Thursday, May 28, 2015

Working in a Series

When I purchase stretched canvas, I always order in bulk because of the quantity discounts. Keeping canvases on hand in a variety of sizes serves my impulses since there is almost always a canvas handy to accommodate my inspirations. But, the side effect is that boxes of blank canvases take up a lot of storage space and they serve no purpose sitting in the closet with nothing on them. So, instead of beginning with an idea and then finding a canvas that matches my intuition, I decided to start with the canvas and find inspiration to fill it. I began by counting blank canvases and inventorying the sizes. To my surprise, I had a dozen unused canvases in sizes 18x24, 20x24, and 24x30. So, the first in a series I call Distractions was created. The abstract design in this post was developed on an 18x24 inch stretched canvas with acrylic paints and mediums. It will not be available for purchase until the series is finished. I plan to create five or six more paintings in this series that consists of warm colors, geometric shapes, and texture. When the series is complete, I will post information about availability. Until then, you can still purchase original small format paintings from my Etsy Shop or reproductions of my other work from my website, NancyMerkle.com.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Paint Addiction

The past six weeks I have been travelled from the Pacific Coast in Washington State to Central Oregon and back again. It was a lovely trip, but I missed my daily stints in the studio. My oils were with me, but I longed for the freedom of expression that acrylic paint provides for me. One afternoon, when I couldn't stand it any longer, I found my way to an art store and bought a tube of black paint, a couple of large brushes, and some mixed media paper.  I spent the afternoon playing. I used the new brushes, some found objects, and my imagination. When the entire pad of paper was almost gone, I felt better.  This painting is one of my favorite of the group. I like the boldness of the black and white and the freedom of large brush strokes. Reproductions of this work and some of my other black and white experiments are available in the painted abstract gallery of my website. I hope you will visit.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Winter Sunset Discovery

Several years ago I won a basic set of Winsor Newton Griffin Alkyd Oil Paints in an art competition, but I never used them. They sat in the closet forgotten until this past week when I was  packing for a trip to the coast. On the spur of the moment, I threw them in my suitcase along with a few canvases. The box was small and didn't take up much room unlike my collection of acrylics and regular oil paints. Later in the week, I pulled them out. With only three primary colors and white, I began to paint. The paint was smooth and creamy and had a consistency just like my regular oils. It was fun and I enjoyed it, but the best part was that the paint was dry by the next morning. I couldn't believe it. I have painted with regular oils for years, waiting days, even weeks for the paint to dry. It was always a challenge to paint when travelling. Many times I just left my paints at home rather than lug wet panel carriers and all my usual paraphernalia. From now on, when I travel, these will be my paints of choice. The above painting was created on a 9x12 inch stretched canvas using my favorite new paints. Reproductions are available here on paper or canvas. For now I am going to hold on to the original, but I may eventually sell it in my Etsy Shop along with some of my other small format paintings.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Orange Splatter

Four scraps of paper is how the work in this series began. I selected a total of four scraps of paper from my collection for each of four collage paintings and attached them to 8x10 hardboard panels. Then, working intuitively, I embellished the surface with pencils, paint, and paint pens. I stamped, scribbled, and brushed. It was fun to see designs emerge and blend. This is one of the four designs that resulted from the experiment. Fine art reproduction prints of this abstract series are available from my website in a variety of sizes.  You can view paper and canvas options here. The other three designs in the series can be viewed here, here, and here. I hope you like my Orange Splatter Series and will stop by my website to view all four designs.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Green Light -- Keep on Going

Earlier in the month I wrote a post about avoiding the trap of overworking a composition, a trap that frequently takes hold of me. I advocated stopping early in your work before mucking it up. However, I'm going to eat my words and advocate the opposite today. This painting is one that I mucked up early on in its creation. It began with a layer of red paint that I let dry, adding a layer of white, and then scratching back some of the white to reveal the red paint underneath. It looked horrible. There was no clear design to my scratching and the red poked out as pink. It was an ugly mess. I let it sit for several days, hating to toss it only because I didn't want to waste the acrylic paper on which it was created. Eventually I went back to it and pushed on. There was nothing to lose. I pulled out every green tube of paint, every green pen, every green pencil and paint marker and began working the four corners of the paper. I left a white band to divide the surface. I scribbled and layered, and kept turning those four corners. Then, all of a sudden I began to like the results. Finally, I stopped, splattered on a few finishing touches and decided maybe it was premature to advocate stopping early. Maybe that mucky mess just means it is time to press on and get over it.The painting is available for purchase as a fine art reproduction print in a variety of sizes and formats from my website. Hope you can stop by.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Playtime Art

My studio is a playroom in which I can spend hours messing with colors and designs. It is hard to keep it clean when inspiration is flowing. Paper and paint are lined up on the floor and I only take a break when I run out of space and have to wait for some paint to dry. Recently I have enjoyed creating painted designs on tissue paper and the incorporating them into collage paintings. This composition includes two such tissue paper designs. Can you tell which designs were created on tissue paper first? Reproduction prints of this work is available for purchase on paper, canvas, acrylic, and metal here in my portfolio. It also makes a really cool throw pillow.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Stop Early: Don't Overwork

Stop early and don't overwork your art. I need to keep telling myself that because I tend toward overworking. The process feels so good that I want to keep on adding colors and lines and textures and layers and more layers until I have a mess. Then I paint over everything and begin again. It is a terrible waste of time and materials. Luckily, I stopped early on this one. Some handmade papers, found papers, and a little bit of paint is how this design began. I let it sit for a few days and then declared it finished, no overworking, no paint over. I liked the colors, the lines and the balance. It felt good.  Reproduction fine art prints on paper, canvas, and metal are available for purchase from my portfolio. The image makes a pretty cool pillow, too! See the pillow here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cross Town Bus


