Quiet and Creative Space

An artist friend once told me that her bookshelves are a metaphor for mental availability. When they are cram packed with books, there is no room to take in anything new. She and her son regularly pass on the books they are done with so that they can be more open to new ideas or any new thing that comes along. 

Sometimes I feel that way about noise. Actual noise and mental static. Sometimes a new idea will creep up on you and if it's not quiet, it will slip by. 

Shopping for art supplies intuitively at Askew- Taylor's

My best shopping experiences are at places that allow for creative and intuitive browsing. The kind of places you can spend a few hours in wandering into nooks and crannies. Art supply shopping is an intuitive process for me. The materials themselves each represent infinite possibility. They suggest ideas. It's entirely possible to end up on a different path with a project that I hadn't thought of before.

The floorboards creak, the wallpaper is at least 70 years old. Peeling paint and a worn staircase are just another dimension in a multi faceted experience. Finding materials at Askew Taylors feels like discovery. It's inspiring. 

The store is quiet. Not creepy quiet, but warmly quiet like a bookstore. Since it's an art supply store there are rainbow color spectrums of pastels, pencils, pens and paint tubes. There's a room full of every type of paper:  colorful and patterned, lacy, fancy, plain. 

Askew Taylor's has been in business for a LONG time. It's a family run art store. Kirk, the owner, is a great person to have a conversation with, and always super helpful and generous with artists, letting us try supplies out. He has passed the baton to his daughter Helen who is equally friendly and helpful. 

Being Raleigh, and somewhat of a smallish city, you can count on running into an artist friend or two when you visit the store. It's the kind of place that you can be in and out of in five minutes or linger for hours. 

I like that it's not slick or made of shiny plastic. I like that it's not a "big box" though they carry everything a "big box" would. It's friendly and personable. It's a place with a soul. 

Head in Cloud, Wood's edge, City under pale moonlight, plus show at the Express Library

"Painting is an illusion, a piece of magic, so what you see is not what you see."- Philip Guston

 I am making a gradual shift to working larger and working more with oils again. Here are three cityscapes I completed this month, two oils and an encaustic. 

Head in Cloud-web.jpg

"Head in Cloud"

I dream of an urban setting alive with culture and nuance.  Each one of us has several coexisting narratives in us. This city is a multi-faceted jewel with concurrent narratives playing out. 


Wood's Edge-web.jpg

"Wood's Edge"

I wanted a cozy neighborhood at the wood's edge. Having one foot in the wilderness, the inhabitants were rather diverse. A peaceable kingdom to be sure.


"City in the Pale Moonlight"

The patina on the surface of an old building is the microcosm of this city's soul. All the linework is carved in, so in person you see a lot more texture.Cities are all about visual and cultural texture. 

My show at the express library on Fayetteville st. will be up for all of June.  

It's funny how well my work shows around books, since I'm such a book nerd, I appreciate that. 

Sprout by Slowboil collective. March- April 2015

Slowboil is a collective of artists formed to do themed shows together. Besides that, we meet to discuss themes, bounce ideas off each other and create together. We started the Sprout collaboration by pouring paint all over the floor of member Adam Peele's studio. We created individual work and collaborated to create a multimedia rite of spring experience. Participating artists- Anna Podris, Keith Norval, Jenn Hales, Jeehyn Hoke, Adam Peele, Greg Carter, Tim Lee and Sherry DePhilipo. The show will be up for a month, so go by during Adam's business hours- 400 Capitol Bvld. in Raleigh. 

 Anna's encaustic paintings flanked by Jee and Jenn's.

Anna's encaustic paintings flanked by Jee and Jenn's.

 Jenn Hale's oil paintings flanked by Anna and Sherry's. 

Jenn Hale's oil paintings flanked by Anna and Sherry's. 

 Greg's creatures caged. 

Greg's creatures caged. 

 Floor detail.

Floor detail.

 Greg Carter's totemic sculpture. 

Greg Carter's totemic sculpture. 

 Adam Peele's boxes and floor detail. 

Adam Peele's boxes and floor detail. 

 Mural and wax installation by Anna.

Mural and wax installation by Anna.

 Jenna's tree. 

Jenna's tree. 

 Jee's watercolor paintings flanked by Keith and Anna's. 

Jee's watercolor paintings flanked by Keith and Anna's. 

 Keith Norval's paintings. 

Keith Norval's paintings. 

 Adam Peele's stenciled creations made from some group drawings we did. 

Adam Peele's stenciled creations made from some group drawings we did. 

 Sherry's puppet.

Sherry's puppet.

 Deer mural by Jenn Hales. 

Deer mural by Jenn Hales. 

