canvas art

Breath and Beyond

“Breath and Beyond” 12" x 12" acrylic, cloth, threads, and paper on canvas.

“Breath and Beyond” 12" x 12" acrylic, cloth, threads, and paper on canvas.

“Breath and Beyond” was the first painting I worked on and completed after returning from packing up my parent’s home. (We were getting it ready for sale.) Although I returned with several new projects in mind, I decided to get busy with the raw canvas I had prepared before leaving. My first goal was to create a thread filled environment in which to paint.

“Breath and Beyond” in process.

“Breath and Beyond” in process.

I began by sewing lines of stitches in something of a checkerboard pattern, leaving loose threads at the ends of each line. I had already cut five squares into the cloth before the trip.

“Breath and Beyond” didn’t develop as I had originally envisioned. So, I let go, allowing the process to lead me, and I was able to enjoy every step along the way.

I kept adding color, then some text, and then more color. The background canvas became a deep brownish mauve to peek through the openings in the cloth.

The text in the painting is the mantra, So Hum, meaning: "I Am That." It is used in meditation as one focuses on their breath.

“Breath and Beyond” in process.

“Breath and Beyond” in process.

I always have a title in mind by the time a painting is complete… but not this time. The painting had journeyed so far from the original idea and I felt like I was just along for the ride, not knowing where we were going. I had to brainstorm ideas for a name.

When the title, “Breath and Beyond” came to mind, I knew it was right. I could see how the painted cloth had become a tapestry OR a tapestry of life. I had chosen a mantra that represents the breath OR breath of life. And the cutouts had become windows to the beyond.

“Breath and Beyond” in process. Sewing the painted cloth to the back canvas.

“Breath and Beyond” in process. Sewing the painted cloth to the back canvas.

Small Bites

"Small Bites" 12" x 12" acrylic and cloth on canvas.

"Small Bites" 12" x 12" acrylic and cloth on canvas.

A dream became the inspiration for “Small Bites”… an original painting that is now part of my Canvas on Canvas series. First I prepared the piece of raw canvas by fraying the edges and cutting out holes in the cloth. I attached it to the stretched canvas and then it was time to take out the acrylics and brushes and choose some colors.

"Small Bites" in process. Choosing the color palette.

"Small Bites" in process. Choosing the color palette.

Choosing the color palette:

I only had a vague idea of the colors I would use. So, I began with one of my favorite starter color palettes: yellow oxide, titanium white, and Payne’s grey. (Oh, but since I have very little Payne's grey around, I'm using ivory black.) I love the way these colors mix together!

Now I had to choose the rest of the colors. I have a small collection of color cards that I’ve created and add to from time to time. I find it very helpful in choosing a color palette when I don't have one immediately in mind. I went back and forth on different color ideas for this one.

It took me a while to get comfortable with the reds I had chosen, but I really like the idea of stretching my “color comfort zone.” And by the time I was finished, I had grown much more comfortable with the reds in this color palette. (0f course, I did soften the intensity of the color, somewhat.)

Twas Brillig

“Twas Brillig” 24” x 30” Acrylic, canvas cloth, and paper on canvas.

“Twas Brillig” 24” x 30” Acrylic, canvas cloth, and paper on canvas.

Detail image of “Twas Brillig”

Detail image of “Twas Brillig”

Painting brings me joy. I love my time in the studio and the relationship I develop with each of my creations… but once and awhile I create something that significantly increases the joy. “Twas Brillig” did just that. It turned up the “Joy Meter” and I was in no rush to complete it. I found myself savoring every moment I spent playing with this canvas.

For years I have wanted to create a painting with a focus on Lewis Carroll’s, Jabberwocky. I have loved it since high school. In fact, in one of my art classes back then, we had to illustrate a children’s book for a painting and drawing class. I chose to illustrate The Jabberwocky. (Thank you, Mr. Foo)

Closeup of the attached book on “Twas Brillig”

Closeup of the attached book on “Twas Brillig”

I so enjoyed playing with the text of the poem as I incorporated Carroll’s unique and wonderful words into the constructed cloth book. I took my time developing the background of the stretched canvas that became the setting for the “book.” This one gave me an opportunity to explore with color and structure.

Detail image of “Twas Brillig”

Detail image of “Twas Brillig”

My original goal was to, in some way, allow the words of Lewis Carroll to spill from the book, as if the boundaries of the books could not contain it. I would love to do more canvases like this one. Playing with text as it pours from the painting surface. These are the types of images that keep coming up in my mind, calling to be created.

I enjoyed every moment I spent on this painting. And I can’t help but wonder if this one may be something of a bridge between the work that has come before and the artwork I will be creating, moving forward. I definitely approached the painting process differently than I might have in the past… and that had been my goal.

Here are the words of the first and last stanzas of the poem for those of you unfamiliar with Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll and for those who would enjoy a reread:

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.”

This painting is available for purchase. It has not yet been added to the online galleries but will be added very soon, along with several other recently completed works. For now, email me with any inquiries.