Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More work with antique maps

Channel mapping

 These pieces are all encaustic and mixed media on Rives BFK, incorporating elements of antique maps of the Mississippi River.  They are not true monoprints but rather encaustic, oil bar, conte, charcoal, pastel,  graphite and inkjet on paper; worked on a hotbox.  They're good-sized - these two are full 22 x 30" sheets

  Dynamic channels-map II

 Dynamic channels - map

Dynamic River

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Art Walk - afterwards

Art walk this year was a lot of fun
 although it was certainly exhausting.  I shared Margaret Parker's space at her generous invitation.  Between us and musician Ken Kozora and Margaret's film collaborators we had a constant stream of visitors. The pieces shown here all started as demo pieces during Art Walk and were all finished at home in my own studio a few days later. 

I'm exploring more abstracted takes on aerial landscapes here, inspired in part by a series of antique maps of the Mississippi which I found on Radical Cartography.  These pieces are all encaustic and mixed media on paper using techniques inspired by Paula Roland's amazing work.  My aim in working on paper and using monotype techniques is to be looser and more improvisational in my work while still taking on some of the same content issues in my work.

 These pieces are all fairly small - none larger than 10 x 13.

Photos of my demonstration at Margaret Parker Studio, all taken by Bonnie Wylo

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I'm proud to announce that I'm part of the River Gallery's juried collage exhibition at the Rackham galleries. Slideshow here.

"Treasures Textures and Objects" 2D and 3D original collage art now on display...thru December 15th

Rackham Graduate School Building
915 E Washington Street, 48109
8:00 am to 9:00 pm Monday thru Friday

Braided Channels 1, encaustic & collage on panel, 24 x 40"

Art Walk
This year I'll be at Margaret Parker's studio showing Woods & Water - current work focused on a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest. These pieces are a mix of encaustic & digital monotypes and paintings evoking the peace and beauty of the northwestern wilderness.

We've got exciting stuff planned - the wonderful Ken Kozora (link is to video of a performance) will be playing Friday night, Margaret has a big installation piece in the glass house out between Downtown Home & Garden and Mark's Carts on Friday as well.

Pelicans, sea, sky - monochromatic square

Here's the details.

Leslie Sobel
Woods & Water • new work 2011

at Margaret Parker Studio during Art Walk
210 S Ashley St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104 - upstairs


Fri, October 21 5-9PM with live music by
multi-instrumentalist Ken Kozora 7pm-9pm

Fantasy Forest, encaustic and mixed media on panel

& Sat & Sun, October 22, 23 12noon-5pm

I’ll be demonstrating encaustic
monotypes on Saturday from 2-4pm

Light thru big trees - overlaid, digital imaging

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Going to ArtPrize

I haven't been yet but will be going soon. Am looking forward to seeing a number of friends' pieces but most especially Lynda Cole's piece Rain, seen above. If you go, the vote UP code for Rain is 42861. edited to add photo by Paul Hickman

Thursday, September 22, 2011

ArtWalk 2011

ArtWalk is almost upon us. This year I'm going to be at Margaret Parker Studio in Ann Arbor at 210 S Ashley St for ArtWalk. I'll be showing new encaustic & mixed media work - primarily monotypes with digital images from the pacific northwest.

Fri, October 21 5-9PM with live music by multi-instrumentalist Ken Kozora
& Sat & Sun, October 22, 23 12noon-5pm
I’ll be demonstrating encaustic
monotypes on Saturday from 2-4pm

Margaret, Ken and I are excited about ArtWalk and hope you'll come see us.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

CommuniTree - sculpture as toy

Working on the CommuniTree at the Townie Street Party

Most of the armature still visible

It's been an interesting process building this thing. An an artist I generally work solo and have total control over what I make. When I do community based/sourced projects I have to let go of the control and go with people's creativity, energy and ideas - steering them but letting the project go where lots of people's involvement takes it. The CommuniTree project has been that in a huge way. I brought the partially pre-built armature to the Townie Street Party and assembled it with help from my son and a few volunteers. Then something like 100 people contributed their efforts over the course of the evening. Julianne Pinsak had bought two smaller tree pieces last fall and she brought me 200 phone cords sourced from the PTO Thrift Store. My friend Paul Malbeauf brought a huge stash of cords cleaning out his basement. At the end of the Street Party we rolled the tree up the street to the patio of AnnArbor.com.

