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Quick Pour Painting Demo Video

Rather than try to explain it in words, I thought I’d just use this to answer some questions raised by potential attendees for the Pour Party Events and future classes – this is usually the size we use in Pour Parties or Basics Classes –

And see what I mean by “Wear Painting Clothes?”

 

🙂

Mendocino Sunsets

I’m writing this after just coming in from a tromp around the headlands as the sun went down, accompanied by a perfect blanket of fog and mist.

 

On clear days, there is a constant stream of sunset revelers past my studio doors, straight down Little Lake Street to the headlands. This is a great place to watch the show, with a clear view and a complement of waves thundering against the bluffs below your feet.

 

Did I say that it’s right down the street from my house? Yup.

 

I have come to prefer the misty, almost eerie sunsets, at least here at the bluffs. And it’s not just that there are less people about, although that’s part of it. It’s gentler, not blindingly bright, and full of surprise sunrays peeking through and about the clouds and washing them with swaths of color and metallic golds and coppers playing about the fog belt, the clouds…

 

As I write this, my nose and feet are just about thawed, and after I close this, I’m heading back downstairs to the studio to mix up pouring medium and this new palette of pigments I’ve been experimenting with. I’ve been mixing and pouring color swatches on mylar since I got back after the extended family holiday, trying for a more Mendocino Northern Pacific Ocean feel while still retaining a lot of the transparency that I love.

 

I think I’m close enough to just go try it out. 21sheets so far. 54 color combinations.

 

Is that getting obsessive?

Spring 2018 – Pour Painting

Before I post anymore, I want to make sure to get the upcoming schedule online, along with some helpful links.  It’s filling up quickly!

Spring 2018

Thru Late April – Artist in Residence, Mendocino Art Center

Pour Painting Demos – Open Studios/Second Saturdays – 2/10, 3/10, 4/14 at 6pm, Mendocino Art Center

First Fridays Art Tour – 2/2, 3/2, 4/6 at 5:30-7:00, Northcoast Artist Gallery, Fort Bragg

Pour Painting Parties – 2/18 & 3/18 at 4-6:30pm, Mendocino Art Center

Four Day Pour Painting Workshop – Basics to Intermediate4/6 – 4/9, Mendocino Art Center

Artist in Residence Art Exhibition – 4-3 – 4/30, Reception during Second Saturdays, 4/14 from 5-8pm, Mendocino Art Center Gallery

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Basic Pour Painting Tutorial Blog – http://www.lindaryanfineart.com

Social: @lindaryanart (Liking my FB business page is very helpful – Thanks!)

Cool Hx of Mendocino Art Center here

 

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Inward – next few months as an Artist in Residence, Mendocino

MendocinoMiddle of the image, toward the top?  See the high school track there?  I’m just below it.  The village is really only a few streets wide, and the Mendocino Art Center played a huge – no, not just huge, a vital part in revitalizing the town. I’m so happy to be a part of it.

 

And, to be part of the amazing place we are in.  When the ocean is really revving up, I can hear waves from all three sides – the most often from the Mendocino Bay, toward the bottom (south).  The waves get confused there, and pound in from several directions.  But, when the surf’s really high, the loudest boom is to the west (towards the left, here).  They pound and pound against the bluffs and that little inlet, where there’s a bit of a cavern that echoes the sound, all the way to my studio.

 

I’m so privileged to be here, to be an Artist in Residence.

 

You may be surprised by that thought, if you’ve read my blog about the anxieties of my first month. They seem so distant, now. I’m not saying it isn’t often still challenging and weirdly lonely, considering that I’ve always valued time alone – but I’ve turned my focus to challenging myself. And I know, I haven’t shared much of the experience, yet.  Even a few lines from my journal would have been nice, like – Wow, when the mist clears, the stars are so bright! or – what an amazing sunset.  That would have been nice.  It turns out that I really needed to be inward with it before I shared.  And I’ve been inward.

 

So here is what I’m doing:  The Intent of my Residence program here, as I put it in my Initial AIR Presentation in the beginning of October, is to bring my work above the surface and to paint about the experience of Mendocino.

 

I had to experience it first.  Apparently without diluting it by putting too much of it on Social Media. There’s something about sharing … don’t get me wrong, I love to share. But when something important is happening to you? I found I had to enclose myself with it, for a while. Get it inside before I give it away. Let it have weight.

