Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Feature: Julia Eckel You Really Must Check This Out!

"Radio Broadcast" by Julia Eckel 1934 oil on canvas 40 x 55
 Have you ever visited a museum and become transfixed by a piece of art?  I visited the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art's new exhibit The New Deal.  This piece is captivating.  It is very large at 40 x 55 but it is still so intimate because of the composition.  I was struck by the amazing colors and brush strokes which are unfortunately lost by photographing the piece.  The way the paint was so lusciously applied made me want to go out and buy oil paints and start painting!  I wish I could give you the experience of seeing this in person there is really no substitute.

"Revival" by Julia Eckel 40 x 56 oil on canvas
I couldn't find very much biographical information about the artist Julia Eckel.  She was born in Washington D.C. 1907 and died in D.C. in 1988.  Her father was a WWI Major, Edwin C Eckel.  He was a geologist with the US Geological Survey.  From what I could find she never married.

"Street Scene" 40 x 55 by Julia Eckel oil on canvas
 Julia produced her pieces for Public Works Art Program which was a component of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal economic recovery program which lasted for a 6 month period during 1933-1934.  The purpose of this program was to alleviate the distress of professional, unemployed American artists by paying them to produce artwork that could be used to embellish public buildings.  The program was administered by the Treasury Department by art professionals in 16 different regions. 

"Band Concert" by Julia Eckel 40 x 56 oil on canvas
During this brief period 4,000 artists from around the nation were commissioned to produce some 15,000 paintings reflecting  the every day life in America.

The Montgomery Museum of Fine Art has a portion of these paintings on exhibit on loan from the Smithsonian American Art's Museum.  It's on exhibit now through the beginning of Jan. For a look at a few more of the New Deal pieces on exhibit click here.

I hope you enjoyed this post.  I'm planning on doing a post each Friday, called Friday Feature, where I spotlight art that strikes me and do artists interviews. 

Have a great weekend,

**the sources of information for this post were
The Montgomery Museum of Fine Art
Images used were from the Smithsonian's American Art Museum

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

5 Ways to manage your Inner Critic! and WIP

Hi Everyone,
watercolor on paper 14 x 16 work in progress
I'm back from vacation and back to reality.  I've been working on my painting.  I'm always open for title suggestions, my creativity seems to come to a screeching halt when it comes to the title:)

I've been thinking a lot about his artistic journey that we're on and have noticed that we end up being our own worst critic.  Every time I put brush to paper I can't help but have doubting thoughts come bubbling up.  Why is that?  

I have to admit being an artist is like riding a roller coaster.  It has it's highs and lows.  That building anticipation, the sheer adrenaline high and then those gut wrenching scary lows.  My husband is currently training for a deployment to Afghanistan.  They are putting him through simulations that prepare him for the worst situations in combat.  The thought behind it is that if you already know how bad it could be you it will lessen your fears and prepare you to deal with anything that comes your way.

I started thinking about this and realized that the adage the only thing to fear is fear itself, is so true!    We hold ourselves back because we are afraid of the unknown and the worst possible result.  Why can't we envision our worst case scenarios, those obstacles that are holding us back as artist?.  Envision those situations face them and move on, move over inner critic, I'm taking back control!

I heard a life coach on the radio today, Tara Mohr, she was addressing how to deal with our inner critic.  She had some great tools that we can use to tackle that nagging voice.

5 Ways to Manage you Inner Critic!

1.  Recognize your inner critic's voice.  This can also be a version of an outer critic that is internalized.   Recognize that voice and label it!!

To be able to gain control of our inner critic we have to be aware of that voice.  Spend some time really paying attention to your thoughts.  Become aware of just how many negative thoughts creep in during the day!

2.  Find the humor in your inner critic.  It's time to listen to what that inner critic is saying, really hear it and realize the absurdity of what it is saying!

3.   Don't try to argue with your inner critic.  Instead write down what your inner critic is saying, question and analyze it, what are we really fearing?

4.  Give you inner critic the day off.  Tell your inner critic to take a hike for the day.  Write a thanks but no thanks letter to your inner critic.

5.  Kill you inner critic with kindness.  For every negative thought that creeps in there you have to counteract this with 10 positive thoughts.

I saw this on MONACO Interiors blog post today, how perfect!!
Let's face it we're never going to graduate from our inner critic, but we can hear that voice and take a different direction.  How do you deal with your inner critic? 

