Friday, February 23, 2018

Revisiting a Previous Painting to Create Something New

This is a painting I created live during my art exhibit opening titled Hands and Feet that I had last year in October at Awakenings Coffee House in Boise. I had titled the painting Look At The Ravens: You Count Far More. I created it to the live music of local musician Jake Nielsen. It was such a fun collaboration with him in that live moment for the audience to experience with us together. The painting has been sitting in my studio ever since and I haven't known what to do with it. I could sell it. I could give it away. Or...I could do something new with it. 

Today I chose to do something new with the painting. And so it took it's place on my easel ready to be transformed. Ready to collaborate with me and with God, with the paints and other mediums, with the brushes and other be a part of something bigger than itself. 

Here's a video of a paint layer being applied.

Here's another video of a paint layer being applied.

Here's one more video of a paint layer being applied.

Here are some detailed spots showing the layers and texture.

The addition of latex house paints and acrylic paints applied as a wash over the previous image begins to give the painting a new direction. 

Here's video of a paint layer being applied by palate knife.

The addition of latex house paints and acrylic paints applied with palate knives give some additional texture to the painting.

Video of me adding a charcoal layer.

The addition of graphite, charcoal, and chalk pastels gives the painting more action and the implied look of a sketch (a work in progress). 

Here are some detailed spots showing the layers and texture. 

Once I knew that the painting was nearing it's finish, I glued on a paper image that I had printed with matte medium (which protects the paper and ink so I can paint on top of it) and then continued adding paint and texture to integrate it into the painting. It's an image of my hand intertwined with the hands of some of my friends. I took a photo of us connected like this a few years ago and I wanted to utilize it in this painting as the representation of the theme.

Better Together
c. 2018 Lisa Marten
24x30 mixed media on canvas
(graphite, charcoal, chalk pastel, acrylic paint, latex house paint, paper, ink, matte medium)

This painting is all about we as individuals matter. Who we are is important and as we allow ourselves to be who we are meant to be we come to realize that we're also a part of something that is much bigger than ourselves. We're part of this big beautiful thing called humanity. We can accomplish so much more when we come alongside each other, when we work together, when we allow for collaboration, when we join in community, when we help each other out. We're actually allowing for ourselves to be the best that we can be...together. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Evolution of a Mixed Media Painting

Today I created a seascape based on an image I saw within a design that was on a faux marble countertop in a hotel room I stayed in last fall when my mom and I were in Seattle. Sometimes my ideas come from crazy everyday stuff like that. 

This is a photo I took of the faux marble design that was in the countertop...and I thought this specific spot looked like an ocean seascape. Can you see it? 

So I started with a 12"x36" canvas on my easel today. 

I sketched with graphite and charcoal to outline the seascape. Sketching seascapes is something I've done a lot in my art sketchbooks, and on large paper, but this is the first one I've done like this on canvas. 

Then I added in with soft chalk pastels. I wanted to mimic the faux marble design of the soft sketchiness look, but I also wanted to make it a painting. 

So next I painted in areas with acrylic paints. 

But I still wanted the sketchiness of it, so continued the layers. I outlined more with the soft chalk pastels and charcoal. 

And for the final touch (to give it my personal expression) I splattered on top with latex house paint to create some action in the waves. 

The Line
c. 2018 Lisa Marten
12x36 mixed media on canvas
(graphite, charcoal, chalk pastel, acrylic paint, latex house paint)

I purposely left the top of this painting unfinished and I call it "The Line" because it's about standing at the edge of uncertainty...or perhaps it's certainty that has yet to be embraced. Looking out past the line of the horizon...contemplating your purpose, your calling, your move forward into the unknown. It's that moment before you step out...before you choose to cross the line and go take the risk and answer the beckoning call across the be brave and become who you were made to be. The painting is intentionally unfinished because life is unfinished...and there is so much more to experience and be a part of...and that line keeps moving. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Another Window Into My Creative Process in Studio

I'm trying to document some of my creative process in my studio so you can see the steps I go through to create my paintings. 

Today I worked on another painting in my Revelation series. Feel free to check out the post before this one to get some of the back story as to why I'm doing this series and to see the other paintings I've completed so far in the series. 

