View the collection at the September 7th Art Hop, 5:00-8:00 at Ninth Wave Studio in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
My 100 Days of Color
For years I have painted in a monochromatic style, or with a limited palette. In the spirit of #the100dayproject, a challenge that encourages a creative project for 100 days, I focused my attention on color. I began the project with a set of metallic watercolors, ink, mica, 18k gold leaf, and glass. After exploring the watercolors for a couple weeks and struggling with their limitations, I decided to design my own watercolors using non-traditional pigments.
Why Insects, (along with arachnids, and other critters)?
Insects are beautiful creatures. They sparkle, they shine, they glow. There are 10 quintillion of them on the planet (that’s 18 zeros). And they are essential to our ecosystem. We need them to live. For all of these reasons and more, they are a worthy, and inspirational subject. For years I have attempted to capture their beauty in ink and have struggled, because it cannot compare to their reality. I decided that the work had to be more than a traditional painting to achieve a closer representation of their beauty. By hand making my inks, I was able to create textures, variations, and sparkle inspired by the actual characteristics of certain insects (with a bit of magic thrown in!). I use several different textures in each ink. I use glass and mica where their would be fuzz and shine on the insect.
What are the shapes?
To me, they represent the sun and moon, other interests of mine. They also represent movement, usually movement upward and forward.
What are the inks made of?
Everything under the sun (almost). I started grinding my own pigments when I was 15 years old. I don’t know why I was compelled to do it. I have always had a fascination with process and I wanted to know how everything was made. But, those pigments sat in jars for 15 years, unused. When I realized I should be making my own inks, I revisited the idea. I use a lot of glitters, because they not only replicate the metallic characteristics of some insects, it also implies innocence and the wonder we experience as children. This is a theme I would like to further explore. Now, I am even grinding up my grandmothers old costume jewelry to create new inks. To me, this offers a feeling of intimacy between artist and collector. I am exploring solar changing pigments and glow in the dark pigments, as well. I grind up stones and crystals, mica, recycled plastic, I will try anything.
My Experience with #the100dayproject
I have to admit that the project transformed into a project more about texture, than color. But that was the exciting thing about #the100dayproject. Seeing an unplanned, happy accident turn into something that works. I suggest everyone, professional, and novice attempt a 100 day to experience the clear progression of skill, technique, and idea you can achieve by practicing something every day. Not to mention, the comforting (although sometimes unnerving) experience of ritual.