going retro

RetroArtJournaling promo2

Anyone that has been in my studio or my classes, knows that I have been practicing art journaling for several years now.  It has gotten me through times when I just didn’t have any fresh new paintings in me.  Since I was in elementary school, I have loved collage.  I used to make calendars for my mom for Christmas, creating a different theme for each month and hand-drawing the calendar (this was way before Microsoft Word.  No PCs in my house).    I loved collecting images and then putting them together thematically, and the cutting and pasting is still as thrilling to me as it was in my childhood.

I have a growing collection of vintage magazines, including McCall’s, Good Housekeeping Life, Newsweek and National Geographic.  I am interested in the stories as well as the advertising.  I honestly don’t know how women made it in the 40’s – 70’s  (although many of those same ideals and expectations are still around for us today).  But I find the glamour mesmerizing, as well as the rationale that the softness of your hands after washing dishes will positively affect your husband’s desire for you.

In my new Retro Art Journaling class, I’m sharing my vintage magazines with you as we create some fun journals.  The base of these journals will be booklet cookbooks, so many of your backgrounds will already be in place.  We’ll use collage, paint, markers, gel pens and more to create one-of-a-kind art books. I personally have created a couple of these retro-themed books and have loved it.  I know you will, too.

Find out more about this new class by clicking HERE.

art in the metroplex

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Last Friday I went to the opening of the Art in the Metroplex show at the Ft. Worth Creative Arts Center, where my piece “Anomaly” was included in the exhibit.

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A tradition in the area since 1983, the show was founded by a group of artists including Beth Lea Clardy, in collaboration with Texas Christian University Art Department faculty and staff. In 2014, the show was moved to the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. This year, over 200 artists entered the competition and Juror Peter Doroshenko of the Dallas Contemporary selected 34 pieces of the 600 submitted. (source:  fwcac.com).

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The Ft. Worth Creative Arts Center is located right in the museum district of Ft. Worth, right by the Amon Carter Museum and the Will Rogers Memorial Center, and just a half block from the Kimbell Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum of Ft. Worth.

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There’s my painting at the far left of the wall.

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Gallery Talk by Juror Peter Doroshenko of the Dallas Contemporary
Gallery Talk by Juror Peter Doroshenko of the Dallas Contemporary

The show is up through October 29, so stop by and see it if you’re near downtown Ft. Worth.  There are some fantastic exhibits in the nearby museums (including Kahinde Wiley at the Modern), so make a day of it!

aitm promo

hot mess


Productivity is never pretty around here. Making art is like childbirth to me. I start out hopeful and full of promise.  At some point it makes me sick (I call it the “ugly phase”), but I keep going, knowing it’s worth the struggle. And toward the end, I will do anything – endure any torture – to get this thing finished and out of my space.


I have been finishing three new comissioned pieces – I just returned from installing one, and two more are awaiting delivery this week.

completed art for the offices of David Kesel, CPA

Meanwhile, my studio is ashambles. Unlike childbirth, there is no nesting going on here, just complete  violent, creative chaos.


As I came back into the studio this afternoon, the amount of stuff I have strewn everywhere is insane.  Paint, dirty brushes, bits of cut paper all over the table and floor, awaiting placement on some collage or journal.

 Project ideas, notes scribbled on lined paper that was torn out of some book.  Scissors, glazing medium, screwdrivers, nails, art supply catalogs, plastic bags, ideas for teaching art projects…

But it means I have been making art, and that is good. 

The A/C went out last week, just in time for summer’s last stand.   Fortunately, I am married to quite a handy man. He’s helping me out by installing a fan today.  Come on, cool weather, I need you.


And, athough I’m exhausted, I’m really thankful for this hot mess of a studio.

On to making more art.

the raven

  

If you’ve read many of my posts or been to my place, you’ll see that my garden is an extension of my studio, and a huge source of inspiration and reprieve for me.  The studio structure is a converted two-car garage, and when we moved in, there was no garden to speak of. So when we designed the interior space and added a window, the view wasn’t as big of a concern as it should have been.  (Hindsight). Fortunately, the garage also had a screened-in porch attached, and that has become one of my favorite places to think.  

  

 

This weekend, my hubby helped me out by making a little writing desk out of an old wooden palette.  It works perfectly in the space, allowing me to overlook the garden and stay mosquito-free at the same time (a huge task around here).  He lovingly named it “The Raven” a testament to his sense of humor, and a nod to his inner Mad Hatter.  

flashback to Halloween 2010

For some, rainy days and Mondays are big downers, but I happen to love both (However, I currently don’t report to “work” on most Mondays, so that most likely determines my affection). This morning brought spring rains, and I was able to clear my head while enjoying the vibrant beauty of the garden. The birds sang happily.  I even made a quirky little poem to memorialize the moment:

 

   

 

 

   And as I’m wrapping up this post, guess who perched outside my back door?   

The raven’s unglamorous Texas cousin, the grackle (as seen through the screen, from my new desk).

“Forevermore.” 

perfect 

Seems spring only lasts a couple of weeks here in north Texas. Soon the heat will be sweltering and the humidity high. So on perfect spring days like today, I have the windows and doors open, the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming and the paint is flowing. 

                 

look around

look around reception1

Here are some photos of my current solo exhibit, “Look Around,”  which opened on Friday, January 9 at thegallery8680.  It was a bitterly cold night (by Texas standards), but we still had a great turnout.

drinks

Robyn always has the most beautiful reception table — a work of art in itself.

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pano of works on paper
Works on paper in the front gallery.

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insightful

There will be a closing reception this Sunday, January 25 from 2-4pm.

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I’ll be sad to take it down – I liked each piece in my studio, but hanging my art in the gallery really transformed the work into a cohesive unit.  Here are some pieces that will have a new home after the show.

Perception
Perception
Bravely Done
Bravely Done
Tree of Life
Tree of Life

a riddle

"a riddle" art journal pages by Misty Oliver-Foster
“a riddle” art journal by Misty Oliver-Foster
The next few volcanoes took me down
I was starting to feel very sorry for myself
Why couldn’t she play the piano until the next day?
music is medicine.
Finding myself covered with regular words,
it was a very long time before I dared to
believe my recklessness.
“Enough of this nonsense!”
Ugh.  She tried not to groan.
“Keep it moving!”
But she didn’t.
She just said, “No.”
The word was right under my supplies.

 

A riddle.

a change of scenery, part I

A change of scenery is good. It stimulates the senses to be in unfamiliar surroundings.  I had the privilege this summer to get out of town and take a few small trips, so I thought I’d finally get around to sharing it with you.

My first trip this summer was to see friends in Kansas City.  My dear friend Terrin had been telling me for a while about the First Friday art walk in KC, and she had a good feeling it would be something I’d be into.  So, I finally made it happen –it was even better than I expected!

Kansas City first friday

It was more like a block party than a gallery walk.  But this block party went for blocks and blocks and blocks. The galleries and streets were so crowded, many times we had to make a single-file line just to get through to the next place.  I’m not kidding, I’ve never seen so many people out for an art event.  They have a lot of good galleries there, all within walking distance, and the atmosphere was fun and casual, not like many of the pretentious gallery walks in Dallas.

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For hours, we walked from one street to the next, popping into galleries and seeing a new band performing around every corner.  There was the first group of middle-aged performers, happily playing in the corner of a parking lot,  while a range of admirers danced to “you can be my bodyguard, and I can be your long lost pal…”  Later we were greeted by a slick rock band blaring from a more official-looking stage set up.  But probably my favorite was a group of spontaneous break dancers in the middle of the street.  Traffic was at a complete stop, and the dancers and the surrounding crowd could have cared less.  I was instantly in love with this eclectic mix of people, music and art.

