Art & Quarantine

In a recent email I was sharing my thoughts on how this year has gone from my standpoint as an artist and decided it also might make a good blog post. I want to preface my thoughts by saying that I am blessed! I am healthy, my family is healthy, we are not in a food or financial crisis and realize that this pandemic has had devastating consequences for many families and countries. My situation is probably one of the easiest to be in – just stay home and keep to myself! But I know even those of us that are only required to do that, it has been a major shift in our daily life.

When it finally happened – the last of all the events on my schedule was cancelled and all the galleries were closed I felt more than a little lost. First, to be completely honest, I mourned a bit. An empty calendar looming is hard to reconcile at first. I was heading into what had appeared to be a great year – I had big art events scheduled, new and old, had joined a new gallery, with a paid residency to look forward to and within a couple of weeks it had all disappeared and was replaced by a heavy layer of fear hanging in the air. I didn’t know what to do, so I shut down and did absolutely nothing! After a week or so of sitting on the couch wallowing in a bit of self pity, I finally returned to the studio and began completing the work in progress that was for upcoming shows. It seemed like a waste of time, there was no reason to push myself to complete the art now. It was slow going, with low enthusiasm but, looking back, I’m glad I continued. Eventually there will be shows again and I’ll be ready! After that I took care of some “business” things that I don’t always enjoy but had plenty of time to get off of my to-do list. Redesigned business cards, overhaul the website, cancel upcoming classes, post on my blog, re-write my artist statement and updating my resume were among the mundane chores that I finished.

Throughout this time Spring was finally beginning to show its face, hiding here and there among the dead winter leaves and bare trees. I walk daily, often multiple time, outdoors in the woods and around the fields – observing the changes, taking photographs and just absorbing the peaceful calm of nature. It’s probably been the most grounding experience during all of this. Although I am one to enjoy the coming of spring and signs of new life (I admit I am a wildflower geek!) this year it seemed to hold an even greater promise. When I was feeling that I was just trapped in time there was evidence that life would go on, and actively looking for it was both a good distraction and a great joy.

After a few weeks I returned to the empty calendar and looked at it again, with fresh eyes. It didn’t seem as empty now, it was full of possibilities. All those “one of these days” things we all talk about? Well, now was the time. I sorted through half-finished projects and completed or discarded them so they no longer took up space in my studio or my mind. I cleaned and organized the studio (not that you could tell it now!). I carved many new stamps and used them on scrap papers, then painted more scrap papers with vibrant colors – all added to my stash of papers I can choose from when I decide to collage next. When all else fails, on particularly rough days, I continue to do small slices of creative work in my art journals. I began an online class that I had purchased last year and, most likely, wouldn’t have ever slowed down long enough to sit and learn. That led to inspiration of more new creativity. and I just signed up for another class!

The days have begun to finally flow in a slow, comfortable rhythm that includes outdoor time, reading, learning, working in the studio and “daily life” activities. I am also taking better care of myself – exercise, full nights of sleep, cooking delicious meals, soaking in the tub and just being more aware of what my body wants and needs. In the meantime the calendar will begin to fill. A few events have set re-scheduled dates. I’ve discovered some virtual opportunities to participate in. I’ve been blessed with grants from the Indiana Arts Council and a couple of small commissioned projects so I can pay the bills and keep myself supplied in paints and materials. For now, I’m going to take advantage of this slow time.

How have you dealt with the last few months? Are you feeling confident of the future or cautious? I think I waiver between the two, especially if I am exposed to the media for any length of time! Then I need to retreat – into a book, into the studio, into some music or into the woods. I hope you have found your retreats and are able to use them when needed – love & blessing to you!

Your randomly creative friend,

Lynne

Sending some love…

So I’ve been playing with several things in the studio lately, today it only seems natural to share some “heart art” with you! I am slowly working my way back to creating more batik artwork. I took a break for several months but know I’ll be wanting new work for an upcoming show so I started playing with it again yesterday. Instead of creating on plain white paper this time I am using colored paper or paper with natural elements embedded in it. I also decided not to draw out and color in the designs with ink first but to preserve some of the paper color by painting the design on with wax instead. This was my second attempt at a heart, I stressed the paper out too much with the first one and it crumbled into pieces after the second waxing. Ooops!

