inspiration

My Encaustic Fairy Tale: 3 Lessons Learned

While writing my last blog post chronicling my early journey with encaustic, I realized that I learned many valuable lessons through it all. Three lessons stood out as being most important while at the same time being those lessons that I’m constantly re-learning as I go.

When I’m teaching, I always begin each day with a quote that works to set the tone for that day and almost always it’s a quote from Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. If you haven’t read it, go get it NOW, read it once and then turn around and read it again. I quote from it often because I read it often, roughly once a year since it was first introduced to me in graduate school. My copy is highlighted almost all the way through because each time I read it I find another valuable snippet that seems to speak directly to me and the struggles I may be going through at the time. All of the quotes from this book were used to write this post unless otherwise noted .

  1. Experiment often with current and new materials, make lots of samples, document and save them. What you need to know about the next piece is contained in the last piece. the place to learn about your materials is the last use of your materials. The place to learn about your execution is in your execution. The best information about what you love is in your last contact with what you love. Put simply, your work is your guide.
    I can’t recall where I first heard the 40/60 principle or even if I’m getting the percentages right, but it’s something we all must strive to do. The principle works something like this…60% of your studio work should be spent making work you are known for and/or work you are ‘comfortable’ making using materials, processes and ideas you know well. The remaining 40% should be spent experimenting with new materials, processes and ideas which will generate new work. If you keep doing this, sooner or later the ‘new’ work begins to seep into the current body of work and eventually it becomes your current body of work. If you apply this principle, your work and you as an artist, will continuously evolve and grow. This sounds great, but many artists may find it difficult to work experimentation into their busy and sometimes, very limited, studio time. What I’ve done to keep experimentation alive in my studio is average my daily hours and experiment for a percentage of that time-usually about 30 minutes to an hour for every 6-8 hours. I call this work my warm-up drawing time and sometimes will work on the same drawing all week, applying new layers each day (see the featured image above). I have so much fun just playing around with materials in the studio that I’ve forgotten about. Many times, this experimentation has generated new bodies of work that I would have never conceived of without first experimenting.
    Vision is always ahead of execution, knowledge of materials is your contact with reality, and uncertainty is a virtue. I don’t mention this in my last post, but my first year of graduate school was very difficult for many reasons. My first review was at the end of my first semester and it was coming up fast, so fast that I was in fear of not having anything to show. One of my committee members suggested just having a wall of samples for my review. I had a few samples, but not nearly enough so I spent 3 straight weeks barely coming out of my studio to make hundreds of samples. Only having limited time as well as keeping in mind that these were just samples prevented me from being too precious and worrying about making a ‘finished’ work. Those three weeks were perhaps the most painful but most prolific of my total two year experience-more importantly I learned so much about what my materials could do and what I, as an artist, could do. I saved almost all of those samples and I still use most of them as teaching tools today, both in workshops and in my own studio.
  2. You don’t always have to know what you’re doing. This lesson could be read two-fold: a) You don’t always have to know HOW to do what you’re doing and b) You don’t always have to know what you’re going to make-what it’s going to look like.People who need certainty in their lives are less likely to make art that is risky, subversive, complicated, iffy, suggestive or spontaneous. What’s really needed is nothing more than a broad sense of what you are looking for, some strategy for how to find it and an overriding willingness to embrace mistakes and surprises along the way. Simply put, making art is chancy-it doesn’t mix well with predictability. Uncertainty is the essential, inevitable and all pervasive companion to your desire to make art. And tolerance for uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding.
    This is likely my favorite quote of all time and I read it in every workshop. It is absolutely essential to keep experimentation, the idea of imperfect perfection and  the element of chance in the work at all times. This doesn’t mean I’m encouraging you to make sloppy or ill-conceived work, rather, allow for a symbiosis to occur between you and your materials. Allow your materials to do what they do and you to push them gently in a certain direction. Full control and technical perfection is the death-knell for any work of art. It’s in the imperfections that true art is made and is the predominant concept behind the Japanese principle of Wabi-Sabi–an awesome subject for any artist to know, but far too complicated to explain here. The best book I have read on the subject is Wabi-Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence by Andrew Juniper and Wabi-Sabi for Artist, Designers, Poets and Philosophers by Leonard Koren is also good.
    When I first started working in encaustic, there were no books to refer to, no workshops and barely any information online, so I was basically on my own. I used tools that I already had in the studio, combined encaustic with other materials, basically developed my own processes and ways of doing things with this medium. The result was that I developed a truly original body of encaustic work. I absolutely believe that if I had taken an encaustic workshop, I wouldn’t have developed this work or perhaps it would have come much later. On the other hand, taking an encaustic workshop would have saved me two years of improperly ventilating wax fumes as well as understanding the importance of fusing and the reasons why Damar resin is added to the beeswax. While it’s okay not to know too much, ALWAYS work safely and technically accurate with your materials. Once you know those things, have fun and let things happen!
    Last, a great story illustrating the woe in striving for perfection comes from Art & Fear….The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right, solely on the quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scale and weigh the work of the quantity group: fifty pounds of pots would get an ‘A’, 40, a ‘B’, etc. those being graded on quality needed to produce only one pot-albeit a perfect pot to get an A. Well, came grading time and curious fact emerged: the work of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the quantity group was busily churning out piles of work and learning from their mistakes, the quality group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end, had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay. Remember this story every time you strive for perfection and find yourself overworking a piece into oblivion.
  3. Don’t start working on a white background.  Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case. –Chuck Close
    The fear of the white canvas isn’t new, we’ve all experienced it in one way or another and have developed our own methods of fighting it.I always tell my students that art begins in the head with an idea, flows through the heart, which makes it personal and out through the hand, which makes the actual work. Too much emphasis in any one of those places creates an imbalance in the process. Whenever I have developed a finished work in my head and then tried to make it, I almost always fail due to the frustration that it isn’t coming out ‘right’. The same thing happens when I try to plan too much before beginning a piece, I get mired in the planning stage and never actually DO anything. The best method for me and one that I suggest to students is to develop a step by step process that will generate a mark, then follow or respond to that mark. The less control you have over that initial mark, the better.
    Covering a board with a stained or rust printed fabric and then responding to those marks was the process I developed in grad school. This process enabled me to create subsequent marks to generate paintings I never would have had I started with a white board. It was also important that I didn’t have total control over the initial process itself-in a sense the process controlled me and that was just fine.
    To see some of the stained fabrics and paintings I created using them, go to my last blog post. I have also presented a talk on generating process and artists who use process in their work-for artist links and a presentation outline go to this blog post.

