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April 23, 2014

Texturing Your Art

On my blog today, I thought I would share a few of my texturing tools and tricks.  This is not a step by step but simply showing you a few things you can do, or use to create some wonderful effects in your paintings.

I use a variety of mediums layered on with a palette knife, each one holds paint differently and adds to the contrast when painting.  Gel mediums for example are smooth and slick when paint is applied, sometimes giving a translucent effect to the paint.  My go to place for gel mediums, texture pastes, course lava gel, gesso is Nova Color  Their prices are excellent and I feel they hold up as well as other Brand names do.  Golden and Matisse are my preference in paint though I do use a few colours from Nova as well. Jerry's Artarama is where I buy my paints, varnish, brushes and well most everything else.

So using this redo piece as my example, lets have a look at some of the things I did. (Be sure to click on the photos to see the details)

One of my fav texturing elements is the simplest, cheese cloth. I buy mine at my grocery store, it's everywhere!  I use it under the gesso and paint here and as a finishing element (in other pieces) I pull and fray it extensively before attaching it with gel or with gesso as I did here as a base texture.  You will notice the wonderful stencil I used by the talented Mary Beth Shaw.  I applied it using Wood Icing my other go to item, both purchased through Mary Beth @StencilGirl

Now here's a simple trick, the wood grainy texture through out this piece was created by using a firm foam brayer.

I use both the hard rubber brayer and this one. Now I know many use the inexpensive foam rollers but I found that for my work they, #1 soaked up one load of my expensive paint and #2 just couldn't handle the multi textured levels of my work, in other words they would get hung up and skid across sections instead of laying down track like you see here.  Just saying, sometimes the right tool is worth the investment.

You could use this to put your layer of gesso on or as in my case, I was doing an under painting in Bronze so I rolled it on achieving the wood grain effect you see here.

In this photo you will see that I used a thin layer of crackle medium by Jo Sonja. This is a one step crackle that dries clear and frequently gets used in my pieces, in this case I applied the crackle over my textured base, let it dry overnight then gessoed the piece.  Love the wonderful aged look it adds.

This is just a sampling of what can be done to create texture, remember this is a redo painting so it has layers of texture paste and wood icing as it's base, I only shared the top layering effects.

From here I am playing with collaging some embellishment items to create a stronger focal point, will let you know how that goes!


April 17, 2014

Process And Productivity


It's a deep freeze out there this morning!


The loft it bright and welcoming though, so all is well in my world.  


Finished this one and am starting the process of textures and layering on the large 48x48" hanging from my bookcase, plus one on the easel.  I made an investment in canvases last week, great sale locally on gallery wrap 3 for the price of 1.  It required some major reorganizing in the loft to make space and to create a workable area for the large sizes.  I now have the tall table set up so I can work from both sides and can now also hang the canvas as I don't have an easel that can handle the large sizes well.

Anyway, love how my medallion like piece turned out, very Mayan/Game of Thrones looking, but do you think I can come up with a name!  I suck at coming up with names, what can I say, have a feel for the piece but names just don't come to me easily.

Also finished this little 12x12"


Something to think about...

"Each of us has our own unique creative time clock.  Some like to work away steadily and neatly from start to finish, while others delay till the last minute and build up energy that essentially blasts them into a tumultuous process of creating. There are also people who plunge into the work at the beginning with large aspirations, and then hit serious obstacles.  No matter what your style may be, impediments are an inevitable part of the creative process. It can be helpful to think of the obstacles as a necessary part of the process rather than as hindrances to it."  Trust The Process, Shaun McNiff



http://www.brendathebeauabstracts.com/130.html

April 2, 2014

True To Yourself

Vault Of Heaven
It's been interesting exploring "poured painting" techniques.  I originally felt it was something I wanted to incorporate into my work as another textural element but branched out a little when my Grand-daughters asked to do some small canvases, emphasis on small canvases.  Larger canvases are much more challenging and the results unpredictable. I missed having more control over what went where and I missed moving paint with my brush my hands.  Still it has been quite the experiment and I learned some things.

