Have you ever pulled a loose thread thinking it would detach rather easily only it doesn’t? Once you pull a thread, it causes something else to unravel. Before you know it, there’s a whole domino effect happening.
Summer Breeze; 16” x 20”; acrylic on paper (Before)
I thought about naming this post “When a Painting Doesn’t Know When to Quit.” The more I thought about it, however, I came to understand that a better name may be “When the Artist Doesn’t Know When to Quit.”
During the transformation.
What started out as a “simple” fix to a sky that I was less than satisfied with led to the addition of flowers, collage elements, a new mount, an isolation coat, and multiple layers of cold wax. At any point in time, I could have given up and chalked the entire piece up to experience. Experience is the best teacher after all.
I actually do like the finished piece much more than the original, but it certainly took a lot longer. Was it worth it? Should I have given up on the piece? I honestly and in all likelihood could have started from scratch and finished sooner than what this piece ended up taking. But what would have been lost if I had? Sometimes, those loose threads and the process of unraveling can uncover or lead to something quite unexpected. One thing is for sure, I experimented with this piece and combined techniques that I’ve learned over time. Some worked out and others didn’t. Without pulling that thread, I am not sure if I would have ever tried combining some of the techniques in which I did for this type of painting.
Wind Blown; 16” x 20”; mounted to cradled board with cold wax finish
Back to the question…uh questions. Was it worth it? Yes. Always yes. Should I have given up on the piece? That one is a little more difficult to answer. Probably, but I think it could be both at the same time.
Ain't I cute? Don't tell any of my former students that I just used "ain't," but this picture calls for it. Here I am in the early years- second grade to be exact. You see those circles on my poster? Oh, that's just where I glued my favorite cereal, Fruit Loops, or was it a favorite candy, Lifesavers, onto the poster. This was an early attempt at mixed media. If my memory serves correctly, the were placed inside a lasso and I may or may not have been using them as bullet points. Then again, my memory could be a little faulty going back that long ago.
I am very much so the serious little artist here, but cute with a head full of blond hair. And that prize money! I can't remember if I received $5.00 or $3.00, but I remember it feeling like the world. That was dime store shopping money.
The hear and now: I won't mention how many years must have passed between second grade and when the photo above was taken which was about a year ago at the 41st Annual National Wayne County Juried Show. One thing is for certain, oh, the mixed media...and maybe the food...? I'm still gluing as you can see in the mixed media piece, "Gather 'Round." It's completely created with patterned paper and acrylic paint.
If you want to read more of my story from the there to the here, check out the beautifully written editorial from my friend Rebecca J. Whitman over on her blog, The Bohemian Princess Journal.
Early in August, I set a goal for myself. Feeling the need for more sky, sunrise, and saltwater, I started a new painting. What is the goal you may ask. Oh, that's easy to answer. It was only painting the largest canvas I have ever painted at the same time finishing it by the end of the month. By the end of August I had completed Peace, Be Still, a 30" x 40" acrylic seascape on canvas. It's the largest painting I've completed in the shortest amount time.
Goals can be good if you meet them or not. There's so much to learn about skill and yourself.
Check out the progression of a painting.
Not only is the original seascape available, but prints may be coming soon too! In the mean time, I've just added prints of Carolina's Calling: Kure Beach Sunrise to the shop. Please be sure to give it a look.
you Craven Arts Council for such an opportunity. New Bern is a fabulous town and it holds a special place in my heart. Stardust Gallery in New Bern was one of the first places my art was shown. Thanks Dara!
Series on Limitations
Since I started working full time in the studio this summer, I have finished works started during the school year and I have completed new works of art as well as revisited older works. These will all be available from Craven Arts Council during August and if you would like more information on any of these pieces, please leave me a comment or if you're interested in becoming the owning of one of these pieces, contact Craven Arts Council anytime during August.
You may ask who is this girl in Put on Some Shades and Chillax. She is more than just a focal point in a painting. She has a story as we all do.
Years ago, my daughter and I came across a Rubbermaid container at a flea market. The container was filled with letters, handwritten poems, photos, love notes, cards, illustrations, and even a subpoena. Every single item chronicled the lives of one particular couple from when they first met, through marriage, and children.
