Art is not what you see but what you make others see. – Edgar Degas
Follow EBSQ on Pinterest.
1. Italian Night – This week’s featured art is Christine Striemer’s December Nibblefest entry. I’m not Italian, but my family has a tradition of eating out on Christmas Eve and it’s usually at an Italian restaurant. So for me, this holds a touch of Christmas!
2. Daily Painting Demo – Enjoy watching an artist make magic? Check out Delilah Smith’s new Youtube video for her painting, Sunshine Sparkle.
3. EBSQ Zombie Apocalypse Juror – Missed yesterday’s EBSQ interview with Juror Robb Padgett? You might find some invaluable tips for surviving a zombie apocalypse inside…
4. Did you know EBSQ is on Pinterest? Now you do.
5. Are you an EBSQ Artist with a newsworthy blog post? Contact me to be included in the weekly Friday Five. amanda[at]ebsqart[dot]com
Who and where are you?
My name is Melody Cole-Gates, I am a Visual Artist, mother and wife from Dayton, Ohio. I like to make expressionist figuratives, florals, landscapes and abstracts. I mostly paint positive images of women of color in intimate scenes that reflect motherhood, relationships, African American culture and spirituality for everyone to enjoy.
How were you introduced to Facebook?
I was introduced to Facebook by Twitter, lol. I had been a self-represented artist online for about 3 years back then, and decided to do research on the best websites to sell my artwork. Well, I didn’t have far to Google, because the artists I was following on twitter were all tweeting about the new Facebook Fan pages. They liked Facebook, because it was (and still is) a great place for artists to show their work, link to other websites and receive instant feedback from their fans, not to mention reunite with old high school buddies, lol. Of course, I had to sign up! I started my first Facebook Fan page in 2009, as “Studio Meco“. In July 2012, I decided to create a new Facebook page to establish my art under my God-given married name.
Any tips for other artists starting a Facebook Page?
If you have a personal profile page on Facebook, you’re half way there, because you can’t create a Facebook page for your art without having one for yourself. Once you have a page, upload a nice profile picture of you or your artwork to connect instantly with your audience. Make sure to include your bio, email address and the link to your website or art shop to let people quickly find out who you are, what you do, how to contact you and where they can see more of your work. Treat your Facebook photo album like an art portfolio. Title each album, include your best artwork and write details about each piece. Keep your posts short, sweet and simple. I like to post (at least once a week) about my recent sales, latest creations and paintings in progress. Other ideas may be to let everyone know about upcoming shows, events, features and awards you’ve won, etc. Talk about anything you think your audience would be interested in art wise. Engage with your audience in a friendly, upbeat and professional manner, as though you were talking with them one on one inside your studio or over the phone. Answer comments and questions as soon as you can, they’ll appreciate you for it. To get your first few likes, Facebook has a feature that allows you to invite your friends and email contacts to your page or perhaps you’d like to tell them all on your personal Facebook wall (hey that rhymed 🙂 Another way to promote your new Facebook page is by letting everyone know how excited you are about it in your next blog post, maybe tweeting a link to your followers, or leaving a link on all those cool artists’ sites, you’re hanging out in. Remember not to take it personally or get discouraged if everyone you’ve asked to Like your page… doesn’t actually click the Like button. Who knows? They could be admiring your page from a distance 🙂 Hope this helps!
What’s your favorite Facebook Page Feature?
My favorite Facebook page feature is the MESSAGES. Only because potential buyers or someone interested in your artwork can contact you privately if they want. Plus, let’s say you’re working on a commission portrait for a fellow facebooker, through messages you’re allowed to attach and receive photos from your clients without leaving Facebook. How cool is that?
What’s coming next from your studio?
From my studio, you’ll be seeing a lot of warm colors in my palette, like rich beautiful Wines, Limes, Chocolates and Caramels! Right now, I’m working on a bold new series embracing natural beauty. Also, I have a new website and blog that I’ll be launching next month. In 2013, I plan to start displaying my paintings locally here in Dayton, and I’m very excited about it. I have some great new paintings in mind, so be sure to watch out for my freshest art right here on EBSQ.
Explore Melody’s art here:
Who and where are you?
