It’s been a year since there has been a new post on the blog – certainly not my intention – but I felt it was certainly time to post an update and perhaps explain my absence.
For the last five years I have been working full time, which has been a big change from being a self-employed artist. During that time I moved from a rural setting to an urban one, got married and bought a house, among other life adventures. It has been a rich and rewarding time of change but it has also meant a change in my creative time and process.
I enjoy my work, and I also have the good fortune of working for an employer that believes that personal development can also enhance professional development. I was awarded a fellowship in the summer of 2010 and used the funds to purchase a set of professional wood carving tools. The carving project I did as part of this fellowship led to a commission from my employer – enough carving work to keep me busy for the next five years.
I am documenting this project on my WordPress.com website: SPS Form Plaque Project. Click through and have a look at the carvings I am currently working on. These carvings are a recording of the events from a given school year, and I am working on carvings for 1991 to the present to bring the project up-to-date. I am the fifth carver to work on the project since it started 93 years ago and also the first woman. The carvings collectively form an illustrative timeline of the history of the school going back to 1858, the first year students graduated – 203 carvings total prior to my beginning work. It is an unique and particular kind of work, a compelling tradition to participate in, and a privilege to have the work.
I still expect to find time every now and then to continue my artwork on paper – the Alchemy Notebook, Celtic inspired designs, and other woodcarvings – but they will definitely be fewer and farther between while I work on the plaques over the next few years. It has taken most of my creative time over the last two years to get this project up and running, but I am beginning to feel the rhythm and pace of the work and am hopeful that other creative projects will find their time too.
I found a little bit of time last weekend for artwork and created this very little painted card. The card itself measures 2.375″ high by 1.625″ wide. The frame, shown below, measures 3.5″ wide by 4.5″ high and is 1.25″ deep. The card is made from 4 ply Strathmore 500 bristol board and it is painted with acrylic inks, watercolor pencils and metallic acrylics. I floated the card against a background of antique marbled paper.
I love the idea of this symbol – a tree with stars for leaves – and it serves as a visual reminder in my mind, bringing up a feeling of potential for the transformation it represents. The six-pointed star is traditionally a symbol for mercury – combining upward and downward pointing triangles that represent mercury’s role of uniting the sun and moon in the alchemical process. The tree is also a symbol used to represent a similar kind of unity – between heaven and earth – with the branches in the sky and the roots planted deep in the ground.
This original small framed painting is available for sale in my Etsy store HERE.
It has only just now come to my attention that original images from the Alchemy Notebook were used, without my knowledge or consent, as part of the Torment online puzzle game that has been active since April of 2007.
This is a screenshot of the ‘childsplay‘ page from the puzzle:
And this is a screenshot of the ‘nevermore‘ page from the puzzle:
The continued use of my artwork in the Torment puzzle game is in direct violation of copyright laws. It is unfortunate that someone with the level of creative ability needed to design such a puzzle, and someone who labels their own creations with copyright statements, does not have the integrity to respect the copyrights of others.
This most recent piece, called Diving the Depths of Communication, is a collage done on Strathmore 500 bristol board, using maps and engraved illustrations from old discarded books. The media used includes liquid acrylic inks, Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils, Prismacolor watercolor pencils, and Pitt artist brush markers. The image is 5″ by 5″ square.
This collage process has developed in response to having less time to devote to create endeavors. I wanted to find a way to explore my artwork in similar ways as before but in a less time-intensive way. Using collage elements combined with the immediacy of the brush markers has been working well for me lately. I’m sure, as time allows, I will still pursue other creative process, such as those I use in the Alchemy Notebook, but for now this is providing me a quick way to keep my creativity moving forward.
I just updated the “About” page by adding an artist’s statement. I haven’t shared much in the past about the creative process behind my work – my general thinking being that the work will create its own dialogue. This is an experiment in adjusting that approach – let me know your thoughts.
The image above is a detail from a larger painting completed in 2003 called Quadrature of the Circle. I will be updating the gallery with the full image and adding more artwork soon.
I have just added a new gallery to the NWD blog – accessible through the navigation tab located at the top of the page. This gallery features some of my work done in 3D – carvings in wood. In addition to creating works on paper, I also find a great deal of creative satisfaction working with wood.
Most of my carving is done using butternut and basswood, two of the softer hardwoods that are ideal for carving. Basswood is light in color and doesn’t have any of the natural richness that woods like cherry and walnut have, but the straight grain is a delight to carve, and the light even color of the wood makes for a great canvas for paint or stain.
I have found that much of the artwork I create in 2D translates very naturally to 3D relief carving. It wasn’t until I began carving that I realized how much of the design process for my 2D work is conceptualized in relief. I feel as if the years spent designing, drawing, and painting in 2D was actually done in preparation for working in wood, even though that was never part of the thought process at the time. All of the work here has originated in some way with ideas and imagery first explored in drawings and paintings. Transforming these designs into wood is a very satisfying extension of my creative process.
Many of these items are available for sale through my Etsy store which can be viewed by clicking HERE or through the Etsy box in the sidebar. Below is a preview of the wood carving gallery that now permanently resides on the NWD blog through the navigation link above. Enjoy!
This is the companion piece to the previous work posted, Heart is Home. It was created in much the same way: It is a collage done on Strathmore 500 bristol board, using an engraved illustrations from an old anatomy book. I also incorporated a playing card and a scrap of antique marbled paper. The frame around the heart the embossed and perforated edge from a very old holy card. The media used includes liquid acrylic inks, Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils, Prismacolor watercolor pencils, and metallic acrylic inks. The image is 5″ by 5″ square.
I have really become a fan of the Inktense watercolor pencils. The pigmentation is very highly concentrated, more so than any of the other watercolor pencils I have tried. If you enjoy working with watercolor pencils you should give them a try and let me know what you think.
I recently completed this piece, working outside the Alchemy Notebook for a change. It is a collage done on Strathmore 500 bristol board, using engraved illustrations from old books. The media used includes liquid acrylic inks, Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils, Prismacolor watercolor pencils, and metallic acrylic inks. The image is 5″ by 5″ square.
This piece is a part of the Love, Lust and Desire show currently running at the McGowan Fine Art in Concord, NH. You can read more about the show HERE.
The fifth stage of the alchemical process is Putrefactio. It signifies the end of the blackening process where the imperfections of the material are removed by fire. The crow and the skull are symbols of death, but similar to the death card in a tarot deck, in alchemy these are primarily interpreted as symbols of transition. Putrefactio is a transitional stage from the end of the blackening process to the beginning of the whitening. In addition to the crow and skull, the presence of the black sun symbol signifies the importance of this stage, as the ultimate goal of the Projectio (symbolized by the phoenix) is present in its imperfect state. It is the promise of the completion of the work.
The image is painted on Strathmore 500 bristol board using acrylic inks, Prismacolor watercolor pencils, Derwent Inktense pencils, and metalic acrylic paint. It measures 2.75 inches high, and is card number 5 in a series of 12. More cards to follow.
I have started making a small deck of cards – one for each of the (more or less – depending on the source) twelve stages of the alchemical process. I started at the finish for some reason – with the last stage: Projectio. Projection is the moment when the base metal, after the long and careful process of the first eleven steps of the work are completed, is finally turned to gold. One of the symbols of the Projectio is the phoenix, the fiery sun-like bird, rising from the flames.
I made this small card (height = 2.75 inches) and this small deck to fit into a small copper and brass box I found at my favorite local antique store. The image is painted on Strathmore 500 bristol board using acrylic inks, Prismacolor watercolor pencils, Derwent Inktense pencils, and gold acrylic paint. More cards to follow.