Monday, March 17, 2014

In Like a Lion, Out Like A..........

As most mid-westerners know, this winter has been a real bear.  Over the course of the winter, the cold has driven 2 possums, many feral cats, and more recently a skunk into the barn.  The blue jay family warmed themselves under the dryer vent, and the baby doe I stumbled upon in the thicket near the garden this winter are all indications that this will be a winter to be remembered for years to come.  What would the fox say? (I know, terrible joke, but I bet the song will be running through your head for hours to come)  I love poking the proverbial nest.

This weekend I got out of the house for the first time in months....I met 2 of my favorite art peeps Gloria Moses from Chicago, and Trish Lyons Ansert from Louisville in Toledo for a 1 day pastel class at the Toledo Botanical Gardens, hosted by the Toledo Artists Club with pastel Artist Mary Jane Erard. When I saw the posting on facebook for her class, I knew I had to attend.  (No, I am not a pastel artist, I've never painted with pastels, but have given it a few pathetic attempts in the past, only to end up with blurry mud, but I was drawn to her clean colors and very defined lines, brilliant landscapes,and more importantly, it very closely matched the look I've been experimenting with recently in glass.  (more on this later)  I needed a diversion from the experimentation and intense (almost studious) things I've been doing in the lab, (oops, I mean studio) for the past few months.  I've ordered more things that end with "ate" and "ide", complete with health warnings, and use alpha numeric name that rivals my college chemistry course (that I failed).

Mary Jane's course was a perfect respite from the worst winter I've seen in my life (and this is coming from a true Yankee; a New England native who remembers studded winter tires, mile long treks up the mountain with laundry and groceries after the car got stuck at the bottom, and snow until the end of April)

Mary Jane's subject matter, her sunny disposition, well laid out examples and materials and a day in beautiful Toledo Botanical Gardens, albeit frozen, were just the re-charge I needed to feel inspired.  I plan on taking next months class (unless I have a track meet to attend) and many more in the future.  Please let me know if you want to join me!

Here's a bit more news on what I've been up to.  If you are not a glass artist you will likely just want to skip the rest, lest your eyes glaze over in boredom.

As a glass artist, turned oil painter, turned glass-oil painter, I have striven to find the exact medium that fits what I want to accomplish in my creative endeavor.  I have been experimenting with "painting" on glass for years, but after trying nearly all available commercially made materials and or enamels made to paint on glass (and fire to fusing temperature)(not oven temp paints) I have given up on the idea that there exists a product that encompasses not just my goals but the palette and quality that I seek.  Realizing this, I began the painstaking process of breaking down the elements and properties of glass (90 coe for simplicity).  In the process I've stumbled upon many an artist that "paints" in glass.  The stained glass artists paint, but not in the way I would like to paint.  Frit painters "paint", but that is layering and sifting.  Yes it results in a painterly look and effect, but its not painting like one would paint with a brush.  Sgrafitto is more drawing and likened to printmaking.  I went through all of the above techniques, but in all of them, I am forced to think like a glass artist first, not a painter.  I am a painter.  I want the freedom to paint instinctively with a brush and a single stroke, on an easel, on glass, with paint that will fire to fusing temperatures and achieve the look I seek, as a glass artist and oil painter.  Perhaps I am asking too much, but I don't think I am.  This quest has led me to more college science department websites than art sites.  I've learned much, but there is much more to learn.  While I experiment and make mistakes, I am learning.  Every mistake is costly, but I learn something from it.    I will post some trials and errors soon for those interested.  For now, I am happy for the return of my easel's long winter visit in Kentucky, and the generosity and trust of a friend who allowed me a "payment plan" to purchase a much larger kiln to explore my dreams......stay tuned....


  1. These are lovely Kristen and you know it is fun talking about your lastest experiment!