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?
One media I explored last year was resin! Initially it was to use the resin as a protective, shiny coating over my mixed media batik artwork. Of course mixing up the exact amount of resin is pretty rare and I tend to err on the side of excess. The excess became a playground for me to experiment & manipulate – with some successes and, of course, some “learning opportunities” as well.
Eventually I was mixing and blending inks, pigments and other materials in, on & around clear resin and manipulating it to form organic designs. Some of the creations are on a wood surface, some on acrylic pieces. The ones shared here are all on flat 10″ round wood panels, which I added wood pieces to the back for hanging making them appear to “float” on the wall. They are currently for sale at B3 Gallery in Nashville, Indiana.
Although there is much exploring left to do I’ve not created any new resin art pieces lately…I am sure at some point in my random creativity I will return to it! Below is a close up detail of another resin piece…I love looking into them, it’s almost like looking into another universe!
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.
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!
So this year I’m just feeling a little more loose & free with the idea of classes, teaching and hosting events in my studio. Instead of “formal” classes I’m going to have a few dates throughout the year where I open the studio, have out supplies for certain projects and let you come, create and play in a relaxed atmosphere!
I hope you’ll join in one or more of these sessions, as I determine future topics I’ll post updates. All dates are subjected to change.
Of course I’m always available to schedule a specific class for you if you are interested, you can see a list of possible topics right HERE. I have “add more topics” on my to-do list but haven’t finished that project yet so you might want to check back in a few weeks!
If you’re curious why I’ve not blogged much this fall/winter well here is one reason – I was busy finishing the drawings for my second coloring book! I don’t have a firm date on when it will be published but it IS available for pre-sale on Amazon already!
I’ll post an update once I have all the details. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at a few of the pages inside:
Thanks for continuing to follow this blog!
It seems like a long time ago when I first posted about a project I was working on that would become my first color book. I found out last week that it is now available for pre-sale on Amazon, at a $2 discount! Click on the image below to go directly to the book page on Amazon:
Although it says the publication date is February 2016 I’ve been told by my publisher that it should be released within the next two months. I’m excited! I’m working with a gallery to perhaps have a weekend event with a related class or two available as well as a “book signing” party. Details will be announced as they become available.
In the meantime I’ve already started drawings for a second book! Details on that later. 🙂