Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stretching Canvas

Stretching canvas this week for a new painting.  It takes some time to stretch canvas and is hard on the fingers as it creates friction burns from the canvas texture.  I purchased the stretcher bars a couple days ago and the size will be 60" x 54".  I am thinking of painting a bicyclist riding up hill.  I feel like that right now, struggling uphill and not much headway. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Inspiration and Design- glass

Designing for art glass windows falls into two categories, fine art and commissioned work.
When designing for a fine art piece all the elements in oil painting are used here.
There a few more elements that go into designing for a commissioned glass window.  The first thing is the client's budget followed by what they are looking for such as a geometric design, flowing or something else altogether.  Once I establish a price range and get a feel for what they like I can then start designing.  Ideas/inspiration for a particular location come from the architecture of the building, design elements around the space both interior and exterior and pulling in elements of nature. With multiple windows I create designs that move and flow through them, moving the eye back and forth as opposed to one design repeated.
In this image the design mimics the hills in the background and flows through all 5 windows.  It is a simple design with complexities in the details such as hand beveled glass.  I enjoy creating this way- simple, not too much for the eye yet the details are complex.  The more you look the more you see.
Another element I look for in designing is the flow of the room/space to determine how the design should flow. If there is a wall to the right of the window/space and the room opens to the left then the design flows right to left.  In some cases I also look to the exterior flow.
Geometric design flowing through three panels.
Other design ideas come from the location of the window such as in front of a bathtub.  I created a design that looked like water flowing into the tub.
Inspiration for glass window designs comes from many sources and I enjoy creating a design that looks like it  belongs in the space it is going to occupy.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Inspiration and Design- painting

     Nature is a big inspiration for me, sitting and studying the different colors of a sunrise and sunset; watching cloud formations, how they become streaked or rippled depending on the wind patterns;  formation of trees and watching them bow in the wind;  water currents of the ocean or river;  calm lake;  birds flying overhead;  curving of a plant;  contour of mountains;  a person in a certain pose.
     Creating the feeling of or essence of something is also an avenue of inspiration for me.  Examples are the sound of a musical instrument, an emotion, the feeling of winter. 
     One example of what inspires me in painting is
"Discovering". When my son was a 1yr old he was in our back yard and had picked up a yellow leaf that had fallen from our tree.  He was studying that leaf and figuring it out.  The way he was studying it, the look in his eyes and on his face, the way he held the leaf really struck me and I wanted to paint this moment.  As I painted this piece I thought of my dad because of certain features on my son's face look like my dad.  These features became more pronounced and older and I realized this was becoming a generational piece.  I titled it "Discovering" because he was discovering new things around him and since this looked to be different ages in one person, as one ages one discovers different things. In this painting I was creating the essence of what my son was doing and it turned out to be so much more. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Inspiration and Design

What inspires my designs for stained glass and oil painting?  I will be writing a two part series to this question covering both mediums.  In general what inspires my work is nature and the feeling or essence of something.  Details will soon follow.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Two Mediums

I have been asked when I began to paint with oils and to work with glass.  The short answer is that I began creating in glass in the spring of 1990 and with oil paint the fall of 1990.  The full story is that I had dabbled in different kinds of paint such as tempra, acrylic, watercolor and gouache from junior high through the first couple of years in college.  I had not touched oil paint and I am not completely sure why.  Was I intimidated? I had seen what had been done by other students in that class and perhaps I was intimidated.  Another thought is that I was focusing on going into medical illustration and I had seen illustrations done in pen & ink, watercolor and gouache, but I do not recall seeing them done in oils.  Oil painting was not really on my radar.  My adviser suggested that I should give it a try and so with some reluctance I signed up for a class the fall of 1990.  The first semester started out rough.  The class was basically life drawing but using paint instead of pencils and charcoal.  My paintings were muddy, I had a hard time trying to mix and combine color.  Though it was difficult I fell in love with the medium.  The vibrancy of the colors, the smoothness of the paint, the smell of the oil and paint thinner (side note: my dad is an aircraft mechanic and when I was a child he would come home smelling of the aircraft cleaning chemical, so I associate him with odors such as paint thinner and turpentine).  I felt free as I painted, if I made a mistake or did not like something I could wipe it off or allow the paint to dry and paint over it.  I was hooked!  I kept taking these classes over a 2yr period and after graduating I kept painting.  Slowly a style began to emerge and  is evolving, becoming intertwined with my stained glass style.
A class mate of mine in college one day asked if I would like to work with him in his business of creating stained glass windows.  I said that I would and I began working with him in May 1990.  The artist's name is John Dobbs.  I learned the basics of glass cutting, fabricating a glass panel and installing the panel(s).  Just like oil painting I took to stained glass right away.  I enjoy the different textures and colors of glass and how I can combine them to create depth and dimension.  John also taught me how to hand bevel glass which I love doing.  I ended up working with John for 3 1/2 yrs until he moved to upstate New York.  I began my own business January 1996 in Anchorage, AK.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Japanese style screen doors

Currently I am working on several designs for Japanese style screen doors that slide back and forth.  The openings of the doors are 2 ft by 5ft and will be leaded glass panels incorporating clear textured glass and hand beveled glass.  Three designs are geometric, one is a combination geometric and curving lines, the last is a flowing design.  All designs flow from one door to the next.  One challenge in creating the actual panels is to get the design lines to line up between the doors. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Light Play

Growing up in Anchorage, Alaska one is very aware of light, how much or little there is.  I always kept track of how many minutes of light was gained or lost.  I always enjoyed the long days of summer, the long shadows, the long sunsets.  I would sit by the ocean and watch the sun set behind Mt Susitna and watch the orange glow move across the horizon as the sun came up a few short hours later.  Winter time was the opposite, but it was not pitch black as in some places like Seattle.  The snow reflected light which made it more bearable.
I believe the amount of light throughout the years had an influence on my art vision.  When I create glass windows I use textured clear glass as a way to give privacy but allow light in to a space.  It also plays with whatever diminished light there is and with colors that are around.  In painting I am constantly aware of light and dark to create depths and movement.  In both glass and painting I think about how to play with light. 

Images of art glass and oil painting