acrylic painting

That Was June

Bulldogs Beach: 30x30 acrylic on canvas

June came and went in a flash, but not before I sold three paintings from my Saatchi Art Portfolio.  Three nice sized pieces too. It leaves my studio walls a bit bare, but I will fill in the spots.. I have not been painting as much lately and really need to spend some serious time in the studio. Lots of things in progress, doodles and the like, but nothing serious or ready to go. Besides the doodling, working on new things like this. Aside from the fun little landscapes that break the flow of the larger more intense pieces, I really like this gray on gray  of Bulldogs Beach, and have one on the easel at home. I will probably go more in this direction once I am back in the studio downtown. I had been playing around with the gray with blues and greens as in the Queen City painting. As well as gray and purple, violet and other colors in that range.

Queen City: 24x24 acrylic on canvas

I missed the Final Friday at the studio this month, so next month I should have a lot of new things on the wall. Getting back to painting full time is the goal. It may take a little longer than I had anticipated as my other work is also demanding. I set myself a two year time goal and I am about six months in on that. It would be nice to come back here at the end of that time frame and say, yes I did it.

Art Show Tonight

I will be in the studio tonight for the art walk at the Pendleton Art Center in downtown Cincinnati. Leaving the folks at home and heading into the city.  I spent most of the day Wednesday cleaning up the place and hanging new art on the walls. The event runs from 6-10pm. I am usually an early out for these things so maybe 6-9 for me. Unless things are really hopping and I will stick it out to the bitter end (ha)...

Pendleton Art Center, 1310 Pendleton Street (OTR Over The Rhine) Cincinnati... Studio 608..

See you there!!

Little River 12x12 acrylic on 1.5 gallery wrap canvas framed, black floater

Little River 12x12 acrylic on 1.5 gallery wrap canvas framed, black floater

Stirring A Big Pot

We took the last trip of really heavy stuff down to the studio yesterday. If you don't count the new bigger than I thought it would be, assembly required, Ikea shelving unit in the back of my SUV. I am sure I can get it in the building and up the elevator with a little help tomorrow, but this is not the pot that I am stirring. That would be the organizing of my print station, so that things will go smoothly when I am working on graphics, and the area where I will paint and the area  I will have for gallery space and display. Making sure as well that I have enough storage (the new shelves) and be able to utilize the space efficiently.

I will be hitting the ground running with the graphics as I am working on two custom projects right now and hope to add more to my workload. I have various online outlets as well for prints and originals and will be adding a section here on site to some of the links. Being independent means doing all the work and selling it too, so I have to do double duty here to get myself back to a place where I can support myself without relying on the funds from my other business.

There has been a lot of interest in the landscape work that I have been doing and I will have at least three new original paintings in the studio on Friday for the art walk. I finally have this one ready to frame.

River Walk 12x18 acrylic on panel, Liz Zorn 2014 framed/black floater.

In The Studio

Had my first REAL week in the new studio... Made some progress on the pieces in progress and painted over three large canvases. Art is funny... one day you are going in a particular direction and the next not so much. Best to work fast so as to finish things before the mood shift or mind change. Not a biggie.. more of a color change of direction than anything else. Layering can be tricky, building up color from dark to light works to the advantage and I was getting a wee bit on the dark side..

Continuing with these little landscapes. This one in progress 12x12 on canvas. and five more in various stages of completion.

Vignette: in progress acrylic on canvas Liz Zorn

Vignette: in progress acrylic on canvas Liz Zorn

PRINTS  - Until I am able to set up my print station in the new studio I am still using my sun room for digital work. It will be nice when I have everything in one place. Particularly since my space in the sun room is limited. I tested another paper yesterday an 100% cotton rag velvet paper. I am not sure this is the best choice for these prints, I like the softness of the paper and how the ink is absorbed, but I also think for this work that it needs to have more of an edge. Once I have decided on my paper I will put some of these online as signed and dated prints. You can already purchase some of them from my Digital Arts page, but they are not hand dated by me and are not signed. You have more choices though as I will only be offering one size to start.

Impress Me : Detail from original painting, 13x19 digital print Liz Zorn

Impress Me : Detail from original painting, 13x19 digital print Liz Zorn


Thinking back to the first impasto works of this new train of thought I am finding that the preconceived horizon line is becoming very distracting to me. Not that I want to eliminate the gesture, but would rather not start out with it in mind. In a way I want to just scrap everything and start over with this in mind. Start over where I left off with the grid paintings in 2001. Not that I want to continue with the grid paintings, I do not as they were built entirely of texture and painted later in oils. I want to continue in that I am building the texture primarily out of paint. Being a year back into a daily painting routine I am happy that this work is finally starting to make some sense to me. I know I have said that before and at the time I was feeling much the same as now. How to know when it will lead to something is the million dollar question. It can take years to find a groove or purpose in the work, and then again the work can dictate the flow and learning curve. Last night I was working on a piece and realized that I wanted to paint over the horizon line. I left it so that I could look at it with fresh eyes this a.m. Having done so I am certain that I want to open up the field. I am also applying paint as a transfer, as I do with works on paper, and using less texture in the base that outlines the composition.

detail from grid painting: autumnal 1999

detail from grid painting: autumnal 1999

detail: work in progress, today 2014

detail: work in progress, today 2014

I am excited about the rapid changes in the work, it means that I am going to get where I want to be sooner rather than later. It will also be helpful in setting up my new studio. Still no real word about that, although I did hear that there may be an opening at the end of May. Not the exact space I am looking for, but one that I could move into while I wait for a larger studio in the building.

