Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Retrospective Part 5

"Geisha" - Collage - 9x12 - 2007
Since this is the final day at Mom's this is the last part of this particular Retrospective series; although it could go on much, much further. I swear, it's like being in the Kristeena Crabb Museum of Art! 

I began to dabble in collage during the summer of 2001. After creating about a dozen pieces and exhibiting them in a well received show, I went back and forth between collage and pastel until mid 2004 when I took up collage exclusively. In fact, I no longer even own any soft pastels.
"The Long Rainy Day" - Collage - 6x15 - 2008

Monday, February 27, 2012

Retrospective Part 4

"Ceramic Birds & Morning Glory Vase" - Pastel - 11x14 - 1998
Ultimately, flowers became my favorite subject matter. My mother has always been an avid gardener and I grew up following her around the yard asking the names of all the flowers and learning the difference between annuals and perennials. I learned to love flowers, but somehow, not gardening. :\  Don't get me wrong. I love to plant flowers, but whether they live or die is up to them.

Anyway, creating images of flowers, in all mediums, is a huge source of joy. Interestingly enough, the flowers in this first image were from my yard (obviously something survived my rather crude gardening methods). I had just made a breakthrough in my handling of pastels and was having a great time with them. What I love most about this painting, though, are the ceramic birds and vase. They had been made by my grandmother almost 40 years earlier. I realize that when she made these she must have been around the same age I am now.
"Nasturtiums II" - Pastel - 16x17 - 1999
The nasturtiums in this second image also came from my yard. Hmmm... maybe I'm a little more into gardening than I realize. I absolutely adore nasturtiums and enjoy representing them in collage, too.
"Blue Vase - Pastel - 11x14 - 2002
This final piece of pansies (also grown by me) was painted as a homework assignment for a pastel workshop I was taking. Fact of the matter is, I never went back after the first session. The instructor was such a flake. Work was never really accomplished in the classroom unless the "energy was right." Most of the time he just talked about painting. I must have gotten something out of it though. This image was made in response to his encouragement to think about composition a little differently and I rather like the way it turned out. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Retrospective Part 3

"Cool Roots" - Pastel - 11x14 - 2003
I really enjoyed doing landscapes, both en plein air as well as from photos. Where I lived in Maryland was a hugely picturesque area. There was one stretch of country road that particularly intrigued me, but it was all privately owned land and there was no safe place to pull over the car to stop. So one beautiful autumn afternoon in 2002, I had my son drop me off at one end of the road on his way to run errands somewhere and told him I'd call him when I had walked to the other end (about two miles) and he could pick me up then. It is one of the most memorable afternoons of my life. Driving by an area is nothing like walking through it and looking at it through the lens of a camera. I was shooting 35mm at the time and I may have gone through as many as four rolls of film on that walk. I don't even remember how many paintings I was able to create from my photographs, but "Cool Roots" was one of them. I'm glad it didn't sell to anyone outside the family because every time I see it at my mother's I'm always reminded of that magical afternoon.

"Hazy Morning" - Pastel - 11x14 - 2002
"Hazy Morning" was created on site, sitting in my driveway. I just looked across the road one morning and painted. Like I said, we lived in such a beautiful area. I painted numerous landscapes, en plein air, just from my own yard. We had great vistas in all directions.
"Cold Winter Sky" - Pastel - 10x17 - 2000
"Cold Winter Sky" was actually painted from a hastily drawn black and white sketch. I had been driving along Route 50 on my way to see my mother-in-law one evening when the twilight sky caught my breath. I pulled my car over to the side of the road. Since this was before I started carrying a camera with me 24/7 all I could do was sketch the scene and make careful reference notes concerning color. I then presented the finished painting to my dad as a present because I knew his affinity for the moon and stars; the same as mine.

(Sorry for the poor quality of this photo. Very difficult to shoot behind glass. I may have a 35mm photo of this somewhere; taken before it was framed. One day I'll replace the image with a better one if I can.)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Retrospective Part 2

"Pink Poppies" - Oil - 8x10 - 1998
Yes, I dabbled in oils. Off and on. I never quite grew to love them though. And I could make the biggest mess with them, too. I found I preferred the directness of pastels and I loved the way you blended colors with pastels directly on the support itself and not on a palette. I always had the messiest palettes. I did sell a few oil paintings though and some remain in the family. Most notably with my mother and my cousin (who has the second largest collection of my works). When I moved from my home in Maryland I gave all my oil paints to my son and gave them up for good.
"Seashells & Coral" - Oil - 5x7 - 2002

Friday, February 24, 2012

Retrospective Part 1

"Two Pears" - pastel - 4x5 - 1996
I'm currently visiting with my mother who lives 650 miles from me; so I don't get to see her often enough. Being the supportive mother that she is, she owns the world's largest collection of my artwork. This collection covers the gamut from my very beginning days until now. It's always great fun and a great education for me to review these pieces whenever I'm visiting and it has inspired me to create something of a retrospective exhibit within my blog.

