Showing posts with label Doug Boehm photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Doug Boehm photography. Show all posts

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A New Look!

The Accumulation of Small Moments 12"hx12"w  Encaustic, Fiber on Panel 
Do you ever find yourself in need of a change?  Maybe it's a change as small as a new haircut or maybe it takes the form of a new look to a room in your house.  Perhaps you don’t want a new look, but a new attitude.   Maybe what you seek is a new view of your life or your work? 
Whatever it may be, it's always something fun to do because it brings some "newness" into your life.  We all find comfort in the status quo but a little change; something new can be just what we need. 

Frozen Music    5.5”hx11”wx6.5”d    Encaustic, Fiber, Wire, Found Metal
For a while now I have wanted to change my website.  I wanted to keep the basic design simple and focus on showing my artwork in a straightforward way.  I also wanted to assimilate various social media platforms into my website in order to create a more complete web presence.  My final revisions included tying in this News Blog into my website in order to offer quick snapshots into what is going on in my life. 

I hope you like my “new and improved” website!

Thanks to Doug Boehm, my web designer, for taking all of my handwritten notes and turning them into my new website.
Indecision   (3 pieces)      8”hx18”wx7”d     Encaustic, Fiber, Wire, Foam           



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What a Great Way to Spend a Day!

Earlier this year I was contacted by Kelley Baum, a teacher at Franklin Fine Arts school in Chicago with a request that I participate in the school's annual Arts Day.  I was happy to have been asked and eager to participate in this annual event.  Every year artists from all areas of the arts are invited to spend the day with the student body.  This year artists included dance companies, authors, theater companies, visual artists, actors and musicians. 

I have some experience with teaching art in the classroom.  During the 2005-2006 academic year, I designed and implemented a weekly comprehensive art education curriculum for a Montessori class of children ages 6-9.  This curriculum amounted to a hands-on trip through art history.  The challenge was to create weekly projects that not only followed the history of art but were engaging and workable with the ages included in the classroom.  We began with one of the earliest examples of art, cave paintings.  Working with clay each student created his/her own individual section of a cave wall and carved and painted it using the original cave painting images for inspiration.  Well, needless to say, working with clay was a big hit with 6-9 year olds.  It was a messy but successful first class!  Throughout the year we progressed through the history of art.  We made papyrus scrolls with glue and brown paper bags (which was  messy and therefore a hit!) which we decorated by adding each students name in hieroglyphs.  The students got to feel what it must have been like for Leonardo de Vinci to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel when they created drawings on boards fastened to the bottom of their chairs.  They also were introduced to artistic concepts such as cubism, surrealism and abstract expressionism.  During one class I told the children about Jean Arp and the idea of chance.  By tearing  pieces of paper, dropping them onto a sheet of paper and gluing them down where they fell, each student was able to create their own collage using the law of chance.  This also taught them the importance of letting things happen and being ok with that lack of control.  That was probably one of the most important lessons taught in art class that year; to let things happen, to embrace that your art was not like the example or the student sitting next to you.  "Happy accidents" became my mantra and I repeated it more times that I can remember during that year of art.
So back to the present, as I said, I was eager to participate in Arts Day and looked forward to having the opportunity to work with students again.  Now, the question was, what was I going to do with a classroom of 4th graders for two hours!?!  I decided to create a project that the children could do that was similar to my encaustic and fiber sculptures but had a decidedly less abstract, more familiar form; the hand. 
I began my time with the fourth graders of Franklin Fine Arts by talking about encaustic, demonstrating  the process and showing them my work.  The first question I received was whether or not I was a REAL artist.  It was with that question that I knew that it was going to be a great way to spend a day! 
The excitement level in the classroom was really something.  They were going to spend the next two hours learning about something they did not know (although one little girl told me with great seriousness that she was very familiar with beeswax as her grandmother has candles all over her house).  For the next two hours they were going to make art and that was cause enough for excitement!  Yeas, this was going to be a great way to spend a day! 
Using paper outlines of their own hand, each child used a lightweight wire to trace that shape and create a simple wire armature.  Looking at the final hand shape that each student formed, I questioned my earlier belief that the hand shape would be a less abstract design than some of my own works! 
With each new sculpture I make, there is inevitably scraps left over of encaustic coated fabric.  It was these remnants, pieces that ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor, that the students were to use for their sculptures.  Laying their wire hands on a piece of wax paper, they chose shapes and colors from my many bags of scraps and layered and layered until their design was complete.  Now it was time to fuse.  This, was a highlight of the day for many of the students who returned to the back of the line again and again to see me heat their hand sculptures again and again.  The heat from the hot air gun causes the fibers to move slightly as the wax melts and the fibers fuse and that, to a fourth grader, is really something to see!  For a final "hands-on" fusing, each design was covered with wax paper and a towel and it's creator was able to rub the surface to ensure a nice smooth fuse as well as being able to feel how warm it had gotten.  Probably the students biggest challenge was waiting until their hand sculpture was cool enough to peel off the top layer of wax paper.
That really was a great way to spend a day!  I came away with a lot of great memories of the children I met and especially of the things they said and the way they viewed those two hours in their life.  I think my favorite quote of the day was made by a little girl, who, upon hearing someone say that they were not good at art, corrected him by saying that "everyone is good at art".