Monday, September 26, 2011


Port St. Joe, Florida
 I've been away soaking up the last of the Summer on the beach in Florida!  I'll have more of my painting later this week.  Until then I thought I would share with you Deb Ward's post on entering exhibitions.  She's been the chair for art exhibitions and she tells you the correct way to enter your work!  First hand information from the show chair, this information is invaluable!  I think most artists have been rejected from a show at some point in their career.  This is an inside look at why some pieces are rejected.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Is This Why Your Art is Being Rejected?

Hi Everyone,
This is the piece that the curator used as a good example of framing.  "Pomegranates and Cranberries"
Are you enhancing or detracting from your art with your framing?   I just went to an art critique for an exhibition I'm in and the juror spent a good deal of time talking about framing.  This is the second critique I've been too where the juror spent a good portion of the talk about the difference between good framing and bad.    At this particular show she said some of the framing was so bad she could not help but have it be a factor when she was judging.  As an aside I will say that the curator of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art did comment that my painting was a perfect example of good framing, I was thrilled because I deliberated long and hard over my choice.

I always like to keep my framing simple, elegant and classic.  I normally default to a white mat, you just can't go wrong.  It always looks good.  I'm never happy when I choose a cream or an off-white mat, I think the whole painting looks dirty, it also really changes some of the colors of my painting.  I always try to make the painting stand out, after all of the hard work that goes into a painting I don't want to do anything to detract from it.

My Mom owns a custom framing business so I do my own framing.  Check out her shop here, she does ship in the U.S.  She has a beautiful selection and is running a special right now, so be sure to check out her site.  We no longer live in the same area so she now ships me the molding and I build the frames at my home. 
The routed molding

the peg is in place with glue to join the sides
Here is a picture of how the molding shows up.  It is pre-routed and all I have to do is glue in the pegs.
This is a different molding, it has 3 pegs holding it together.  It is now drying
After the frame is built I wait 24 hours for the frame to dry.

While I'm waiting I get my mat cut and glass or plexi cut.  I use plexi when I'm entering exhibits and glass otherwise.  I mount my watercolor in the mat with acid free mounting tape.  I only use acid free/archival mats, and foam core.

My framing point gun and the stacked points

It's important to shoot the points in at the corners and then several on each side, the larger the picture the more points I use.
Now it's time to put it all together.  It is important to make sure you have enough foam core to fill up the frame making sure the back is flush with the frame.  Once it's flush I can now shoot my framing points in to secure the whole thing.
ATG gun

I use a ruler and an X-Acto knife to cut off the excess paper. 
Once the points are in it's time for paper on the back.  I get out my trusty ATG (adhesive transfer gun) gun, it is holds a double sided tape that you run along the edge of the wood on the back of the frame.  You want to get this very close to the edge.
Here is the painting with the paper on the back and trimmed

My hardware and handy power screwdriver
The wire is secure.  I place it about 1/3 of the way down.
I use my ATG gun to affix my business card and a pocket on the back.  The pocket holds my artists bio and certificate of authenticity. 
Once the paper is trimmed it's time for the hardware, wire and finishing touches.  I think the artists bio and certificate of authenticity adds a very personal and professional touch.
"Crawfish on Newsprint" watercolor on paper 6x6 with a 12 x 12 frame BUY NOW

Here is the finished result.
"Spot of Tea" watercolor on paper 6x6 framed in a 12 x 12 frame BUY NOW
"Lavender Tulips" watercolor on paper 6x6 framed in a 12 x 12 BUY NOW
"Can It" watercolor on paper 6x6 framed 12 x 12 BUY NOW "Can It Too" watercolor on paper 6x6 framed 12 x 12 BUY NOW
Here are some more frames that I just finished.  These pieces are for sale.

Hope this information is useful.  What has been your experience with framing?  Do you have any insider tips?  Share with the class we would all love to know:)


Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Monday:) Jars work in progress

Hi Everyone,
Work in Progress, watercolor on paper 14 x 20
Today I'm sharing with you another work in progress.  And yes it is another ball jar painting:)  I'm just not done with them yet!  This one has a lot of drama and great colors filtering through these jars.  I love the amount of color that is captured in these empty jars.  It's almost like I captured some rainbows!  Truly a kaleidoscope!

