Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Must-Read for Abstract Painters

Every once in a while a book on painting techniques comes along that really fires up my imagination. Abstract Explorations in Acrylic Painting: Fun, Creative & Innovative Techniques (2016 North Light Books) by Jo Toye has ignited a bonfire. The author certainly delivers on her promises in this nicely photographed, well written book, making it easy to follow the tutorials. And what an interesting menu of techniques she presents!

Gather up some razor blades, masking pens, contact paper and a hot glue gun, along with pipettes, a resist pen, a dry erase marker, chalk and clear tar gel. You'll need these, plus a few more items, to experiment with off the wall techniques like drawing "sparkling" lines with a razor blade and India ink; creating stencils with hot glue and achieving a stained glass look with a resist pen.

You'll learn how to give a dud painting a whole new look with masking tape, gesso and foam rollers. And how to paint stunning (and easy) abstracts using gesso, fluid acrylics India ink and -- again -- a razor blade. These and others in the book are excellent jumping off points for taking the techniques further, combining them or going on to develop more that are uniquely your own.

I've had a blast with this book. Jo Toye's writing is lively and engaging, and her droll wit and sense of humor are refreshing. Scattered throughout its pages are nuggets of helpful information you rarely find elsewhere, such as how to choose and use a Resist Pen, get gesso and paint to flow smoothly from an applicator bottle, and tips for using a mouth atomizer successfully.

When tools like these are combined with the techniques Ms. Toye includes, some very interesting art results. One of her techniques that called for using tar gel prompted me to paint the piece shown below, using Liquitex's version of that product, which goes by the name String Gel. Previously, my jar of this product had done nothing but sit around gathering dust.

After completing this painting I went on to experiment with several concepts involving String Gel/Tar Gel that had spontaneously popped into my head as I worked on Land of Enchantment. Some of those proved to be quite promising, giving me ideas for even more works in the future.

"Land of Enchantment," 18x24 acrylic on cradled wood panel    ©2017 Lynn Edwards

By the time I was done, there was tar gel all over me but I was having a ball so who cared?
And that's the whole point, says the author. Have fun. Experiment. Don't be afraid to push the envelope, and yourself.

I enjoyed this book so much, I'm hoping Ms.Toye will publish another one soon. Meanwhile, there's no shortage of material already on hand in Abstract Explorations to inspire. This fine book is definitely a keeper!

Text and images ©2017 Lynn Edwards


Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, December 25, 2016

"Not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term. Yet, as Genesis has it, all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece." -- Pope John Paul II

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, December 18, 2016

"If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint." -- Edward Hopper

Friday, December 16, 2016

A Surprise at the Back of the Drawer

You know that TV ad that asks, "What's in your wallet?" Well, maybe it should be changed to, "What's at the back of your artwork flat file?" Earlier today I was poking through a drawer I use to store small unframed works when I came across this 8x8 inch collage:

"Down the Drain," acrylic and collage on 140# watercolor paper.  ©2016 Lynn Edwards

I had done it this past summer, then tossed it in the drawer and completely forgot about it. When I pulled it out today, a title for it suddenly popped into my head. "Down the Drain" seems to fit it well, don't you think? The spirals and circles suggest the movement of water to me, along with those wavy blue lines at the bottom. Though you probably can't see them easily, the dark blue areas have what look like teeny water drops -- the result of applying a salt wash.

So, what's in your art storage cabinet?  Is it artwork? Or are the drawers stuffed with supplies you'll never get around to using? (Confession time: my entire studio is bulging with stuff I'll never need, even if I make it to 100.) Even so, check the drawers you use for art storage every once in a while. You may find nothing but dried up erasers, but then again, you may find a long forgotten piece of art. I'm thinking it would be a good idea if I looked in my storage cabinet more often!

And what did I do with this little collage? I've just listed it for sale in my Etsy shop.

Text and image ©2016 Lynn Edwards.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

An Exceptionally Exciting Day

Some days are better than others, and yesterday was exceptional. It started with a voice message from someone who had asked me to make a necklace to wear with a pendant she already had. The piece I created for her was a single strand of beads that included both small glass beads in a variety of shapes as well as tiny "pearl" beads. The pendant was to be the star of the show, so I kept the necklace fairly simple so asto compliment it rather than compete with it.

When she received it, she was thrilled, and yesterday she left me the sweetest message on my voice mail praising both me and the necklace to the skies. Now, there's nothing more gratifying to an artist than to be showered with praise from a delighted buyer. It's music to our ears, and we never, ever tire of it. So her message left me feeling mighty uplifted and happy to know that my efforts had touched someone in such a positive way.

And THEN, just a short while later, I received an email from Artspan, my web site host, informing me that they had chosen one of my paintings to be featured in an online collection on their web site! The painting, titled "Impassioned," is showcased in the collection called "All Aflame."

"Impassioned," 10x10" acrylic on paper       ©2016 Lynn Edwards
This is the second time Artspan has selected my work for inclusion in one of their collections. Earlier, two of my paintings had appeared in "Tangled Up in Blue." From thousands of works they could select from, that they've chosen mine once again is such an honor! Both collections can be viewed here. 

Yes, some days certainly are better than others!

Text and images ©2016 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Dumb Decisions and Drugs: A Cautionary Tale

It may be crazy, but I've decided to make, entirely by hand, my own holiday cards this year. A more sensible person would create one master copy, reproduce it in digital form, use it to assemble the cards, mail them and have plenty of time left over to go drink peppermint milkshakes at Chick-fil-A.

