Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Print

Huron River Triptych

This piece will be in The Print at the Ann Arbor Art Center. The opening is on Friday June 26 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm in the Exhibitions Gallery. The piece is digital, chine collé and encaustic on Rives BFK paper. I began with chunks of the satellite map of the county which have been a big part of my work for more than a year now thanks to two public art pieces - one finished and installed and one still, hopefully, pending.

Meanwhile I'm working on more boxes and am documenting the process so will post pictures of the development of at least one of them rather than just the completed piece - but not yet!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

walk in the rain

It's finals week so I've had a lot of small chunks of time between dropping kids off for exams and then collecting them. Today I had two hours so I went for a walk in the Matthai Botanical Gardens. The weather was very threatening but didn't start pouring until I was on my way back to school to pick up my daughter. Not too bad!

I go to Matthai fairly often but always find new things to look at. They've done some wonderfully creative landscaping with many gardens built around themes - typical ones like herb gardens, flower gardens and more unusual ones like wetlands, little urban pocket gardens and a woodland wildflower garden out appopriately enough in the woods.

Today I walked in the gardens and in the woods. I was focusing on ideas for boxes and shot plants and flowers partly with that in mind, thinking about insides and outsides, hidden secrets, textures and color. I've come to really love the midwestern landscapes. Not dramatic or stark like the desert but so lovely and with hidden pleasures revealed to a patient eye.

There were a LOT of bees in this poppy. Oddly enough I saw no bees in the red or pink poppies, just in the white ones.

These plants are tiny and vivid - so bright against the grey day.

I love the delicacy of these.

This beautiful Eastern Bluebird let me follow him for quite a while. This is the closest picture I got before he finally flew off.

Unfortunately I have no pix of the deer I startled out in the woods. I was on one side of Fleming Creek and they were on the other. They backed off into the woods just enough that I couldn't get a good shot and stuck around watching me for quite a while.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

boxes, boxes

I've been making a series of shrines and reliquaries for several years in found boxes. Here are the two latest in the series. Most of the series have focused on places that are endangered in some way. These two are a bit different. I've been struggling lately - the unremittingly bad news and other things going on make me feel overwhelmed by all the terrible things happening in the world. I decided to make little reliquaries of places I'd like to be, to escape to. So these pieces are meant to be places of beauty and peace that one can open and go into for a bit of respite. They are from places and times I've been and felt peaceful, creative and content - I hope you will find that in them as well.

Two at dusk at Wingaersheek beach - from last summer's encaustic conference. Found cigar box, encaustic, digital

L at Wingaersheek, found file box, encaustic & digital
Today I went and got a whole pile of really nice cigar boxes - lots more projects to come!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

some new work

I'm messing around with two different groups of imagery just now. I expect they will come together in the future but for the moment they are linked in saturating works on paper with wax working on a hot box. The piece above, 3 at sunset at Wingaersheek, is actually multiple digital images merged in Photoshop, printed in Rives BFK and then completely saturated with encaustic medium. That last step is important because it renders everything translucent. The image above is a scan rather than a photograph - scanning it really helps capture the unique quality of translucency brought with the wax.

This piece is a mix of physical and digital steps. There are actually two separate pieces combined into one. I've been working with a variety of kozo papers on my hot box incorporating encaustic, graphite, oil pastel and multiple layers of paper. They're not really monoprints because I rework into the pieces after making an initial monoprint layer. This piece has two separate finished pieces which I scanned and then combined and further manipulated in Photoshop. So virtual layers, physical layers and so forth.

This is one of the component parts of the upper piece but manipulated further on its own in Photoshop. I like the recursiveness of this technique. I'm not sure where it's going to take me or how I will end up integrated my more typical digital imagery with this technique - am still exploring those issues. I find the painterly quality of the technique compelling as well as the ease of incorporating multiple layers and elements.

I started working with encaustic on paper on a heated surface in a big way after seeing Paula Roland demo her monoprint technique at last year's Encaustic Conference. It lets me incorporate a way of working I used to use intensively with acrylic on paper years ago with the additional seductive translucence and texture of wax. I started doing a lot of this partly also as a teaching tool and as a set of finger exercises or etudes to borrow from music - a way to get past being somewhat blocked and not sure where to go with my work. Just now the exploration is as much of an end as the finished piece and most won't be seen by anyone else but that's ok.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

upcoming workshop at Yourist Studio

I'm teaching a workshop at the end of June at the Yourist Studio Gallery in Ann Arbor. Workshops there are very special because Kay has created an incredibly nurturing, creative setting. We'll listen to great music, eat a wonderful potluck lunch each day and do some amazing things with encaustic including exploring monoprints and focusing on collage and assemblage.

Here are the details:
ENCAUSTIC COLLAGE - June 27-28, Saturday 10-5 & Sunday 10-4

Encaustic workshop tileInstructor: Leslie Sobel

Tuition: $100 Lab fee: $50

Each summer Yourist Studio presents a non-ceramic workshop for students interested in exploring new mediums. This year’s new medium is taught by Ann Arbor’s most experienced encaustic artist Leslie Sobel.

Encaustic’s ancient Egyptian roots date back 2000 years.
It is a beautiful, luminous material made from bees wax and pigment. By applying layers of wax one is able to achieve various textures and relief. It is also the collage medium par excellence. Participants will learn how to use encaustic as an element in mixed media assemblage. This two-day workshop will explore the use of encaustic with collage materials in two and three dimensions. We will use found objects, old prints/photographs or drawings, while at the same time utilizing the ancient practice of encaustic painting. Participants should bring materials they are interested in incorporating into mixed media assemblage or collage pieces. This includes but is not limited to old photos, magazines, tools, small objects, natural materials like seeds, dried leaves, pebbles, etc.

Encaustic, brushes, color, heated palettes, torches and flat substrates will be provided. *Students who would like to work in wooden boxes or do more elaborate assemblage should contact the instructor to discuss possibilities.

This workshop is for participants of all skill levels

Monday, June 1, 2009

Nasa Time lapse videos of environmental change

These videos are made from satellite images at NASA's Earth Observatory. They show environmental changes over the past decade and are pretty horrifying. More images here. I think there are some paintings waiting to be born from these images.