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

A Thought for Sunday, May 29, 2016

"There is no power on earth that can neutralize the influence of a high, pure, simple and useful life." -- Booker T. Washington

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, May 22, 2016

"History never looks like history when you are living through it. It always looks confusing and messy, and it always looks uncomfortable." -- John W. Gardner

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

An Update on the Boho Series

Several weeks ago I posted some photos of a new mixed media collage series I was working on -- the Boho Series. (Boho is the current slang word for Bohemian.)

Since then I've added more pieces, and have tweaked some of the earlier pieces just a bit. The latter entailed adding some color accents to give the collection a more cohesive look. (It's possible to add more collage or line work or whatever as long as the piece is not yet varnished. Once it's varnished, you can't do anything further to it. It's DONE.)

Originally I was planning to offer these little gems for sale unmatted and unframed. But then I changed my mind and decided to mount them on 6x6 cradled wood panels that are two inches deep. This allows them to be displayed in multiple ways: hung on a wall in a number of different configurations, lined up across a mantel or shelf, or even stacked one atop the other like a set of building blocks. Rather than placing my signature on the front, I've signed them on the back so that each one can be turned in any direction desired for an ever-changing art display. Changing the orientation of one, some or all four produces a myriad of totally different looks.

Below are four pieces that are my personal favorites. Grouped together, they make a pretty striking statement. Their bold colors command attention and there's an abundance of things to look at in each one. This is not bland, wimpy, washed out art -- it's art for people who'd never, ever paint their walls "safe" beige.

I like these so much I'm seriously tempted to keep them, but that's not why I created them. Their purpose is to bring happiness to someone and brighten their home, not mine. So when the time comes I'll part with them -- but it will be reluctantly. :)

©2016 Lynn Edwards

©2016 Lynn Edwards

©2016 Lynn Edwards

©2016 Lynn Edwards
Oh, that bit about thinking ahead to the next project? What's next is creating much bigger works for this same series. I can hardly wait to get going!

Text and images ©2016 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, May 15, 2016

"You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you." -- James L. Allen

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Painter's Tip: How to Clean a Brayer the Easy Way

If you use a rubber brayer with acrylics, you know how quickly layers of paint can build up on it. You can minimize clean-up by wiping it with a wet paper towel in between your applications of colors. Nevertheless, a brayer still requires a thorough cleaning once your painting session is over.

If you dislike having to scrub your brayer to get it clean, I'll let you in on a little secret: there's a much easier, painless way to do it. Assuming your brayer is no wider than 4 inches, here's what you'll need:

A deep bowl, such as a cereal bowl
Murphy Oil Soap

Fill the bowl with enough warm water to cover the roller on the brayer. Add a tablespoon or two of Murphy Oil Soap to the water and swish to mix. Place your brayer in the water with the framework resting on the bottom of the bowl and the roller facing up. Do not allow the rubber roller to touch  the bottom or the sides of the bowl. (You may have to try a few different bowls to find one that's just the right size.)

Let the brayer sit in the water overnight. The next morning, the Murphy Oil Soap will have worked its magic. A few swipes with a paper towel and any paint remaining on the roller will come right off.

The brayers I use have plastic handles so leaving them in water doesn't harm them. If your brayer has a wood handle I don't recommend using this method because water could damage it.

FYI: When it's not in use, always store your brayer with the roller facing up. If you store it with the roller facing down, over time it will develop a flat spot that will make rolling paint on smoothly impossible.

 ©2016 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, May 8, 2016

"Where there is great love there are always miracles." -- Willa Cather

Thursday, May 5, 2016

From Complex to Minimal: When Art Takes a Right Hand Turn

Taking an online workshop is a new adventure for me. The one I'm currently taking with Jane Davies on monoprinting with the Gelli plate and collage has been extremely interesting and informative. I don't have to park myself in front of the computer at a specific time; I can watch the video for each lesson, read over the instructions, and complete the exercises whenever it suits me. Which is certainly helpful, since I seem to be spending more time at doctors appointments nowadays than I ever thought possible.

One of the exercises requires us to use only a handful of very simple shapes -- square and rectangles -- that combine collage elements plus prints made on the Gelli plate. Jane's instructions were to leave plenty of white space while adhering to a grid format for the placement of the prints and collaged papers..

Now, leaving plenty of white space is not in my nature. I subscribe to the "more is more" school of thought. I adore complexity and pattern in my art and that of everyone else. So when I was challenged by Jane to create a minimum of six of these minimalist pieces, I was a bit put off. At first, anyway.

©2016 Lynn Edwards

©2016 Lynn Edwards

©2016 Lynn Edwards

As I proceeded to complete the exercise, I was reminded once again that simplicity can be a very good thing. I actually liked the results I was getting! The three pieces above are my favorites out of the half dozen I created.

Jane had urged us to not worry about composition, but instead to concentrate on the purpose of the lesson, which was to become familiar with the effects of applying a printed shape over a piece of collage, and vice versa.

Being a longtime collage artist I was pretty well versed in those things, but it had been ages since I had deliberately chosen to work with a bare bones, pared down, totally simple design. As I began creating each small collage, I found myself appreciating the white space more and more. By the time I finished the sixth piece, I had become entranced with it. "Going Zen" was like enjoying an unexpected, sudden breath of fresh air in a stuffy, overheated room. It was liberating, exhilarating even!

Sometimes it's good to get a wakeup call. I plan to heed this one by creating work that's less complex and less complicated in the future. But I don't plan to abandon complexity altogether. Instead I'll let this lesson inform my future pieces and see where it takes them. Already I'm eager to see what new discoveries there are to be made. That's just another facet of the excitement to be found working in mixed media and collage.

Text and images ©2016 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Thought for Sunday, May 1, 2016

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." -- Albert Einstein