Wednesday Words from the Studio – January 12, 2011

"free to imagine" acrylic/watercolor on paper, 15x11" (c) Lynne Medsker

Still enjoying the snowy scenery outside, and extremely happy to have a nice warm fire to keep me warm as I work in the studio!  I continued my work from yesterday, finished a couple of small pieces, and started a new LARGE project rather unexpectedly too. All in all it was a great day and I’m pleased with the progress. I spent quite a bit of the morning working on the mixed media tree – adding shading to the tree bark and the background and then starting the paint on the background next. Lots of layers of loose paint and blending finished with more left to go, I am excited with it so far. I’m still being stingy with overall images of the progress but here is a close up of it in progress, just to tease your imagination a bit. 🙂

work in progress, mixed media tree, detail (c) 2011, Lynne Medsker

The acrylic & watercolor pieces from yesterday were finished so I got photos of them to post today too. I used the same basic process as I did with “Free to Be” from last week, and decided to continue with the “Free” titles for these pieces as well. In addition to “Free to Imagine” at the top of the blog here is “Free to Disagree” –

"free to disagree" acrylic/watercolor on paper, 15x11" (c) Lynne Medsker

I would like to pursue these again in the near future but feel like I need to concentrate on getting some pieces created/finished/display ready for an upcoming show first. Well, I’m going to TRY and wait until I’ve got that accomplished before I go back to them – no promises though!

Although I showed my new collection of cut wood pieces in yesterday’s blog post I just couldn’t get myself to do anything with them today. I seem to need at least a partially analytical frame of mind for constructing the more 3 dimensional pieces and I’ve not had that lately, it’s been all intuitive/emotional raw creative explorations. Which is great, it just doesn’t get any wall sculptures constructed for the time being. Instead I started a LARGE art project on canvas – well on three canvases to be exact!

One of my goals this year is to “use what I got” in my artwork. I am a world-class “gatherer” and love to collect and be surrounded by art supplies of all types. Using them is another thing all together – if I do that then I won’t have them. On the flip side I have spent the last several months doing my best to clean out, recycle, donate or trash things that have been cluttering up the rest of my home. So it seemed natural that it was time to do the same in the studio. Now if I actually run out of something I routinely use I will replace it but I am trying my best not to just mindlessly gather items – initially for the clutter but also as a budget aid too. Anyhow, to get back to the canvas pieces, I have been wanting to do something BIG for several weeks but have been dragging my feet. I have several large boards that would be great for big work but I don’t have the wood to build the framing for them. So I kept putting off my BIG project while I debated about buying more wood for framing. Today I decided to look at my stash of canvases to see what the largest one was, again, trying to use what I have. I didn’t have any really large ones but found three of them that were each 2 x 2 foot square. Hmmmm, this might just be the answer! If you haven’t noticed I have really been having fun making art with compositions that span multiple pieces so it didn’t take me long to figure out that I could use these all together to create a nice big 2 x 6 foot artwork. Woo, hoo!

blank canvases in waiting (c) 2011, Lynne Medsker

I had a (very) rough idea of what I wanted to do and then just let the rest roll along as I went. I started with some very loose lines with a soft charcoal pencil all over the surface. The only way I can be really random and “loose” is to close my eyes while I’m making the marks! Once I was happy with that stage I randomly wiped the surface to soften the lines and add different shades of grey across the surface, then I sealed the pieces so they wouldn’t smudge further.

work in progress, charcoal in place (c) 2011, Lynne Medsker

When the pieces were dry I used liquid gold leaf to fill in one area of each canvas. I had decided to use some aluminum mesh that I had bought a few years ago to cover some sections of the canvas. I used acrylic mediums that will dry clear so the charcoal design will show through the mesh. Getting it to adhere to the canvas was a bit of a challenge and I will need to work on it again when I return to the studio to finish attaching all the edges – right now it is drying with the help of various bottles, jars and containers as weights holding down the edges!

work in progress, wait for the mesh to dry (c) 2011, Lynne Medsker

I already know what the next few steps will be and have a good idea of what I’d like the finished project to look like too – although I’m always open to inspiration!

From what I am hearing about my family’s schedules I may have lucked into a third studio day this week, BLISS!


Updated studio space!

Even though it’s only been a little over a year since I transformed my porch into my studio space it was becoming clear that it was time to do some work on the design & layout. The original version, while very pretty, was not nearly as functional as I needed it to be. With only one work area (a mid-sized drafting table) I found myself working on the floor, on folding tables and, during nice weather, outdoors. And any work-in-progress or pieces that were drying were scattered all over the floor and any other available flat surface I could find. With the approach of winter I knew something had to give. In addition to it not being as functional as I wanted it to be it had gotten downright messy & cluttered! SO everything came out of the drawers, storage boxes and miscellaneous piles and into a sorting area where it’s necessity and storage arrangements were examined. I started at one end of the room and got down to bare carpet then slowly worked my way out from there as I replaced and rearranged items.

studio image #1 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

I was so excited when I got this first area finished, at last I was seeing progress! I pitched several bags of garbage, passed along a box of “donations” and removing a couple pieces of unwanted furniture in the process. It seemed like it took forever (off & on it was a little over a week-long process) but it was finally finished!

