I am showing my “Butterfly Collection”through July and August 2013, at Brandywine Kitchen, 1317 Commercial Street, Bellingham, WA Come and see for yourself! It’s a wonderful sunny place to enjoy a gourmet sandwich or nice locally-sourced dinner, and to see some of my silk paintings.
Local butterflies are inspiration for these paintings. I love how the geometry of their wing design is echoed in the circular patterns of labyrinths and Celtic knots.I started this series of silk paintings after taking a field class in butterflies with famous Northwest butterfly expert Bob Pyle at North Cascades Institute, near Newhalem, WA.
I made three new paintings for this show, and am displaying them in a new fashion. Instead of stretching the finished silk paintings over stretcher bars, like a canvas is stretched over a frame, I hung the paintings from a rod at the top, and one at the bottom. This enables the silk fabric to move, which is a quality I really enjoy.
Besides the silk paintings I brought a pair of framed pen and ink drawings, a framed watercolor, both with the butterfly theme, and my silk painting “Gratitude Bouquet.” All artwork in the show is for sale. You can contact me at [email protected], or purchase from the Brandywine in person.
Working on a project that is 36 feet long when you only see 9 feet at a time can be tricky. I’m working on 3 wooden frames that have rollers on each end, so when I’m done with the first 9 feet I roll the fabric down to the next 9 feet.
Today I got a chance to roll it all out, all three panels side by side, on a big floor at a school so I can see it all at once. This is the only way to check on how it’s going and what changes still need to be made.
It’s hard to get a good picture of something so large. In both of these pictures you can see that the perspective is foreshortened, so it is hard to see the whole thing properly. Even when the panels are hanging vertically on the wall where they belong it will be challenging to get a good photo. Guess you will just have to see it in person!
See how different it looks upside down? The white area will be the very top of the painting. The piano is at the bottom of the piece.
In the next picture you see the very top of the piece, and I’ve selected some shots that take you down the whole length, so as you scroll down you can see some more of the detail. Remember that it’s not finished yet…this view of the whole has left me with a list of things to take care of.
The area in the picture below is where I will be doing the most touch-up work, as far as fixing things go. This area needs some simplification and unification. I have a plan (check back to see how I do this).
Below you can see that the rocks, and the waterfall below the rocks, are the least developed of the project, since I am working from the top down.
Can you see that the colors and textures are not as rich in the lower areas? It’s amazing what just one more layer of dye will do, to add variation and saturation. The rocks will be darker in value, maybe as dark as black, but I want to keep some of the color variation in these rock shapes.
And the water in the lower waterfalls will be rich too, with more interesting lines and textures, sort of like what you see below.
I really like making good use of what the dyes can do. It’s a matter of knowing your materials very well, and what happens to them in different circumstances. I’ve used layered dyes to make interesting lines, painted with water to push the paint around, used a watercolor technique of transparency, and blended colors to make soft edges. I’ve used some gutta resist for sharp edges and keeping one section of dye from another, lots of salt, and lots of prayer.
And finally, here I am in my studio-to-be, with the silk on the frames. Now that all the silk is covered at least once the major decisions are done and the great share of the work is over. Now comes the very most important part of the painting: Tuning it up to make it just right.
A few weeks ago I introduced you to a current project and promised to keep you in the loop as it develops (see earlier post). The theme for this project is a vision from Ezekiel 47 (and repeated in Revelation 22), of the river of the water of life, flowing from the throne of God, bringing healing, wholeness and life to all. We are starting with a 30 foot long painting of a waterfall.
This is a congregation of immersion baptism, and a baptismal pool will be behind this waterfall. !!! For a baptism, the lower 12 feet of the banner will be drawn to each side, like curtains, to expose the pool and the drama of the baptism.
I like how the vertical water, flowing from the throne of God, is powerful and mysterious. This congregation has pushed me into a more abstract interpretation of “waterfall”…my painting tends towards realism when I work with landscape. As you can see below and to the right, which is my first attempt at the design.
When I brought this first and more realistic design into the sanctuary and we imagined it 30 feet tall it became readily apparent that the image would be overpowering. It’s a nice little sketch, but that white cone of a waterfall is just too strong, and too literal. “No scope for the imagination” as Ann of Green Gables would say. Just like a good poem, you don’t want to say it all, but instead leave room for the text to work, for instance, or the Spirit.