Breaking old habits can be hard, but I am going to give myself some time to work this out without the premeditation of something being a landscape, seascape or anything remotely related to a horizon line. If one should find it's way in, fine, I can deal with that. It's the initial thought process that I am more concerned with. I do not want to limit myself, which is exactly what I have been doing.

Future Work

Now that I have reused many of my old canvases, I am taking the landscapes to that next level. More in line with the minis 6x6 deep set pieces with less overall texture and more attention to color. This is not something new, there are plenty of folks creating these color field-esque landscapes in one variation or another. With mine I am still feeling the need to pull some of that initial color through to the finished layer, rather than just brushing on or laying in accent color. Scraping into the canvas adds a feeling of age to the piece as well as atmosphere, that appeals to me. I am still gravitating to the blues and grays, but with this set of four I am going all in with this orange under painting.

I feel like I have settled in to this and am really happy with the direction of the work. It is also a good lesson in restraint. Less is more looks easy but isn't. I can't say how many times I have found myself over working a canvas only to paint it out and start over. So in essence this new work is a bit about me teaching myself a lesson. Hopefully I learn from it...

New Work

I have added three more new landscapes to the site. Smaller works all 12x12 on canvas. I have more of these in progress and like to alternate from large to small. The square size really suites my sensibilities when it comes to landscapes, more so than traditional horizontal landscapes. I don't really like horizontal landscapes all that much or working wide. I would much rather work on a square or vertical canvas..

These new pieces are some of the old pieces that I painted over. Old paintings make the best new paintings. and... the new paintings on fresh canvas are not as heavily textured, but do have more layers of color.

I know I keep talking about when I move to my new space... But really, I could move tomorrow. I am running out of room to paint and am limited to size. I don't have a wall to tack un-stretched  canvas to, so everything is done from an easel on stretched canvas. Keeping my fingers crossed that the move will be sooner rather than later. Reminds me that I should do a little follow up and see if they have any news on vacancies. Wouldn't that be grand (yay) ..

I am keeping a smaller portfolio online at the moment. At least of available art. If something sells I take it down rather than marking it sold.  There are also different paintings in my saatchi art portfolio at  I have original work on that website and Fine Art America where they offer prints only. I will be closing that one down eventually so that we can offer original signed prints exclusively from my studio.  The prints from Fine Art America are not signed and I do not get to proof them.

Eventually I will create an online portfolio of just images. I will also create a page devoted to the things available as prints. I am going to make several of the new smaller (12x12) landscapes available as same size prints. Same size prints are more realistic when printed and this is a nice size to mat and put under glass. Everything does not work well as a print, and having the option to choose the best pieces myself I can proof all of the work as we test out images.

Regression Therapy

Life is a circle... One of my favorite sayings, and it is true...... really... Looking at canvases in various stages of completion I decided to adopt a color theme.. at least for the next few pieces. Blues, grays, reds, ochre, sienna and black, lots of black... As a young art student one of the first things taught to me was NEVER USE BLACK straight out of the tube... make your own black with other colors, it will look more natural.. That's all well and good for learning how to paint portraits and traditional landscapes, and it is a very useful approach for such things, but for me I really like black, the blacker the better.. I admit that my blacks are often a combo of Paynes Gray and Mars Black or Graphite Gray and Black, yet in the end am left with various shades of black. The canvases already had several layers of color and I went in and gave them all a shades of gray block out followed by a white wash that was rubbed into the gray, washed off and scraped off. This is the fun part because some areas will come off easier than others and some will not come off at all. The end result is often not up to me entirely, unless I opt to go back in and build up more layers of paint. I do this sometimes, but most of the time am happy with my initial choices. It is never 1, 2, 3... and we are done. There are always decisions to be made, even in a heated moment, or trying to scrape down a particular section of a large painting before the paint dries too much. Action painting...literally!!

So today I finished a smallish piece 24x18 and found myself back in circle mode. As I have mentioned before, circles have been in my work from the beginning. Not in every piece, but in a great many of them.  I thought it would be fun to show a comparison. Two paintings with circles painted twenty years apart. One in acrylic, the other in oil. One on cotton canvas, the other on linen..

Blow: 24x18, acrylic on canvas, Liz Zorn 2014

Blow: 24x18, acrylic on canvas, Liz Zorn 2014

Relix Series: 10x10, oil on linen, Liz Zorn 1993

Relix Series: 10x10, oil on linen, Liz Zorn 1993

Memoriam Follow Up

I really had to work for this one. From the beginnings and the very difficult under painting, to the hard edged landscape to the final piece. It would be an understatement to say that I was unhappy with this canvas.. I wanted to burn it, and at the same time I had a mission. I had given it a name and a history, so I could not bail on it..

Memoriam: finished, acrylic on canvas 40x30

Memoriam: finished, acrylic on canvas 40x30

The textural elements on this canvas were so prominent that I didn't really need to add anything. It was more about taking things away. Instead of knife work and large globs of paint, I opted for brushes and a paint rag to block in the final color. I did take advantage of the under colors and scraped down the paint to reveal the reds, blues and some of the white ground. Very similar to how I finished "Impress Me'  an earlier painting on panel. But the palette here with the gray tones, sienna, blue/gray are very appealing to me right now. I am working with a wide range of blues and purples along with gray black and white. So if I can string a few more of these together I may just be onto something. Although I have said this before. Today it feels more real... If that makes any sense.... but then it's hard to make sense sometimes when one is trying to find footing.