31 March 2016

"In Her Hands" - Creating a Second for a Pair

First came "In His Hands", for an Orchid themed juried exhibition.

View and review the award-winning "In His Hands" process post HERE

See the exhibition show and award for "In His Hands" HERE


Now I've done the partner to complete the pair!

With the twin find of a frame, 2016

"In Her Hands" is themed similarly within general Greek mythology, same size, with a asymmetrical twin frame (that I got months ago, just for this), and composed of the same conceptual features, the hands and a botanical element.

This piece references the pomegranate as a common icon in European and Middle Eastern mythologies, particularly as the fruit Demeter is represented by, whose daughter Persephone is taken to the Underworld and made to be the wife of Hades, thus giving the world the seasons... I won't go all into explaining that myth, it's very well known. Look it up if you are unfamiliar!

I wanted a flower or fruit that would well suit the female version of this little duo project, as the upright orchid and the myth of Orchis was rather phallic in theme. I wanted to match the mild and delicate sexual reference in the first one, as a potential addition viewers are welcome to explore through the lines, or not.

The pomegranate is a wonderful fruit with clear physical cross-over to the artful aesthetic of the female sexual organs, and held, cradled, or gently caressed within the woman's hands in the painting, the overall shape formed looks almost like the uterus.

Either way, here is some of my process in creating this second concept to reference and pair well with the first:

The goal was to balance "In Her Hands" standing as it's own creation and as a comparable piece to "In His Hands" in composition and approach to execution.

I started as always.
(View the similar scroll-down style process for "In His Hands" HERE)

Add caption

Roughing in the drawing of the hands over the wash
Finding the line variation and value notes for the hands 
More of the same...
Underpainting stage
....to painting
More painting and final touches....
I'm fond of this photographed detail:

Detail crop of the process towards the end here

And then jump at last to a photograph of the finish, after the final touches, signature, and varnish:

"In Her Hands", 5x7", Mixed Media, March 2016

I have to say I just greatly enjoy and find pleasure in drawing and painting hands. Working with my own strong hands to create new hands is a playful, simultaneously reverent experience. But that's just me.

Nature is an integral facet of my work, and more so as I evolve into the my process. I consider this work a success, the journey as much if not more so than the current, 'final' result.

Coming Exhibition:

"In Her Hands" is officially my contribution to an invitational show featuring work and their behind-the-scenes work of thirteen Pennsylvania artists based in Lancaster and Philadelphia, curated by my friend and colleague Matt Allyn Chapman. The show opens April 1st (my birthday!) and is held at the beautiful Sunshine Art+Design Gallery in downtown Lancaster, for the duration of the month.

"The Exhibition gives us a chance to see the surfaces, objects, and tools in which the artist uses to create their work, paired with the work it’s self. To an artist, their palette, drawing board, pair of paint stained shoes or their studio apron is just as important and personal as the work created from it. Showing these objects next to the artists completed work provides a deeper understanding of their studio practice and opens a dialogue about where the process ends and the art begins.

Guest Curator Matt Allyn Chapman studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia (MFA) as well as Lancaster’s Pennsylvania College of Art & Design (BFA). He has exhibited at: The Walter and Leonore Annenberg Gallery, Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building at PAFA, Philadelphia PA. Pentimenti Gallery, Philadelphia PA, Rothus Halle, Solothurn, Switzerland. The Ware Center for Visual and Performing Arts at Millersville University, Lancaster PA. Sunshine Art + Design, Lancaster PA."

Showing artists:
Emily Adleblute
Alicia Byler
Mairin-Taj Caya
Nicole Duquette
Travis Grant
Annie Keregyarto
Evan Kitson
Seth Madden
Kate McCammon
Jordan Morgan
Chris Otto
Justin Phillips
Hattie Sloane

Join us for ‪#‎LancasterArtWalk‬! And congratulations to all exhibitors!

