Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Catch Me on Art and Soul Radio!

I have the privilege of being a guest artist on Art and Soul Radio. This episode will be called: "Serena Barton: Driven to Serene Extremes." This interesting and informative show is sponsored by Glenny Moir who offers the amazing Art and Soul Retreats across the country. My engaging host will be Lesley Riley. I met Leslie last year at Art and Soul in Hampton VA. She is friendly, funny, and encouraging, as well as being an inspiring artist and teacher. From the show's site:

"Lesley Riley is a successful professional artist, author and Artist Success mentor. Art & Soul Radio is brought to you by Glenny Demsem-Moir, the creative force behind Art & Soul Retreats. They work together to bring you artists, resources and more to enable your creative brilliance to shine! Every other week the show offers creative ideas for crafters, professional artists and everyone ready to fully express their creative potential. Guests and topics include artists, authors, coaches, art materials & techniques, the creative process, art as a business and more. Personally, professionally and artistically you’ll generate more abundance, clarity, confidence and creative energy as your host, Lesley, inspires, encourages and ignites your Creative Spirit! Whether you’re just beginning to explore your creativity or are a professional artist, this shows for YOU! "

The show will air at 4 PM (Pacific time) this coming Sunday. You can call in with comments and questions also at
(917) 889-2163. The show will also be archived here, along with all the shows so far.

IEA Retreat

I'm off tomorrow for five days in San Francisco for the International Encaustic Artists annual retreat. I'll be part of a panel on the creative process. Each of the attendees has been assigned a "partner" to share information, information and encouragement.
Retreat attendees will be staying at a downtown boutique hotel. I haven't been to SF for years, so this will be a real treat. I'll report back next week.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dexter's Art

"Decay of Authority" by Dexter, age 11

I just have to share this art piece that my grandson made this afternoon. Usually he's into computers and his Ipod and doesn't want to do art any more. Today he went with me to the art store to get some supplies, including a blender pen. He wanted to see how it worked so I showed him how to make a photo transfer onto pressboard with it. I made a piece with encaustic and collage over a transfer on board. He decided to try it.

Using the techniques I had used in my piece: transfer, encaustic, and collaging paper and used paper towels, he created the following piece. As he worked he developed the narrative that culminated in his finished piece, which he titled, "Decay of Authority."
I won't share his narrative, because it is personal to him, but I was amazed and awed, as I always am, at how our inner concerns come out into our art without our intending it.

I think he has a gift for composition from this and other art he's made. He could see it was a "good" piece, but decided he didn't want to keep it. I'm acting as his agent, as he would be happy to sell the piece to a good home!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Remembering the past: both sorrowful and joyful

Alison's Pear

My old friend from college, Alison, and I had a great week of visiting, sight-seeing and catching up. It is such a gift to re-connect with someone from long ago and to find that we are just as fond of each other as ever, maybe even more so.

Alison was good enough to go to the studio with me and volunteer to let me try my teaching painting techniques on her. She was dubious at first, but ended up really pleased with her first painting, the pear above.

She also covered the notebook below in her first collage work. Great job, Alison!

Alison's Notebook


Someone I was very close to in the past died recently along with his wife. Sometimes, as with Alison, revisiting the past is a joyful pastime. When someone who was important to us in the past is suddenly gone, it's a shock. Remembering the past becomes painful. We'd all rather not experience this kind of grief, but we know it must be honored and experienced in all its permutations. It is an unavoidable part of life. Rest in peace, Richard and Astrid.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

New Work, New Classes, and an Old Friend


I'm so excited--tomorrow I see my college friend and roommate, Alison Huntress Rutledge, for the first time in forty-one years! She's here in Portland to visit family and will also be visiting us. Alison tracked me down a few years ago. We exchanged emails and then lost touch again. Again, this persistent woman found me. Not only that, but she bought a painting and promised to visit. From the one phone contact we've had, it seems we'll just pick up where we left off.

Alison and I both went into the mental health field. We both got an M.S. Unlike me, who couldn't face the thought of going back to school, Alison has two, count 'em, two PhDs. She entered her second PhD program in her fifties. Like me, she knows it's never too late to go for what you desire!

Here's a quotation from her that I found on the web:

Alison Rutledge, already had a doctorate and an established career in clinical psychology before coming to the Institute for the Medical Humanities (IMH) to pursue a second Ph.D. “Other people's choices often look strange from the outside,” Rutledge writes. “But for the person making the choices, sometimes it feels like the path has narrowed until there is one door left to go through. You open that door because it is the only one.” For her, the door led to the IMH, “a remarkable group of scholars and ethicists,” who made her time as a graduate student a “whirlwind of intellectual stimulation. ”

What she says about the one door to go through resonates with me completely. My door was to take the autodidact approach, teaching myself how to make art, art history, and how to teach others.

Alison's going to visit my Art of Life group tomorrow night. After that we'll probably sit up all night and talk just like we used to do so long ago!


Some new work in gouache and cold wax, based on the ancient Roman Egyptian mummy portraits. The originals were done in encaustic, but I've devised a method to get similar effects with modern materials.

"Like, so Fayum"
A modern face in Fayum style

"Claudia" Gouache and cold wax on panel

"Julia" Gouache and cold wax on panel

I've also been playing with egg tempera. I couldn't find any place in town that sells it so I made my own. It was fun and easy. I haven't worked in it for a while and had forgotten how wonderfully luminous it is. And how scratching into the paint to reveal earlier layers makes great effects.

"In Service" Egg tempera on canvas

"Desert Day" Egg tempera on panel

Egg tempera on panel

I'm offering classes on the above techniques and inspirations:

September: "Who's Your Mummy?"
October: "The Egg and I"

See my website for dates and to register!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Going to Art and Soul Portland next month?

If you are going to be at Art and Soul Portland in October, please note that there are a few spaces left in my "The Forgiving Medium" class. I've posted pictures of student work from past classes on my other blog, so you can get an idea of what you can do!

Recent Class Pictures

Sandra's Red "Rose" created from a crumpled
towel and other collage elements

Four fabulous women came to my studio Tuesday for a workshop on painting and collage. Jenn was the delightful ringleader and brought three dear friends (one being her sister) for a workshop celebration of new beginnings for all of them. They did wonderful work and we all had so much fun!

Sandra's rich painting with collage elements

Sandra created this "Rhapsody in Blue" with stained paper towels and paint

Lester had to get in on the fun

Kristin's magical collage landscape

Jenn creating her Italian looking collage

Sisters at play

Donna's lovely painting makes me think of a teahouse. This is her first painting!

This great group will return in two weeks to take an encaustic workshop!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pictures of Trinity Show

"Angels Wonder Too" Encaustic on Panel

This morning I went over to Trinity Episcopal Cathedral to get some photos of my show, "Balancing Act." The show will be up in Trinity's Kempton Hall through October 30. The light wasn't too conducive to taking good photos, but these will give an idea of how the work looks in the show. I'm so pleased to have this opportunity!

Kempton Hall is beautiful, with rich wood paneling, soft lighting, and a meditation labyrinth in the center of the room.

Kempton Hall with Labyrinth

"Private Library" and "Demeter Wept"

"The World is Full"


"Lessons of History"

"Medici Princess Bride"