Thanks to guest writer Kinoko Evans for today’s post.
Brent Wear’s painting of a bird in a pink rabbit suit hosts the elements typical of his paintings plus the candy fun part of having been painted on Easter. Birds in disguise or just peeping around fulfill the subject matter of Wear’s work. He has also been working another set of paintings that are exclusively abstract. Enjoying the paint and the process, this gives him the evolved textures in color he often places characters into. The backgrounds are rich with washes and under painting that he mixes by paring acrylic paints and house paint. After long experimentation with the practice and process of oils and some with spraying paint, Wear has focused on solvent free, water based mediums.
When asked about all the birds, Wear says that he likes them. He considers himself an amateur bird watcher. Recently, a murder of crows has befriended Wear. Ever since he fed them peanuts, they follow him for blocks. Wear knows a lot of Crow facts too, like that they can memorize garbage removal schedules and that they can problem solve and use sticks as tools. Some of Wear’s painted birds are crows. Some are smaller and red. Sometimes the birds are painted with antenna ending in pink poms. Occasionally People tell him that those birds read as aliens. Sometimes the creatures are just creatures. Brent Wear’s paintings are plucky, mysterious and narrative. Currently, he is working on a children’s book and his paintings will exhibit in August at Equilibrium in NW Portland.
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Anna Magruder joined us today for her second year of participating in “An Artist A Day.” Anna’s portraits in oils have a unique and recognizable style. Her use of color is expressive, sometimes surreal, and her figures are often creatively distorted or combined with unexpected backgrounds or objects. Influences and inspirations for her work include vintage Americana, the works of Renaissance portrait painters, and a variety of contemporary illustrators and painters including Joe Sorren.
A number of Anna’s most recent paintings (on view through April 24 at Guardino Gallery) were inspired by vintage travel and vacation photos. In many of these pieces, landscapes have begun to play a more important role along with her figures. The landscapes in her backgrounds add character to the scene and animate the thoughts of the people in her portraits.
Anna has worked with a variety of media, but prefers oils because of their ability to create subtle blends between shades and colors. She started today with a line drawing on a vivid solid red-orange background. With her drawing as a guide, she first painted and blended her subject’s face and hair. With this portion of her subject mostly finished, she then moved on to surrounding her figure and background landscape elements with a pale yellow-brown. She used this color to outline and define shapes and details of her figure and landscape. As she painted the clothing and figure of her subject, she layered and blended colors, but also left the original bright-red background showing in highlights and accents. The composition of her painting along with the interplay of cool colors, warm colors, subtle colors, and bright colors gives this painting a feeling that is both energetic and pensive.
The last picture shows Anna’s painting at the end of the day Saturday. We’ll post an update with a picture of her finished painting. UPDATE: The final picture shows Anna’s finished painting.
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Thanks to guest writer Mesha Koczian for today’s post
Today’s artist, Manuela Kalestiantz, created an encaustic piece, primarily using carved relief rather than painted color to build and define her composition. Encaustic techniques have been around for thousands of years. The method was first used to plug the holes between the boards of boats to make sure they were buoyant. Encaustic as an art form has been rediscovered relatively recently and is a favorite for Manuela Kalestiantz. She works with purified beeswax. The wax comes in white (bleached) and the natural color (yellowish) in a granulated form. It’s mixed with damar resin that’s collected from trees in India and East Asia. This resin looks like rock candy or crystals in solid form. Manuela mixes her medium using a 1 to 8 ratio (2oz resin to 1lb wax). She first melts her wax at 160 degrees and then adds the resin and raises the temperature to 175 degrees. This is mixed until smooth and blended together. The mix, or medium, is then poured into tins or cake pans to await use. In the solid form, the medium is called a “cake” which can be set on a hotplate to be melted and mixed. The melted version can have pigments added to it. Pigments come in powder or solid bars and are mixed to the desired opacity.
Birch wood panels of any desired thickness are used as the base. Treating the panels with encaustic gesso allows the wax to really adhere to the board and prevents breakage. The medium is either brushed on slowly in layers or poured on using a frame and set to dry overnight. Each layer that is brushed on or added needs to be fused using a heat gun. “You know it’s fused when you see the shine,” says Manuela. Lots of things can be done to the medium like adding thin pieces of napkin with a design on it or even yarn or leaves. Wax is layered over the material, creating a translucent effect. You can cover or expose the material as much as you want.
“I want my work to just get up and talk to me,” explains Manuela, “I love letting my imagination flow.” She uses sculpting tools to carve out pieces and adds more medium to build up other parts. She also uses oil pastels to color over the grooves to add an aged look. Using a combination of carving, adding pigments, and multiple layers, Manuela gives her work life with depth and texture that capture light and create shadow.
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