 

So this is what I’ve been doing.  Trudging around a lot by the Headlands, on the beaches, working to understand sea foam and imbed the visuals of the forever booming and receding ocean as it hits in multiple directions around the hundreds of rock formations and bluffs.  And the work is really starting to happen. Starting to get a feel for layers of rocks and water and roiling kelp beds and exploring new combinations of transparent paints to form the base of a palette that works with this newish medium that is always a fascination to me.

 

And, in keeping with the AIR Presentation, for a while I began working to capture the iridescent wings of the hundreds of magnificent Ravens in the area.

 

But that’s gotten a bit sidetracked. It seems any extra painting I need to do is either pure nonobjective abstract, or abstracts about the California wildfires instead. I try not to do the fires, but I find myself with a bottle of burnt orange in one hand and quinacridone gold in the other, and I have to succumb to the urge, yet again, and mix a good pour amount up. I don’t think these are for sale, or will be anytime soon, or at least perhaps I can figure out how to also help the fire victims with them. Especially if they keep coming.

 

And, it finally occurred to me, I need to figure out a way to do the roads in and out of town. This is such a part of my experience there – anyone’s experience, really. It’s worth it to get there, but I have yet to make that drive without sweaty hands.  Almost, the last time.  Almost.

 

Mostly, I’m challenging myself to think about my experiences here (and getting here), and be here in the moment. Then, get myself into the studio and prep panels and mix up the paint and be ready.

 

And let the creativity work out how to paint about it.

 

We’ll see how this works.

 

This is gonna be interesting. I started to type out fun … but honestly, parts of it will be fun. A lot of it will be work. Engaging work, sure – and that’s fun. But, not like a party. There’s a lot of introspection and just working involved. Heck of a lot more fun than when I was a paralegal, sure, and other than when I helped out artists, more fun than managing the arts center. But work. Good work.

 

Here’s to good work, then, huh?

 

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Pour Painting as Art

I love this process, the freedom and happy accidents that occur with it. If you pour, you know what I mean.

Sometimes the results are wonderful. Sometimes parts of it are.

I saw an ad a popular arts & crafts store did for pour painting, and I thought, you know, I need to put something out there about focusing on pouring to make art, not just arts & crafts. Because it’s fun, like crafting a marble effect, and freeing, it’s become crazily popular. But man, if you saw that commercial, you might see it as fun but their examples left the art out of it.

How to make pour painting art? Simplified, I’d say keep art principles in mind –

COMPOSITION: Composition, perhaps using motion and assymetrical balance as your guide, and unity. You may have a great innate sensibility already tuned to this – don’t discount that. But the classic lessons on composition can really help you create more artful and satisfying pieces and less pieces that end up stuck in the back of the closet.

Here’s a good place to begin for internet studiers

For a more thorough read, you can’t get any better than David Lauer’s Design Basics books. I’ve burned through and given away just about every edition, including the old black and white version. It’s college level, but easy to read and for artists, the short explanations with copious amounts of illustration and photographs are easy to embrace. Visual learners, this book is key.

 

LAYERING (and gelskin hack):

As you progress, you may find that some pieces have promise but just aren’t satisfactory as they are. Yes, you can layer this stuff. I can tell you from experience that you can layer, and layer, and layer … and soon it will start taking a really long time to dry in between layers. And note – with transparent paints, it’s much easier to go darker in layers than lighter, unless you start adding some opaques, which can be tricky.

You’ll also find that you can also ruin a painting pretty easily by not really knowing what you want to do in that next layer.

Hack: Try the type of layer you want on a piece of plastic sheeting, polyethelene, or even a large Ziploc bag. Let it dry, and check it on top of the piece. If you get an effect you like, you can either recreate it on your piece, or simply peel the gelskin off, and brush on some gloss medium or pouring medium, and apply it to your art making sure to squish out any bubbles. MAKE SURE NOT TO LAY YOUR GELSKIN DIRECTLY ON YOUR WORK, especially if it’s sticky at all.  They may become one.  And, Yes, your surface will be bumpy – try doing a pour over the whole thing (I usually wait until it’s all done, do a final pour and Art Resin to clear up surface issues.

