Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Not Too Pretty Anymore

If you saw my last post, you know I was not satisfied with the latest White Glove series. ( I am going to have to change the name, since I want to include black gloves also.)
I took a week's break from painting; 2 days for private  encaustic students, see  ezshwan.blogspot.com.
Then I took a few days off to nurse a sore throat. Today I got back in the studio and "unprettyed" several paintings.

Today- more work on this one tomorrow

working on 4. It's best that way so I don't over work,

from this...

to this.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

It's Too Pretty!

Last post, I showed the lovely blank panel. I worked on this new painting all week. It seemed the more I worked, the more dissatisfied I became. I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong with the painting. After yesterday's studio session, I realized it was just too darn pretty.

I photographed the process. I will look at the last effort for a couple of days before I paint over it.
I know I won't work on it because I have encaustic class to teach for the next couple of days.

Here is the process; cold wax and oil on 60 x 100 cm panel.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Starting a Painting or Finishing One, Which is Harder?

I have a lovely fresh board waiting for me in the studio. I have the idea for the painting; a continuation of the White Gloves series, so why am I looking at the rain and writing a blog rather than starting the painting? It is such a lovely blank space. Can I make a painting that means something to me and others? Once I start putting paint on it, am I spoiling the surface or creating improvements?

I finished the first "White Glove" painting a couple of days ago. It is hung in the living room and now I feel it should have been a triptych rather than a diptych. What do you think?

Finishing a painting is not nearly as much fun as starting one. At the beginning there is so much promise and then towards the end I have to solve all the problems that I have created.
rainy day view from the studio

last painting in the viewing room

In the living room

the nice, clean, blank board.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Oh No! Not Again

viewing room
Fun at the noisy, crowded Tuesday market. After a morning of shopping, sharing lunch  with friends.

 O.K, I might sound like the typical ex-pat that once she has been established in another country, wants to lock the door to the city to keep others out. I really don't feel that way, but for the second time in a few years the city of my home, San Miguel de Allende has won the top Travel and Leisure's vote for the best city in the word to visit.

Tour San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
'There’s a lot to love about San Miguel, a colonial treasure anchored by El Jardín, a leafy plaza marked by open-air cafés and the pink Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel church. Art and textiles are big here: Mexicans and expats alike pop into independent boutiques selling artisan-made goods, and no trip is complete without a visit to the Fábrica La Aurora, a former textile factory that’s been converted into a series of contemporary art galleries. Restaurants serving delicious Mexican dishes (rich moles, hot gorditas, stuffed chiles) are tucked along cobblestoned streets lined with historic houses. For one of the best views of the city, make a reservation at the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende’s Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar (this hotel also ranked as the No. 2 City Hotel in the country); margaritas pair well with the chiming church bells at sunset. " 

It is not that I don't think San Miguel is beautiful and special, but the town is getting so crowded that it is hard to walk through the center on the tiny sidewalks because of all the tourists taking selfies.
It has become almost impossible to drive any where close to the center because of all the big cars clogging the narrow streets that were not designed for monster cars.

The hotels, restaurants and bars are not complaining, but I avoid going to el centro unless I must get to the bank or post office.

Last Sunday, my daughter (who also lives here) and I decided to play tourist and go into town. After a wonderful brunch, I parked a distance away from the center and we walked slowly, admiring all the new fashionable shops, restaurants, and glamorous hotels. San Miguel has become very sophisticated and offers almost anything you could dream of wanting to buy - at a price.

The art scene is active and expanding. There are some wonderful galleries and shows.

I am blessed by having established myself 13 years ago when I arrived with just my clothes and paint supplies.

I have forgotten how many solo gallery shows I have had over the years; I have met wonderful people through the over ninety workshops I have taught and can't imagine living anywhere else. The art supply store has everything, I love my doctor and dentist and now the new house.

We are preparing to host more art tours. It took the longest time to arrange my studio, but now I have started my new series. Life is good here in San Miguel.

If you do decide to visit San Miguel, contact me for a studio visit.

latest cold wax and oil abstract                  

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

What Is An Artist?

oil on board 2016
pencil sketch, 1952
 oil paint sketch circa 1999

Is an (visual) artist anyone who makes marks on paper, canvas, walls, floors with paint, pencil, pen or anything else?
One does not have to have an official certificate to call oneself an artist. In San Miguel de Allende, where I have lived for 13 years, it seems anyone can step off the plane, move into San Miguel and call themselves an artist. I personally know several who have done that. People perhaps are re-inventing themselves from a career in accounting, teaching school, real estate, etc. and are inspired by the big, thriving arts community here. One woman, a successful writer of books on behavior of children told me, " I have decided to be an artist". I sat next to her in a life drawing session and could not believe what she was producing. In my opinion she couldn't see, draw or begin to understand the human body. She was happy and satisfied.

There is nothing wrong with that and I personally have taught hundred of people the encaustic technique. Almost all had fun, some serious ones took up encasustic painting and others were entertained by moving the colored wax with the heat source.

I believed that one needed to earn the title of artist. I loved my classical training where we were only allowed to work in black and white the first semester and draw, draw, draw, until it was perfect.

When I was five years old, I decided that I would be an artist. I drew every spare moment. Visiting the Chicago Art Institute as a little girl, I remember sitting in front of Flemish still life’s, enraptured with the sensuousness of the paint, the color, and the depth of feeling the paintings provoked in my young mind. I told myself that someday I would be able to create similar work. There was no doubt in my mind.

As a child I occupied my days with my own creativity – drawing, painting and writing stories. In grade school, I ignored the arithmetic assignments. The schoolwork wasn’t my reality. All I wanted to do was draw.