I did go in after it dried and add some marks and lines. I like how loose and easy-going it ended up!

While I was in the studio I played with a new heart stencil (plus a couple others) in one of my journals…along with some “blendable” inks. It turned out cute enough for my first attempt.

I like it but…well, I just couldn’t help but do some digital editing on it. I know there are a lot of people out there that don’t necessarily enjoy Valentine’s Day. I don’t have strong feelings about it either way, I try to let the people that I love know they are loved all year round so I don’t get very extravagant celebrating just one day! Anyhow, the more I played with the image in Photoshop it morphed into a “dark” version…just for those that aren’t into the happy pink & red hearts or sentiments.

Enjoy the day…however you celebrate (or don’t). With love,

Your Randomly Creative Friend,

Lynne

P.S. If you are out & about and happen to be in the area, the RED show opens tonight at Flourish Gallery, 88 Morgan Street, Martinsville, Indiana. I have art in the RED show and a selection of items for sale in the gallery too. I’ll be there from 2 p.m. till around 7 p.m.

Psalm Circles

Progression on “Psalm 11:7” artwork

Earlier in the year I created some of my favorite recent batik artwork, using verses from the Psalms as my inspiration. I had been working my way through the Psalms and writing scripture that spoke to me in my journal along the way, making the selection process easy!

Each piece began by writing the verse in some sort of circular form on Unryu paper that had pieces of gold thread imbedded in it. As always I used my trusty Sharpie for that, knowing it can withstand the rest of the batik process without fading.

Beginning of “Psalm 32:7”

I took a wide brush and dipped it into melted wax and blocked off streaks of the pieces so they would remain white and then added light strokes of color with a feathery brush and India inks. Next all the pieces were entirely covered with the wax, crumpled to create cracks for more color to seep in randomly and then sprayed with liquid watercolors.

Covered with wax, crumpled and ready for liquid watercolors

After that application the pieces dried and then the wax was removed to reveal the final outcome of each. All four have been framed in 12×12″ barn wood frames. Here they are:

I hope you enjoyed this peek into the process!

Your randomly creative friend,

Lynne

Changes in the Fall wind

I wanted to share some changes I’ve implemented regarding class offerings. I’m not going to re-invent the wheel here so this is an excerpt from a newsletter that goes out to those interested in my classes and workshops:

I’ve been, especially this year, less than successful with the class offerings I’ve promoted. I’ve spoken with other teaching artists and know that I am not the only one struggling in this area. Trying to discover the right combination of topic, date and location is frequently like pulling the handle on a slot machine…. 
…NOT a winner!

Although I adore sharing my love of art and techniques with others, I have reached a point where my outlook has shifted. Instead of putting things out there and hoping for the best and I am going to rely more on you, and others like you, to determine the dates, topics & locations! As I make this shift you will see changes to my website making it easier for you to do the choosing. You can visit THIS PAGE to see how the new system looks and works. (You’ll notice one scheduled event listed too…that’s because someone has already taken advantage of both the new system and the discount offered below!)
 
Another change you will see is that for classes here at my home studio there will be NO minimum attendance required. If you are the only one that registers, congratulations – you’ll get one-on-one instruction! Want to have a special date night with a family member or friend? Here’s the perfect opportunity. If you’d like me to bring a project to you for a gathering, party or shower – can do! You’ll find all the offerings listed HERE.
 
If you’ve been thinking you’d like to take a class, now might just be the perfect time! As an incentive to try out this new approach, I’m including a coupon code for $10 off any(all) class(es) you register for during the months of October or November. You are welcome to share this code “NEWshift” (with no quote marks) with those you feel might be interested. I’d also love some feedback on the changes, I’d appreciate it if you’d share your thoughts!    

