New Tornado Paintings

"Tornado with Debris Cloud, version 2" Encaustic on Baltic Birch 10" x 10" x 2" © 2010 Marilyn Fenn
“Tornado with Debris Cloud, version 2″ Encaustic on Baltic Birch 10″ x 10″ x 2” © 2010 Marilyn Fenn

I have completed two new tornado paintings; one was the one I started a few weeks ago while being interviewed for a Weather Channel segment about my tornado paintings.  It’s changed a lot since it was filmed in progress (final version above; first version below).

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Interview with the Weather Channel

“Most storm chasers use a camera.”

— a guest at one of my studio tours

I have some exciting news! I was interviewed last week by the Weather Channel. They plan to air a little feature on my paintings of tornadoes sometime in April at the start of tornado season. The local cameraman who works for TWC came to my house/studio, set up lights and interviewed me about my paintings and why I paint tornadoes, and also shot footage of me starting a new tornado painting to demonstrate my process.

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My Art Featured on the ArtBizBlog

"Tornado - Ames, IA - March 30, 2006" Encaustic on Masonite 8" x 10" © 2007 Marilyn Fenn
“Tornado – Ames, IA – March 30, 2006″ Encaustic on Masonite 8″ x 10” © 2007 Marilyn Fenn

I’m pleased to announce that Alyson Stanfield, art marketing consultant, workshop leader, and author of “I’d Rather Be in the Studio!” has selected one of my tornado paintings for her Deep Thought Thursday blog.  See my art, read her post, and add your comment at ArtBizBlog.


East Austin Studio Tour 2007

East Austin Studio Tour 2007

The tour this year was great. Even with a little rain on Saturday, over 110 people did make it to my little home studio for the tour. I believe most of the people who came had specifically picked out my work to come see. Considering there were about 210 artists and over 100 studios on the tour this year — and that my studio is not located in the thick of East Austin — I’m very happy that many people managed to make it here.

People loved my color, loved the new abstracts, and the poppy paintings were extremely popular. I had to deliver the originals of the poppy paintings to Artspoken Gallery on Friday for the 12×12 show coming up in 2 weeks, but I had made some full-size Giclee prints of them, and archivally mounted the prints on cradled gesso board, so they served as an excellent stand-in for the originals.

The tornado series was quite popular as well. One of the guests asked if I had painted them on location, En Plein Aire(!). Ha! I wish. But I’d have to paint really fast! 🙂

One darling young man who was among the crowd late on Sunday said he’d been to so many studios with dark work, he really wanted to end his day on a happy note, and so came here.

I think the only downside to doing the tour is that I can’t go ON the tour! I would so love to have been able to visit so many of the other artists’ studios.

First Atomic Bomb Tested on This Day in 1945

"Atomic Bomb Buster Jangle Charlie" encaustic on masonite 10" x 8" © 2007 Marilyn Fenn
“Atomic Bomb Buster Jangle Charlie” encaustic on masonite 10″ x 8″ © 2007 Marilyn Fenn

I suppose that sounds more like a political statement than one on art, but as I’m working on a large series of paintings of nuclear bombs, it really is a statement about my art.

I envision painting about 100 paintings of nuclear bombs, which would be just a drop in the bucket compared to how many nuclear bombs exist on our planet today.

OK, so it’s a little political, too, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

There is both a power and a beauty in the fractal qualities of the cloud-like forms of nuclear bombs — and hurricanes and tornadoes — that fascinates me.  They make a great subject for painting my small encaustic paintings that aim to straddle the space between abstraction and representation.  My goal is to paint really beautiful paintings, even if they are of troubling subjects — maybe especially if they are of troubling subjects — in the hope that the viewer can see past the scariness of the bombs, tornadoes and hurricanes, and see the beauty of the paint.

For me, these paintings are paint first, and images second.   Take a look at my small beginning paintings, and stay tuned for more to come.

New Work: Mega Tornado!

"Tornado - Stoughton, WI - August 18, 2006” Encaustic on Masonite 8″ x 10″ © 2007 Marilyn Fenn
“Tornado – Stoughton, WI – August 18, 2006” Encaustic on Masonite 8″ x 10″ © 2007 Marilyn Fenn

I actually started this one prior to the one in the previous post (below). This was the first of the tornado paintings painted into a rough and very absorbent watercolor paper mounted on Masonite.

This is also one of those paintings that was rockin’ in a way after my initial painting session, but one tiny area wasn’t quite right, and in changing that area, I ended up changing and repainting pretty much the entire painting several times before arriving at this. In the initial painting, the wax had soaked deeply into the watercolor paper in a fascinating, beautiful, and unexpected way, and so looked far more like a slightly shiny watercolor painting than like my other encaustics.

So I discovered yet another way to work with encaustics. I love it and hope to retain that sense of watercolor-y patchiness in a future painting (that effect did not quite survive the several re-paintings).

New Work: Tornado Over a Lake

“Tornado - Big Pine Key, FL - April 14, 2005” Encaustic on Masonite 8″ x 10″ © 2007 Marilyn Fenn
“Tornado – Big Pine Key, FL – April 14, 2005” Encaustic on Masonite 8″ x 10″ © 2007 Marilyn Fenn

You can see I’ve gotten comfortable with the encaustic process again, as this little painting (which I love), has gotten more away from abstraction than the three previous ones (below).

This one was painted into rough watercolor paper mounted on masonite.  This paper really soaks up a lot of the wax paint, so many more layers were required to achieve the effect I was looking for.