So this is a mock up i have been working on while having my coffee most days the last week. Since Casa De Arte went to live on the West Coast 🙂 I have been anxious to get to another piece in a similar vein, this is it. 4 x 6 foot. This is mock up on paper that will be my guide!
Do any of you participate in the NY Art Expo? I’m feeling so grateful for the commissions I have gotten and really considering putting that money towards getting a spot at the art expo. I know its like a gamble, … Continue reading
This gallery contains 4 photos.
The opening reception at the Bethlehem House Gallery was last night and it was amazing!! Such great artists exhibited work there, very strong show. And Ward does such a fabulous job at curating. It was a wonderful evening and I … Continue reading
I am so very excited to start this new piece!! I’m going to call it Pablo for the moment because when I did my photoshopped mock up (The 4-part image) that’s how I saved it so that’s how I will refer to it for now.
I was commissioned to do this 4 panel painting. I was so excited about the direction of this piece I was sharing it with someone who purchased two paintings only a couple of weeks ago. They to were drawn into this painting (like I have been) and asked if I could create it in four 30″x30″ panels!! It is such an amazing feeling when your job (at least one of them!) is doing the thing you love to do most and I am so thankful for these opportunities.
I love the layering effect on the original pieces and I wanted to see in the real world how I would have to manipulate my materials to give me a similar effect. We know its impossible for the interpretation to be exact but I am really happy with the direction it’s going. That dark pink piece to the right, ignore, it may be too dark for the series. I also have to do a tiny bit more work on getting that bluish color perfect. But I absolutely love the amount of transparency the light pink and the grey-ish blue give. On the top test image, I used graphite on wood and then I painted an acrylic white in no particular shape/order …It’s a material test only. I mixed my colors and brushed it onto paper first and hung the paper up to dry. I like to paint on paper and have been using this technique for a while and there are a few reasons why. First, although I can mix the acrylic paint with a medium or water, using thin nearly transparent paper really adds to the translucency and I can control the layering effect more accurately. Also, the mark making on the papers are more expressionist-like, painterly gestures and completely free and independent mark making. However when I cut these dried papers I can have more control over the placement of marks. It gives me two opportunities! And of course, although I often rip my papers to place onto the canvas, I can also cut and get nice clean edges. So there are a lot of benefits painting on paper in combination to applying straight to my panel.
I also am working on another commission currently for a woman in Chicago who asked me to create a low VOC footprint as I possibly could for her painting. Interestingly in my search to do this, I came up with a “green” VOC FREE satin varnish that I tested on this piece. I did a lot of research to come up with the perfect varnish for a large 7 ft piece I am doing and I used this test piece to try it out. The quality is amazing! It dries in 3 hours, completely odor and VOC free and really gives a nice seal and sheen to the work but not too heavy. I may order a gallon of it and use as the varnish for Pablo.
So, do what you love and what you are passionate about and do it hard, as hard as you can and good things happen! I am happy to say I have given up one (ONE lol) of my editing jobs to devote to painting now. I wish I could give up the second evening job working at home for a hospital in Houston editing but at the same time I can step back and see how lucky I am I have my days to work on paintings and then I can work my editing job at home in the evening/night and stare at my paintings planning my next marks!!!! What more can a girl ask for! Happy Sunday!
Getting this baby, “After Guernica”, ready to send to a buyer who found it on Saatchi Art. I’m thrilled that its going to a very good home, but a little sad that its leaving. This painting was a breakthrough piece for me and also the history of the original by Picasso was so powerful and strong that I was even emotional painting this one! It is my own take on it, abstracted Picasso’s, something I had to do because I was so fascinated with his. I spent a month just staring at it online, printed several pages hung around my studio. The composition is so perfect in his piece. I enjoyed creating it because it was different for me, I had to think about how I was going to make it my own, abstract certain pieces, which were the important things to stay. There was almost a science to this one and a concentration that I enjoyed for a change. This one lead me to do my latest painting on the cover of my website http://www.susanwashingtonfineart.com. Anyway this one ships out tomorrow but I did another version of this (because I’m just intense like that ha!) with the colors opposed. I will be finishing the other beauty, the last one, off to go into the show opening at the Bethlehem House Gallery, July 31!
I spent some time cleaning up the studio….dropped a gallon of gesso on the hardwood floor in the process…but now that it’s a little more sorted and I have everything hung I’m feeling ready to tackle more work! I have 18 more paintings coming in from a previous show next week and visitors that will be coming to the studio!
