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An Open Mind

This time of year always makes me stop and revisit the goals and intentions I made for the year. I like to pause mid-year and ask myself a few questions. Have I taken steps forward to reach my goals? Have I overcome the obstacles that were holding me back? This time of reflection is important to me. If I don’t check in with my art practice, I could find myself on auto pilot and reach the end of the year without a true focus.

I especially like to look at the art I’ve created year to date to see if there is the possibility of taking those same techniques in new directions. Nothing beats the feeling of being inspired by my own artwork! This is the result of one of those reflections.

This piece was inspired by a combination of two photos. I knew I wanted something simple and calming. The technique was inspired by a series of landscapes I have been working on. Adding asemic writing is a favorite technique to add a message to a piece without revealing the very personal message.

The tree was taken from this photo of a trip to a nearby state park with my granddaughters and twin nieces. I love the bare weathered limbs.

Once I knew I wanted to use the tree image I needed a foundation. After taking the picture below on a kayaking trip with a friend I knew I found the perfect color inspiration. I didn't want to use the predictable blue sky so i decided on a somber gray sky. This shade of green is not one of the colors I use often, and I knew pairing it with gray would be risky.

I started with the horizon line and added black inks with a ruling pen. While the ink was drying, I added the green. I like to add the next layer before the previous layer is dry. This always reveals unexpected results that I could never achieve if I was trying to control it.

Then I grabbed my gelli plate and began adding texture to the background using thin soft body acrylics. I love the texture of the combination of the white paint and the diluted ink.

I added a touch of dark brown and quickly realized it was a mistake. I propped the piece up vertically and sprayed it will lots of water to dilute the brown color.

It worked! The brown ended up staining the exposed areas under the acrylic paint in a really nice way. I drew the tree a couple of times on paper and thought about using an image transfer to apply it to the top. In the end I decided to just go for it right on the surface. Scary ! At this point I was just playing so what did I have to lose?

I used India ink and a ruling pen to add the tree.

Each year SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Associates) holds a benefit auction, and the deadline was close. Even though the piece was large I decided to cut it down to 12X12 inches so I could donate it. I love that I was able to use the same fabric for the facing.

I named this piece "An Open Mind" . My hope is that the viewer will define what that means to them.

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1 Comment

Lee McLean
Lee McLean
Jul 17, 2022

Lovely piece and ending up with facing fabric was a brilliant stroke of luck/good planning! Great auction piece.

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