According To Plan

When everything is going right and the stars are in alignment, my work looks something like this.

Building a history that start with a layer of modeling paste, colors and textures, usually ending with a thick layer that is left to partially dry, cut into with a razor blade or the sharp edge of a palette knife. This reveals the layers of color, color that creates a contrast,  a push and pull of energy. Although it may seem so, nothing is really planned. The colors are chosen according to my mood and the lines, pencil marks and gestural color a moment by moment act, carried out more in regards to emotion, sound and smell. Each color has a different smell, and those smells can change or become more intense depending on my ability to focus on the moment. To me it is like a vast microbiome of sensual influences. Having an synesthetic ability that runs through my visual art as well as my work in a scent lab, It is a peculiar set of circumstances that inform me in my work. I embrace it, mostly. Sometimes it drives me crazy, because the overlap and overload can be too distracting. This is why when things do turn out somewhat according to plan, I do my little happy dance and continue on, knowing that it is never, and never will be easy.

Minimalist At Heart

I have all but one of the ten studies completed and I find that, with them all in the studio next to each other, there is a clear pattern. Some of the elements, I do not care for (at all) and others just confirm what I have always known. I really love layers. Layers of color, organic shapes, subtle shapes, natural tones and values. What I do not like are the heavy handed colors.

I am thinking of this painting Bulldogs Beach, from last summer. All of the unstretched canvases that I have been painting since summer seem to be moving more in this direction and I am happy with that.

Bulldogs Beach: acrylic on stretched canvas. 30x30x1.5 - 2015

I also find that I work completely different when my surface is a stretched canvas or a canvas tacked to the wall, or when I am working with paper. I work differently when something is laying flat on a table, on an easel or hard surface like the hard board that I use for works on paper. I know this, I have always known this, yet it is the kind of thing that never really gets more than a passing thought. Right now I am thinking about it... a lot. My next move will determine the work that I do for the year. Stretched canvas or unstretched canvas. After spending some time at Fridays open studio, painting.. I have decided to take that canvas off the bars and finish it tacked to the wall. This is where I am with the work. I like what happens when I am working on a surface without resistance. Without having to straighten the canvas on the easel or tighten the cloth because I am pushing too hard into the paint. Every time I go back and forth, from easel to wall, the work changes. That was not really a problem for me before, but now it is. I even have a piece of hard board in my home studio to work on now, so everything will be consistent.

I am always talking about change. Now I can change and stay the same all at the same time.

Necessary Detour

Sometimes it takes awhile for things to come around. Looking back over the past two years I feel like I have been in a strange kind of funk. Things will look up for a time and with no warning fall apart or cease to have meaning. I have continued to hold on to my use of a textured surface in my painting, and after thirty years it is like a reliable old friend. Preparing a canvas with a layer of bumpy, scratchy terrain to serve as somewhat of an unspoken element lending to the overall piece.

I find that it is time to let that go for awhile and focus on something different. Not necessarily new, but vital to me moving on with my work.

When I walked into my studio yesterday I knew that I had painted on my last traditionally prepared canvas, at least for the foreseeable future. Stretched gesso primed canvas. The kind that is available ready made at art supply stores, and even the ones that I stretch myself.

I have prepared a wall in my studio to staple raw canvas. Raw unbleached canvas that I lightly prime with a clear gesso/medium.

One of the reasons that I want to work this way is to create really large intuitive paintings, and worry about all the other stuff later. I find that when I have invested a lot of time in the prep work of stretching and priming a canvas, I feel obligated to have it turn out a specific way. I don't want any of that getting in my way, so I am going back to the process I used when I was creating large works on paper. One never knows how these things will turn out, but it is nothing without taking the risk. Nothing without being ok with failure or wasting materials, or any of the things that create doubt in an artists process. There's always something. Like that bad hair day that never ends. Eventually it must not matter. Must not be a self conscious act, or be tied to ego.

Detail: acrylic, ink on unstretched clear primed canvas.

In the studio: in progress 60x80 acrylic, ink, pencil, charcoal on unstretched clear primed canvas

I am really excited to see where this all goes. I am happy with the choices and very happy with the work so far. I know I said that I wasn't going to work in series. But something happened in my life recently and I really want to document my personal feeling about it through this work for awhile. Not in a premeditated way, but in a way that allows me to let go and move on. If that is even possible.


Open Studio - New Work

The fall season at the art center will kick off this friday Oct 30 in full gear. Aside from hosting two charity events,  beer tasting and raffle, this will also be the Halloween art walk. Being an artist in the building I rarely am able to check out what is going on elsewhere at the PAC, and surrounding campus of studios and galleries because I am in my own studio greeting guests and friends throughout the night. I will likely be going solo this week, with family and the like staying home.. So getting down throughout the week to set up and hang my show before Fridays mad dash. Each of the eight floors of studios in the warehouse (my space) will have their own events and set ups. We on the 6th floor will have a treat table in the community area just off the elevator and hopefully lots of open studios for people to visit. Hours are 6-10 Pendleton Art Center OTR Cincinnati. Street parking is free and available to early arrivals, as well as a valet parking service provided by the PAC for a fee. I bought enough candy for an army so please come down and take a handful :)...

I have a new layout in the studio with more wall space and quite a few new pieces. Very excited as well to be getting so much great feedback on the new work. If I can find the time I will go through my art storage, because some of my work from many years ago is very similar to this new work. A really big circle I have been rounding. One that has an arch of well over thirty years. I don't really have a lot of old work, but at least have been able to keep a few things, dating all the way back to my first art instruction classes as a kid.

