Category: Painting


 

1.31.15 Tallahasse pix  (60 of 77)

Old and new Florida State Capitol buildings; the 22nd Floor Gallery is at the top of the new State Capitol building

 The gallery setup December, 2014, rolled around and I hadn’t heard any more information and updates from the woman in charge of the gallery. I emailed and called for two weeks. I finally received the information that she was taking care of an elderly parent and would get back to me which she did about a week later. By this time it was early January. Another woman who told me she was the newly appointed curator for the gallery then contacted me. She gave me the information that I needed about when I was going to hang the artwork and when the show was going to be taken down. She then sent a revised layout of the gallery floor plan as they had renovated the space earlier in the year. I got to work and began taking the measurements of my work and laying the information onto the floor plan drawing. Fortunately, I had printed several copies and penciled in the dimensions so I could get the arrangement of work the way I wanted it to be displayed. A few days later I was with friends at a garden art show in Miami when I received a phone call from the curator. When they had transitioned over to the new curator, one of the artists that had been previously selected to exhibit had been mistakenly told that she could have the time slot to exhibit that I had been assigned. How was she going to resolve the problem and keep everyone happy? I agreed to allowing my work to be shown in the gallery for a month and a half and then move the artwork downstairs and across the street to the lobby of the Secretary of State’s office. They would move the artwork for me and re-hang the show. Whew! I finalized my arrangements and began packing my artwork.  After I bagged and wrapped all of my paintings I loaded up my station wagon with my husband and started the seven hour drive north to Tallahassee. We decided to make a mini vacation out of it and stretched it out over two days. We were then able to catch up with a friend in Tampa and spend the evening at a favorite restaurant in Ocala. We even ate three-dozen oysters at an old Florida restaurant near Tallahassee!

1.31.15 Tallahasse pix  (40 of 77)

Warren enjoying his Oyster feast

Rep. Mark Pafford & Mono

Representative Mark Pafford and friends

The next day we had made arrangements to meet State Representative Mark Pafford, the House Minority Whip in his office in the Capitol. We had met him a month earlier at a chance encounter in the Everglades and I had looked him up and told him when I was going to be in the building. Meanwhile, I had to park my car on the building grounds—not an easy task. The curator met us at the guard gate and arranged our parking while we went upstairs to see him. We then drove the car into the bowels of the building after the police ran a mirror under the car and lowered the security walls to allow us to drive in. We placed all of the artwork on a rolling cart and load it onto one of the two elevators that would stop at the twenty-second floor. Then the three of us began the over four hour process of hanging the work. The woman who was supposed to assist the curator was out helping her mother—otherwise the curator was going to have to hang the twenty-five pieces of artwork herself. Thank goodness for my husband the handyman!

2.2.15 Capitol Gallery Images (21 of 23)

Flamingo Fixit hanging “Hava Tampa”

He speeded up the task and quickly figured out the hanging logistics for some of the larger paintings. We worked until we were told we had to leave at 5:30 pm as the building was closing. When we tried to leave we had to speak to security through an intercom box so they could raise the guard gates. We drove off and celebrated with an early dinner and returned to the hotel for the evening.

SONY DSC

Muffy Clark Gill and Representative Kathleen Passidomo

  The next morning we met our State Representative, Kathleen Passidomo and her aide, at the gallery so she could see the exhibition and we could have some publicity pictures taken. (She ran her picture in her weekly newsletter that week). I took pictures of the entire exhibition for my own records and spent a few minutes savoring the excitement and self satisfaction. I had achieved my goal!  

1. Muffy Clark Gill_Muted Swan_2014_mixed media_24x48.75 in

Muffy Clark Gill Muted Swan, mixed media, 24 x 78.5 in

I always talk about my work being a series of “happy accidents”, but sometimes those accidents can turn into near calamities. Not every painting that I create turns out exactly the way I envision it.

For example,

I recently wanted to create a painting of a swan from a photograph that I had taken at Homosassa Springs State Park. This painting I wanted to create as a Diptych (or two panel painting ) that I visualized hanging on either side of a doorway so that the eye would look at the image and visually fill in the gap between the two panels.