But nooooo.......mine must be individually crafted. One of a kind. Totally handmade. Every. Single. One.
It's amazing how much time it takes to make a simple card like this one..
This stupid impulse exciting self-challenge was prompted by an agreement on my side of the family that this year we would not exchange gifts. I confess this new arrangement was actually a relief. Shopping for and shipping gifts consumes a lot of time and energy. And energy has been in short supply recently as I recovered from a serious knee injury that made walking almost impossible for more than ten weeks.

So as I stared at the ceiling and downed painkillers, the idea to make my own cards took hold in my brain. (It must have been the drugs. Clearly my rational thought process was severely impaired.)

So far I've made seven. There are "only" 30 or 40 still to go. What the heck was I thinking????!!!!! 
If you catch me slinking off to Staples, you'll know where I'll be headed after that. Christmas isn't Christmas without a peppermint milkshake.
Text and image ©2016 Lynn Edwards

A Thought for Sunday, December 11, 2016

"A poor original is better than a good imitation." -- Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, December 4, 2016

"I don't want life to imitate art. I want life to BE art." -- Carrie Fisher

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, November 27, 2016

"Color is a power which directly influences the soul." -- Wassily Kandinsky

Friday, November 25, 2016

My Doodling Addiction

It was bound to happen. "Doodling" has become an addiction. It all started innocently enough: a few years ago, my friend Dinah introduced me to Zentangles -- doodles rendered in black ink, created within a border of a specified size. It was fun to do and quite relaxing. The only materials required were a pen and small pad of paper. These simple items can travel almost anywhere, making doodling ideal for anyone on the go.

Pretty soon I had more doodles than I knew what to do with. That was when the lightbulb went off in my head. Why not use some as borders on accent mirrors?

I love black and white, but colors truly make my heart sing. So I broke out my collection of ultra fine tip Sharpies and took my doodling obsession to the next level. In addition to the mirrors, I began turning my color doodles into jewelry:

What's next? Lamps? Table tops? Or....??? I really don't know at this point, but one thing I am sure of: this is an addiction that's all good!

Text and images ©2016 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, November 20, 2016

"Offer grace for the bounty of goodness. Raise the song of harvest home, the glass of good cheer, the heart overflowing with joy. We have so much for which to be thankful. So much about which to smile, so much to share. So much that, in this season of plenty, we can embrace the season of relinquishment. All we have is all we need." -- Sarah Ban Breathnach

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thank You!

Many thanks to all the folks who turned out for the Fifth Annual Art and Fine Craft Sale last weekend! It was wonderfully gratifying to meet and chat with so many people who truly appreciate hand crafted jewelry, wearable art, handmade soaps, and tapestries, as well as fine art and photography. These individuals make all the hours we creative types spend making these items worth the effort!

Here are a few photos taken before and during the three day event:

This year my display featured my favorite colors.

Paintings in pastel and acrylic by Marilyn Kleinhans
Some of Dinah Rose's hand woven infinity wraps, paired with my necklace and earring sets. Harry the dog naps nearby.
Jewelry was a popular item on many shoppers' gift lists.

Nancy Bruns describes her process for making chainmail jewelry during one of several artist talks.

If you missed it, you missed out on lots of fun. But take heart, we're already planning our 2017 sale. If you'd like to receive an invitation and be included on the guest list, just let me know!

Text and images ©2016 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, November 13, 2016

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all art and science." -- Albert Einstein

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, November 6, 2016

"Why do you try to understand art? Do you try to understand the song of a bird?" -- Pablo Picasso

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, October 30, 2016

"Music is the art of thinking with sounds." -- Jules Combarieu

Friday, October 28, 2016

Use What's Handy to Make Art

Are there any old magazines laying around your house? Do you have a bin full of leftover collage or scrapbook papers? Don't throw them out! Instead, use them to make art. It's a great way to keep your creativity sharpened, while turning your scraps into small treasures. With a glue stick, scissors and some small supports (watercolor paper scraps, blank artist trading cards, even cut up cereal boxes) you can make postcards, greeting cards and small collages.

I enjoy making note cards, which I use for personal correspondence, or give to studio visitors as mementos. It's easy to whip up several while watching TV at night. Here are some examples of designs I've made using cardstock or watercolor paper as supports, and then affixed to the front of blank note cards:

Magazine images, typography from a sales flyer, collage paper and scrapbook paper were used  here

Scrapbook paper, part of a painted Tyvek envelope, collage papers and a sliver of a photo in an art magazine were used to make this design

Small pieces of my own hand painted collage papers were used here
This "landscape" is made entirely from leftover scrapbook papers

Even old phone books can be useful. The white circular object is a piece of plastic label from a soft drink bottle that was heated using an iron. Parchment paper was inserted between the iron and the label to protect the iron from being damaged.

Lots of odds and ends from my found paper stash make up this design

This was made from a single magazine ad. I was drawn by its Matisse-like shapes and bright colors! I simply punched out  one inch squares with a paper punch and rearranged them

The two pieces below were made by cutting out and cutting up typography. Headlines and article titles are good sources of interesting and unusual fonts.

I hope you're inspired to try this form of entertainment if you haven't already. It's quite satisfying to create small works using papers already at your disposal. Making pieces such as these can teach you much about color, composition and other elements of good design. You may even find that creating art from scraps is often more fun and less intimidating than larger, more "serious" works!

