12/23/08

Winter, Wax & Wire

This is the pre Christmas update from snowbound Seattle. Today was the first day in a week we could drive out of our neighborhood. We have a lot of steep and snow-covered roads so it makes for some scary navigation when they are icy. We are expecting another storm tonight so we are stocking up supplies for the next winter blast. All this means I can spend more time creating and not feel guilty about time away from family and friends this holiday season.


Blue Cocoon in the rough stage


Cocoon twins in early progress

Here are a few progress pictures from my cocoon dress project. These are still in the rough stages but I plan on thinning them down a bit more and covering the surface in layers of wax. I hope the power does not go out so I can keep my wax pots hot.

I also wanted to include some of my wire doodles that I mentioned earlier. Some people knit by the fireside and I doodle with wire. The dice are from my husbands’ D & D set from childhood, the beads are prayer beads from a friend and the yellow piece is a super ball. I some times give these as little hostess gifts when we are invited over to our friend’s homes for dinner. For now I am enjoying them as holiday decorations.

12/19/08

Hibernation


Yes the snow is here, our roads are closed and I have been happily locked away in the studio. I have been working on some three dimensional sculpture pieces and this is a concept sketch for one of them. The materials used are unprimed Belgian linen, encaustic, oil and twine. Still working out the kinks on the actual forms but loving the metaphorical themes of these cocoon dresses. I think my creative hibernation has influenced the subject matter here. I’ll post the finished dresses with an articulated statement when everything has had an opportunity to crystallize.

12/14/08

Promise

Promise - Encaustic w/mixed media 2008

Uncommon Solitude - Encaustic w/mixed media 2008

Winter Carnival- Encaustic w/mixed media 2008


More images of new work coming out of my studio. I have several paintings that I would like to call "finished" before the new year so I am in high gear and painting everyday until 2009. We had our first dusting of snow yesterday and they are predicting cold temperatures and more snow later this week. It's a big deal around here and everything shuts down. I love it. I am planning on hibernating in the studio all week. Will post more progress photos and some of my wire doodles this week.

12/13/08

Progress

Images of works-in-progress from an earlier post.


Finished painting #1- Origins, encaustic with mixed media -2008

Finished painting #2 - Illusion, encaustic with mixed media -2008
I am posting some photos of recently finished work. I showed these as works-in-progress in an earlier post from Nov. 6th: Forecast Calls for More Wax. Here’s how two of them turned out. Lots more work to get photographed so stay turned for additional images this week!

12/6/08

Winter Cocoon

Altered Slumber - encaustic w/mixed media 2008


I have been wrapping up a lot of loose ends in the studio this week. I just finished this pod-like cocoon for a show and wanted to share it. I am going to the opening of my friend Marita Dingus tomorrow at Francine Seders Gallery. I'll try to snap some images to share in my next post. Her work is always interesting and very unique.

12/2/08

Tree-cycled Art

Holiday tree tags made from recycled materials by Colleen Maloney/2008

Colleen peeks through the trees!

Wouldn’t you love to receive one of these in your mail box?!

This is work from Colleen Maloney, another artist in the Arty Girls group I mentioned earlier. Her work is so colorful and amazing. Here is what she has to say about these images:

Since it's the holiday season, I thought I'd include what I did for last year. I used old calendars and paper promotions by combining different pieces together, then stitching and die cutting them. My Christmas theme was based on ecology. My challenge was to create a card without using up a lot of resources in an attempt to give back to our earth. Each tree is a collage made entirely from discarded paper in hopes that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Lovely sentiment, Colleen, and great use of waste paper materials. I particularly like the swirly stitching. I can see decorating an entire tree with nothing but these. Thank you for your contribution to this blog post.

11/30/08

Illustration Friday: BALLOON


This is my IF submission for this week. I used a mixture of techniques that include collage, ink, and digital manipulation. Normally I create my work through traditional painting and illustration methods but I wanted to experiment a little with this one. Go to Illustration Friday to learn more about this challenge!

