Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New painting "The Shortcut"

Here is another tiny painting sketch (3x3) that I think came out kind of nice. It is very quick and I didn't overdo it, which is good. It is another abstract map from memory-- a map on how to get to Spaceland from my old apartment by walking through the hills. I'm working on some large pieces like this now but I am having trouble keeping my artistic decisions clean and concise and so the paintings are getting muddy and globby. I didn't go to the studio yesterday because I didn't even want to look at them again. Today I'll have to go and face them and decide what to do-- I need to bring them back to life somehow. Blurg.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

you exhale somewhere in a field

"you exhale somewhere in a field," by land and cinders

I saw the photo of this and had to share, it tickles my imagination...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Birds of Paradise (two)

I like to make my tiny paintings in pairs. Because when (if) I sell them people like to buy in pairs. So here is the second Bird of Paradise looking abstract sketch. Again 3x3 inches. I've been cranking these out this week, there very fun. And something about painting on cheapo canvas board is great-- I get less precious and don't worry if my painting doesn't turn out because I didn't invest as much prep time. However when they come out good I feel a bit sad that I didn't make it on a canvas. I like canvas better-- however I'm picky and I hate pre-stretched canvas becuase it's always stretched so poorly. Canvas board doesn't have the ripples so it is a better short-cut surface. At some point soon I'm going to have to go buy some stretcher bars (by the box of course) and spend a whole week prepping 30 tiny canvases to my own high standards so I can be both prolific and more archival.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Birds of Paradise

Oh, the birds of paradise
Came to me yesterday
Laughed when they told me my fate
We'd be cold, we'd be tired, but we could breathe
And one day I'm gonna leave this place

~Basia Bulat, Birds of Paradise

I originally intended to use different colors but they came out different, maybe better. This started as a painting of a map of Sunset Junction (Silver Lake, LA) and evolved into what looks like an abstract fractured Bird of Paradise flower. It's probably the color that has me making that connection. This is a very quick painting, and very small. 3x3 inches, under an hour. I think it's my favorite right now, I think I'll keep doing things like this for a little while.

Monday, March 23, 2009

In the studio with new paintings...

My studio, interior
Originally uploaded by Bekka Teerlink
Here's a view of my studio. I'm just getting started on some new pieces so it's a little bland. I'm working on some small painting sketches on canvas board. They're studies for larger pieces I might make. They're abstract pieces because I had the urge to do something completely different. I've never painted abstract before so it's very scary territory for me. But I wanted a challenge myself and take a risk. I don't really know how to go about starting an abstract piece. It seems so difficult to decide where to put the colors when I'm not painting a precise picture of a thing. Even if I am abstracting from some thing-- I don't know how to approach it. But somehow this weekend I decided that abstract art needed as much (or more) thought and preparation than observational art. So I started sketches followed by painting studies followed by more sketchings and thinking and staring. Eventually I suppose I'll get to painting the real paintings. And when I start I feel less nervous and will know where to put the paint. Maybe the paintings will turn out good, and if not, learning from a challenge and getting outside repetition and comfort will be a welcome freedom.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Silver Lake

Silver Lake
Originally uploaded by Bekka Teerlink
However I feel like I'm out on a limb by not drawing something observational-- like drawing things like this are somewhat silly. Though that feeling sometimes means I am doing something right. I'm thinking of doing some in oil just to see what happens. (This one is colored pencil and acrylic paint out of my sketchbook.) But I don't know if I could do abstract paintingse exclusively because it only satisfies part of what drives me to create art. Sometimes I feel like I'm two different artist in one body-- an old fashioned observational artist and a (budding) abstract artist. I wish I could combine them somehow but I can't seem reconcile the extremes.

View past map drawings:

the streets run like the lines on my palm
Eight Years in LA, A Portrait

Monday, March 16, 2009



It was very warm Sunday which meant I could go outside to paint wearing just a T-shirt while there was still some snow on the ground. So here is an 8x10 quick sketch (3 hrs) of an area near my house. It does not look the way I wanted it to. I wanted it to be less detailed and more gestural with better lines and composition. But I got hung up painting the trees instead of the forest. But it's a start. Last time I went through a lanscape phase it took 6 months to work through getting hung up on detail to get to the point where I could just throw a mark down and not question or correct it. Perhaps when I do my next one I'll give myself a time limit (1 hr?) and see what happens. Often my paintings are fresher in the beginning and sometimes I just over work them and they loose the spontaneity. The good part of this painting is that I was much more generous with paint than usual. Usually I use very thin washes. Though I'm not used to painting all in one go so I don't know how to think several steps ahead as I work. Here's a photo of the spot:

Photo of the same location

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dark eyes, Sunny Days

Dark eyes
Originally uploaded by Bekka Teerlink
This girl had one of those faces that is just dramatic. I tried hard to capture it and I think it came out a bit labored and not as fresh feeling as I had hoped. But I got her basic essence-- dramatic eyes and eyebrows, dark hair, and a headband that offsets it in an almost playful way.

This weekend I am hoping to get a new series of paintings started-- but I may just start planning them and getting reference together for them. I need to also do some sketching. Sunday's weather will be good so maybe I'll bike somewhere and do some outdoor sketching/painting. I never considered myself good at landscapes, but since I have moved I feel like I need to paint landsdcapes outdoors to feel more connected here. There's a cranberry bog and a farm nearby I could paint. I'm glad the weather is getting better so I have more options than staying cooped up inside.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Slightly nerdy...