Paint and paper are still finding their way into my artwork. A little bit of everything went into this painted collage. Magazine pages provide beautiful, bold color. Paint provides the background, circular stamps and ink add to the surface. The round shapes provided movement. When I was finished it felt like I had travelled across town, thus I named the piece, Cross Town Bus. It was just plain old fun to create. The original was created on paper and is not for sale, but reproductions on paper or canvas are available here. If you are interested in some of my other painted collages, you can view them in the Mixed Media Gallery of my portfolio, here.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Making Marks

Making marks with paper and paint was my preoccupation this week. I created several painted collages by layering shapes and colors. This image is one of my favorites. It is entitled "Circus" because of the bright colors and busy movement. I used handmade papers, found papers, paint, and a little ink. The work is intuitive. I only have a vague idea of what the results will be when I start. I add, subtract, multiply, and divide and eventually arrive at something that pleases me. Then I declare it is finished. This creation was developed on paper. The original is not for sale, but high quality reproductions are available here in a variety of sizes and surfaces. I hope you will stop by and visit my portfolio to see some of my other mixed media creations. You can even purchase this design on a throw pillow.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Reflecting Light

A collection of glass bottles is the focus of this still life oil painting. It was painted from life. It helps to see how the light reflects as the glass is recreated on canvas. In my last post, I discussed the practice of using the rules of color and light to paint little still life paintings. I did not have a reference for my example, but used what I knew about the subject to create the painting of an orange bell pepper. Painting glass is different. Light spews in so many directions. Reflections on glass depend on so many variables, that I find it difficult to create the sensation without an actual reference. The color of the glass, the thickness of the glass, and the direction of the light are trickier when it comes to painting glass. This original 6x8 inch oil painting is for sale in my Etsy Shop along with some of my other original still life paintings. At this point, it is not available as a reproduction. I hope you will stop by and view some of my other small format paintings. This painting can be viewed here.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Always Looking

When painting still life, I've always felt it was necessary to have a reference. The best references are those that I buy at the grocery store or farmer's market and bring home. Or are they?  Recently I've been giving myself a little test. I've worked on a series of fruit and vegetable paintings. Some I have painted from a live reference and some from my mind's eye using the rules of light, shadow, and color. The question is whether or not there is truly a difference.  What do you think?  Was this orange pepper painted from reference or memory?  I'll let you ponder that and will give the answer in my next blog update, so stay tuned. The original 6x8 inch oil painting is for sale in my Etsy shop. It was created with professional grade oil paints on a stretched canvas. You can view it here. It is also available in larger sizes as a reproduction on archival paper or canvas from my website here. Click here for sizes and prices. You can also make it into a fun little throw pillow. Follow this link for sizes and prices of throw pillows.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

It's in the Eyes

Recently I've been working on a series of small bird portraits. I always start with painting the eyes. If I can get the eyes right, the rest of the creature seems to come together much easier. This guy is strong and determined. He's in charge and wants everyone to know it. As I get the paintings in this series photographed and uploaded, the originals will be listed in my Etsy shop in the Birds and Animals gallery. Most are 4x5 an 4x6 inches in size, created on canvas panels with professional grade oil paints. If I can get decent photographs, I will also sell them as reproductions here. It is a challenge to photograph small paintings and have them suitable as reproductions, so many of them may exist in original form only. When they are gone, they're gone, original one of a kind small format art. How cool is that?  If you'd like to see all of the work I have available for reproduction, please stop by my gallery and shop here.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sunday Morning


Sunday is a pastel day, easy, comfortable, devoid of stress, a sleep in, read the paper kind of day. This mixed media contemporary abstract design is my Sunday morning. The stress of the weekdays has broken away revealing a soft inner core, pastels, tints, not the grating of the day to day grind.  That's what inspired this original collage work that was developed on 12x12 inch watercolor paper using acrylic paints, ink, and torn paper. Reproductions of the image are available in the abstract gallery of my website.  To add to the fun, I discovered it looks great as a pillow, too.  Click here for prints and here for pillows.  How fun is that?


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sunshine and Rain

The weather in February has been awful. Snow in the East and rain in the West. In the Pacific Northwest where I live it has been day after day of drizzling liquid.  To combat the dreariness of it, I have been painting oranges. They are bright and sunny and I get to eat them when the day is done. This 6x6 inch still life of sliced oranges is one of the recent series of tropical fruit paintings that has served me well during the gray gloom of the month.  The original can be purchased here. Visit the tropical fruit section of my Etsy shop to view more. These little jewels are not available as reproductions, but I hope they will brighten your day as they have mine.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Old and New

Combining some contemporary techniques with a traditional still life is what today's posting is all about. I began this acrylic painting with layers of paint and pattern, using stencils, stamps, and a paintbrush, I created a textured underpainting. Working intuitively the design took on a life of its own. When I reached the point where it felt like it was finished, I created the silhouette of a simple pear still life over the underlying design.  It turned out to be a fun combination of old and new, abstract and representational, and my love of both was satisfied by the completion of the painting. The original was created on a 12x12 inch sheet of watercolor paper with acrylic paints. Giclee reproductions are available from my website here. The square format painting can be ordered in a variety of square format sizes, on paper, or on stretched canvas, one of my favorites when 1.5 inch stretcher bars are used. Very cool for the kitchen.