We'll be celebrating the grand opening of Dawn Tappen's new studio in downtown Portland this weekend. I will have several original and affordable abstract paintings available for sale. If you are looking for something to do on this Memorial Day weekend, I would love to see you there!
I have been experimenting with an idea that I learned from Bob Burridge: underneath every great painting is a great abstract. It's not an absolute rule in my studio, but right now I am liking the results. I love building upon that foundation, even if none of it ends up being visible in the end.
As I grow into my life as an artist (and heal as a human being) I am not so quick to swallow every bit of information from teachers and healers anymore. I am choosing discernment and experimentation over the absolutes that I have been taught. Some of the advice I was given as a baby artist was devastatingly wrong for me and I am still unraveling the effects. At this point, any teacher or healer who approaches with "my way or the highway" is quickly shown the door.
As well, when I teach a workshop, I want the artists who study with me to have the freedom to say "oh hell no" to my suggestions and run with their own knowings. I am happy to share what works for me, but prefer standing in the atmosphere of working together to figure it out rather than being perched on a hill in a position of bossy authority.
This painting was built on top of a very colorful abstract and I am super pleased with the way she turned out. You can see more details here on my gallery page.
It's here! Today I can finally tell you what the videotaping shenanigans have been all about...I am excited to announce that I am one of the teachers in this spring's 21 SECRETS Art Journaling Class "emBODY".
Taking a Journey into the Expressive Figure
If you want to bring embodiment to some of those lovely faces in your art journal, but the idea of figure drawing has seemed too difficult or intimidating, this mixed media workshop can help you get started. By using altered images and collage, creating loose contour drawings and through
exploring line, shape and color, we will begin bringing our expressive figures into the picture. The emphasis here will be on expression, connection and kindness. No anatomy studies will be necessary!
As those of you who have followed my work know, I LOVE painting faces. However, I started to really feel the call to give those souls who appear in my work somewhere to live, in other words...to give them bodies! These are some of the simple techniques I used to begin getting figures into my journal pages and onto the canvas.
Let's talk details and early bird sign-up sales shall we?
Starting today Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 3am PST through 11:59pm PST on Friday, February 10th you can receive an early-bird discount of $10 off the regular price of $98. All you have to do is hit the link below and use the code emBODY at checkout. That's it! On Monday, March 28th you will receive an email on how to download your ebook and get started. Ready to go? Just click here!
Here are the details of what is included in the purchase of 21 SECRETS emBODY:
- A downloadable 150+ page eBook that contains 21 art journaling workshops packed with 25+ hours of videos, full color photos, templates, and clear instructional content that is yours to keep and refer to again and again.
- Unlimited access to all workshops at once! You pick and choose which ones you do and when. There is no time limit or deadlines to meet — these workshops are yours to keep.
- Membership to the private 21 SECRETS Facebook community where you can share, be inspired, and receive warm, supportive feedback. I will be hanging out there to answer questions and see what you have created.
- The opportunity to learn a variety of art journaling approaches and techniques from the comfort of your home/studio.
- Belong to a supportive online artist community that has been growing strong since 2010! At 21 SECRETS we celebrate everyone’s unique expression and support artists in becoming confident and courageous while creating from the heart.
If this workshop is calling your name and you want in, you can just click here. This link will take you to a new window and show you how to sign up. Don't forget to use your early-bird discount emBODY at checkout to save $10! (This is an affiliate link, meaning that I will receive a portion of the sale should you decide to sign-up through me. All the love and thank-yous!)
I created this class with a few things in my heart. First, I want each student to feel encouraged to begin putting their own bodies into their pages and into their individual stories. Next, I hope that you are reminded over and again to approach, not only the art journal page, but your own precious body with a spirit of kindness and love. And finally, I hope that this workshop will help you begin to trust (or strengthen the trust that is already there) the wisdom of both your pages and your body. I hope to see you in class!
For my local Portland people, my final solo event of 2016 "Portraits of the Feminine" is currently hanging at La Vida Veggie in Beaverton.
I have several new pieces as well as a few old favorites in a variety of price ranges and sizes.
Lots of beautiful art and some delicious vegan food! The show will be up until Sunday November 28th. I hope you will come by and bring your friends!
