March 25, 2018

Me Giving a Painting Demo at Bryn Du Mansion

Last week I went to the Bryn Du Mansion, in Granville, Ohio and volunteered at the 14th Annual Fine Art Juried Show. 
One of my paintings, Heading South, has been accepted in the professional category, and I was looking forward to seeing this wonderful show of talented amateur and professional artists. Truly a lot of talent in the exhibit!

I volunteer as a docent in the morning and giving a demo in the afternoon.

Me painting a demo at Bryn Du Mansion.
This has been the first time that I've ever offered a demo with a live audience, I was a little nervous and really did not know what to expect.

A couple of art lovers sat through the whole process, a few other patrons came and went. I am very grateful for the two that stayed the whole time because they allowed me to learn a lot of things about myself and the demo-giving process.

I had a lot of fun during the demo!

My painting at the end of the demo, still a lot of work to do.

I didn't think I would be able to paint and talk at the same time, I was afraid that my options were either make a decent painting or talking to people because when I have a conversation, I can't really paint.

However, I found out that there is a huge difference between having a casual conversation while you paint, and actually speaking out loud the thoughts that are going through your mind during the creative process.

The latter is surely much easier and comfortable.

So, in spite of my fear of giving a silent and boring demo, I actually talked a lot, explaining  why I was doing things, and what I was trying to achieve, whether it worked or not.
My audience was super nice and supportive, and I even had the impression that they enjoyed the demo!

Me posing next to my painting in the show "Heading South"
I also found out that with an audience my creative attention span lasts longer. Usually, I can paint for an hour/hour and a half straight, then I need a short break. Here I painted for two hours and I could have continued easily for one more, but my time was up, and I had to go pick up my kids from school.

On my way out after the demo, I asked a young man that was visiting to take a few photos of me next to my painting in the show.

This is me again, posing with my painting in the show and the demo painting.

The Bryn Du Mansion, in Granville, OH

March 6, 2018

The February 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge! - How Did I Do?

The 30 in 30 Challenge Has Ended!

On February 1st I embraced the challenge of creating 30 pieces in 30 days, and I committed to exploring mixed media for 30 days.

How did I do?
Overall, I feel like it went well! The month started very productively. I was painting and posting daily, then I've fallen behind with the daily postings, but even if on a few days I did not find the time or the energy to paint, I learned more about mixed media and about myself, what I like.

This journey can be summarized in four key points:
 Color  -  Texture  -  Simple Shapes   -  Fibers

Some of my colorful creations from the 30 in 30 challenge
(Feb 2018)

1. Color

The first thing I realized, on the first days of the challenge, is that I LOVE COLOR SO MUCH. Color is what had me inspired to paint at the very beginning, and somehow I abandoned the idea of painting with "made up" colors, and I started painting things as I see them. And sometimes colors of what you see are dull and grayish...

My love for plein air painting has had something to do with the process of painting more and more what I see. Painting on location, completing a piece in a couple of hours, is hard enough without having to worry about changing the colors of what I see. Creative colors involve extra processing, in the attempt of making the painting harmonious and visually pleasant. So I stuck with realistic colors.

I had not rationalized this until now, but somehow I have forgotten the initial urge to use vibrant-colors-no-matter-what.

My very first colorful painting, below, was inspired by Mark Gould, an artist that paints colorful, contemporary landscapes from memory. This is the painting that gave me the initial motivation to start painting daily, in Dec 2010.

The painting that started my journey as a painter, I painted it inspired by a work by Mark Gould.
(Jan 2011)

After a few years of painting things as I see them, the exploration of mixed media has reminded me how much I love color and how my original inspiration was to use it creatively and boldly.

2. Texture

Oh my, do I love textured paintings! Looking at texture and brush-marks in artworks does something to my salivating glands!

Being able to apply thicker brushstrokes without the need of a thickening agent was one of the reasons why I dropped acrylic for a while and started painting with oils. That, and the ability to blend edges, which is very hard with acrylics because they dry so quickly.

With mixed media, I had lots of fun adding layers of thick paint, paper, and even fabric, and I love the textured look. Also, while working, I enjoy the sense of variety and randomness, with only partial control over the final effect; you kind of have to go with the flow and accept what happens.

You keep adding things and evaluate what might be needed, add some more, dull something down, push some darks or some colors, and keep evaluating and adding, following your gut instinct and your visual taste. 

In the end, different layers of colors and materials show through adding interest and movement to the composition, and some great textures!

3. Simple Shapes

Working with paper collage of limited colors makes you think in big shapes, you need to simplify the subject, and group together shapes according to how dark or how light they are, or how warm or cool.

Probably, the radiating landscape below is this month's strongest example of this kind of thinking.
I believe simplifying and thinking about bigger shapes, rather than single objects, is an essential step toward stronger compositions.

"Radiating Landscape Study"
Mixed media on canvas sheet
Example of how working with paper collage made me thing about shapes, value, and temperature.

4. Fibers

Some of the pieces include stitching and some fabrics. I started adding fibers only at the end of the month, there are many more things that I want to try, I hope I can tackle several more studies soon. 
There is so much more potential in fabric and fibers, I feel like I have just discovered the tip of the iceberg.

Below is my favorite piece of the month, Seascape Study I, created with acrylic paint, fabric, and tissue paper. 
I love the color, the texture, and the abstraction in it.

"Seascape Study I"
Mixed media on stretched canvas
Fabric, acrylic paint, paper, and marker.