While we’re on the subject of mistakes, learning and re-learning, be sure not to miss my next blog post listing 10 mistakes I have made as an artist.

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Encaustic Paint Colors I Can’t do Without

My favorite encaustic tools post was so popular I wanted to write about my favorite encaustic paint colors as well. There are so many amazing colors out there, it is overwhelming to choose! When choosing, we all tend to gravitate toward our favorites or the bright, pretty colors. Unfortunately, what we overlook by doing this are the most amazing earth tones, grays and colors that may look a little blah in the raw, but when melted on the palette, truly come alive. The colors I’ve listed here are not to be used as a guide for color mixing or as basis for a beginner to start a color collection. Rather, these are the colors I choose to work with again and again, they are my favorites no matter the palette. I also want to mention that I never use any color ‘straight out of the tube’, meaning all of the colors in my paintings are mixed-made up of 2 to 5 colors. I always choose the colors below because when added to other colors in small doses, they slightly alter those colors and create a more personalized palette for my work. Last, these are by no means ALL the colors I use, I use many, many more…too many…I hoard encaustic paint! These are simply the colors I use most frequently, the colors I never put ‘away’ so they are always out for me to grab.
I was having the most difficult time deciding how to photograph the paints for this post, so I thought I would do something fun-I just photographed them on top of an in progress painting and as-is-dirty, gritty, cut up, melty with other colors on them. The images hint at my process, plus the paints themselves look like little sculptures! If you want to see the clean versions of the paints, just click on the name below and you’ll be taken to the distributor’s web site. This list is in no particular order and my explanations should be used as suggestions only, there is no right or wrong here. For more comprehensive suggestions and color mixing ideas, take a workshop with me this summer or fall, I discuss color mixing in all of them. I hope this list introduces you to a color that makes your current palette sing!

