Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Foggy Mountain Breakdown

Fog along Abbo's Alley, Sewanee
I am working toward an exhibit featuring trees and in the process, new materials are coming into play.  Actually, both of these things are inspired by Mary Rezny.  She presented a workshop recently where we worked with two types of photograms and Mary told us how she uses the photograms to create her evocative multi-media pieces. On top of the photograms (which are developed using dark room chemicals) Mary ads texture and then color with oil paint. The work is finished with Dorland's Wax Medium.  I gave oil paint and the wax medium a try and found both to be quite intriguing. The wax can be used with oil paint, which actually cuts drying time. As a sort of varnish, the wax levels out the surface and protects all the materials underneath.

Crimson and Clover
To the right is the piece that I created from my photogram made at Mary's workshop. I used a spackling compound to create the texture, a continuation of the photo's image into the surrounding border, as instructed.  Mary Rezny used actual plant material in some of her work, so I was inspired to add my Earth Day four-leaf clover to my work.  The photogram was of a sprig of humongous clover and some poinsettia leaves. I call it Crimson and Clover. With that in mind, I used crimson and green oil paints, modified with ochre. I don't have a lot of experience with oil paints and I was astounded with their malleable quality. I knew I wanted to use them some more. The wax medium provided further encouragement because it adds further flexibility to the medium (and makes for easier clean-up.) 

   Then I saw an article in The Artist's Magazine which combined acrylic with oil pastel and that inspired me to try the painting above. The foggy image cried out for a glaze of oil and wax medium. I started with an acrylic underpainting and then added the oil glazes and details with oil pastel.  After the oil is completely dry, I'll add a varnish with the wax, which should give just the right luminosity for the foggy scene that  Sewanee is so famous for!

    This painting and others will be part of an exhibit at Mary Rezny's studio/gallery in the month of August. Mary came up with the title: Out of the Woods. I'll have more on this as the details are firmed up. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Vacation Eyes Encore

May's Lick, KY home of the Asparagus Festival
Brad with his fossil art
       Over the weekend, I was able to enjoy a return visit to the Asparagus Festival in May's Lick, KY. Last year, I was accompanied by Mary and it was fun to witness her charmed reaction to a place so close to home (please see Seeing the Home Turf with Vacation Eyes, 5/25/11).  This year, I was solo and in sort of a hurry (which is blinding for vacation eyes) but I made sure that I got some photos so I can share the unique and lovely quality of May's Lick and the Asparagus Festival.

Musicians accompany the art competition 
     I have been enjoying asparagus this spring. It came on early, so there has been a month of fine eating even before the festival.  My fossil art friend, Brad, has been participating in the art competition at the Asparagus Festival and he had a terrific idea for this year's entry.

Larry found a selection of quirky sticks. Brad envisioned them as Guiness Record holders for asparagus (forked, number of heads, twisty and cherry.)  He created AsparaGuiness.  I was not able to discreetly photograph his work in place. But I do have a pre-assembly photo (that includes Brad!) Larry also provided the beautiful cedar slice base.  Brilliant! Even with the wonderfulness of it all, Brad did not repeat the victorious outcome of last year, when his entry Whale Food came home with the blue ribbon.
Devilishly clever AsparaGuiness

Larry and his special walking sticks (simply the best!)

It was a fine day for the festival, which goes from 10 am to 10 pm. There was music everywhere. There was an oompah band just outside the Presbyterian church, where the competition was exhibited, along with archival asparagus art work and all things asparagus in general. Inside the church, a folk duet was singing and strumming along.  When I left the church, a featured band was amplified at the main music venue. It was truly and appropriately a festival atmosphere.
The oompah band

    I bought two pounds of beautiful asparagus and stopped by to check on Brad and his fossil art and Larry with his walking sticks. I bought another walking stick so that I will always have one handy for a walk in the woods. Larry's are the best!  All in all, this a festival to enjoy, even if it is so close to home.