My daughter and I were first saddened that someone’s memorabilia ended up forgotten, given away, and for sale at a flea market. Then, we became wrapped up in all the possibilities of using these items in our art and in a way that would be preserve the images and stories of these strangers. Now the real conflict began in how we would choose exactly what to buy out of the box. My husband, who is ever so wise, bought the entire box for us.
On the ride home from Raleigh, we began to scour through all the contents and it was like piecing together a love story along with all its ups and down. Each letter from when the couple first met, to dating, and then well into marriage overflowed with terms of endearment, sentimental words, missing each other, and/or even apologies. Family problems were even seen through one letter written to the mom from a son who had run away. In the writings he reassures her that he’s okay and to please not tell Dad.
One odd item that was preserved in the keepsake box was a subpoena for the wife. Apparently, she was a witness in a murder case. This provided such an intriguing mystery for my daughter and I to unravel. Of all things to learn, we found out that the defendant is listed in The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers.
Put on Some Shades and Chillax is in remembrance of Dot and to everyone who is living life with all its beautiful ups and downs in which sometimes you just have to put on some shades, take in all the glory around you, and chillax.
Be sure to enter the giveaway for Put on Some Shades and Chillax. By subscribing to the email list, you'll be entered in this giveaway and in any future giveaways as well as always being in the know. To sign up, just fill out the subscribe form on this page. The drawing will be held on facebook live on August 11 at 7:00 P.M.
Quiet times to talk with Jesus, lots of laughter, and a meaningful message to remind us who we are filled a recent weekend away at beautiful Carolina Point in Brevard, NC. Thank you so much to Zoweh and The Deepening Weekend for having me as part of the conference team. What a treat it was to lead the creative sessions during the free time!
The nature of art tends to be highly introspective, so I don’t often get the chance to work creatively with others. Having the opportunity to encourage others in their own creativity doesn’t happen nearly as often as I would like; therefore, teaching the two groups of ladies was most definitely a joy and the highlight of my own weekend.
The creative session named Time Alone with God Journal Cover Design encouraged each person to create a collage/mixed media journal cover that was unique to them. Each lady chose elements for her cover which were meaningful to her, her unique story, her aesthetics, or in the way God was moving in her life.
In addition to the beautiful designs created, the way in which everyone helped each other, shared ephemeral, and offered encouragement was truly beautiful. Thank you everyone for sharing your stories and why you chose certain elements as well as your words of appreciation and your words of encouragement to me.
It was two incredible afternoons of being reminded of doing life in community even creating in community. What a wonderful way to fill a creative well!
Check out Zoweh and their events to learn about the more God has in store for you. Also, check out some of the journal cover designs created by the ladies in attendance.
When stepping back into art in 2012, I carved out a space to create out of my home. It was such a blessing to have the space for a home studio, but there is a season for everything. At the beginning of December 2020 I opened the door to what would become my new studio in beautiful downtown Goldsboro.
I'm always taking an empty canvas and transforming it into something new. Transforming an empty room into a space for creating is no different. Some things go as plan and others do not.
See the journey through photos below!
The move in begins and believe me it takes good friends for moving and celebrating!
The chalk painting debacle. Don't buy into the hype of no prep needed. You might get lucky. You might not. With this old piece, we did not get lucky. Word of advice- try searching for problems with chalk paint. We highly recommend Zinsser Oil Based Primer.
Many, many layers of paint later not to mention the prep work, I am so excited to have this hutch my dad gave my mom as an anniversary present in the studio. It's like having a piece of them with me. But please don't mention the word chalk painting.
Every good idea begins with Pinterest? Begins being the key word. From concept to front porch carpentry to studio table.
This season or year especially with school is the busiest I’ve ever had. A new way of teaching means new problems, learning new methods, and preparing new material. Daily. Then there’s the daily living, family, and art not to mention this is the holiday season that is busy in its own right.