R&F Paints

  • Neutral White  I have used this color since I started painting in encaustic sixteen years ago and painted with it almost exclusively then. When mixed with any color, it lightens and makes it a bit more earthy. Also, when mixed 50/50 with zinc white, it’s the perfect white-not as bright white as titanium and slightly richer than zinc alone.
  • Alizarin Orange I LOVE this color. Bright and versatile, it can go from a light gold to a rich rusty orange in one swipe. When mixed with white or any other color, it retains it’s richness.
  • Payne’s Grey I use this instead of black to darken any color. For me, black tends to deaden the color as it darkens, while this one allows the original color to retain it’s voice.
  • Brown Pink Like alizarin orange, brown pink changes color from a subtle pink-taupe to a rich brown taupe. I mix it to add a dark earthiness to any color.
  • Warm Pink Like neutral white, I have used this color since I started painting in encaustic. It brightens any color and when mixed with a little and painted next to or on top of earthy blues, grays or greens, the eyes vibrate!
  • Warm Grey (limited edition color not pictured on R&F page-see my pic below) BRING IT BACK!! PLEASE!!
  • Brilliant Yellow Extra Pale I love to use this color instead of white as it not only lightens, it adds just a touch of yellow and whimsy as it brightens as well. 
  • Cobalt Yellow Use in place of yellow to ‘sour’ any color. I love it as it’s just a bit off and when painted next to any color, the colors sing!
  • Olive Yellow Works just like cobalt yellow, but is a bit brighter. 
  • Celadon Green Love this in place of white as a mixer or to slightly gray down a color. This is one of the few I would paint straight out of the tube in place of white.
  • Cobalt Blue A bright, clear blue, I use it more than any other blue.
  • Warm Rose I use this color much in the same way I use warm pink, but this one is just a bit more pink and anyone who knows me knows how I love pink! Mixing this color with warm pink is my go to pink.
  • Malachite Green I use this color way too much. It’s one of those colors that changes as it’s painted next to different colors. It makes any color and any painting sing.
  • Aquamarine Blue (limited edition color not pictured on R&F page-see my pic below) I purchased the entire inventory of this color at a past encaustic conference and I’m on my last of it!! BRING IT BACK!! I NEED THIS COLOR!!
  • Cerulean Extra Pale Not quite gray, white or blue, it’s an amazing substitute for either of those colors to mix or use straight out of the tube…wait..did I just say that?
  • Green Gold I use this color constantly as I do cobalt yellow. It adds a bit of ‘sour’ to any color and makes other colors sing when its painted next to them.
  • Turkey Umber Greenish This is probably one of the most overlooked color in the R&F line as it looks dead and dull in the packaging and really not much better when its melted. However, try mixing it with any blue, green, black for an amazing richness. Also, try adding just a touch of it to any warm color to gray down, but not make gray. Its truly one of those indispensable colors that no one seems to use!
  • Phthalo Turquoise Another color that looks dead in the package and like black when it’s melted, it is actually one of the brightest and most versatile colors. Add just a touch of any white and watch the magic happen.
  • Cadmium Lemon A great substitute for any of the cadmium yellows, it ‘sours’ anything its mixed with and makes any pairing colors sing! I use it like cobalt yellow and olive yellow, this one is much more clear and can also be used to slightly lighten and brighten any color.

Enkaustikos I can’t link directly to each color, so this link goes to all of the colors listed below, just scroll the list to see the color.

  • Opal Aquamarine I love this color so much I buy it in huge bulk and for all of my workshops. It makes any blue or green bluer and richer, like the most amazing, clear glacier water. 
  • Golden Buff Titanium I’m a sucker for any white and this one is indispensable as a white with a touch of a tan or use as a basis for flesh tones.
  • Warm Pearl Want just a bit of a glimmer, this is your answer. It adds just a tiny bit of shimmer without being garish and without much of a change to the original color.
  • Indian Yellow Bright, clear, not quite yellow, not quite orange. I reach for it time and again in place of yellow and mixing it with R&F’s Alizarin Orange is magical.
  • Anthraquinone Blue Looks black in the package and melted on the palette, but mixed with black, blue or Payne’s Gray produces the most amazingly rich dark midnight blue.
  • Super Gold Pearl I’m not a metallic, shiny person, but when I want to add shimmer PLUS a little golden glam, this is the color I use. It’s not quite gold, which is too BUY GOLD STRIP MALL STORE for my taste, this one is a bit more antique-aged, if you will.