I also framed "Can It" and "Can It Too".  I wanted a contemporary look.  And I love leaving that crisp white border around my paintings, it allows me to get the look of double mat without the cost.

I had a meeting at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art this week and I am happy to announce that my original paintings will be for sale in their store.  I'm also excited to be part of their Holiday Market in November.
"Anticipation"  framed very simply with white mat and a contemporary black frame
I also had an art critique this week for the show that "Anticipation" won a ribbon in and the juror spent a lot of time discussing the importance of framing.  So with that in mind I will be doing a post of framing on Wednesday!  I'll share her thoughts and mine:)  It really can add or detract from a painting.  So stay tuned:)
"Hand Shapes"
 Steven's really into his hand prints right now.  I probably have 10 - 15 pages filled with them, he calls them his "hand shapes".   I really love the colors he puts together.

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Can It Too

"Can It Too" original watercolor on paper 6x6 Buy Now
Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a relaxing weekend.  Our weekend was pretty busy. I really didn't think I would have a completed painting to post today, because of the craziness I've been experiencing for the last few weeks.  My hubby has been out of town and everything got chaotic the day he left.  I don't even think his plane was off the ground yet when our washing machine broke.  And it all went downhill after that.  Sam busted his chin and had to be glued back together.  Steven got sick and was out of school for a few days.  Then Sam got sick and he was up for 48 straight hours.  We went to the Dr and he got antibiotic for an ear infection and bacterial infection.  He still has a bad cough and in conjunction with his very sensitive gag reflex I have been thrown up on more times than I would like to discuss.  All of this has been going on while we've been getting used to Steven's school schedule.  I'm so glad that I don't work outside of the house because boy would it have been an even greater challenge.  Also Steven has been in school for 2 weeks and already been invited to 3 birthday parties, I'm going to go broke at this rate.  So this weekend we had to squeeze in birthday parties, a friends bbq, and my art reception.

Even with everything going on I forced myself to sit down and finish this painting.  So what it's 2:37 a.m., as I'm writing this, sleep is overrated:) 

"Can It" watercolor on paper 6x6 Buy Now
This weeks painting is an accompanying piece to Can It.  I thought it would be great to have a pair of these guys.

"Anticipation" 23.5 x 32 watercolor on paper
My painting "Anticipation" that has inspired my whole series received a ribbon at the 45th Annual Montgomery Art Guild's Regions Bank Exhibit.  The way their awards work is they have a Best of Show and then a Best of for 5 categories and 5 honorable mentions in those categories.  I received honorable mention for the Transparency category--which also included gouache and acrylic (thought that was interesting).  Anyway I was thrilled!!

Have a great Monday, I'll see you Wednesday--I'll post some of Steven's creations on Wednesday:)


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Can It Too work in progress

original watercolor on paper 6x6 wip- sorry about the color it's a little green
Hi Everyone,

This weekend was a long weekend for us in the good ole' U.S of A and I'm afraid I wasn't as productive as I should have been.  I'm working on an accompanying piece for Can It.  Above is my work in progress.  I swear it is different from the other one:)  You'll see on my next post.

Our neighbors had a Labor Day BBQ and I wanted to bring something over a little bit different than a bottle of wine.  So I brought them a little Thank You bouquet.  I attached a small thank you card with one of my paintings on the tag.

"Dinner At Eight" SOLD
 "Dinner At Eight" sold this weekend and its on it's way to Spain.

I hope everyone had a relaxing weekend.  I'm very thankful for my family and house this weekend.  I can't help but hug my little boys a little tighter today as I read about Carol and David Marine's devastation.  Their home and studio were lost to the wild fires in Texas.  Here is a link to fundraising page.  I can't imagine what they are going through. 


Friday, September 2, 2011

Can It

"Can It" original watercolor on paper 6x6 Buy Now
 It's Friday!!!!  Yay! and a long weekend for everyone in the U.S.A.   I hope you all have wonderful plans. 
We'll have a low key weekend at our house, maybe a barbeque at a friends.  Steven is under the weather and Sam is finally able to shower again after busting his chin open.  Hopefully we can relax and re-coop:)

I have finished my 6x6 painting.  I'm titling this one "Can It".  I just can't get enough of these jars and with the wonderful light pouring through them.  Hopefully you won't get too bored, I plan on doing a series.

Have a fabulous weekend!