This past weekend we took a long overdue break. Mr. F and I flew down to San Diego to spend time with our close friends, the James. Our friends had a family funeral on Friday, so we were left to our own devices once we arrived in San Diego. We decided to spend the day in one of the most beautiful spots in So Cal, La Jolla.
Since we knew a lot of our time with the James’ would involve chasing and being chased by three adorable little boys, we wanted the first day of our little vacation to be as peaceful as possible. So we wandered along the ocean shore, breathing in the salty air, drawn in by the turquoise water and blooming coastal wildflowers.
It was a day for slow wandering. So of course, we found ourselves drifting through a few of La Jolla’s galleries. Our favorite by far was Madison Gallery on Wall Street. The current exhibition, Gods of Suburbia by Dina Goldstein was visually arresting and symbolically engaging.
dina goldstein and shelley adler
It was such a pleasure to finally experience the work of Hunt Slonem and Miya Ando in person. There is so much more to them in real life than you will ever see online.
Our wandering also took us over the MOCA La Jolla to see the Ed Ruscha show, Then & Now: Paintings from the 1960s and 2000s.While Ruscha’s work isn’t Mr. F’s thing, I loved seeing this collection of his past and present work. Definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the area!
ed ruscha at MOCA la jolla
But perhaps the best thing was simply the air and the inspiration. After we paid a visit to the Oregon Coast a few weeks ago, I’ve been working on a series of coastal inspired paintings and this trip definitely added to my inspiration supply.
How about you? Any inspiration trips planned? Any interesting gallery shows you’ve seen lately?
When I look at a painting, I always wonder how the artist arrived at its eventual conclusion. How did they begin? How did the painting evolve and what choices did the artist make along the way?
So I thought you guys might be interested in seeing the journey that one of my LATITUDE paintings took. I always begin with covering the canvas in a medium-toned ground. My favorite way to begin is with a creamy salmon pink tone in which I will often work out the basic composition by adding lights and darks.
Then I’ll start mapping in the bigger spaces in the painting.. In this painting, the sky was the first thing I started working. I knew the sky would end up being very light and foggy feeling but I always start with fairly saturated color and just keep pushing it back by painting on light layer after light layer.
I actually posted a photo at the stage above on Instagram & Facebook and lots of folks assumed it was a finished painting! I guess it could have been, there was definitely something about this stage that I really liked.
The next stages involve refining and shaping. The original flatness of the land shape wasn’t working for me, so I extended it up the side of the canvas to create more depth and draw the eye farther up the canvas. More depth and texture was added to the landforms so that they felt less like a marsh and more like the Pacific cliffs I’d intended.
In addition to adding depth in the form of darks and lines, the next stages involved adding light color and expressive marks to the landform shapes while continuing to lighten up and push back the sky.
Looking back, I am really drawn to those expressive marks in the right photo above. Some of that expression was retained, but I do wonder what would have been if I’d been able to retain that feeling but it wasn’t to be this time..
This ^ was the point in which I was really wrestling with this one. I was happy with where that sky section was and I loved the feeling of depth I was getting in the upper section, but the lower 2/3 was a whole other story. Somewhere along the way, I’d lost the expressiveness and definition and while I love misty-softness, it was feeling way too blah. Plus that wandering water shape coming down the middle was losing it’s jagged edges so it looked less like a tributary and more like a sock. Womp womp!!
I kept plugging away and got to this point before needing to leave the studio for dinner with Mr. F.
I try to get as much done as possible in the studio during the day so that we can have our evenings together. But there are nights that I just can’t call it a day, I feel so driven to come to a stopping point I’m happy with for the day, whether that is a finished painting or not. So I went back over to the studio after our dinner. Sometimes those evenings at the easel are just what I need– I crank the music ( something I can’t do during the day in my shared Ashland studio ) and just work until I get to that happy point. Luckily for this painting, the happy point for the night was a finished painting.
tenderness & time (48.53.53 N), acrylic on canvas, 36×36; ScanSource collection
While the music wafted through the studio, I upped the contrast, added more color and texture through transparent washes in rich greens, turquoises and purples. I took back the jagged shape of the water coming through the cliffs and what resulted was a painting that was one of my favorites in the LATITUDE show.
See the step by step progress in the .gif below! Hey ya’ll, I created a gif! I’m so proud.
The process of this painting is pretty typical for me. I wrestled a bit more than usual with this one, but there is always a bit of tussling involved to get to the vision in my head. One day perhaps the process will move a bit more swiftly and easily, but I’m not sure I would get the same amount of satisfaction if it were too easy to accomplish. If it were easy everyone would do it, right?
When I began to put to think about the direction for the LATITUDE paintings, I knew they would be heavily influenced by my past four years in the Northwest. While their style would create a common thread, I wanted them to be cohesive in other ways as well. So I began looking through photos of the moments I wanted to capture, looking for palette commonalities.
