Triptych commission - Color Compulsion series #5

Friends of our in LA just recently finished building their home. They are doctors raising three young daughters. They are multicultural, bilingual and filled with life and fun. The project: They have a large long entryway that is screaming for some art. They asked me to make some work- maybe a painting or two, maybe a tapestry as well- to fill the space with color and energy. After a few conversations, we went with three paintings- 6x4 feet each, to work together in the space. The twist: Each family member chose a color that they love or feels represents an aspect of the house. They asked for Purple, Black, Aqua, Light Pink, Red and Cobalt Blue. I added a few extras and enhanced and stretched out the values of each of their color choices as well. The paintings will be shipped unstretched/ unframed, so I made them nailed to my wall or on my studio floor (AKA the dining room!!). The photos below are a bit wavy-- when the work will be stretched all that will be gone. I included pictures of the cropping I think should happen and how they are as is. Each painting holds its own, but together they share this vivid engagement and color conversation. I loved working on this project- I got to spread my wings and fly into a new, joyous palette! I can't wait to see them up one day in our friend's home in sunny, colorful Los Angeles!
(*technical difficulties with getting the triptych below all even on the same plane!! Work in progress...)

Color Compulsion series #5 (center)

Color Compulsion series #5 (right)

Color Compulsion series #5 (left)

Taking Shape

The bulk of the work, the middle,  isn't always the most dramatic in progress. I probably got to this point after about 6 layers of under painting and process. From here, it was about fine tuning the dialog between the "color conversations" and about finding the balance between light and dark, soft and hard lines, texture, and movement. It is a slower going part of the work, but extremely satisfying. As a total color freak, I really dive deep into mixing and playing with color combos. If something doesn't work, I either layer again, or wipe off with a damp sponge. This "problem solving" stage is one my favorite parts of painting. 

Beginning Layers

In the beginning of this project I thought I may have some areas of raw canvas exposed in the painting so I didn't prime the canvas. As I continued to paint, it was clear the surface and the colors wanted to be thick and opaque. 

Prep work and color studies

Lots of prototype and experimenting went on before I started on my recent big commission. This was a very open ended project that wasn't based on a particular look, rather a set of colors. I decided that layers of color with mark making and line work would translate best in large scale. Below are ideas that helped me come up with the larger work.

Custom Tapestries

Three custom tapestries for three amazing sisters. Each sister chose their favorite color for their rooms in their new house in Los Angeles. Fav colors: aqua, purple + black, and pink. I had seen incredible black and white portraits of the girls taken this summer and made these tapestries based on what I saw and felt from the photos. Such powerfully beautiful girls- I tried to do them justice with these works.
Aqua for Elia

Purple + Black for Naiya

Pink for Xenia

As you can see, patterns change pretty quickly!

My Sketchbook

Most Saturday mornings you can find me sitting at my studio table playing in my sketchbook. It's a place where I can color play, mark make and take risks without any fear/judgement/expense. It's my most treasured time because I always learn a new element to bring into my current work or bookmark for a near future project. 

Weaving Basics Workshops

I've started teaching weaving basics from my studio and absolutely LOVE sharing the joy and love that weaving brings. I've heard it "helps me create time for me" "is so great to just unwind and not THINK" "it's so meditative, I can spend hours weaving" to my favorite, "I need to call in a sickie tomorrow so I can just weave all day." My next class is Sunday 10 September here in Wellington, if you are interested just reach out! Would love to have you along!

Weaver Fever - Rolling Landscapes

Lately my tapestries are inspired by the rolling landscapes that surround me everywhere here in NZ and I'm totally loving it.

The making of a painting

Oh the process of creating layers. I live for this. When a dear friend from college asked me to recreate a piece I made in a sketchbook in a larger scale, I jumped at the chance. I have limited myself with working small for years because of lack of studio space. No more! I took down my weavings off the wall, I cleared space on my work table, and I dedicated myself to working in a range where it's a natural fit for my work, for myself, for my vision. Below are pictures of the process along the way.

First layer

Second layer

Detail third layer

Fourth layer

Fifth layer; bringing in the light/contrast

Details; I like the contrast of pinks and bright blues

Sixth layer- adding depth


Editing stage

me :)


Finished piece 40x24" Scratches, Marks and Makings Series: Abstract 61, 2017 

Warming up

Obessed with oranges and pinks and indigos...

Color Bomb!

Mid week mess. The best way to get through the grind.

#embrancetheblues with Makers Movement

Sketching and playing around with Makers Movement #embracetheblues on Instagram for January. Thank you Inge @thinkingwithouttalking for introducing me to this project and for the nudge to give it a go. Looking through my work I'm sure you can see I tend to lean on a warmer palette - I have a slight obsession with pink and orange and I love mixing muted colors and putting them against colors that pop. Working with blues is challenging yet really familiar. I live on the sea in New Zealand and there is no doubt it's one of my main sources of inspiration in my work. The ever changing shift in weather creates so much drama in the water and coastline and is truly a feast for the eyes. I can see piercing turquoise, dark inky blues and everything in between in any given day here. It's a giant changing abstract painting! But #embracetheblues isn't just about painting within a limited color palette. It's also about how artists create work despite, and in spite, pain and sadness. I can honestly say I painted my way through the hardest time in my life- losing my Mom to early onset Alzheimer's two years ago. Taking that pain to the studio was a time of release, purpose, quiet, play and exploration, love and letting go. My Mom was a brilliant artist and I feel really lucky to lean on art when I miss her...painting becomes an ongoing conversation with her that truly fills my soul.

Studio life

The process of tying together balance, texture, color and rhythm never gets old...

New work

Oh, too many distractions in the studio this winter! ACK! I will make a new effort in updating my blog better rather than simply falling completely off the map! I'm working on a larger tapestry that is so time consuming, but gratifying with each new stitch revealing a bit more and more. Also working on getting back into my painting practice. Trying to silence the should's and need to's- 30 minutes here and there can and will be enough for now. 

100% NZ wool, 30cmWx60cmL

Various NZ fibres, 30cmWx75cmL

Work in progress