Judy Onofrio at Sherry Leedy Contemporary, KC, 2014  via freshpaintblog.com

One of my favorite exhibits was by Judy Onofrio  at Sherry Leedy Contemporary.  My attraction to the sculptural work made up of bleached cow bones was a surprise to myself (and the friends that were with me).  Her ability to take jawbones, vertebrae and ribs and turn them into fascinating works of art was pretty exceptional.  Most of them were wall-hangings, but there were also some large vase-like structures that were very impressive.

 

Judy Onofrio at Sherry Leedy Contemporary, KC, 2014 via freshpaintblog.com

 

I only snapped a couple of photos, but you can see more of her work at  http://www.judyonofrio.com.  And — lucky for me– the artist was actually there during the show!  I got to meet her and ask her about her process.   She told me she has a neighbor that raises cattle and allows her to collect old bones from his fields.

artists Judy Onofrio and Misty Oliver-Foster
Getting to meet artist Judy Onofrio (left).

She said that she enjoys all the parts of collecting, cleaning,  and bleaching the bones before assembling them into sculptures.  Somehow, she has devised a method to conceal all of the joints where the bones are connected, and she told me that’s also a fun process for her.  (Thanks to Terrin for snapping a pic of me talking with Ms. Onofrio).

What a fantastic way to start the summer.  I’m eager to go back up to KC and do it again soon.

 

 

 

sacred place

 

fresh paint studio 1

“To have a sacred place is an absolute necessity… You must have a room or a certain hour of the day or so, where you do not know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody or what they owe you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be.”

– Joseph Campbell

fresh paint studio

Getting lost in my sacred place this evening.

 

 

awesome april (day 30) – i did it my way

ATC 38  23(Grace)  23 SeriesI set a challenge for myself this month to post on my blog daily, and this, my friends, is the final post for the month of April 2014.   I did it!

There were days that were a lot more inspiring than others, some very exciting with good news to share, and others that I just didn’t feel so motivated about.  But I’ve found that this has been a really good exercise for me — it has kept me focused each day, because I knew I would need to share something interesting each day with you.

Just like my journals, my blog posts are a good resource for me to see what was going on in my life at a particular time.

An overview of this month’s posts:

  • I have gotten to share some of my visual journals with you, which until this month I hadn’t published online. Posting on my blog daily has encouraged me to finish some of those journal pages that I had started but had been dragging my feet on finishing.   See awesome april posts # 18 22, 23, 25 and 27 for new journal entries, and I have a new visual journals page that I’ve been adding to all month.
  • I shared things that inspire me along the way(days # 5, 6, 7, 14 20, 28) and the advice I would give to my artist self 20 years ago (#16).
  • My trip to Europe is officially on the books, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a while.  It’s been 10 years since I traveled overseas, so I’m happy to have something fantastic to look forward to next year.  jens studio 3
  • You got a few glimpses into my studio (day # 10, 15, 26, 28),  and the studio of my friend Jennifer Cowley (day #2).  I also shared a few of my art friends (day #11 and # 24), as well as some of my students’ work in progress (day #3).
  • I’ve had a great month getting my work out there.  I revealed the news that I was selected to complete a public art mural for McKinney this spring. ( I’m still waiting on a start date, and I’ll keep you all posted on the latest  developments with that project). Meanwhile, I’ve also sold a few paintings this month, and been selected for a juried show.

Thanks to all of you who have been reading my blog this month, and to my new ‘followers.’  As always, I’d love to have comments from you on any of the posts.

Here’s looking forward to a Maniacal May.

 

encaustic painting by Misty Oliver-Foster

awesome april (day 29) – encaustic

We're Gonna Have a Good Time
We’re Gonna Have a Good Time

I have been layering found images into my paintings for the last several years, but sometimes I wanted the paint to have more surface texture.  There are many additives you can put into acrylic paint, but most of them either take a lot of layers to build up a thick surface, or they are opaque.  I wanted the texture, but still with transparency.  Enter encaustics!

I have admired encaustic work for some time – it has a very deep, luminous quality — but wasn’t quite sure how the process worked.  So, I took a couple of classes over at The Encaustic Center in Richardson and immediately knew this was a medium that I could continue to experiment with.

Portrait of a Boy, Egyptian, Roman Period 2nd Century

What is encaustic?  It is painting with heated beeswax!  It’s an old method that has been around at least 2500 years, and was used by the Greeks and Egyptians for painting everything from boats to portraits.  Find out more about the history of encaustic painting HERE.

Jasper Johns encaustic map painting, 1961

Probably one of the most notable artists from the past 50 years that employed encaustic painting in his work is Jasper Johns, famous for his paintings of maps and the American flag.

encaustic paints in my studio
encaustic paints in my studio

I make my encaustic medium (beeswax + damar resin) in a large electric skillet.  I then use oil paints to add the color (pigment) to the clear medium.  I have a separate griddle for this, with 16 oz. ink tins lined up with the colors I want to use.    This is the same setup used at the Encaustic Center, and in most books and articles I’ve read on encaustic painting.  Some artists buy their encaustic paint already made (R & F has some really good paints), but they are very expensive.

encaustic painting by Misty Oliver-Foster
And the Rain Washed it Away

What I love about encaustic is it’s a very fast, spontaneous medium.  It dries quickly (think of how fast candle wax hardens), and can be used for both additive and subtractive techniques.    You can also layer paper into your work easily — including drawings, photographs, collage, ephemera, etc.  Imagine how exciting this was for me, as I love to glue all kinds of things into my paintings!   To have a true “encaustic” painting, you have to fuse each layer together, slightly re-melting each layer to make sure it adheres to the one below it.  I use a heat gun most of the time, but have just started enjoying using a torch as well.  (However, when I add paper, I try to keep the torch far away).

In my newest series, I drew with charcoal or pastel onto tissue paper, then layered those drawings into my paintings using clear encaustic medium (clear paint, with no pigment added).  The tissue paper became so transparent, that you can hardly detect the edges in the painting.  It allowed me to “float” my drawings on top of previous layers of collage and paint.  And the drips are now in 3D!

Courage
Courage

I just added a few more encaustic pieces to my web site, which you can find HERE.

 

125 Juried Show, Plano
125 Juried Show, Plano

And I’m happy to announce that two of my larger encaustic paintings were accepted into the 125 Juried Art Show, which opened yesterday. The show is at The ARTS Gallery at Collin College, 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano, TX 75074.  The show runs April 28 – May 17, with a reception on Thursday, May 8 from 5:30 – 7:30pm.

 

 

 

awesome april (day 28) – anticipation

R & F Paintsticks
R & F Paintsticks

There’s nothing like new art materials to make me excited.  I just got some new paint sticks last week, and have been looking forward to this week – lots of studio time.  Tomorrow is the day!

I’ve been using these a lot with my encaustic work, but also love to draw with them in my oil and acrylic paintings.

"Today I Feel Refreshed and Excited"
“Today I Feel Refreshed and Excited”

 

I also use oil sticks for many of my drawings on paper.

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I finally made some new cradled panels this weekend, too.  Thanks to my hubby for his help with these (or for letting me help him — he’s so much better at mitred corners than I am).