To capture the look and feel of the Northwest, I knew I wanted to include–
Cool blues and lavenders, echoing the water and overcast skies
Deep greens, for well, the evergreens so prevalent in the Northwest
Pops of pink and orange, to capture the warmth that sneaks in
Creamy whites and creams inspired by the fog and waterfalls
So I began the way I always do when honing in on a project.. with a Pinterest board, of course! It was these images that I hung up on my studio wall, along with the moments that the paintings were to be inspired by. And they informed my color choices each step of the way.
This exercise was invaluable to me as it kept my color choices in check and consistent with the vision I had for the completed series. I’ve begun a new series ( more on that soon! ) and have started this process all over again.
What about you? How do you approach color when working in series?
Endless inspiration. That’s how I feel about Yellowstone’s prismatic pools. I could paint them forever.
These deep steaming springs draw millions of people to Yellowstone each year and with good reason. Their boiling temperatures create magical steam, rising above chalky rock and water colored unlike any other.
They each feel like a world unto themselves. An entire landscape within the vastness of Yellowstone.
I would seriously move just to be near these wonders.
For the LATITUDE show, I created a mini-series within the show, Prismatics, my abstract interpretations of the pools in paint.
Prismatics 1-16, acrylic on cradled wood panel, 6×6 each
See larger images of Prismatics 1-16 on my website and see them up close and personal at Art & Light Gallery in Greenville, SC through the end of March.
The world wide web can be a strange place. We “meet” folks with whom we share interests and affinities. Friendships are made with people we’ve never laid eyes on in real life. Seattle artist Melanie Biehle and I share a love for the Northwest, Gilmore Girls, art, and travel.
Her most recent painting series, Nomads, “is inspired by wanderlust, how it feels to be a traveler, and what I imagine it would be like to accept a new place as home for a while.” No wonder I love it so much, it perfectly describes my life!
I love the graphic quality of Melanie’s work– can’t you just see the wanderings across each of these pieces? See more from the Nomads collection and read about the inspiration behind each piece on Melanie’s website. And be sure to follow her artistic journey on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!
I like my trees tall. Really really tall. During the year we spent among the Redwoods in Humboldt County, California I was in tree heaven.
Of course, the beaches of the Northern California coast are a sight to behold– wild, desolate– they don’t call it The Lost Coast for nothing. But when we wanted a local hike, we liked to head into the deep Redwood forests.
It was there that we found trees so wide you could live inside and so tall you could not capture their entirety on camera.
But my favorite thing about the Humboldt Redwoods was the way the light filtered through their elevated limbs, drifting slowly down until it barely graced the forest floor.
A magical world filled with mystery and wonder. The trees seemed to speak to each other, I wish I had known what they were saying.
Although that year in Humboldt had its troubles ( we got my mom’s cancer diagnosis and I spent two months out of that time in Florida with her ), we look back on it very fondly. The trees welcomed us and we would be happy to be among them again sometime.
favorite hike | fern canyon
Deep in the Prairie Creek Redwoods but just a few steps from the ocean lies this completely magical place. You feel the temperature drop as you descend from the trail above, ferns and mosses completely cover the soaring canyon walls. I couldn’t stop smiling while we explored this incredible place!
don’t forget | to set your alarm
If you want to catch a peek at the Elk herd in Prairie Creek. You’re more likely to see them in the large meadow outside the park’s visitor center in the early hours before the warmth of the day drives them back into the forest.
what i love most | the light
While Redwoods can be found in other parts of California, there was something about the combination of those giant trunks and the foggy coastal skies filtered the sunlight. No others are quite the same.
See my Redwoods inspired LATITUDE painting, The Birds Are Singing In Your Eyes Today here.
Ya’ll it has been a whirlwind few months. Followed by a whirlwind five days in Greenville, SC for the opening of my LATITUDE show at Art & Light Gallery! Greenville welcomed me with warmth and sunshine and made this Northwestern girl feel right at home.
Teresa Roche, the owner and curator of Art & Light has created such a beautiful space! From the moment you step on the front porch and open the screen door ( so Southern, ya’ll! ), the space feels like stepping into sunshine. The house turned gallery/ art studios exudes old Southern charm, yet its clean white walls and sparse rustic furnishings feel completely modern. The mix of contemporary and organic is perfect for my work! Want to take a peek inside? Come on in!
Because A&L is housed in an old Greenville home, the galleries are small rooms perfect for wandering. Candidly, I was a bit worried that my work was too Northwestern in feel to fit in with Greenville’s historic, Old South vibe.
I was so surprised not only with how beautifully it fit, but with how many Gville folks either had NW connections or found their own LATITUDE moments in mine.
Ceramic artist Dee Sullivan created custom pottery pieces to go with the LATITUDE paintings, such a treat and they were just perfect! If I had a home to put them in I would have gladly purchased several, one wall pocket especially caught my eye ( and everyone else’s I might add! ).
My family came in from Florida and North Carolina to be with me and see the show but I also have a new Greenville family! Thank you to Teresa, Kiah, Everett and all the Greenville folks who have made this show such a success! There’s still time to see LATITUDE, the work will be up at Art & Light through the end of March. And if you’re not in Greenville, you can peruse all the paintings on my website.