Rolling it to AnnArbor.com

Over the next few days a few dozen more people stopped by to help build the tree. Here is a stop motion video shot by Angela Cesere of AnnArbor.com of some of the building.

Some numbers: the finished piece stands about 8.5' tall and is 8' in diameter. It weighs more than 100 pounds - probably closer to two hundred. We used more than 400 cables ranging from mini-usb, scsi-to-serial, fiber-optic, electrical, phone and power converters, mice and CAT5. It's been suggested that the finished piece would be a great interractive lobby piece for a high tech firm - put out a box of cables and invite visitors to play. With that concept it may never be finished. I like that idea and hope it finds a home along those lines.

CommuniTree is a partnership between the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, AnnArbor.com and the Milan Art Center. It is for sale and proceeds of the sale will benefit the Street Art Fair and the Milan Art Center. Bid for it here. Full disclosure - I'm the board chair of the Milan Art Center.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

wire and cables and angle-iron oh my

Cast concrete counterweight and lab stool base for Communitree - ready to go and very heavy!

Box of cables for weaving the tree. It won't be enough but it's a good start. Bring me more!

I've been sorting and coiling what feels like MILES of cable getting ready for Monday's Townie Street Party followed by the Ann Arbor Art Fair. I cast the base for the sculpture out of concrete. Still need to organize tools, ladders, etc and finish the armature but the bits are all assembled and ready to haul to town. I'll be in the art activity area during the party. At the end of the evening the tree will roll up Liberty Street to the AnnArbor.com patio - its home for Art Fair.

I'll be there working on the tree during Art Fair from 1-4pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Come and get involved. The finished piece will be auctioned off as a fundraiser for the Street Art Fair and the Milan Art Center. I'll post a link to the online auction as soon as it goes live - it will be hosted via ArtFair.org

Friday, June 24, 2011

Community based public art for Art Fair

The CommuniTree-

Once again I’ve been commissioned by the Street Art Fair, this year partnering with AnnArbor.com, to do a community based public art project. We’re growing a tree out of recycled cables. This project was inspired by the little table-top trees I made as part of the Ecology Center's Sustainable Centerpieces project last fall.

coil wire tree

How will this work and how can you be involved? The tree will be a sculpture using recycled and repurposed materials with community help in making it grow. I’m building an armature out of a repurposed lab stool and metal posts, old window sash weights and other found objects. The tree will be fleshed out using old computer, phone and electrical cables and that’s where you come in. I need your old phone cords (coiled ones are great!), computer cables and the like. If you’re like me you probably have a box of them somewhere. You can drop them off at the Art Fair Office at 721 E. Huron St., Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 734-994-5260 (PH) or at AnnArbor.com at 301 E. Liberty St., First Floor. Or you can get in touch with me directly.

stool base, procured at UM's Property Disposition

angle iron - part of the trunk to be

When will this all happen? We’ll start assembling the tree at the Townie Street Party on Monday July 18 from 5-9:30. After the party the CommuniTree will move to the patio at AnnArbor.com I’ll be working on it during Art Fair from 1-4 Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of Art Fair. Come help, contribute cables and watch the tree grow. The finished tree will be more than 8 feet tall and will have solar powered lighting.

We’ll have a reception on Friday July 22nd at AnnArbor.com at 7:00pm.

The Communitree will be auctioned off over the course of Art Fair. The proceeds will go to help support the Street Art Fair and the Milan Art Center. The auction will end when Art Fair ends on Saturday evening.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


My friend Gene Parunak kindly shot this panorama of the Immersed show. Fun to see it all laid out in one place like this.

Working in the studio in encaustic loses some appeal when the high for the day is in the mid-upper 90's. Time to explore water media perhaps? More digital? And an upcoming sculpture project I'm excited about and will be able to talk about soon!

Meanwhile I had the amazing experience of flying to Chicago in a private jet thanks to a generous investor in my husband's company. We flew much lower than a commercial flight and naturally I shot for most of the flight - nice to have my own aerial source material rather than relying on NASA's much higher altitude (and quality) images as a starting point.