 

panels2

 

panels

I made these underpaintings a few months ago, but now that I have the cradles on the back, they are ready for me to layer paint and color. Who knows how much of my original painting will even be visible when I’m done (probably not much).   I can’t wait!

 

 

 

 

awesome april (day 27) – abstract circles

visual journal
altered book turned visual journal

 

While some of my art journal entries use images of people and things, many of them are simple, stream-of-conscious designs . I tend to use a lot of circles.

This is from my first visual journal (an altered book).  The background is made by tearing out phone book pages and layering them over the existing book.  I then glued on patches of pink tissue paper.  I used transparent green glazes to add a contrasting color, then opaque white to balance the black charcoal.

Although this isn’t an image of a real “thing”, to me it reminds me of a totem, a pair of eyes, or even an abstracted female figure.

Like this? You can see more of my  art journals HERE — updated frequently.

awesome april (day 24) – art friends

Today I thought I’d share a blog about some of my art friends.  These are all artists that I appreciate not only for the quality of their work, but also their work ethic.  And they happen to be really cool people, too.   Click on any of the images to find out more about that artist.

 

Helen Minkes
Reemergence
T. Scott Stromberg
Olivia Ogren-Hrejsa
Julia Forsyth
Barbara J. Mason
Eilene Houston Carver
Janine Maupin
Tom Freeman
Danna Gann

 

 

Brenda G. Thomas
Brenda G. Thomas
Jennifer Monet Cowley
Jennifer Monet Cowley

 

Jeb Matulich

awesome april (day 23) – o beautiful

O Beautiful -- altered book visual journal
O Beautiful — altered book visual journal

This is from my first visual journal, which is actually an altered book.  I gessoed out the pages before adding acrylic, collaged photocopied images, collaged wallpaper, watercolor and permanent marker.    See more of my visual journals HERE.

The mother and child image is universal to all cultures, and is always one that is close to my heart.

 

What are some of your favorite topics for your visual journals?  I’d love to hear your comments!

awesome april (day 22) – i plunged ahead

I Plunged Ahead...
I Plunged Ahead…

 

 

I plunged ahead

She turned back and carefully

jabbed her finger.

I found my Criticism that Accompanies

My place of joy.

I breathed in.  And I

breathed out.

Soon I heard

“Your vocabulary seems sadly deficient.”

“Okay,” I said.

I don’t make much noise wherever I am.

My voice was all in my head.

 04.22.14

 

 

awesome april (day 21) – ATCs

Today I’m sharing some of my most recent Artist Trading Cards.  I still have some of the Joie de Vivre images left over from some wallpaper sample books (see my post on Domestics for more).  They’re just the right size for my mini works of art.   Pair the “joy of life” images with interesting text, and you have a recipe for fun.   Click on any image to open a slide show of this series.

 

All ATCs are 3.5 x 2.5.”  See my ATCs page for more of my trading cards.

awesome april (day 18) – visual journals

So in yesterdays post, I spoke of how journaling has helped keep me sane through the years.  About twelve years or more ago, I heard about the concept of “art journals.”  I had been doing something similar, but not the the degree of the artist’s I found online – and I was so inspired!  I have always liked collage and text, and this was a great way for me to combine both of them.

Inside -- a journal page from an altered book
Inside — a journal page from an altered book

I began working in an oversized altered book — using gesso to block out a lot of the images and text on the pages.  In it, I collaged photographs of Greek and Roman sculptures, stained glass windows, and any type of image that I found interesting.  Then I painted, drew and collaged more until the images looked the way I wanted them to.   That book, started in 2004, is still a work in progress.  Some of the pages are complete, and have come out of the book.  But many are still in tact.  Some have just the background started, and others are almost finished — just waiting for that final je ne sais quoi.

456 - another altered book page
456 – another altered book page

A couple of years ago, I discovered spiral-bound sketchbooks that have thick mixed media paper, and are marketed as “visual journals”.  My first one is filled primarily with just doodling.

possible side

a doodle based on one of my paintings
a doodle based on one of my paintings

As I’ve progressed, and I’ve seen my pages get a lot more colorful and painterly, and I’ve collaged a lot more.

My ideal breakfast at Tiffany's
My ideal breakfast at Tiffany’s =  put some art supplies in a pretty turquoise box

 

I have four volumes in progress right now, with volume 1 almost complete, and volume 4 in it’s infancy.  I’ve just added an ART JOURNAL page to the blog, with galleries from each volume.  Stay tuned for more!

My tears...
My tears…

 

 

awesome april (day 16) – oil paint and potential

“It’s one of my theories that when people give you advice, they’re really just talking to themselves in the past.”  -Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist

Light and Darkness, 1993
Light and Darkness, 1993

Dear twenty year old self:

Hi, hope you’re having a good day. Looks like your classes are going pretty well.  (Don’t worry, sculpture isn’t my thing, either).   I will say you need to go to bed earlier, so you aren’t so tired in the mornings.  Those early classes are kicking your butt.

I just wanted to tell you that I think overall you’ve done some nice work.  Something to keep in mind during critiques:  It’s just their opinion.  The other kids in class are at the same level as you.  And most of them are probably going to end up working in education or some kind of sales job anyway.  Do your thing. Keep working hard.  Don’t worry so much.

While you’re at it, get to know your teachers.  Ask some questions.  Go to some art openings.  Get involved in the art scene.  Those other things you’re into can wait.  SHOW YOUR WORK.  Keep learning, stay humble, but own it.  Stop caring what they think.

Switching from Art Ed to Art History was a pretty good call, I guess, but I know you really wanted to do Drawing and Painting.  Well, we know that’s not justifiable to you-know-who, but you’ll get there eventually. It’s going to be an interesting journey for you.  You’re going to have to go through a lot of stuff to get there.  Don’t give up.  And by the time you figure it out, you’ll actually have something meaningful to say.

So keep up the good work.  When you’re in the Art Building, take a deep breath and remember that smell — oil paint and potential.  And thank that janitor that lets you paint all night there when you’ve got the painting due tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

awesome april (day 15) – to do

WORK TO DO

Some days are more glamorous than others.  There are those days where I announce a big event, get into a show, sell some work,  or get to go somewhere exciting.  Those are glamorous.  Today, not so much.  I did get my taxes finished last night (a whole day early), and then spent most of today doing catch up work on emails, filling out online forms, following up with clients, and making a couple of to-do lists.  Which led to another to-do list or two.

I think I checked off 3 of the 13 tasks.  But they were the three most important things.

Kirk Douglas as the tortured Vincent Van Gogh, in “Lust for Life” (1956)

One thing I’ve learned about being an artist, is that it takes some planning and patience.  And some discipline.   It’s definitely not as glamorous as the movies would have you think.  Yes, I’m occasionally inspired.  Yes, I’m even sometimes tortured (all mental self-infliction).  But mostly I have to be self-motivated and wise with how I spend my time.  I don’t have the luxury of going crazy (although some say I’ve already arrived at that destination).   And I’m not only responsible for myself – I’m also trying to be a decent wife, mom and person in addition to an artist.  But that doesn’t make for very interesting movies, does it?

Just for fun, I searched for “tortured artist” and found the wikipedia entry, which has a whole list of examples of tortured artists – including writers, musicians, actors, directors and visual artists –   very few of which are women.   We ladies have too much to do to stand around being “tortured”.   Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Blog post.  Check.  #4 of 13 done.

awesome april (day 12) – the reveal

the big reveal
the big reveal

I am happy to announce that I have been selected as the artist  for McKinney’s first public mural project.  Today I was honored to be a part of the official unveiling of my design, during the Arts in Bloom event on the square.