I was 39 before I discovered that I had the ability to draw. I was never one to take art classes in high school and I really never doodled or dabbled in art. But, I've always been an art lover, a frequent visitor to art museums, and a collector. Finally, one day, I just had to see if I had the ability to create anything of my own.

My first foray into creating art was learning to draw with charcoal and pencils. Unfortunately, I don't think any of these early works are in existence. I was over zealous in cleaning out my studio one day and... whoops!

After spending time just honing my drawing skills, I stepped up to using color. Pastels. The little piece above is the very first pastel I ever did. When my new box of Nupastels arrived, I broke them in and practiced using them by creating pears. Ever since then, whenever I try something new, I almost always experiment by using pears as my subject. My art friends tease me about it being my favorite fruit. As far as I'm concerned, the shape and countours of pears allows you to fully experience the extent of the capabilities of a new medium.

Shortly after the pears, I painted the image below from a photo of my parents' back yard.

"In A Southern Garden" - pastel - 18x24 1997
This was probably my first attempt at flowers and you can see I had a tough time with them. I love their silliness. I became much better at flowers later on.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mauve Note Card

Another note card. This time using a lavender-ish fiber paper. Actually, it's hard to even call it paper. It's just a lot of fibers loosely woven together. It kind of, sort of reminds me of shredded wheat. Also in this note card is my now infamous "scream" paper. So called because it reminds my friend Denny of Edvard Munch's "The Scream." Once she told me that, I could see it plain as day. As beautiful as the paper is, I will now always associate it with that famous painting.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Note Card With Ants & Circles

I'm having way too much fun with these note cards. Lot's of cheery colors in this one, too! The circles are made from some sort of pages from a book over which I've melted crayons. That's always fun to do. Oh, and the very bottom paper is a piece that I made some years back. You can pretty much tell when I've made the paper because invariably you'll see glitter in it! I haven't made paper in awhile. All my paper making tools are in the attic. I think it might just be time to unpack them and have some fun again!

Friday, February 3, 2012

February, 2nd Month

"February, 2nd Month" - 6x6 - Mixed Media Collage - $90 + $10 shipping
Available on Etsy 

Just in time for Valentine's Day! I was inspired. For some reason I had painted the canvas red without really thinking about it. Then, when I was shuffling through my papers for the right pieces, I found this page from the Farmer's Almanac that had already been treated with melted crayons and wouldn't you now, it was from the month of February. I'm not sure which year this was. I know, though, that it was from the first or second decade of the 20th century. 

Please be mine! <3

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Another Red Note Card

I'm not sure how I've gotten into the habit of using either unryu or banana paper as the base for my little note card abstracts, but I have. I guess I just like it! I'm intrigued by the plant fibers that run through it and the way the edges get all fuzzy when you rip it. That's the best part about these Thai papers, ripping them. Their fibrous edges make them appear even more beautiful when you do that.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Broken Black-Eyed Susan

"Broken Black-Eyed Susan" 6x6 Mixed Media Collage $90 + $10 Shipping

available on Etsy

I am thrilled beyond reason to have discovered that you can apply acrylic varnish over oil pastels. It makes no scientific sense to me why this should be so, but it works! I LOVE painting with oil pastels and to know that I can incorporate them in my collages without having to protect them under glass is like discovering the New World for me!

In addition to the oil pastels in the flower and the usual art papers, you'll also notice some iridescent fibers scattered over the image. Remember "The Mustachioed Button"? These are the trimmings left over when I trimmed the button's mustache. They are the iridescent fibers I found in the bait and tackle shop. (Evidently fish are just as entranced by the whole "Ooo shiny" thing as I am.)

So now you understand why I'm excited about this piece. Plus... Black-eyed Susan is also the state flower of Maryland. Even though I live in Delaware, I guess in a way, I'll always think of Maryland as home.