Creative Women


Installation "Woman as the Creator" Marita Dingus 2002


Detail from "Woman as the Creator" Marita Dingus 2002

Face with Pink Flowers by Marita Dingus, 2008 - Photo by Richard Nichol

Latticework Baby with Corks by Marita Dingus 2008

The Arty Girls group met this weekend for a little creative communing. I mention them in Tip #4 from my last post on motivation. One of our members is artist, Marita Dingus. She is a fabulously creative woman and her work will be on display at the Francine Seders Gallery in Seattle from Dec. 5 through Jan 4th, 2009. If you are in the area don’t miss it. Her work is very inspiring. I'll see if i can get work samples from more Arty Girls to share so stay tuned for that.

11/22/08

12 Ways to Motivate an Artist




We all need a little push now and then so I put together this list of tips that have helped me stay motivated and perhaps they can help someone else too...

1. Show Up: This is the single most effective thing you can do to improve your productivity in the studio. Get in there. Even if you are just making phone calls, sorting out your brushes or organizing your supplies. Simply spending time in your studio will get you into the habit of creating. Daily time spent in your studio will improve your productivity.

2. Set Goals: Set goals for yourself and break them down into smaller categories: Long Range, Short Term and Immediate. Example: I am going to paint 5 pieces this month, 2 paintings this week and prep 1 panel this afternoon.


3. Dress the Part: Put on your favorite work clothes for motivation. I have a great pair of funky old shoes (see photo) a beautiful scarf and a paint-encrusted smock that make me feel super creative the moment I slip them on. Discover your power outfit and wear it when you need some extra motivation.


These are my favorite shoes to work in.

4. Connect with Community: Join an online forum and leave comments. Create or join a local chapter for artists in your area and meet once a month to discuss your progress and share resources. Start a blog and invite people to share their comments. Connecting with others will keep you going.

5. Make Yourself Accountable: Tell someone what you are working towards and share your progress with them. Enlist their help to keep you on track. Knowing that someone is waiting to see your results can help maintain your momentum.

6. Lower Your Expectations: Not everything you create will be a masterpiece so allow yourself some time to make the experimental work and rough pieces that will inform your next masterpiece.

7. Open Your Studio: Invite a guest or the whole neighborhood to visit your studio. This will help you to get things organized and asses the amount of work you have ready to display.






8. Apply for Calls: Nothing like a deadline to get you motivated so apply for juried shows and art opportunities and create new work to submit. Even if you don’t get accepted the exercise of assessing your work is invaluable. Here are a few links to organizations that post National Calls For Art and other art opportunities: Art Deadline.com , Washington State Arts Commission and National Calls For Entry

9. Take a Class: Sign up for a creative class or workshop. I prefer workshops because they tend to be condensed and intense. This will help you plug into your arts community and connect with like minded folks. It’s easy to comeback to your studio and continue working if you are already in the zone and dressed for the occasion. Arrange to meet with other students after the class.

10. Host an Art Exchange: Throw an art exchange party – Invite guests to bring a small piece of original art in a plain brown wrapper to swap with other guests. When you know your work will be judged by your peers it can motivate you to up your game.


Plain paper wrapping helps hide the identity of each artist.


11. Trade Critiques: Swap critiques with another artist. Share your work and use the feedback you receive to propel your work forward. Make changes and submit the new work for additional feedback – The exchange of ideas will help you stay focused and energized.

12. Give Yourself Permission: This is the most important tip of all...Don’t let other work or a looming deadline trap you into paralysis. The dishes, the laundry and the shopping can wait. Schedule time to be in the studio and give yourself permission to be there.


Looking for more ways to get inspired? Here are a few great sources for more inspiration: 

An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative







To learn more about Alicia Tormey visit aliciatormey.com and Alicia Tormey on Facebook

If you have other tips for getting motivated please feel free to share them here. I will post some tips on finding inspiration in the coming weeks. Cheers!


11/16/08

Illustration Friday: Pretend

The Baron Masquerades - encaustic, oil on wood
Detail of the Baron
This shows the funky shape of the panel

This is my submission for IF: Pretend. The painting is called The Baron Masquerades but you could also say the Baron is pretending. My thanks to those who browsed by last week and commented on my first IF submission. Your comments are so appreciated. This week I experienced first hand the power IF has to motivate and inspire. Especially for the self employed artist type like me. So…I want say "Thank You" to Penelope Dullaghan, the founder of Illustration Friday, for creating such a great online resource and community for us creative folk.

