Painting Series

July Recap

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​I’ve been a little MIA this past month or so in my blogging.  Have you missed me?  What was I up to?
 
At the beginning of June I embarked on the most challenging and intense artistic project of my life – Summer Mosaic for 171 Cedar Arts.  24 artists created 50 small 6”x6” pieces of art in 45 days and displayed the pieces as part of a fundraiser for 171 Cedar Arts (a local program that supports the arts – visual, music, dance – in all age groups).
 
At the start of the project I was presented with 50 wood unfinished squares and left to my own devices to turn these slices of tree into something beautiful.  The project started out with a lot to research on the internet on how to properly treat the surface prior to painting.  After a trip to the nearest craft store for supplies it was time to get to work.  The first task was to find a surface large enough to hold all 50 squares.  I made make-shift tables by putting cardboard from a crib on my small dining table and on an ottoman to make two large surfaces (and my family laughs at me when I volunteer to take extra-large boxes off their hands). 
 
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​The next step was to add a layer of acrylic medium on all sides to seal the wood and prevent the nature oils from escaping and yellowing the paintings over time.  After all sides were sealed, I toned gesso to a bluish-gray color and applied three coats to the sides and top of each square.  Some people like to sand between layers of gesso, however I decided that I liked the rough texture that was created with no sanding after the gesso was applied with a roller.  
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​It was now time to get to the hard part – painting each of the individual squares and doing so in T-minus 40 days at this point.  Luckily while I was waiting for my squares to arrive I had already started a list of the paintings that I was going to do and picking out reference photos to use.  I even took a quick fieldtrip for some more reference photos for some of the paintings I wanted to do. 
The theme that I had picked was “Around the Finger Lakes” (for those who are just starting to follow my journey, this is the area of New York state that I grew up in and currently live).  A lot of the paintings were landmarks and scenes that I’ve been wanting to paint for some time and suddenly I had the motivation that I needed to make it happen. 
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​It was a difficult journey to 50 paintings.  Lots of other projects, chores, social life events, etc. got put to the side for this month and a half while I concentrated on pushing out paintings after my 8-5 and into the wee hours of the night.  I am thankful for the support and encouragement of other artists who were going along this same journey as well!  It really helped in the moments where it was tempting to give up, to know that there were others having the same struggles.  I am also thankful for friends, family, and fans who cheered me on during the process.  It made the experience so much more fun. 
 

 
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So let’s dive into some of the paintings!  The first painting that I painted was of a farm down the road from where I grew up.  This was a scene that I saw almost every day (sometimes multiple times a day) of my life for 18 or so years.  The reflections of the clouds in the pond always fascinated me and of course it was an obvious choice for me to paint.
I’ve always been nervous about painting water scenes.  Water has always seemed like such a difficult subject to master because of the variance of colors.  Water is not just blue like they teach us in elementary school, but takes its color from the objects around it.  The waterfall series of the Summer Mosaic is one of the collections that was most challenging and that I am most proud of. 
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This building has been intriguing me for years.  I pass by it most days on my way to work and I wonder what it is used for and how long it has been there.  All the little nooks and crannies and unique shapes made this such a fun painting to create. 
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I enjoyed playing with the cool colors in this piece and the repetitive arches of the train bridge.  I find it interesting how the eye can make so many different colors look like white in the right context. 
 

 
Seeing all the pieces up on the wall of the gallery next to some of the most prominent artists in the area made all of the long hours, lack of sleep, and hard work worth it!
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Do you want to see them all?  Click here. 
Which ones are your favorite?  Do any remind you of places you’ve seen before?  Leave a comment below.
 
If you’re interested in purchasing any of the pieces from Summer Mosaic, I am slowly listing those available for sale on my Etsy website.  Please contact me if one you are interested in has not been listed yet.  I am excited to see these pieces adopted and hope everyone has enjoyed the project and following along in my journey! 
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