Hi Everyone! Welcome to my newly minted blog, The Oregon Studio. My name is Sky Evans and I am an artist living in, you guessed it, Oregon. This is my studio and my studio dog, Scout.
The studio lies between the two most important buildings to me, my home and my barn. All three I have had a hand in designing and building. Yes, actual hammer swinging, power tool wielding, building. But I didn’t create this blog to talk about my crazy horse love, or how laying a bamboo floor ain’t that tough… instead, I’ve started this blog to share my art, my ideas, my process. I figured the studio was a good place to start, even though I do create art in other places. It’s my studio work I want to really dig into. So let’s start there:
If I had to pick my medium of choice, that would be easy. I love to paint. Oils preferably, but I have been known to dabble in everything from house paint to watercolors. Gouache is probably the only paint I haven’t tried unless you count that horrible school powdered paints which are basically cheap gouaches. I used to teach art K-12 so I have been exposed to many many cheap art products over the years. I’ve probably invented a few! Anyway, here in the studio is evidence of two projects… one painted, one mixed medium. I finished the painting a few weeks back, it’s hanging up to dry… as are the remnants of its palette. If you guessed from my other “important building” reference, horses are a big deal to me, but NO, this particular painting is not of a horse! I have LOTS of those and will get around to posting those too, but for now, I am focusing on what is happening NOW. Here is the most recent painting… it comes with a story:
I came across a photo of an African Kingfisher caught mid air with a fish in its beak and thought it was spectacular. I couldn’t shake the image, so I cut it out and dropped it off in the studio. Later that month, I went out to work on a painting of my horse but couldn’t take my eyes off the bird. So I put my unfinished horse aside and grabbing a fresh canvas, I sketched out the bird. I often start at the top and work my way down, roughing in the background swirls of color before getting to the bird itself. Hours “flew” by before I stepped back and decided something was off. I never use a palette knife except to mix colors but I had just purchased a new one. It was rubber, like a mini spatula. So, feeling that there was too much paint on the canvas, I used it to scrape off color.
Like getting all the batter out of the bowl, I twisted and turned and pulled off all the black paint from the right. Wow… I was on to something! Scraped off the background on the left, leaving swirls, incredible textures and curvy shapes. Satisfied, I cleaned up and went to bed. The next day, a friend came for a visit and as we were talking about the importance of following your creative muse and how inspiration should not be ignored, she turned to admire my little bottlecap sculptures.
Cute, right? I sell these to help pay for my horsey activities. She asked how I came up with the idea… well, it’s no secret artists “borrow” from each other. I showed her the ostrich bottle cap statue I bought at World Market. They make these things in Africa and I took the concept in another direction. As I picked up the ostrich, I noticed a cap I had never seen before. It was a kingfisher! That seemed like a sign… everything we had just been saying was punctuated by that bottle cap. It was an “if you build it, they will come” kind of moment (Field of Dreams reference here). I’m all for listening to signs like that.
The look on my face must have been something, cause she asked what was wrong. “Come with me”, I said and took her out to the studio. She was floored by the painting. Ah, the power of turpentine fumes!! Well, besides the fumes, she loved it and I do like a little gushing so I took it all in.
I finished the painting later that week so when the next bolt of inspiration struck, I listened up! I’m on to something wild again, and also something bird-like. Next post: Winged chairs.