Text and images ©2016 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, October 23, 2016

"It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life. The rich colours of grass and earth were intensified by the mellow light of a sun almost warm enough for spring... " P.D. James

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Finding Inspiration at a Farmer's Market

Your mom was right: fruits and veggies are good for you. (And so are flowers!) They're also good for igniting your creativity. Need proof? Take a peek at the dizzying array of colors, forms and textures you'll find at any farmers I did recently at the Saturday Farmers Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico:

Chile ristras glow bright red in the clear morning light

It's a social occasion for both growers and customers.

Just look at these lively color combinations! (Love those red shoes!)

These sunflowers were HUGE -- the size of dinner plates!

Who could resist capturing these dazzling colors?

There's nothing like a farmers market to wake up your senses and summon your Muse. What are you waiting for? Grab your camera and go!

Text and images ©2016 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, October 16, 2016

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." -- Pablo Picasso

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Rock On! Finding Creative Inspiration at the Tellus

Nature has a way of creating the world's best abstract art. Take a look at these amazing examples of Her work, photographed at the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Georgia. It's hard not to be inspired just looking at these fabulous examples of color, texture and pattern, found inside the exhaustive collection of rocks, minerals, fossils and gem stones on display there. They're sure to make you want to grab a brush!

If you feel uninspired, look to Nature to revive your sense of creative excitement. You can't go wrong if you take the time to study her handiwork. It's readily accessible to every artist, no matter where they live. Whether it's found in museums, like the specimens above, or simply the colors of autumn leaves, the soft contours of moss, the stark lines of limbs and branches, or the glimmer of sunlight on water, Nature's infinite sources of inspiration are yours for the taking.

Text and images ©2016 Lynn Edwards

Saturday, October 8, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, October 9, 2016

"We are the hero of our own story." -- Mary McCarthy

Who's Afraid of Blue?

I learn something new every day. This past week, in a conversation with my doctor, I found out there are people who have phobias about colors. Fear of the color blue, for example, is known as cyanophobia. Cyanophobia has its own medical code number, as do phobias regarding red, orange, green...every color on the color wheel, it would seem. (The fear of color in general is called chromophobia.)

I can't help but wonder how a fear of blue, say, or purple, develops. Perhaps a very traumatic event in early childhood triggers a lasting, deep seated fear. For example, I'm guessing a young child might become frightened of a particular color if something in his or her environment is that color, and that environment suddenly proves threatening or even terrifying. Such as a would be kidnapper attempting unsuccessfully to pull a child into a blue car. This is conjecture on my part because I haven't has a chance to research this, but a scenario like that would seem plausible. I'm very curious about this subject and am planning to look into it further. Do any readers have any experience with chromophobia?? If so, maybe you would be willing to share some information about it with us. I'm sure I'm not the only one who would like to learn more.

Monday, October 3, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, October 2, 2016

"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." -- Isaac Asimov

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Saying Goodbye to Jack

Recently I learned of the passing of one of my favorite writers, Texas artist and popular author Jack White. When I was told this sad news, I had a hard time holding back the tears. No, I didn't know Jack personally, although we had exchanged comments a time or two when I had responded to something he had written online or in one of the art magazine I subscribe to. The news hit me hard; after reading his columns for over 15 years, and benefiting greatly from Jack's vast store of wisdom and advice, I had come to think of him as a mentor.

In this I'm certainly not alone. Jack White touched and helped thousands -- millions -- of artists all over the globe each time he shared his views and experiences about the business side of art. Jack's mission in life was helping artists to succeed, however they wished to define success. And he was eminently qualified to help light their way: he himself enjoyed an illustrious career as a professional artist whose works routinely command five or more figures.

Despite his remarkable achievements, he never lost his ability to walk in a fellow artist's shoes. Jack knew from personal experience what it was like to be down to your last dime, with mouths to feed, and no prospects for selling your work. He knew what it was like to risk everything by hitting the road to find buyers, selling paintings out of the trunk of his car. He was resourceful and gutsy and persistent, and over the course of his life those qualities earned him a level of success few have matched. His encouraging message to all of us was, "You can do this, too." Generously sharing his knowledge via hundreds of columns and the publication of eight books aimed at artists, Jack happily and willingly showed us how, holding nothing back.

Jack White was a remarkable man. He was a gifted artist, yet he was humble. Plain-spoken, he was also an expert on Texas history, authoring a compelling account of the fall of the Alamo in his book Ten Years in Texas. There were many dimensions to his life beyond art, and his achievements were many. He loved America deeply, and was a patriot to the core. He loved life, and he lived it to the fullest.

His passing leaves me profoundly saddened, but Jack, I think, would be the first to counsel against this. I can just imagine him pausing before his easel in the hereafter, peering down at mourners like myself, and admonishing us to get over it and get busy. That would be typical Jack White advice. He had no use for wimps. So in closing, I'll simply say, " Jack, you were truly one of a kind. Your generosity has helped so many, including myself. We are deeply grateful for all you've shared with us, and you will be forever missed."

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, September 25, 2016

"A vacation is a sunburn at premium prices." -- Hal Chadwicke

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Artist's Tip: How to Gesso a Canvas

Stretched canvases usually come pre-gessoed, but the thin gesso layer applied at the factory is usually insufficient to provide the best foundation for subsequent layers of acrylic paint. To prep your canvas properly, plan on applying at least two to three more layers of gesso. (My preference is for three, at minimum.)

