PUHLEEZE use a little constraint ... would ya?

Barb Toland

I read a blog post the other day by artist Clare O'Neill that I absolutely loved, and will be sharing that with you here in just a bit. But FIRST I wanted to reveal to you a new series of encaustics that I'm working on, and how they relate to this blog post.

Here are two pieces below that are part of the new encaustic/mixed media collection I'm building...

  
   
 Yes! The gargoyles of Notre Dame!!! I remember when I first laid eyes on them after high-tailing up what seemed like enormous & numerous steps to the rooftop. They took my breath away, and spoke to that medieval, gothic part of my heart.

(I have yet to find out for sure if they survived the fire, so if anyone knows either way, please hit reply & pass that info along to me.)


I did some random insta stories on these while I was making them, but YOU are the first one to see them finished my friend. They're mixed media paintings on 8" x 10" canvas panels, and embellished with encaustic. I also used some other mediums such as pan pastels & oil pastels to help give them a special vibe.

I'll be doing several more of these - and once they're complete they will be offered exclusively to you, my creative party buds, first. I've found really cool, minimalist frames for them too, so they will be shipped out totally ready to hang on your wall. So be on the look out for that.


But let's get's back to how these babies relate to the artist's post I'll be sharing with you soon. The post is by fellow artist, Clare O'Neill (She's also the one who got me hooked on encaustic!) - and it's all about choosing one or more creative constraints such as limiting the color palette, using only one medium, or finding some other way to reduce your options.

She even tells a story about children's book author Theo Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss), and what he constrained in his book, which then led him to writing what many consider to be his most endearing Dr. Seuss book ever.

And the BEST part is that Clare goes on to show us thru her own story & experience how using constraint worked so beautifully for her. It is one of THE best blogs I have read in quite a while.

What does this have to do with the gargoyles above? (And it was only AFTER I read Clare's blog post, that it dawned on me that this was a "constraint" at all.)

I only used 5 tubes of color... yellow, gamboge (yellow/orange), rose, teal & (thalo) blue. That's it! Every color you see in the gargoyle paintings are some combination of these  5 colors - even the purples, greens & greys.

I've found that when I limit my color palette, there is more magic & continuity in the overall piece. And I also can work more freely by not overthinking which color to choose for what, which lends a more spontaneous & ethereal look to the piece.

And this is a REALLY hard constraint for me ... but for this collection I will be limiting my subject matter as well by focusing all of my creative energy solely on those spectacular Notre Dame gargoyles.

I'd like to invite you to read Clare's blog post, it is AMAZING & struck me hard when I read it. It'll give you some fodder for your next creative adventure, whatever that might be.

Ok, now it's your turn...

Whether you're a collector, creative or both - have you found using constraints while making or buying art work has changed your relationship to art in general, or to a particular piece? Do you have a natural constraint in your art world when making or collecting that you find yourself gravitating towards? (For example, some people ONLY make &/or buy black & white art.)

If so, I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below! The more we chat about art & creativity, the more we feel liberated to develop our unique, one-of-a-kind creative voice ;-)



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