Oil painting classes started when I was a pre-teen, and I fell in love with the smell of the paint. I couldn’t imagine why other people didn’t see what I saw, or weren’t as ardent about making art.

I married before I finished my last year of art school and I began working for two publishing companies, making tiny illustrations of oil wells, haystacks and other symbols for school maps. I illustrated children’s stories for the second publishing company, but was fired when I became pregnant with my first child.

During my second marriage, I went back to art school and continued to paint. It was challenging. I felt as if there were conspiracies against me. My parents, husband, and various people in the community told me to get a real job,

The passing years tested my self-confidence. I wondered if I could really call myself an artist - could I create anything of value to humanity or even to my community? I judged myself harshly and “gave up painting forever and ever” at least once a year, but always came back to start a new series. To call myself an artist I believed was an honor to be earned with hard work, the ability of creating what has not been made before, sacrifice, dedication, and daily work. Learning to trust my inner direction rather than clinging to intellectual reasoning was my greatest lesson in art and in life.

It now is 62 years since I had my first professional art job and I am still learning. I make art, teach and sell my work. I believe now I am qualified to call myself an artist.

My first real abstract. Casein on illustration board, 1953               

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What a Wonderful Surprise!

Today I opened the link to EmptyEasel.com,  This is an important site for all artists. Their tag line is "We are an online artist community sharing ways to create and sell art." If you haven't checked it out, you should.

 I clicked on the site and much to my surprise I found a wonderful review of my work. That was a happy surprise.

Silent, Beautiful Figure Paintings by Ezshwan Winding
By Dan in Featured Artists > Oil Paintings

 Ezshwan Winding is an incredibly talented artist  with over 60 years of painting experience (and over 9 years of teaching workshops).  Her extensive online portfolio showcases both her abstracts and figurative pieces, most often in oil or encaustic.

As beautiful as her abstracts are, however, today I’m going to focus solely on her figure paintings, and their amazing quality of silent communication.
A Moment in Time, above, is a perfect example of Ezshwan’s ability to somehow capture exactly what makes us human with just oil paint and brush. There’s no movement, no words, no music. . . and in fact, none of that is necessary.

I can still feel the moment, as if I was standing right there.
The model’s face is half-turned, one cheek resting on a languid hand as she slowly collapses into sleep. Her body is supported by the edge of a table, bunching her shirt at the shoulder while her arms and wrists sway in complete, silent, relaxation.

I feel my own shoulders relax, as I explore this painting. Maybe yours will too.

And Ezshwan’s other paintings are all just as full of quietly expressive moments just like that. . . Transformation #4 follows the dance of several green and gold butterflies, arranged just so around a woman’s face.

Clearly she is in motion as well. . . becoming something new; changing, transforming, her eye steadily regarding the future she desires.

Lastly, Transformed by Silence is possibly my favorite. The colors are especially vibrant; a wonderful contrast of orange and blue, warm and cool, with a patterned texture that blends the idea of abstraction with the truth of realism.

Just take a minute to relax, and breathe, and enjoy this painting. It’s worth it.

Then visit Ezshwan’s website to view more of her gorgeous work. http://www. ezshwan.com

Friday, June 16, 2017

Placing Art

viewing room

studio at sunset

viewing room and stack filled
Today I finally was able to place art in the living room. Now I have art in all the downstairs rooms and the viewing room upstairs.

Also, it was important to me to make a pleasant outdoor scene. The yard had been sorely neglected for 3 years and the area on the side of the house can be seen from all the windows, that are really all French doors.

A couple of trips to Home Depot for plastic grass and white marble rocks along with lots of plants quickly made this section of the yard more pleasant. It has been a lot of physical work, but there now is a special place in the living room to rest and enjoy the view.

Cynthia is painting her huge bedroom and arranging her studio upstairs.

high ceiling can take a lot of art

A cozy spot for an afternoon rest

2 paintings fo the "Messengers" series

back year where there will be a lot of real grass

Getting better

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Moving Is Not Fun!

I am getting too old for this! It feels as if we have been moving for weeks; perhaps because it has been 2 weeks of packing hundreds of paintings, many car loads and trips to the new house with my paintings and 2 days of the moving trucks going back and forth between the houses with the household stuff and many plants. The new location here in San Miguel de Allende feels like a community with parks, tranquility and much closer to town than the last house in the campo. Garbage collection here is 3 times a week. That may not be special for you, but when we moved out of the last house, the garbage was pilled up in front for almost 4 weeks.

I had great help with the transport of the paintings and just today the stacks have been stabilized and the paintings are being moved off the floor.

The new studio is half the size of the last one, so creative placement is necessary. I don't need all the tables any more since I no longer have workshops with 5 or 6 people. I am concentrating on teaching advanced encaustic techniques to serious artists who want to do more than just watch the wax melt and marbleize. There is lots of light and ventilation in the studio.

We have been unpacking and trying to find things for 5 days. With wonderful helpers everything should be in place, more or less in another week. I have been moving things around to achieve the right energy flow.

So far, this is where we are.
view from the front door

There will be plenty of gardening ahead for me. This is a great place for art.

One side of the living room. I look forward to hanging art soon so it feels like home

The paintings that are going in the stacks in what will be the viewing room

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Rediscoveries of Old Paintings

We still have a week before the moving day, but I have been going through things in the studio for 2 weeks. Yesterday my assistant and  I pulled every painting out of the stacks and I rediscovered paintings that I hadn't seen in years. One pile, I discarded. They had not stood the test of time, but others, I was happy to see again. Most of these were painted before I moved to Mexico 13 years ago and the encaustics were made the first years I lived here.