I think looking back, all those years of doing constructed works and found object art really boxed me in. It has taken me some time to get out of my head and just paint again. I also think that when we are younger we are more insecure about the work and trying to fit into a category. At this stage in my life I just want to be in the moment. If I am thinking about something, listening to certain music, hear a siren in the city, or gunshot... whatever. I am now happy to let all of that be part of the work. I am finished (at least for now) planning my art or thinking ahead. However the paint falls it how it will lay, and stay.

My Heart Belongs to Daddy: In progress 30x30. mixed media on canvas.

This piece in the photo is now finished. I have received more feedback on this than everything else I have done over the past year combined. I know artists like to play it cool and close to the vest, but I feel that if I can stay the course here I will be in good shape. Basically, screw being cool and acting like I have everything under control. I am totally owning my sixth decade on this planet. No excuses, no apologies.

October

This is turning out to be a productive month for me. Not that I have a lot of finished work, but I know better where I am going. It's always hard to shift from one thing to another and start down a different path.  It appears that I have circled back around...again... to a place where my paper works and my canvas paintings are back in synch. I don't show a lot of paper, mostly because it is such a pain to photograph and format everything. Paper is often a study, as are the small canvases that I paint over and over until they are useless.. When something does feel worth keeping I am often more in love with all of the layers and incarnations on the canvas than the finished painting.

new in progress 30x3010-15

new in progress 30x3010-15

new in progress 18x14 10-15

new in progress 18x14 10-15

Watermark: mixed media on paper Feb. 2015

Watermark: mixed media on paper Feb. 2015

 

Having (for the past two years) escaped my palette of earth tones, I am finding my way back to them. Again with the paper, but I always go to this palette for works on paper. For the new canvas pieces I am finding a happy medium for some and embracing my gray and sienna self with others.

I spent a couple of days earlier this month rearranging the furniture in my studio. Moving my big shelving unit to the front of the room and opening up my work area, giving me more room to roll the easel around to catch the great northern light that I get from my windows. Even abstract painters love natural light for painting. The whole room feels different and I am really enjoying this new burst of energy I get when I come into the building and open my door. Can't wait to have my first open studio with this new layout. More wall space for hanging art, particularly larger works.

I will be back with the fall schedule for the art center in a few weeks. Still not sure of all the dates.

Brush Work

Moving from one thing to another. Sometimes it's hard to leave a comfort zone. I needed to leave my comfort zone. Some of the struggles I have had with my health in the past couple of years along with a desire to stop forcing square things into round holes has led me to make a clean break with my work. Stop attacking the canvas like it is my enemy and just let the paint flow. This new work is bringing brush work back into my life and I am even buying new brushes. Good ones and not just the utilitariandisposable fare. I am also making a pact with myself to go easy on the black and stop digging into my paint with razor blades.... well at least.. mostly!!

It's like baby steps but I am getting a glimmer here and there of what I really loved about painting when I was young. In those days before I started planning everything out, creating detailed constructed pieces; when I felt more like a true abstract expressionist painter rather than a plumber or accountant, meticulously calculating my end game...

New: in progress, acrylic on canvas 12x30x2.5


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.


Studio News

Can't believe that it's the end of the month again. Art walk this Friday from 6-10. I plan on being there if all goes well.

We had repairmen in the building last week fixing the windows and as a result I had to move a lot of things away from the windows, which included my desk and printer. I still don't have everything back to normal, so I am suspending the online prints until I am back in business. Will not be long. In the meantime I have updated my often neglected page at Fine Art America, with some of the new small paintings, available as prints. I have them available as prints only, but they have several options including, gallery wrap canvas, paper prints, prints on metal, with a lot of options for framing. I am not offering any of the other items such as greeting cards, pillows, totes, phone cases etc... If you do see something in one of those items that you would like to purchase I can add it to the site. Just ask... As always the only work that I make available for prints are the small landscapes and a few works on paper.

liz-zorn-art.jpg

I am continuing to work on the small landscapes because my time at the moment is very limited. We are updating all of the Soivohle (my scent work) products and I am also tinkering around with a new Scent Art Installation. Once I have it all worked out with the formulations I will look for a venue. Possibly for something this time next year. It takes a lot of time and effort to create a scent installation....

More good news: After the initial sales from the YWCA Show opening last Friday, I shipped out three more paintings on Tuesday. Not to jinx the sale, I am just going to say a little YAY!!!.. and update if everything goes through. Should have the final word by Wednesday.

Looks like two new commissions could also be in the works, both for landscapes done in the style above. Very happy with all the good juju being tossed my way lately. Sending it backatcha Universe.... till next time...

Landscape 2015

After rubbing a couple of nice blister on my hands with my cutting blade (blade paintings) I am taking some time to catch up on those landscapes that have been on the back burner. Not to mention the challenge of a commission in this style after not working this way for over a year.

Vignette Series 2013-14 acrylic on canvas

Vignette Series 2013-14 acrylic on canvas

The real challenge for me is in taking away the hard edged horizon line. I usually either have one like in the painting above, or I eliminate it completely while trying to maintain a landscape feel to the piece. With the new ones that I have been prepping canvas for, I am doing my best to remove that hard line and replace it with gestural lines while working the composition out and painting with a loose stroke using a Catalyst wedge. I like them better for softer strokes, better than the metal trowels.

New work in progress, acrylic on canvas 2015.. landscape art

New work in progress, acrylic on canvas 2015.. landscape art


I also feel like I need a break from the hard edge altogether. Something is pulling me to a more organic flow, and honestly I welcome it. Welcome the idea of letting the paint do the work, because those blade paintings are a workout. They have also been on my easel almost non stop for over a year, so it's time for a change. Feeling very relaxed and ready to dive into some color.