cleaning the studio...

...and other adventures in art

The Daily Bird, Days 44 and 45

Some of these pieces are very difficult to photograph.  The one on the right, below, is a case in point. The piece itself is quite textural, and the texture is critical to the piece, but none of the texture comes across in the photo. So you’ll just have to come to the show!

Original artwork by Barbara Downs, The Daily Bird, Encaustic/Oil/Photo on Panel

Days forty-four and forty-five of the Sanchez Art Center 50-50 show, 50 pieces in 50 days. Encaustic/Oil/Photo on Panel, 6″ x 6″

shockingly pink

I readily admit I’m a pushover for color.

This pink hasn’t been seen in these pieces so far. It’s Dianthus Pink from R&F Paints. I already regularly use it in oil-paint-stick form, but I just bought the encaustic paint version for the first time.

As you can see, it’s shockingly pink in its pure form.

In The Daily Bird, Day 38, I layered it with purple and red against a neutral background, and it’s not so shocking. I don’t know if it will play well with the other 49 pieces, though.

I think I’ll be using it in the next few days so that there are enough pink pieces to bully the rest of the colors into submission. Or maybe there will be some gentle persuasion involved, since no one likes a bully.


The Daily Bird, Day 41

I often add barbed wire, nails and other metal materials to my encaustic images, but the relentless (!) schedule of doing fifty pieces in fifty days has thus far precluded that sort of work. This piece called for it, so I added a strip of painted hardware cloth.

It’s not yet permanently wired into place, because I’m not sure that it will hang well with the other pieces unless some of them are altered as well. If not, then this piece will be finished in some other way.

The story behind the photo: I found this taxidermied bird in a natural history museum, sitting in front of a window as though it was looking outside. It had such a wistful look that I couldn’t resist taking the photo. What an odd choice of placement for the museum curator.

The photo alone is interesting, even without my additions. The hardware cloth provides a barrier much as the window does, but of a different sort.

Original artwork by Barbara Downs, The Daily Bird, Encaustic/Oil/Photo on Panel

Day forty-one of the Sanchez Art Center 50-50 show, 50 pieces in 50 days, Encaustic/Oil/Photo/Mixed Media on Panel, 6″ x 6″

The Daily Bird, Day 30

It doesn’t always go so smoothly in the studio. I’m constantly revising, and not always with happy results.

This particular piece was started on Day 3. I rather liked the first version, but when I decided it wasn’t finished, I ended up with an awful second version. Luckily, encaustic is endlessly workable, so a piece is rarely ruined.

At that point, I decided that I just didn’t like the shape of the bird, so I kept trying to counter-balance the shape of the bird with other compositional elements.

Have I succeeded? I have a few more weeks before the show goes up. My motto is always, “If it’s still in the studio, it’s fair game.” Until something leaves my studio permanently, I’m always tempted to work on it again. But maybe this one is finished?