I paint to find quiet space—space where the internal dialogues are silenced, where there is no sense of time. I search out that same space through meditation. It is difficult. Painting, meditating, and quieting my mind are among the hardest things I have ever done. But they are also powerful. Having control of our emotions and our mind is the most powerful thing humans can do. That kind of quiet, deep, powerful experience is what I try to create in my paintings.
My work is informed by the urban world of concrete, asphalt and steel, as well as by the decay, erosion and weathering of that environment. It is both austere in its minimalism, and intimate in its detailed textures, which invite close examination. The powerful, rough presence of these paintings is the result of intensive working and building up of many layers of paint, pigment, and cold wax medium, along with additives such as earth, sand, and ash.
My surfaces begin with visual commotion—color, words, numbers, and symbols—a chaos of recognizable things. But gradually, as the layers of complex texture evolve, I obscure them. Layer-by-layer, I quiet them. In the end, there are only hushed reverberations of any prior noise, silenced by neutrally toned, textured surfaces.
I choose my materials for the tactile experience I get working with them and for the textures they allow me to create: oil paint, pigments, and solvent—sand, ash, and dirt. A soft beeswax paste holds it all together. I use texture and surface as field.
January 21st, 2023 | 34 mins 48 secs
art, cold wax academy, community, creativity, jerry mclaughlin, rebecca crowell, technology
Art is primarily a solitary activity. Although some artists collaborate or share studios, most of us spend our time alone with our work and our thoughts, and we value that solitude. But art is also a form of communication, and other artists are often very savvy about understanding the work of others and connecting in that way is valuable. And who better to understand the ups and downs, the challenges and rewards of art life than another artist? Today Rebecca and Jerry discuss the benefits of being part of an artist community.
July 23rd, 2022 | 38 mins 17 secs
art, business, creativity, entrepreneurship, jerry mclaughlin, mexico, rebecca crowell
For many of us in the art world, making art is only part of what we do. The other big role most of us play, that of businessperson, can be one that comes less naturally. Many artists resist getting involved with art as a business, seeing it as something that dilutes creativity and true voice. At the same time, most of us get a lot of satisfaction from exhibiting our work and would like to be able to make a living doing what we really love, and it is gratifying to provide something that enriches the lives of fellow humans. Can we learn to see the business aspects of art in a more positive light, and bring to our art business the same skills we use in the studio?
October 31st, 2021 | 39 mins 46 secs
abstraction, art, book, cold wax academy, creativity, rebecca crowell, teaching, writing
A year ago, Rebecca and her teaching partner and co-author, Jerry McLaughlin embarked on a new project to meet the needs of artists during the time of Covid. With in-person workshops canceled, they turned to online teaching as a way to continue to offer instruction to artists interested in using cold wax medium and oils. Faced with this challenge of offering deep learning in a new format, Rebecca and Jerry developed a structured curriculum of online sessions for a worldwide audience of artists. Cold Wax Academy has evolved to be the leading online resource for mastery of both technical and artistic skills required for painting with cold wax medium.
March 27th, 2021 | 36 mins 15 secs
business, career, challenges, cold wax academy, jerry mclaughlin, painting, rebecca crowell, risks
As artists, we are often presented with situations that ask us to say “yes” to something that feels challenging or risky. This could be as small as the need to rework a painting to as large as agreeing to a major solo exhibit. Accepting any challenge requires a commitment and it may feel stressful, and bring on self-doubt. Yet successful artists always take some risks that lead to growth and new possibilities—in their careers and in the studio. Today Rebecca and her partner at Cold Wax Academy, Jerry McLaughlin, talk about why it is important to take on challenges and risks in your art practice--along with a few stories about their own related experiences.
Rebecca and Jerry recorded this episode on video as well as audio, so if you'd like to see the video version, please visit the Messy Studio Facebook page or the Cold wax Academy Facebook page. That’s www.facebook.com/messystudiopodcast or www.facebook.com/coldwaxacademy.
September 1st, 2019 | 31 mins 18 secs
art, italy, jerry mclaughlin, rebecca crowell, squeegee press, travel, video, workshops
Rebecca and Jerry discuss the process of making their video (Cold Wax Medium: A Video Workshop)--including behind the scenes stories, the challenges of being on camera, and their motivations and intentions for this huge project. This episode includes a discount coupon code if you wish to purchase the video.
August 25th, 2019 | 30 mins 32 secs
abstraction, art, influences, intentions, italy, rebecca crowell, travel
In a wide-ranging conversation during their recent workshop in Italy, Rebecca talks with Jerry about meaning in abstract painting. They discuss ways to approach abstraction, the desire to find imagery in non-referential art, the work of setting intentions, recognizing influences, and more.
May 25th, 2019 | 28 mins 54 secs
abstraction, art, greece, poetry, rebecca crowell, travel
Rebecca and Jerry McLaughlin discuss commonalities in poetry and abstract painting as well as how to approach poetry as inspiration in your own work.
May 18th, 2019 | 31 mins 25 secs
art, greece, perfectionism, rebecca crowell, travel
Rebecca and her partner at Squeegee Press Jerry McLaughlin, discuss both the pursuit of excellence in the studio and the pitfalls of perfectionsim in this episode (recorded on the Greek island of Skopelos).
December 1st, 2018 | 25 mins 36 secs
art, change, mexico, rebecca crowell, travel
Rebecca and Jerry McLaughlin talk about how the personal identities of artists can shift with changes in their lives and work.
April 7th, 2018 | 42 mins 28 secs
Rebecca chats with her co-author and business partner, Jerry McLaughlin, about cold wax, their work both as artists and entrepreneurs, and the future of Squeegee Press.