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.
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.
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:
As I continue randomly exploring different forms of art I branched out a bit into musical instruments! Not hand-built or fancy but an easy kit and lots of creativity. 😉 I purchased three of these kits and have had them in the studio for quite some time. I’m not sure what happened but last month it was finally TIME. So I pulled out the first one and got busy.
After a bit of sanding the painting commenced! Layers of acrylic ink in randomly colorful streaks were the first order of business. A great base to add to, with lots of designs, doodles, more ink, paint pens and fun.
It took several sessions to complete all the details, then it was time for assembling the pieces. No instructions included but a couple of YouTube videos spelled it out pretty clearly. The waiting time for the glue to dry as pieces were added seemed like it took forever but, finally, it was all put together.
I found a handy app for tuning eukeles and had it strumming at last! The included strings were not inclined to keep a tune so I have a new set that arrived the other day that I’ll be switching too. This one was for fun, for practice and just for ME. I’ve got it hanging on the wall in my studio.
The next two? Well, I’ve had a request or two already so we’ll see what happens. The possibilities are endless for design, the hard part will be making up my mind!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
I was inspired (and invited) to do an art installation at our local church for Advent this Christmas season. I had three amazing ladies that volunteered to help with the project, which was awesome! After learning more about the meaning of Advent, the coming from the darkness into the light, I knew that I wanted the project to both “wrap around” the little country church sanctuary and change its appearance by getting brighter each week. The church has three sets of windows on each side and a wooden “rail” across the front near the altar. Using some wooden easel displays that fit in the windows it began with a very dark blue yard wrapped abstractly around sets of three easels. These were placed in the very back windows. The middle windows had a slightly lighter blue, the third window had light blue sets and across the rail were sets of three white yarn-wrapped easels. The lighter ones initially had some random black yard wrapped over them as well. The team was awesome with the help wrapping all that yarn! There was a single easel on each side of the railing that had tiny lights wrapped around it, signifying the light of Jesus that would be coming soon.
After the first week the very darkest yarn-wrapped set was removed and the progressively lighter ones were moved toward the back of the room and another set of light-wrapped easels were added to the front. The following week the mid-blue colored set was removed (as well as the extra black yard from the white set) and, again, more light-wrapped sets were added in the front as the light spread through the church. The Sunday prior to Christmas the entire display had changed to all white lights, all of the darkness was gone.
For the Christmas Eve service the final part of the art display was added…we created different line drawings of the nativity on glass panels that were placed in front of each easel/light set so they would be illuminated from the light behind them. They were a beautiful part of the celebration that night with the darkness outdoors and the lights dimmed in the sanctuary!
Next up? An interactive art project for the congregation and visitors on the topic of redemption and deliverance. I’ve also got sketches for a “fruit of the spirit” project and the construction of a cross with each person adding a piece to it. I feel blessed to be able to share my creativity and use it to inspire and build up others!
After neglecting my blog for the better part of a year it’s more than a bit intimidating trying to figure out what to jump back in with! I’m fairly prolific so the choices are numerous and with several shows and exhibits last year that is probably an understatement. I finally decided to just start writing about what is currently dear to my heart, a series I titled “Intuitive Abandon”. Then, within that body of work, I found these pieces, aptly titled and begging to be shared. Perfect!
Something that’s been on my heart for several years is the desire to merge both my art and my faith, to feel like my work is more inspired and led than just merely decorative. I can kind of put it in “auto-drive” and make art that is pleasing to look at but when asked what it means, well, nothing really. I tried just referring to it as “Happy Art” (which it is) because so many people commented on the colorful and happy content. That, in and of itself, isn’t a terrible thing – I am a fan of happiness and if I can give others joy with my art that’s pretty darn cool. But I wasn’t satisfied with just that anymore.