Apply your first coat of gesso to the canvas with all brushstrokes laid down horizontally. Let dry thoroughly. (If the surface feels cool to the touch it needs more drying time.)

Once it's completely dry you may sand it very lightly with fine grit sandpaper or a piece of brown paper bag if you wish to paint on a very smooth surface. This step is entirely optional. Before going on to the next step be sure to remove any dust by wiping the surface with a cloth dampened with water then wrung almost completely dry.

Next, apply a coat of gesso in a vertical direction. Allow to dry thoroughly, then sand lightly as above, if desired. Again, remove all traces of dust before proceeding.

The third coat of gesso should be applied in a criss cross fashion. Once dry, you may sand it lightly or not, the choice is yours. Now your canvas is properly prepared, and you are ready to paint.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, September 18, 2016

"Nature often lets us down when we most need her; let us turn to art." -- Baltasar Gracian

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Save These Dates!

It's over two months away but you'll want to reserve November 11-13 on your calendar. Those are the dates for this year's 5th Annual Art and Fine Craft Show in Alpharetta. And yours truly will again be one of the exhibiting artists! You won't want to miss it because....tada! drum roll, please!........I will be introducing my exciting new collection of hand painted art jewelry!!! (The only hints I'll give you are (1) it's unlike any jewelry you've ever seen before, and (2) no two pieces are alike. So circle those dates on your calendar and plan to have a wonderful time meeting the artists and enjoying casual, comfortable holiday shopping. Attendance is by invitation. More info to follow as we get closer. See you in November!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, September 11, 2016

"What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we've never met." -- David Levithan, on the tragedy of 9/11

Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, September 4, 2016

" What is art but life upon the larger scale, the higher? When, graduating up in a spiral line of still expanding and ascending gyres, it pushes toward the intense significance of all things, hungry for the infinite." -- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Artist's Tip: A Thrifty Substitute for Picture Wire

Ordinary picture wire is very unpleasant to handle. Every time I wire a painting with this stuff I stab myself at least once. Those wire ends are like needles! I really feel sorry for people who encounter picture wire in the course of hanging shows. They must feel like human pincushions by the time they're finished.

Now, there is a safer, more pleasant alternative: picture wire that has a smooth plastic coating. No question, it's much kinder to human flesh. But it comes with a higher price tag, and it can be hard to find, as not all stores stock it.

This wire from a home improvement store is a good substitute for picture wire.

Is there a substitute for or alternative to picture wire? Unless I'm hanging mirrors or large, heavy paintings that call for wire that's rated according to weight, I've found that coated wire sold in the electrical department at home improvement and hardware stores works just fine. It's just as easy to handle as coated picture wire and is equally malleable, but costs far less. I can buy as much or as little as I need because it's sold by the foot.

The coated wire shown above, which I purchased at Home Depot, was approximately $2 for a 10 foot length. Look closely and you'll see that this wire is actually TWO strands very loosely twisted together, in effect, giving me 20 feet of wire! The gentleman who waited on me called it "doorbell wire," and I have found it to be perfect for use on smaller, lightweight canvases and wood panels. The strands are readily separated; I use metal snips to cut off whatever I need.

This particular wire is 18 gauge with a copper core, but there are many other sizes and types of wire to choose from. I told the store associate what I planned to use the wire for, and he made recommendations based on the information I provided. He turned out to be quite familiar with artists' needs because his wife is an artist who sells her work at festivals, and to hang it she, too, uses wire from the electrical department rather than picture wire.

Please note: as I've already stated, if the object to be hung is very heavy or fragile, I would instead use a picture wire that's rated for the object's weight. In other words, I would NOT hang anything under glass in a big heavy frame with anything BUT the appropriate picture wire. But lightweight stretched canvas or smaller cradle wood panels? Trusty, thrifty "doorbell wire" is always at the ready! 

 Text and image ©2016 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, August 28, 2016

“To consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk.” -- Edward Weston

Saturday, August 27, 2016

An Inspirational Gold Mine for Mixed Media Artists

We all know there are zillions of online resources for mixed media artists. Inspiration and an endless supply of new techniques are just a click away. One of these resources is Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine, which offers a mind boggling wealth of online information for artists engaged in every imaginable form of mixed media. And these wonderful tutorials, tips and step by steps are free and accessible to all.

This magazine is one that I can't live without!
I love Cloth Paper Scissors. It's my favorite magazine. I save every single hard copy issue, referring back to them time and again. So when I discovered its vast treasure trove of free information available online, it was like stumbling upon a box filled with 24 karat gold nuggets!

Here's just one example of the hundreds of goodies you'll encounter: on the magazine's Studio Saturdays blog, I came across an exercise from noted artist and author Seth Apter. Aimed at enabling us to work more spontaneously and more loosely, it's an ingenious way to get the ball rolling that I can't wait to try.

Apter offers a step by step guide to having a blast with a deck of playing cards, gesso and paint that oh, BTW, from the looks of it, results in some very cool backgrounds! Check it out for yourself here, then be sure to explore the rest of this fascinating site. But I must warn you, there's so much great material to delve into, a thorough exploration could take days!

©2016 Lynn Edwards

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Happy News!

