Art & Creativity, Uncategorized, Works in Progress

Painting Process: Lhasa Ladies 2017

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Lhasa Ladies 2017 // Mixed Media on Wood // 18×24 inches

I first received a request for this commission back in October of 2016. Now here we are in February of 2017. Thank goodness my kind neighbor who wanted this done has been so patient and understanding! I’ll admit, I wondered if I would ever be able to push past the creative mental block brought on by keeping up with a toddler while pregnant. Let’s just say that motivation and inspiration have been lacking and, lately, the desire to take a nap usually wins out over painting.

All that to say, I’m so glad I had a goal to work towards. The creation of this painting truly brought me so much joy and a sense of accomplishment. It reminds me to not give up on creative goals and that there will always be an excuse or seem like there’s not enough time. If I want it badly enough, I will make the time. What’s your excuse for not doing that thing you love?

Here are just a few process photos…

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Close up of final painting

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Activities & Events, Art & Creativity, Uncategorized

Large Abstract – Into a Land Flowing With Milk and Honey

Recently, I enjoyed working on one of the largest paintings I’ve ever attempted, and it’s an abstract, nonetheless. As much as I like working more abstractly, it exercises a different set of muscles that I have yet to really develop. The process still feels a little foreign and uncertain to me, but maybe that’s what also makes it exciting.

When I started work on this piece, I had a very vague idea of what direction this would take. It began one way, then took various twists and turns along the journey of process. Here’s what things looked like towards the beginning (my little helper, as pictured, is fascinated by brushes!):

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My son, Asa, was having some fun in the studio.

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Whipped yogurt is one of my favorite snacks. Don’t forget the baby monitor.

There were several features I began with that ultimately were edited out, including the long stream of dark paint drips on the right (see first post image). I just kept building upon the texture and continued to add subtle color variations into the background. Metal stencils, honeycomb pattern, gold leafing…it all kind of converged for the final effects:

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Applying gold leafing to a few honeycombs.

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I couldn’t really capture a good photo of the whole painting that did it justice. But if you’re local to San Luis Obispo, you should come see it on display for Open Studios Art Tour, 2016. The tour is two weekends in October, 8-9 and 15-16 from 10am to 5pm. Come by studios #73 and #85. Joining me at my home studio will be the incredibly talented encaustic artist, Maura Fox. We hope to see you there!

 

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Art & Creativity, Weekly Art

Weekly Art: Wallpaper Sunset & a Commission

Since my last post, Open Studios Art Tour happened. I can gladly say that it felt like a big success. And it was such a joy to talk with so many different folks about art, inspiration, creative processes and anything remotely related. Several originals found new homes (hooray!), and I’m working on a couple commissions. So I’ll share one of those here. But first, I wanted to show you last weeks piece, Wallpaper Sunset.

Here’s what I started out with…

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And here’s how it ended up…

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Detail of texture and the sun

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Detail of tree and sky

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Wallpaper Sunset – Acrylic and Mixed Media on Wood – 16 x 20 inches

Then I worked on a commission for someone who was really drawn to a painting that had already sold this weekend. Here’s the original version of Cranes on a Branch:

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Cranes on a Branch – 16 x 20 inches (Original Version)

And here’s the commission that I just finished working on today…

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Cranes on a Branch Version II – 16 x 20 inches

Grateful for these opportunities (and baby Asa really loved socializing with some of the folks who came through for Open Studios!)

~Holly

 

 

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Weekly Art

Weekly Art: Another World & Key to my Heart

Wow, it’s been forever since the last blog post. I guess I’ve just been focused on being a new mom to baby Asa and put a few things on hold. I’m loving the new role, what an incredible blessing. Asa is a really sweet little guy and it’s so much fun seeing him change before our very eyes. As each new phase comes and goes, I try to just appreciate the moment, knowing that it’s all so fleeting. But knowing, too, that those little moments, experiences and lessons build into a precious life.

All that being said, creativity is such a part of who I am. In my desire to be the best mom that I can be for Asa, I find myself feeling conflicted over when and how to squeeze time in for creativity. I’m trying to make some space for it without taking away from the time, care and attention I give to baby boy. But I also know it’s rather vital for me to have a creative outlet to help fuel energy and passion for my most important roles as wife and mother.

Here’s the challenge I’m giving myself: to work on art a little bit each week and share it here. Maybe on some weeks I’ll finish multiple pieces, while on other weeks I’ll be lucky to make progress on an existing piece. But it’s worth it and necessary to keep making art. I look forward to the process and sharing it with you.

Without further fuss, I’ll get this started by sharing two recent pieces. The smaller one I worked on during this past week and it got me through a particularly frustrating day related to our home renovation (I know, of all the silly things to get frustrated about, we’re very fortunate!).

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Key to my Heart – 6×8 inches – Mixed media on wood

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And then there’s this piece from two weeks ago. I love the rusted metal rings…

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Another World – 16×16 inches – Wood, metal, acrylics, embroidery floss on wood

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Thanks for allowing me a space to share a bit of my “creativity” with you!

~Holly

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Activities & Events, Art & Creativity, Works in Progress

Before & After: Two Paintings

Lately, I’ve enjoyed the process of just painting with acrylics. Last year I did a lot of mixed media, using multiple materials and photographs in my work. But I’ve shifted more into using an underpainting/overpainting method with acrylics and have loved the results.

BEFORE: If you look at the  painting below, I start out with the underpainting, adding lots of color and picking out some of my main points of interest. At this stage I block in a very general sense of my subject matter, focusing on deep hues and shadows.

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AFTER: Notice that in the later stages, I begin to better define my subject matter by going back with a lighter color, allowing areas of the underpainting to show through and highlight with whites.

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Two Little Swallows: Acrylic on wood panel // 8 x 8 x 1.5 (in)

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Peacock Feathers: Acrylic on wood panel // 8 x 8 x 1.5 (in)

Two Little Swallows will be displayed at Art Central in San Luis Obispo for the Month of October. Peacock Feathers will be displayed in a series of small paintings (along with several other larger works) at Open Studios Art Tour, October 11th/12th & 18th/19th from 10am to 5pm at our home! Please contact me (holly@hollybeals.com) if you have any questions about the event.

~Holly

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Works in Progress

Orchids and Little Lights

Painting, adding paper, wiping paint off, adding more dry layers of paint, adding more paper, scrubbing with water…this is what the process looked like for several hours as I built up the background texture of this painting. And I had such a blast doing it! I loved seeing how the paint, depending on how applied it, picked up texture from the layers beneath it. So fun. Here are some of the components/elements of this work:

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Initial idea and sketch

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A photo I took

And then here’s a smaller version I did. The larger one measures 20″ x 24″ and the smaller version is done on a 12″ x 12″ panel.

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Works in Progress

Paper Cranes Triptych

Third time is a charm, right? Well, I think it was true in this instance, anyhow. The finished product you see above was achieved on the third try. What does that mean? That there are a lot of layers of paint, paper and “attempts under the final layer. But I kind of think that’s what really adds to the texture.

The idea of incorporating paper cranes came from our wedding motif. We had kind of an “Asia” theme going on. My uncle grew up in Japan is a missionary kid, and he learned how to make cranes so beautifully. So he made some for our wedding and I photographed a few of them for this painting/collage. Thank you, Uncle Dan.

Here is about about the process and elements used:

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Initial sketching and ideas

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I created this graphic on the computer using a variety of vintage wallpaper patterns

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Photo of two cranes

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