Since taking a workshop this summer, I have playing around and experimenting with painting abstracts. One of the ways I practice is by creating small studies nearly everyday. My goal is to create 100 of these small works...I am currently up to 32! Here are a few examples from one of my sketchbooks:
Some turn out interesting and some become just a mess. It has been so freeing to not worry about making 'ugly' paintings and just practice new ideas, study color combinations and make expressive marks. I love what one of my teachers (Nancy Hillis) said about this, that what we call ugly might be something new trying to be born. And so funny too, some of what I didn't like at all, other people loved. Ah the beauty of art...
Taking this attitude into the studio has helped me to relax, trust, and put a little fun back into going to work. As I have been transitioning from a purely intuitive/creative process painter into studying technique, color theory, composition etc I can find myself trying to make art in the 'right' way. Sometimes this causes a) me to get uptight and b) the work to suck. Learning to integrate what I am studying with my own intuition and creative spirit is an ongoing process.
I took some of this creative experimentation out for a spin on these two paintings. Both will be heading off to the Oregon Society of Artists November "200 for under $200" show. Every painting in the show is 12"x12" on a 2" wood cradle panel. All they need now are titles!
If you have spent anytime at all hanging around my world, you know that I carry on a lot about this creative force of nature named Ardith Goodwin. She is a talented artist, creating impactful artwork that transmits love and beauty, as well as a truly gifted teacher.
I am beyond excited to announce that we will be joining forces April 7-10 2017 to offer “Painting The Expressive Figure” workshop in beautiful Fairhope AL. Over the course of 4 days we will sketch, explore light and color, scrape and paint our hearts out, all connected to something we both have great love for…the study of expressive faces and figures.
If you are wanting to take your figurative painting towards the power and impact of emotional expression, this is your class. People have already started signing up and we are going to have a great time (there might even be Moon Pies!) The cost for 4 days is $550 (and there is an all-supplies included option for $700 as well) All the details can be found here on my workshop page.
Autumn Exhibition at Dark Star Tattoo and Art Gallery opens tonight!
611 11th Street
"Lost Girls 1" This spirit was found through many layers of paint, lots of deconstruction and a little love. She is one of my favorites!
After this original was sold, a dear friend of mine asked for a print and so I decided to give it a try. They are so lovely (big thanks to my local printer!) I ended up keeping one for myself.
If you would love some "Billie" magic in your home (or know a music lover who would), I am offering 11" x 14" fine art prints on watercolor paper Price is $85 (includes shipping within the US).
'Going on Record' will feature a variety of art created on vinyl LP's by the members of the Westside ArtShare group (including me!). The show will hang at Insomnia Coffee Co. for the month of October, with a reception on Tuesday, October 4. The artworks will sell for $85 each.
Here are a few of my pieces, I have a couple of others in progress and there is some very cool art being made by the other members as well. If you are in the Portland area, I hope you will come out and see us.
In honor of world elephant day!
My "Portraits of the Feminine" collection is up at Cha Cha Cha in NE Portland (on Fremont). This was the first time I have ever had a solo event, so there were a lot of things to learn. I had recently sold several paintings so there was a short scramble to find a collection that felt cohesive. It seemed that for every item on the to-do list we completed, two more took its place. Hanging hardware and set-up. About me page to write. Painting information cards. Sales paperwork...pretty much everything created from scratch. There were some cranky days and late nights in our house and we learned so many things, including when it was time to take a break!
Since the show has been up, the response of the wait staff at the restaurant has been amazing. I have been moved by their sharing how good it feels to have my art in the space and the genuine comments about their connections to the work. My friends are stopping by and their responses have been so encouraging and thoughtful. This is why I love putting my work out into the world. I get reminded about how the paintings sing their songs of hope, love and connection and that gets felt in a meaningful way by the people who see it.
Here are some photos, some aren't too clear...the lighting in the restaurant is great for eating and drinking but a little tough on photography! If you want to take a closer look at the paintings, there are better photos in my gallery section.
Here is my partner working late into the night to be sure that everything is hung safely and cleanly...this is what love looks like late on a Sunday night!
This is still one of my favorite paintings. I am thinking about creating a series of work about Mary/Our Mother in the near future.
Finally figured out a way to hang these two paintings which were originally created on flat canvas boards. I like the solution we came up with. The piece on the left was created after the Paris bombings, I needed a place to put all my sadness.
And here is my artist statement. I always had this idea that I would someday create a final version of this and I would never have to work on it again! But I have finally figured out that...like the artist herself...this will always be a work in progress.
If you live in the Portland area, I would love it if you stopped by to have some tasty food and drink and take a look at the art. It will be up through Labor Day weekend.