I'm delighted to announce that two of my abstract paintings, Blaze and Dawn on the Nile, have been accepted into the Artists Guild of Northwest Georgia's 9th Annual Fine Art Exhibit and Juried Competition! The exhibit opens on Tuesday, Sept. 6, and ends on Sept. 27, with an opening reception on Saturday, Sept. 10 from 7-9 p.m. The location is the Mabel House Arts Center, 5239 Floyd Rd., Mableton, GA. For information, call 770-819-3285 or go to

"Blaze," 12x12 acrylic on canvas      ©2016 Lynn Edwards

"Dawn on the Nile," 10x10 mixed media on cradled wood panel   ©2016 Lynn Edwards

A Thought for Sunday, August 21, 2016

"Nobody should ever receive more money for a work of art than the artist who produced it." -- Pansy Schneider-Horst

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, August 14, 2016

"The political machine triumphs because it is a united minority acting against a divided majority." -- Will Durant

Saturday, August 13, 2016

From Trash to Treasure and Beyond: The Works of Vik Muniz

I will never be able to look at peanut butter, chocolate sauce, and the detritus one sees at landfills in the same way again, thanks to Vik Muniz. Muniz is a Brazilian-American artist, born in 1961. This past week, I was privileged to see a collection of his amazing works at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Actually, I could describe them as mind-blowing, beyond amazing, and extraordinarily imaginative and none of these terms would be adequate. Maybe I should simply say that Vik Muniz is a genius, creating stunning pieces out of microscopic scraps of paper and old photos, condiments, thread, trash, other words, the stuff of everyday life, presented in completely unexpected ways.

These super-sized Brillo boxes and the enormous collage in the background are just two of many works by Muniz currently on exhibit at the High Museum of Art.             Photo ©2016 Lynn Edwards

I've never considered the contents of a refrigerator to be a source of art materials, but Muniz saw  potential in such mundane commodities as black beans, chocolate syrup and peanut butter. Below is his portrait of Jackson Pollock:

This portrait of Jackson Pollock was created using chocolate syrup.    Photo ©2016 Lynn Edwards

Frankenstein, the Mona Lisa and other "celebs' " portraits are created using materials such as strawberry jam, caviar and diamonds (Obviously, it wouldn't be feasible to display the original pieces; instead they were photographed and it's photos that are displayed in this exhibition.)

There's so much to see in the Muniz exhibition I can't begin to do it justice in a description. Two friends and I arrived at the High around 1 p.m., and spent more than three hours in the Muniz exhibit alone. If you can get in to see it before it closes on August 21, you'll find it's more than worth your while. The more time you spend looking at each piece, the more you'll see, and the more you'll appreciate Muniz' view of life and his finely honed sense of irony. Take the time to examine each piece closely and carefully, and I promise the world will look very different to you by the time you leave.

Text and images ©2016 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, August 7, 2016

"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds; your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world...Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be." -- Patanjali

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Stumped for Gift Ideas? It's Classic Images to the Rescue!

Most of us artists like to give the special people in our lives something hand made, hand crafted, or hand painted rather than some mass produced item from a retail store. If you're like me -- someone who detests shopping -- you'll move heaven and earth to avoid retail experiences. 

But coming up with gift ideas can be tough, especially on short notice. Whenever I find myself in this situation, I turn to my collage skills and artists like Botticelli, Rembrandt and Vermeer. Using a small copy of one of their paintings, a snippet or two of found paper, scissors, glue and a quirky sense of humor, creating a one-of-a-kind present is quick and easy.

For example, here's a gift I made for my niece when she was in college. Figuring she'd appreciate having a purse-sized notebook, I created this collage on the cover of a small, blank artist's sketchbook using Botticelli's famous Venus:

I could have used Venus just as she appeared in the original painting, but I wanted to contemporize her a bit, so I gave her a hot pink bikini. (I had to cut out that paper bikini with manicure scissors, BTW!) My niece loves the beach, so for the background I used a fragment of a map depicting the coastal area she and her parents frequent on their family vacations. Finally, I added some text that fit my theme, brushed on a light coat of acrylic varnish, and it was done. From start to finish the project took less than an hour to complete.

This same technique lends itself to making fun greeting cards. (Thinking up clever sayings to use with the images is half the fun. The other half is making the art!) Or, you could decorate the top of a trinket box, a wooden pencil case, or just about any item with a flat surface. In less than the time it would take to drive to the mall, you can create something totally unique that's sure to be appreciated by the lucky recipient -- all the while flexing your creative abilities while remaining happily in your studio!

©2016 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, July 31, 2016

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost." -- Martha Graham

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Ooooh, New Art Publications!

Popped in to Barnes & Noble this afternoon to pick up a copy of Professional Artist Magazine, and was surprised to discover several publications in the art section that I had never noticed before. I didn't have time to look over most of them -- Hubs and I were on our way to meet some friends at a nearby restaurant. So, besides Professional Artist, I bought just one, artblend, whose cover touted articles on copyright and mass production of art in China.

Those two topics hold considerable interest for me; copyright law is a murky jumble of contradictions, but it's essential for all artists to stay informed about changes in it to protect their intellectual property rights. And I definitely want to know more about China's activities, given that the Chinese are notorious for appropriating others' intellectual property, as well as elevating art fraud to a widespread, highly lucrative industry. So there's some good reading ahead this evening.

It would be interesting to do a roundup of all these art magazines in a future post. If you subscribe to or read any art magazines, which ones do you like, or don't like, and why? Please click on Comments, below, to share your views!