My clients, a pastor and a worship leader, asked for more abstraction, so I went home and tried my hand at it. I actually did about 6 of these, trying to make it work. But they all ended up pretty wimpy looking.
In the end, not happy with any of the second batch, I went back to a sketch originally for the 26 sound panels that are to be covered with silk also (more on this later). I put those together and turned them vertically. It worked! Powerful, majestic and magical, in my humble estimation.
This original design simply “came” to me, for the sound panels. If you look back at the first picture, you can see the waterfall is made up of several horizontal pieces of paper. The one shown to the left here is the 3rd panel from the top, in the waterfall. Can you find it? Each of these pieces is to potentially be a covering for the 26 sound panels, 8′ x 4′ each, that surround the walls of the sanctuary. We shall see if the project continues into this chapter. For now, it’s enough to make this big waterfall!
In the next days I’ll post pictures of what it looks like in my studio when I actually start making these. As you can see, there’s a lot of planning that goes into the design process. It’s actually the hardest, and most important, step of the whole process.
Here’s the Ezekiel 47 text:
“Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar.2 Then he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and behold, the water was trickling out on the south side.
3 Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits,[a] and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep.4 Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep. 5 Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. 6 And he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?”
Then he led me back to the bank of the river.7 As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. 8 And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea;[b] when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh.[c]9 And wherever the river goes,[d] every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea[e] may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. 10 Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea.[f]11 But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. 12 And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”
“Isn’t that an awesome picture of the church? That the Spirit and Word of the Lord flows from the throne and gets deeper, providing sustenance and healing to all! ”
I’m preparing my “Butterfly Collection” body of work, all silk dye on silk, for a solo show July 1 through August 31, 2013 at Brandywine Kitchen, 1317 Commercial St., Bellingham WA . Here’s a link to their web site: http://brandywinekitchen.com/. Some of the butterflies have already sold, so I’m making several more. Here are the first two. Be sure to come and see them in person! Take one home!
1317 Commercial Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
Grunewald Guild, Leavenworth, WA, August 5-11, August 12-18, 2013
Teaching Liturgical Arts Week at Grunewald Guild with Jan Richardson, Garrison Doles, Gilly Sakakini and Laurie Clark every summer is a treat. I love the way our classes are woven together by Jan’s words and Gary’s music, and often find myself dreaming at night about the magic that will happen between us all the next day. This is indeed a thin place, where we all come together to explore Spirit in, with, through, around, under and above us.
Here’s what Jan has written about our theme “Between Heaven and Earth”:
“In the physical landscape and in the turning of the year, there are places where the veil between worlds becomes permeable. Past and future come together in the present, and heaven and earth meet. It’s not that God is somehow more present in those places—“thin places,” as Celtic folk have called them; rather, something in those places and times invites us to become more present to the God who is always with us. A veil falls away within us. We open, and we see.
Join us as we enter and explore these thin places, the spaces that open before us as we engage in worship, in our communities, and in our daily lives.”
Silk Painting: Exploring Color and Line as a Thin Place
I will be teaching two weeks of silk painting classes during this time, with one building on the other. In Week I everyone is invited, beginners through advanced. During Week II former silk painting students of mine (including Week I students) are invited for more in depth exploration. For more info, visit Liturgical Arts Week on the Guild’s website.
Every year our local Allied Arts of Whatcom County hosts a member exhibit. I submitted one of my silk paintings from the “Metamorphosis” series: “Painted Lady II,” and it was voted “BEST OF SHOW” in our Annual Members’ Exhibit by visitors to the gallery! You can read about it in the Allied Arts Feb. Newsletter. Thanks everyone.
Carey Institute is on the campus of the University of British Columbia. It’s a beautiful location, on a peninsula surrounded by woods, hiking trails and beaches. I found this out AFTER our class….we were all too busy painting to do much exploring. Although our hosts introduced us to authentic Chinese food and bubble tea.
We had a group of 16 students, some from Vancouver BC and surrounding area, but also some that traveled from Alberta for the workshop.
We had so much fun and made such good work. Here are 50 pictures for you to see!
Click on one image to make it bigger, then follow the arrows for the next picture. When you are done with the first batch, then go to the next. There are 3 batches!