I was fascinated with the way the paint and medium wove together making these glorious patterns and markings. It created the kind of liquid movement I had hoped it would and contrasts wonderfully with the textures of my under paintings.  I'll continue working with combining paint and resin as highlights and elements of my overall work.  

Like so many things I try, it amazes me how quickly, I find out what is going to work for me. It's instinctive I think, knowing what has that something that lights me up on the inside. There is a deep satisfaction when I'm working with the tools, mediums and techniques that fit my creative bent.  Like when I first used Gorilla Glue, we bonded straight away!  It's been that way with, well everything I've tried, I just knew what was a fit for me and what wasn't. 

I'm a very tactical person, I love the feel of the brush pushing paint, I love the contrasts that various elements create as I work. I love it when people reach out to run their fingers across the textures of my finished canvases, intimate and moving.

Now I have canvases that go sideways on me all the time, just as I did when doing a large pour on a big canvas (24x36")  I will spend countless hours finding my way through problem pieces until they work.  The difference with the large poured painting is, I didn't enjoy the process, it just didn't 'feel' right to me, there was nothing satisfying in it and there's no getting away from that for me.  It's all about what makes your inner world hum.  For some the liquid movement of pouring paint, tipping and tilting the canvas to see what patterns will emerge and the smooth, slick dried surface will be exactly right.  But this tactical, texture hungry artist knows that I'll be using it only as finishing touches on my textural pieces, sometimes.

Why am I going into all this, for one reason only... being true to yourself, is what creating art is all about.   Knowing when you're onto something that you need to keep working with to perfect and knowing when something just doesn't strike the right note with you will keep you from endless frustrations going down a road you were never suppose to go. It can derail you.

Maybe you're struggling with a medium that isn't working for you, the question is not so much 'what can I do about this?" as it is "do I want to do anything about this?"  The answer will help you define your artistic voice if you'll let it.  

March 13, 2014

Pouring Paint

Grace's poured painting 6x6"
It's a snow day here, second in a row to be exact.  I've spent a good part of the morning working with artist resin and Liquitex Pouring Medium.

This is a little piece my Granddaughter Grace started on March break.  Unfortunately we got distracted and didn't tend to it while the pouring medium was setting up so it needed some repairs, decided a snow day was the time to fix it up.

Using Liquitex Pouring Medium with acrylic paint is a wonderful, fun way for kids to explore the abstract form and create something pretty special.

Lyvia's poured painting 6x6"
It's easy to work with although messy, but the Pouring Medium does clean up with water and a good scrub.

The trick is really in making sure you have a good evenly flat surface for it to dry on, so you really do need to hang out and watch paint dry, at least for a time!

As always experimenting is half the fun when it comes to abstract and mixed media.


















So this is Grace, soon to become a teenager, she was a born actress thanks to her Mom's genes and Lyvia who just likes to ham it up with Photo Booth :-)


Grandkids, have got to be the best gift life gives! 



February 28, 2014

Putting Your 'Brave' On!



This week has been about being brave, or allowing freedom to have its way in my work.  I don't consider myself one of these daring, brave souls that rise to challenges and embrace adventure, but when it comes to exploring my creative voice I've had to grab onto what courage I can muster and push ahead.  It's what took me from working only in the pages of my journals, and onto canvas and from there into the public eye.  Frankly, knowing myself, I'm still shocked that it ever happened!

Anyway, ever since I started working with some resin, I've been wanting to do limited pours on my textured, painted backgrounds.  This was the week for doing it, and of all things to begin on, I chose to explore using the triptych I had begun, 24x54" is a lot of space for things to go wrong on!  Still it was just time, and as Michele Cassou in Point Zero says,

"The amount of freedom you experience is always a function of how much permission you give yourself."

I think that's true of many things we face in our lives, not just with creativity.  Although creativity does seem to be a catalyst for many inner realizations that often bring change to our exterior worlds.

