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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Around the Home, Art & Creativity, Works in Progress

Happily and Completely Lost – Assemblage Art

When’s the last time you were so lost in something,¬†undistracted by the world, completely absorbed in the moment, expressing your creativity, unhindered and unafraid? That beautiful place is exactly where I lived for large sections of the past three days. Initially inspired by a sleepless night, when my brain just wouldn’t shut off, I formulated an idea for some artwork. Artwork that I wanted to create for my favorite person (AKA, hubby) and myself. Just because. Just to enjoy in our home. Not to sell or to get anyone else to like it or for any other silly reason.

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Here I’m experimenting¬†with layout of my objects

I got really excited about this art. There wasn’t anything else pressing on the agenda. It’s funny how I almost felt guilty for fully enjoying three days of pure creative process. I don’t know if I’ve ever had that much fun making and hanging art. Perhaps it’s important to interrupt the “ought to’s” and agenda on a regular basis to keep those creative juices flowing in other work, no? I think it’s true and beneficial, for the soul even.

I started out with three 24″x24″ wood paneled old paintings that I decided to repurpose. I also gathered other small, inexpensive canvases and painting surfaces, old frames, etc., things I already had laying around.¬†I even picked up a few random goodies at Brook’s Woodcraft, one of my favorite stores in town (full of treasures!).

Anyhow, here’s a little about the process (in pictures & captions), as well as the finished three collages. If you feel so inclined to create some personal and significant art for your own home, feel free to steal ideas…

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Metal, wood, silver, gold, canvas, you name it

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I taped off some simple patterns on the small canvases to include in each collage then used gold spray paint

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Once all my components were ready to go, I used Gorilla glue, wood glue and lots of heavy objects to hold everything in place while drying

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The Yellow One – FinishedCollage #1

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Details. I love the “banana paper” on the left, it’s such a fun texture

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Picture frame and embroidery floss. How can you go wrong?

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Here you can see the thickness of the 24″x24″ wood panel that it’s all mounted on. No framing necessary

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The Red One – Finished Collage #2

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Some hand lettered (white paint) scripture

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Yes, I used a bit of graphic design too and printed out some compilations of digitially colored vintage wallpaper patterns

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The Blue One – Finished Collage #3

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Our wedding date

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Of course my favorite part of this one is the metal letters…but the “E” was painted in

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All three up above our dining room table. I definitely made sure to mount these into wall studs, they’re a bit hefty

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It’s about time we had more art on those white walls

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I love the way the sunlight and bold colors reflect off the metal

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thanked God for the gift of creativity and beautiful white walls to hang art on, especially in the past few days. If you’ve tried something like this, or decide to, feel free to¬†¬†link back to your project in the comments of this post, I would love to see it.

~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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Art & Creativity, Works in Progress

Blog Tour: Connecting With Other Creative Souls

Let me introduce you to¬†Sue Donaldson, a gifted speaker and writer.¬†She reached out to me when I was the new girl at¬†church,¬†in¬†that very¬†social, hospitable “Sue” fashion, and recently invited me to join a¬†blog tour with her. I also happen to be reading Sue’s book right now, Come to My Table, an enjoyable read with a great message.

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Come to My Table, by Sue Moore Donaldson

The idea of this tour is that creative souls from all around will answer the same set of questions, linking up to one another’s journeys. This allows¬†you and I to get acquainted with¬†some new creatives. I encourage you to drop by¬†Sue’s blog and read¬†her answers to the questions¬†here.

Next,¬†here are my answers …

1. What am I working on?
A series of small animal paintings on wood surfaces that incorporate patterns I’ve designed, gold leafing and painting with acrylics (top image). I’m having SO much fun focusing on simple but (hopefully) captivating color combinations, pattern and contrast. My theme for this year is “SIMPLIFY”. Life is complicated enough as it is.¬†Creating simple art doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy. But I’m aiming for uncomplicated, which may take more thought and planning at the beginning. The graphic designer in me really enjoys that, though.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I would consider myself a mixed-media artist because I don’t use just¬†one medium on any given work. I’m incorporating pattern design cutouts, gold leafing, glue, and other materials along with¬†acrylic paint. Perhaps the advantage I have¬†when it comes to creating unique, original artwork is my graphic design background. I can design my own patterns on the computer and use them in my paintings. I also tend to approach art from a more design oriented approach, keeping in mind current color and interior design trends.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?
I’m a much more energetic, joyful person when I have consistent opportunities to “get into the zone” and create. My husband is very supportive of my passion for art and¬†notices a difference in me on days when I get to paint.¬†It’s my hope and desire to spread joy no matter what my circumstances are (a joy rooted in the deeper place of faith in the¬†Divine Creator), but art and creativity is one of those special ways I’ve found to express myself, an avenue of expression¬†in which I feel most¬†ALIVE.

4. How does your writing/creating process work?
Generally I start out with a concept or idea and sketch it out, including some of the main colors and strategic pattern to be incorporated. If i’m ever feeling stuck or uninspired, I like to surf on Pinterest¬†or Instagram¬†for ideas and have found a number of art and design blogs I love to read up on. Once I have a concept and a sketch, I start painting! Adding patterns or¬†gold leafing usually happens towards the end. If I’ve left some exposed wood in my painting, then I’ll apply some stain to make the wood grain stand out more. When I’m feeling satisfied with the results, I’ll add a coating of clear sealer.

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I generally start out with a sketch, including color ideas

Now here’s where you get to start your tour!¬†¬†Next Monday, July 7th, ¬†a couple¬†of creative, courageous¬†women will continue your tour, answering the same questions.

Candace Clark is¬†a Wedding and Portrait Photographer. She’s¬†passionate about capturing the small and often overlooked things in life and making them beautiful. You can find her blogging at Fingerprints Updates!

I’ll give a shout out to the others participating later this week, so stay tuned.

Enjoy and thank you for joining me in this creative journey, it means a lot!

~Holly

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Art & Creativity, Travel

Art in Sydney, Australia

Recently, my hubby and I were fortunate enough to take a trip to Australia and New Zealand. The first four days of our trip were primarily spent in the Harbor area of Sydney, where there was plenty of art and entertainment.¬†Our last day in the city was spent wondering around the Royal Botanic Gardens¬†and stumbled upon the Art Gallery of NSW. What a joy that was! We also happened to be visiting during the two Art Walk months…so it was free to the public.

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Antony Gormley // Haft // 2007

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William Strutt // David’s First Victory // 1868

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Paul Maximilien Landowski // David Fighting Goliath // 1900

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Edward John Poynter // The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon // 1881-90

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Frederic, Lord Leighton // An Athlete Wrestling with a Python // 1888-91

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Claude Monet // The Chateau D’Antibes // 1888

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Pablo Picasso // Nude in a Rocking Chair // 1956

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Vincent Van Gogh // Head of a Peasant // 1884

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Claude Monet // Port-Goulphar, Belle-lle // 1887

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Eugene Von Guerard // Milford Sound, New Zealand // 1877-79 (we went there!!)

One more thing I wanted to share is some Australian Aboriginal Art. There was a whole floor of it in the museum and I snagged a few examples from Pinterest¬†so you could check it out…

All in all, it was a very inspiring trip and we’re so grateful we had the¬†experience!

 

 

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