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Kate Thompson

Kate Thompson

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Children of the Wild and experiments with oil painting

First of all I want to give a plug for my new online class starting June 20, 2016. Jeanne Oliver is hosting this class on her ning site. The early registration cost is $32. till May 20, 2016. After that it is $49.00. An amazing deal if you ask my honest opinion! I have truly put my heart into this class. My love for animals is so much a part of who I am. From dog rescuing to owning and loving my own pets, they have made a huge difference in my life. I am not much of a story teller but for some reason the art I created in this class lends itself to an explanation or story. Now these stories although fanciful have some personal truth to them.  My work is becoming more personal and that is what truly drives me these days. Yes I love learning new techniques and exploring to the point of exploitation! That is the technical force that drives me but the emotional connection is definitely the hook. I want to thank Gillian Cox as inspiration to go beyond the pretty picture and get down to business as a fine artist.

I am going on my 2nd year at Ciel Gallery and learning about how a gallery is run. There is timeless work involved for preparing the gallery for a show. I have been participating in several of the group shows as well as having permanent work displayed in the back gallery. The first Friday of every month we have a gallery crawl and depending on the theme of the show will dictate how the gallery is transformed and the reward is a wonderful evening of beauty, interesting conversation and fun.
It was a goal of mine the beginning of this year to start focusing on selling my work in galleries. Here are the pieces I have sold at Ciel Gallery as well as Studio at Flatrock. Here are the websites for both gallerys

Children of the Wild project, sold at Ciel Gallery

Children of the Wild project, sold at Ciel Gallery

So now it comes to my experiments with oils. I resisted working with this medium because I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to start working with yet another medium. I wasn't aware that you can work wet on wet, Alla Prima method.  That intrigued me! I couldn't see me laboriously painting each layer allowing each layer to dry first. I knew I would lose interest in painting this way. There is also a really great teacher that I took an online class with, Tony Pro. Here is his website and classes. I took the Portrait Sketch 2 class. I loved how he created planes with his portraits and the absolutely gorgeous color palette he used. Here is my practice piece from that class

 I worked on another portrait in a similar way but wanted to make part of the portrait using the impasto method. I like the combination of using both methods in one painting.

 Here are a couple of oil portraits I worked on on my own just experimenting

But now this following painting is where I really started to experiment. I worked on this painting for awhile. Letting it sit in my studio to breath and speak to me. This has taught me patience! I usually like to complete a painting within a week but then I realized that for me, I have to spend time looking at the work and that can not be done in a week. Another reason this piece took so much time was that I started out with one idea. I wanted this tribe to be inside an abandoned cathedral. The background and the figures were fighting each other and I finally had to let the initial idea go and remove the background. Note to self,,,,if you want to do a more complex composition I need to do many sketches beforehand! So that lost me a week. The interesting thing though is figuring out how to make the whole painting work by trying different composition on the same canvas. I was working out my "sketches" directly on the painting. Probably will be a little more organized and prepared next time but always, always leaving room for inspiration and spontaneity!
So here is the process as follows: start off with vintage ledger paper and vintage fabrics and lace applied to the canvas adding plaster as well. Charcoal and linseed oil and gesso were added, more collage pieces. The oil painting starts as well as using oil bars and cold wax.....many layers. Go back in with charcoal and always always end with my signature obsessive pencil marks!

So there you have it! Yes I will plan to teach my method but for now I am still my own student and need more experience. I will be taking Stanka Kordic's 5 day oil painting class at Random Arts in July. I know she is going to blow my mind!!

One last thing, I am updating my fabric book. I have been teaching it for years now and decided I wanted a new look, new size, new binding. I am working with the metal paints and rusting solution and love how they contrast on the creamy vintage fabrics I use. I used them on the buttons in the binding as well. I will start teaching this in 2017 and plan on doing a new online class  Any students that have taken the original fabric book online will get a discount on the new version but I will have so many more techniques....working with watercolors and linseed oil as well as playing with vintage ledger paper and cold wax. Here is my sample book for my class at Art and Soul Portland 2017

Thanks for stopping by........................kate

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mixed Media Artist, Fine Artist or does it matter.

I was hoping that 2016 would be a great start but some challenges have come my way. Now usually when I start doubting myself, I tend to feel defeated and then give up. It is fear pure and simple. I then start to worry what people will think of me. 'What if I peaked, have nothing else to give, teach or create' I have had my run and now I am back to where I thought I always the background, not putting any attention on myself, in other words, play it safe but very unsatisfied.
This is when the practice becomes even more important!! Even though I am going through these doubts I still show up to the studio and work. The structure and discipline of doing this gives me stability and hope. As long as I still do this I have a chance to continue making a living as an artist. Now during this time I have contemplated whether I should be a Mixed Media Artist or a Fine Artist. Does fine artist mean that I am classically trained and know how to paint traditionally with excellent drawing skills knowing every inch of the human anatomy (especially since my focus is figures and portraits). If I hold onto that definition than I am not a Fine Artist. I went to school and received a BFA in Fiber Arts. I took many classes on painting and drawing but really didn't learn that much in those settings. I found that I liked making paper and creating textural pieces of art as well as weaving. I was able to use my degree to be a textile print designer for the apparel business. My biggest fear was they would find out I couldn't draw or paint , but actually I couldn't but some how I was able to have this career for 20 years so I was very successful at hiding my "lack of skills". I truly believed this and it was partly true. I always was terrified that when people asked me what I did that telling them I was artist and then asked to draw something for them! Now I could render but I couldn't really draw especially on the spot!! O.k. enough of my low self esteem. ;-)

Oh as I am writing this post I see a thread on Facebook on this exact topic! We really are all connected. What a gift to connect and support each other.

When I start to doubt myself I have to actually look back at what I have been able to create for the past 4 years. First I had to learn how to really paint, which I did, but not in a studio. I learned in an online class. It took me a good year of working like a mad woman to get better. I was asked to create an online class. That meant I had to learn how to film myself painting, editing and producing my own classes. Within the next year I had 2 or 3 online classes developed. I was then invited to teach live all around the country and I am now planning my first overseas workshop in Orvieto, Italy. Not bad...right?  Here is a link to this workshop

So I said I couldn't draw, well I got a art journal and started drawing. Here are some of my drawings.Drawing now has become my creative meditation. I love this practice.

I am working on a new online class which will be hosted by Jeanne Oliver. The class starts in June. I named this class Children of the Wild. The class will focus on children and their relationships with animals. I have created little nursery rhyme stories for each painting. It has been so much fun doing research and creating this class. I was able to collect so many beautiful vintage photos of children and their pets that have inspired some of this work. Here is just a few of the projects I have going.

I am now experimenting with oils. This is a piece I created in oils using in a mixed media (there is that word again ;-)) way. Charcoal and oil on watercolor paper.

Here are two portraits I created in oil.

I am really looking forward to taking a 5 day workshop with oil painter, Stanka Kordic. Serious art...right? Can not wait!!

Well I am off to paint. Oh, and while I was going through the downward spiral I received an email that two of my paintings in Ciel Gallery were sold!