Evans Encaustics

  • Orange, Red, Blue, Green Interference Colors Hylla knows her shimmer and does it best. Again, I’m not a shimmer, shiny person, but the interference colors do just that-add a bit of a surface light reflection to the surface of any color.
  • Rose Gold This is the first color I ever purchased from Evans and I go through it like water. It’s pink, so that’s one reason and the other is that touch of rich gold shimmer.
  • Buff Again, I’m a sucker for any white. I love this in place of white to lighten any color and add an earthiness as well. Can also be used straight out of the tube in place of white.
  • Cold Steel (Limited Edition, Renamed or Discontinued, not pictured on Evans site-see my pic below) Sort of silver and gold together, just a lovely addition when mixed with grays and blacks.
  • Glowing Sky I’m totally into blue lately and need all kinds of blues to round out my palette. This one has just the right mix of lavender and gray with just a touch of shimmer, it’s different from any other blue.
  • Cloisonne Pink (Limited Edition, Renamed or Discontinued, not pictured on Evans site-see my pic below) What can I say, you know me and pink!

Kama Pigments I can’t link directly to each color, so this link goes to all of the colors listed below, just scroll the list to see the color.

  • Rose Hornyak/Hornyak’s Pink Again, me and pink-I’ll buy any pink. This one is so Pepto Bismol its almost gross, but it does so many things that the average pink doesn’t do! It adds just that tiny bit of purple that makes other colors vibrate. Try mixing this with Alizarin Orange and/or Warm Pink and/or Brown Pink for a pink magic fest.
  • Buff Titanium Another white that went on vacation and got a tan. I love this one because even though it’s tan, it’s still got the brightness of titanium.

Miles Conrad

  • Mesquite All of the colors in Miles’ line are as mysterious and enigmatic as their desert inspiration. Is it brown or gray or red or all three. I love this color for it’s changes depending on what it’s painted against. As a mixer, it adds a rich earthiness.
  • Sunset Orange-Is it pink or orange, this is is another color that just sings. Mix it with any of the oranges or pinks or even yellows above and the magic begins.

New Drawings Series

As promised in my last post, this months post is devoted to a new drawings series that I began during the workshop I taught in Torrey, Utah with artist friend, Jeff Juhlin. I continued to work with these drawings through subsequent travels and at home during the months to follow.

I should mention that my previous feeble attempts at drawing the Torrey landscape from life were just horrendous. Whenever I try to control anything I do in the art making process, it turns out to look contrived and just awful. This landscape is especially overwhelming, wherever you look there is something inspiring, something as an artist I wanted to capture and hold. I couldn’t do it by just doing it, I had to invent a process.

The focus of the workshop was making marks inspired by hikes through this amazing landscape and then translating those marks to encaustic paintings. One of our mark-making exercises was to collect items from the landscape that could be made into brushes or other types of mark-making tools. We then dipped these brushes and tools into Speedball Super Black India ink and made marks in response to meditations and sketches from our hikes. Working in my favorite 6×6 Stillman & Birn, Zeta series sketchbook**, I took a slightly different approach and instead made marks that loosely followed the contour of the landscape as I observed it through the studio window as well as from my sketches made on our hikes. These contour marks along with the brushes that made them are below.

I liked the marks I had made but I felt that something more was needed so I just started working back into them and responding to the marks with two of my favorite drawing pens..a Pilot G-Tec-C4 for thin lines and a small size Faber Castell Pitt artist pen for thicker lines. The results are so complex and full of life! I love that these drawings are made with a combination of my hand and the actual landscape itself. Unbelievably, through this simple process I arrived at drawings that look like what I had been trying to capture in those first unsuccessful drawings from life…and I got there through process and giving up a bit of control…two techniques that I constantly have to remind myself (and my students) to employ in the work.

These drawings are immensely gratifying, meditative and I just love the results. People I’ve shown them to ask me what I’m going to do with them and I haven’t really decided. I’m thinking that making them on larger sheets of paper might be an idea or using them somehow in my paintings might be another. Right now, I’m just going to focus on making more of them.