Your randomly creative friend,

Lynne

Upcoming Batik Painting class

So, many people have expressed an interest in learning more about how I do Batik painting on paper. Well, your chance to learn that is coming SOON! Here are all the details, I hope you can join in the fun:

Registration deadline is Tuesday, August 20th at noon!

Lynne

Lettering Short-Cut

I love to include words, quotes and text in my art but, despite some instruction and practice, I’m not always thrilled with the way my hand drawn letters turn out. This little hack is a favorite of mine and I thought you might find it useful as well! This was just an impromptu, messy fingers project that popped into my head one day. The first step was to add acrylic paint to the board I was painting. Somedays my favorite paint tools are my fingers, and this was no exception.

I have accumulated a large selection of fonts on my computer (there are many resources for free downloadable fonts available online) and have fun using different ones in digital creations, advertising and such. They are especially handy when lettering on artwork! Some of my batik work is done on Unryu paper which is transparent enough you can actually just trace the letters onto the paper as they are visible when placed underneath.

“Psalm 11:7”
Batik art, three steps – lettering, adding ink, after the batik process

If I’m working on wood or canvas I have a way of getting the letters on my art that works very well. First I measure the space where I want the words placed and create a blank file in Photoshop Elements that is the same size. Then, using the type function I type, resize and arrange the letters to suit my project. This is what the file looked like for the project I am showing you:

I printed it the exact size as the file (which meant it had to be printed in two sections) and then taped together the pieces. The next step was to turn it over and take either pencil or charcoal and cover the back of the paper where the letters were printed.

You want to cover it fully, the pencil or charcoal is going to be used like copy paper to make outlines of your letters onto your art. Turn it over and position it where you want the letters to be on your art and then take a ball point pen and trace the outlines of each letter. I get excited and always want to rush things so come to find out my paint wasn’t as dry as usual, I ended up lifting some of it from the wood when I applied the marks. It still worked!

Now that I had the outline on the artwork I could use markers, paint pens or a really steady brush to add the colors and outline for the lettering and any details I decided to include. I decided to just handwrite the “hello” portion of the lettering and kind of wish I’d have traced that too. Oh well! Here is the final piece.

Let me know if you try this technique for adding letters, I hope it’s inspired you to get creative!

Your randomly creative friend,

Lynne

Classes Resume in Carmel, IN

So it’s taken me half the year but I’ve got new classes set up at Art on Main Gallery & Gifts in Carmel, Indiana again! The first one with be on Wednesday, July 31st – the flyer below has all the details.

Future class topics are as follows:

August 7th, Mixed Media Painting

August 21st, Batik Painting on Paper

September 4th, Introduction to Journal Making

September 18th, Artistic Jewelry Class

October 16, 30, November 6, 20 – TBA

For your convenience here is a link to the registration page: REGISTER FOR CLASS All dates are Wednesdays and all classes run from 6-9 p.m. I hope you can join me for one (or more!) of these creative evenings!

Creatively,

Lynne

Batik Art

As I mentioned in my last post, today’s blog features some new batik artwork. It seems as if I haven’t exhausted all the ways I can play and explore with this medium…as I learn new styles and techniques in other media they often translate into some fun batik pieces!

Batik on Unryu paper, approximately 8×8″ currently untitled

The piece above (and the three below) I used the wax to “paint” abstract marks and shapes onto the paper before adding the background colors. The final coloring on these pieces seeps in between the cracks in a final layer of wax. I like the earthy way these feel. Incorporating the spirit-led, random mark making with the wax painting brings in some of the new style I’ve been using with acrylic paints.

“Mantras” 1,2 & 3 each 6×12″ mixed media Batik on Unryu paper

Another new type of batik I’ve been exploring is using India Ink to paint onto the paper prior to waxing and adding the final layer of color. Very free strokes, flow-oriented and fun!

