So I started a little self analysis, always a dangerous thing.
One of the issues I discovered was that supplies were becoming scarce, tubes were wrung dry, and there were only a couple empty canvases around, big expensive canvases. It is a difficult thing to take a leap of faith and start something fresh when resources are low, what if I mess up one of those big canvases? So this all meant I needed to do a little shopping.
In the art supply store I told myself I was going to get at least one new thing that I hadn't tried before, or at least not in several years. I ended up checking out with a tub of powdered graphite, three inexpensive canvases, and replacements for some of those empty paint tubes. And some really pretty papers, those still haven't been touched!
Then I simply convinced myself that this was a week off, a week of experiments. I wasn't going to try to complete anything, just start mucking around and see what happens. I grabbed some paper and tried different transfer processes, using oil of wintergreen and lacquer thinner. The oil of wintergreen works much better, and is less flammable, a good thing. But being an oily process I wasn't so sure that water based acrylic paints were going to work well on top. So I picked up a canvas and started a different transfer process using acrylic. While that was drying I was in the powdered graphite, and chalk, and pastels, and pencil, simply making marks, with no thought of a finished product.
Papers were collaged, silver leaf was added, I found some stencils, and just kept going. I ended up with a canvas that was simply full, and thanks to the graphite, quite dark. So I started cutting back in with paint, highlighting favorite parts, blocking out the bits that didn't work, by the end of the day I had this...
Now I know some of you aren't going to be thrilled with this direction, but bear with me. I have always loved abstract work, and have dabbled with it from time to time. And this just felt so fresh, and full of life that I decided to keep going. But my next piece was started with a little more deliberation.
A few photo transfers, a little graphite, some mucky brushwork...
Then more photos, silver leaf, and you can see a rough pencil drawing of one of my latest studio finds, an old birdcage. Add to this some color, reworking the cage with a little more precision, map bits, old stamps, more, more more...
I was a little slower, this one took a couple days to complete, a little less experimenting, letting things dry properly before moving on. Learning from the process. I finally decided this one was done. Time to move on to the last canvas, and the week was coming to a close.
So the last one started like the others, with very little idea of where it was going (I am a planner, so this was a breakthrough and a relief in itself.) The nest was transferred to the right hand side. The "nest" on the left was collaged using old patterns. I like drawing parallels between humans and birds and our building abilities. Rubber stamps are repeated in the background, and the gauzy thin glove attached on top, I love how transparent it is, allowing the viewer to see what is going on underneath. The bird was painted, the three little eggs are stitched with little glass beads.
What I am enjoying about this process is how it started being so random, yet became more and more symmetrical. But still keeps the visual richness. And I know this week is going to influence my new work. I am looking forward to seeing where I go from here!
All three of these pieces are 20" square, I still have to fuss over them for a while to decide if I will bring them to shows. But I am happy to be on the other side of that case of "painters block" and looking forward to my next canvas!