This is only one example of layering – experiment!

 

COLOR THEORY (and hack): The David Lauer book is good for a bit of this, and there are tons of books out there.  Color Matters offers a fairly concise description – but what you are interested in here is how they are going to react on the painting. And, especially, what you might want to layer on. Sometimes a very light transparent glaze is all you need to tie things together in a beautiful way.

Hack: Use sheets of mylar or scraps of plexiglass from your framer, and mix a little of your transparent paint with pouring medium. Pour a large enough puddle of each in sections on your mylar and let it dry thoroughly. Us this to hold over your painting and see what you might want to add in a layer.  They keep for long use if you put a sheet of polyethylene (painter’s tarps) around them when you store them.  Note – The paint will stick to the mylar – this is not a way to make gelskins.

 

USE THE SPECIAL PROPERTIES OF THE MEDIUM: I’d go a bit farther, too. The nature of Liquitex Pouring Medium is that it has wonderful clarity and creates spectacular light-bounce. This creates especially lovely effects with transparents, metallic and interference paints (called color-shift by some companies). If you want to use opaque paint, you might save money and try one of those cheaper alternatives like Floetrol* or Glue, like many demonstrate with this on YouTube.  I don’t use them so don’t ask me for advice on that!

 

 

Listen, however you want to paint, do it. If you hit those paintings that are pretty but just don’t make you happy, seriously consider doing a bit of study.  You might find it fascinating and fulfilling to use it in your work.

 

the-rising-6x

 

 

 

The First Month as an AIR MAC (Artist-in-Residence, Mendocino Arts Center)

I almost wasn’t going to post this – it seems so personal.  But posting anything else about this experience will feel false, if I don’t admit the truth, and I want to post about the rest of it as I go along. Being an AIR is a worthwhile experience – but the start can be rocky.

First, I should tell you that like many artists, I’ve dreamt of doing an Artist-in-Residence program for, well, since I first started really painting.  To have time to throw yourself into your work, to have your total goal to be to develop as an artist, to isolate yourself for months on end and find out what you really can do, to stretch to your limits … wow.  What artist wouldn’t want to do exactly that?

Once I was selected to participate and began telling everyone I knew (if you didn’t get the telegraph perhaps you saw the message on the blimp?), most friends and artists cheered me on, but some gave some strange feedback, like, “You are so brave!” and “I could never do that!”  At the time, I brushed those comments off, thinking that they wouldn’t apply to me.

My partner caravanned up here with me on October 1st, helped me set up my studio and studio apartment in the Mendocino Arts Center, in the lovely village of Mendocino, where we are in walking distance of bluffs and crashing waves on three sides (okay, the third is a bit more like a hike).  The night of October 3rd, I was alone for the first time in my new place, but Duane would return in just a few days with a load of finished paintings, in time for the AIR (Artists-in-Residence) Presentations, where this year’s AIR’s would present speeches and a slide presentation about what our work was and what we intended to do during our stay here.

The first week was all setup and focus on the speech, and a little sightseeing, all soaked in a thick layer of poignancy around parting with Duane.  When Duane left on Sunday the 8th, all of the sudden I was really alone.  And that’s the night when the California Wildfires ignited.

I always enjoyed time alone before.  I thought I loved being with my own thoughts.

But – I’ve never lived alone before. I always had either a child depending on me or a partner to share life with, or both.  Being alone occasionally is very, very different from really being alone.

And, being in a place where no one has any idea of who you really are, what you are capable of and what you’ve done is both familiar and new, like re-breaking a bone but not as painful.  It’s like moving to a new school, except you can hole up in your studio and avoid people completely, here, instead of having to interact during classes, lunches, all that.

Getting to know others, and others getting to know you, well, it takes time. It’s really impossible to bring up your accomplishments without being a braggart – and after all these years of being who you’ve grown into, and having a sense of confidence around all that – wow, having arranged your life so that you lose all that is, in the beginning, a bit terrifying.

Add the wildfires to the mix, and to say that first few weeks were a bit anxiety-ridden is an understatement.  Even though the fires were many miles away, there were tens of thousands of acres ablaze in this County, my new home for six and a half months. It was my new neighbors that were losing everything. I wasn’t touched except emotionally, but I had repeat evacuation dreams, night panics that felt so real but truly were nothing like what those poor people had gone through, were going through, are still trying to get through.

