Archives for posts with tag: botanical art

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For the last three years my work has been exclusively collage. Recently, though, I have focused more closely on my old love of landscape with the result that the collage aspect of those paintings has been limited to foreground grasses which do tend to add an element of depth and perspective by creating for the viewer the illusion that he o she is in close proximity to the image looking far into the distance.

Depending on the nature of the scene, however, and the size of the piece I am finding that adding plants is not a requirement to achieve the desired result. Hence my last three small works (the largest is 6″ x 6″)

While I have no intention of abandoning my work in collage, I did enjoy allowing the paintings to stand on their own.

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Back at the turn of this new century, I made a big series of large works on canvas that incorporated metal washers. For me, they have passed the test of time so I decided to miniaturize the concept and incorporate my current resin-coated works on wood panel – some with pressed plants and – gasp – some without.

I’ll be showing these this season in a number of venues including the Artist’s Cooperative Gallery of Westerly, the Memorial Day weekend VIRTU Art Festival in Westerly, the Providence Artisan’s Market at Lippett Park, and later in the season at the Wickford Art Festival, the Warren Art Festival, the Strawberry Festival in Newport and more. I also have month-long exhibits scheduled at the Green Marble Coffee Shop in Mystic in June and at the Yellow House Coffee Shop in Stonington in July. Hoping to see lots of old friends.IMG_2264IMG_2270IMG_2278

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This little interpretation of a Florida salt marsh is 4th in line for its first coat of shiny resin. Temperatures in New England have been at record lows so I’m holding back on the finishing steps of my collage series until Mother Nature gets with the program. Resin likes a nice warm room in which to cure. Meanwhile I just got my first aookication for a spring show out in the mail so will keep plenty of work in the pipeline.

This piece measures just 4″ x 6″ Making small pieces is one way of keeping my work affordable but I’m always open to making a bigger version of any miniature.

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I just finished a small custom piece that included a “palm tree” made from simple ferns and sensitive ferns so took the opportunity to take inventory. Fresh out of Mexican Feathergrass but off to Florida in a few weeks where I will hunt and gather them. For ferns I may have to resort to an off-season visit to my favorite nursery. I see Japanese painted ferns in my future.

Meanwhile I received a shiny new photography tent which makes it possible for me to end my long battle with glare when photographing my resin peices. Hopefully this means I’ll be putting more of them into my Etsy shop.

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Until now I’ve mastered my resin-pouring skills on little wood panels ranging in size from 4″x4″ to 8″x8″ and I’ve learned a lot. Enough to brave a large 16″16 piece. Not exactly a piece of cake, but in the end it worked. For future pieces this size I may make life easier by using a larger squeegee tool than the playing cards I set out when I resin groups of smaller pieces. Maybe a deck of kid-sized Go Fish cards from the toy department will do the trick. Inexpensive sponge paintbrushes work well for smoothing out the drips on the sides of the panels in the first hour of drying. By then the resin has set enough to stay put during the rest of the cure time.

I made this background wash by dropping well-diluted acrylic paints into a thick wash of water. I allowed most of it to dry at it’s own rate but created some interest at the corners by blowing stronger colors toward the center with a drinking straw. I tried out a burst of dramatic papyrus but, in the end, settled on the smooth curves on nasturtium leaves which nestled naturally into pools of color. These washes are a test for my patience as I have learned that only slow unaided drying of pooled water yields the thin filaments of deep color that I love against the transparencies.

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The holiday art and craft show season is upon us and I am getting ready for four of them. On December 7 and 8 I’ll be at Briggs Nursery in North Attleboro Massachusetts. If you haven’t been to this fabulous venue you should make a day of it. It’s that good!

After that, on Sunday, December 14, I’ll be at the indoor Providence Flea whose founders have just been recognized among he best entrepeneurs of the year!
Meanwhile, I’m working on pieces for two season-long shows in Rhode Island. One is at Chapel View, Rhode Islands’s newest high-end gallery. The Chapel View complex is adjacent to Garden City in Cranston.
The second, Peckham’s Greenhouse Local Handmade Holiday Show, begins November 18 and runs through Christmas at Peckhams’s Greenhouse in Little Cranston, Rhode Island. features the work of some 20 Rhode Island and New England artists and artisans.

Once the season is over, I’ll be free turn my attention to new work for May. Meanwhile, hope to keep in touch through this blog and through my Etsy shop. Happy Holidays everyone!!

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This 12″ x 6″ resin-coated piece features several plants I’ve used before and one I haven’t — bald cedar. The long cedar leaf spans all three of the rectangles in the painting and ties the whole thing together, I think. Compositionally, it serves almost the same purpose as the garden asparagus I’ve used in some of my works on paper, but is sturdier and easier to deal with at the stage of adhering the plant to the support. Once the resin is poured, any leaf or part of a leaf that is not firmly attached to the wood panel tends to float to and through the surface–a problem that no amount of poking with a toothpick is likely to fix — so proper attachment is critically important.

When using white backgrounds, I don’t always leave the cradle sides white as well, but it works well in this case.

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This week I’m feeling confident in my resining techniques and comfortable with my full-sized propane torch, so I’m trying my hand at some larger pieces. This one measures 6″ x 12″. If that doesn’t sound large, try a few steps of the resin dance yourself and you’ll see it my way. The working window is only about 20 minutes from the first pour to removal of the last bubble and I work with up to six pieces at a time. Still, I’m on the march and have larger panels waiting in the wings.

For the real plants in the foreground, I chose a mix of weeds and garden plants — wild grass seed heads, a piece of Japanese maple, and a little leaf of curly coleus.

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Foam flowers or Heuchera, are fuzzy little white stems that don’t make themselves particularly useful for purposes of floral composition. The leaves of this hardy plant, on the other hand, still look three-dimensional even when pressed flat. I love the depth of color around the veining and I especially love the asymmetrical and somewhat tattered look of the outer edges. I added some abstract ‘framing’ to this one with touches of sap green, cobalt blue and gold and I popped on a couple of dew drops for fun. The edges are painted in the same colors and style and the whole 5×5 piece is coated in three layers of glossy resin.

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At the VIRTU Art Festival in Westerly, Rhode Island, last week, my little 4 x 4 landscape was the first to go so I felt emboldened to try my hand at an 8 x 8. The real botanicals in this piece are all in the immediate foreground. I used feathergrass against the white of the reflection in the water, added just the tip of a ginkgo leaf on the lower right, and a few individual sections of a Japanese maple leaf just for some added drama and color. As it turns out, feathergrass tends to lift a little on the first application of resin making it hard to reach a glass-like finish in less than three coats, so I had to wait a full 4 days to see the finished product. I think it was worth it though. Next in line for the resin bath is a farm scene in which I use only my ferns at the edges of a field.