September 23, 2014

Getting Ready for my Show, Continued ...

For Danni - 30 x 24" Acrylic on Canvas by Tracy Feldman

One of the things that artists do when getting ready for a show is to evaluate works that we thought were done. Some, we decide need to be reworked.  Today I did just that with a  piece that is part of my Rouen Cathedral series.  It's called  For Danni because I was thinking of my sister, Danni, a certified "Zen Tangle" artist and teacher.  I originally conceived this piece as monochromatic, and liked it that way.  But looking at it through the eyes of someone who was attending my show, I realized that it didn't "pop" the way I wanted it to, so I went back and modified it.  

I've included a whole series of pictures so you can see the process I went through.  The difference between the second- to-last stage and the final stage is subtle: I glazed a yellow over the orange and then extended the glaze over the blue background to tone down the "sun",  helping link the painting's warm and cool elements.

In the next couple of days, I am going to finish framing this piece for the show; then it will be ready.  Yea!  If you come to the show at the Mulberry Art Studios (on October 3, 5-8, October 4, 10 - 5, or October 5, noon to 4), tell me what you think.

September 20, 2014

The Show Cards Have Arrived! Want One?

I generally don't like the PR part of getting a show ready; it makes me nervous.  But designing the poster and cards for the show is closer to art, so I enjoy that.  This is a picture I took of the cards that just arrived for me to mail out and distribute.

The actual cards are nicer than this picture of them, thank goodness. I had them made online by Staples.  The price was good, and would have been even better if I had had a longer turn-around-time for the show.  The opportunity to do it landed in my lap less than a month before the opening, and because of that, I needed to pay for fast shipping (which went from free to $26).  So if you need to order postcards, I'd recommend them, particularly if you have a longer turn-around-time.

Two cautions, however. First I put a message on the other side, and realized when they arrived that I should have used a larger font size for the delicate type face I chose --  stay above 12 points with such fonts.  Also, in order to be able to create these cards so inexpensively, they don't allow you to edit or cancel an order after you submit the artwork, even though they have "edit" on the order review form. I didn't notice that, so I added something that I had forgotten to the back, and didn't understand why I had to redo the order information; I ending up getting 1000 cards (at a good price per card, but WAY too many cards) instead of 500.  So learn from my mistake and don't do that yourself.

That being said, you can understand why I'm happy to send you a copy of the card if you send me your contact information -- even if you can't make the show. :)

September 19, 2014

New A&R Work for New Works Show

Spinner for A&R Construction
      Over the last couple of days, I've been working on a number of items to get ready for the show.

     This is the centerpiece of a new construction for one of the three series of works I'm including in my New Works Big & Small show.  This piece is part of my A&R (Addiction and Recovery) Series.   It is the spinner that will be part of a carnival-style "prize" wheel. Attendees will have the chance to spin this Denial and Acceptance wheel.  The upper half of the wheel will present different symptoms of the underlying disease of addiction that people can get if they choose to keep living in denial about things in their lives, or life in general.  The lower half of the wheel will represent the greater peace, health, etc. that addicts, and others, can have  if they choose to accept themselves as they are and their "life as life is".

      It was fun trying to figure out how to make this spinner.  I started by recycling a Lazy Susan that was part of an old  storage system in my kitchen. I cut off the unwanted protrusions that held the containers and recycled an old piece of wood to make the double arrows.  To make the spinner, I recycled an old closet doorknob. The knob not only serves as the spinner, but it also ensures that the (lighter) Denial arrow will always land on one of the addiction regions. Finally I added a dollar store mirror to finish off the center.   I love the fact that the image in the mirror will not spin, so it will be a constant even as the wheel moves.

    I have included mirrored elements in many of the works in this series to do two things.  First, to add visual interest.   Second,  to enable viewers to see themselves in these pieces so that they will process them on a deeper level.   My intention in including this spinner piece in the A&R series is to introduce the idea that denial increases vulnerability to addiction[s], whereas acceptance not only reduces it, but can also aid recovery.

    I'll post another image of the piece when I'm done with it.  I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas about this piece and its intent.  If you want a chance to spin it yourself, come to the show at Mulberry Art Studios (19 - 21 N. Mulberry St., Lancaster, PA) in October.   I'll be at the gallery to talk with attendees at the First Friday opening on October 3rd (5 - 8) and during Lancaster's Fall Art Walk on the 4th (10 - 5) and  5th (noon - 4).  You can also contact me to arrange to have the show come to your area.

