Tuesday, January 20, 2015

first steps on 'ghosts of the coast'

A whole mess of good things came together today! My Belize art adventure trip is half full already, we received the OK to lease our home/studio for another year, I am getting really good at making Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, the sky is blue and, after a few days of struggling to get back into visualizing work on canvas, I got this big painting flowing smoothly.

36"x48" on canvas… Chubby Boots for scale.

With this painting, tentatively titled "Ghosts of the Coast" (it may end up with a slightly less creepy title when it's done), I knew immediately that I wanted to hold back a little on the color and focus on built up textures and layers to give it it's personality and weight… I want there to be a whole thick, beckoning world going on behind the main imagery. 

These are just a couple quick shots of the base layer (discarded book pages adhered with a Mod Podge/water mixture) and the first flat layer (a nautical chart of Penobscot Bay, blank atlas pages and gift wrap) and the first texture layer (corrugated cardboard, book pages, old newspapers). One important thing I've learned over the last few big paintings is that it works well to approach the areas of visual detail and textural detail at separate times… working on them at separate times leads to a good level of contrast, which can then be softened/the areas combined later if I want.

Though my paintings don't always evolve in a linear, ordered process, I'm also making an effort to pay attention to how this one emerges so I can better understand my work flow, both for my own sanity (half-finished paintings, ugh) and to channel that flow into tangible steps for my workshop. Hopefully I'll have a few blog posts detailing the various phases this one goes through, but you can always hop over to my Instagram to see real-time progress posts and more Chubby Boots.


  1. Can't wait, Mae! And I wish I didn't need a year in advance to plan for (and save or) a trip like your Belize trip. I might have to unfollow while y'all are gone so I don't die of jealousy. xoxo

  2. I can't tell you enough how much I like these in progress posts of your work. I like them on instagram but the extra written details are so helpful. I just play around with mixed mediums but I love all the new ideas and materials you come up with and enjoy trying them out in my own work. Hope you'll follow through sharing this piece like the whale painting this summer! Thank you Mae!

    1. Thanks Jocelyn! It's helpful for me to write out all this stuff, so I'm glad you like it too!

  3. always love to see chubby boots and your process of creating! thank you mae!

  4. I love the texture and layout of the beginning of your canvas! I'm sure it's gonna turn out amazing!

  5. Just found your blog and Etsy page through a pinterest pin. Am totally in awe of your amazing work. It really speaks to me with the words and colours and dramatic quality. I especially love this one 'Ghosts of the Coast' and the limited colour palate. Really wish you shipped to the UK as I'd certainly love to buy one of your prints (can't afford the real thing sadly)....