Fantasy polymer paintings

Toscano on PCDaily

San Francisco’s Alberto Toscano creates square polymer paintings with a tactile and pictorial quality. His small formats, mostly 5″ to 9″ squares, contain industrial landscapes, fantastic figures, zoomorphic elements, surreal structures and remote scenarios that resonate with past and present.

Layering over foggy, colorful backgrounds, Alberto makes his scenes out of sharp-edged slivers of black and white canes.

Peggy Carlan and Carolyn Bond sent me the link to Alberto and I remembered having bought similar designs at the Flying Shuttle in Seattle. Turns out those items come from Raw Art which was founded by Laura Blaconá and Alberto in 1994. They have been producing a line of functional art pieces since then.

RawArt on PCDaily

Meanwhile Alberto’s paintings have appeared in numerous southwest galleries and shows. You can piece together the story from his site, blog and Facebook sites. You’ll find Raw Art on Facebook.

Painting by the slice

Gozonar on PCDaily

Turkey’s Alev Gozonar piled thousands of polymer slices into Garbage, this 4′ x 5′ collage on canvas. Alev’s pointellist style has evolved into larger, more dense, colorful and dimensional images. On her most recent canvas, Alev amassed over 9,000 pieces.

Gozonar on PCdaily

Watching these images grow (see Instagram and Facebook) adds to the fascination. Zoom in close and you’ll see how she paints, building color with precise and varied cane patterns.

Bead failure

Groover on PCDaily

Florida’s Debo Groover is a failed bead maker. She couldn’t figure out how to use polymer so she devised her own methods as this large Dog Park painting shows.

She says that, “A few thousand bars of polymer clay and eight pasta machines later, I use the clay like a piece of fabric or paper. I mix the colors and make the patterns. I cut and glue it. I scrape and scratch it. I treat it like it was real clay and end up with surfaces I couldn’t possibly achieve with just a paintbrush. I try to capture the joy that is in my life and I tell my silly stories.”

Debo had a very successful ceramic career, traveling and teaching all over the world, but in 2000 her home and studio burned to the ground. Heartbroken, she stopped doing art, and instead renovated houses and worked as a nurse.

Groover on PCDaily

Then four years ago she started playing around with polymer clay. She’s self-taught and knows that her methods are unorthodox. People often think her large paintings are fabric or wood or linoleum.

You can read her story in the Fort Myers paper this week as she and her partner Tina begin the art festival season. Tina makes the smaller pieces and keeps things organized and on track. Follow their uninhibited and colorful works on the web site, on Facebook and on Pinterest.

Pushing with polymer

Stroppel on PCDaily

"I pushed myself to create something large and more complicated than in the past," Alice Stroppel says of her newest 20" x 29" polymer painting. "I bake my polymer clay in a regular kitchen oven, but even so I had to construct it in pieces like a giant jigsaw puzzle," she says.

Track her progress (here's the Flickr version) and see how she assembled the piece on her blog. Alice uses a process she calls cane mapping to combine lots of cane slices into a cohesive painting.

Examples of Alice's famous Stroppel Cane continue to appear online and she has recently added her own Stroppel Cane Swirl necklace to the long list of variations.

Is this your week to push out of your comfort zone?

Beach party polymer

Groover on PCDaily

How kind of you to do online research for me while I’m on vacation! Chris Kelsey sent in this link to Florida polymer painter Debortina, Deborah Groover.

Your eyes will flit around like these Beach Party birds, checking out the wealth of patterns and colors pieced together into larger images.

To give you a size idea, the work shown here is 22″ x 32″. The process comes closest to applique.

Deborah explains, “Once my clay is heat set, I cut apart sheets and reassemble them into a polymer collage. I then add color and washes, use sgrafitto to remove color then add more color, and on and on until I am satisfied. The backgrounds are not clay (except for the small ones). I use layers of ink pens and paints to create the texture.” Experience the whole shebang on Flickr.

Vacation is lovely! Class begins on Monday and maybe I’ll try polymer painting!

Pietra dura polymer

The UK’s Fiona Abel-Smith created this polymer box with its decorative panels using an ancient inlay technique called pietra dura. Fiona watched Sue Heaser demo the technique in November and she was smitten.

The box is 5 1/2 inches (13 1/2 cm) square and 4 1/2 inches (11 cm) high with decorative panels of birds on each side and the top. Fiona details the her successes and failures (cracks during baking) with this technique and shows how she began with inlay and added minute dabs of polymer from fine extruded strings. Adding these flecks of color for the feather details gives the piece a more painterly feel.

This ancient technique may not be for everyone and Fiona admits that the box took 120 hours of work. See more pictures on her Flickr site. The link came to us from another polymer painter, Cate Van Alphen.

Polymer plein air

Kate van Aphen submitted this polymer painting for a recent virtual paintout (VPO). “What’s that,” you ask?

It’s a virtual painting trip. The theme and location are chosen and the artists travel via Google Street View to find a scene they like and screencapture it. Kentucky’s Bill Guffey started the clever exercise when he wanted to paint outdoors but could only paint at home at night.

Kate is from South Africa and now lives in England. She has a background in computer arts and was drawn to polymer by its tactile nature and vivid colors. Her Sisters Beach, Tasmania polymer painting is 10cm x 10cm and is drawn from a Google view.

Pittsburgh’s Rebecca Watkins participates in VPOs when she can and she sent Kate’s link along.

Back to school polymer

Back to school

Denise Graham’s polymer painting put a smile on my face and seemed appropriate as we approach fall and head back to school. Her fish swim onto the canvas and layer themselves over the polymer water.

Grahams rivers

In her recent Pittsburgh-based paintings she stacks bridges and buildings around the rivers that flow through the city. It’s no surprise that she started out as a watercolorist.

Denise is an expert on water and waves in polymer and you can catch some of her tricks from her CraftArtEdu classes.

Painting with polymer

The World Series may be over for 2011, but when you combine a love of baseball and a stellar artistic talent with polymer clay, the game never ends.

Using polymer, Marisol Ross creates three dimensional baseball paintings that will have you believing you’re in the stadium craving hot dogs and Cracker Jacks.

Each sculptural painting captures a different aspect of the game, from famous players and infamous fans to vendors and exuberant action scenes. But Marisol doesn’t limit herself to the baseball diamond, these diners captured my imagination as well.

guest post from Alice Stroppel

Painting by the slice

Each brush stroke on these 12×16 canvases by Joan Israel is a slice of a polymer cane. You must see the larger photos to get the full 3-D impact (left, center and right).

The vision, the patience, the number of canes…all mind-boggling! Some have a Henri Rousseau tropical feel. I marvel at their composition and energy. See more of Joan’s lush polymer paintings on the New York Guild’s site.

My husband’s cold is trying to catch me so I’m off to bed to dodge it. Not to worry, I’m good at avoiding bugs and I had a perfectly lovely birthday thanks to all of you. (I’d been saving Jen Dott’s polymer tissue box cover from the Pikes Peak Guild site to share with you on just such an occasion.)