©2016 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, July 24, 2016

"You don't make a photograph with just a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved." -- Ansel Adams

Friday, July 22, 2016

Evaluating Your Work: the Pitfalls of Comparing Your Work to Other Artists

Do you ever fall into a slump where you think your work doesn't "measure up?" Are you dogged by fears that some Authority is going to declare that you couldn't paint your way out of a paper bag? Do you ever feel inadequate and "less than" while looking at other artists' work?

If the answer is no, skip this and go merrily on to your opening at MOMA. If you answered yes, stay with me. I'm going to tell you how to gag the nasty little critic living in your head who just loves to make you believe everybody's else's art is better than yours.

When you slide into this destructive, negative mindset, here's what to do: drag your very first painting out from under the bed or the back of the closet. (Didn't save your very first painting? No problem. Bring out the earliest piece you have on hand.) Ok, now lean it up against the wall.

Next, place a more recent piece you've done right next to it. Step back and look at the two pieces very carefully and with a critical eye. Unless you just started painting last week, you'll see quite a difference between the two. Let me humble myself by showing you my first painting, followed by a later piece, to illustrate my point:
My very first painting, done in 2003         

Pretty awful, right? The horizon line is dead center in the middle of the canvas. All the boats are the same glaring shade of pure white. Their reflections are much too large and much too dominant. The distant line where water meets land is anything but level. The land mass is a dead, flat black. The water itself looks more like dark blue corduroy than water. (It actually looks even worse in person than it does here.) I could go on, but you get the point. This painting is a poster child for every mistake in the book.

Now, here's a landscape painted just four years later, in 2007:

"The Pond in Autumn," acrylic on canvas              ©2016 Lynn Edwards
See the difference? I'm not claiming this painting is perfect, or that Christie's sold it at auction for a king's ransom, but without question it's a marked improvement over the sailboats. As you can see, by 2007 my abilities were more refined. The water looks like water, there's a suitable range of values, the grasses and trees are believable, and overall the painting reads well. It was accepted into several juried exhibitions and was sold shortly afterwards. I tell you this not to brag, but to encourage you to find positive benchmarks of a similar nature in assessing your own work.

My message here is this: comparing your work to that of others is of little use. Every artist is on his or her own unique journey. Their art is a reflection of their experiences, feelings, memories and beliefs, and where they are in their journey at any given time. They are not you.

Compare your work only to your own work. Remember, you are not in competition with other artists; your only competitor is yourself. Are you a better artist now than you were last year? Three years ago? Ten? Do you find techniques that formerly were difficult to accomplish second nature now? Have you expanded your subject matter, found new ways to present it, or widened your choice of media?

Take this exercise one step further. In chronological order, line up all the paintings you've done that are still in your possession, starting with your earliest piece. Again, step back and take a long, careful look. You'll see a clear progression of improvement in such things as composition, perspective, color mixing....all the elements that go into the creation of art.

If you've been painting for any length of time, this exercise can be a real eye-opener, providing a visual history of your artistic abilities. It can reveal your strengths, your unique style, recurring themes and personal symbols, and where improvements are needed. The discoveries you can make can be startling as well as helpful. (For instance, I noticed that birds seemed to appear in many of my pieces, even though I didn't consciously include them.)

Comparing your current work to earlier work has another benefit too. It allows you to see that you have something to say and something to offer. And that your contribution is being presented to the world in an ever-evolving way. We all have a gift to share that's unique to us alone. This simple exercise lets you see where you are on your own artistic journey -- where you've been, where you are now, and the exciting directions and places where your imagination might take you. 

Text and images ©2016 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, July 17, 2016

"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." -- Edgar Degas

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Must-See Art Galleries in and Around Hilton Head, Part Two

Bluffton, South Carolina is a short -- 20 minutes or so -- drive from Hilton Head. If, like me, you love wandering through small galleries featuring local artists' work, don't miss a trip to this charming art enclave. Head for Calhoun Street, where you'll find several delightful galleries offering everything from fine art to jewelry, pottery, sculpture and more. A stroll down this tree-lined street with forays on to side streets offers the art enthusiast plenty to look at!

We should have allowed more time than we did to explore Bluffton's art district. And we should have arrived earlier than we did to make the rounds before afternoon temperatures soared. Still, we were able to get a sense of Bluffton's vibrant art scene before the heat finally got to us. Here are some of the places we visited along Calhoun Street:

SOBA Gallery is an artists' co-op gallery. This is a view of its side entrance on Calhoun St. ©2016 Lynn Edwards
SOBA Gallery was our first stop since we were able to snag a parking spot just steps from their side entrance. (There's free parking all along Calhoun Street, but it's a popular place. Sometimes getting a spot can be a matter of luck.) SOBA stands for the Society of Bluffton Artists, and it displays the work of over 100 of them. Inside the gallery we found many extraordinarily beautiful pieces of art, including skillfully executed in coastal scenes in every medium and style.

Next door to SOBA is Pluff Mud, a gallery with a definite eclectic vibe. The large moose on the front lawn was an indicator of the diverse offerings we found here: everything from works on canvas to colorful yard art.