 Keith Norval's sprout mural.

Keith Norval's sprout mural.

Cary Arts Center

I am showing a small group of my paintings at the Cary Arts Center. It will be up through April. I am also teaching a beginning encaustic class there. For more info see the events page on my website. 

Transfer experimentation

I'm starting a series of small encaustic paintings referencing the collage work I've been doing in my sketchbook lately. I like using found imagery because of the response it evokes. 

In the painting below, the found imagery is more of another textured layer in an abstract background. The grid with superimposed architectural geometry-this painting is still waiting for its narrative.

Here is one recently completed. 

A transfer of space that also awaits a narrative.

Drawing challenge discoveries

I've been doing a drawing every day starting at he beginning of 2014. It's a challenge I set for myself to invite new directions into my work. The drawings started as line drawings of things in my house or surroundings. Slowly I began adding collage elements and working with ink or gesso. The challenge has been really important to me daily. Coming to my sketchbook is such a reward. Sketchbook art is more spontaneous and free. It's a no judgement zone. Now my challenge is carrying over this feeling into my encaustic paintings. 

Encaustic is the perfect medium for collage because it seals the paper and preserves it. However in the painting above that I'm working on, I chose to do a photocopy transfer of the image. This means that the ink on the photocopy transfers onto the wax and there is no paper, lending to a smoother surface and a translucent image. 

This one is another I'm working on. It's inspired by the sea collages and imagery that appears in some of the drawings. 
Wether I have lots of time to draw or just a few minutes, it's been great to express myself everyday on paper, and I feel like I am building a new visual vocabulary that I can draw fromin my new work. 

Larks, Starlings, and Red Wing Blackbirds.

I am preparing for my upcoming show at the Museum of natural history with Keith. My idea for the show is to do some paintings of my favorite birds. I am painting them fairly realistically. Their environments are more abstracted, allowing me to play with colors, mark making, and pattern. The background in the piece above is painted in oils, I will paint the bird in encaustic, as soon as I figure out which bird to put.

I am still working on this flycatcher- the first few layers are oil and now I'm painting the rest in encaustic.

The cedar waxwing has such a striking look I was inspired to make it into a repeat pattern. This was all done in oils, and will add finishing details in encaustic. 

Working on a red wing blackbird family and a horned lark. 

These are starlings. This one is done. Almost all the background is oils, and the birds and tree are encaustic. This painting has a lot of layers, and a depth that is hard to capture in a photo. This body of work has been a great culmination of many interests for me. Combining oils and encaustics has been really fun, and creating these energetic spaces for the birds to live. The show will open in March.

All is One.

Progress is being made, slowly. First I painted the spontaneous images with oils, and have layered the first encaustic layer. So far just clear, but yellow lines are inlaid yellow wax (on the moth). Thinking of transformative powers in nature and in the mind. I envision many more layers happening somewhat spontaneously. I'm trying to join human images with natural ones because all living things are one. 

 Here are some others that are in transition at various stages.

Owls are archetypes of wisdom and visionaries of night. I like to use them for vehicles of experimentation in color and texture. Here is a rainbow owl coming together and behind it a cloud owl?
We'll see! 

Day of the Dead

 This is an excerpt from a painting recently completed for a day of the dead art show.  The show opens at Designbox next month.  I'm excited to see everyone's take on the subject- lots of artists are included in this show.  Love how this holiday is a celebration of life at the same time as honoring the deceased. Also have been collecting images of this subject for study.

 This is a new one I've just started, on the larger side for encaustic work for me.  I started this one by gluing in a drawing I had done in 2006.  Now I'm working on the sky.  I have a feeling this will become another ghost house.
 It's funny how the paintings seem to group themselves- based on where I've randomly placed them. On the left is one I have had in my head for a while.  I'm utilizing some screenprinting for this one.  It has to do with balance in nature.  And on the right- I am so excited to be doing an octopus painting! It's so much fun.  This is almost done and will be ready for my aquatic themed show with Keith in Elizabeth City.
 The aquatic paintings have also become a place for me to play with layers and texture.
 Here are two  that may never be finished, they have been in the works for so long.  They are snails.  Every once and a while I see something that needs doing.
Here's two that go together thematically.  Both of the Subjects share some headspace with a hidden or ghost subject.  The idea that you sometimes can't take full credit for everything you do, good or bad.  


 Here's a grouping of work I am making for an upcoming show I have with Keith in Elizabeth City. We decided to do a water/fish theme for the show. Some of these are finished, some are not.

 Here is my working area.  Lots of wax tools and detritus. I've been using these water paintings as a vehicle to explore what I can do with the wax.  In the painting to the left, I'm working over top of a very smooth, flowing background and building up some layered imagery.  Partially inspired by Haeckel's work.

