Wednesday, June 18, 2014

It's a Journey

Shortly after I started painting at Wayne Art Center a couple of years ago, I did this painting of Echinacea from a photo I had taken at Chanticleer.
My Instructor, Georganna Lenssen, kept trying to draw more out of me as I painted, talking about creating atmosphere, selectively blurring the edges, layering more paint in a painterly way and 'nevermind the photo....make it interesting.'
I remember thinking, "What is she talking about? This is good!"
I now look at that earlier painting and think, "Oooohhh...this is not so good."
I can appreciate how uninspired it is.
The colors are flat...there's not enough paint on the canvas...there's no depth.
Two years ago, I did not have the critical eye to understand my shortcomings.
I also had no idea what a 'painterly way' meant.
That's the difference that some time and some learning can make for me.
I heard another local artist, Valerie Craig, say, "If you want to learn how to paint, paint."
I took that to heart and continued painting at Wayne Art Center as well as at home.
After my son is cared for, the dishes are cleaned and the laundry is underway, I often set my easel up in the kitchen and paint.
It's definitely an awkward set-up, but I want to learn how to paint.
So I paint.
I'm in the midst of working on another Echinacea painting from another Chanticleer photo.
I know this is better than my earlier effort, but I can also see how this should improve before calling it completed.
Looking at jewelry that I made several years ago, I also think, "Ooohhh...not so good!"
At the time, however, I thought that I was making pieces that were fun and whimsical.
I still have a fondness for some of this earlier jewelry as one has for some childhood memories,
but I've grown up a bit.
I had a stash of earlier pieces that I did not want to sell because they no longer tell the story of where I am as a jewelry designer and craftsperson.
I also didn't want to throw the pieces away, so I took them to donate to a local art center.
The art center was happy to take the pieces of jewelry to sell in the gift shop.
I thought that was great, but insisted on one condition...
my name could not be associated with the pieces.
They could only be for sale anonymously.
Like with my paintings, I've moved on to other and hopefully better things like the most recent pieces from my workbench.
I want to focus on getting represented by more exclusive galleries, so I have to focus on more dignified work.
My new portals charms are made with hand textured sterling silver that I cut into discs and shaped into formed bezels containing semi-precious and precious, faceted gemstones.
The formed bezels are riveted with sterling silver wire to discs that are also hand textured.
I like to think that, little by little, I'm making improvements with both my painting and my jewelry.
It's a journey.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

New Portals

I've been busy at my workbench making pieces for new projects. 
The most recent pieces...
new 'portals' charms featuring freshwater pearls, chalcedony and iolite.
Still working at keeping the back of my work interesting...
with etched, stamped and filed textures.
Finished pieces of jewelry soon.
I think.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

New Jasper Necklace

I liked my recent jasper bezel necklace so much that I just finished a similar piece which also features a bezel set piece of jasper.
As in the previous necklace, I again set a bezel on a piece of etched metal which is riveted to a base of copper, also etched.
The chain portion of the necklace is made with hand formed links of recycled, heavy gauge copper wire, sterling wire-wrapped beads of citrine, crystal and honey jade and textured rings.
Once the necklace was assembled,
I treated it in a warm bath of liver of sulfur, creating an instant patina on the metal.
I used my sanding block to clean the necklace, leaving only highlights of the dark patina.
The pendant was made with a jasper bead set into an etched copper bezel which was soldered on to a square of etched silver nickel.
That square of silver nickel was riveted on to a piece of etched copper which has 3 soldered jump rings for making connections.
 Once again, the copper bezel was a bear to work with since the gauge was a bit thicker than ideal for bezel work.
Oh well....sometimes I just work with what I have at hand.
I didn't like working with it, but I do really like the added texture that the bezel adds to the pendant.
I also really like the etched copper that I used for the pendant base.
This copper was etched months ago and sat on my workbench just waiting for the right project.
I'm still deciding if I like the bottom of the pendant.
I tend to repeat myself by adding clusters of wire wrapped gemstones at the bottom of my pendants but chose this time to use one of my recently made fold formed leaves.
Keep it....change it...
I haven't decided .