Now that the challenge is over, I need to figure out how it informed my work.
Is my style going to change?
The only way to find out is to go into the studio and paint what my heart tells me.

Robie Benve
A panoramic of my mixed media creations this month

Thanks a lot for visiting!!

March 2, 2018

Rainbow Dove - Daily Painting for the 30 in 30 Challenge

Another piece experimenting mixed media with the last layers applied with oil pastels. How fun!

"Rainbow Dove Study"
Mixed Media on paper

Quick sketching, abstract patterns, bold colors, peaceful message... I loved all parts of this study.

I used ink, acrylic paint, markers, and oil pastels.

March 1, 2018

Yellow Dove - Mixed Media Painting

I fell behind posting my daily mixed media daily paintings and studies, the 30 days are almost over so I need to get busy posting now.

In this painting I tried oil pastels after a looong time, I think last time I used oil pastels I was in middle school... let's skip over how long ago that was.

I stated with markers, ink, and acrylic paint, then I drew ad pained with oil pastels, and finally I smoothed them out with odorless turpentine.

"Yellow Dove Study"
Mixed Media on paper

I hope you can tell I was having fun and feeling free while doing it.

February 11, 2018

Musical, Mixed Media Painting - Day 9 of 30-in-30 Challenge

It's no mystery what inspired this piece of another strong woman, full of knowledge.

My house is truly full of music these days. Between the kids practicing their instruments, my radio, and the Festival of the Italian Music that aired this week, it has been hard to choose what to listen to.
Furthermore, my daughter shared with us her research project about how music makes you smarter and  healthier.

It came as a natural thing to include musical notes and symbols with this figure.

mixed media on paper

There were a few more things that I wanted to add, but I ran out of time, so I'll keep the ideas for the next one.

Below are some shots of the progress steps.

Drawing and ink

acrylic paint

Paint, markers, colored pencil, and tissue paper

more of all the above
almost done

final stage

“Music gives a soul to the universe, 

wings to the mind, 

flight to the imagination 

and life to everything.” 


February 10, 2018

Day 8 of 30-in-30 Challenge - Perception, Mixed Media

In this one I drew a figure and then I overlapped geometrical shapes to it, playing with colors and contrasts.

I made it a couple of days ago, but added a few finishing touches today.

Mixed media on paper

Below are the photos that show the progression, in case you are interested.


work in progress I

work in progress II


This si a fun month!
I'm loving the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge, even if I am a little behind with the posting, I have been working on 2-3 pieces at the time, so I always have one very near the end or finished every day, sometimes no time to post.  : )

February 8, 2018

Day 7 of 30-in-30 Challenge - Wisdom, Mixed Media Painting

The mixed media adventure continues!

Today I was inspired to include a figure into an abstract painting, and add layers of colors, textures, and shapes to make it unpredictable and more interesting.

I took a few photos in between, just to record some of the progression in the layering, you get to see a few of the steps below.

Mixed media on paper

Here are some of the steps

Begining: I started by tracing my hand and doodling with water soluble markers and color pencils. Then I sprayed with water, which made the markers bleed and spread.

Wisdom WIP - Beginning
WIP: Then I drew a figure with colored pencils, colored the background with ink, added some purple cut paper, and magenta stencil patterns.

Wisdom WIP

WIP 2: I applied layers of tissue paper over many areas, creating texture and filtering the prominent purple paper. 
Then I added some acrylic paint on the texture, and stenciled in positive words on the girls hair and heart. This photo is much lighter than the others...

Wisdom WIP 2

Final: I wanted to add symbols of knowledge to complement the positive words, so I wrote geometry formulas on tissue paper and applied. I made colors deeper using acrylic washes and accents.

Wisdom Final

Overall I can say that I really enjoyed the progress of this piece, and as expected I already have ideas for a new one with a "hidden figure" in it. 

Thanks for stopping by!


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February 7, 2018

Day 6 of 30-in-30 Challenge - Blub Blub Mixed Media

Here I am, still having fun creating compositions just following my instinct, without much plan.
I don't know how they look to others, probably experienced and professional abstract painters would be appalled to see them, but to me they are a lot of fun and very stimulating.

I feel like as soon as I finish one I think of things that I could have done differently, and I can't wait to start a new one to try them out. And if that's what it takes to find the inspiration to create a new one every day, for 30 days, I'm happy.

"Blub Blub"
Mixed Media on watercolor paper

In Blub Blub I used water-soluble markers for the initial drawing, and I sprayed them with water to make the lines fuzzy and lose. Then I added liquid ink from Inktense Sticks, acrylic stencil, paper collage, and just a little Chinese brush ink.

Below is a close up shot.

Blub Blub Detail




February 5, 2018

Day 5 of 30-in-30 Challenge - Boats

Fifth experiment of the month. This time using Inktense blocks and colored pencils.
An abstract composition of colors and shapes, just for fun.

Mixed media

It's not meant to be representational, but of course my brain is trying to decipher what it sees, and I definitely see boats. 


PS: Oh, how I do like color!

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February 4, 2018

Day 4 of 30-in-30 Challenge - Lines, Swirls, and Texture

Here is MY daily experimentation in abrract terms. This time I used Inktense blocks and different kinds of paper to create color, shapes, and texture.

I'm not sure if these creations look interesting to others, but I do love them, because they make my brain work differently.
I feel like during this month, anything that is out of the norm is good for me. Making things using different tools from the usual paint and brushes helps me grow as a visual artist. 

Sometimes you don't know where you are heading until you take the next step.

"Lines, Swirls, and Texture"
Mixed media

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