I have been testing out some paintings for an upcoming group show in October. We will all be creating different artwork on old record albums. This has been a great deal of fun if a little challenging! I am having to test out different ways of creating texture and deconstructing without cracking the albums. I am having good luck with using both clear and white gesso, then adding thin layers of fluid acrylic paint mixed with GAC 100, a little charcoal and then using ink for the line work. The ink behaves completely differently on the album than it does on paper...there were some messes made and lessons learned...HA. Baby wipes and rags have been super useful for gently adding and removing paint.
The floral imagery and prints are inspired from a class I am taking with Pauline Agnew called "Flower Power". I do not usually paint florals or landscapes, my true love is always creating expressive faces and figures. But this summer of crazy times has called for some time-outs from all the intensity and relaxing into nature's beauty. As always, I am learning so much from Pauline, and not just about creating floral paintings. She is really an excellent teacher.
Here is another example of some of the work I have been doing this month. This painting sold within an hour of posting on Facebook, so thankful for the people who love and support my work.
I will post the information about the group show soon. If you are in the Portland area, I hope you will come by and take a look!
Still working with this painting as hard and horrible things have happened yet again this week. A good friend and former teacher of mine remarked today that artists have continued creating art through all of history...this is what we do. Thank you Connie for your reminder to keep the light on. #prayerpainting #prayersfortheworld
I am a fiercely private person and it can be easy to go to radio silence when I am struggling. But it seems important to say what is true, that depression and anxiety are making it hard for me to function right now. Many factors might be contributing, it's hard to know while in the middle of the storm.
Why speak up at all? Because I believe in the healing power of telling the whole story, not only the shiny bits. As a maker of medicine art, I trust in the beauty of including the lights and the darks. I work in cycles of deconstruction and rebuilding. My traditions lean on both the ability to sing songs of worship and songs of lament. I will not allow the darkness to have the last word.
Why speak here on my business page? Because world events are shifting everything and silence is no longer an option (if it ever was).
Sending much love and healing to you on this Monday morning.
Just a couple notes about what is happening here as I am wrapping up June. I entered several paintings at the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts open show. It was my first show, so there was a big learning curve in terms of applications, framing and labels just to name a few things! This is the biggest show of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, when we went down to see how everything looked on the walls there was SO much art to look at.
So THIS was super exciting! I talked myself through the process of entering this show by reminding myself that it was the first one and if nothing else came of it, it would be great practice. Instead, I was over the moon when I walked up and saw that I had received this honorable mention award.
I also entered my "Jungle Telegraph" painting (you can see it here in my gallery page). That lioness found her perfect home. Her new owners sent me a photo of where she is hanging on their wall, I LOVE when people find a painting that they know belongs to them.
Meanwhile back in the studio, I have continued on with several portrait studies. I am really playing around with using high contrast for more impact.
This piece was sent off to a dear friend of mine who is embarking on some major life changes. I completed this as part of a class study with Ivy Newport. We were studying the works of Picasso during his blue period. I am really pushing myself to expand from only painting faces into figures. I want these women and souls who are appearing in my studio to be embodied. However, as you'll see below, I continue to love creating portraits.
I'll be uploading some of these to my gallery sale pages in the next few days. It has been a great month, summer energy and creative fire are in full operation! New work is getting completed, paintings are being sent out to their new homes, possible show opportunities on the horizon. All in all, looking forward to July!
"This is the world we live in, it is a world with a lot of crosses. I would like to spend my life doing something about that." - Eugene Peterson
I started this painting a couple of weeks ago in response to some personal losses that needed acknowledgment and tending. Then came the news about the Stanford rapist sentencing. Absolute outrage. Young women being burned to death for refusing to submit to sex trafficking. Fury and heart-rending grief. On Sunday, a shooting that left 49 people dead. Assault rifles, mental illness and hate coming together in a storm of violence. More loss, more pain, death.
I am a praying woman and here's the question I am asking...what am I to do now? But before I can move ahead, I have been taking the advice of one of my elders Dr.Clarissa Pinkola Estes and marking the losses, the crosses, the places that a death has occurred. Lamenting and putting my questions and my frustrations and pain on this canvas. It is holding a lot right now.
It can't stop here. Lamenting and howling are for a season and I know that they must open the door to 'what now'. Art, love, hope is not just a tagline for me...it is part of my foundation. So what action will be called for next? I don't know, but I am trying to trust that the work will lead me forward.
