dodging raindrops

This evening I emailed my sketchbook class encouraging them to get their sketchbooks out in the rain and experiment with what would happen if they tinted a page with some graphite and let a few rain drops fall.  This was just a whim of an idea, nothing I had ever tried myself….. so i tried it!

Here’s the tinted page indoors…

some rain drops, but not much is happening… the graphite is acting a bit like a resist.  Maybe I should have known this from art school?  Oh well, back indoors….

I add some Golden Absorbent Ground (a magical medium that makes cool things happen) to the right side of the page along with a few streaks of watercolor and go back out into the rain.  It’s beginning to get dark out but I like what happens….

Here is the book indoors.

Here… is what a raindrop is capable of given the right opportunity on the page.  I am inspired by this because it reminds me of what attracts me most to the medium of encaustic.

Below are a few new-ish pieces of work that have recently come off the wax table.  Any feedback or comments are always welcome.  I continue to be in experimentation mode with this medium….

I have been thinking a bunch lately about rivers, hearts and veins.

Meanwhile there is a lot happening in the sketchbook world… Drawing Down the Vision is near ready for launch and I am putting together a travel sketching workshop to my beloved soul home, Taos, NM which will happen in the spring if there is enough interest in it.  I am inspired by my new students at the Art Academy as I get to know them. Teaching is one of my greatest sources of creativity.

Wishing you fun in the rain…. as always, I will keep you posted as things progress.

i heart sheboygan

Last weekend I was able to steal away to Sheboygan, Wisconsin for a visit to my dear friend and fellow artist Michelle Miller.  She and two other Sheboygan based artists, Gregory Brulla and Erica Jane Huntzinger opened a gorgeous show at a place called Ebco saturday night.  All of the work was beautiful and thought provoking.  I took a few pictures that evening but was having more fun meeting new people and simply looking at all the great art.

Michelle’s work uses a slew of interesting materials from panty hose and potatoes to mylar which is used to encase batteries.  She utilizes a dialogue between the work and architecture putting the viewer in the position of being in the middle of it all.  All three artist’s work blended nicely together and for a small town, Sheboygan turned out a pretty large group of art lovers and supporters making for a great evening over all.

So why Sheboygan, of all places?  Well Michelle was part of a project awhile back called M.I.K.E and fell in love with the place.  After a stint in Brooklyn, she made the decision to head back to Sheboygan where nature is closer, rent is cheaper and art can be made without carrying one’s supplies on the subway.

There is a great art vibe in Sheboygan, thanks in part to the Kohler Art Center. We visited to see some amazing art there but alas, the only thing I was permitted to photograph was the tiling in the bathroom.  It was worth photographing, for certain!

Not all of our time in Sheboygan was spent geeking out on art.  Most of our time was actually spent out of doors (ok, no surprise there).  The town is situated on the shore of Lake Michigan.  Having traveled to Lake Erie and now Michigan, I am thoroughly in love with the Great Lakes and plan to spend more time there in the future.  Although the air temperature was fairly mild during my stay there, the water temp seemed frigid when I touched it.  Even so, I was pining to be ON the water instead of just next to it.  Maybe next time.

For this trip, I was happy to gather a handful of pebbles, spend time with a dear friend and partake in local things such as honeycrisp apples and cheese curds.  Honestly, they are not that bad.  They only sound gross.

Now I am back home, inspired and working loads.  It’s a good place to be.  I have some new images to share of wax work but I think I will save that for my next blog.

River rat

Yesterday was a gorgeous fall day.  A good day for gleaning the banks of the Ohio River for found objects and other detritus that can be found on the edges of an old city.  Ok, old is relative, but Cincinnati does have some history dating back a ways and bits of it can be found in odd spots along the river in make shift dumps from the 1800’s and early 1900’s.  A fellow artist, Amy Wallace, showed me her favorite haunt and I came away with some good finds.  A few buttons, made of slate and shell, a piece of a print block, a jack, an intact vase and all kinds of pottery shards that have been stained by time and the river’s own special blend of patina.

I have no idea what I will actually “do” with any of these things.  More than likely they will serve as an abstract impetus to an idea of some kind, artistically speaking.  What I find fascinating is that most of these objects were held in someone’s hand long ago and may have been important to them, or at least useful.  I wonder about the stories of the lives of the people who owned and utilized this stuff before it was broken and cast away into the dump.

Having spent a good deal of time paddling the waters of Ohio, particularly the Ohio River, I find myself curious about the subtle histories that can be gleaned from poking along the riverbank.  On one trip a number of weeks ago, Tony and I launched from a place called Chilo.  For awhile Chilo was a bustling town centered around lock 34, part of the dam system that kept the river from getting too dry or flooded to prevent commerce.  There is a really great park with a visitor’s center near the boat launch where you can go in and learn all about what Chilo and Lock 34 once were before being replaced with a more modern set up sometime in the 1950’s.  Chilo is now pretty much a park and just a ghost of a town.  I am guessing that there are many little towns dotting the Ohio River that have interesting and potentially ever fading histories.

For years now I have been fascinated by the idea of maps.  Many of the bits of pottery I found on the river bank are cracked and stained and if looked at closely, resemble maps in a way.  I think these are really beautiful and could very well be translated as such, at least abstractly. I intend to spend more time on the river in weeks and months to come, continuing my exploration of it’s quiet history and landscape.

However, today it’s raining.  I’ve made a pie, and I plan to plant some lettuce (while dodging rain drops).  Then I’ll start to read these maps of mine and see if they might lead to a painting or two at the wax table…