Jillian Doughty is a quick-witted NW original who’s a mom as well as an artist and commercial photographer. She lives in NE Portland with her husband and two kids and was raised in a third generation SW Washington fruit farm in Orondo. A fine art photographer, she began to dabble in real estate photography over the past year and was surprised to find how well she liked it. As well as assisting people to sell their homes, making extra money for her family, and using her art and design background, she also gets to put her photography skills to good, practical use.
One theme that comes through when speaking with Jillian is her entrepreneurial spirit merging with her resourceful nature. Although she has had no formal art training (she studied fruit tree science in college), her need to create is evident in the many projects she describes. She says that at one point in her youth, her parents were out of staples, and rather than wait for a refill, she began to fashion her own homemade staples. She used a similar resourcefulness when she needed an applicator for ink, and rather than order one, she tinkered with a pen nib and some tubing and created her own ink applicator.
Jillian loves searching through bargain bins, especially to find teapots, saucers and porcelain containers to draw on and sell. This repurposing and upcycling formed the basis for her Etsy shop which sells her illustrated glass and metal designs at http://www.etsy.com/shop/22pages Upon establishing it, the Etsy shop took off so rapidly she had to pare back a bit during the holidays so it didn’t take over her life. The Etsy shop also served as a conduit for commissioned work like that of the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. She especially loves the flawed pieces she finds, even in her own artwork.
Today’s work harkens back to her childhood of growing up on a fruit farm. The apple blossoms, she says, that grow for commercial purposes are much more robust and clustered than the ones we see in the urban environment. She brought in a photo of an apple blossom from her family’s farm that she is sketching. A few new things she is excited to try out: textured Strathmore illustration board that erases her pencil drawings well (better than the smoother variety, she says) and a Copic Multiliner pigmented ink pen from Muse Art and Design.
Jenn created her piece today using acrylic paint and graphite pencils on a primed wooden panel. Precise definitions and categories do not always apply to art, and Jenn’s work is a good example of blurring the boundaries between “drawing” and “painting.” Although she skillfully incorporates acrylics for color, texture, and subtle blending, Jenn’s first love is drawing. Her use of line, pattern, and the silvery effect of graphite show how expressive, intriguing, and powerful a simple pencil can be.
Jenn is interested in the narrative, symbolism, and psychology of fairy tales, especially those with a darker and stranger aspects. She is interested in exploring deeper, more contemporary messages and ideas found in stories familiar from childhood. In addition to leading viewers to think about a possible story behind her images, she wants her work to raise questions and to engage viewers at both an intellectual and emotional level.
In addition to mixed media paintings and drawings, Jenn’s work has included installations and video pieces. Her formal art training includes an M.F.A from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Jenn also has a background as a dancer, which is evident in the very communicative postures and body language in the figures she draws.
Jenn started her piece today by drawing figures from some photo references. She continued to layer paint and pencil, building both physical and visual texture. By blending the acrylic and graphite together in some areas and contrasting intricate pencil lines against solid color in other areas, she created a great deal of richness and variation throughout her piece while using a palette of only a few colors.
We were fortunate to have comic artist and illustrator Erika Moen join us today to create a rare stand-alone piece outside her work in comics. Erika worked with watercolors today, a medium that she does not get to work with frequently, but that suited her style beautifully. Her professional skills in drawing, composition and visual clarity were evident as her piece came together in the relatively short span of the afternoon.
Erika has done a number of pieces over the years that draw on octopi and tentacles as subject matter. Her watercolor today filled the surface with a complex tangle of octopus arms. She seemed to have no problem keeping all the parts clear in her mind, though, as she progressed from a pencil drawing to laying in colors of separate parts, then washes of overall color, then detailed line work with a brush. Erika used a mix of warm and cool greens, variation in line width, and overlapping shapes to give her picture a sense of depth and dimension. At one stage, she considered adding an additional painted surface that stood out from this background to build up even more depth, but as the piece developed, she was happy with the look of a single layer.
One visitor to Muse had observed that most of the pieces so far contain some element relating to sky. Thanks to Erika for contributing the first aquatic-themed piece!
