For me, sometimes things are more beautiful in process than they are finished. It’s about their potential. When I’m working on something I don’t know how it is going to turn out in the end. Sure, I have an idea and I might even be trying to emulate something I see. But there are endless decisions in the process of making art, and painting and drawing allow a lot of spontaneity.
Drawbridge painting from college
During college I was working very hard on this painting of a drawbridge. I wanted to get all the details from my photo. I wanted the light and shadow. I wanted the train tracks and the metal beams around them, the wooden underpinnings. I spent a lot of time on that painting. Then one day, I was walking into the studio and the head of the art department called out “Is it art yet?”
It’s funny thinking back to that painting. I did about three bridge paintings with train tracks and they all found homes. I was very proud of them. However, my teacher had a point. How long do you need to work on something before it’s art? The truth is that art can be anything so you can put as little or as much work into the actual product as you want. I don’t mean to get into a discussion of what art is. However, I think it’s important to note that this gives artists a lot of flexibility, to go between abstraction and representational art, between finished and unfinished products. And I think that’s part of what makes art expressive and fun.
I recently was inspired by my continuing education in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST) to paint snakes. I know that probably sounds like a big jump in topics. However, some of my classmates said that’s what they were seeing when they were receiving or giving BCST sessions.
The snakes below are Brazilian rainbow boas.
30×40 inches. Acrylic on canvas.
16×20 inches. Acrylic on canvas.
In the winter
It is quiet and cold outside
But in the winter
We burn fires and wear layers
We sing songs
And drink hot cider and wine
The winter is really the warmest time of the year
It is the time that we are all together
In the winter the trees look dead
But we have green holly and evergreens
We have bright red cardinals
In the winter the night comes early
But we stay up late and have grand dinners
or we snuggle under blankets and read books
In the winter our hearts are big
In the winter we watch our breath
In the winter we roar at the freezing cold
I hope you all like my original poem. I just wanted to mention that the characters I used for my illustration were borrowed from the book The Selfish Giant. Kudos to anyone who knows who Lisbeth Zwerger is.
My friend, Ben Levine, is putting together the Dance Place Gala at Dance Place in DC. He invited me to be a part of it by contributing to an installation piece that he designed. There will be music, there will be windows, there will be cool lighting, and there will be me painting in the foreground. I have met up with him and the manager for this project, Sarah Chapin, a few times and we have one more meeting to go before the show. I’d be happy to see some familiar faces after the performance and happy if people I knew could enjoy the show. So if anyone is interested in attending it is on the weekend of October 21st. You can buy tickets through Dance Place.
From left to right: Meredith Osterman, Ben Levine, and Sarah Chapin
This is me playing with some ideas for the show at our second rehearsal. We will be working with projections of what I am painting during the show.
Recently, when I got back from Santa Fe I felt the urge to get back into painting. So I did about 7 fast paintings. Most of them were not great but I was excited that the trip got me going again because I mostly work in my sketch books. The first three paintings were still lives, then I did a couple portraits for my cousin’s engagement/wedding and I also did this depiction of a stuffed animal that I have. I think out of everything this was the most fun to paint because it was the simplest. I actually have repeatedly drawn or painted this elephant since college.
My painting spurt is over now, but I’m hoping that I will do more since I have some free time coming up. Maybe I’ll do something else with my elephant or portraiture.
So in the past year it has become apparent to me that depictions of the tree of life are very popular. I see jewelry and t-shirts. One of my friends is using it as a logo for her business. And now, I’ve been commissioned to paint it for one of my students. She’s allowing me to interpret it and do my own version while giving me one image as a guideline. I’ve also done a couple practice sketches in my sketch book and on some scrap paper. This has all lead to a 20″x 16″ work.
Below I have some practice works and the final. I wanted to do something simple. Sort of going back to when I was practicing sumi-e painting, being able to work with the beauty of the ink as it spread on the paper.
It’s another study of process I think.
I started working with watercolor studies about a month ago. It’s a pretty simple concept of letting watercolors mix and using washes as well as concentrated blobs of color. The challenge has been to take these studies and blow them up into acrylic paintings. In some cases I got the flow of imagery and in others I didn’t. Part of the fun is the transformation that switching mediums has on a concept though. In any case, I hope to find a place to display the work and in the meantime am happy to share the work here online.
Since abrupt flowers I’ve been working on exploring more about what acrylic can do. I’m mostly interested in layering colors and blending them. The painting with the flowers below was started the same week as the last post and helped me to get out some extra energy while exploring those ideas. If I’m able to have a show I’ll explore it more with the studies I started in watercolor…or maybe I’ll go ahead and do a series without a show. In any case I’m having fun working with bright colors and learning new techniques.
For some reason the election has moved me to paint flowers in really bold colors and really strong shapes reminiscent of the pop movement. The only reason I have for this is that I was feeling really emotional and needed something that I could paint fast. Or maybe this is just how I see things when I’m shocked.