To sum up: I'm creating a painting for each chapter in the Book of Revelation in the Bible. I'm not painting a theological interpretation (don't want to go there), but rather I'm creatively responding to what I've read through my abstract expressionist artist's view. I'm allowing more of a feeling to emote instead of trying to figure out what it all means literally.  

This painting is the 10th that I've created (there are 22 chapters). 

This was the computer mock up I created to give myself an idea of the direction I wanted to go for the painting (colors and imagery) which is on Chapter 3 (a continuation of the letters to the churches). 

 Each painting is on a 3 foot by 3 foot gallery wrapped box canvas. For this one, I started out by sketching an outline on the canvas to give myself some direction and shape for the paint. 

Here's some video of me sketching. 

Then utilizing latex house paints and a large brush I began blocking out the darker areas of the painting. 

Here's a video of some of the brushwork. 

I continued adding color (with latex house paints) going from dark to light. 

Video of more brushwork adding color. 

The painting seemed to take on an almost bird like shape. I thought that was fun...but it was no where near being finished. 

I continued layering more colors.

Then I began applying acrylic paint thickly with a texture tool. 

Here is video of applying the thick acrylic paint. 

And then the painting changed and evolved. For a moment I wasn't sure what was taking place. 

More texture being applied. 

And then it began to come together. More color and some detail areas being painted in brought it back to where it needed to go. 

Here is video of some of the color detail being layered in.

Here is video of more drips being intentionally applied.

I continued to work for hours...taking moments to step back and look at the canvas (I took lots of photos so I could get a feel for what it looked like beyond my own eye) and this helped me determine what I needed to do next, where I needed to apply color or texture.

As I found myself at a stopping point with the painting part of the process and needing to move on to the gluing on of the image part of the process I realized that I didn't know which direction I should have the canvas. This happens sometimes, when my abstract background allows for multiple ways the painting can be viewed. 
So I turned the canvas to each side to have a look at it to determine which way I wanted to to set the canvas so I could apply the image of the archway to it. 





Intuitively I chose to go with SIDE 4. 

I applied the Mod Podge to the back of the paper image I had printed. 

Then I applied the image to the canvas and smoothed it out with a small plastic squeegee tool. 

Next in the process was to paint the sides black and then spray the surface with a matte fixative. 

Here is the finished painting. 

rev #3
c. 2018 Lisa Marten
3ft x 3ft mixed media on canvas. 

artist statement

This painting is an abstract expressionist artist's response (not a theological interpretation) to Revelation Chapter 3. 

Revelation 3:7-8 says..."See I have opened a door before you that no one can slam shut." 

I wanted to depict a door that is always open...beckoning us forward...(notice the tiny white spot in the distance...I see that as the door that is opened that cannot be shut. The archway is just marking the way). 

So that is my response to Revelation 3.
I wonder what chapter I'll paint next?! 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Window Into My Creative Process Painting in Studio

As I entered my studio today I thought you might like a bit of an opportunity to look in and see the process of how I create a large painting. I took some photos and some videos while I created today and thought I'd share them with you here. 

My brushes. 
Like a chef's knives, they are my tools-an extension of me. I take them with me whenever I travel so that I will be ready to paint whenever the opportunity, and I have my favorites with me-the ones I love and know how they'll work for various needs. 
Also present:
Palate knives. Texture tools. Spray Water Bottle. Mod Podge (Matte Medium). Charcoals. Chalk Pastels. Graphite Pencils. Sharpee Markers. 

Acrylic Paints.
I create mixed media paintings. Acrylic is one of the main kinds of paints that I use. I like to store my colors in tupperware containers (and I will spray them with water so I can keep them wet for extended periods of time). 

Latex House Paints.
This is one of my favorite mediums to utilize. Its' viscosity is brilliant for splatter painting, but I also like to use it just as I would acrylic paints. Most of these cans were donated to me by people getting rid of house paints that were taking up space in their garages. I love paint donations! 

Here's a view of about half of my studio (the half that I utilize to do most of the painting). Today I was working on a 3foot by 3 foot gallery wrapped box canvas on my easel. 

 After I've gotten everything set up I like to put on some music that will inspire the particular painting I'm working on. For this painting I was listening to Housefires song Build My Life. 

Quick back story to this painting...

