Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Is It Abstract or Non-Objective?

When I went to art school many years ago there was a distinction between abstract and non objective painting. An abstract was recognizable objects changed to make them more interesting. Think Braque, Picasso. Non objective was just as it sounds: no object. Now it seems that everything not realistic is called abstract. What do you think about the labeling?
Braque

Picasso    
Here is my first abstract done in 1953. Casein on illustration board

Non objective painting in progress, 2017, cold wax and cradled panel.
How would you classify this? encaustic, oil and cold wax and cradled boards.

Friday, October 13, 2017

When Is It Finished?

That's the big question for a lot of artists. "Am I finished?'

Months ago, I re-worked an encaustic painting , I don't remember what it had been, before, but obviously I wasn't happy with it. I worked and worked; day after day. There was so much wax on it that it was getting very heavy.

When we moved in June, I put this painting away, still not completely satisfied with it; put it in the stacks in my viewing room, and then pulled it out a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was NASTY! I asked my assistant to put it out in the sun and scrape all the encaustic wax off it.
The sun began its work. 
Before the melt down





Wednesday, October 4, 2017

I Wasn't Born With A Silver Spoon In My Mouth



There was no silver spoon in my mouth when I was born. My parents were immigrants from Hungary and I was taught that I had to work for everything. I am grateful for that training and I have never been afraid to work.

I was a grown woman with 2 daughters when I found out that my parents were millionaires. They worked hard and invested well.

But I digress... I made the painting pictured above for a competition for a gallery in Denmark. (The work had to be either encaustic or cold wax). It is an antique spoon that my mother-in -law gave me. The college in it tells the history of the spoon; in Danish. Fortunately, an English translation accompanied this beautiful gift; it says, "This spoon was my great, great, great grandfathers. His name was: John Nicolay Winding. Born May 6, 1737, in Vestervig, Jutland, Denmark. He died June 10, 1818. He was minister in the town of Twed and he was called "The Pope Of Mols"
because of his great authority. He was married to Sophie Magdalene Falk. They had seven children. "I received the spoon from my mother' "  I am guessing that this was given to my husband's father.
In any case it is very old, beautiful and carries a lot of memories.

After working a few days on the painting above, I realized that it was flat and boring, so I made another one that I entered to the competition. The spoon is featured with an icy glass of Aquavit.
It has many layers of encaustic and the still life is paintied with oil and cold wax.


Friday, September 29, 2017

Scamers At Work. Artists Beware

Here is the painting that was selected for "purchase" I am surprised that a more expensive one wasn't chosen


Artists, particularly artists new to social media must be aware of an old scam that pops up every so often in our inbox.

Here is the first one I received this week:
Hello
i'm John Owen from North Carolina. You are doing a really great project in your artworks images. I actually observed my wife has been viewing your art piece online with my laptop,shes an art lover and can see she has interest in your piece.well I was also amazed after seeing your various works too. I would love to receive further information about your piece of work. I am interested in purchasing a piece to surprise my her,so kindly confirm me about the artwork available for sales. best regards
John.


I responded that all information is on my website:www.ezshwan.com

His next email:
 Hello:Ezshwan
Thanks for the message, however, I would
greatly appreciate if you could possibly recommend a few completed
original piece within my budget $450- $2000 ready for     immediate
sale... Just need something within that price   range for a surprise
to my wife (can tell she likes your   work). I would appreciate if you
can figure out a piece     of     work that would serve that purpose.
Kindly email   images and prices of any available works in that
range.   Thanks  and blessing John


Blessings !!!. I don't think so.
Next:
Thanks for the message,  I must tell you I intend to give my wife a
surprise with the immediate purchase of the piece. Also If you'd like
to know, I'm relocating to the Philippines soon and our wedding
anniversary is fast approaching. So I'm trying to gather some good
stuff to make this event a surprise one. I am buying the art work
Luscious Lips, oil and cold wax 16 " x 16" of $575


as a gifts to her.I'm okay with the price, I think it's worth
it
anyway, so I'll be sending a check.

As regarding shipping, you don't have to worry about that in order not
to leave any clue to my wife for the surprise. as soon as you receive
and cash the check, my shipping agent (who is also moving my personal
effect) will contact you to arrange pick-up.

I would have come to purchase the piece myself but, at the moment, am
on training voyage to the North Atlantic Ocean (I'm an ocean engineer)
with new hires who are fresh from graduate school and won't be back
for another couple of weeks.