Here are some updates on what is happening in my studio this week!
Remember this painting? Finally finished! This painting has such a presence of love and intimacy, I love to imagine them whispering secrets together and pondering all that has happened and all that is to come. It sold on Facebook before I even got a chance to post it in my gallery...woo! As usually happens, someone just knew that this painting belonged to her. So grateful for the people who love my art and bring it into their homes.
Still continuing on with my "Expressive Faces and Figures" class with Pauline Agnew. This class is rocking in my world. These are some color studies that I have been playing with. When I started out as an intuitive painter, I didn't really care much about mixing colors or do much thinking about color theory (yawn). I loved to just grab a color that called to me and go! I still operate on that instinct a lot and sometimes it really creates something unexpected and great. Lately though I am drawn in by the different shades and tones to be had when I blend and mix. Who knew what a luscious dark color you could get by mixing Ultramarine Blue and Van Dyck Brown Hue? Or that same blue mixed with Pyrrole Orange? Yum!
More face practice...my favorite! These were created with vine charcoal on mixed media paper. Looking to find shapes and create contrast. My final paintings have rarely had this type of detail before, I am still playing around to see how this gets integrated into my bigger work.
This is a light study using an old photo of Rembrandt's wife which I completely re-worked but tried to hold onto the classic "Rembrandt lighting". Love how this study turned out!
There are a few more pieces that I have been working on, mostly (you guessed it) face and lighting studies. I am looking forward to taking what I have learned here and integrating it into some larger paintings. I am always looking for that balance between following my intuition and impulses and thinking about what creates an exciting and beautiful piece of artwork. Shifting between developing skills and just letting loose!
I am getting ready for the Lake Oswego Art Festival at the end of the month, hope to have several pieces ready to show. If you want to follow what I am up to in the studio (with some lovely Pacific Northwest scenery thrown into the mix!), you can always find me here on Instagram or here on Facebook.
"Love is at the bottom of all we do" - Makoto Fujimura
People often say to me 'you are just so talented, I could never do that'. I agree that I have some gifts that, although I work to develop them, do come naturally without thinking. Capturing emotion, connecting to the energies and spirits of things (which is really mysterious to me and hard to talk about without sounding weird and woo), seeing imagery and faces in just about everything. The knack for connecting to healing information through making art. These are things that I would consider gifts.
I think that my current ability to create faces (and it is always shifting) comes from where the intersection of those gifts meet practice and devotion. I love bringing a face to life in a sketch or painting or even just because I have a pen in my hand! I have taken some online classes (am currently studying with Pauline Agnew) and learned different things from each person. I peer at people's facial features while watching television, this has helped me learn to actually see what a nose looks like and how one might vary from another. I have a collection of drawing tips on Pinterest (you can see my board here.) Some attempts are absolute disaster and they get painted over or reworked or just left as I move on to the next one.
So why all this practice? I practice because I love...that's the devotion bit. Getting better at rendering faces and figures matters to me. Tracking who wants to emerge and working to bring them to form is a huge part of my artistic framework (which I learned about from studying with Ardith Goodwin). I'm not sure that anyone would have said to me "wow, you are so talented" after seeing this first attempt at creating a face! But it is wildly important to me that I learn to give expression and form to energy and emotion. It is a vital part of how I tend to my spirit and my well-being. Lovely end results, while awesome, are often secondary to the time spent with my art supplies and listening as I am directed around the page or canvas. Devotion often brings me to the studio even when I don't feel like making art and I especially depend upon it when I am struggling with depression and its attendant voices who are shouting that the work (and my life) don't matter.
So yes, it is for sure more than learning the technical skills of putting the eyes where they belong. And I don't write off the innate gifts either, but in the end, it is about love really. About devotion and about love.
She started like this:
And here is where she ended up:
And just for fun...here's a little lioness up-close and personal.
I love these big cat paintings, so full of power, strength and wild energy. This beautiful painting has a lot of texture, in some places it almost appears as if the image was scratched into a cave painting. Perfect for someone who is a Leo or maybe just wants some of that strong solar love in their life! This painting will be one of several new pieces I am adding to my gallery next week, time to get busy shooting some photos! UPDATE: SOLD!
Even when I am just practicing a skill that I want to develop (in this case working on value/contrast) what's happening in my heart usually gets reflected in the artwork. 9"x12" medicine book sketch, charcoal, gesso and water-soluble pencil.