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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Beyond the Surface

Marcy Lansman

In January, my husband and I moved into Carol Woods, a retirement community in Chapel Hill. At our new home, we’ve made the “den” into an art studio. Now, for the first time, I have a separate room to paint in. For several months before and after the move, though, I was so distracted that I didn’t do any painting at all. When I finally sat down to paint in my new studio, I tried to make it easy. I laid out my favorite colors on the palette and began to doodle. I assumed that with time I’d move on to “real painting.” It never happened.

The doodles evolved into a series of paintings in which layers of warm oranges, yellows, pinks and reds alternated with layers of cool blue-greens. In these paintings the warm colors often appear to be shining through a cool film. For me, the title of our current featured artists show, “Beyond the Surface,” refers to the fact that earlier layers interact with surface layers to produce the end result.

As I continued to work with this idea, I experimented with dripping the cool layers over the warm layers.

And in a few cases, I was so enamored with the initial warm layers that I couldn’t bare to cover them up with the blue.

In a final variation on the warms vs. cools theme, I started out each painting by pasting torn pieces of brown paper (think grocery bags) to the canvas, creating a sort of mosaic, then painted on top of this surface. The resulting paintings were reminiscent of rocky landscapes.

To see more paintings in the warm/cool series, please go to my website, in the gallery entitled “New Abstracts 2017.”


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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.



March postcard RGBArianna Bara is a metalsmith who takes her inspiration from nature. Bara says, “To be luminous is to be full of light, to be brilliant and dazzling even in the dark. I have always loved this word, maybe because it is so rich in imagery. It makes me think of moonlight on a starry night, or the delicate glowing creatures found in the darkest depths of the oceans.”

Bara uses sterling silver as the backdrop for her one-of-a-kind designs. She further explains. “As one who feels that we are spiritual beings on a human journey, the word (luminous) evokes the brilliance of the eternal spark within us and is a perfect description of what I am trying to convey in my work. I think of my sterling silver figurative jewelry pieces as ‘Radiant Beings’. I want them to stir a memory, long-forgotten perhaps, of where we come from and serve as a reminder of who we truly are.”

Painter Eduardo Lapetina has this to say about his work for the show Luminous. “I strive to produce luminous paintings that exhibit the powerful emotions embodied in the process. That is much more important to me than making images that are necessarily pleasing or objectively beautiful. The steps leading to my abstract paintings are the art of hiding and disclosing. It is the discovery of mysteries of the subconscious mind that are part of my own personal legend. Personality counts. These abstractions hold the promise of dreams, visions, fears, intangibles and will. It is a collaboration of mind and spirit. It is a form of magic that may speak both to you and for you with a private, secret, confidential language. They also require something from viewer; it demands contemplation, study, feeling, and flights of fancy.

Opening Reception

March 25
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