I’ve been playing with Marbling… 
 Besides being so much fun, it’s one way to turn a painting that doesn’t quite gel into something amazing. Of course, I never really know what I’ll end up with, but sometimes I get lucky!

Here’s an example…
 This large painting of a child eating an ice cream cone doesn’t work
because the hands and arms are too small and don’t look natural.
Yeah, I realized this AFTER I’d spent lots of time working on it! But I
LOVE the color and texture of the thing.

So Voila… a dip in the marbling bath plus an over painting, and look…

“Raven Dreams”
The hands were adequately obscured, but I felt the marbling pattern was a bit too busy — no central image or place for the eye to rest. So I added the bird, painting transparent enough that the marbling still shows through a bit.  I’m thrilled to say that this painting will hang in the Spring WSO show in Albany!

Below, another painting that is quite intriguing after the marbling… It’s an airbrush piece that I originally painted for the Oregonian. It was a little sappy and WAY too pink! Covering it with a semi-transparent blue/black marbling pattern turns pink to violet and gives it the look of a tattoo. I also added more hair on both sides and cropped the empty space on the right. But I could still play with an overpainting…


“Pandora’s Mask”

You can’t enter art shows without opening the door for rejection. And I’ve had my share.
The way I see it, entering alone is a win. If you make a habit of entering, you’ll set yourself up for success.

2010, both my Rose Show entries for Oregon Society of Artists earned an award, which was a wonderful
surprise! Below is the painting “Tucked In”, 24×24, that took second place in the rose division. My pastel took honorable mention in the Portland category.

But neither of my entries for the 2011 OSA Rose Show were even accepted into the show. I thought they were both strong pieces, and even heard speculation that “Joy in the Park Blocks” below, 11×14, would be a top award contender.

“White Rose” was my other entry.

While no stranger to rejection, I hadn’t even considered not making the cut on this one. I picked up my battered ego and spoke with the juror, to gain a window into his decision making. Bottom line, not everyone thinks like I do! And in the end, what resonated with me was the great pleasure I took from the success of students whose art DID make the show. Their work was definitely deserving.

The sting passed quickly.
As is often the case when something painful happens, it left me with humility and empathy. So much so, that when the same thing happened again in 2012, I hardly blinked an eye!

“Rock & Rose” above, 18×18, entered in the Portland category
“Why?” below, 30×30, entered in the rose category

…and neither of them were chosen for the show. Yes, these are both somewhat experimental— nontraditional in subject, technique and style.

It goes to show, you just can’t take it personally when a piece doesn’t make the cut.
With one sole person doing the choosing, any artist might be rejected, based on the preferences of that juror. Some shows have large numbers of qualified entries and some have to be culled.

Why aren’t there several jurors choosing? Having one juror can actually increase the odds of a great show. With a committee, the best art could be excluded along with the worst, leaving the mediocre.

What to do about rejection? The
solution is simply to keep entering. Take heart. If you don’t enter, you can’t win!

Sooner or later, you’ll score.
After writing this story I
reentered the
“Rock & Rose” painting shown above with the title “Party Girl” and it took 2nd
place in the 2013 Rose Show’s Portland category! See all the award winners here  

And now I’m waiting to hear about NWS signature membership, hoping!

As Vincent van Gogh said, “it is difficult to know oneself, but it isn’t easy to paint oneself either”
      Ah, but the self image is fun to play around with! HE played frequently…

Painting ourselves — That’s what we’ll be doing on Friday at Oregon Society of Artists in Goose Hollow.
        As part of the process we will experiment with different paint techniques and surfaces or alternate color schemes.

The above portrait of me, in progress, uses cool accent color to contrast with the warmness.
        I chose it for the interesting shadow pattern.

The aqua shadow on the face of this portrait of my friend’s grandson draws attention to his expression.

Download REGISTRATION for the workshop.

I like painting myself! Does that mean I’m self absorbed? Maybe…
But there are very good reasons to use your own image for a painting.

For one thing, you always are available and won’t have to pay (or bribe) someone else to model.
You needn’t worry about pleasing anyone else, so it’s easier to take risks or be experimental with a self portrait.
It’s also a good way to push technique.

You can play with creative color or interesting value patterns! I call the painting above “Alter Ego”.  There’s texture added to the watercolor paper before painting, using tissue paper, gesso and mat medium.  I stamped with ferns into the medium to create texture.

In the painting “Epic Island”, below, I intentionally did not focus on getting all the features proportional. The nose is too big, eyes set a bit low. But it captures the feeling I wanted, with some exaggeration and weird color. Not everyone will appreciate blue and purple shadows, and that’s OK…

The best reason for making a self portrait is that the creative process is one of self
discovery and realization.
A portrait can be a window to the soul, as much as a likeness.

I’ll be teaching a SELF PORTRAIT workshop at Oregon Society of Artists on September 27th, 2013.
10am – 4pm
$95   / Register or more information HERE