Paper Dolls




November in Seattle means lots of rain, wind and fog… perfect conditions for hunkering down in the studio and playing with materials. I have been making paper dresses this week and dipping them into encaustic medium (bee’s wax & resin). Thought I would share my favorite dress here. I love the way the little hanger turned out too. The dress with hanger measures 10” tall by 6” wide. 

11/11/08

Illustration Friday: Wise

WISE RAVEN- encaustic w/mixed media - 12" x 12"
Illustration Friday is a weekly illustration challenge. A topic is posted every Friday and then participants have all week to come up with their own interpretation. This is my first participating entry. The word/topic for this week is WISE and I have always thought this raven had the look of wisdom... but he’s not talking.


11/10/08

Louder Than Words




I decided to share a few shots of this portrait I made during the 2004 elections because I feel it still has some significant political relevance. This piece was created with plastic toy soldiers, epoxy resin and acrylic paint and measures 16” x 16”. There are a few more pieces from this political series and one that relates to today’s financial crisis so I will post additional images soon. At the time I was creating this work I was feeling such deep sadness, frustration and hopelessness and I had to process all of that through the act of making art. I am so glad those days are over. Now I am wondering how to approach a portrait of Obama! I might create his likeness with wax and optimism.

11/6/08

Forecast Calls for More WAX


It has been raining steadily all day today so I have been keeping myself busy in the studio. I am posting a few more images of recent work and pieces that I am working on today. Not sure where I am going with some of these paintings but that’s half the fun. I will post images of the finished work if I am happy with the results.




11/5/08

New Horizons




Now with the elections over we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief and get down to the business of creating real change. I am back in the studio working on some new horizons of my own. At left is one of the paintings that resulted from my high contrast experiments that I mentioned last month. I was initially working with black and white and the piece evolved into this watery cascade of wax with some subtle blues and greens. Contrast is still at play here but not how I thought it would be when I began this piece.The painting is 48” x 12” so it is really tall and narrow which lends to the cascade effect. It will be on display this month at the Pacini Lubel gallery along with several other new paintings. I will post more images of new work soon.

10/1/08

New Art Commission


Tranquility 2008 - Encaustic with mixed media - 30" x 60"


I just finished up another large commission piece and wanted to share it. This one is 30" x 60" and is titled Tranquility after what I felt when I first looked into the final painting – see image above. The experience of creating this was so different from past commissions – I often get hung up on the final expectations and that interferes with my creative process. With this one I just allowed myself to flow with the work and I really enjoyed it. The client is happy with the result so I hope my next commission goes this well. I am consciously trying to loosen up and free myself of any preconceptions while painting. I feel I am making progress here but the process of letting go of expectations goes to the core of my artistic journey. I have some new panels started in the studio and the work I am doing right now seems to be focusing on balance. What’s emerging are works that are high in contrast using a lot of black and white. I will share some of the results here later this month.

Detail From Tranquilty

9/8/08

Sun Valley Art Opening

Main gallery wall featuring "Evolution" encaustic on 9 panels 72"x 72"

Gallery west wall view.

Artist, Mike Stilkey, creates an installation for the show.

My beautiful sister, Mary, on the left and me on the right.

Gallery assistant director, Raine Kidder, greets early arrivals.

Early arrivals opening night.

We finished the evening with a celebratory feast in the gallery.

I am back in the studio after an amazing trip over to Sun Valley, Idaho, for my recent opening at the Gilman Contemporary. It was an incredible night and the gallery staff was so gracious and accommodating. Thank you L'Anne, Casey and Raine for your hospitality. The turn out was incredible and thanks to those of you who ventured out for the evening to join us. It was the perfect way to bring the summer to a close. I was very inspired by the direction of this new work and I already have a second series of new paintings started in the studio. I will post images of new work when it's complete. Again, thank you to all who came to see the show and those who purchased my work, I so appreciate your support.