I’m Caroline Baker. Sometimes I include my maiden name, Lassovszky because it’s unique – only my parents and brother share this name in the U.S., though sometimes I realize it might be too long a string of letters for anyone to remember. I grew up in the suburbs outside of Washington, D.C., both on the Maryland and Virginia sides of the beltway, though at this point I have spent more of my years in far Southwestern Virginia, which is a very different environment. I started my undergraduate art degree in Radford, Virginia, also started a family and then moved even farther southwest to just outside the town of Pound, Virginia. I was able to complete my degree at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise in 2000. The visual art major had just become available there, so it contrasted in many ways with what I experienced in the more established art department at Radford. After working several graphic design jobs and doing drafting with a small local civil engineering business, I got a Master’s degree in education and taught art in public schools grades K-12 for several years. I have come full circle as I am currently teaching visual arts courses at U.V.A. Wise.
Can you tell us how you combined textile arts with your oil painting?
I have enjoyed working with paint for as long as I can remember. I suppose I was in high school when I started playing around with dyes. I was really just experimenting with the drugstore Rit dyes, making t-shirts for friends and so forth. I was introduced to the fiber reactive MX dyes through a surface design class at Radford and continued to just play with them as a side project separated from painting. When I started stretching my own canvases, the idea that canvas did not necessarily have to remain a two-dimensional object throughout my process interested me, and I liked the aspects akin to watercolor involved in simply staining the canvas with the dyes as a sort of underpainting before stretching the canvas and working with it as an oil painting.
I also find the idea of the support/ground matrix intriguing as this object that changes character so drastically once it is prepared to become a painting, the fact that paintings on canvas began their existence as a textile object, something more associated with craft than the idea of “Art” tied to the description of a painting as “oil on canvas”. There is an element of a cycle of deconstruction/reconstruction involved in processing the canvas to remove sizing and folding it into a three-dimensional object or sewing it only to take it apart and flatten it later. All of the things I do in the beginning of my process are tied to the object as a textile, where as the later stages – stretching, priming, sometimes sanding and going through adding passages in paint involve characteristics of the object as support/ground, which feels very different to me, as though I am enabling and directing this metamorphosis. Recently I began to see parallels in this process with what I observe in the management of the land around me through coal extraction and worked through a series of landscape paintings based on those observations. For instance, the winery and a local site used a a flea market interested me because of the reuse of the land in the continuing cycle heavily influenced and accelerated for good or bad by human intervention. As of late I have found myself moving back in the direction of lyrical abstraction and linking this to my feelings regarding a specific sense of place.
How long does it take you from start to finish to complete one of your canvas dyed paintings?
A lot of times it depends on how much work I need to put into the beginning part of the process and what techniques I decide to use as well as the results with the dyes. If I bind the canvas using a lot of sewing, it takes quite a bit longer. At this point I am relatively sure of the results I will get from the dye stage, but sometimes the results are not what I need and I set it aside for another idea that aligns with the resulting “underpainting” better and start over with a new piece of canvas. Sometimes I continue working with the same canvas by folding or binding again and over dyeing, or using discharge techniques to remove some dye. The minimum amount of time I have spent on a piece like this is three days including time for the wet, dyed canvas to dry, heat setting if I choose to, rinsing, stretching and priming. Many times it depends on how much I want to meld the results of the dye techniques with the painting. I like the idea that both processes become so integrated in the final product that the viewer would need to look for where one is more prominent than the other or the two dovetail. I tend to spend a lot of time working with layering glazes when I paint so that there are areas where both processes work well together and coexist easily on the canvas, though sometimes a piece will call for bringing attention to the contrasting natures of the processes and media as well.
What’s coming next from your studio?
Some of the surface design techniques involved with the dyes lend themselves to repetition and symmetry, and I want to use those qualities in conjunction with the idea that seems to be becoming prevalent in our information-saturated culture that if you repeat something enough times and in the right places, they necessarily become the truth whether they began that way or not, and how subtle shifts in the way things are repeated reinforce or change that perception of something as fact. I want to work with minimization and regulation in the way I work with potentially repeating shapes and forms that result from my process without losing the expressive qualities I think are also important in dealing with cultural content. I plan to return to square format at a larger scale, but I have some ideas for series of things at a small or miniature scale as well.
Thank you Caroline for sharing your process and your art with us today!
Want more? Follow Caroline and her art here: