint

Today is the Winter Solstice, a day when the pendulum of time comes to a still point.  When the days which have gradually grown darker and darker make the switch, ever so quietly, to become lighter and lighter.  It is a time of hope, and renewal.  And only weeks away from the quickening of the earth which will indicate the coming of spring.

Last week saw the culmination of weeks of work by everyone in our household.  The kids finished up final exams at school, my husband left town for the week to meet with others in his company in order to get everyone on a similar page at work, and I hosted a pilot workshop for Drawing Down the Vision.  The week before, Adam and I had attempted a dry run, the results of which were a bit of a train wreck.  But we needed to learn the lessons from the dry run in order to be prepared for the actual pilot, which was, thankfully, a complete success.  We had 5 participants at the pilot, all of which were prepared to give us critical feedback at the end of the workshop.  Everyone involved seemed to get a lot out of the class and gave us some things to tweak as we develop the next pilot…. all leading us to eventually offer the class to the business sphere.  It’s been so much work and research but worth every minute.  I am looking forward to honing this process into something that people in all realms of work can utilize to enhance their creativity. Stay tuned in 2010!

With DDtV successfully piloted, and our schedules a little more fluid for the next couple of weeks, I am back in the studio, bundled up against the cold working on the last few pieces slated for showing at Pleasant Perk Coffee Shop in the month of January.  I am excited to show the work outside my usual comfort zone and see what makes people take notice.  One of the paintings from this show (not quite sure yet which) will go into a silent auction, part of a benefit concert being put together for the Esme Kenney Memorial Sculpture Project.  This concert is scheduled for January 30 and will showcase an incredible array of musical talent… plus some art!  I will keep you posted as things progress on this project.

For now, here are a few “works in progress” snap shots to whet your whistle before January’s show.  I hope this post finds you surrounded by loved ones and able to find some warmth in this the coldest time of year.  I for one am intensely grateful for the opportunity to update this blog now and then and to be doing the work I love.  Peace to you this holiday….

I’ve been doing some drawing here and there prior to the wax application…..

… and some print making as well!

Navigating

There has been a lot on the proverbial plate here lately which is mildly stressful.  But mostly, excitement reigns as I navigate an increasingly busy schedule.  Our kids are back in school now and we have settled into something of a schedule with new bus routes and school hours.  Having them take the bus to and from school most days has opened up some more time for me in the studio and I have been taking full advantage.  The wax table has seen some activity and I am enjoying creating new works involving stones and pebbles.

For years (as long as I can remember actually) I have collected small stones from everywhere I go as minute physical reminders of a place.  Once at home, these pebbles are usually to be found lying around here and there as decoration and inspiration.  Sometimes I just like to carry one in my pocket.  I like to think I am borrowing them for a time until someday when I am done with them and they will go back outside.  I know other artists who use pebbles as not only inspiration, but as material.  Jennifer Neilsen of Solstice Designs creates beautiful jewelry out of stones she finds on the Maine coast and I am a proud owner of one of her pieces.

In recent encaustic work, as well as in the sketchbook, I have been meditating on how lovely each and every stone is and how no one is like any other.  They are a good bit like people.  I don’t use actual pebbles in these paintings but rather create simulacra of stones and pebbles that look as much like the real thing as possible.  I like the effect and the pebbles are convincing, even in person.  But why re-create pebbles?  I don’t really know the answer to that at this point.  I just know that I enjoy making them, which for me is half the battle in the studio.  If I am not engaged with my subject, I get easily sidetracked.  So for now, I am sculpting little stones and considering the notion of landscape from a top-down perspective.  Years of beach combing are finally paying off perhaps.  Here are some samples of what’s cookin’ at the wax table…

Kayaking continues to be my new love as I learn more about being comfortable in my boat.  We have had numerous opportunities to be out on the water recently which allows me to gather stones, take photographs and draw.

One of the unexpected things about kayaking that I find particularly enjoyable is the solitude and quiet to be found when out on the water, at least in mild weather and calm waters.  I get time and quiet to think about things, which is something I don’t allow enough of in my daily life.  Even when paddling with a group of people, there is enough space and time to do my own thing here and there and I love that.  Here’s a sketch I did the other day while out on the Ohio River at Manchester Islands.  Instead of swimming, I sat and drew.

Drawing is the other thing that has me busy in the studio right now.  Funny thing is, it’s not so much the act of drawing, but rather research and writing about drawing and its inherent value as a quintessential right brained activity.  For the past few months, a former student, now friend, Adam Siemiginowski and I have been developing a new course in drawing and visual communication in general which we intend to pilot locally to large scale businesses.  We call this project Drawing Down the Vision.  It all started when Adam, a systems analyst, data sort a guy from P&G took my class at the Art Academy.  He was looking for a way to synthesize disparate ideas into one concise place as a way to monitor trends in his own thinking and idea gathering.  By the end of the course, it was clear to both of us that my relatively simple process of keeping a visual diary (i.e. sketchbook) could potentially be a powerful tool in knowledge management in the corporate sphere.

So we began working together.  I have a fairly steep learning curve when it comes to business lingo and navigating the corporate way of doing things.  But I am learning.  The more we research what boils down to a discussion of creativity in the work place, the more there is to discover.  Everyday there is more and more evidence that the old models of generating creative solutions to problems (be they business-esque “bottom line” solutions, or an outside of the box new medical breakthrough) are outdated.  Dan Pink’s recent TED talk speaks to the power of this changing landscape of problem solving.  He is one of many who believe that inspiring creativity in the work place may involve a new approach involving mixing the boundaries between professions such as business, art and science.

All of this is tremendously exciting, and scary, and I write about it here because writing helps me organize my thoughts in a way that simply thinking or list-making can’t.  In the end that is why I blog.  I sometimes discover a way of viewing my own work or thought process that I hadn’t considered.  So I’ll certainly be writing more about DDtV and its progress, as well as keeping you posted on the more day to day simple things that keep me not only occupied but in awe.  Thanks for reading.

hittin’ the road again

I love this time of year.  In a few days my family and I are hitting the road for the start of a summer of travels.  As we do every summer, we are heading to Maine to collectively fill our wells.  Hopefully we’ll have some sunshine this year after 3 years of nothin’ but rain.  But there is nothing we can do about the weather, and we adore the family-friends we see there each year.  As I usually do before a big trip, I am writing here to catch up on the wonders of what’s happening here at home, and to bid my few but loyal readers adieu until my next post which may be a month or more from now….

Being an artist requires a person to become something of an observer.  Whether that means observing one’s inner landscape, or observing the magic all around in one’s environment doesn’t really matter.  We simply observe.  And sometimes, capture that magic – with a photograph, a poem, a song, a work of art.  This is really what artists of all kinds do.  They (we) capture a brief moment in time, and manifest it into something more timeless.  In order to make room for this capturing, you’ll often find artists doing a tremendous amount of wandering.  For it is in this wandering that we are inspired.

This week I walked in Spring Grove Cemetery with Lisa like we often do and it was quite the nature day.  We came across a turtle laying her eggs just off the side of the road.  And a little fawn, who seems to often be around Esme’s Place at Spring Grove, peeked out at us this time and looks to be growing like a weed.

At home in the studio, in spite of the heat outdoors, I have had the wax table heated up a great deal recently and here’s what’s come of it….

Above is a work in progress that I hope to have finished before I leave for Maine for entry (should they accept it) into an “Earth” themed show at the Kennedy Heights Art Center.

Meanwhile, my old work, Tubular CM, has found it’s way up onto the walls at Salon Cherry Bomb in Hyde Park.  I put two installations of them up, one larger than the other, and they seem to work well in the space.  At the very least, they are out of storage.

The hardest part about leaving for a vacation is, well, leaving.  I hope that someday I can take my dogs with me to Maine and make a summer of it.  But alas, they’ll be staying here at their Kingdom across the Magical Bridge of Hope and Wonder with our house-sitter.  Caskie has not been well lately and we are waiting to get some test results back about what might be going on with him.  He’s been losing a lot of weight recently and just doesn’t seem to feel very well.  Today however he ate some chicken and rice and even played a bit with the other dogs in the yard.  So maybe we’ll get to have him around for awhile longer.

As the evening cools to a balmy, potentially storm-ridden night here at Chez Bogard, I wish a happy summer all around, with time enough to enjoy the company of family, friends and self.

I’m sure I’ll have lots to write after Irish Week at Swannanoa….

Back in the saddle, so to speak

There is nothing like a road trip to shake things up artistically, especially when things have been hard on the home front.  My trip south with Kim went off with out a hitch and we had a great time.  It was so good for me to hang out on the edge of things and just take it all in. It was restful, at least for me, although touring is hard work for the musicians.  The “lads” with whom Kim was touring were a great bunch of guys.  My favorite venue they played was Eddie’s Attic, the premier singer/songwriter listening room in the Atlanta area.

Not all of our time was spent working however.  We managed to find some wonderful second hand clothing shops in Atlanta and Greenville, SC and an amazing toy store in downtown Greenville.

The trip was only 2 overnights and was over in a flash.  I personally, could have used a few more days on the road and will have to plan accordingly next time and join the tour sooner!  A good chunk of our time driving home through the mountains was spent in the fog, which was a nerve wracking for driving, yet beautiful at the same time.

Upon arriving home I put the finishing touches on a quilt I have been working on for one of my dearest friends who is having her first baby.  The design is based on the notion of “friendly monsters” which the kids drew out on paper, and then I interpreted into a quilt.  The result is amazing and like nothing I have ever made.  Below are some photos….

Now that the quilt is done and has been presented to its new home, it’s back to the wax table for me.  Below is my latest painting in encaustic.  It’s 12 X12 inches and seems to be heading into different thematic territory for me.  I have only briefly touched on my own past experiences to make art, choosing more often to work from my present surroundings, or broader collective inspiration such as Nature or the idea of Place.  But recently, my interesting and at times wild life and upbringing have been bubbling up and begging to be interpreted into art.  Most specifically, an earthquake that my family and I experienced in 1976 in Guatemala City.  I have only made a couple of pieces of art work based specifically on that terrifying experience but I think I am ready to tackle this idea a little more head on.  I’ll see how it goes.  Processing old stuff is hard, but necessary sometimes, and powerful, especially artistically.  I’ll keep you posted…

bad work

One of my favorite artists from back in the 60’s was Eva Hesse.  Not only did her sense of form resonate with me artistically, but I also feel a kinship with her in how she approached the nature of art work in general.  Unlike many successful artists of her time, she openly struggled as a person in making her work.  Hesse regularly wrote in her diaries and to her friends about her fears, anxiety and depression and how these things affected and were echoed in her work.  And still she worked.  She was fortunate, as am I, to have friends who acted as sounding boards for her and who often fed her great advice.  One such letter was from Sol LeWitt:

“…Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder, wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, gasping, confusing, itching, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, scrambling, hithing, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning…..grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself.  Stop it and just DO…. Try and tickle something inside you, your ‘weird humor’.  You belong in the most secret part of you.  Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool.  Make your own, own world.  If you fear, make it work for you – draw and paint your fear and anxiety.  And stop worrying about big, deep things such as ‘to decide on a purpose and a way of life…’  You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty.  Then you will be able to DO!  I have much confidence in you and even though you are tormenting yourself, the work you do is very good.  Try to do some BAD work.  The worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell.”

I love this letter to her and seeing the amazing, prolific legacy of work Hesse left behind, she must have taken some of it to heart, in spite of her self torture.  This week I have been in the studio a bunch simply trying to re-engage the space.  I realized recently that with it being so cold, I have been avoiding coming out here.  Some days it just seemed like too much effort to build a fire and wear so many extra layers.  So here I am in my beautiful, chilly, glassed in art space.  Re-engaging.

Lewitt’s letter to Hesse seems so fitting to my own process these last few days as I have been timidly approaching the wax table a bit in the hopes that I can come up with something that won’t eventually wind up in the fire-starting bin.  I need to allow myself to make some BAD work as I find my way around and through this tricky medium.  I need to have faith in the process and not so hard on myself when in the midst of it.  So here is the first few layers of what will probably be a bad painting.  Not a finished work, not pretty.  Just a sign of progress, of work being made, of forward motion in the studio.  And that is enough.

Days Like This

Yesterday I downloaded my friend Kim Taylor‘s latest EP, The Greatest Story.  It’s 5 songs are soulful and playful and tearful and wonderful.  Seems like the perfect music for this amazing season.  Check out her website and get yourself a copy of her work.  I think you’ll love it.

Meanwhile my own work is plugging right along.  I have been teaching my Keeping a Journal Sketchbook class at the Art Academy in recent weeks and it is going extremely well.  This being the second time I have presented this particular class, I am more relaxed and more creative in my approach to teaching.  I think this may be rubbing off on to the students.  They are so enthusiastic that a few of them want to keep the class going another couple of sessions.  So the folks at the Art Academy have been gracious enough to let us officially extend the class for those who are able to keep meeting.

As I present this class to more and more students, it’s becoming clear to me that there is more to the process of keeping an artful  life-chronicle than first meets the eye.  We do more in this class than simply open our books to write, draw and glue stuff down.  As happened in my spring class, friendships are being forged.  Students are opening up to sides of their own creativity they never knew existed.  They are commiting, or re-commiting, to making an artful way of life a priority.  Surrounded by their enthusiasm and joyful art-making, my own making has received a shot in the arm.  Work begets work.  I know this, but it still amazes me when I see it and feel the phenomenon in action.

One of my former students, and now friend, introduced me to the work and writing of Jennifer Louden, the Comfort Queen.  Her blog is delightful.  Reading it I get the sense that I have sat down with a fellow artist to tackle the Fear-of-The-Unknown in our art process.  I get the sense that she feels the same fear in her work everyday and simply does what we all must do; show up, feel the fear, and do it anyway.  I encourage anyone needing an art nudge to check out her website.

One of the often discussed themes in my class at the Art Academy, as well as among my fellow artists and myself, is that of how to get started. The ol’ zero to 60 phenomenon.  Most of us have other jobs (many cases multiple!), families who rely on us, households to run, lives to lead.  Rare is the artist who wakes up and makes art, day in and day out without fail.  Frankly, I don’t know anyone like that.  How does one find the time, energy and inspiration to work on art at the end of a jam packed day or week?  How do we get the art motor running anyway?  I have my own answers to these questions and am always interested in hearing how other creatives get out of their own way.

Along with my ever present sketchbook and the act of walking my dogs, I have recently been writing letters and post cards to people I know will love to receive them.  I get out the collagey materials and glue weird images to envelopes.  I make little sketches and add them into letters.  Sometimes I use a typewriter…. yep, a real old fashioned one that hiccups its way around the words giving the whole thing a whisical quality that I love. I slip in a little glitter now and then.  None of this takes a terribly long time and the benefits are far reaching.  The art supplies are coaxed out of stagnancy and ideas begin flowing.  It’s a snowball sort of effect and I am rolling with it right now.  This simple act of doing something remotely artful is the back door to the more “serious” work that may or may not be around the corner. The other day I had a fire going in the studio fire place, the wax table was on and I was mixing new colors, sticky things were drying on postcards and in my sketchbook.  It all felt a bit like a complicated dance but there I was, just dancing.

Today my creativity finds itself mostly out in the kitchen where I am busy readying Chez Bogard for the annual Riley School of Irish Music Halloween Party.  Chili, cider, mad amounts of chocolate chip cookies are in the works.  I still need to get my new vampire teeth fitted.  I shall be a Vampire, to suck the very marrow out of life…. mwa ha ha.  But I digress….

Have a safe, happy, fun, CREATIVE Halloween.

Here’s the latest waxy work…

Offline

Last week my Hub went out of town on business and unfortunately found himself without power cords for his laptop upon his return. Said cords are being shipped from Hong Kong and may be a few days which renders his laptop out of service due to a lack of power. The good thing is, he has my laptop as back up and can do his work as needed. The bad thing is, he has my laptop as back up…

It is interesting to me how much I turn to my computer during the day, to quickly research an idea, keep track of my images, blog, and keep in touch with friends and family. I have felt a little lost in recent days with out this electronic security blanket. Even so I am still painting every day, practicing music everyday (Augusta is fast approaching!), keeping up with my dogs, my family, my renovation. Life moves on. The past week is perhaps a good preparation for the up-coming weeks when I will be out of the electronic loop while at Irish Music camp and vacation in our beloved Soul Home, Maine. It is possible I may not check in with my virtual self until Mid-August. Life moves on.

In the meantime, below is what has been happening around here recently and I am certain to post something about my summer adventures when I return, or on route, if I am so inspired. It is summer after all, and the living is supposed to be easy….

Last night Tony and I went on a sunset dinner cruise on the Ohio River for our anniversary which is coming up in a few days. We were blessed with beautiful, soft weather and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

I have stuck to my commitment of making a tiny painting every day and have even managed to photograph each piece. It’s amazing to me how they pile up. Below are the results…


I am pleased with the results but more importantly with the process. There is just not a lot of pressure in one tiny painting. It’s a lot like the theme of this blog, a little every day… for most days. But play at the wax table is not all that’s happening. After some concrete related hold-ups (the end result is even better than the first version) our cabinets are finally being installed. I don’t think we’ll have a kitchen until way after vacation, but at least we are still moving forward again after a couple of weeks in a holding pattern (note: Concrete takes patience, don’t ever rush it. Our guys did and had to do a LOT of work to fix it!)

Puppy Boot Camp (at least my gentle version of it) is still going on. We walk twice a day which they love. When at home all members of the family, and guests as well, are learning how to teach all three to keep all four paws on the ground and mind their place in the pack. All of us are benefiting from this wonderful structure. They are even lying still enough sometimes that I have gotten a couple of daily dog sketches done!

Yes, indeed life moves on… I’ll keep you posted, when I get the chance!

Picture This

Today I took a few of my recent wax efforts downtown to Deskey, a cool brand imaging company, where photographer Gregg Smith works. I have been having trouble taking decent photographs of my encaustic work because of the way the light bounces around, in and on this medium. This quality is of course what also makes encaustic so tricky to work with, but so beautiful and luminescent when done well.

I have always enjoyed Gregg’s ability to photograph my work, at a reasonable cost and with a quick turn around. My plan is to apply to the small works show, Magnitude Seven, at Manifest Gallery with two works shown below, Golden Spine and Charged. With these two, I feel like I might finally be getting somewhere with encaustic. The more I work with it, the more I know I need to learn. Thankfully, it is an entrancing process and I have yet to get bored with it.

charged.jpg

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fruit.jpg

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goldenspine.jpg