Here you see me with the design, along with some of the Arts Commission members.   Left to right is Matthew Bado, myself,  Hamilton Doak, vice-chair of the McKinney Arts Commission and owner of Orison’s Art and Framing, and  Mayor Pro Tem Travis Ussery.  Also in attendance, but not shown: Linda Spina.   (A big thanks to Allegra & Helen Minkes for their support and  awesome photography skills!)

In addition to the City’s funding, there have been private donors that have also made the mural project in McKinney a reality, so a big “Thank You” is due to everyone who had the vision of bringing a public mural to their city.  I’m grateful to have been chosen for the task, and know it will be a fantastic addition to downtown.

I’ve been working on this project for a few months now.  After submitting my application in December, I worked on a couple of rounds of designs in January and February.  I was notified in March that my design was selected, and I’m waiting to get the go-ahead, once all the details gets cleared through City Council.

For my concept, I went with an Art Nouveau-esque design, inspired by artists like Alphonse Mucha.  The design includes cotton fields (a huge part of McKinney’s history), and native wildflowers that have each special symbolism that relate to the downtown area (paintbrush, trumpet vine, wine cup, blanket flower).  The actual mural will be even more vibrant and full of detail.

So where will this mural go?  Glad you asked!  The mural will be on an exterior wall of a downtown building (currently slated to go on the south wall of the Cadillac Pizza building).  The finished painting will be 40 feet wide, and about 9 – 10 feet tall, and I estimate it will take 4-6 weeks.  I plan on posting pics of my progress along the way, so stay tuned!

artist Lynne Hubner
artist Lynne Hubner

While I was there, I enjoyed seeing the other artists working live out on the square.  I was excited to meet Lynne Hubner, a very talented and skilled printmaker.   I had seen and admired her work before, and she currently has a great exhibit of her prints at the front of Orison’s gallery.   She was super nice, and I was even able to pick her brain about some of her printmaking techniques.  I’ve got my eye on a couple of her prints……. you can see her work at lynnehubnerprints.com.

Richard Miller at work
Richard Miller at work

And I also had to stop and meet this artist, as I had watched his painting progress over a couple of hours.  Being a fan of color, I was impressed with his use of complementary colors (green/red is a difficult combo to make look good, but he’s doing it!),  and his expressive use of line.   He told me he has a Facebook page of his art, so I’ll need to check that out.

Thanks for sharing day 12 with me!

 

 

 

 

awesome april (day 11) – artseen

gathering at Eight11 Place
gathering at Eight11 Place

Tonight I got to meet up with some of my fun artist friends at a local hangout here in Frisco, Eight11 Place.  They have a great back yard, and it was a perfect evening to sit and sip wine, have a little flatbread and do some art talk.

Eight11 Place opened up in September, and has become one of my favorite places to meet up with friends.  It’s in a little historic house on Main Street, and the proprietors, Lance and Ursula Clayton, are fantastically fun people.   They are super supportive of local artists, and host new art shows there every couple of months. (I got to show my work there a few months ago).  I didn’t know this at first, but Lance and I are both from Fannin County – me from Windom, and he from Bonham –  and we know a lot of the same people.    And Ursula brings the Austin vibe of casual sophistication into the mix.

eight11Artist’s conversations are so robust and colorful!  I enjoyed hearing stories about childhood, travels, jobs, families, art shows, life challenges, and even getting to hear secrets about certain attendees’ former lives of dancing on tables and singing “Moon River.”

I was having so much fun, I only got a few poor snapshots — but here are some of the artists who were there – click their name to see their artwork.

Eilene Houston Carver (with Kirk),  Tom Freeman & Gaye Freeman, T. Scott Stromberg, Brenda G. Thomas, Olivia Ogren-Hrejsa, Brad Sharp, Wendi McGowan-Ellis,and  Linda Alred.  And myself, with my art-supporter guy.

Many of the artists that came out tonight have been involved with our annual ArtSeen Studio Tour, and many will be showing their work again during the tour this fall, October 18 & 19.

 

awesome april (day 10) – acrylics

acrylics

Good old acrylic paints.

When I took my first painting class at UNT, the TA had us do two black and white paintings – one in acrylics and one in oils.   That way we could test out the properties of each before buying a whole set of paints.   I picked acrylics, mainly because I’m impatient and messy.   And I like the fact that they clean up with water.  That whole semester, several of the other students would pass by my easel and say “You look like you’re having fun.”  I wasn’t quite sure what they meant, but looking back, I realize that it’s probably because I had paint all over me, as well as my canvases.  I’m still like that.

sorting through the acrylics
sorting through the acrylics

Today I’m sorting through my acrylics to see what needs to be re-ordered.  I’ve got several students, and right now they are all painting in acrylics.  Funny thing is, now that I’m using encaustics more, I have to use oils because they are compatible with the wax.  But I still use the acrylics in my mixed media journals and ATCs.   And there are so many additives you can add in to play with the texture, dry time, consistency and transparency, that acrylics are still hard to beat.  I used acrylics on the Emotional Landscapes and Domestics series on my web site, and as underpaintings on some of the art in my New Work Gallery.

I guess I’ve mainly stuck with the Liquitex brand, because that’s what I could get my hands on at a decent price at HMS Art Supply store there across from the art building. I like the Heavy Body line – they have good coverage and opacity.  A lot of artists swear by Golden acrylics — I have some of theirs, too and really like the quality. And they have a ton of great mediums and additives.  I use their glazing mediums to create deep layers of transparent color.  I also keep a lot of Basics paint for my classes, as it’s more economical. (See my current classes at freshpaints.com/classes)

So, how about you?  Do you use acrylics?  Which ones are your favorites?

 

 

awesome april (day 9) – what’s on my nightstand

Show Your Work by Austin Kleon

I found this on Amazon recently, just published this year.   I think it was one of their suggestions, based on what I’ve purchased (effective marketing on their part). I had heard of the “Steal Like an Artist” book, yet never read it, but thought I’d take a chance on this one.  It was a quick and easy read, and full of helpful things to encourage artists and creative types to promote themselves in this digital world.  Many of the things I have been doing and suggesting to others myself, but there were also some chapters that pointed me in new directions.  For example, one of the ideas I had been thinking of was to find a month where i would publish my blog daily, and this book helped me to go ahead and commit.  Here we are on day 9, and I’m still going strong!

What's on my nightstand
…on my nightstand

Another book that’s been on my nightstand for over a year is “Alice Neel:  The Art of Not Sitting Pretty” by Phoebe Hoban.  I read the first third of it pretty quickly, but somewhere in the middle, I’ve lost my mojo.   Neel has been one of my favorite painters for a long time, and it’s interesting to see how she got her start, and the obstacles that she overcame to keep making her art.

Nancy and Olivia by Alice Neel
Nancy and Olivia by Alice Neel

I have to say, at this point in the book,  I am kind of angry with her over her poor choices as a mother (her kids were in terrible health as babies, and her older son was habitually emotionally and physically abused by one of her lovers, with her knowledge).  I feel this, while also knowing there is a huge double-standard for female artists in comparison to their male counterparts.  (These kids had fathers, too, that didn’t do much to help out).   And there are plenty of male artists that are almost never criticized for their parenting abilities — that seems to be irrelevant when speaking of their work as artists.  But, nevertheless, I find it interesting how much of her biography is centered upon her responsibilities to her children, and perhaps rightly so.  Most of her choices were based on the fact that she had mouths to feed, as well as art to make.  Perhaps she did both the best way she knew how.

