In early April I attended the Art and Soul Kansas City retreat and took two classes. The Abstract Landscape class taught by Jane Davies really shook up my painting world. Working loosely with mixed media and responding to marks made rather than starting with a particular vision is very different from the way I've painted up until now. The paintings I posted for the Minted + West Elm Challenge showcase the type of composition and work with mixed media materials that I learned at the retreat. I was jazzed about this new approach. But, then I started to wonder how I might incorporate the new style and way of working into my Judaica themed artwork. The result is what you see here, and I believe it evokes a more emotional response to the prayers and texts than my previous work has. So far the reaction to the images posted on Instagram and Facebook have been overwhelmingly positive. Having just wrapped up a commission and a busy month of May, I'm now ready to jump back into the mixed media work and see where the path leads.
Several years ago I was asked to paint a piece to honor a wonderful woman and incredible Kansas City Jewish educator, Hillary Lewis Z"L, on the occasion of her retirement. This was my interpretation of "veshinantam levanecha" or "teach them diligently to your children." It's become a popular image in my collection, but lately I've been wanting to paint an updated version with nicer typography. I added the white linework, but I'm not sure about it on the torah scrolls. I'm sharing it anyway and would love to hear your thoughts. At some point I'll add prints to my shop. There's probably another version coming in the future. I'm hoping practice makes perfect.
Inspired by a meeting with a special friend and exceptional educator yesterday, I sat down with a palette of brilliant colors, some of my favorite tunes playing, and set out to create a new Shabbat Shalom illustration. Prints are available in my shop.
Wishing all a very joyful Shabbat Shalom.
I realized a few days ago that I haven't blogged in quite some time. I've been busy filling Etsy orders and taking time off with the family over the holidays, and even getting back to painting, having been bouyed by my Urban Suburban experience. It's been three years since the last Kansas City Jewish Arts Festival when I didn't exhibit and decided just to volunteer instead. This year, with Hannah working at the JCC and on the Festival itself, and feeling like I need to be going back to the basics of painting, I am going to be applying to show. Which means that I need to have paintings, if I'm accepted of course. So, I'm dipping my toes back into the paint, only figuratively, and slowly getting started. It's been quite some time since I've been in full-festival-prep-mode, so it will take time to build up steam, but I've taken the first step. If I can really get going, I might even try to do the Boulder Jewish Festival in June, but I'll need to have quite a bit accomplished to make that happen.
In the meantime, here's a peak at what I've been working on. I've tried to let go of the fear in painting something out when I'm not happy with a direction. And, both of these paintings have layers underneath that aren't visible any more. No regrets either! I'm pleased with the direction both have taken in the detour, but I still consider them in progress.
This is a small one with lots of texture and VERY simple compared to what I've done before. I'm still trying to decide if it needs anything else... words, images.....?
Revisiting the popular Shalom Hamsa on this painting, I've worked on a cradled wood panel and tried a bit of letter-stamping, too. This, too, is a work-in-progress, so please comment here if you have thoughts about these paintings or other subjects you'd like to see.
Sending belated wishes to everyone for a Happy New Year filled with peace and creativity.
My painting was chosen to promote the 2012 Jewish Arts Week sponsored by the American Guild of Judaic Art. It's a great organization—I'm proud to be a member and honored to have had my work chosen! Visit the American Guild of Judaic Art for more information.
25 years ago this coming week I started working at Hallmark while I finished my final semester at KU. I've always said that I learned so much there, working among very talented people. KU was generous and flexible in letting me finish school in that way, and Hallmark made sure my education was much more than complete. Unfortunately several years later I had to leave Hallmark and began working on my own (with a trip back to Shoebox for a short time in there). I've so enjoyed the flexibility working in this way has allowed, even though it hasn't always been easy. I don't have a community of artists to learn from and the stimulation of being surrounded by constant creativity and energy. Looking for clients and sources of work is not an easy thing to do and businesses have come and gone over the years. But somehow I've managed to stay busy these past 20 years and even challenged myself in new ways.
Painting added a new dimension to my work a few years ago, something I decided to do on a whim, not realizing all of the new places it would take me. I've enjoyed showing my paintings, prints, cards and jewelry at the art fairs throughout the midwest and online. But last year Hallmark contacted me about my paintings with an interest in licensing a few of them, something I hadn't expected to come from this.
Yesterday, 25 years ago almost to the day since I started the Hallmark adventure, I received this in the mail—card samples of the first piece of artwork that they've licensed for the Tree of Life line. The pocket ID reads "Jewish Artist" in small print under the occasion title and on the card back is a colophon—"Artwork by Laura Bolter."
I've been recognized as a Jewish artist by Hallmark. How ironic and exciting to have come full circle.
Next week I'm helping in an 8th grade religious school class. We're making challah covers. It was up to me to choose a way to make them, and after some research, I decided on painting fabric with Shiva Paintstiks. I've got some simple black cotton fabric that's been washed to remove the fabric sizing, and I've cut and hemmed one piece to do a test run. Using the basic iridescent set of colors and a couple of rubbing plates, I've quickly made this challah cover. It's somewhat messy and hard to control, but I think it has a nice look to it--except that I didn't leave enough room for the "shin" in shalom. :-)
After drying a few days, I'll iron it or toss it in the dryer to set the paint.
Anyone out there in blogland have suggestions on how to quickly hem up a dozen more pieces of fabric?!
Book of Life
Peace Hamsa II
Erev Shabbat II
Pomegranate on Orange
As promised, the four new paintings. All are 12 x 12 acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, ready to hang. If they don't sell this weekend they'll be available in my Etsy shop next week. :-)