Plus I missed Duane. And the cats. And my son. And knowing my friends were so close.  Oh, and my crockpot and our really nice knives with edges sharpened by my partner, especially the one my best bud Marj gave us for Christmas. And the bathtub and a bunch of easy conveniences. My own studio, where I knew where everything was and how it worked (even if it was so much smaller than my space here). I missed my life. Boy, I normally had it so good.

I took a trip home and took a bajillion baths, saw my son and my cats and Duane.

Let me expound on the absence of Duane, my partner. I missed him with the keen intensity of realizing that we are both approaching old age rapidly, that anything could happen to either of us any day and the chances of that increased exponentially with each midnight … WHAT HAVE I DONE?  We could lose each other any day!  Yes, this was one of the night panics, as I’m sure you can tell.

And, I felt strange here, like I didn’t fit.  I’m so not used to this. Even tromping around the Headlands, I just didn’t fit. The beautiful pounding surf just didn’t feel real. Like a pretty backdrop without the power I normally feel around crashing waves.

It’s not just that, either. A confident Linda Ryan can be a little hard to take, I know, but it’s who I am, or at least I thought it was. Once I started painting, I’ve generally known my worth.  And that I’m a pretty decent artist. Usually. An insecure Linda Ryan? Once in a while, sure. But – every waking moment? It really made me question where that confidence comes from. From things? Paintings? From people knowing what you’ve done and can do? It should be a thing that is anchored inside you… What does it all mean, if just being isolated can change that?

I wasn’t sure how to get past it, either.  But, sometime in my fourth week, things started to click.  I began to make friends with some locals. The art started to work.  I cooked myself a real meal instead of a can of soup or a sandwich or something grabbed downtown. I tromped the headlands and it started to become real. I wish I could explain that better. And, when I headed home to help with a Halloween event, it wasn’t with my mental tail between my legs.

It’s easier to look at a wave of low self-confidence when the tide has shifted again. I think it’s probably necessary if you are going to do some serious work, to strip down to skin. Maybe even shed some skin. Get some light on who you are, underneath.  Mixed metaphors and all.

When I got back here after the Halloween Haunt, and passed the first Highway 1 amazing coastal view of those waves pounding the bluffs, the power of it took my breath away. Yes. Next day poured a big 30×30 painting that is gonna really rock when I get it done.  And I’m excited about the work and happy to be here.

Mostly. I’m still a little off.  And I still really miss Duane and the cats and my son and the bathtub. I’ll get along without the crockpot, and I did bring one of the knives with me, to make cooking for myself a more pleasant experience. It’s the Christmas knife, the one Marj gave us.

Glad to have some confidence back, too. But I think the lesson here isn’t fully realized yet. I have work to do – painting, sure. The rest of it may be more important.

Linda

Arguments Amongst Pour Painters

There are so many cool ways to pour paint out there right now – cells created from silicone and alcohol inks, lots of ways of producing beautiful, intensely different work, using materials across the spectrum – from expensive pouring medium and quality paints to PVA (think, Elmer’s Glue), latex house paints and Floetrol, and more. There are many artists out there enjoying all of these creative explorations – and some artists who see these explorations happening and cringe.

 

What’s the issue, and why the arguments on the web? I think the answer to all of this is that both sides are right. It all depends on what artists want to do with their paintings.

 

First, consider longevity, and degree of salability of the work. If a pouring artist wants to explore, give free voice to their creativity, or give paintings to friends or relatives, sell them on Etsy or festivals where the sales price isn’t going to lead a client to believe that the painting will last, in my opinion, it doesn’t really matter.

 

And, the fact that archival or lightfast materials are much more expensive than, say, white glue, means that glue is just a lot more affordable for artists on a budget to explore pouring.

 

However, artists who want to sell at galleries or at gallery prices, or who want to create work with longevity, will probably avoid using nontraditional materials that haven’t been tested. They have to worry about the long-term, and while it’s not definite, tests still haven’t determined whether a water-repellant like silicone might create delamination down the line and cause an eventual flaking of the painting; that house paint, craft paint or glue might yellow or fade, etc.