Just writing about it makes me want to pick it up again and she how she manages to “not sit pretty.”  Go girl!

 

awesome april (day 8) – domestication

Self-Portrait 2010
Self-Portrait 2010

When I was a kid, I used to make calendars for my mom each year for Mothers’ Day.  I would hand-draw each month’s dates (there was no Microsoft Office then to help me out), and then collage images at the top, making a theme for each month. There’s no telling how many hours I spent making those, but I really always liked cutting out the pictures and categorizing them, finding connections between the  images.

Traditional Joie de Vivre wallpaper

A few years back, I was given an old wallpaper sample book, filled with a French motif called “Joie de Vivre,” (literally “joy of life”)  used in English to express a cheerful enjoyment of life; an exultation of spirit.”  Much of my art was already contemplating the roles of women, specifically in relation to men, children and the household.  As a wife and mother, much of my time is spent taking care of others’ needs and figuring out how to capture this joie de vivre in daily life.  As an artist and a female, I find myself questioning the traditional roles of women, constantly assessing my own beliefs versus the values of the community in which I was raised, and those that are commonly accepted in my part of the world.  The Joie de Vivre imagery was a perfect fit for a mixed media series I call “Domestics.”

+= (plus, equal)
+= (plus, equal)

I’m typically a joyful person. I think I’m generally an optimist, and I know I’m definitely an idealist.  But I have to say I found some of the images in the joie de vivre wallpaper book to be quite comical, with their corseted milkmaids, singing shepherds and dutiful women going about their chores with cherub-like children dancing around their feet.  Is this truly the joy of life? (I personally have not been able to enjoy the task of getting work done whilst tending to my children.  Maybe some people are able to find pleasure in that, but it just makes me frustrated).

"Lock and Key"
“Lock and Key”

I’m also intensely interested in the preconceptions our culture has about the male/female relationship, as well as the natural differences in modes of communication and disposition between couples.  It looks so simple, when pasted to the bathroom wall, but we all know that it’s much more complicated.

"Does he ever really..."
“Does He Ever Really…”

What, then, is the key to a successful relationship?  Can we complement each other as equals, or will one always seek to have an advantage over the other?  Can we ever truly know another person?  Are we ever completely honest, without holding back?  If so, is that wise? Can you have a successful career and still maintain closeness with your family?  What in daily life can be a source of joy?

Perhaps there are more questions than answers.

“I cannot expect even my own art to provide all of the answers – only to hope it keeps asking the right questions.” – Grace Hartigan

Sweet Escape
Sweet Escape

You can see more works from this series at www.moliverfoster.com/portfolio/domestics, and check out some of my mini works of art (ATCs) that also include the joie de vivre images HERE.

awesome april (day 3) – putting it out there

One of the strangest dichotomies of being an artist is the constant need to “express yourself” and the constant fear of “putting it out there.”

I’ve been making art for a long time, and I still struggle with this.  Sometimes when I enter a new juried show, or approach a gallery about showing my work,  I get a little knot in my stomach about how I’m going to be perceived, and wonder if I’ll be accepted or rejected.  (Just keeping it real).  I do something similar when I’m making art sometimes, too, especially if it’s outside of the box.  I’ll have this great idea, and then talk myself out of it before I even start (my “censor” gets the best of me).  But I have also learned that when I have that feeling, it means I’m stepping out of my comfort zone, and that’s a good thing.  I’ve just got to push through the fear and cross into the unknown.

Michelle's painting in progress
a detail of Michelle’s painting in progress

On Thursdays, I have three adult students that come to the studio to paint.  They’re all at different experience levels and backgrounds, all with different interests. One common thread we’ve all found is that sometimes it’s just hard to get started.  The potential that a blank canvas holds can be exhilarating and daunting.  The drawing is on the canvas, but there is no color yet.  And then you jump in.

Michelle has been working on a gorgeous painting, using the palette knife to apply her paint.  She was telling me today how she once took a class, and admired how one of the other students seemed to effortlessly apply the paint with a palette knife, and how she felt like she would never be able to do that.  But now, after giving it a shot, (and some practicing), she can, too.  And she does it well!  This is still a work in progress, but she is doing an outstanding job of layering the colors with her palette knife, finding that balance of creating a realistic image while keeping the expressive scrapes of the knife.

Tatiana work in progress
Tatiana’s work in progress

It was also fun to watch Jo and Tatiana today, as they got started on new paintings. At first, the blankness of the canvas was a bit intimidating, but once they started, they were so happy with what they had done.

And I was very impressed with them, too — look at those colors and expressive lines!

Jo's work in progress
Jo’s work in progress

A good start. (Thanks, ladies for letting me share your works in progress – for letting me put it out here!)

So now I’m going to log off and submit work for a new show – one that pushes me into the unknown.  Wish me luck.

 

 

awesome april (day 2) – jennifer’s studio

Today I took a quick trip across town to visit my friend Jennifer Cowley’s studio.  I met Jennifer last year, when she joined the ArtSeen Studio tour here in Frisco.  She came by and visited with me in the fall and I instantly felt like this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Her studio is in the front of her home, and is a work of art in itself.  She has the best furniture in there!  I wish I’d taken more photos, but I’ll share some of the highlights.

Jennifer Monet Cowley studio pink stove

 

Here’s the infamous pink stove that she uses for storage. When she moved here from Oak Cliff, she couldn’t bear to part with some of her vintage fixtures, so she just brought them with her and has found creative uses for them.  I wish I’d gotten a pic of her awesome orange metal sink!

jens studio 2

She has a great desktop that is also a light box, which was a hand-me-down from a fellow artist.  We had a fun conversation about how most things we have were not purchased new, and many of them were free.   It’s all about seeing the beauty in uncommon objects and using things for alternate purposes (and knowing others who have really cool junk they’re willing to give away).

jens studio 3And then there are beautiful vignettes like this, that honestly I don’t even know what to say.  Perfection.

Most artists I know have really interesting stories about how they got to where they are now, and she’s no exception. I enjoyed getting to know her backstory a bit, how she began her college education in the dental field, went into architecture, and then truly found herself in art.  Out of college, she worked in an art gallery for a while, then a serendipitous encounter with the very successful artist Frank Frazier changed her path entirely.  She got to travel and work with Frank for a couple of years, and he has become her mentor as an artist.  I can see his influence in her work, although she definitely has a strong aesthetic of her own.  See her online portfolio at www.jenmonet.com.

jens studio 4

One of the best things about having other artists as friends is that they “get” you in a way that most other people don’t. There’s a drive in you that’s both a blessing and a curse, and it makes you quite different than a lot of your other friends and acquaintances.   You see and experience the world differently.  Your ideals are different.  And as an artist in a suburban town, it’s even harder to find others that think like you.   Glad I’ve found a few.

 

awesome april (day 1) – a new challenge

So, no joke, I’ve challenged myself to post on my blog every day this month.  I thought it would be fun to show the day-to-day things that go on with my art life, from the creating, the marketing, the networking, etc.

Here’s what I’ve been up to the past few days.

Arts in the Square

Over the weekend, I was a part of the Arts in the Square here in Frisco. The weather was gorgeous, and there were tons of people that came out (thanks to all of my friends that stopped by).  I got to meet a lot of new people, too, which is always fun.  Here’s a shot of my booth – I had such a sweet setup on Saturday.

