Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Power of Glazing Acrylics

Have you ever seen a painting that seemed to glow or illuminate with color that was hard to define? Chances are the artist used layers and layers of glazes to achieve a luminosity that doesn't come out of a tube. Glazing is one of the techniques I use in every painting to achieve a depth of field that resonates with color, it is also can be a labor of love and patience as well because the process causes one to move forward  at a slow and steady pace. 

Color is an incredibly powerful force in my world. It lured me in as a child and for a lifetime, I have been at its mercy. The lack of it makes my heart grow cold, the intensity of it takes my breath away, and the manipulation of it connects me with a knowing that I was created to dance with it. Glazing gives me the steps of the dance per se, along with mark making, and as I move and undulate my layers across the paper, I sense an experience beginning to evolve and come to the surface. 

In this piece, I first layered umpteen different colors almost as a watercolor wash but I used watered down fluid acrylics mixed with a bit of glazing medium. My goal was to control the colors so that they stayed true and didn't head towards mud, but for the most part, my first layers are always about play. 

Glazing the next layers slows to a snails pace. I seek to add lights in places where the darks overpower. The dance continues as I pour complimentary colors and analogous colors to achieve a luminosity that creates its own light. These glazes are paper thin and I pour up to 30-40 at times in certain areas. 

The final steps in the glazing process is to decide which direction to go in based on cool or warm colors.  Here I opted to embrace both and glazed another 10-15 layers of them to achieve this intensity. The end result for me is total eye candy and the color evokes a power that hits me directly in the gut. Glazing is also one of the three Artistic Trinity techniques that I will teaching in depth in my online class because I love it so much. You can read more about that here. 

As I have matured as an artist over the years I have come to respect the nuances of subtle color and 
realize that in every hue or shade or tint, beauty is reflected. We are created with the magical wonder of sight, through the lenses and rods that give us the ability to take in color and be moved by it. I remain grateful beyond words for being hard wired this way.

For those of us who are impacted by color in such a way that it brings us to our knees, I smile with you in that knowing. I also sense that we as humans are meant to find our true colors, through the pathways of creativity and through the power of love like no other. Today I shine mine brightly and celebrate the excitement of what glazing can do for a painting. 

"To Reflect Love In Color" 22" by 30" acrylic on paper 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Proust, Painters, and Creativity Art Journal Page

Throughout this book "Perspectives on the Arts" 1961, I have enjoyed immensely getting to delve into the perceptions and points of view of the art establishment during this decade. Proust was showcased for his writings, and this morning, as I landed on the page which I would alter, I read this: 

"For Marcel Proust, communication was of the very essence of art. Among the multitudinous solitudes that populate the great Thebaid of A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, art is the only means by which any man can enter the soul of another man. Only by art can we get outside ourselves, know what another sees of his universe, which is not the same as ours, and the different view of which would otherwise have remained as unknown to us as those there may be on the moon. Thanks to art, instead of seeing only one world, our own, we see it under multiple forms, and as many as there are original artists, just so may worlds have we at our disposal, differing more widely from one another than those that roll through infinite space, and years after the glowing center from which they emanated has been extinguished, be it called Rembrandt or Vermeer, they continue to send us their own rays of light." 

The worlds spilled right off the page and hit me directly in the gut as powerful and moving and so very true. I sat for the longest looking at this page spread and when I looked up, I saw one of my dolls, Found Friend, who always seem to be desperately trying to make a point. The direction for the page was found and I began sketching. 

Throughout the process I kept hearing the message of how important it is for each of us to understand our value, especially in light of being created as creative beings, and with each stroke I sent forward to the hope that everything I create and share will send forth the message which is just that....we matter, our creativity matters, and the world needs us to own that. 

When I create these pages, I alway seek to stay open to the message my heart wants me to process. I paint and write and draw with the tools in front of me, and with the addition of each one, a layer is added to that knowing and in turn gives me more creative passion to hear my own, unique voice. Young artists struggle with this I think, finding their voice, finding their style. I can only share what has worked for me: 

Stay curious. 
Look for the wonder in the world. 
Make records of it. 
Seek out that which you find fascinating. 
Study that. 
Practice every single day. 
Trust your path. 
Express your wonder through the skill set you have in the moment, the heart will follow. 

I hope, for today, those of you who are aware of how very important you and your creativity are in the world will know that in a more powerful way and begin to share that message with others. With all of the hate we find in this world, our love and creativity holds the power to change that. I do believe this with every thing I am. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Art Journal Technique Playing Through The Lines

Teaching my students the importance of play when it comes to understanding the heart of an artist is one of the most important lessons I can send forth. So many times they want to capture the realism of an object to help their minds reinforce the "I am now an artist" mindset, but I nudge them in the direction of learning they are an artist because they can create, especially when they play as they create. Realism, if their heart wants to take them there, will come.

Art journals give the creatives in the world a playground to let their true spirits soar! Modeling this, especially for the young, shows them they have their very own space to explore, learn, make messes, and find what makes their hearts buzz with excitement. Today, during Free Sketchbook practice, I modeled taking a page with random marks and turning into a raw, whimsical piece having to do with friendship, diversity, and connection. It was also a great lesson to show that 'mistake' pages can be redeemed with great value.

To Begin:  

 Use crayons, oil pastels, and graphite to make random marks on the page.

Alternate your marks using text, lines, and colors. Using fluid acrylics, start adding thin glazes of color wherever your heart leads you.

Once your page has the first layers of colors and marks, give your inner child permission to find the little beings present in your artwork. Googley eyes, big heads, crowns, or sweet lips are all elements that can enhance your these figures. Don't over think them by trying to make them look "right" just let them look like they had a romp of a good time on the playground. If it helps, use your non-dominant hand to draw them.

Once your figures are drawn, use your background to layer, mark, and glaze using blocks or chunks of color. If your figure's heads are light, make the background darker so they will come forward and vice versa. Use lines and patterns to add juicy tidbits, and pay attention to contrast as you play. 

Up Close Image of the page

My finished page  below shows my version of two best fine friends hanging out. It brings to me memories of how eclectically odd we each may be, but when we find the friend who loves us for our weirdness and has a little bit of weirdness too, we know they are meant for us and us for them. A little part of me knows that type of friendship is very rare in life, so this page, for me, celebrates the knowing of that.  

Art journaling is all about play. There are a million or so ways one can work within the pages of an art journal, but the most important one is simply to begin. Leave rules and expectations outside the book and dive in. 

Tips for Fine Artists
If you are already an artist who is working on building a body of work and achieving a looser look in your mixed media pieces this style of journaling is the PERFECT place to try some new color palettes, marking techniques, and strategies before you land on your canvas. If you look in the up close images, you can see I have glazed at least 3 different layers to achieve some of these colors. I fell in LOVE with the striped contrast and the glazing effect on the bottom of the page so I will use those again in some larger pieces. 

Using water soluble graphite is a great way to add contrast and value changes in your mark making. The black bleeds which gives a subtle greying effect to a black bleed. Deliciously yummy.