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