Kokopelli Conga

Kokopelli Conga
"A work of art that did not begin in emotion is not art." --Paul Cezanne

February 24, 2013

Experimental Painting

As of last Spring, when my "King of Yellow Heart" painting was accepted to the Utah Watercolor Society (UWS) Spring Show, I became what is called a "Two Star" member of the UWS. There are levels of membership you can work for in the society. A Two Star member is someone who has been accepted to two Spring shows (which are very competitive). The shows are juried by a well-known artist the society has brought in for the Spring workshop. The next level (which I am still working towards) is to become a Signature Member, which requires being accepted into eight shows (UWS Spring Show, UWS Fall Show, or the Western Federation Show)...AND you must win a major award in one of the shows.  Obviously, this takes time to achieve as all the shows are very competitive, so this status is a mark of accomplishment.

Currently, I have three of the eight shows required, but no major awards...and this has taken me 10 years of membership to achieve so far. Though, to be fair, there have been a few years that I did not submit paintings to shows...so perhaps I could be farther along than I am. But, perhaps not. There have been plenty of times I have submitted and not been accepted. :)

Anyway, the point of all this being that, now that I have achieved Two Star status, I am eligible for participation in an additional show for UWS each year: The Two Star/Signature Show - which (as you may surmise) only Two Star and Signature members may enter.

This year, the theme of the show is "Breaking Through - Something New" and the challenge is to create and enter a painting that uses techniques or styles that are not your usual "tried and true" methods. Break out of your comfort zone. Create something new and different for you.

So I decided that now is the time to try a few techniques I have been wanting to try for a long time but never seem to get around to. I usually have such limited painting time that it is generally dedicated to a specific task such as Nibblefest, or commission work, or an entry for a show, and I rarely take time to try new and different techniques just for the experience of finding out how they work for me. This is no different. I am still time-limited. But, since the theme of this show is to try something new, I have finally found my opportunity to give it a whirl!

Inspired by Betsy Dillard Stroud and various other articles and things I have read in Watercolor Artist magazine, I decided to try some more abstract painting techniques in the way of pouring, splattering, taping, weaving, and stamping.  I also took my paper outside to the snow and threw some snow on in before pouring.  True to myself though, I did splatter some masking fluid across the paper as well. It still has to be "me" after all!

First step:  Paper prep:  I am using Arches 140 lb cold press watercolor paper. I folded the paper in half and made two halves that will be about the same size (for weaving). I attached it to my support board and then tore some random pieces of blue painter's tape and stuck them to the paper. Then I splattered it with masking fluid.

Step two:  Using four colors of Reeves Acrylic Colour (Medium Yellow, Blue Lake, Phthalo Blue, and Brilliant Red), I prep four disposable cups with one color each, dissolved in water for the pour/splatter.  (Note: this is also new for me because I typically don't use acrylic paint.)

Step three:  Take the support board with prepped paper outside and prop it against my kids' tricycle in the snow. (Hey, you have to use what's available!)  Then I threw a few handfuls of snow on the paper (which stuck kind of like snowballs). Then, throw/pour/splatter the four colors of paint.

The first round of pouring, I discovered that the paint washes were a little light for my goal and also they ran right off the paper. So...

Hospital gown makes a decent "apron" to help guard against paint splatter.

Step four:  Lay board down on snow on a slight downward slope. Re-mix the paint cups, but with more color saturation. Repeat the pour/splatter/throw process.

Results so far...
  • Places where I hit the paper with snow have made interesting ice-crystal-like designs on the paper.
  • A bit of "mud" where the colors have mixed too much rather than "mingled." (Like that Easter egg that you dipped into one too many colors.)
  • Quite a few blobs of undissolved acrylic paint (which, I hope, will be an interesting texture element to the final painting.

 Now I have to wait for it to dry. The final steps will be stamping (with a stamp I created and hand carved myself out of linoleum), and then cut and weave the paper together.

We'll see how it all turns out.  :)  Thanks for reading along!

February 23, 2013

Feb 2013 - Nibblefest - Arches - and updates

So my New Year's resolution to try to be better about posting to my blog hasn't been great so far. But, I have at least stuck to my exercise and fitness goals! :) I started a Zumba class through community education. Twice per week. Love it! Kicks my BUTT every time, but it is tons of fun.

Also, for Valentine's Day, my husband and I were able to spend a couple days in Moab, UT while the kids stayed at Grandma's house. Moab and Arches National Park is one of our favorite places in the whole world.

Then, since we were there without the kiddos, and because (with Parkinson's) we are never sure how good my hubby's mobility will be as the years continue on, I thought it might be a good idea for us to do the hike to Delicate Arch. Whose idiotic idea was it to hike to Delicate in February...oh yeah, that was me.

Delicate is beautiful, and always a worthwhile hike (3 miles round trip, 480 foot increase in elevation on the way up!), but the back side of the mountain trail is fairly narrow with a sheer drop off. And, what do we find when we get to that point? A layer of ice covered with a layer of snow!

Even so, while I thought about turning back, my hubby said we couldn't turn back when we had come so far...so we continued on. It was very beautiful! I even remembered to pack up my plein air kit and did a little painting while we were there. :)

The Trail on back of mountain just before you reach Delicate Arch.

Jenny & Steve at Delicate Arch - Feb 2013


©2013 Jennifer Love  "Delicate_Feb 2013"
It's also Nibblefest time again! This month's theme is "Domestic Animals." I decided to try another horse painting. I've been (slowly) collecting refernce photos of horses and chose a lovely Gray to paint. It's only the second horse I've done, so I certainly plan to keep working at it and improve.
Here is my Nibblefest entry "Summer Grey" (Watercolor, 8" x 10")
Click here if you'd like to go to the ebay auction, starting at $0.99. Auction ends Feb 27th.