Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Setting Goals for 2012

As many of you know, athleticism is a close second to art for me. For 2012 my goal is to compete in an Olympic distance triathlon with an ocean swim. So today, I registered for St. Anthony's Triathlon in St. Petersburg, FL. The 1-mile swim will take place in the Tampa Bay, where the waves are calm and the water temperature should be bearable! 

Last year I competed in my first Olympic distance triathlon at Moss Park in Orlando. The Olympic is a 1-mile swim, a 23-mile bike, and a 6.2-mile run. If you missed my "Aim High" post about setting attainable goals and my first Olympic distance in 2011, it's worth a read.

I figured if I could make it through the BLACK water of Moss Park Lake, I could handle the ocean, where the salt water will make me more buoyant! Honestly, I'm just scared of SHARKS. But 2012 is about overcoming fear, aiming high, and growing. You have to push beyond your comfort zone in order to grow. So here I go...

Artistic Style
After watching BRAVO's "Work of Art" Show this season and seeing the wonderful drawing and line work of winning artist Kymia Nawabi, I began to miss drawing and mark making. My goal is to expand my style to include more drawing and mark making intermingled with collage in the new work that I will create this year. I am sure there is a way that I can incorporate both disciplines into one harmonious composition.... and I'm committing to push myself outside my comfort zone, experiment and grow.

Affectionate Goats / 24x24 / collage on birch panel

I have already been working toward my BIG goal of the 50-piece solo exhibition at the Thrasher Horne Center for the Arts in 2012. I have been showing my progress both here on the blog and on my Facebook fan page. 

The Facebook page is worth a look as it shows many quick entries of sketches, and progress shots of work for this monumental show. My largest solo exhibition to date included only 43 pieces of new work, this show goes above and beyond that!

In addition to my Noah's Ark Show, I also have a smaller scale 20-piece exhibition at the Stone Soup Gallery in Key West, FL March 15-April 17. For a year now I have been working toward sending the best possible selection of work to both shows and start the new year out strong.

My goal for these two solo exhibitions is excellent attendance, and of course, sales. I will be honing my marketing as we get closer to the dates of these shows. Stay tuned, bring a friend. Have some wine, open your wallet! There's nothing like a one-of-a-kind original artwork.

2012 is already booked with workshops for me, if you can believe it. I'll be teaching in Bermuda, Texas, New Mexico, North Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, and back home in Florida this year. My hope is to introduce more NEW painting techniques to the paper portion of the class. I'm constantly doing research and experimenting on my own with painting collage papers, I plan to bring as much new information as I can to students in 2012.

THANK YOU for sharing my goals with me, for following this blog. I appreciate your support, your comments and your interest in my work. Here's to a fantastic 2012 with much personal and professional growth!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Save The Date

As you know, I have been working away at my Noah's Ark show for almost a year now. This show will be at the Thrasher Horne Center for the Arts in Orange Park, FL. When the Executive Director called and asked me to exhibit, I said "Yes!" before I asked "...how many pieces?"

And then the work on 50 PIECES feverishly began. I personally decided to go with the concept of Noah's Ark because I wanted to have a cohesive show with an interesting theme. I love doing animals and what could be better than 25 sets of twos? My concept was to produce each set at the same time, using the same papers and sometimes even crossing the art over from one panel to the next. This way if a collector wanted to purchase two pieces, they were truly a match made in heaven.

Toucans in the studio

Looking way back, I think the Toucans might have been my first set. AND I actually took one on a family cruise with me and completed it in my state room. I bet my Carnival Cruise Line room attendant enjoyed watching my work progress every day he cleaned the room. Between activities, eating and drinking, I probably never spent more than 20-minutes at a time working on my toucan. BUT at the end of the week, I had a finished piece in my luggage.

I don't think I ever had such a fancy vessel to clean my brushes in! 

I have been making animal pairs like crazy since the cruise without looking back. Considering I have a day job as a graphic designer, I am not a full time artist. I paint mostly at night, on weekends, and when I can fit it in to my schedule. As a result, many of my in progress photos are shot in the wee hours of the morning. 

Turtle #1 underpainting early stages, on the easel

The Turtles taught me how tedious spots can be. Like childbirth, a few months later I forgot the pain and went in for another spotted animal, despite my better judgement.

I often use sheet music as birch tree bark, 
but this application for whiskers seemed right on!

Jaguar #2 / 24x20 / collage on cradled birch panel / ©St. Hilaire Nelson

Patterns and spots are all part of the texture of hand painted collage paper. One day while wandering around Lowe's, I stumbled upon some silicone sink liners that I thought would make great stamping tools, and so began another effect to explore...

two 10x22 sketches for Giraffe

Stamping background patterns onto the wood panel with sink liner material

Detail / ©St. Hilaire Nelson

I could not have the Ark without the Elephants, so I gave myself the challenge of creating water droplets out of a combination of paper and underpainting. I was happy with the effect and proud of the playful nature of the work.

Drips and splatters in the underpainting were re-enforced with torn paper on top

Elephants lead to Kangaroos as the old camp song about Noah's Ark rang though my head... elephants and kangaroosies roosies, children of the Lord!

pencil sketch on wood panel in the studio

beginning underpainting stage with fluid acrylic

detail of underpainting with pencil mark making

In my need to keep producing work for this show, I packed a larger suitcase than I needed for a weekend and took a 20x24 Koala up to Massachusetts with me to visit my family. The 20x24 just BARELY made it into my purple rolling bag, I held my breath a little as the airline attendant threw it onto the conveyor belt. 

beginning stages of underpainting in the studio

my 5-year old nephew helps out as I work on my lap in my sister's living room
Truly enjoying the idea of tearing up these palette papers

My brother's son was so intrigued with the collage process that he had to help, we had a great time one morning working on the Koala in my sister's living room. Good thing I have a big suitcase!

I began to wonder if Noah would have included sea life on the ark. 
And then I thought about colorful crabs...
crab sketch detail, pencil on birch panel

crabs in progress on the easel

Most recently I have done Lions, which I think are some of my favorites. But I tend to say that about EVERY new piece I do...
basic underpainting on the easel, this is what I start collage with

The eyes have it, my favorite part!

Lion detail, texture and color

To date I have done about 20 SETS of two animals. I am at the point where I am asking for suggestions from folks of animal pairs. Do you have any animals you'd like to see represented?

What's on my easel RIGHT NOW? A pair with flare, and humor...

Stamping with sink liner, see also giraffe

My husband says I look like a mechanic

Fun expression and a study in opposites, purple and yellow

Show Opens April 27th
St. John's State College 
Orange Park Campus