September 16, 2014

New Work for the New Works Show

F&M Stained Glass - 28 x 28", Oil on Canvas by Tracy Feldman
As I shared in an earlier post, I'm going to be blogging about getting ready for my new show, New Works Big & Small by Tracy Feldman

This is one of the new works I created in the last couple of days because I needed another piece to include in my Reclaimed series.

     This series grew out of the general techniques I used to create my Rouen Cathedral series.  However, these abstracts are painted/constructed upon the bones of earlier paintings.  I used tape to preserve glimpses of the original images, laying it down
to create a new pattern.  

"F&MSG" underpainting
       These images demonstrate the evolution of the image -- from the original underpainting, to the image getting taped up to create the "stained glass" panels and the dividing lines, to the completed work. The work I chose as the underpainting was something I created years ago in a painting class I sat in on at Franklin & Marshall College.  It was taught by a wonderful painter and painting teacher, Scott Wright. He encouraged us to be freer in the way we approached painting, including doing things like painting works in the flat and then later stretching them on canvas.  

      While I loved the class, and thought the work was somewhat interesting, I didn't like it well enough to include in a show.  So it languished for years.  I spotted it when looking for an underpainting. It intrigued me as a candidate for an underpainting because I could use both the unfinished and painted parts to create an underpainting with a large contrast in value. I also loved that parts of a scene of F&M would be preserved.  So I stretched the canvas to preserve the range in value and bits of the original work. 

      As you can see below, the first step to creating a "stained glass" work (a term invented by a 7 year old painting friend of mine), was to use different widths of tape to define and divide the "panes" in the overpainting.  You can spot the different widths because each width of tape was a different color.  

    Underpainting w/tape
  • Here us an interesting painting tip if you ever decide to do your own "stained glass paintings":  Use a putty knife to burnish the edges of the tape and then paint from the tape into the "panes".  If you fail to do this step, paint will be much more likely to bleed under the tape lines, looking quite sloppy.
     At this point I needed to make a decision about the colors of the panes.  I chose a 3-color harmonious group: yellow-green, violet, and yellow-orange.  I knew that I'd be able to combine them together to create vibrant neutrals, and to add white to extend the range of values (dark to light) when needed.
Completed Work

  • Here's another tip:   Don't panic if your overpainting colors look bizarre against the tape, and don't panic if the work looks very sloppy before you remove the tape. 
  • Also, if what you see revealed in the "lines" isn't exactly what you wish, remember that you can use paint to make the modifications you want to get the image that you want. In this piece, I used white paint to clean up some of the marks that sitting around had left on the canvas.  I also used it to change the demarcation between the dark and white underpainting.  For example, having the white lines arrow down into the dark areas seems to me to be much less jarring that  leaving a sharp division between the two areas of the painting.
  • Finally, like with any abstract, don't feel tied to the original orientation you chose when you started the work.  You won't really know until you complete the piece how you want the work to be oriented.  In fact, if you look carefully at the work in progress and the completed image, you'll notice I rotated the work at each stage of the painting process.  
      I really like the completed piece much more than I did the underpainting.  The colors I chose and the neutrals I created with those colors seem to create a mid-century modern aesthetic in the work. I intend to put the work in a floating frame for the show. 

      I'd love your help with making some decisions about how to frame the work. I don't know whether I want to leave the outer part of the frame natural, which would be consistent with a mid-century modern feel, or to paint it black. If I leave the outside neutral, I probably will paint the inside area of the frame black. If I paint the outside black, however, I think it would be best to use a color from the piece as inspiration for the "float" area.  

     I really would like to hear your comments and thoughts.  I'd also love to see you at the show.  I'll be there at Mulberry Art Studios in Lancaster, PA for First Friday, October 3 , 5 - 8 and during Lancaster's Fall art Walk: Sat., 10 - 5 and Sunday, noon - 4. 

September 11, 2014

I have a major show coming up in October!

     I have been working to get up the courage to start showing my work again.  Fear had caused me to put off finding out about Lancaster's Fall Art walk until after the Labor Day holiday.  I assumed that would be OK because the event usually is in mid October.  But, I was wrong.  Instead, it's the first weekend in October, so I was late for arranging a place to do that.  Even so, I contacted my old gallery and asked them if I could participate in their group of artists who were showing during the event-- even if I couldn't be listed individually in the event literature.

     When the gallery owner, April, got back to me while I was driving to pick up my husband, Arny, I discovered some discouraging and some surprisingly lovely information.  She first shared that while she'd be happy to have me participate, she wasn't sure I'd want to do that because Fall Art Walk no longer was drawing the huge crowds it used to draw. However, she went on to share, Lancaster's First Friday gallery walk still was a big draw.  Not only that, but an opportunity had opened up for next month that she knew I could do, and she'd like to make available to me.  One of the shows that was supposed to open in one of her major Gallery spaces, and run all month, had just cancelled.  And, she was wondering if I'd want to do that -- despite the time being so short and the fact that I did not yet have a theme for the show.  I told her I'd have to talk with Arny about that, and get back to her.