You can't miss Pluff Mud Gallery. Just look for the big moose on the front lawn! ©2016 Lynn Edwards
On Pluff Mud's front porch was a colorful hand painted piano and assorted pieces of art on display. Inside we found works by many talented artists sharing their experiences and stories through their work. Perusing a range of pieces from folk art to fine art, I couldn't help but be inspired by the works I saw at Pluff Mud. Feeling creatively recharged, I came away from there eager to get back to projects awaiting me in my studio at home.

By this time the temperature had risen from "hot" to "sweltering." But there was still time to see one more gallery, so we popped into Maye River, just steps from SOBA and Pluff Mud, at 37 Calhoun St. This gallery's exterior trim is painted a sprightly pink; inside we discovered exquisite pottery, jewelry, paintings, wearable art and more. I especially enjoyed the abstract works here, including some mixed media collages which were notable for their intriguing designs and the artist's innovative use of materials.

There were several other galleries in Bluffton's historic district beckoning us, but it was getting late and the afternoon heat had just about done us in. So we decided we'd need to wait until our next trip to Hilton Head to visit them. Bluffton's arts district is a definite must-see for anyone who enjoys art; we're looking forward to checking out the rest of these galleries very soon!

Text and images ©2016 Lynn Edwards

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, July 10, 2016

"We all live under the same sky, but we don't all have the same horizon." -- Konrad Adenauer

Sunday, July 3, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, July 3, 2016

"Freedom is the last, best hope of earth." -- Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Artist's Tip: Save Money When Learning New Techniques

Dear readers, I know I promised to post information about the galleries in Bluffton, SC but I've been snowed under the past few weeks preparing for some upcoming shows. So today I offer you this little tip instead, with the promise that I will feature those Bluffton galleries very soon!

If you paint with professional artist's fluid acrylics as I do, you know how very expensive they can be. These paints often cost between $20 and $30 for a 4 oz. bottle. When trying out new techniques it's easy to run up a small fortune in paint costs if you're using professional artist's acrylics. Unless you have exceptionally deep pockets and cost doesn't matter to you, you can save a bundle by using inexpensive acrylic craft paints instead.

At just $1 to $1.50 per 4 oz. bottle, you can splash, pour, drip and splatter these paints with wild abandon, while investing less than the cost of a cup of joe at Starbuck's.

Sure, cheap craft paints contain only a tiny fraction of the pigments their pricier counterparts have, but for purposes of experimentation it doesn't matter. Once you've made a few initial attempts with the craft paints to see whether a new technique is something you'd like to adopt, then break out the "good stuff" and have a go at it using those paints.

Besides the savings, you'll be more inclined to approach things in a more relaxed state of mind knowing your investment is so small!

©2016 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, June 26, 2016

"The Infinite has written its name on the heavens in shining stars, and on the earth in tender flowers." -- Jean Paul Richter

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Storage Solution for Small Leftover Paper Scraps

The smaller your paper scraps are, the harder it is to store them. They accumulate quickly; tossing them haphazardly into a box makes it nearly impossible to find a specific paper easily later on.

Here's the strategy that works for me: I now store leftover remnants from each collage, mixed media piece, or other project that I do in a single zip top food storage bag. (Every grocery store in America sells these bags in a number of sizes.)

I just grab a bag in the appropriate size and put all my scraps from that one project into it.

You'll notice each bag will tend to have a predominant color. If you group your collage papers by color, as I do, you'll find this makes assigning the bags to the right box or bin quite easy. Bagged, those pesky scraps are so much easier to handle and sort through. The next time you need a scrap from a particular project, or in a specific color, you'll be able to find what you need in just minutes.

©2016 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, June 19, 2016

"Touch the earth, love the earth, honour the earth, her plains, her valleys, her hills, and her seas; rest your spirit in her solitary places." -- Henry Beston

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Can't Miss Art Galleries In and Around Hilton Head, Part One

Much of the joy I get from traveling is visiting art galleries wherever I go. Being a working artist myself, doing "field research," as I like to call it, is not only good for keeping abreast of things in this profession, it's also just plain fun. So on our recent trip to Hilton Head Island, Hubs and I spent a couple of very pleasant afternoons wandering through several galleries on both the island itself and in the charming little town of Bluffton nearby.

Unfortunately, there simply wasn't time to visit all of the galleries in this beautiful coastal area, so there are a number of them that won't be mentioned here because we never got to them. (An excellent reason to make another trip to HHI!) So I'll just mention those we did visit, and what it was about each that appealed to me. In this post I'll cover the three galleries we visited on Hilton Head itself:

Smith Galleries

Smith, at 1000 William Hilton Parkway on Hilton Head, was our first stop. Located on the upper floor of Building J in the Village of Wexford, a lovely tree-shaded shopping center, it was a bit of a challenge to find. Once we did, it did not disappoint. Fine American craft is this gallery's specialty. There were so many unique and beautiful things on display I could see why my friend and fellow artist, Kathy Woodworth, had recommended that we seek it out. I was especially drawn to the hand blown glass pieces, whimsical clocks and, well, just about everything, including a very nice selection of fine art as well.

Nash Gallery

Another gallery that had been recommended to us was Nash Gallery at 13 Harbourside Lane in Shelter Cove Harbor, off William Hilton Parkway. Nash Gallery is easy to find: just look for the enormous statue of Poseidon as you enter the complex. The gallery is located directly across from the statue at street level.