If these posts about Torrey, Utah have inspired you, you are in luck because Jeff Juhlin and I will be teaching in Torrey together again in August, 2017. Visit the updated blog post for details about this exciting workshop. If you are interested, you had better hurry…there are only 2 spots left!!

For even more inspiration, view two other posts on Torrey here and here. To learn more about employing process in your own work, see notes from a talk I gave last year at the International Encaustic Conference here. For more inspiration on lines, see this post here and follow my Marks Pinterest board here.

**I LOVE this sketchbook! Thick, quality paper that holds water media, ink, etc. and stays flat, without any curling or buckling. It’s very sturdy, stayed intact through six months of travel and many hikes. Get one, especially if you like to sketch in any kind of water media!

Torrey Layers

As I wrote in my last post, the workshop I taught in Torrey, Utah with artist friend, Jeff Juhlin and the subsequent hikes through Capital Reef and Arches National Parks, was most inspiring. The land, colors, forms, lines, just everything, inspired me. Part 1 of my Torrey posts focuses on the the amazing texture and sculptural forms within the landscape and I’ve devoted this post, Part 2, to layers, color and marks.

My foundation as an artist lies in textiles, specifically in quilting, which ultimately led me to explorations in encaustic. Building up the layers of colored wax, fusing them with heat and scraping them back to reveal amazing things will always keep me working in the medium. To me, layers of wax and other materials represent skin, cells, earth’s geology and its atmosphere, while layering itself relates to memory, perception and time. I see layers in everything and what better place to view earth’s layers than in Torrey, a place that changes daily, but so slowly and gradually, it seemingly never changes at all. In this amazing place and similar to the the process of encaustic, earth’s layers are built up and through the slow processes of water and wind erosion, those layers are revealed and transformed.

The surfaces of most rock faces in Torrey are covered in spectacular colors ranging from subtle pinks, yellows and whites to the deepest sepias, siennas and umbers. These painterly surfaces are known as ‘desert varnish’, a staining that occurs over time through an extremely slow combination process of water and time. Other surface marks, textures and swirls are also visible on the rock’s surface, manifesting a ghost of the water that created it.

Just as stunning as the desert varnish are the colorful, textured markings of lichen, covering the more protected, hidden rock surfaces. Most striking are the color contrasts arising between the greens, yellows and blues of the lichen and contrasting red earth or black lava rocks. Because lichen in the high desert grows abundantly on porous surfaces protected from strong wind and sunlight, it is often overlooked and/or quickly dismissed. However, those who look closely are rewarded with brilliant color, extraordinary patterns and unexpected plant-like formations.

In addition to my own photographs, I have included other artists whose work references layers and marks similar to the surfaces I encountered on my hikes. See more artists like these on my Fiber Pinterest board here and my Drawing and Marks Pinterest board here. Names and web site links to the artist’s included below are in order as follows: Bill Gingles, Deborah Kapoor, Dorothy Caldwell, Erin Endicott, Fran Skiles, Jeane Meyers, Jennifer Reifsneider, Jeri Ledbetter, Junko Oki, Lee Kaloidis, Matthew Harris, Sue Hotchkis, Ward Shumaker, Adam Cohen.

Stay tuned for the next and last post (January, 2017) related to my wondrous trip to Torrey, in which I will share a series of drawings I started during the workshop I taught there and have been working on during my subsequent travels and since I returned home.

If these posts about Torrey, Utah have inspired you, you are in luck because Jeff Juhlin and I will be teaching in Torrey together again in August, 2017. Visit the updated blog post for details about this exciting workshop.

For even more inspiration, view other posts on Layers here and here. See some student work from a workshop I taught on Layers and Texture here and follow my Layers Pinterest board here.

Torrey Textures

I love to teach and I love to travel, so what better way to make a living than teaching workshops all over the country! Teaching and interacting with so many amazing people informs my work in countless positive ways. But for me, the true inspiration comes from many cross country drives to amazing destinations, and the breathtaking landscape, weather, skies and sunsets I encounter along the way.