     As I was finishing up my drive to get him, a theme came to me for a show: New Works Big and Small, by Tracy Feldman.  I realized that since I last had had a major show, my work had been evolving and could be broken into three major series -- plus be filled in with a number of the smaller, affordable works I had been producing as part of my dailypaintworks activities.  Over the next few weeks, therefore, I'm going to be blogging about the work I'm going to be doing to get ready for the show, including stretching and framing completed works, and finishing/creating works that I ideally want to include in the show.  So, keep checking this blog site to see how I'm progressing, and to get some instructional "how to's" about reframing pieces, making and stretching finished canvases, and making shadow box frames for works in the show that I believe need them.

     I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments and advice. 

September 9, 2014

Mmmm Ginger Golds!

Mmmm Ginger Golds --  10 x 10" acrylic on canvas by Tracy Feldman
   This is the third in my series of paintings that is inspired by things that cheer me (and my heart).  In this case, what cheers me is being able to appreciate something lovely for the short time it is in my life.

    Now is early fall, and one of my favorite seasonal apples have started appearing.  They are ginger gold apples.  I love their look, their crispness, and their sweet/tart taste.  Earlier in my life (before recovery), having these lovely apples become available would have been a bitter sweet experience because I'd constantly be thinking, "Don't enjoy them too much. Don't get too attached to them because they're going to be gone soon".

      Now, my pleasure at having them is no longer tinted by such unneeded musings (unneeded sources of pain).  I can just enjoy them when I have them, and paint them to let myself enjoy them in another way. That is why I call this piece Mmmm ... Ginger Golds! I hope you like this little paining as much as I enjoyed painting it.  Tell me what you think.

     As usual, I'm going to be posting this little piece on my gallery site, and am putting it up for auction.  If you are interested check it out here.   This is the third in my series of paintings that is inspired by things that cheer me (and my heart).  In this case, what cheers me is being able to appreciate something lovely for the short time it is in my life.


September 4, 2014

Waterside Panorama

Waterside Panorama, 7 x 14", Acrylic on Canvas, by Tracy Feldman
     This is my second in a series of paintings that I am doing of places that bring me peace when I am there.   Although the exact location is the water view from the cliffs beneath Turkey Point State Park in Maryland, the view is meant to be an iconic representation of any of the waterside places that I love.   I love hearing the water lapping on the shore and walking along with very few people around.  That desire to more quietly commune with nature while at the shore is one of the reasons we love the west coast of Ireland, and one of the reasons we love visiting what we call "the beach" (the east coast's Atlantic beaches) in the off season.  Being at these places in the summer can be exciting, but the throngs of people running and shouting and the traffic jams don't inspire the peaceful feeling of calm that feeds my soul.

       I think that using a panoramic (whose dimensions are twice as wide as high, or vice-versa) is a perfect way to capture the feel of such a view.  I also love the fact that now my iPhone can allow me to so easily create a panoramic photo that I can use for a reference material.

     Once again, I'm putting this work up for auction on my DailyPaintworks website.  Check it out if you are interested in it.

September 1, 2014

Spiritual in New Castle, Delware

Spiritual in New Castle - 14 x 11", acrylic on canvas,
by Tracy Feldman

     For the next week's worth of paintings, I'm going to be producing works of things that feed me spiritually.    Today's little painting is of a place that I have visited numerous times over the years.  Each time I'm in this building, its quiet simplicity and beautiful light take my breath away and fills me with great peace.  This is even more true if we happen to be there when the late day sun pours into the sanctuary.

      The subject of this painting is the sanctuary of New Castle Presbyterian Church.  New Castle, Delaware is a historic little town right on the Delaware River.  It was the first place William Penn landed in the New World.  But, it's history even pre-dates English settlement of this part of the US.  In fact, the oldest building in New Castle dates from when the area was a Dutch colony.  The building I painted today was built in 1707.   I love its simplicity, dark wooden pews and large windows with deep window wells.  I am so grateful that the church's original simplicity has been preserved for over 300 years; and I also am grateful that the congregation still keeps the door to the sanctuary open for anyone who wants to visit (like me and my sweetie).

     I hope you enjoy the piece as much as I enjoy visiting this place.  I'd love to hear your comments.  As usual, I'm going to be making this piece available by auction through my web gallery.  Because the piece is somewhat larger, I'm starting the bidding at $35.