December is staying true to form and is proving to be as busy and exciting as ever! With that being said, I have a big announcement. Recently, I had three paintings juried into the 41st annual Wayne County National Show. The show ended just before Thanksgiving. Before going to pick up the paintings, I received a call from the arts council letting me know that two of the paintings had sold and would I like to have the third painting moved over to the art market. That was an easy yes. The icing on the cake came next when I was told they had a studio available. Was I interested? YES!
On December 1, I signed the lease on a new studio! Tracey Penrod Art will be moving to 102 N. John St. Goldsboro, NC. You will be able to find me in Suite 3 above the Arts Council of Wayne County. I’ve just started moving into the new space and with teaching all day, it’s just been a few things at a time. I’m not sure of my hours yet, but you will be able to visit me during open studio hours on First Fridays starting in January.
Within a matter of minutes on the evening that Gary and I decided to say yes to the studio, I received a message from the gallery director from the Craven County Arts Council. She asked if I would be interested in being one of the featured artists in 2021. I don’t have all the details on this one yet, but I’ll share when they come together.
Shocked at the opening doors would be an understatement to say the least. I would say, however, that this has been a process of stepping out in faith and prayerfully saying yes. I am feeling blessed beyond measure.
The making of a recent commission piece was an exercise in artistic freedom. There’s nothing quite like creating an expressive work of art for a like minded person especially when there are no boundaries. “Crescendo” is a 16” x 20” mixed media work of art created in the style of expressionism. This original work of art was commissioned by a lover of the arts and of music. The patron had requested a piece to accompany an acrylic painting he had acquired earlier. In the previous painting entitled “Prelude,” I had painted in total response to music and what came across on canvas was an opening, a door, representing stepping into something new.
Keeping within the same theme, “Crescendo” was painted in response to music, but the initial inspiration came from someplace else. Having gone out and walked the fields near my home sometime after a hard rain, I was drawn to these cracks which had formed in the soil. Looking closely, I could see the individual grains of sand, new growth, and shadows where light had not yet reached. Within these fissures, it was like the anticipatory build up to an eruption. Maybe, it’s the thing that marks the ending of one and the momentous beginning of something new like life springing forth, the first cry of a baby, or the realization that this is it. This is what I walked through that “door” for.
In music, this eruption is referred to as a crescendo. It is the highest or loudest point reached in a gradually increasing sound. As the sound builds, the suspense increases in anticipation until the final eruption much like the excitement of reaching a crescendo in your own life.
I don’t believe there’s a painting I’ve ever completed in which music has not been a huge part of the process. In fact, when creating some of my paintings, the paintings and the process have almost been entirely dependent on the music since I paint whatever happens to unfold with the songs I play. It’s a completely intuitive process. At other times, I paint with a clear image and then set a playlist that matches the image or theme accordingly.
I’m currently taking an online workshop and in a recent assignment, I had to paint to a piece of music and I had to finish when the song finished. Now, you want to talk about something being challenging! That was most definitely it. Did you know that most songs are generally only 3 - 5 minutes in length? Go ahead picture me shaking my head. Painting to music, however, I do this all the time. Piece of cake. Right? It took me four tries with four different songs before I could get out of my head.
I thought I’d share my attempts with you and the song choices. See if you can figure out which piece matches which piece of music. As you can see, the four pieces do not look anything alike in the same way that the four pieces of music were not anything alike. I’ve, also, included the first couple of lines for each song.
A. “It’s Quiet Uptown” from Hamilton
There are moments that the words don't reach
There is suffering too terrible to name
I want to reiterate the part where I said I had to paint "to a piece of music" not create a painting to a piece of music. In the spirit of redemptive art, I plan to take the idea behind one of these one of a kind creations to develop further. I’ll be posting the expressive work of art on social media in the upcoming days. Look for Tracey Penrod Art on facebook or instagram.
Answers are below...no peeking.
1. A, 2. C, 3. D, 4. B
I'm an artist working in acrylic and mixed media. I love looking for the seen and the unseen by exploring matters of the heart. My one of a kind works of art are in the style of expressionism, representational art, and inspirational art. All of my works of art share in the qualities of redemptive art.
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