So, during the time I spent cleaning up the studio I started to reflect as I thumbed through some paintings. I thought about the start of this journey, the new style of work I have been working on for the past seven months or so. When I started I was so incredibly frustrated. It was September or October of last year and I knew what I wanted to accomplish, it was absolutely crystal clear in my head. I just had a really hard time interpreting it. I had worked on so many sketches, paintings, collages, etc. I sewed leather and canvas and fabric together. I did everything…I just was not satisfied. I went into the city and went to galleries and museums. But it was that one day at MOMA – that was the turning point.
After spending about five hours at MOMA I felt completely on overload. I cried at the contemporary works, my favorites by Oscar Murillo. I picked up the installation piece he had, the sewed canvas and moved it around (we were allowed 🙂 I was in awe of it, i wanted to hide under it and just stay there! But I went on. I cried at the Rauschenberg, I cried at the Motherwell, I cried because Conrad Marca-Relli’s sleeping figure was not on view. And finally I turned to my husband and said I had to leave. I felt as if i had absorbed so much information, so much emotion, so much brilliance (brilliance of these fine artists) it was just too much. We left and I was quiet the entire ride home (I’m never quiet).
How much can you absorb before you bust. How much can you absorb and still be true to yourself. As artists we need to look at this amazing art to understand art. You cant shut it out. But you also have to know when to distance yourself from it. Yes, I do believe that our art is a cumulation of our own world, what we see, what we endure, events, etc. When we see these fabulous paintings, even if we do have it in our head when we are doing our own work, it will be different. It will be different because the experiences in my life will make it difference. But when I set out doing this, I didn’t want it to be influenced by the outside world. Not that anything we do will ever be original, unless we never looked at a piece of art in our life, but that is just not possible.
When I got home I locked myself in my studio, convinced I was on the right path. Only to give myself several days of 24 hour working to realize I didn’t. It was soon after that I decided I’m done with this. I took out every canvas I owned and dumped it in the garbage!!!! OUTSIDE in the garbage. I declared defeat. My husband told me that it was the most insane thing I had ever done and he stopped talking to me! I was satisfied with the decision.
By Day 2 I was a mess. I really like to stick to my guns but it was literally painful inside. All of a sudden things started to seem clearer now. I knew how to get to where I wanted to go. But I made this idiotic pact with myself and I wasnt going to go out to that garbage. I cried every day. It was unbearable. I had no outlet! I had this information in my head, I could visualize it, feel it but yet…I was so stubborn.
This lasted for about five days….the day before the garbage pick up. I couldn’t bear it anymore. I went out and got my canvases and wood panels and threw them back in the studio. I blasted my music and locked the door and sat on the floor with charcoal and poured my soul and the complete frustration I put myself the past week out onto the wood panel. I really got lost in it, it just happened, as if it was not from myself. I didn’t even think about it. I didn’t even think about the composition! It was about flow, and letting it all out of my heart and my mind and overflow onto the board because ….well, it just had to.
When I was done I knew I had it. I let my husband come in and he was stunned (probably happy because he knew I would be a normal human again). Now mind you I didnt even paint it..it was my charcoal drawing on the board. But he recognized to that I arrived at my solution. For the next many months I wouldn’t go to the museums or the galleries.
I would go to the local galleries and support my friends at shows, but I had to put up my guard and not get too involved in the art. I felt that I needed to shut it out. I had absorbed enough and I wanted this new series of work to be completely original, undiluted, purely my own and not contaminated with any other art I saw.
I’m really feeling content now and proud. I have ideas of other things I want to investigate and I am sure my work will continue to evolve, it is only natural. But I have certainly learned not to give up, never. You have to go through these difficult times, it’s all part of the process, like growing pains. It’s all good.
The photo above is a painting that was sold at a gallery in Easton today.
Good night friends!
It’s been an interesting week working on some smaller paintings. When you think of abstract art you usually think large scale…well I do anyway. I always preferred working on large paintings but I had to do some smaller ones for an upcoming show. I have to say its not too bad and I am kind of enjoying it. I still love the impact of a my larger pieces, but I am realizing these are just as interesting. I have created about 8 already in this 5 x 7″ size. The test piece I did the epoxy on worked! Normally I cannot do any resin coat on canvas because it sinks it down in the center. But these little canvases are pretty sturdy and smaller (gallery wrapped too) that they hold the resin beautifully…oh and it is so much nicer to resin one small piece at a time, I come out of it semi clean without resin sticking to my arms and legs for days!
I uploaded a few to my Saatchi account, check em out, let me know what you think!