studio image #2 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

Other than a huge chunk of my time the only expense was a new eight-foot long table to work on.

studio image #3 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

I sold a smaller desk that I didn’t need anymore so that made my costs even lower! I ended up with the original drafting table (which is doubling for my “office” desk), the nice large new table and another four by four foot area of folding tables to hold pieces that were in progress and/or drying.

studio image #4 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

FLAT SURFACES! Woo, hoo! By re-arranging the gathering tables and chairs I also increased the size of my “working studio” without eliminating the seating/social area. One set of table & stools are by the door and the other are against the windows looking out into the woods. It’s a great place to sit in the morning & drink your coffee – or sit in the evening and sip a glass of wine too!

studio image #5 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

Of course now that I was finally finished I could hardly wait to test it out and see how it felt to work in my new surroundings. Wouldn’t you know my first scheduled day in the studio I had a little guy home with the chicken pox! So guess who got to create the first piece of art in my newly arranged studio?

studio image #6 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

Such is a grandma’s love to share her “new” space with little ones! I’ve had plenty of opportunity to work out there since and I am really happy with the layout so far. I look forward to being creative in my studio even more now! I didn’t know that was possible. 🙂



New life

I have to admit I’ve not much of a green thumb and most of my houseplants die a miserable death. But I’m on a streak and have kept (most of) a planter full of greenery alive since late last fall.  Which lead me to feel brave enough to add a new friend to my studio.  I tried to resist, honestly I did.  I still don’t know if it was the perky green leaves or the cute blue pot but I couldn’t help but bring this little fella home with me when I spied him last week.

plant, image 1 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

Once I picked him up to bring him home I discovered he was just sitting in a little plastic container inside the cute blue pot so when we arrived home I filled the pot with soil and, with lots of tender love & care, nestled him into his new home surrounded by some yummy, rich dirt. He’s a full sun type of guy and so the studio is a perfect place for him to live during the warmer months of the year. When late fall rolls around he’ll have to more to an indoor location for a while! I’ve enjoyed snapping photos of him with different lighting and angles.

plant, image 2 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

I wonder if he’ll influence my art and I’ll start adding greenery to all my creations?

I’m thinking of naming him after a painter since he’s an art studio plant. I’m leaning toward Claude (Monet) but I’m still open for suggestions!



Expanding my studio!

I love my studio, I really do. But (I’m sure like many artists) it is not a terribly large space and (being a pack rat!) it’s awfully full of art supplies. Sometimes I makes it a challenge to be creative, especially on larger scale pieces of art. I discovered last year that once the weather begins to warm up I can enlarge my studio just by opening up the doors and including the area outside as part of my workspace.  Yes, it’s temporary, but it works!

outdoor studio © 2010, Lynne Medsker
outdoor studio, with room for a friend! © 2010, Lynne Medsker

One added bonus is that I’m outdoors in the fresh air but what I really enjoy is the freedom. The freedom to spray and splatter and drip and generally make all the mess I want without worrying. The worst thing that can happen is that I have some paint-covered rocks in the driveway and I’m kind of fond of those! They remind me of the creative times I’ve been able to spend.

Are there ways you can adapt your surroundings, life and circumstances to better suit your needs? You never know until you try…


Ideas & Daydreams


ideas & daydreams digital collage (c) 2003, Lynne Medsker
'ideas & daydreams' digital collage (c) 2003, Lynne Medsker

I was still sorting through files when I stumbled across this piece.  It is one of my first digital collages from back in 2003.  It took me hours & hours to assemble it from photos and clip art using a very primitve photo editing program.  I was so excited when it was finished I am sure I e-mailed it to every person in my address book!  I still love the concept & title and I am pretty sure that if you could get a snapshot of the thoughts & ideas floating through my head it would be something similar to this.   🙂   I will brag a bit and tell you that when I entered this image in the state fair that summer I won the blue ribbon for computer art!  Which shows how much computer art has progressed in the last six years…this seems so very basic anymore. 

The current ideas & daydreams dancing in my head revolve around getting my new art studio space set up. I’ve been taking some photos of the progress, I will post them when the project is complete.  I spent all day Friday sorting, packing and emptying the room followed by a weekend of painting.  And more painting!  My goodness it takes a long time when you are working around ten windows and a pair of french doors.  I sure love the room full of sunlight but flat walls without windows are certainly faster to paint!  In addition to those obstacles the room had hunter green trim (does that date it for you?) that had to have two coats of primer before we could even begin to paint.  BUT, it is a beautiful, clean, bright white now!  It will be over a week before the new carpet can be put in so we’ve got a bit of a lull in activity.  I am in the midst of drawing up plans for the built in storage that I want to add (after the carpeting) and my head is spinning with room arrangements, furnishings and details.  I want to keep it fairly open yet also want to put all my art supplies in there, have a space for doing both mixed media and digital work plus be able to use at least part of it for social gathering.  It will be a balancing act!  Now I am off to look at some furniture online…

Happy daydreams to you!