One of the most inspiring workshops I taught this summer was with artist pal, Jeff Juhlin at his home and studio in Torrey, Utah. After a few hikes with our class, a crazy strenuous hike with Jeff through a canyon (mostly through water) after our workshop as well as some hikes on my own through Capital Reef and Arches National Parks, my inspiration was overflowing. The landscape is otherworldly surreal to say the least-with every turn is something awe-inspiring that can only be fully appreciated by actually being there. I took thousands of pictures, I just couldn’t get enough! I wanted to capture and hold every magnificent thing that I witnessed. This place is overwhelming (in a good way) and I couldn’t wait to share what I experienced.

For this first of two posts about my trip to Torrey, I’m focusing on the sculptural qualities of the landscape. The monumental forms and precariously balanced boulders with their carved and etched markings brought to life the fragility, violence and vulnerability in nature that I investigate in my work. I could almost hear the glaciers grinding and scraping against the rocks to create these amazing surfaces. Through a process of wind, water, weather and time, those marks are transformed into gravity defying sculptural forms and surfaces. Besides inspiring a new series of drawings (to be posted January, 2017 on this blog) this landscape reignited a longtime desire to carve into plaster, clay or wood and combine these things with encaustic. Along with my photographic inspirations, I have included some other artists whose work references these amazing sights. Names and links to the artist’s web sites as follows: Conrad Jon Godly, Leslie Wayne, Piero Manzoni, Richard Tuttle, Arthur Pena, Laura Moriarty, Bram Bogart, Elisabeth Vary, Marlies Hoevers, Hilary Harnischfe.

Stay tuned for part 2 of Torrey inspiration, which is focused on layers and color in the landscape and will be posted by mid-December. If this post has inspired you, you are in luck because Jeff Juhlin and I will be teaching in Torrey together again in August, 2017. Visit the updated blog post for details about this exciting workshop.

 

Inspired by…Lovely Lines

From May to August, I taught eight different workshops in eight different states, from big cites to remote locations where I barely got a cell signal. My favorite thing to do at the end of each teaching day is to treat myself to a walk around the town where I’m teaching and I almost always find something to inspire me. I take pictures of anything that attracts me during these walks and then organize them into folders, which I look at later for inspiration. Always attracted to line in everything I see, I put together this small, but strong, collection from my walks.

Perfect Palettes

While my advanced encaustic class at Arrowmont was outside doing their morning drawing exercises, I noticed these amazing colorations on the kiln just outside of my classroom. I became totally obsessed with capturing the subtle changes, exciting contrasts and marks on and between the bricks as well as the placement of the gridded pattern and some of the interesting sculptural moments. I see something different in each image.

Workshop Work

Enjoy some student work highlights from my Encaustic Conference Workshop, Encaustic Pattern & Repetition and my workshop at Society for Contemporary Craft, Encaustic Pattern & Line.

Off to the lovely land of Cullowhee Mountain Arts in North Carolina next week to teach Encaustic Pattern & Line. There are some spots left and still some time to sign up!

Inspired by….Herring Cove, Cape Cod, Part 2

Part 2 of my dune hike inspiration is also focused on Herring Cove Beach where the parking lot is slowly sinking into the sea. I have no idea what happened here, but it was probably the result of protective dunes being washed away by a storm. It was a cloudy day with strong wind and currents, which made the sea look even angrier and the asphalt appear malleable and as black as lava. The contrast of the lead gray sky, dark water, white foam and black asphalt is truly brilliant, not to mention the painted white parking outline and the bright yellow barriers which added a touch of reality to a seriously surreal scene. It’s devastating to look at, but there is true beauty in this vulnerability and in the intense power of nature.

See Part 1 images here.

Inspired by…Herring Cove, Cape Cod, Part 1

Last week I was in gorgeous Provincetown, Cape Cod for the 10th International Encaustic Conference. I had three whole days to kill between the conference festivities and the post conference workshop I was teaching, so I went on a 6 mile hike adventure in the dunes by Herring Cove Beach.

When I hike, I take pictures with my phone of anything that strikes me, usually landscape-y kinds of things. But on this trip, there were two areas that stuck with me that I couldn’t stop photographing.

The first were these little found drawings of rose petals (roses grow wild on Cape Cod) and other natural detritus. As I walked, I was struck by how interestingly balanced were the compositions and materials in these little vignettes and all of them naturally shaped by the wind. All of the images shown here are exactly how I found them, I didn’t change them in any way. They will likely somehow find their way into paintings.

Stay tuned for next week’s post for the second group of images.