painting on canvas

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.

Painting with the Kaddish

"Kaddish 1" 12" x 12" acrylic, paper, string, and cloth on canvas.

"Kaddish 1" 12" x 12" acrylic, paper, string, and cloth on canvas.

With the recent loss of my parents, it seemed the perfect time to create a painting with a focus on the Kaddish, a Hebrew prayer often referred to as the Mourner’s Kaddish. I have always loved the flow of rhythmic sounds as these Hebrew words are recited aloud, particularly in a group. There is a cadence to these sounds that becomes a shared journey.

Text strips prepared for “Kaddish 1”

Text strips prepared for “Kaddish 1”

First, I spent a day preparing strips of canvas cloth for the lines of text I would be using in the painting. I probably created enough strips to produce multiple paintings. Hence, the name Kaddish 1.

Detail of “Kaddish 1”

Detail of “Kaddish 1”

While working on Kaddish 1, I never had a clear vision of where it was going. The painting seemed to keep showing me what my next steps were in it’s development. It took some time before the design layout for the text strips became clear. You might be able to see how the strips are not laying flat, but each one has an area which is raised up (image down below). And… I have to say, I became quite jazzed at the idea of adding the three lines of text to the left side of the background canvas, after placing single rows of text on the other three sides.

For now, this painting will remain with me and won’t be available for purchase. But I do plan to do more like it.

Detail of “Kaddish 1”

Detail of “Kaddish 1”

Mini Series

“Shivaya”

“Shivaya”

“Peace Kaddish”

“Peace Kaddish”

It all started when I was thinking of doing a “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge. The idea of creating a series of 6” x 6” paintings on canvas intrigued me. Back in April, I had done a small group of works on paper in that size.

So, when considering the challenge, I decided to begin a series of Mini Transcriptions. Although small, they require many of the same steps in the process as those of the Transcriptions series. I quickly learned that unless this was my only focus, it was unlikely to produce 30 in 30 days.

“Peace and Tranquility”

“Peace and Tranquility”

As I write this post today, the next issue of the Shared Easel Newsletter is almost complete and the seventh small painting is about to be finished.

I may not be doing too many more of these, but I do get a twinkle in my eye at the idea of returning to this size for future projects. For now, I have loved using the sewing machine to attach the pieces of canvas cloth. I adore the stringiness I can create with the hanging threads. And I am surprised that I have enjoyed working this small.

“May All Be at Peace”

“May All Be at Peace”

My goal for the month was to redesign the Shared Easel newsletter and produce the first issue using MailChimp. But first I had to learn how to work within MailChimp to create a newsletter template. Ugh!! I had just spent the summer learning how to create a website with Squarespace. Now I had to tackle another new platform.

I guess you can see why the idea of creating 30 Mini’s had to slip away. What I did realize was that these small paintings were perfect for balancing studio time with newsletter development.

Work in Progress

Work in Progress