Misty Oliver-Foster art booth

I did learn, however, that even though it was only 70 degrees, it’s not a good idea to put your encaustic art in direct Texas sun.  Don’t worry, nothing was damaged, but I had to shuffle those pieces to the shady areas after lunch.

Sunday morning greeted us with crazy strong winds, so we had to adjust the booth layout a bit (we didn’t really have a choice).  At one point that morning, all the walls were down, and there were about 5 volunteers helping us hold things down so it didn’t blow away.  Not fun.  But, thanks to my logistically gifted husband, we got it back together and had a good Sunday, too. I went to bed Sunday night feeling like I was still swaying in the wind.

Prints in Progress

Tonight I went to hang out with some friends at the Visual Arts Guild of Frisco.  I took my youngest daughter and we had fun doing some printmaking.  Thanks to Deborah Gallatin for her great demo.  Here are some works in progress by a couple of artist friends of mine, Kelly Bartlett and Linda Brooks Alred. Looking good, gals.

mixin’ it up

art workshop
One of the things I enjoy most is sharing my love of mixed media with others, and hearing them say, “This is so much fun!”  I got that chance this past weekend in my studio, during my Mixed Media workshops.  We partied into the night on Friday, and part of the day on Saturday, and I was impressed with the variety of art that was made.

Artist Cheryl White attended the workshop and got the fever — not much of her journal was untouched before she left.   She has written a blog post that features one of her gorgeous creations from the weekend.  Check it out HERE.  (Note: that’s her in the photo above [bottom left], working on the journal page that is featured in her blog).

The goal for my classes is always to inspire, but I find that I come out of them motivated and encouraged by the creativity of others.  It’s good to make art, simply for the sake of having fun.

50/50 solo show

50/50 solo show at thegallery8680About the 50/50 show.

As you probably know, I moved into a new studio this past year, and as I’ve been sorting through my work, I noticed I had a lot of smaller paintings and works on paper.  Many of these are either studies for larger works, small works from a larger series, or figure drawings from multiple live modeling sessions I’ve attended over the past few years.  Seeing these works, and considering the current ‘economic crisis,’ I was inspired to create a show that involved 50 works of art for only $50 each.

I wanted to make my art affordable for those who want to collect my work, but may not be ready to invest in larger, more expensive paintings.    I also personally love to see artists’ quick studies and smaller works, as I feel that they sometimes show spontaneity that larger, more deliberate works may not possess.  Maybe you’ll enjoy that, too.

About half are works on paper, and the other half are paintings.  The largest work is 30 x 22″ and the smallest work is 8 x 8″.   There are quite a few figurative works in the show, which may seem out of line with the work that is currently on my web site.  However, I have always really loved figure drawing.  (Ok, maybe not my first day of Figure Drawing 101, when I was too embarrassed to actually look around my drawing board to see the nude male model. But soon, I began to love the endless possibilities of drawing the figure, with all its angles and curves and lines).   I still attend sessions with live models as often as I can.  It gives me a great excuse to play with color and line.  These figures are going to show up in new work, too, so keep an eye out.

I’m trying to keep most of the show under wraps until the opening.  If you can’t make the show, I’ll have it posted here on the blog on Saturday (09/22/12).  Click the 50/50 link at the top of the page.

If you just can’t wait, and want to be teased a bit, here are some detail shots of some of the work.

      

guerillas in the midst

I had the privilege of hosting a workshop yesterday for several art teachers here in Frisco.    At the end of the day, I challenged them to go out and participate in “guerilla” art.   (I was inspired by Keri Smith’s “The Guerilla Art Kit” — a great, easy-to-use book on how to get started making anonymous, public art).   They divided into 6 different groups and  each went out to make their mark on the world.  Here’s what they did:

“hidden fortunes”

The guerilla group known as Sam Itch left hidden fortunes about town for others to find.  Wish I could have found one, or been a fly on the wall somewhere to see when someone came across each one.  Hopefully, some unsuspecting passers-by made fortunate discoveries!

Another group, cleverly known as “notice the name of my group” left little notices in a local park — encouraging others to see the beauty around them.

“notice the pool of shade provided by this tree”
“notice the fuschia flowers”
“notice the view of the fountain from this distance”
“notice the nice kick”

“Notice the Nice Kick” encourages viewers to examine a public sculpture that the viewer must look inside of and spin the wheel to view the football player kicking a football.

“wish tree”

The CMs  made a Wish Tree.   They created leaves and wrote their own wishes – then left blank ones on the tree for others to add to. (I got to add my own wish to this one).

“Big Pine” made ‘friendly’ notes out of simple circles.

“be a sweetie, wipe the seatie”
“everybody loves clean hands”
“it’s time to make a new friend”
“i’m thirsting for a new friend.”
“lock in a new friend today”

This is one of my favorites –  I love the way adding the eyes makes the locker look like a face!

The “Rockerillas” transformed a rock garden into a work of art.

“rockin’ garden”

 

 Very cool!  And last — but definitely not least — is a work done with chalk.

Thanks to all of these artists for sharing their work!  Keep up the creativity this summer!

Iconic Love

Here’s a look at some of my newest work, hanging in the Iconic Love show here in Frisco.

Iconic Love at Frisco Discovery Center

Here is a look at my work at the Discovery Center (8004 N. Dallas Pkwy).   The reception for that venue is this Friday, February 17, from 6:30 – 9:00pm.  Come see it — they all look so much better in person!  Details (and better pics) on my web site www.moliverfoster.com.

Iconic Love
Link

(how to be) a work of art

(how to be) a work of art
(how to be) a work of art

Announcing my newly published art book, “(how to be) a work of art.”

It is a simple, easy to read book (your 1st grader can read it), with insight for all ages!  Each image is one of my favorites, and includes a one-word synopsis that hints at the meaning behind the art work.

This is great for a coffee table book.   Click  the image at the top of this post to preview and order the book online.

let’s play

“Serious art is born from serious play.”

 – Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

"Be Still"

One book that has seriously changed the way I view myself as an art-maker and a human is Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.    Once I completed the book (much like a 12-step program for recovering artists), my mindset had been changed forever.  No longer was I waiting around for someone else to give me permission to be what I wanted to be.  And I learned to let my art be a form of play, not so much work.

I’m starting a series of art classes based on this principle of play, using a variety of media to inspire my students to let themselves actually have a good time while making art.

I believe you can use the skills and techniques of art to communicate your ideas, but without the element of play, the art lacks soul.  Allowing yourself to play allows you to use the part of your brain that you don’t control.  Think about kids and their imaginations.   Let’s get back to that again.

For more information on my classes, visit www.freshpaints.com/classes.  I will start another series after the New Year, so check back for new class schedules.  Let me know if you’d like to join me.

 “Creativity requires faith. Faith requires that we relinquish control.”   ―  Julia Cameron.

stu-stu-studio

My new art studio

Just say the word, oh……stu-stu-studio!

I’m thrilled to announce that the wait is over, and I finally have a new art studio!   I’ve had my sights set on this space for the last six months, and we were finally able to seal the deal this past week, purchasing our new home and studio-to-be.

The studio is still a diamond in the rough, but it has so much potential to be a wonderful work space.    Formerly used as a detached 2-car garage, it also has a screened-in porch and a 10×10′ storage area.  As you can see from the photo, there are lots of mature trees on the property, and a  meandering path to the studio from our kitchen.     The interior needs quite a lot of TLC to become a functioning studio, but it does have electricity and running water, so that’s a great start.

