Print Magic

Trio - Alicia Tormey - Monotype Collage - 2009

Orange Branch - Alicia Tormey - Monotype - 2009

These are a few of my favorite prints from the Mary Margaret Briggs workshop I attended in March. They make magnificent collage elements but I also like the quiet beauty and simplicity of the prints alone.

Ghost - Alicia Tormey - Monotype - 2009

The print above is a ghost image left on the plate after the first pass through the press. I find these residual images so much more interesting than the first pass images. This technique offers some wonderful layering possibilities. I am experimenting with incorporating the printed images into my encaustic work. This piece titled Summer Dance is my first attempt at mixing the monotypes with encaustic. I’ll post more results as the work emerges.

Summer Dance - Alicia Tormey - Encaustic w/Monotype Collage - 2009

Available for purchase through the Gilman Contemporary art gallery.


Rediscovering Inspiration

I was recently reminded about the artwork of film director, David Lynch. He identified himself as a painter long before he began creating with film. I find his art to be beautifully dark and compelling, much like his movies, but it's his philosophies about creativity that I find most inspiring. Lynch's celebration of ideas and his honoring of all the "accidents" that occur during the process of creation may help explain why he is such an artistic phenomenon. For instance, when an ill fated moth landed on a wet canvas he allowed the impression to remain in the paint as a detail in the work. Here’s an excerpt from an interview with Paul Young.

David Lynch:
"What I'm trying to do with each canvas is create a situation in which the paint can be itself, which means letting go of any rationalization. It's important to let ideas blossom without too much judging or interference. The beauty of children is their ability to look at the world openly, without being bound by the intellect. Your intellect can hold back so many wonderful, fantastic things. Without logic or reason, there's always something else, something unseen. The world is infinite rather than finite.

"I never end up with what I set out to do. Whether it's a film or a painting, I always start with a script, but I don't ever follow it all the way through to the end. A lot more happens when you open yourself up to the work and let yourself act and react to it. Every work 'talks' to you, and if you listen to it, it will take you places you never dreamed of. It's this interaction that makes the work richer.
"One of the reasons I prefer painting in black and white, or almost in black and white, is that if you have some shadow or darkness in the frame, then your mind can travel in there and dream. In general, color is a little too real. It's too close. It doesn't make you dream much. If everything is visible, and there's too much light, the thing is what it is, but it isn't any more than that.
"I hate slick and pretty things. I prefer mistakes and accidents. Which is why I like things like cuts and bruises – they're like little flowers. I've always said that if you have a name for something, like 'cut' or 'bruise,' people will automatically be disturbed by it. But when you see the same thing in nature, and you don't know what it is, it can be very beautiful."

To see more art from David Lynch visit:
This interview video is very inspiring: http://www.finecut.com/lynch.html


The Odyssey

Ethereal I is on display now at the Gilman Contemporary

I have had a lengthy absence from my blog so I feel a brief explanation is in order. Back in March my dishwasher sprang a BIG leak and flooded our entire kitchen and the room below it. The water damage resulted in a sudden and dramatic lifestyle change for me and my family. My paint studio and office became our temporary kitchen and living quarters putting a damper on my ability to paint (and blog). Although I did manage a few therapeutic retreats into the studio, all my energies for the last few months have gone into reinventing our kitchen space and living area.

This was our kitchen days after the flood. The big blue machines are dehumidifiers.


I chose this marble slab for the island because it looks like an encaustic painting.

We are loving the new spaces that emerged from the ruins and it blows my mind whenever I walk in and see the transformation. Life is slowly returning to its natural rhythm here now and just in time for summer!

So… let’s catch up on some arty tidbits and creative adventures that have occurred over the last few months…

In February the Arty Girls team and I experimented with gelatin prints – It was great fun to be in such creative company and some interesting bits of art emerged from our day of mess making. The gelatin “printing plates” were made from batches of condensed unflavored gelatin. The consistency is firm but squishy, giggly and fleshy. It was a very satisfying feeling just rubbing my hands over it with acrylic paint. Like the scene from the movie, Amelie, where she plunges her hand into the barrel of dried beans just for the sensation of it.

Colleen G. and Colleen M. making gelatin prints.

Sheets of firm gelatin "inked" up with acrylic paint.

At the beginning of March my dear friend Colleen G. and I escaped to the island of Vashon for a weekend of print making in the studio of Mary Margaret Briggs. Her prints are very graphic and compelling and I highly recommend this workshop. We used botanical clippings from her garden and ran them through a printing press with various colors of ink. The results were surprising and magical. It made me want to set up a press of my own. Stay tuned for a later posting of my prints from this workshop. Mary Margaret is a lovely and interesting woman and a very generous instructor. Visit her site to learn more: http://www.marymargaretbriggs.com/

Mary Margaret Briggs - Stems II - 24" x 24"

Mary Margaret Briggs - Artichoke Leaves I & II- 16 x 40

Also in March... my work was accepted into two exhibitions. The first show was at the Hayden Art Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, and the exhibition was titled Metamorphosis: Contemporary Statements in Encaustic. My work was also featured in the 4th Annual Encaustic Invitational at the Conrad Wilde Gallery in Tucson, Arizona. Such an honor and a thrill for me as an artist to be invited to participate in these shows.

Detail from Altered Slumber featured in the Metamorphosis show

Detail from Alchemy featured in the 4th Annual Encaustic Invitational show

In May I co-sponsored a solo show /fundraiser with the Gilman Contemporary . The show was for the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley. The work was featured at the Starbucks cafe in Ketchum/Sun Valley, Idaho and proceeds went to benefit the shelter.

This little darling was recently rescued from the shelter by my very own brother and her name is Petey. What a sweetie petey pie!

A few more art-for-a-cause events took place in May. I donated this painting to the Pratt Annual Juried Art Auction in Seattle. This painting found a loving new home and helped raise funds for programs sponsored by the Pratt Fine Art Center.

Evening Tide - Encaustic w/ mixed media - Pratt Auction donation piece.

Now through June I will have work up at the Gilman Contemporary and a painting featured in the Intiman Theater's annual fundraiser.

Afternoon Breeze - Intiman Theater fundraiser donation

Wistful I & II at the Gilman Contemporary

Well..this is a long blog post and I still have many more images to share once my other computer gets set up again. For now I am wishing everyone a blissful, happy summer!