Thirty in Thirty, 2014: Fractured Beech

Fractured_Beech, Beech, 2014 – Michaela Harlow – 15″ x 20″, pastel on paper (19″ x 24″)

The sun came out again today, making me feel a bit restless for some time outdoors. Fortunately, I got an early start and having set up the pastels for this series yesterday, I made good progress early this morning and finished a bit early today. This is the beauty of working on paper. The photo above was taken while the paper was still a bit wet from fixative, and shows a bit of curl at the bottom. As soon as the moisture goes out, I sandwich works on paper between sheets of 3/4 inch plywood and the curl straightens right out.

This time, I thought I’d share a couple of shots of the work in progress, which also give a sense of how the piece looks in different light . . .



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  1. Jen January 18, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    I love the frozen bubbles in this piece. I don’t feel like we see many unfilled circle shapes in your work usually. Dots of color, certainly, but in this and in Fractured Beech II, you caught my eye with those frozen bubbles. It really is stunning how different the colors look in the different light.

  2. Michaela January 18, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

    Thank you, Jen. I’m aiming to bring much more form back to my work; currently doing that behind the scenes, (especially in sketches which I haven’t been posting, but probably will do more of that in the future). I’m glad you like them. When you come up to my studio, I will show you older pieces, which have far more form. And yes. The light indoors has been terrible for making photos. So dark! But what can I expect? It’s January! Thanks for the great comments.

  3. Jen January 19, 2014 at 11:26 am #

    My great comments that include startlingly accurate technical descriptions such as: “unfilled circle shapes”? When I was younger I would have worried about sounding stupid or ignorant of the proper artistic terms. As I get older I realize, who cares? I’m not in that world, how should I know the “correct” terms? It’s freeing to trust my gut responses and do my best to articulate with the words and knowledge I have. Now, if only I could bring that same trust and gut feeling to my own creative endeavors! ha! Guess I need to get even older still….

  4. Michaela January 22, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

    The official language of art —or “art terms”— is, in my opinion, as subjective as the work itself. The idea is to communicate. This reminds me of horticulture people insisting upon botanical Latin for snobbish reasons, when the whole reason for its use is to communicate scientific data related to the plant’s identifying characteristics and place of theoretical origin. All of that is helpful of course, but only if the plant snob recognizes what the Latin words actually mean. Now folk names …That’s where it gets interesting! xx