Regards,

John

PS: In the meantime, kindly get back to me with your full name (you
want the check payable to) cell phone no. and contact address
(preferably for Usps ,fedEx not P.O box) where a check can be mailed
to, so I can get the check prepared and have it mailed out to you
right away.


Of course I  knew it was a scam and played along with it to see how far he would go. I wrote him that I only accept PayPal payments and after a couple more emails, he gave up. Since then I learned that fraudulent or stolen credit cards can be used on Pay Pal. What I should have done is contact the FBI and reported him.

Some unsuspecting artist do fall for these spamers and are usually sent a fradulent cashiers check for more than the price of the painting, are asked to send a check for the excess amount back to the "purchaser" and end up losing quite a bit of money money, and often a painting .
 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Life Gets In The Way

Hi all. I have been negligent in posting on this blog for a while. There just wasn't time.
The first of September, I went to San Francisco to see my oldest daughter, who is an art consultant for a gallery there.

My alchemist middle daughter flew from Phoenix to join us. And then to my astonishment, my three grandsons, whom I hadn't seen in years came from Seattle, Boston and Talent OR to surprise me.

It was a energy filled time trying to catch up with everyone. I felt loved, honored and blessed.
grandson #3

grandson #1


grandson #2


daughters #2 & 3

Nana and Ahanu

Valarie at Spirit Rock
And I have been working on more of the White Glove series. I seem to be running out of steam on this series. The last two ( not posted) have been a challenge and are now facing the wall while I wait for inspiration.




We had a wonderful event last weekend for my youngest daughter's sale of one or of kind, up-cycled, hand made decorator pillows. We had great refreshments, met new friends and I did an encaustic demo before we were entertained by a fabulous duo signing some of their special Argentine music.

Tomorrow, two artists are joining me in my studio for a 2 day cold wax workshop. I look forward to fun filled days.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Creating in Stressful Times


I will help others that are suffering in what ever limited ways I can. I am not wealthy, but I have a comfortable life and can't ignore the misery of others. I can contribute some money and time. Donations are easy to send through the Internet.

 I have volunteered to pack food every Saturday morning for Feed The Hungry. This is an organization that feeds over 4000 Mexican children every school day. These children are the poorest of the poor and wouldn't be able to eat otherwise. Here is the link http://feedthehungrysma.org/

Still when I enter the studio, I would like to create beautiful, peaceful and uplifting work.

I finished the painting I posted in the last blog. It is oil and cold wax on cradled panel. Can you help me with a name? I have temporarily named it "Waiting"
I made this painting about 17 years ago. I brought it to San Miguel when I moved here and eventually loaned it to a friend. unbeknownst to me, she gave it away. Finally, the new owner tracked me down to tell me how much he loved the painting.  I was shocked. At least I still have the image.          
Lost in Thought
A Sprinkling of Rose Petals

These last two images are from my "Pensive" series. If you would like to see me check on the link to the series on my website. http://www.ezshwan.com/pensive.html

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

"Never Stop Painting"

 "Never Stop Painting" I received this beautiful message from an other artist on Face Book. He is participating in a page that shares many artists' images, including mine.

This came at a time when I had been doing much soul searching. It seems almost frivolous to be making art that is not protesting the hateful human energy that has taken over the news and social media; but I know better. I have been a member of Self Realization Fellowship for 46 years. This could be considered a church of all religions. It is based on the principles of yoga and it is all about changing oneself, not expecting anyone one else to change. My guru, Paramahansa Yogananda reminded us, “Greater than the destructive force of hate is the compassionate power of love.  Whatever you say or do to others, let it be with love.  Harm no one.  Judge no other.  Hate none, love all; ...  Whatever blessings you have, desire that all should have.”  

So, I have spent time in the studio trying to create beauty, uniqueness, and peaceful paintings. I am proceeding with the White Glove Series. 

When I was a young woman in the middle 50's, a "lady" would never go to the city (Chicago) without wearing gloves and a hat. I still think that was an elegant look and certainly set a tone and attitude of something special.

In this new series I am focusing on sophisticated women wearing gloves,
I am wanting to keep the paintings  loose and the figure abstracted to give the feeling a a time that is gone.

 I don't know how many more I will make. Time will tell. I have been using mostly cold wax and oil and I haven't fallen in love with the medium, at least for figurative work. It is great for abstracts and I may go back to those soon.
Rita
Here is what I have so far.
Waiting


In the viewing room
In process. Probably a couple more days of work on this one.
16" x 16" cold wax and oil.

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.
beginning


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