Enter my favorite, most “mountain top” experience each year called “Gathering of Artisans“. 2018 was my third year in a row to attend/participate in this event and I cannot recommend it highly enough! And, yes, although I’d classify it as a mountain-top experience no matter where it is held, it happens to actually be held in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Each year I’ve attended I’ve grown and deepened my life in ways I couldn’t imagine. In addition to the most powerful worship I have ever experienced, 2018 led me to classes by two different instructors, Aeron Brown & Amy Smith, both of whom had an amazing influence on my artistic and spiritual path. I finally feel like I am stepping into my desire of combining my faith with my artistic expression.
These newest explorations are full of freedom, mark making and lively conversation. After some prayerful quiet & meditation these pieces start with mark making – my thoughts, prayers, song lyrics, text randomly scribbled with charcoal/pencil/graphite on the canvas/paper/wood substrate. In the case of these pieces, 12×12″ canvas. From that place I try to listen quietly until I get a feel for the initial colors. Once the painting, scraping, stamping and marking begins I try to not think at all! Often I get so lost in the process that, unless I stop to take progress pictures, I have no idea how I got from point A to point B. The freedom to create this way is so very freeing.
Currently I have close to 40 pieces created in this manner – on canvas, wood and paper. They even inspired another artistic endeavor! I’ll be sharing more as I continue to blog but if you just can’t wait to see them you can CLICK HERE to visit the web page where they are featured.
It seems like the first of the year is always the time to think about goals, make a plan for the year and start fresh. (As evidenced by the times I’ve written blog posts in January only to fizzle out a few months later!) I ran across this quote yesterday and it am hoping it will help keep me on track – I think most artists are easily distracted and I am no different. I decided I would make a screen saver out of it so I’d see it daily! I created the digital background image last week as I was goofing around in Photoshop – I’d not done any digital art for well over a year so it was fun to create something new and then within a few days realize it had a purpose to team up with the quote. I’ve made it a large file with the idea that anyone that needs it is welcome to download it and use it, so feel free if it speaks to you too!
On schedule for the month of April? Batik Art on Paper, presented at three locations so you can choose which one works best for you! To reserve your seat in one (or more) of these classes please go to THIS PAGE of my website. With locations in Carmel, Martinsville and Nashville Indiana you’ve got a nice selection to choose from.
Please note this workshop is limited to a maximum of 6 people so you’ll want to reserve your place early!
Each year I pick a word (or words) that will be my inspiration, goal, good intention for the year. For this year the word “STRENGTH” has been coming at me from all directions so I’m going to claim it and run with it. It is something I can apply to so many different areas of my life!
After spending many hours the last few months creating hand made journals (I guess I need to post about those soon, hmmm?) I’ve added to that interest the idea of writing styles, script and other artful lettering. I’ve always loved to add words & quotes to my art but have never been particularly fond of my own handwriting. I’ve just been doodling around with pens, etc. for now but have an intro to hand-lettering book that should be delivered later today.
Here are some of my scribbles in one of my journals over the past week. Perhaps as I progress and become more skilled I’ll be able to use these words and thoughts in my artwork! I hope the new year blesses you with inspiration and passions to pursue. I love that feeling of hope a new year brings with it. Who knows, I might even blog more regularly this year! We’ve got another 362 days to find out!
So I thought today I’d share a couple recent pieces that I finished and show a bit of the stages it went through along the way. Both these pieces are currently hanging in the gallery at the Blackford County Art Center in Hartford City, Indiana in my show titled “”Cairns & Other Repurposed Treasures” – along with another 26 pieces that are part of my “Wood | Stone | Metal” series. The beginning inspirations were a set of rocks that I painted last month:
In addition to those larger, detailed pieces I also had painted several batches of smaller, colorful, messy, drippy, watercolored stones:
Deciding on the composition is a trial and error process for me, first one layout, then another, tweeking the arrangement and inclusion of stones and material as I progress. This shows an early layout vs. the final version for each of the two pieces.
The third rock in the set is still in the studio, waiting for inspiration to lead me to it’s final destination, who knows where it will end up!