Slightly nerdy...
Originally uploaded by Bekka Teerlink
...in a good way with the high-impact glasses. He would look like a totally different person with a different pair.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Woman with curly hair

I suppose this is not a terribly flattering portrait of this woman-- however sometimes outside influences creep into a drawing. The light was kind of sickly yellow here, and even though she was nice looking-- the light made her look old and weathered. I also was overly fascinated by the shape of her hair and how it created a wild dark halo and blended into her shoulders. I was more intrigued by those details than drawing an accurate portrait. So this turned more into caricature.

In other news, I'm off to my new studio today. But I'm not doing anything terribly creative-- mainly moving in and organizing my little area. I probably won't touch a brush until this weekend. I must buy some supplies since I gave away any painting supplies that would have broken and created havoc if the movers chose to toss my boxes around. So I have no turpentine or mediums. But that is easily remedied and I'll be happily painting very soon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Seated Girl

Seated Girl
Originally uploaded by Bekka Teerlink
Here's another cafe sketch. This is another case where I wish I had paint on hand instead of pencil. The light was falling nicely on her and she had pale white skin, dark hair, and icy blue eyes. It would have made a nice little painting sketch. But I just had 5 minutes to sketch her and then she left the cafe.

Monday, March 09, 2009

the most beautiful picture in the world (to me)

This is my new studio space! As of today! It isn't much to look at but out of this gray shack will come many new paintings.

It's probably irresponsible to rent studio space with my unemployment check. But it absolutely had to be done.

(My sister says Van Gogh would've done the same. She would know, I gave her Van Gogh's letters for Christmas and she's read it and, because she has the amazing ability to remember every word she reads, quotes it back to me regularly. But I told her to be careful about encouraging me to follow Van Gogh's particular career path because then I would expect her to support me financially while I paint. Luckily I'm more self-sufficient than Van Gogh, and my lack of steady employment will work itself out eventually.)

But I'm very excited about having some small bit of studio space since I've been trapped in my family's house for 5 months far away from everything and everybody. The studio is in Somerville in a perfect location. I'll be able to meet people, get of the house, look for a day job, and paint all at the same time. It put me in such a good mood I was able to land some freelance work for the week.

Friday, March 06, 2009

This is very old, from High School actually

Being back in MA means I get to see artwork I did ages ago. Back when my parents were still trying to frame everything I made (they gave up by college.) I did this piece when I was 17ish when I was a senior in high school. I never really painted before this so this really where I began. It's still one of my favorite paintings. Old pieces like this remind me why I wanted to paint in the first place. Lately I've been questioning the direction my painting has been going-- and looking at this piece makes me want to go back to the beginning and start over. Early on I just wanted to paint people-- interesting people in unique moments. I was always drawn to different non-traditional poses, angles, faces. I want to go back to painting people, just people. I just need some people to paint. Anybody game?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

757 Massachusetts Avenue

I love cafes. Probably because I spend too much time indoors painting alone. Drawing in cafes gives me a reason to go outside and also provides people to watch and draw. However there are no good cafes immediately near me. I don't even think there is a Starbucks. So I've been trying cafes in to Somerville and Cambridge. (That's where I plan to move, as soon as I am able.) But it's 30 miles away so cafes are more of a rare treat these days than a habit. This one had good tea (very important) but a bad floor layout. It was shaped like a railroad car and there weren't many good places to sit and draw from a good angle. But so far it is my favorite cafe. Because the tea was good and the people interesting. I just wish I could sit where I could see them.

In other news, you may have noticed my website has been down for a few days. It was a DNS server issue that I don't completely understand, but it is fixed now. So visit. Also if you're on facebook, I created Bekka Teerlink page. So become a fan!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Man in a Straw Hat

Man in a Straw Hat
Originally uploaded by Bekka Teerlink
I was going to post a painting today. However I wrecked it in a fit of anger. I am trying to paint in acrylics, except I hate acrylics it turns out. And when they don't behave I try to beat them into submission. Which results in destruction. Acrylics just can't take a beating like oils do. And I can't paint with oils in my parents house due to ventilation & risk of explosions. So I must learn to control my anger when a painting isn't working. For today I'll just post a sketch of a man I saw in a cafe. He looked like Daniel Day Lewis from the front but I didn't get to draw that view. He had a very striking presence even though he was just reading a paper. How one would imagine Daniel Day Lewis off screen.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Originally uploaded by Bekka Teerlink
This started as an alternate version of the figure for the collage I did yesterday but it turned into it's own finished art piece. I was aimed to do something more finished and less messy mixed media looking. The figure was hand drawn in pencil, and colored digitally. The background is made up of digitally manipulated photos.

Monday, March 02, 2009

i made this today.

i made this today.
Originally uploaded by Bekka Teerlink
This was all done digitally, except the outline of the woman which I drew by hand and a few other elements sprinkled throughout the layers. I'm having fun with photoshop, but I hate that I don't have an actual art object to handle. Even if I print it out it will be flat like a photo and have no texture. If I did print it out I would add texture with some sort of acrylic medium or something probably. Or mount behind very thick plexi or resin to make it jewel like. I'm going back to working with my hands next though. I can handle computer screens for only so long....