 

On the other hand, the innovators in art have classically used materials that were often questionable. But their work can lead to trouble, too. Jackson Pollock is a prime example – he used house paints and enamels a lot, and museums are having a heck of a time keeping his paint on the canvas, and keeping the colors true. But that’s really the museum’s problem – he needed to throw that paint, and drip it, and it’s what worked for him.

 

Just because a piece might not have a super long shelf-life doesn’t mean it isn’t art. Doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy. There is always a place for something that’s a bit ephemeral, and beautiful to look at, and maybe intensely fulfilling to create.

 

So.  If you have money issues and need to work more cheaply, or if you just love the cells silicone leaves (make sure to read the materials bullets below), there’s no reason you shouldn’t create this way.  Like I said, there’s Etsy, festivals, lots of places to sell art where you can’t guarantee a shelf-life – but also consider making prints of your work and not selling the originals, or sign onto one of the many websites that will print for you like Society6.com, redbubble.com, fineartamerica.com – the percentage of profit can be low but far less hassle and expense. They can print them on demand for the paying customer, and be aware that they may end up on coffee cups, pillows, shower curtains.

And some just want to create, no matter what.

 

 


Notes re: Products, if you are concerned-

  • Craft paints and student-grade paints don’t have a high lightfast rating, meaning, they will fade over time, much more quickly than a high grade paint.  
  • Elmer’s Glue yellows over time, as do most non-acrylic resins.  Through an email conversation, a rep for the maker of Floetrol says that while it hasn’t been tested for this application (pour painting), it should not yellow.  
  • Silicone, or the treadmill lubricant pour painters are using to create cells, repels water, according to the Liquitex rep I queried.  Acrylics are water-based, which is how the cells happen – repelled by the silicone.  The rep also stated, a bit cagily (probably considering that the demand for Liquitex Pouring Medium (LPM) is high now, and due to the pour painting craze) that silicone won’t help it be more archival – and ended with the caution that it could create delimitation in the future (meaning, the acrylic could peel or flake off).  A few artists I know are trying to remove the remnants of the silicone with things like talcum powder; two are simply encasing the paintings in several layers of resin.  Others are sticking with alcohol and alcohol inks, which the rep said was fine to use with LPM as, while it repels water, it evaporates quickly and shouldn’t cause a problem with flaking.

YouTube is ripe with how to’s on all of the above – Good luck!

 

IMG_1409

The investigation into the Mendocino Art Center was super fruitful.  I’m honored to report that, starting October 1st, I’ll be one of the Artists-in-Residence at MAC, staying in walking distance from the ocean, through late April of 2018.  My painting studio will be right next to one of the main classrooms in the building next-door.

My intent, in this 6.5 months, will be to work to bring my ocean paintings above-water, infuse the force, spray and tide pools where the North Pacific crashes into the rugged headland rocks into the art.  I don’t intend to leave my underwater/ saltwater aquarium works behind, either, as they satisfy something “deep”.

I think I’m going to try doing a Video Log VLOG thingy about the residency.  I’ll let you know.

Woot woot!

 

 

 

Art, Full-Time

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Morningtime, 2017 Acrylic Pour by Linda Ryan

It was a wonderfully fulfilling and intensely busy 10 1/2 years managing the Bothwell Arts Center, helping creatives learn, teach, practice and create.  On March 8th, I handed over the reins to the ever-capable Anne Giancola, and am now off pursuing my art and teaching.

It’s been 3 weeks, filled with everything from updating my portfolio, creating new work, doing some private classes, developing a business plan and, well, catching up on sleep and long-neglected friends.

As I write this, I’m in our camper van at Caspar Beach, between Mendocino and Fort Bragg, California.  We’re surrounded by redwoods and the ocean is a heady block away.  I’ve been doing some research on residencies at the Mendocino Art Center, a lovely and amazing center dedicated to fostering the arts.  I’d really like to stay here and absorb the headlands, the amazing tide pools and the feel of the place, and infuse it in my art.  The painting above is based on memories of my first trip to Mendocino a while back, staying in a B&B in Elk and wandering solo along the shoreline.  We’re headed to Mendocino in a couple of hours, gonna check it out.

I’ll keep you posted!

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