This massive statue of Poseidon is just a few feet from the entrance to Nash Gallery. ©2016 Lynn Edwards

 Nash Gallery in Shelter Cove Harbor, where you can sit on the rocking chairs and gaze at the yachts in the adjacent marina.  ©2016 Lynn Edwards
 Like Smith Gallery, Nash carries many beautiful and beautifully-crafted items for the home, office and personal use.

I fell in love with the work of several of their potters, including that of Florida's Francine Zajac, whose Earthtones line includes, among many other things, soap dishes in the form of scallop shells. One of them was perfect for one of the bathrooms in our house so I couldn't resist it. Glazed in shades of blue-green with a touch of peachy-tan, it's a cherished reminder of our trip.  It also serves the practical function of holding the richly scented handmade soaps that I love so much, made by our friend John Kleinhans.

Besides the pottery, Hubs and I were both captivated by a display of wall art comprised of clay faces, each with its own individual "personality." Hubs really liked a face jauntily "smoking" a fat cigar, whose self-satisfied expression looked as if he'd just won a backroom poker game. That was but one piece in a collection sure to make anyone smile. In fact, it would be worth making a trip to Nash Gallery just to check out this display alone. You can't help but come away from it amazed by the detail and totally amused by the artist's concept.

Muse Gallery

This fine art gallery, which just celebrated its one year anniversary, is a showcase for works by such prominent artists as Bonnie Teitelbaum, Barbara Krupp, Katherine Adkins and others of national reputation. Upon entering, a massive piece by Bonnie Teitelbaum immediately caught my eye. Having seen her amazing abstract works in a gallery in Santa Fe a few years ago, I was thrilled to have the chance to see more work by this artist at Muse. The depth she manages to achieve using clear resins and mediums is nothing short of amazing, and I couldn't help but stand there in front of this magnificent painting in total awe. I could hardly bear to tear myself away from it, but there were additional works to see.

Among them were truly beautiful sculptures of the female form by Atlanta artist Chad Awalt, who brings forth his figures from downed trees. Polished and sculpted into works that are at once graceful and earthy, each reveals the unique inner patterns of the wood from which it was created. His works spoke to me on many levels, and if I could wave a magic wand, I'd have one of them on a pedestal in an expansive home suited to the display of such impressive pieces. But, returning to the reality of living in a cottage, I'll just have to own one of Mr. Awalt's unforgettable sculptures in my dreams.

One of the first things you'll notice as you enter Muse Gallery is the warm greeting you'll receive from owner Hali Lookabaugh. Hali firmly believes that haughtiness has no place in her gallery. She welcomes all who enter with a smile and freely shares her extensive knowledge of fine art whenever it's sought, while allowing visitors plenty of space to take in and appreciate the art on display without interference. Visiting her gallery is a very comfortable experience, which is, ideally, how visiting an art gallery should be for everyone.

Muse Gallery is located at 65 Arrow Rd. If you enjoy contemporary and abstract works, this gallery is a definite must-see!

In my next post, we'll explore the galleries in Bluffton, a quaint and artsy hamlet just a short drive from Hilton Head. Stay tuned!

Text and images ©2016 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, June 12, 2016

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” -- Leonardo Da Vinci

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Art on the Beach

It has been a crazy-busy, incredibly hectic spring, so a few weeks ago when Hubs expressed a desire to "go see the ocean" I lost no time making reservations for four nights' accommodations on Hilton Head, a destination we had been wanting to explore for quite a while.

Hilton Head Island turned out to be one of our very best vacations ever. (More about this later.) Right now I want to share with you some amazing art discoveries we made on our last night there as we took a post-dinner stroll on the beach:

©2016 Lynn Edwards

We came upon this large sand castle that was so exquisitely detailed it took our breath away. Its creator(s) were nowhere to be seen, which is a shame as I would have loved to have been able to talk with them. A couple walking by told us the sand castle had been there the day before. It appeared to be just out of range of high tide, but I'm sure it didn't survive Tropical Storm Bonnie. I'm glad we were able to take photos of it before its demise. Here's another view of it:

©2016 Lynn Edwards

But that's not the only form of artistry we encountered on our beach stroll. Beyond the sand castle, about a half mile further up the beach, we came across this huge piece of driftwood:

©2016 Lynn Edwards

©2016 Lynn Edwards
Sculpted by the elements, it reminded me of some strange sea creature's carcass that had washed up on the sand. A close up examination of it revealed Nature's diverse artistry:

A fascinating abstract pattern can be seen in the hollowed out wood.  ©2016 Lynn Edwards

Another abstract pattern in the driftwood. ©2016 Lynn Edwards

This amazing sand pattern was created by the tides. It was beautiful!  ©2016 Lynn Edwards
I was so taken by the patterns that water had made in the sand around the driftwood that I took several photos for reference, with future paintings in mind. Here just a few of them, below. To capture the detail better I've enhanced the contrast using Photoshop Elements. (The position of the sun at the time made it hard for my camera to record the lights and darks.)

©2016 Lynn Edwards

©2016 Lynn Edwards

On the walk back to where we had entered the beach, the sun was starting to set. The colors of the light reflecting on the sand and the water were so beautiful, I took more photos. Shades of red, orange and gold sparkled where the surf met the sand, presenting different photo opportunities at every step. Here are just a few of the pictures I snapped, all of which can serve as future artistic inspiration:

©2016 Lynn Edwards

©2016 Lynn Edwards

©2016 Lynn Edwards

The perfect ending to a perfect vacation on Hilton Head Island.  ©2016 Lynn Edwards