Keep checking back  — I will post my studio renovation progress here on the Fresh Paint blog.

original art and music

‘originals’ art and music this friday

Originals

original art and music
Originals - September 30

“Originals” is a multi-media, multi-genre, multi-cultural event, combining the talents of three original singer/songwriters and four talented visual artists, for a night of multi-sensory experience.

This event kicks off the new HD venue, Theatre 166 in Carrollton, offering  suburban art and music lovers an inexpensive night out on the town.

The evening will feature an exciting art exhibit, curated by thegallery8680,  featuring artists Misty Oliver-Foster , Brandon Snow, and Amy Ishmeal Carter, and Asher Feehan in the gallery hall.

The concert will take place in an  “Austin City Limits” style listening room, presenting Peter Bixby in a short singer/songwriter style set, original contemporary Latin Fusion music byTania Cordobés, with a special ensemble including some of the area’s finest professional Latin music specialists ( Carlos ‘Fifo’ Rengifo, Jorge Ginorio, Jose Aponte, Yoban Quijano), and an original set by “Stereo Child”, featuring Christian Ross, Peter Bixby and Lisa Clough-Lachri.

The listening room has 124 seats available, so seats are limited.  Tickets are $10, and may be purchased at the door.

Theatre 166  is located at 2425 Parker Road, Carrollton, Texas 75010. If you are driving from the Dallas North Tollway, exit and go west on Parker, it’s not very far past the Arbor Hills trails on the right, kind of where Plano turns into Carrollton.

Theatre 166 is BYOB for adult beverages. Lone Star coffee sells light snacks, coffee and the like. True Spirits is next door and they have a large selection of beverages if you need to pick something up at the last moment.

The show begins at 7:30 pm on Friday evening, Sept. 30, 2011. and will last until about 10:30 pm.

Find out more about these originals at www.theatre166.com/   www.stereochild.com/   taniacordobes.com/   www.thegallery8680.blogspot.com/   www.moliverfoster.com

artseen studio tour coming this october

So if you’ve found me here, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve already heard about the artseen studio tour, coming in October to Frisco.  Just in case you haven’t, let me fill you in.

Earlier in the year, I began collaborating with other artists and art lovers to come up with a way to connect our working artists with the community.  Many of us are involved with local arts groups, such as Frisco Arts and the Visual Arts Guild of Frisco, and we participate in many shows here in the area, including the great shows at thegallery8680.  But we wanted to make a more personal connection with other artists, collectors and admirers that we’ve met (and hopefully, some that we haven’t yet).   We decided to organize a studio tour, opening our creative spaces to the public.    And, thus, the artseen studio tour was born!

We’ve gathered a group of fifteen talented and diverse artists who wanted to show the community what they make and how they make it.  Some will be at their home studios, and others have paired with merchants in downtown Frisco to bring their ‘studio’ to the streets.  As a result, most of our artists are geographically close together, making the tour easy for our guests.  In addition to the artists, thegallery8680 is a part of the tour, featuring their new show “Black&White.”   The Visual Arts Guild of Frisco will host their Fall Member Show, “Beautiful” at The Art Gallery at Frisco Discovery Center during the tour as well.

pear studies, charcoal drawings of pears
pear studies

We are delighted to have two unique art collections open to the public during the tour.  Frisco residents Rex & Betsy Lowe are opening their home for guests to view their amazing private art collection in their Starwood home, and Marla Fields has gathered a small collection of works by Texas artist Frank Reaugh to be on display at her historic home in downtown Frisco.  We are so privileged to have these collections on the tour, and we are grateful to the  Lowes and Ms. Fields for joining us.

I hope you can make it to my studio on October 15 or 16.  I will be showing a lot of work that I haven’t shown before — drawings, prints, and mixed media works, as well as paintings that you love.  I’m looking forward to getting to share my sacred studio space with you.

For more information on the artseen studio tour, please visit:  http://www.artseenhere.com/studiotour2011

"Together" painting by Misty Oliver Foster, pears, pear painting

fresh paint. fresh start.

"Together" painting by Misty Oliver Foster, pears, pear painting
"Together" by Misty Oliver Foster, 24 x 48"

Welcome to my new blog!  After much deliberation, I’ve decided to start a new blog- new title and everything- to contain my latest news, updates, artwork, and ideas.  My old blog was ok, but due to the fact that it was linked thru my yahoo account, I was having a hard time updating and posting as easily as I wanted to.  Blogs really shouldn’t be that difficult!  So I decided to start fresh.

With this blog I hope to post more often, add more photos, and let you know a little bit more about myself.   I also have a lot of new ideas and artwork to show you.  So, check back often!

My next big adventure is the artseen studio tour, coming this October 15 & 16.  I will open my studio for visitors, and I hope you can stop by.  In addition to participating in the tour, I’m also coordinating it.  It’s quite a lot of work, but I’m very excited to start an art tour here in Frisco.  There are so many really talented artists here.   Hope to see you at the studio tour!

new year, new work

When I am Alone

As I mentioned before, I’ve begun a new fixation with pears.  They have shown up in some my paintings over the past couple of years, but this time they’re the main attraction.  I’ve been buying pears each time I go to the grocery store, and then I’ll come home and set them up on my kitchen table.  I’ll draw directly from observation, as well as take a ton of digital photos.  These photos were the source for this new set of drawings.   I took some photos during the day, and some at night, trying to create the right groupings, lighting and composition.

Only Child
Only Child

As much of my other work, these explore family relationships.  However, instead of using people, I put pears as stand-ins for myself and others.   (The titles give a clue to what’s going on in each composition).   It’s funny that even my kids know which pear specifically represents them without me telling them.  Now I have dozens (maybe hundreds) of new reference photos, with all kinds of “people” in them, so there’s no telling how many drawings and paintings I’ll do in this series.

Sisters
Sisters

Through this process, I’ve discovered a renewed interest in drawing, specifically in charcoal.  I enjoy working really loose, and gradually building up rich, dark values.  Working in monochrome has been liberating, as I don’t have to worry about color.  It has been a good diversion from painting.  As I started back on some of my paintings today, I had a fresher outlook.  I found that my mind had shifted into a different kind of art-making, and helped me get back to painting with a new perspective.  Plus I think I came out with some interesting drawings, and I’m inspired to do even more.

Glad You Found Me

I would love your comments!

 

pushing my buttons

Home

So, as I briefly mentioned in my last post, I’ve started playing around with text a little bit more in my work.  I’ve already been using text for a while, but mostly through collage only.  I recently came across some old keyboards and thought some of the keys might make some interesting additions to my work.

The above image is a piece of art that I just finished, titled “Home.”   I’ve had it in the works for a while, layering on color and washes, creating texture and depth.   I thought it looked like a landscape or seascape, until I added the pears (a symbol I’ve used in other works).   Suddenly it became a still life.  The pears are collaged from wallpaper (another domestic reference), but I painted on top of them so much, you can’t see much of the original.   I found the perfect text for this one:  “Home.”  I even left the key messy with paint, to reflect my lived-in, imperfect, but creative home.  I’m trying to remind myself that it’s ok if things aren’t perfect, that just makes them more interesting.

 

The computer keys are a fun element to add into my work, adding a little bit of three-diminsionality, but also contributing to the meaning of the art.  Here’s a tiny work that I did recently, only 4 x 4″, titled “Down.”  A reminder to sit down and enjoy life once in a while.  Breathe.

 

 

  Crossing borders.  Breaking molds.  Refusing situations.  Avoiding consequences. 

 Esc

 Is escape a good thing or a bad thing?  Like everything, it depends on the context.