I went through my usual process of redrawing a line image of the photograph onto the Habitae silk that I had stretched out on my larger Moyer Design Frame. I then started waxing and dying in each layer from light to dark to start to build up my colors. I then hit a roadblock: the black dyes that I had painted on did not get as black as I had wanted-in fact they had looked rather murky and lacked crispness. I kept working on different techniques to sharpen the black color. One which I learned from my friend, Kiranada Sterling Benjamin, was to paint over the black with red, let dry and dye again. That helped clean up that problem.

I finished the painting (or so I thought) by removing the wax and steaming the colors to set them. I then attached the two pieces of fabric (since I had just divided the painting in two) using Mod Podge (a form of white glue). I then sealed it with a topcoat of Golden GAC 100 medium. BIG MISTAKE! It looked great while applying, but immediately I noticed air bubbles forming on the surface of the panels. As the gel medium dried, the bubbles got larger and the whole painting looked horrible! I called Golden Paints for advice on what to do. Their tech support person suggested that I would have to remove the painting from the panels, clean off the offending product and mount all over again. Yikes!

It took me three days to loosen the panels with sprays of water to remove them from the canvas backing. It then took almost two weeks to physically scrape off the offending product with a plastic credit card scraper until I could get it looking half decent again. In the process the colors of the painting faded significantly and the fine details of the piece were almost bleached out. I thought the painting was a goner!

The faded left panel

SONY DSC

Panels with damage

The restoration in process

In the meantime I had taken pictures of the fabric panels before I mounted them and had put together an image from those photographs. Thanks goodness that I did! I was able to have a digital reproduction made of that image so that it matched how I had wanted the original painting. I then went back and embellished the two canvas panels with different painting techniques and additions to create a second painting. For a while, I thought that would become the final version of the painting.

SONY DSC

 Muffy Clark Gill, Swan Lake, 2014,mixed media, 24 x 78.5 in

I put the original painting aside while I tried to figure out where to go from there. I then decided to try fixing it again. This time I adhered the silk on the wrong side of the painting, as it had faded less, and adhered it to gray eco-felt as a backing. I then stretched the eco-felt over the canvas supports and remounted the pieces.

How was I going to save the image that remained? I went back to my arsenal of fabric marker pens and carefully redrew the outlines of every detail in the painting. This process took me almost another two weeks of work until I was satisfied with the result. I also had to use some fabric paint to even the level of color on both sections of the swan’s body so that the two panels would match. I finally had a painting that I felt was worthy of all of the time and labor I had put into it.

It goes to show that you can learn from your mistakes….I just don’t want to ever have that happen to me again!

Now featured on Artsy Shark!

Agua XIII The Red LeafI know I haven’t written a blog posting in a while-I’ve been so wrapped up in creating and organizing my artwork (not to mention exhibiting and creating a revised website) For 2014, I decided that I wanted to get back into chronicling my ideas and inspirations for my art. I have a lot of work to do: I received a notice that I will be showing in the gallery at the Florida State Capitol in 2015– more Seminole kimonos to create.

I have submitted work for the Florida Contemporary show at the Baker Museum of Art, and next week I am venturing over to Boca Raton to see two of my “Agua” series paintings, Red Leaf 1 and Red Leaf 2 in their opening day at the Nathaniel Rosen Museum and Gallery.

A happy and busy time for me.

Meanwhile, I submitted work to Artsy Shark, an online site that helps to promote visual artists. Carolyn Edlund of Artsy Shark selected my work after I made several revisions to my website and images. the results are amazing!

You can read about my work on the article here:Artsy Shark

Many thanks to Carolyn and her webmaster Jason Stambagh for making this happen!

Back from the Dry Cleaners

After a week at my favorite dry cleaners, the painting looks bright and shiny.  The silk threads glisten.  The main panel is ready for its two soulmates to be created !

Final Image for Wet World

Final Image for Wet World

Take it all off!

