Last summer we went on a camping trip to San Simeon. I was surprised at how cold it was, it was July and back at home in Los Angeles, it was HOT! I pretty much lived in my Uggs and all those shorts I packed stayed in the bag. The bright side is that it was a beautiful place. Our camp site was surrounded by mountains and nature. We had two snakes visit us and thought we might be getting some coyote’s visiting since we had 3 small tasty dogs with us but thankfully they stayed away.
Our trip was only 3 days but we managed to squeeze in sight seeing at Hurst Castle, we only made it to the visitor center since we had dogs waiting for us in the car but it was still impressive, we toured 3 wineries, had lunch in Cambria and my husband got so close to a seal that he could have been eaten! I was also determined to doing a little painting. We had rented the cutest vintage camper (www.happiercamper.com) that was just screaming to be painted. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to paint the camper but I took lots of photos and I will be painting it someday soon. Instead I took my friend Tom for a little plein air painting lesson and we had fun at sunset painting the mountains of San Simeon until it was just too windy and cold to stand it anymore. Did I mention, this is why I’m really not a fan of plein air painting? 😉 I didn’t get any photos of us doing our paintings but I have posted my painting on FineArtAmerica and prints can be purchased there. Check out my mountain paintings.
Mike and the seal.
Cutest camper ever!
Mike the snake rangler!
Trying to spot a wild boar in the mountains
Just one of the beautiful wineries
Our campsite and the incredible view
I recently completed a project to furnish a local office with artwork. The company makes LED Lighting and recently changed management and along with the old CEO went the art that he owned.
One great thing about this office is the colorful walls which create a beautiful backdrop for my art. I was very happy to be selected to provide art for their buildings. All in all they acquired over 40 pieces for their two buildings including some custom pieces including this one titled, “Light Up The Night”. This colorful view of the Downtown Los Angeles skyline at dusk was created for their main lobby. It was printed on metal and is 5 feet wide! The painting looks stunning printed on metal and creates a more modern look while not requiring framing.
Light Up The Night – Acrylic on Paper
You can find more of my city paintings that are available on canvas, metal, acrylic or on archival paper at FineArtAmerica.com
Just to give you a taste of how it turned out here is a collage with photos from the office along with the happy customer!
If you’d like art for your home or office, feel free to contact me! www.athenamantle.com
I admit that I have an obsession with succulents. Thankfully, its not a fatal attraction. Its hard to kill one…even the leaves will start growing roots! My attraction has produced several paintings. If I get a good photo sometimes I paint it more than once.
I like to experiment and use different mediums, change the composition, and see what I can do with it. Sometimes, the combination is so successful that I produce a series using the same concept but with different photos, like my Shadow Dance series. I have this amazing agave that is producing pups like crazy. I took some photos of it and the shadows on all the pups just really stood out and when I painted them, they turned into the focus. These little gems are painted on an upcycled panel from an art crating warehouse that ships art for museums. I love these little panels. They are covered in a brown paper that I primed so I could paint over it. The brown paper is what you see in the background.
Another painting I’ve done 3 different ways is the Prickly series. I just liked the photo so much that I kept painting it. The first one I painted is the pastel on black paper in the middle. I love the texture in that paining. The second one was a commission that I did and its a very large oil paining (3’x5′), the details and soft color changes in the agave’s petals are beautiful, you can really get lost in it. The last one, on the right is my most recent rendition. I have been working on a series of small paintings on paper with acrylic. With all the different mediums and surfaces, the effect produced is entirely different.
I was asked to paint a series of my agave and succulents on paper for a show at the Rebecca Molayem Gallery this past July. I had seen some new paper from Arches at Blick that you could paint with oils on without any additional prep work. So I bought several sheets of it and created these paintings.
The original paintings are available on my website athenamantle.com. You can find these and my other southwest prints on FineArtAmerica.com
I’ve been working on a different technique these past few weeks. I have done wood block prints in the past for images for holiday cards and such but decided to see what I could do to turn my painting images into 2 color block prints. The results were pretty cool. Well, at least I think so! 🙂
So, first I had to create my image and carve the wood block. I decided to use the two paintings that I had with trailers in them. They have a nostalgic feel and I just thought they would read well with only 2 colors. I took the images in the computer and converted them to black and white and then reversed them. The image will print opposite so if you are trying to create an exact image it has to be flipped so everything is opposite. Then I used graphite paper to draw/trace the image onto the the linoleum wood blocks and voila!… its ready for carving.
