|Paintings in process in my studio|
My friend Ruth Armitage invited me to participate and directed me to answer some questions about my work. I'm happy to oblige. Thanks, Ruth.
Ruth is an energetic and creative woman who specializes in painting in watermedia. Many who live in the Northwest will recognize Ruth's early watercolor work with its focus on family photographs. She's currently working on colorful watermedia paintings that are abstractions of her memories of the family farm. When I study her large paintings I recognize fields, streams, roads, clusters of farm buildings, crop circles and so much more. She's added acrylic paint to her tool kit along with stencils and stamps and the results are amazing and are garnering her national awards and recognition. See her work here: Ruth Armitage.
Here are my answers to some rather tough questions:
How does my creating process work?
I start work by writing. I enter my studio and go either to my computer or to my easy chair, pick up a journal and start writing, thinking about what I intend to do that day. I state my intention for the day’s work and even if I don’t stick to my first intention it still gives me a starting point. I find it’s easiest to work in series and I have several going at once… maps, family history, faith are a few series ideas on a list I made several years ago. I enjoy designing interesting composition and sometimes work on a series of non-representational pieces using papers I’ve created.
Once in a while I need to build up my stash of collage papers so I clear off my big design table, get out different types of white paper and watermedia paint and have fun painting the papers using many different methods of surface design I learned or developed over the years of working as a textile artist. I also generate papers using stencils and stamps and simple printing techniques. The resulting papers feature unique colors, combinations, visual textures, and patterns that are unavailable elsewhere. That’s why I call myself a “collage painter”. I paint with papers I’ve created.
|Painted paper file|
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Unlike most collage artists I rarely use appropriated images in my work. It’s easy to get into trouble when using images torn from books and magazines and the resulting work tends to seem rather impersonal. I’ve lived a long time, (I’m in my mid-70s), and my life has been interesting enough that I have lots of memories of travel and experiences that produce all the stories I need to create a body of personal work. Memories are the stuff I build on, making my work unique to me. I have a strong background in design and color and am a stickler for producing pieces which are structured on good design. After decades of working with paper, paint, and textiles I find that composition seems to happen naturally, almost without thought.
What am I working on?
This summer I’m concentrating on drawing. I believe that good drawing skills empower an artist to make better work no matter what her/his preferred genre. I enrolled in the first session of Sketchbook Skool which started in April, and am now working on the second session. I’ve become obsessed with daily drawing and my skills are improving.
|Drawing - Watercolor Table|
At the same time I’m working on a series of collages which feature my big collection of old road maps, mostly of the sort that were free at gas stations all across the country. I also use AAA maps and maps collected on foreign travels. I cut the maps into strips, tear them into sections (often along the original folds line where they naturally tear), combine them with painted papers, or use the pattern of lines within a map as the inspiration for a painting.
|Shredded maps and spray inks|
1. Judy Wise: Though I haven't actually met Judy I've followed her blog for years, having seen her incredible art journals on line. Judy is an amazing woman who works primarily in encaustic and is known for her book, Plaster Studio which was published by North Light, as well as several ebooks available on her blog and website. Judy teaches both locally and internationally in Australia, Bali, and Mexico.
2. Barbara Loyd: I met Barbara in Athens, Greece when an art tour group met for three weeks of painting in the Greek Isles. I knew nothing about watercolor or painting and Barb knew everything. I was in awe of the skillful way she mixed color, and I'm continually amazed about her deep knowledge of color and paint. Her blog, Color in our World, is all about color, its history and its use. She taught art for many years in the Texas school system where she now lives surrounded by fields of blue bonnets.
3. Annie Salness: Annie is my neighbor although we hadn't met until last year when we were introduced by a mutual friend, Carol Marine. Annie has painted for years but had a major setback when a stroke left her partially paralyzed on her right side. But nothing slows Annie down for long; she taught herself to paint with her left hand and kept right on painting. People who know her work can see no difference in her skills. She loves to paint people's pets and also enjoys commissions.
I could tell you more about these three remarkable women but the ball is now in their court and I'll leave it to them to tell you more about their own work.