Upside down?

When I paint, especially non-objective art, I am seeking a balance of design.  Simply put, the shapes and colors can’t be too heavy or light or bunched up in one corner… as if they had substance and would tilt the painting just by looking at it.  Even if a painting is asymmetrical in composition, it still needs to be balanced.  The shapes, colors, shadows and lightness of the composition should lead your eye through the work and not off it’s edge and out of the frame.  Roads should lead in to the point of interest, arms should tip your eyes back into the frame, curves should lead you back, not out.

Often times I take my work and rotate it on the wall or easel and step back for a wider perspective.  I turn them upside down and on their sides to see if it all works.  Then I adjust accordingly.  It should balance out no matter which way you hang it.  Paintings with subject matter need a top and bottom, sure, but they ought to be balanced in shape and color.

Does my latest fractal painting work regardless of orientation?  I test it out, but still, my mind finds a top and bottom… somehow it just resonates with me to be hung a certain way.  Here are two images… which way do you prefer?

Upside down?

Upside down?

Or right side up?

Or right side up?

Finally, I decide.  Somehow, I just go “aaahhh” when it’s oriented this way. True North!  So for me, this is it:

 

Somehow, I just go "aaahhh" when it's oriented this way.  True North!

Now that’s more like it!

A Gathering of Artists

I just returned from an artist potluck party.  Well, not exactly a party… not sure what to call it… a gathering sounds good.  Some very nice artsy folk down the road from me put together a once a year “gathering” at their place whereby artists and craftspeople can hang out for the day, eat good food, chit chat and do what they do.  I’ve been invited before, but this is the first time I actually went.

I generally feel that getting together a group of artists and artisans are like herding cats.  Sure, it can be done, but do you really want to?  Cats don’t really “gang together”.  Well, maybe lions do, but I’m thinking of domestic kitties… the kind that tolerate each other and are nice enough so long as they have a full bowl of kibble.  Since the lure of food works for hungry cats, it’s an effective way to assemble a group of artists.

Yeah, I know some artists are very sociable and I am painting with broad strokes here, but that’s the kind of artist I am… social sometimes and more of a dog lover than a cat person.  Anyway, off I trooped to the event, looking for a social connection, a good meal and perhaps a spark of inspiration.  For me, art is more of a solitary endeavor but I was game so I packed up some supplies and drove over.

After I arrived and made all the necessary pleasantries, I tucked myself in a corner of the property and got down to work. Most of the other guests were having a group spin… weavers and knitters and workers of wool.  They all seemed to know each other and were happily chatting so I found a shady spot away from the chorus to explore a new idea that had graced my doorstep recently.

It’s very simple… and familiar.  We see it every day, even though we don’t know it by name.  Fractal Geometry. It comes down to this: Z=Z squared +C.  What that means is simplified repetition of design, or in fractal terms: a self similar pattern. This has got to be the coolest bit of mathematics I have come across and I am on a mission to purposefully blend my art with fractals.  I could probably go on about this for awhile, but really, the studio is calling and I have GOT to get in there and put this stuff on some canvas.   Here’s a Wiki link if you want some general knowledge on the subject  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal of course, there is TONS more about fractals on the internet, but Wikipedia is a good place to start.

Fractals are a part of nature, it’s the repetitive design we see in trees, ferns, textures, coastlines, blood vessels, musculature… it’s everywhere and it is awesome.  They call it the “thumbprint of god” which is poetic and mind expanding.  Whatever it is, I’m feeling very dazzled by the beauty of this mathematical concept.

I’ve unwittingly used this concept in some of my other art.  The Orange Swirls are loosely fractal in nature, but it’s there nonetheless.

Orange Swirls Oil on raw Canvas 36"x48"

Orange Swirls
Oil on raw Canvas
36″x48″

 

But now I am purposefully exploring with just a little more knowledge.  Looking forward to the results, so back to work for me.  For now, here’s the sketch I came up with at the Artist’s Gathering:

 

My first official fractal.  This is an idea that needs exploring.

My first official fractal. This is an idea that needs exploring.

Fine Art America!!

Finally!  A page on FAA.

