TREES BY THREE

Happy Accidents

Ellie Reinhold

At the Trees By Three opening last Friday many visitors asked me about my process. Observing some of the painterly details in Rose Hill, one commented, no one would be able to reproduce that.
It’s true, I said in reply, not even me!

Rose Hill (detail)

 

Rose Hill (detail)

Much in my painting relies on happy accidents. While I’ve developed a set of tools and methods, a certain touch and approach over practice, I rarely have a detailed plan when I begin a piece. I may, however, have a guiding notion—such as a technique I want to use, or a color combination I’ve seen in the woods and want to celebrate. Or perhaps I might be spurred on by a loose compositional concept suggested by one or more scenes or details in nature that I’d like to explore. Sometime a more metaphorical impulse initiates the piece.

Despite this, at a basic level most of my paintings are found through the process of painting. The guiding notion combined with the marks and hues that initiate the piece define a puzzle I have to solve. The act of painting is a search.

To find resolution I follow an intuitive path. I work the whole composition at once with a process that’s both subtractive and additive. I create, shift, alter and recreate the composition, sometimes many times, sometimes radically. I use brushes and painting knives to apply paint, as well as tools to either apply or scratch away lines. Since I use opaque paint, acrylic heavy body straight up, it’s easy to erase by painting over, but what I like best is to paint over incompletely. The more I work, the more inevitable this incomplete coverage is since I am working on a surface that has become irregular; textured in a way that is informed by previous compositional details and informs future ones. The gifts of this process are many, multi-layered hues and ghost images among them.

 

Emerging Warmth

I build my pieces both quickly and slowly. I’m most fond of working with a loose and quick paint application, one that is heavy on physicality but can manage fine detail through the give and take of many happy accidents over time. This approach eschews an overly precious process—so it’s more fun for me as a painter—yet can achieve a dense surface and interesting details. With broad, then more delicate, pulling, pushing and tweaking the painting is eventually revealed… if I’m lucky. This is not guaranteed!

The completed piece is the resolution to the puzzle—regardless of whether the painting has achieved the guiding notion with which I began. For, as I told one viewer who asked how I decided to paint a particular piece, many paintings don’t go where I expect. At some level every painting is a surprise to me. Each one holds the key to it’s own final state. Paintings can demand to be something else altogether, giving me no choice but to follow the happy accidents.

 

Autumn Pocket

 

 

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Earthworks

Connections

JUDE LOBE

This year for the show Earthworks I’m continuing to use the method of building and deconstructing in the medium of cold wax & oil. However, I’m concentrating on the ‘connectedness ‘ between earth, man, fauna, plants and everything else making up the universe, and the loss that may occur if we don’t become more mindful.

The idea of us not just being a part of nature, but connected in some way through a primal web of energy intrigues me and feels calming. It makes such sense to me. How else can one explain how we feel the same awe when watching a sunset, or feel anguish when we see someone in pain, or get teary-eyed at a wedding.

2nd try Jude's image

My paintings in cold wax & oil, encaustics and collage are a journey to articulate on a surface an emotion I have difficulty in articulating in words. Sometimes I’m on an archaeological excursion. From building up layers of colors and textures, to scraping away, scratching and uncovering what is beneath, leads me to new places I discover.

In this show I am also exploring working with rust on silk and combining it with copper which I fold and torch fire to bring out the colors.

 
I have been involved with art in one way or another throughout my life. Presently, I work in my studio built by my husband. The studio has easels, enameling kiln, pottery kiln, pottery wheel, slab roller, encaustic equipment, an assortment of paints and mediums, and many other items that inspire me to create.

CopperBowl&inside