A couple of years ago a friend of mine encouraged me to begin work on a series of paintings that have been turning about in my head for years. I've wanted to paint a series on the Book of Revelation from the Bible. Now I know that the Biblical Book of Revelation has heaps of controversy around it (causing centuries of debates, judgments, arguments, schisms, and instilling fear in many throughout Christendom). It's been the subject of all various theological viewpoints over the ages about the end of time where graphs, charts, outlines, art, and movies have been made to try and explain all the apocalyptic imagery and meaning. 

So you're probably wondering why I want to tackle such a task as to create paintings based on the Book of Revelation. 

Though many artists have tried, I didn't want to paint some kind of artistic theological interpretation of the Book (as I am not a Biblical scholar and I really have no desire to figure it all out...and personally I don't think it's meant to be figured out, but that's my opinion). Call me a crazy artist...but I'm all about the love...and in my opinion I think it's full of creative imagery (showing the creativity of God) and mystery (I like that I can't figure out what's going on...I like that about God, that I can't figure Him out) that ultimately points to the Love of God for all creation and I find the book to be fascinating and quite exciting actually, so I wanted to create an abstract expressionist artist's response to each chapter. 

The following photos and videos are a progression of the painting process...

I first worked on the painting within my computer (I often work on painting concepts this way). This process can take a few hours or several days depending upon what I'm working on. This is a computer mock up that I made as a concept image for the painting I wanted to create as a response to Revelation Chapter 2. The image you see is not meant to be the exact painting I would fact, it can't be because the colorful background is from an image I found on-line (and I don't want to copy another artist's painting). But the combination of the lots of research on the subject matter I'm wanting to paint and express, the colorful background (or backgrounds---sometimes I find several  images and layer them on top of each other to create a very unique textured background image), a realistic image that I create in the computer to print out and paste on which helps to pull the painting together (in this case a smooth white rock), and my own flavor of abstract expressionist painting techniques and strokes allows for inspiration to how I want the painting to feel and what colors I might like to utilize. 

The first layers of latex house paints in colorful large brush strokes and watery drips.

The next layers of charcoal outlining.

More layers painting in detail within the charcoal lines with latex house paints and acrylic paints.

More definition. 

And then once I knew that the background was where it needed to be I glued on the paper image of the smooth white rock to complete the painting. 

The final painting. 
As you can see it is a little bit like the computer mock up in structure and some of the colors and shapes, but actually it's quite different all together. Artistic inspiration and license within the moment along with collaborating with the paints and mediums, canvas and tools, the research and thought processing, and listening in on the conversation that God is having with me as I all allows for the painting to evolve and come to life as it needs to. 

rev #2
c. 2018 Lisa Marten
3ftx3ft mixed media on canvas

artist statement

This painting is an abstract expressionist artist's response (not a theological interpretation) to Revelation Chapter 2.

Revelation 2:17 says....”whoever has ears let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give that person a white stone with a new name written on it known only to the one who receives it.”  

I didn't plan on the background to be a kind of abstract tree...but it as the hours moved along the tree began to form...and so I went with it instead of forcing what I originally had planned (which would've been just an abstract background of shapes and color)...and this is what it turned out to be. I actually think that intuitively it fits PERFECTLY with the concept that Chapter 2 is made up of letters written to churches...and churches are people...and people make up the Body of Christ...and the Body of Christ is like a living breathing tree (a family tree) that each of us gets the opportunity to be a part of if we choose. We really are a part of something that is so much bigger than we are on our own. And we can be grafted into that tree. There is a white stone with a new name for us (He is making all things new)...and who we are is an important part of it all. 

So that is my response to Revelation 2. 
It joins the other 8 paintings I've created in the series. 
There are 22 I have a few more to do!

rev #6
c. 2016 Lisa Marten
3ftx3ft mixed media on canvas.

rev #7
c. 2016 Lisa Marten
3ftx3ft mixed media on canvas

rev #12
c. 2016 Lisa Marten
3ftx3ft mixed media on canvas

rev #14
c. 2016 Lisa Marten
3ftx3ft mixed media on canvas

rev #16
c. 2016 Lisa Marten
3ftx3ft mixed media on canvas

rev #19
c. 2016 Lisa Marten
3ftx3ft mixed media on canvas

rev #20
c. 2016 mixed media on canvas
3ftx3ft mixed media on canvas

rev #22
c. 2016 Lisa Marten
3ftx3ft mixed media on canvas