 The larger painting is oceanic.  I'm really happy with the way it looks and now hesitant adding imagery. I'm just waiting for the right idea so as not to mess it up! It's very smooth and flowing. The smaller one has passed through several incarnations since this photo was taken. I have built up lots of color layers and done lots of scraping back to reveal the previous layers.

See top photo for a more completed version of this painting. I am using incised linework on the sea plants and jellyfish.  The fish's linework was done by carving. I painted the whole fish orange, then painted it blue. I carved through the blue to get the orange line. 

Yellow Summer

 Here are two paintings that are along the same lines.  Both I started with oil paints and then painted encaustic over. I was starting to think my thoughts and intentions were like birds springing forth from my mind.  I have enjoyed playing with layers lately as ever.  With two completely different scenes intersecting, which one is the reality?

 I enjoy working with translucency because it allows for hidden images.  I have enjoyed using my new tools in this piece (pictured below).  The burnishing tool has allowed me to press the edges of the rice paper drawing smooth with the surface of the painting, obscuring the edge helps to disguise that there is paper there.  I used some of the carving tools to shape the leaves and also to flatten and scrape the surface after I incised the lines that make the stems of the plants.  I am loving my new tools!!
This is an oil painting that is in the works.  I feel like it has been influenced by my work with encaustics, with the linework and floating layers.  The color yellow has made it's appearance in my paintings this summer probably more than ever.  I call it my yellow summer. 

 Here is a sneak peek at the tiles I'm working on for the Healing Ceilings project. They will be installed at a cancer center on the ceiling so that people can look at them while receiving chemo.  I was honored to be picked for this project, as I have a firm belief in the healing powers of art, color and positive energy.

My new tools!  The tacking iron isn't new, I tried it a long time ago and didn't like it, but have brought it out for another try.  It works for smoothing out fabric in wax and adhering it to a mixed media piece.  the boxy thing is my temperature regulator. The woodburning tools get too hot for the paint and must be carefully regulated.  The tan one is a burnishing tool, helps to smooth painted surfaces or create texture in wax.  The green one has several different tips, the one you see on it now is the one I used on the painting below.  It helped me achieve a subtle color transition for painting a face with wax.  It also can be used to gouge into the wax and create texture.  It has a paintbrush attachment that heats up and helps move around the wax colors after they are applied to the surface. The black carving tools can do lots of things, smooth the surface of the painting, scrape incised lines or refine the edges of a shape.  They can be heated by pressing them to the hot palette.  

Lastly, here is my butterfly themed grouping of work over at Designbox!  

An Introvert's Inner World

 These are the paintings I am just now finishing.  I have been thinking a lot about introverts because I'm raising one, and am one myself.  The world inside is so vast and rich, but can't be seen by everyone.  One must be to be worthy to be let in that door.
 These paintings are mixed media= oil and encaustic.  I've been doing the background and the portraits in oils and the interior painted symbolism with encaustic.
My favorite thing about painting this way is the transparency and layers. Lends itself to work of a psychological/ meditative nature.

New series inspired in part by books.



Returning to the Source

The 3 paintings above are finished examples of the new series of paintings I've been working on. It all started about 6 months ago.  I wanted to exploit my favorite things about using oil paints, and encaustics, and do it in the same piece.  The way these two mediums look so different intrigued me and I wanted to build them one layer over the other.  First with oils I build up the background colors.  I mix cold wax medium into the oil paints which thins them out and gives them a translucent buttery consistency.  After painting one layer of color, I use sandpaper and turpentine to lighten areas and remove some paint, then add the next layer.  This background process takes time because each layer needs to dry before it can be manipulated and painted on, and that can take a few days.  I've been wanting to do some figurative work with oils, mainly to express some characters from books that I love and also hybridized real life characters.  I want these paintings to be very peaceful and poetic but also philosophical.  It can take a while to paint the person just right, and then to figure out what else belongs in the painting to express the emotions there.  The best thing for me has been taking my time with this process and waiting until the paintings speak to me.  I find life to be layered and enigmatic and I'm trying to express this.  I want  to build translucent layers of imagery, as well as add mixed media elements to my work. The goal is to create a layered surface to emphasize dimensionality. This technique lends itself to work concerning the imagined realm.

 This one above is one that I have just finished.  She reminds me of a character from one of the Russian novels that I've been enjoying lately.  The whole thing is painted with oils except the green lines encircling her and the birds, incised encaustic line.
 Here are some new new ones with mostly only one layer.  Stay tuned to see what happens with these!
A close up of a painting with a couple layers of background paint.