"Creativity's purpose is to stir back to life what has fallen asleep, to cleanse and clear emotional residues, and to open passageways for blocked energy."  Michele Cassou

My 'spirit' certainly found freedom as I worked with my pours of metallic and interference paint and I've found an added expression of my creative voice, now to let that freedom spill over into other areas of my life.

I've only been able to share limited detail shots of this piece, portions of my pours are still drying so can't be moved as yet.  Hope all of you are finding yourself a little braver, a little more free in your lives  too!




February 21, 2014

Books And Art


Goodness where do the days go?

Finished up a couple of larger pieces for display at Salons On York in Fredericton, I'm happy to say this one sold the same day!  I loved the piece and am so pleased that someone else was moved by it as well.

Other larger works are well, in 'the works.'  I'm enjoying my explorations in the studio.

Speaking of which, I've been enjoying a great new book by Nancy Reyner, called Acrylic Illuminations.  It's the perfect book for someone like me, who likes working with anything that gives depth and pop to my work!  Thank you Nancy for another great reference book.  Nancy gives me what I most want, the tools and techniques that I can select from and find ways to work them through my own style and voice.  And do check out her work, she is an incredible artist, creating these amazing luminous works, yum!

February 6, 2014

Developing Our Creative Voice

Inks drying on Jo Sonja's crackle
I've had a great deal of fun in the Studio this week!  It helped that the commissioned piece I just completed made my client happy, yeah!

This is not a new design, it's a new incantation of the first, "Cracked Horizon" that now hangs in my daughter's Salon @ Salon's On York, Fredericton. "Cracked Horizon II" has been a joy to work with and I'm happy with it's progress so far. (It will also be available for purchase through my website)

Added more ink colours, once dried will spray with varnish to keep from running
As this one winds up, I have another mixed media just waiting for paint standing on my easel, intended as a replacement piece for one that has already sold at Salon's On York.  Anxious now to start moving paint around and see how this one comes together.

Experimentation comes in large and small sizes.  Right now I seem to be drawn to honing specific techniques, expanding on them in subtle but impactfull ways.  Which makes sense to me as I've only been on this journey for a few brief years and am deepening my understanding of my own creative style.

Frequently I'm asked about my process, and I always chuckle because it's not one I can lay down in simple 1,2,3 steps.  Like everything in my life, how I create, how I have learned, how I have developed has been a random gathering of information and techniques that I experiment with, struggle over, adjust, adapt and continue to work it out.

Ink dried/varnished once I know I'm happy with how the crackle looks I then apply gel medium over cracks
I don't do well in live classroom/workshop settings.  Never have, never will.  I learn best by letting my brain absorb and take in a wide variety of elements through books, videos, articles that, once I start working with them I begin to discover just how they are going to work for me, or not.  We have our arsenal of tools that we bend and shape to fit our unique voice and style and the only way I know to do or find that is by interaction and experimentation.  No big secrets here, or mystery techniques, I've shared freely information that is readily available.   Shaun McNiff say's it better than I ever can,

"Trusting the process is based on a belief that something valuable will emerge when we step into the unknown.  There are elements of surrender and letting go which have more to do with flexibility and the ability to change direction, than with defeat and annihilation.  The ego is willing to relinquish its plans and expectations in order to receive an unanticipated result. Experienced creators are able to step aside and relax in order to advance."

Crackle is fragile and needs that coating of gel to secure it well. This also shows you what a wash of white ink amid the cracks might look like.
I am so thankful for Shaun's book and others like them.  I took them at their word and trusted the process, continue to trust in that process as I work and experiment, and agonize over the work, 'paying my dues' to develop whatever ability I may have. Understanding my limits, working with and around them it's all part of who I am, as a person and as a creative.

Bren





January 31, 2014

'Take A Seat' Auction & More

Time flies! I'm sure you have all felt that at some point or other.  We do seem to live in a 'rushed' world, crowded full of activity and stimuli.  But that's another post I'm thinking!