Most images by me. Family group photo and panoramic gallery photo by my sister-in-law. Greenville family photo by Everett Waldrep.
Exclusive just for Artsy Forager readers! I’ve updated my website with all the works in my solo show, LATITUDE, opening tomorrow and I’m only sharing the news here on Artsy Forager.
Tenderness & Time (48.53.53 N), 2015, acrylic on canvas, 36×36
So if you’re not in Greenville but would like to see what’s in the show, just follow this link to the show page on my website. I’m on my way to Greenville as I type! Will be posting updates on Instagram and be back here next week for a recap of how it went!
Even though I’ve been focusing much of my energies these last few months on my upcoming LATITUDE show at Art & Light, I’m still working behind the scenes helping other artists through Forager Services. And if you’re in or near the Greenville area, I’d love to help you, too!
I will be teaching two workshops at Art & Light Gallery in Greenville on Saturday, March 5th and I’d love for you to come and join the fun!
Interested? Here are some details–
FINDING YOUR VISUAL VOICE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
SATURDAY, MARCH 5 (11:30 AM – 1:00PM) $35
Social media has become an integral part of any artist’s marketing program. Your social media platforms should represent your brand to potential clients, collectors, and collaborators in a way that inspires and excites. You already create beautiful artwork. We’ll work on cultivating your social media outlets to reflect that same creative voice!
What we’ll cover in the workshop session–
Why a unique and unified visual voice is important to your success on social media
We’ll look at the major social media outlets ( Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram ) and discuss the advantages to each
How to focus your energy on the platform(s) that work for you
How to use one platform to funnel content to others
How to look objectively at your work and discover and identify your visual voice
How to incorporate your unique visual voice into your social media posts
How to style your voice across several social media platforms
CALL THE GALLERY WITH YOUR PAYMENT TO RESERVE YOUR SPACE
ART & LIGHT, 16 AIKEN ST. GREENVILLE, SC 29611 (864-363-8172)
FINDING YOUR WORDS AS AN ARTIST
SATURDAY, MARCH 5 (2:00 – 3:30 PM) $35
Creating art comes naturally. Writing about yourself and what you’ve created? Not so much. So many artists struggle to put into words what makes them create, what their work means to them, what they want it to say to the world. Sometimes they just need someone to help them find their own words.
Whether you’re an artist, gallery owner, or other creative type, maybe writing just isn’t your forte. We’ll work together to put into words what can be so difficult to express.
What we’ll cover in the workshop session–
Examine examples of good & bad art writing
How to begin
How to edit your words
Keywords to include and avoid
How to present yourself verbally
CALL THE GALLERY WITH YOUR PAYMENT TO RESERVE YOUR SPACE
ART & LIGHT, 16 AIKEN ST. GREENVILLE, SC 29611 (864-363-8172)
You can also RSVP on Facebook here but you’ll still need to call the gallery with your payment. If you can’t attend, please help me spread the word by sharing a link to this post or the Facebook event! Thanks, friends!
Every place that inspired the LATITUDE series has special meaning for me. But there is one that stands out among the rest. GLACIER.
I knew long before setting eyes on Glacier National Park that it was a place close to my husband’s heart– which of course, meant that it would be close to mine in a way that we always find love for the things our partners love. But I had no idea that seeing it would effect me so significantly.
On our first trip up the Going To the Sun Road, I was overcome by the beauty and grandeur that surrounded me. Blue skies met sliced mountain peaks, slivered waterfalls slicing into the green, windows down, Eddie Vedder singing to us through the speakers. I looked over to my husband and we both had tears in our eyes. We had found the place we both adored.
High up in Northern Montana, sharing it’s land with Canada, Glacier feels like another world. Remote and wild, to see Glacier’s best requires hiking deep into her bowels, sharing the wilderness with grizzly and moose.
As much dramatic as Glacier’s soaring peeks and icy heights can be, there is a softer side. The quiet found in the glassy reflection of Lake Bowman or Kintla Lake, the hush of the grasses along the North Fork river.
Glacier is where our souls find rest, the one place we’ve found that we never want to leave.
favorite trail | ptarmigan tunnel trail
I lovingly refer to this trail as “the death march”. We embarked on this 10 miler after we’d already hiked 5 miles into Iceberg Lake and my boots were not in the greatest shape at that point and by the end of the hike, I could barely walk. That being said, the views were spectacular and the trail grueling but isolated. An excellent reminder of just how insignificant we are in this vast landscape.
don’t forget | bear spray
There is a strong grizzly population in Glacier and we’ve seen more of them in this park than any other– from the car and from the trail. Making noise while hiking is the best way to keep from surprising one of the great bears– we sing or just shout out random words. Bear spray has been proven to be the best deterrent if a grizzly becomes a threat. Shooting one will just make it mad.
what i love most | the wild
While Glacier has it’s fair share of visitors, you can really get lost in the wild here without too much effort. You are sharing the same air as magnificent mountains and fierce predators, feeling lucky simply for coming back alive from each hike. It is an exhilarating place.