Tuesday, September 21, 2010


"Blueberry" - graphite, charcoal, ink pens, india ink, and white oil paint.

Lately I've been spending more and more time with the prep drawing portion of the painting - enjoying the process and loving the look of the ribbons and bows in black and white. But the drawing eventually disappears under the painting and I end up wishing I had the drawing too. So for my residency I decided to experiment with drawing and painting on papers, particularly transparent ones.

"Blueberry" was my first drawing to do during my stay, and lesson number one - I will eventually use wet media, so regular vellum is out for me. The wrinkling paper was caused by the ink wash and white oil paint I used, so sad :(

I like this drawing a lot, but as soon as it was finished I felt there was something about it that seemed too something ... not me? Too much of an illustration look..maybe ... too much with all the curling ink lines?? I'm not sure. What do you think? But I really loved the velvety appearance from the ink washes.

"Over the Top" - graphite, ink markers, india ink, white oil paint on multi media vellum

This drawing was next, and even though I am unhappy with how this turned out over all, I really started figuring out how to use the inks.

In this close up, the thin wash and lucky accident of the long triangular drip helped me see how I could manipulate the inks for a look I liked better. I really like the more purposeful graphite lines visible through the ink washes. I loved layering the washes for multiple values too, but when that drip happened .... oh I fell in love! I haven't worked with inks and didn't know that a drip continues where the surface is wet, but stops where the surface is dry. Knowing this I really started to play!

"Pink" - graphite, India ink, and white oil paint on Yupo

"Pink" was next, and Yupo feels like silk, I adore it. I believe it is typically used for watercolor, and I can see why. The ink washes slide right across the surface and layering and drips were easy and fun. It is heavier than vellum, and holds the oil paint well too. Plus I felt it was easier to get darker values with the ink layers.

The lesson here though was the initial graphite lines I like to see peeking through, lift off once washes go on. Spray fixing the graphite drawing before applying washes is what I will do from now on. Even still, this is my favorite drawing of the res.

I LOVED how this long drip made its way all the way down the center ribbon, then just magically stopped!

It is difficult to see from these photographs the effect the transparent papers have on the drawings, but once hung, the shadows from the wall itself contribute to the drawings' values. I hope to continue to play around with this now that I'm home. PLAY being the key word and one of my most important lessons learned :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Residency Video

This video starts the moment I arrived at the Blueberry View Artist Retreat by making my first late night pot of coffee for unpacking and setting up my studio.

In 4:36 seconds I squeeze all the things I worked on while there, plus the inspiration behind these projects, then finally breaking down my studio to hang and prepare for the final reception. I've included the gorgeous surrounding areas I happened upon too - incredible beaches, farmland, and even a hummingbird I was lucky enough to get on film!

I assumed from the residency's name, I would be inspired by the blueberry fields so I ordered hundreds of blue bows shipped directly there. These blue bows and bushes never made it into my main video project, but occupied days of filming in all sorts of weather. I only wish I had ordered 5000 bows .... maybe next time :)


I'm back from my residency, and sooooooo much to tell, I don't even know how to start! But first, to any subscribers out there, I must apologize. I deleted a few older posts yesterday, and apparently this caused posts from 2009 with inactive links to re-posted. Many apologies for the confusion, and thank you to Christine Holzschuh, Chirstine Bray, Silvina Day, and Cindy Revell who emailed alerting me to this problem. Thank you so much for taking time to let me know!!

The residency was INCREDIBLE! So much in fact, I've decided to divide the photos and info over several posts because the experience was so inspiring I have a lot to share.

It is called The Blueberry View Artist Retreat, in Benton Harbor, MI, and is brand new. I was only the fourth resident, which made me feel all the more lucky and honored to have had this opportunity. It is hosted by two incredible artists, Janet Sullivan and Mark Toncray, who generously provide an artist the use of a private complete apartment with a light filled 300 square foot studio. I do not adjust easily to new studios, but somehow Janet and Mark know exactly how to make the studio and surrounding gardens filled with inspiration. They are tremendously hospitable, generous with their own time and encouragement, I could go on and on, and probably will!

I completed four paintings, five drawings, two collages, a small clay sculpture (experiment), a metal sculpture collaboration piece with Mark who is a fantastic metal sculptor, and I completed the video project I thought I would only have time to start! I've also put together another quick video to sum up my two week flurry of activity which is already on my website, but I will post here next. Needless to say, sleep was not a priority and I'm still recovering, so I only hope these posts make sense!

"Blueberry" was my first painting there. It is oil and ink marker on vellum. All of my paintings and drawings were done on papers of some sort, and during the two weeks, I taped finished works on the wall of my studio. However, for the closing reception, I hung all the works using nails and magnets. You can see in this photo the silver round magnets in the corners of the paper and the nails are about one inch off the surface, causing the painting to float off the wall, or in this case, shadow box Mark made (more on this also.)

I am forever thankful to Janet and Mark!