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Silkscreen and Encaustic Workshop with Jeff Hirst

I recently attended a Silkscreen and Encaustic workshop with artist Jeff Hirst at the LaGrange Art League.  This has been my summer of workshops.  Earlier this year I attended an Encaustic and Wax Resist workshop given by artist Kim Bernard and I plan on taking Linda Womack’s on-line workshop Surface Design with Pastels, Inks and Mixed Media, later this fall.  Jeff’s workshop explored the unique process of screen printing oil paint and pigment sticks into and onto encaustic surfaces.  It was my hope that by learning this innovative technique, I could print on the encaustic-coated fibers used in my 3D sculptures adding an additional level of interest to their textural surfaces.  This workshop was funded in entirety through a Chicago Community Arts Assistance Program (CAAP) Grant.  Many thanks to the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and to the following panelists who approved my grant application: Barry Tinsley, Paul Hopkin, Peggy Wright, Vivian Garcia and Ben Foch.

Altered image of Window no. 34

Chicago River Reflections

Now, I had a vague sense of the screen printing process but before this weekend, I had never undertaken this method of printmaking.  I was told to bring a number of jpeg images that were linear in nature, to produce the transparencies which would be used to create the printing image. I chose a decidedly abstract, yet unaltered, black and white photograph Chicago River Reflections and an altered image of a painting from my Urban Windows series. 

 Jeff took us through the processes of preparing the screen with photosensitive emulsion to exposing the transparency image onto that screen.  These steps involved spending a significant amount of time in a dark room, lit only with a safe light.  It took me back to my time spent in the darkroom at the now closed Triangle
                                              Camera in Chicago’s East Lakeview

So now that our screens were ready Jeff explained the printing process including carefully flooding the screen with paint/ink and the importance that the squeegee be held at a 45 degree angle and quickly and firmly pulled across the screen.  Oddly, that simple combination of steps took a while to master. 

 We printed with a number of materials. R&F pigment sticks combined with a blending stick resulting in a thick paint.  R&F Gesso blended with universal dye tints and Speedball screenprinting inks which made a thinner paint. Many of us used R&F Gesso on its own when a white image was needed.

Combining this printing technique with layers of clear encaustic medium resulted in some wonderful dimension to our paintings.  Often encaustic paint was applied by brush onto layers of medium adding even more interest and depth.  Everyone made truly engaging and interesting works utilizing all of these steps.   

Printed cheesecloth strip coated with encaustic medium
My primary interest was printing on encaustic medium coated fiber.  Working with Jeff, I was able to print onto some of the sample pieces that I had brought with me. This workshop definitely provided me with the fundamentals of printscreening and Jeff was instrumental in assisting me in achieving my goal of using this technique in my own unique way.  The hands-on approach of this workshop, in addition to the extensive technical information, sufficiently prepared me to take this process into my own studio.  Now to write another grant to cover all the printmaking equipment and materials!

Thank you April Nomellini for remembering your camera and sharing your photos of the workshop!

Jeff's website:
River Reflections photograph available at
Urban Windows paintings available at

Friday, April 13, 2012

Building a Strong Online Presence

On March 23rd and 24th, the Chicago Cultural Center hosted the 9th annual Creative Chicago Expo.  This event featured workshops, vendor information and resources for creatives in all disciplines.  I attended the workshops “Build a Strong Online Presence” given by Jennifer Rapp Peterson of Indiemade and “Maximizing the Potential of Your Website in Cyberspace” given by Brad Lichtenstein of Creative Capital.

Ms. Peterson’s advice begins with the need to define your goals. Why do you want to be online and what do you want to communicate?  She urged everyone to not only discover yourself, the who, what, where, how and why of your personality and the personality of your art, but to also identify your audience and speak to them directly by searching for what they want. 

Both workshops stressed the importance of participation in social media.  It is important to listen to the social conversation as well as sharing and engaging on social platforms.  Mr. Lichtenstein proposed creating a special page on Facebook to follow the stages of a unique project.

Both workshops also emphasized the importance of having a professional website as it is your online home.  Ms. Peterson identified well-designed navigation and page layouts, a site map and a blog as website must-haves.  Mr. Lichtenstein suggested posting process pictures of you making your art as this inside knowledge creates a stronger connection between the art buyer and the art.  Additionally he recommended including images of your art in client’s homes.

He also advised that we think about things and events narratively resulting in a story telling way of disseminating information about ourselves and our art.  He contends that people not only enjoy stories but remember them better, adding that this is the ideal way to design your “elevator speech”.

Indiemade and Creative Capital both have pages on Facebook.

Jennifer Rapp Peterson has included her notes from this workshop on the Indiemade site.

This post appeared on April 12, 2012.

Photograph: Doug Boehm