I am now in the final stretch of this piece.  I have added a few more colors to paint on, and then it’s time for waxing out.  As you can see, I am placing  sheets of newsprint over portions of the image at a time,  allowing the wax to absorb into the newsprint.  This takes at least 1/2 an hour of my time.  Quite  often I am asked:”How long does it take for you to create one of these paintings”.  I actually loose track after a while, but in this case, the photo enlargement, and placing on the fabric have taken over 3 hours; the waxing of the white layer took about two hours, then the remaining layers took another 4-5  hours.  This does not count the drying time between each layer of wax and dye. So for this project, I already have at least 11 hours work before touch up and finishing to go.

Ironing out the wax

Using newsprint to remove the wax

Rubbing off the excess dye before dryingIroning out the last traces of wax

The Continuing Process

Darker blue waters are added

Darker blue waters are added

Now I am getting really excited about this painting.  The colors are holding their own.  The next few photos are showing the build-up of color, moving towards the final result

I know  that asking what you were doing while on vacation is a common question, but this time, I decided to try to show one tiny part of it in a new painting series I’m christening “The Water Series”.  While snorkeling with at Sandy Cay in the Bahamas, a photograph  I took of my husband snorkeling opened up a whole slew of new ideas on how to create the moment in Batik.  I would like to show how over the next few writings I created a new wall hanging that is still in process.  The first photo I am showing is the cool picture I took of Gill in the water snorkeling.  I liked the reptilian patterning on his arm and the way the light reflected on the surface of the bright turquoise water.  I took the photograph that I liked so much, and converted it into a line drawing in Photoshop.  I then blew up the black and white image to the size I wanted to create the painting, and proceeded to draw it on to a large piece of beautiful white upholstery grade silk that I had acquired  last year.  (Oh thank heaven for yard sales).  Then I began my wax and dying process.

 

Gill snorkeling in the Abacos

The photo that started a new series

 

 

The line drawing from the photo

The base layer for the new batik

 

Tucanos Tikal

Last November, my husband Gill and I traveled to Belize and Guatemala for a vacation.  As a part of this trip, we wanted to revist the ancient Mayan city of Tikal, a place we had stopped at the previous winter.  This time we stayed on the national park grounds for two nights at the Jungle Lodge.  It was a great experience and we hope to do it again.  As a part of that stay, we took a sunrise tour with a guide who grew up on the site while his father worked as an archaeologist.  We woke up at 4:30 am and hiked onto the temple grounds by the light of a flashlight, drinking in the sounds of Howler monkeys and birdsong.  It was really impressive seeing the sun begin to rise behind the pyramids, especially so when we hiked to the top of Temple Four to watch the sun try to breakout from behind the clouds.    The whole experience gave me inspiration for some new art images.

The one I am featuring here is based on the scenes of two Fiery Billed  Aracaris (members of the Toucan family) feasting on the berries of the Christmas Palms that were growing outside our room.  They were a riot to watch, peeling the outer skins off the seeds and throwing the pits to the ground one after an another.  They were joined by some Keel Billed Toucans, so there were numerous squabbles over who would get the fruit.  I shot dozens of photographs, and chose one of these images for this painting.  I am also featuring some  works in progress images so that you can see the start to finish of this 40″ x 30″ painting.

Close-up of batik

Close-up view of Tucanos Tikal in progress

phot of new batik in progress

A view of the batik after the early stages of waxing and dyeing

2Toucans in Christmas Palms

A Final Conclusion

Vote Yes! for Harness Racing"

I finally figured out how to photograph this new addition to the family.   After 2 years of trying to come to an end, I finally did it!.  Now I am trying to figure out how to carry this idea forward for future images in this format.  See what you think and let me know.  I am titling the image: “Vote Yes! For Harness Racing!”

After I finally flushed out my ideas for reworking one of my banners, I took it over to a drapery company that I am presently working with to see if I could get the base pattern done.  I left the wall hanging, the fabric pieces, and my paper doll mock-up with them so that they would have something to work from.  two weeks later, I picked up the fabricated “sleeves” to my piece.  The next challenge was to draw and mimic the Seminole style patchwork onto the sleeves so that I can wax and dye them.  I was still having issues with which patterns and colors I wanted to use.  I consulted several history books featuring 1920’s vintage Seminole patchwork.  After re-drawing and washing the “sleeves” a few times, I think I have what I want to work with, and started the wax and dye process.  Who ever said that this project was going to be easy?