This is a painting called “Retirement Plan” that I’ve carved into a wood block.The next one is called Happy Camper and the unfinished one on teh right is Fresh Paint. I haven’t had time yet to finish carving that one.
I completed the two campers for a show I had last weekend at SOPA Studios in South Pasadena. I got some nice feedback on them so I’ll definitely do some more.
After I carved the blocks I had to test the print to see if I needed to make any adjustments to my carving. You can see here, there were some problem areas that I needed to adjust before the print would work.
In the shadow area I’ve lost the bottom of the trailer. I needed to make the lines a bit thicker so they will show a separation in the ink. So, I carve some more…
Then I retest…
Then I retest a million times more because I seem to be having problems with the ink consistency. So I give up for the day and take my work an art meeting to get help from the experts who do this print making all the time. I discovered several possible problems:
- Oil based ink is better because it has a nicer consistency, it goes on better and gives better prints.
- My paper needs to be softer, lighter even. I was testing on copy paper then did some on watercolor paper (this is too rough for the print) although I was told if I used hot press it would be better.
- But the BIGGEST mistake I was making was trying to press the print from the backside like this…When I discovered this I had to laugh because it was so silly! I hadn’t worked with these big blocks for so long I’d forgotten that I laid them on top of the block and pressed the paper to it. This was THE reason my prints weren’t coming out right. It wasn’t the ink or the paper! Although those things may contribute to a nicer print, it wasn’t what was ruining it!
In the end, I got two decent prints in time for the show…
What do you think? I’d love to hear your feedback!
The month of December proved to be a popular one for agave paintings. I painted this commission of a blue agave for a collector in Scottsdale. My largest one yet at 36″ x 60″. I have to say I was a little sad to send it off not having gotten much time to enjoy it myself. But alas, I make paintings so others can enjoy them so off it went!
Just before Christmas I sold my Blue Agave Family painting to a native plant lover from LA’s Westside. Its always exciting to be found through Google – ahhh, the power of the internet! I couldn’t have been happier to deliver it to it’s new gorgeous home.
Because this painting had been hanging over my fireplace for me to enjoy, I had to replace it before the company arrived for the holidays! I found the largest canvas I had and painted a replacement, finishing just 2 hours before throwing a holiday party. Whew! I couldn’t bare the thought of a wall devoid of art so I painted this 30″ x 40″ foxtail agave alla prima!
If this is any indication of whats to come, 2012 will continue the agave trend as I gear up to paint more of this series. A few of my agave paintings have been selected for Margaret Danielak’s upcoming show “Red” at the Pasadena Women’s City Club. The opening reception will be Thursday, February 9th from 6-9 pm. 160 N. Oakland Avenue -Pasadena, CA 91101
SOPA Summer Group Exhibit
June 18th, 2011 7-9pm
1025 Hope St. South Pasadena
I will be exhibiting some of my streetscape paintings and a few new agave paintings. There are over 15 artists exhibiting . The art on exhibit includes paintings (printmaking, oils, encaustics, and more) ceramics, photography, handmade journals by Amanda Ramirez (which are so amazingly clever and recycled, I just LOVE them!)
I hope you can join us!
Today designer Mollie Ranize picked up my painting “New Blue Agave” for her design project at the Good Shepherd Homeless Center for Women and Children where she is beginning her transformation of one of the many rooms that are part of the Good Shepherd Design Project.
Mollie makes sure to stay connected with the design community through her professional memberships with ASID, NKBA and USBGC. She is also a regular contributor to many environmental, animal and human welfare organizations.
Her interior design studio ranges from large scale residential renovations, exclusive photography and production studios, restaurants and lounges to highly publicized health and fitness centers. dmar interiors is a well versed design company with impeccable attention to detail, respect for budget and belief that customer service is what makes the most positive outcome on a project.
I’m excited to see how she incorporates the piece in the renovated room. I’ll share some photos when we get the big reveal! Happy Designing Mollie!