 

Esc

the gift

I recently received the “Best of Show” award at the Texas and Neighbors 25th Annual Art Show in Irving for “The Gift,” so I wanted to share a little bit about this painting/mixed media piece.
The Gift
The Gift
The composition for “The Gift” was inspired by a historical painting by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres called  “Venus at Paphos.”
Venus at Paphos by Ingres
Venus at Paphos by Ingres
  I am interested in taking art historical depictions of women (typically created by male artists) and keeping the overall composition, but changing the meaning entirely.  These women are no longer in the background; they are no longer simply seen as allegories of beauty and desire.  They are now active participants in their own life, everyday women with interesting stories to tell.
Stylistically, I prefer looser lines and more abstracted forms than used in traditional paintings.  I am influenced by the modernists:  Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, Valadon, and Toulouse-Lautrec, to name a few.   I feel a connection to their liberated use of color and simplification of forms.  In this particular work, I first layered paper onto the canvas.  The underlying image (a photograph of a sculpture that I took while in Boston) shows through only near the bottom of the composition — the dark areas in the female’s dress, and under the red garment of the child.
Another influece on my art is stained glass windows.  I believe this comes from my background in Art History, and eventual travels in Europe.   Each panel of stained glass  tells a story through simple lines and bold colors.  Likewise, each canvas or panel of my work captures a simple moment in time (a conversation, an exchange between mother and child), and elevates it to a moment of the sublime.  Although I use the “aura” or halo in some of my work, it not meant to be religious, but rather to bring to light the sacred acts of everyday life.   Using these female subjects, much of my art work deals with my interpretation of my own life: my role as mother, daughter, and wife.
Pablo Picasso said, ” Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”  For me, at least, this is true. 

fhs mural project

A lot has happened since my last post.  I can’t believe it’s been so long, but I’ve been so busy creating, that I haven’t had time to write about it!

Between September and now, I’ve participated in one art festival, two solo exhibits, and three group exhibits. I began serving as the President of our local arts Guild in January.  And over the past four months I’ve also designed and produced four very large public murals.  So, now, it’s time to catch my breath and show you what I’ve been up to.

Starting in October, I began to come up with designs for four murals that would be in the library at Frisco High School. I met with the librarian and principal at FHS, and we discussed how they would like the murals to be very colorful, livening up the library walls and appealing to the students there.  They wanted something that reflected how the library was used, and were looking for a more modern, less traditional feel for the murals.  Other than that, I was on my own!

This is the first of the four murals, which measures 24′ x 8′, and is located behind the long circulation desk.  I call this mural “Connected,” because it shows the students connecting with books, technology and each other in the library.  I thought it would be fun to play with scale in the composition, so I made the books and notebook very large.  I tried to incorporate a variety of types of students, and I even used four FHS students as models for this mural.  By the time I finished, I had several requests from other students who wanted to be painted, too!

After completing my first mural, I moved on to the mural in the entry way of the library.  I knew it would be one of the first things you would see when entering, so I wanted to create another image that really grabbed your attention.

 On this mural, the background images were inspired by posters featuring travel, science, fine arts, mathematics, health & fitness, etc.  Because of the popularity of using the students in the other mural, I photographed FHS students for each of these figures, putting them into the pose I had already sketched out on my plan.  I wanted these figures to really “pop,” so I made them resting on blocks that seem to project out into space.  It was fun to interact with the students who came into the library.  I call this mural “Inquiring Minds.”

The third mural was at the very end of the long, narrow library.  It is over the “College & Career” section, and it is called, “Outlook on the Future.”  I decided to go with a simpler, more graphic design, but still wanted to play with scale and three-dimensionality.  The background of this design includes a college building, a (long and) winding road, fields of blue,  and a city in the back ground.  The sky is full of gears, one with a compass, pointing the way to go.  A lone figure stands atop a stack of books, looking at the future.  In the foreground is a large book, that seems to be balanced atop the bookcase, with a graduation cap on top of it.  The tassel really fools the eye, looking like it pops right off the wall.  It has been fun to see the students and staff come into the library and try to decide if that book is real or not.  They often have to go up close to find out.

This is the final mural I painted for the library, in the fiction section.  I wanted this one to be loose and fun, with a graphic, pop art look.  I included references to 16 fiction books, two non-fiction books, and one really great bard.  This is very close to the entry mural, and is visible from the second floor of the school, through glass windows.

The library hosted a reception for me today, and it was great to hear the responses of all those who were seeing the murals for the first time.  It’s always interesting to see how each mural appeals to people in a different way.  Some prefer the realism of “Connection” and “Inquiring Minds,” while others are drawn to the more stylized designs of “Outlook on the Future” and “Imagine.”  I love the fact that hundreds (thousands?) of people will get to enjoy them for many years.  That’s very gratifying.  This project has been a great experience for me, and I hope that it makes the library an even more appealing place for the students of FHS to hang out.

work in progress

So, I’ve been working in my studio.  Earlier in the month I spent a great deal of effort fretting about what to make.  That’s really a bad state to be in.  Wanting to make art, but not knowing what to make.  Fortunately, I got myself together, and gave myself a reminder to just enjoy the act of making art.  Quit worrying about the outcome.  Then I let myself play.

Before I knew it, I was brushing, scraping, spraying, glazing, running, layering, and gluing.    I made myself conscious of how the paint moved on the canvas.  I stuck my fingers in it, and it felt good! I watched it run as I sprayed water into the wet paint.  I saw the color change as I glazed over the yellow paint with a dull purple.  I set it aside and begin again on a new surface.   The monster had been unleashed.

Right now, I have four new large canvases and twelve new small ones in the works.   While I wait for the inspiration for a new image to hit, I continue to play.  Laying the foundation.  Painting layer after layer.  Building up texture.  Building up layers of meaning. Maybe the image I create when I am playing will be the end result, or maybe it won’t even be visible by the time I am done.  Who knows?   I have to trust my instincts and know that my subconscious is a better artist than I’ll ever be.

creative life

“To live a creative life, we must lose the fear of being wrong. “   – Joseph Chilton Pearce

Over the past couple of years, this has become my creative motto.  It speaks to me very personally.  I am by nature a perfectionist of sorts, terribly afraid of being wrong.  Mostly not wanting to look stupid.

I’m not sure how this became such a part of who I am (I have an educated guess), but it’s been there a long time.

Portrait of the ArtistWhen it comes to art, don’t we all feel like we’re wrong at some point?  I have sat through many, many art history classes, all of which held up artists as geniuses of their time.   And I agree that many were indeed geniuses.    I’ve critiqued their work.  I’ve stood in awe.  But some of them really just knew how to work the system.   And sometimes I thought, “What?  This is art?”  Because, as we all know, art these days is so subjective that it’s hard to say what art is anymore.  I like some of it.  I hate some of it.  Most of it I can at least appreciate.  But you have to admit it, most of what is considered “modern” and “it” in the art world now really isn’t very pleasant to look at.

Yes, I know that’s the point, ok.  But it still doesn’t make me want to look at it.  So there.  It is visual art, for crying out loud.

And so what if I’m wrong?  I’m not afraid of being wrong anymore, remember (she reminds herself).

So this leads me back to my own creativity….. over and over again as I’m working in my studio, I have to remind myself to enjoy my creativity.  Stop thinking so hard and have some fun at it.  Play.  Experiment.

I’m still working on losing my fear, I guess.  But I’m a lot closer than I was this time last year.  And the year before….