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-muse-sky-evans.html?newartwork=true

The muse painting.  Oil on Canvas 2.5'x3'

The muse painting.
Oil on Canvas
2.5’x3′

I just downloaded one image but it was a client request… so that’s something.  Just wanted to share.  I’ll be posting more about this later after I get the whole gallery downloaded.  Hopefully this pans out. If you want to buy art and support an artist, Fine Art America is the place to do it.  Well, I know there are other places…  I keep thinking of things like Kickstarter too and wondering what kind of amazing project I could do… hmmm.   What is a muralist to do???  By all means, weigh in.  I’m willing to do community projects with fundraising venues.  Actually now that I think about it, I have done my share already.  But they usually involved teaching.  Time for something large, noteworthy and very, very interesting.  It’s been awhile since I crawled up on a roof and painted something seen from the local airport!

One should probably not bring children up there.  That would be just fine.

horseroof

Back to work!

Summer is winding down and for the first time in my life I am looking forward to some rainy days.  All the lovely sunshine has kept me busy outside with chores and fun.  The horses are sleek and fit, the pasture is mowed and the garden is having it’s last gasp at producing heirloom tomatoes.  I’m caught up and full up with camping but the studio has grown some cobwebs and a fine layer of dust.  The rain will keep me indoors and back to the business of being creative.

I did manage to spend a day whipping out an idea (which will be in the post, but not until the end, so stick around) as well as sorting through some old art I wanted to share. I used to love pen and ink, prior to discovering oil paints, it was probably my medium of choice.  Before there were rapidograph and Stabilo pens (which I love) I learned to use India Ink and a crow quill pen. Crow quill refers to the nib, a very small tip that doesn’t hold much ink but makes thin, sharp lines.  All the following pieces were done with the old dip and scratch method.  Very messy and time consuming.  I’m not sure what the attraction was… haven’t used that technique in years.  Perhaps it was the ink itself…  India ink is very very black and opaque.  I always liked my blacks to be deep and dark.

pen and ink supplies

Thank you Smithsonian for this image.  Want to know more about pen and ink?  Go to http://paleobiology.si.edu/paleoart/prentice/pages/pen_and_ink.html

 

I’ve done so many pen and ink drawings, I really should sort them all together.  But instead they are scattered in several portfolio cases and inhabit odd corners here and there.  I like to think I’m organized until I see my work helter skelter.  Maybe this winter I’ll get on it, but for now, here are a few that caught my eye for posting:

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

If you are clever, and have a good computer you will see my name from my youth.  I prefer Sky, but wasn’t born with that name. Changing my name may be the subject for another post… it’s personal and somewhat of a story, but the short version is, I didn’t like it, so I changed it when I got married since I was changing my  last name anyway.  You can be who you want to be as far as I’m concerned.

Next on the hit parade:

Mother Tiger

Mother Tiger

Boodhound

Bloodhound for Joe

The Chipmunk. (Cute little sucker!)

The Chipmunk

And for some fantasy fun:

Hypocampi

Hippocampi

As I was sorting through the Pen and Inks, I came across some designs I did for a T-shirt company.  My first job out of college was for a screen printing company and I have hundreds of designs that were printed on shirts.  But some of the best were freelanced while I was in grad school.  Here are some personal favorites that were printed by the Goldsmith Company in Portland, OR.  I don’t believe they are in business anymore, but it was fun to be one of their “stringer artists”.

Here are most of the floral designs I did for them.  The ones on black are actual screen prints.

Here are most of the floral designs I did for them. The ones on black are actual screen prints.

Close up of a proposed design.

Close up of a proposed design.

I always thought these kaleidoscope designs were fun for a shirt.  Not high art, but still, not everything has to be mind blowing and thought provoking.  Sometimes art is just fun.  And now that we are talking about fun… I started this post with the title, Back to Work. I did “go back to work” and finished a new painting.  My plan was to do a 2-D version of my “Winged Chair” so I outlined it (in orange as usual) then began filling it in with color.  It was awful.  I hated it and left the studio to work in the yard.

We had a day in August where the rain blew in so I made my way into the studio to finish or destroy the hated painting.  Destruction was on my mind, but instead I began to embellish and before I knew it, the painting went from staid, awful and cartoon-y to something wild and awesome.  So, as promised… the one new piece:

Wild Chair Oil on Canvas

Wild Chair
Oil on Canvas

I think I would be a little apprehensive about sitting in this particular chair.  It doesn’t look tame…  and maybe even a little scary. I still kinda like it.  It makes me feel dangerous!