Spontaneous Song
11×14, matted and framed to 16×20″

Obviously I was having a LOT of fun with the piece above! Testing how the inks interacted with the paper, how the brush moved and the colors could blend. The ones below were a little more thoughtful as far as the colors selected, but still full of freedom and expression.

(L to R) Catalyst, Unguarded, Limitless
each 11×14″, matted and framed to 16×20″

I did one other very special set of batik art but I can’t reveal them just yet…I need to deliver them first! Look for them soon.

With love, Your Randomly Creative Friend….

Lynne

Indiana Artisan Spotlight

March brings a feature of eleven select Indiana Artisan works at Art on Main Gallery & Gifts in Carmel, Indiana. They have filled their walls and shelves with an assortment of amazing work. I’m proud to have my batik artwork included.

Art on Main is featuring an exhibit/ sale by Indiana Artisans. Indiana Artisan is the state’s official organization that recognizes the work of Indiana’s highest-quality art and food artisans. Art on Main will be presenting art and food items from 12 Indiana Artisans.
Julie Bolejack- Chocolate for the Spirit
Pam Hurst Designs- jewelry
Amy Greely Studio- Jewelry
Lynne Medkser – batik Art
Marie Reamer- photography
Otis Harville- photography
Marl Lisota- jewelry
Nancy Keating-mosaics
Peter Falk- woodworking
Kathy Blankenheim- painting
Sylvia Gray- wearbale art
Monte Young- stoneware pottery

I delivered several new (and one classic) pieces of artwork for this feature, including these three pieces below that are fresh out of the studio! If you’re looking for a great night out the gallery is going to have a special hours this Saturday, March 9th from 5-9 pm during the “Meet Me on Main” monthly gallery walk. Be sure to visit!

The feature at Art on Main opened today, March 5th and will continue through the end of the month – which leads up to the annual Artisan Marketplace on Sat, April 6 from 10am – 6pm and Sun, April 7 from 10am – 5pm in the Expo Hall Building at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Only once a year, the state’s highest-quality Artisans come together — at the Indiana Artisan Marketplace. Talk with artisans at the top of their craft, recognized by the state for their exceptional art and food. Taste their wines and foods, see what makes them the best, and take advantage of the opportunity to take home some of their outstanding work made in studios, workshops and kitchens here in the Hoosier State.

I won’t have a booth at the Marketplace this year but will have artwork featured in the “All IN” exhibit which runs parallel to the Marketplace and features a display of products and art from Artisans who want to participate. As you enter the Marketplace you’ll be able to enjoy “All IN” as you make your way to visit the Artisan booths. I’m also on the “All IN” committee this year so you might well see me there when you visit the Marketplace. 

I have several other new batik pieces finished and in process right now, I’ll share them in my next post! Till then….

Lynne

Whimsy

Last year, as I was preparing for a show of my mixed media batik art, I was also spending lots of time with my grandkids. Trying to mix the two I did many of the drawing layers of the art while they were busy coloring and drawing at the kitchen table with me. As often happens I got requests – “Gramsy, can you draw a fish? Gramsy, what about a bird? Maybe some flowers?” as those drawings began to unfold I unintentionally created a trove of tiny art pieces inspired by the requests! The original pieces were all small – mounted on 4×4″ wood panels when completed. Some just seemed to need a bit more space so 6×6, 6×12 and 8×8″ pieces were added to the mixture over the months.

Above: Batik art on paper in progress – drawing/coloring stage Below: Finished 4×4″ pieces
Display of multiple 4×4″ pieces

As I continued to create these whimsical pieces I also began adding text and quotes to them. The ones shown below are all 6×6″ pieces on wood panels.

These creations fell right into my art motto of “Happy Art for Happy People”! Many of the pieces that feature flowers, nature, gardens, etc. are now available at Queen Anne’s Farmhouse & Flower Shoppe located in Greenwood, Indiana. You can also find a few of my handmade journals there too! Hmmmm….journals. I’m not sure I’ve blogged about those yet. Perhaps next post?

Lynne