-Mairin-Taj Caya

19 March 2016

"Green Is the Tree of Life" - Tree Post III

Gray are all the theories,
But green is the tree of life.
– Wolfgang von Goethe, poet, philosopher

I've been returning to the concept of my "Infinity Tree" with an interest in working in tandem with inspired poetry and prose on the subject of the tree by noteworthy humans in our history.

Similar to how we enjoy theming music to our mood, focus, and work content, this time I used musings on the tree as my background meditation, as it were.

Meanwhile, I began another study sketch for the project, spring-boarding off of the first one.

Here's the process:

Find the form to work with, roughly...

Trees purify the air;
They also purify the mind …
If you want to save your world,
You must save the trees.
– The Trees of Endor.

He who knows the tree is the knower of the Vedas.
– The Bhagavad-Gita.

Sketchbook open and structures defining themselves...

The kingdom of nature holds the whole of the secrets of God.
– Mona Rolfe, Irish mystic, Symbols For Eternity

A tree is like a saint. It calls no one to itself, nor does it send anyone away. It offers to protect everyone who wants to come to it, whether this be a man, a woman, a child, or an animal.
– Ma Anandamayi Ma, Indian saint

Mid-process, layering over color and medium in different techniques...
Gold leaf, enough said...

The best friend on earth of man is the tree. When we use the tree respectfully and economically, we have one of the greatest resources on the earth.
– Frank Lloyd Wright, renowned architect

Forests precede civilisations and deserts follow them.
– Chateaubriand, French diplomat, 1768-1848

Tree Study II, "Infinity Tree" - Final - 2016
*Detail in goldleaf on paper...

Again, this serves the purpose of a second study, a mixed media sketch, a preliminary, based on the notions and concept parameters evolving in my notes.

This is not the final drawing, or final painting for "Infinity Tree".

Such is another sampling of the processes and the inclinations of my mind through the creative stages, and I hope you've found some inspiration or decent musing material in the diverse quotes, as I found. 
Ultimately, the tree is a clear international, multicultural, and perpetual figure for the spiritual, environmental, emotional, and physical health of humanity as well as our world. Let us admire and actively respect them, however and wherever we can, in our lives.

Until next segment,


05 March 2016

"Visitations Between Color and Light On Form" - Euan Uglow's Work

Color is complex.

Discerning the shifts between color temperature, saturation, and value quality across a single given form, let alone within the visual range of a scene's complex subject matter, is a difficult thing to learn to see. But knowing how to see and articulate these distinctions in artwork suspends disbelief for the viewer. It makes it breathe, and be believable. 

It takes years of active looking in tandem with practical execution through medium, in order to posture 'mastery' of this.

An endless fascination for many artists, let alone the admirers of such hard work put to canvas and paper, is the truly diverse range of shift these things can manifest in - from seemingly subjective and hallucinatory degrees of shift through basic changes all the way to dramatic, garish shift on the other end of the pendulum.

You can find it everywhere, but look at the shifts of color temperature, the saturation of color, and the value quality in color through planes, their collective shapes, and ultimate form in space, in these art examples from Euan Uglow - He's an excellent source for more cleanly defining and determining these shifts:

Temperature - the degree of coolness or warmth within a color
Saturation - "chroma" - the degree of brilliance or intensity of a color
Value - the degree of lightness or darkness within a color, or the degree of light reflected...

"Nude with Green Background" - Euan Uglow - 1964-5
"The Wave" - Euan Uglow - 1989-97
"Girl Tree" - Euan Uglow - 1989-91
"Duck" - Euan Uglow - ?

Notice how he's created planes and form through simplistic partnerships of color saturation, value, temperature, of course the hue of color, and edge quality, or the softness and hardness between shifts in application.

"Daisy" - part of Daisy triptych - Euan Uglow - 1991
"Peach I Young" - Euan Uglow - 1999

It can be a healthy reminder to pay attention to observing the relationship of these qualities as we create, interpreting our world and our intentions through sensational and psychological practices, in order to represent a vision for audiences and posterity.

It will only ever be an interpretation, after all. We're not copy machines.