I'm starting to round the corner on my battle with 'resistance,' gratefully so!  Completed the last commissioned pieces I intend to take on for a time.  There are ideas that I'd like to focus on, pieces waiting for me to give them some attention, like getting them from my head and onto the wood panel.  Winter is the time to experiment and create pieces for up coming Summer/Fall art fairs.  My pieces have many processes and evolutions they go through so they take time to complete.  Looking forward to what might come from this time of experimentation.

I was asked to participate in the up coming fund raising auction at The Andrew and Laura McCain Art Gallery called, "Take A Seat."

A variety of artist have taken old chairs/stools and gave them an artistic life.  Pretty amazing the different ones that have come in already.  They will be on display beginning Feb 10th, with the auction being held on the 15th from 7-9pm. However they are also offering an on line option for those who can't be there in person the night of the 15th.  Pretty cool.

I chose to do a stool, seeing as I've never refinished a piece of furniture in my life, figured this was a 'safer' route!  The top is done in foils, painted but highly reflective, blues, copper, golds, flame red, along with some embellishments as focal points.

Covered the top in resin the rest of the stool in high gloss varnish.  Thought it might make a nice little side table, I love when art can be practical, think it's my upbringing!

The macro at the beginning of this post is from a custom mixed media piece being delivered today.  Always a little anxious about these custom pieces, but I'm hopeful the client will like it.

Have a great weekend all!

Bren

January 19, 2014

Working Through Resistance!

 #108 Summer Serenade

"Resistance is always lying and always full of "sh--!" Steven Pressfield


I have to keep reminding myself of this as 'resistance' to the work springs up, these days in hyper criticalness  of my own work.  Seems lately I'm not happy with any of the 'finished' work and keep coming back in to 'fix' something or other.  Pressfield's little book, "Do The Work" is a knock in the right direction I'm thinking!

"Resistance is a repelling force. It's negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.  Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole."

I often wonder how many other artist and creatives are out there battling resistance as I am?  It's a sneaky sucker and can take many forms that's for sure.  Still I keep painting, knowing that I'll never get through to the other side of resistance if I don't keep working.  Progress is slow, as are my posts, oops!

One little lie I keep telling myself, "if I can just get these pieces out of the way and free up some time just to play then I'll get my mojo back."  I wonder how many of us are telling ourselves similar things.  Maybe it's true, trouble is most of us have works we need to complete, commissions, replacement pieces, exhibitions to prepare for, art fairs looming, all good and necessary things to the working artist. In truth what is the likelihood that we are just going to find large blocks of time to play our way through resistance?

So I'm here in the studio daily, working away and I know out there somewhere I'm in good company!  A few hours have passed since I posted this and guess what wound up back on my easel again?!




I added a wash of purple violet to the piece and alter it's overall look, again! It's less green now and I like it better.  Now I have to update my website and FB fan page.

January 3, 2014

Stepping Into The Unknown

And the world rushes on!

My sister, Kellie took this on a little photo shoot while home at xmas.
December went by in a blur, a good kind of blur with family and those we love, having fun and enjoying the holidays.

I must say I'm glad to have 2013 over and done with, it's been a hard year, full of heartache and illness.  I'm ready for a new year to begin!

I have some unexpected company in my loft these days.  Doing some pet sitting for my granddaughter's  that has kind of taken over my loft.  The girls and their Mom have three domesticated pet rats.  That's right, I'm currently Nanny sitting three long tailed tan and white rats, oh one is grey and white! What can I say, I care about what my family cares about. I made a little video of 'The Rat Pack' for Grace & Lyvia & Lori, they were missing their girls, if you care to view it 


Just a snippet of my first attempt at painting in 2014, I'm ramping up for a big commissioned piece I've been planning and preparing for some months.  As I said earlier, 2013 was a very hard year, body, mind and spirit, they all took a beating as did my creativity.  So I'm moving slowly into a new year and a new body of work, all the while trusting the words of Shaun McNiff in Trust The Process:

"Trusting the process is based on a belief that something valuable will emerge when we step into the unknown."
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