Look for mixed media pieces coming from this euphoric experience...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Painting as jazz - improvisation and exploration in the studio

Rippled, encaustic & mixed media on panel, 24 x 32", ©2011

Painting as jazz

When I started working on the pieces for Immersed I spent a lot of time thinking about my painting process. It’s been a very intellectually driven kind of activity, focused heavily on the content of the work and the integration of data/mapping with paint and other imagery. Kathi Reiester challenged me to paint about “just water - just surface, appearance, beauty, sensation”. A good challenge; one that forced me to loosen up and just let my arm swing. It didn’t hurt that these images are all based on photos I shot at a beautiful place - Wingaersheek Beach on Cape Ann, visited with my friend Lynda Cole a few years back.

Wingaersheek Ripples XIV, digital and encaustic monotype, 16 x 20" © 2011

Wingaersheek Ripples V, digital and encaustic monotype, 16 x 20" © 2011

These days I listen to jazz in the studio as I paint. Specifically I listen to my local NPR jazz station WEMU so Linda Yohn and Michael Jewett end up making the soundtrack to my studio practice as I work. As the mother of a young musician I’ve found myself spending more time thinking about the parallels in how musicians and artists approach their media and their art-making.

Wingaersheek Water Surface, digital, encaustic & mixed media on panel, 28 x 40" © 2011

Wingaersheek Ripples II, digital and encaustic monotype, 16 x 20" © 2011

In the studio I let the music take me to a loose improvisatory place where I can explore and experiment, aiming to set my judgmental tendencies aside for a separate time. This is not to say that the critical, intellectual part of my normal practice doesn’t enter into my current practice but rather that I aim to separate the two approaches in time so that I can bring a more painterly aspect to producing the work. That which doesn’t meet my standards never sees the outside of the studio of course but I hope that these pieces, especially the monotypes, reflect the exploration and joy of a good jam session.

All photos of artwork taken by Anne Savage.

Immersed runs until May 26 at the Gallery at the UM Duderstadt Center. The reception is this Thursday May 19 from 5-8pm

Monday, May 16, 2011

Immersed and other events

I have a piece in Game ShowNYC. This interactive exhibition is at the Macy Gallery at Teachers College, Columbia University NY. If you're in the area the opening reception is Friday May 27. Unfortunately I won't get there but I'm thrilled to be part of it. More on the show at the organizers' blog.

More locally I've got new work at WSG and Artistica. And on this Thursday May 19th is the reception for the Immersed exhibition at the Gallery at the Duderstadt Center, University of Michigan. This water themed show ties in with the UM water semester and features Kathi Reister's photography and sound installations and my encaustic paintings and monotypes.

Fjord, Ice & Water, encaustic, digital & mixed media, 28 x 40" ©2011

Rippled, encaustic, digital & mixed media, 24 x 32" ©2011

Wingaersheek Ripples I, digital and encaustic monotype, 16 x 20", ©2011

Immersed, installation view w/sound dome

Immersed, installation view

Wingaersheek Ripples XIV, digital and encaustic monotype, 16 x 20", ©2011

Wingaersheek Ripples XIII, digital and encaustic monotype, 16 x 20", ©2011

Ripples & Lilypads, encaustic, digital & mixed media, 24 x 24" ©2011

Photography of art by Anne Savage, whose work I cannot recommend highly enough. The installation views were taken by me.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Upcoming projects, new work

Raw Ripples, encaustic & mixed media on panel, 24 x 24"

Fjord, Ice & Water - encaustic, digital and mixed media on panel, 28 x 40"

New series of encaustic & digital monoprints all about 11 x 15". I'm aiming to work looser here, more spontaneously and with more sense of just playing with the encaustic monoprint process. These are fairly experimental pieces and I'm enjoying the freedom of just exploring layering encaustic and oil and paper and seeing what develops.

It always seems like the middle of winter with holidays, visitors, back to school etc slows my art-making. This year I added a little travel as part of a daughter's application to music school to the mix. Result was a long fallow period with much thinking and development but major gaps in production. That's done and I'm in the midst of working in the studio and planning several big projects. I'm doing a lot of work with water just now for an upcoming show at the Duderstadt Gallery in May - more to come about the specifics of that show soon.