While she worked, Erika kept her computer on the table to take images of her progress, which she complied into a video. You can see it at http://vimeo.com/10782793
Addie Boswell is an artist, writer, and illustrator who works in a variety of media, including collage and oil painting. Her recent children’s book, The Rain Stomper won the 2008 Oregon Spirit Book Award. Addie joined us again this year for An Artist A Day, and made a piece quite different from the magazine-paper collage she made in ’09. Her piece today incorporated newspapers, playing cards, and her own black-paper cutouts to create a scene inspired by our current blustery wet weather.
In many of her collages, Addie carefully sorts and arranges magazine clippings by color, value (lights and darks), and patterns to assemble images that look both photographic and painterly. In more recent years, Addie has explored the ancient art of black-paper silhouettes. Today, for the first time, she combined these two techniques. In order to help the cutouts stand out from the background, she limited her materials to black-and-white newspapers rather than using colored clippings. She cut and pasted playing cards onto her background, then started drawing and cutting shapes from black paper. As she built her collage, she also added red swatches to add an accent color to her black-and-white composition.
In order to let her composition develop, Addie pinned elements to her background so she could move them around as she worked. She frequently stood back from her piece to look at the balance and arrangement of shapes and colors, and also took digital pictures in case she wanted to refer back to a previous arrangement of shapes.
To glue her paper pieces down, Addie used clear acrylic polymer, generally used as a painting medium to extend or add transparency to acrylic colors. Acrylic mediums work very well as both an adhesive and a clear top coat.
The leaf-shaped cutouts in Addie’s piece were ones she had cut before and kept for possible use in future works. The umbrella, cityscape, and portrait were elements that she drew and cut today specifically to add to this work.
Today’s artist, Cate Anevsky, created a piece in pen and watercolor titled “Inner Demons.” Cate likes her pieces to tell a visual story Her works start with an idea for a narrative, which she illustrates in a style that is both simple and intricate. One of her influences for her visual storytelling is ideas she gets when reading, often from books for children and young adults.
Cate is a versatile artist. Her father is a woodworker and her mother sews and does a variety of crafts, so she learned a lot of DYI skills growing up. The house she grew up in was a Victorian fixer-upper, so she also remembers helping her parents with tiling and painting projects at an early age. In addition to painting, Cate works with fiber arts (she owns a spinning wheel!), embroidery, digital art, and many other media.
Originally from St. Louis, Cate is a relative newcomer to the Portland area. She has found Portland to be a great place to get involved in the art scene and has stayed quite busy with art and DYI events in the year and a half she’s been here. She’s been impressed with how much appreciation people have in this region for creative handmade work.
Cate’s piece today started with a pencil drawing on watercolor paper. She went over her pencil line with a waterproof fine-tip pen, adding detail and varying the line style. She added colors with watercolor washes, mixing most of her own colors from a limited selection of paints, and testing her mixed colors in swatches to develop the right shades for her painting. When she does digital work, Cate often starts with pen drawings, then adds color on the computer, sometimes layer photography in with her illustrations.
Cate created an interesting crystal-like effect in the blue background of her piece by putting salt onto the wet paint, then letting the salt dry before removing it. This technique pulls the water and paint away from the paper, resulting in an irregular lighter-colored pattern.
Jordan has developed a singular style of painting with brightly colored inks on matte-surface mylar. He creates his images with a limited number of transparent colors, building layers of ink to create a wider range of blended colors. He draws his images on paper first, then lays the translucent mylar over his paper and uses his drawing as a guide for painting.
Although he often creates portraits, Jordan chose a jellyfish as his subject today. He had already created a composite image on his computer with the shape and composition he wanted to use as a reference. The transparent, flowing, luminous shapes of this particular subject seem especially well suited to Jordan’s style and technique. He worked with his surface flat on a table for most of the day, then place his work vertically on an easel toward the end to allow some of the ink to flow down the page for extra visual interest.
The medium of ink on mylar leaves almost no room for changing one’s mind or doing things over. Transparent inks won’t cover up mistakes, and once the ink is on the mylar, the color cannot be removed. Given the challenges of his medium, we’re especially glad that Jordan was willing to work in a public setting with so many potential distractions!