Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Phoenix Paintings...

One of the projects that we're working on is buying out a gem and mineral shop. Generally speaking, the bead business can be very feast or famine. The idea behind the buyout is that we want to diversify our offerings while still keeping them in line with our current inventory and established mission statement. The hope is that by doing this, we can attract more customers and when the bead business is slower, hopefully compensate. And maybe if we're lucky, we can gain crossover customers.

In an effort to keep our prices low and remain somewhat competitive, we run on slim margins and whatever money we do make is invested back into the business or is saved for when times are tough. We're celebrating eight years in business and this model has worked so far. With the exception of a few little luxury items every now and then, William and I live pretty humble lives. Usually when we do splurge it's in support of another small business or artist. That might not sound all that appealing to some (and indeed it can be nerve-wracking at times), but it is what's right for us right now and I couldn't imagine it any other way. It's a good life and one dedicated to beauty. But sometimes when big opportunities come up like this, it can certainly test our resolve and force us to think creatively. Because in the end, whenever there's been a roadblock or a setback or a challenge, when I've dug deeper and embraced my creativity, there's always been a solution.

To help offset the expense of the buyout, I've created a new series of work. This new series includes six new paintings made by me. Each of the paintings depicts a phoenix. I've had a fascination with them ever since I was a little boy. Whether it was in mythological stories or on the pages of comic books, I was drawn to this mythic creature. I think what appealed to me the most was that endings weren't really over. When most stories end, the phoenix's journey began anew. What was lost could be found again. What was broken could be mended and remade. And when everything and everyone else said to give up... there was still hope. There was still this rare and beautiful spark of hope that the impossible could be made manifest. From the blistering fire and the ashes of the past, it was possible to rise... to rise and to fly and to soar the skies.

The process to make these paintings is similar to the way that I make the crow paintings. To start, I  create layers of paint and salt on heavy watercolor paper. When everything is dry, I sand down the surface and remove all the crusty bits. This technique makes a really cool patterning that looks like starbursts. I can thank the cold Pennsylvania winters for this technique; one day while shoveling and salting the sidewalks, I noticed the residue and patterns left from the night before. I loved it! When I did more research, I found out that this is actually a technique commonly used with watercolors. On this star-speckled surface, I add more layers of acrylic paints, iridescent pigments, and metallic paints. And when they're done, I seal them. Each painting measures 5"X5" and is signed and dated by me.

If you're interested in getting one, they're available in the Allegory Gallery store here: https://agbeads.com/phoenix

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