Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Etsy Treasury Feature: Out My Window

My Watercolor No. 39 has been featured in another Treasury. Jen from Autumn to May curated this wonderful Treasury entitled Out My Window. This is certainly my kind of palate, greens and greys. There are some truly lovely items in this collection, my neighbors to the left and right are particular favorites.

On the Easel: No. 43 Continued

No. 43
 Photographing my paintings is something I'm not great at, not for lack of trying. So far, I've been working on this painting for roughly 30 hours and though not photographed well, the shifts in color are subtle and luminous, the paint having been built up in layers. The layers have also given the painting a wonderful surface, thick and modeled in some areas, and thin and soft in others. My previous paintings on wood have relied on wood grain for texture but in this painting, being my first on canvas in over a year and a half, I've been focused on building up paint for texture. I unfortunately have again reached that painful place of uncertainty, not knowing whether or not the painting is finished. Just as with my last commission painting, this uncertain feeling is in large part due to my (delicate artist's ego) fear that they won't like it. Alas, uncertainty is part of the process.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Etsy Treasury Feature: I Enjoy Being a Girl

My Watercolor No. 39 has been featured in a lovely Treasury titled I Enjoy Being a Girl, curated by Jaros Designs. The list is soft and feminine in sea foam greens and soft pinks. Jaros Designs is one of the founding members of the Etsy Team and blog Curation Nation, an Etsy Team who's soul mission is creating treasury lists. This is the second time one of my watercolors has been hand picked by a curatorial Etsy Team.

Watercolor No. 39

Artists I'm Looking At: Art Basel Edition

I wrote this blog post last week, but with Cataclysm dropping last Tuesday and the holiday and what-not, I've been a little distracted.

Having grown up in South Florida, there was a strong part of me that wanted to be rid of this place. I'd felt negatively about it for years, "it's too hot, there's nothing to do, if I go outside I'll get sunburned," the list of complaints goes on.  It's why my siblings and I attended colleges elsewhere. Yet, somehow we've all returned home.

Perhaps I've matured. Perhaps my baneful negativity has subsided (unlikely), but the number of culturally aware, artistically mined, and entrepreneurial spirited individuals seems to have risen. Miami is a mecca of cultural diversity and artistic prowess. I've never had any interest in living New York or LA, but perhaps Miami isn't so bad after all. Of course I could just be saying this because Art Basel was this weekend.

While my pockets could only afford me one evening at the event, I had a blast. Below are some of the works that I loved from the show.

Frank Stella
My response upon seeing this from across the room was, "Holy Crap! That's a Frank Stella!"

Gustavo Bonevardi


Thiago Rocha Pitta
Thiago Rocha Pitta
Suspended by Michael Raedecker
Present by Michael Raedecker
Phoenixallee by Kailiang Yang
Sommer 8 by Kailiang Yang

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Etsy Treasury Feature

I loved the idea for this treasury. April from withaflourish describes created this curated list to promote undiscovered shops. All shops featured in this treasury have less than 20 sales and many are affiliated with the Team Discovery, an Etsy Team, specializing in finding and highlighting individual, unique, undiscovered gems on Etsy. My watercolor, Landscape No. 13, was featured in the treasury, which was gorgeously curated.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Artists on Etsy: Graham Heffernan

I am often frustrated by the quality of fine art on Etsy, but when you dig there are some really wonderful contemporary painters, such as Graham Heffernan.

Blue Room (22 x 24" oil on canvas)

Graham Heffernan  earned his BFA at Rhode Island College in 2006. In his senior year Graham Heffernan won the Special Talent Award, a merit based scholarship recognizing students with exceptional talent in the visual and performing arts. I don't know what his work looked like in college, but this stuff is brilliant.

Grey Abstract (12 x 12" gouache on paper)

Before reading his statement or profile on Etsy, I noticed how spacial these works are. It's the kind of dynamism I really enjoy in paintings. While Heffernan uses planes of flat color, the paintings have depth and spacial awareness, especially Blue Room and Grey Abstract. The surface is certainly not flat, the attention Heffernan pays to the surface texture of his paintings is gorgeous. He admits in his artist statement that he often gets lost in the materials he uses. 

Graphic and bold, Heffernan's lines set a distinct rigidity to the paintings, yet like so many minimal abstract artists working in line, the artist's hand is present as the edges distort just slightly.
Graham Heffernan's paintings are gorgeously minimal and meticulously painted. One of these days, when I have the extra cash, I'd love to own one of his works. 
Circuit 5 (20 x 20" oil on canvas)
Circuit 5 (Detail)
Circuit 7 (12 x 12")

Graham Heffernan's Artist's Statement:
"In my work I deal with spaces. Abstracted interiors with a musical arrangement of elements. Every painting is stripped down to it's minimal qualities in my attempt to approach the essence of a space. Materials, such as paint, gel and paper are another main reason that I create this art. I get lost in materials and often they take over the artwork and pieces become totally about materials (i.e. Gel Squares)."

Space / Rythm (4 x 4")
White Abstract (7.75 x 7.75")

Finding Graham Heffernan's work on Etsy renewed my faith in the site as a viable place for selling fine art.

Monday, November 22, 2010

On the Easel: Key Limes Study

Lime Study 1

Lime Study 2

Lime Study 3

Lime Study 4

Lime Study Group
I've been frustrated recently with my work, with abstraction, and with people's general unwillingness to understand abstraction. Rather than allow the negativity I'm feeling to influence the paintings I've been working on, I decided to work constructively, spending my day on still lives. This morning I came downstairs to find key limes my dad brought up from the garden, so I grabbed a few.

These little still lives are painted on wood and are quite small, the largest being 5 x5". I'm afraid my inexperience in still lives is terribly evident, but now I've worked the desire for representational images out of my system.

Friday, November 19, 2010

On the Easel: Struggle, Paintings No. 46, No. 47, and No. 48

No. 46   (24 x 24" oil on canvas)
No. 47  (24 x 24" oil on canvas)

No. 48 (18 x 18" oil on board)

Success does not come without struggle. Struggle is certainly the point I am at with these three paintings. The first two paintings I started over the last two Sundays painting live at Dekka's Artisans' Market. The pictures above show them after my second session working on them. I've been looking at more and more abstract works and I am struggling with the balance of atmosphere and distinct mark-making. Having worked previously in thin layers, I'm experimenting with thick strokes of paint on the canvas. The struggle now is balance, which amount of each element makes for the most engaging experience. 

I love the subtlety and luminosity of the low contrast paintings, but when compared to my previous works, they are not as immediately engaging.

Struggle is a part of the process, and I am not disheartened. Without it there would be no edification, no growth. Without struggle this work would not be worth doing. As part of the process I suffer it, to become a better painter, a better artist, to better understand my work and myself. Struggle on.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Best Monday Ever

The Front (40 x 48")

The Front, detail (40 x 48")

On Monday evening I received an email from Joshua Bromaugh, the artist from last Friday's "Artist I'm Looking At" segment. He included two pictures of his most recent painting along with the email.
Hi Kailtin,

Your blog post about my work was pointed out to me and I appreciate the compliments.

But I'm writing to tell you that I took the time to look at your work and I admire what I saw. Good luck, and keep it coming.

Thanks again,


I'd never expected to hear from him. I tend to of this vast distance between the level of art I'm working at and 'professional' art, successful art. For him to actually take a look at my work, and like it! It really made my day.

Shortly after I received Josh's email, I got one from Etsy. The item I had posted earlier that day had sold. My fourth sale so far on Etsy. The next day I found out that the treasury I was featured in made the front page. My first front page feature, ever. Probably the best Monday I've ever had.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Etsy Treasury Feature

This morning I got an email about being featured in an Etsy Treasury by Under My Feet. It is an adorable collection of tiny treasures from throughout the Etsy community. My Watercolor No. 15 is among the wonderful oddities.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Artists I'm Looking At: Joshua Bronaugh

The internet has an interesting way of bringing art to my attention. The art of Joshua Bronaugh came through my news feed a few weeks back and it's been open in my browser window since, for me to peruse while I'm working.

Lithuanian Love Song (27 x27")

The first thing that struck me about his work was that perfectly toed line between realism and abstraction that makes the work really dynamic and engaging. Joshua Bronaugh works with a number of mediums, the painting above is made with oil paint, motor oil, alkyd, and resin on canvas. Upon hearing this, the painting became very real to me, imagining the texture and smell the motor oil would produce. This painting in person would be very tactile, having an extremely thick, modeled surface.

Change is the Disease and the Doctor, Both (36 x 48")
Joshua Bronaugh's paintings feel enormous. When viewing them on his website, I imagined them to be quite large, perhaps 4 to 6 ft or so, but many of his paintings are in the 2 ft range, much the size that I've been currently working in. Which may be why he puts a disclaimer on his website:
Websites are the worst ways to look at paintings. Digital images are compressed, have poor color, have no sense of scale and simply do not glow like paint does. I would rather a person see one of my paintings through a window from across the street in the rain than have him see anything I have ever made online.
He makes a valid point. Paintings are physical things, they have a physical presence in a room. You really need to see them in person to appreciate them appropriately. Every monitor displays color with a slight variation which a painter cannot control.  However, that being said, it is important for contemporary painters to display their work online. Not every art enthusiast lives in New York or LA. I am a firm believer that art should be available to all, and as a child of the internet age, what better a place to display your work.

Black Monk (Swamp Thing) (24 x 24")
Nimbus (24 x 18")
I would love to see Joshua Bronbaough's work in person unfortunately I will not be in New York any time in the foreseeable future.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On the Easel

No. 43, 34 x 36", oil on canvas
I'm working on No. 43 as a commission for a family friend. So far I've logged about about 20 hours into this painting.  While every painting is different, it had been my experience that a painting of this size takes about 30 hours of work to complete.

No. 46, 24 x 24", oil on canvas
No. 46 is the painting I started working on at Dekka's Artisans Market last Sunday. I was positioned on the store's stage under one red fluorescent light and one blue one which made it difficult to get the colors correct, so instead I concentrated on the values only. It was an interesting experiment. I think it turned out well.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dekka's Artisans Market in Review

While a bit slow at times, Dekka's Artisan's Market was an entertaining way to spend my Sunday afternoon. I met some awesome local artisans including Migdalia and Erika Taguchi-Newton.

Migdalia makes purses out of recycled t-shirts and embellishes them with her unique dolls.

Erika Taguchi-Newton is an illustrator specializing in what she calls "fantasy art and geeky crafts." 

Add caption

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Live Painting Today at Dekka

Dekka, the fashion, art, and music boutique where some of my work is hung, is having their first ever Sunday Artisans Market. Originally planned to be a monthly event, the Dekka owners got such a heavy response that the Artisans Market will be held every Sunday. Today I'll be doing some live painting down at the show. I'll also be tweeting from the event from my new twitter handle, so be sure to follow me at twitter.com/_kaitlincarroll .

Saturday, November 6, 2010

How to Stretch a Canvas

One must have in a painter's arsenal is knowing how to stretch a canvas. So, here goes, some step by step instructions on how to stretch a canvas. Through the photo series, I stretch my own gallery wrapped canvas. Gallery wrapping simply means that the canvas is wrapped all the way around the edges and stapled to the back and the sides are primed just as the surface.  The clean edges allow the finished painting to be hung without a frame, if you so choose.

Materials You'll Need:
  • Wood ( I use 1 x 3" pine)
  • Canvas
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Angle
  • Scissors
  • Plyers
  • Staple Gun
  • Large Paint brush
  • Acrylic Gesso (white or tinted)
Step 1: Align Stretcher Bars

Lay out the wood stretcher bars. Align them, use the angle to make sure they are at 90 degrees.

Step 2: Nail Stretcher Bars

Nail the stretcher bars together at the corners. Use the angle while hammering to ensure the bars are secured at right angle.

Step 3: Layout, Measure, and Cut Canvas

Layout Canvas

To ensure that there is enough canvas to wrap around, measure the depth of the stretcher bars and add 2 to 3" more. The stretcher bars shown are 3" deep, so I've measured 6" around the entire frame. Cut canvas accordingly.

Step 4: Wrapping the Canvas

Starting at the center of one side of the frame, use the plyers to help get a good grip on the canvas (doing this with your hands will lead to raw knuckles, learn from my experience). Pull the canvas firmly with the plyers in one hand and using the staple gun secure the canvas to the frame.

Continue pulling the canvas and stapling, working opposing sides to ensure an evenly stretched canvas. Start at the top center, move to the bottom center, then right side center, and finally left side center. Start again 2 to 3" right of top center and continue as above. Repeat from 2 to 3" left of  top center. Work in this way until all sides of the frame are covered.

Step 5: Corners

Once all the sides are covered, there'll be excess canvas at the corners. As a professor said when teaching me how to stretch a canvas, "If you can make a bed, you can stretch a canvas," at which point I realized that I didn't know how to fold the corners of a mattress. Well, now I do.

Pull the excess canvas into a sharp triangle, make sure there's no slack in the edges of the canvas. Fold the triangle to one side of the stretcher, making a 90 degree angle (as shown in No.2 above). Wrap the excess behind the canvas and staple.

Step 6: Gesso

Use an acrylic gesso to seal the canvas. Paint 2 to 3 coats of gesso on the surface and sides of the canvas. Let the gesso dry between each coat.