Rebecca Crowell has been a professional artist for thirty years, and is widely known for her innovative painting techniques involving cold wax medium and oils. She has taught these methods both in the US and internationally, and has recently published (with co-author Jerry McLaughlin) a comprehensive guide, Cold Wax Medium: Techniques, Concepts & Conversations (Squeegee press, Dec. 2016)
Rebecca Crowell is represented by fine art galleries in numerous US cities, including Chicago, Atlanta, Telluride, Colorado and Benicia, California) as well as in Dublin, Ireland. Her paintings are included in hundreds of private, public and corporate collections. She has been awarded ten artist residencies since 2001, in the US, Spain, Sweden and Ireland, and was recently commissioned by the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas,for five large paintings. In 2014 she was recognized by John Seed of the Huffington Post in his article, Ten Memorable Paintings of 2014. She holds an MFA in Painting (Arizona State University, 1985.) Rebecca and her husband divide their time between rural Wisconsin and northern New Mexico; she maintains (messy) studios in both locations. Please visit her website to view her work.
February 20th, 2021 | 32 mins 52 secs
advice, art, change, creativity, personal development, rebecca crowell
Many of go through times in our lives when we make radical changes—either by choice or because of something imposed on us by circumstance. But even if the big change is something, we want to make mixed feelings are inevitable and stressful as we let go of the old and step into the new. Big changes challenge the very idea of who we are and how we operate in the world. How can an art practice help us through a time when we either need --or want--to reinvent ourselves?
February 13th, 2021 | 33 mins 26 secs
art, creativity, daily art practice, habits, personal development, rebecca crowell, series
Working in series is usually an involved process in terms of both time and focus. Artists are often known for series that explore ideas in a sustained, deep way. But the intriguing aspects working in series can also happen in a quicker, more spontaneous way, with a new piece each day. Today we’ll look at working in series with a sketchbook, or using other small or quick formats, and explore how this can be an important part of an artist’s practice.
February 7th, 2021 | 37 mins 42 secs
abstraction, art, children's art, creativity, mark making, rebecca crowell, symbols
We all drew, painted, and made things out of playdough and construction paper as little children, in spontaneous and unselfconscious ways. Some of us retain those memories, and we may also have children or grandchildren whose artwork we love. The art of children affords an intriguing view of a very different way of seeing and thinking than we have as adults, and many abstract artists have found it a source of inspiration. Today we look at some special qualities of child art and how it may feed our abstract ideas.
January 31st, 2021 | 33 mins 12 secs
abstraction, art, creativity, fundamentals, rebecca crowell, symbolism, symbols
Abstract artists find many ways to bring meaning to their work. For some, this may be purely an investigation of color, line, or other elements. For others—it is the expression of emotion or evoking aspects of the visual world. Today we’re going to look at another powerful way that artists can bring meaning to abstraction—through the use of symbols, whether personal in origin or more universally recognized.
January 23rd, 2021 | 35 mins 17 secs
art decisions, creative process, creativity, finishing, messy studio, rebecca crowell
Every time we make a piece of art, we reach the point of deciding if it’s finished --yet as common as this moment is in studio life, it is often one of doubt and second-guessing. What are some meaningful criteria for when something is done? Are there questions to ask ourselves in declaring something finished? Do we have to finish everything, or is it OK to abandon certain pieces? Today we will look at this ordinary but complex process of deciding a work of art is done.
January 16th, 2021 | 43 mins 26 secs
Although most of us wish for success with our work and art careers, defining what that means is tricky, changeable, and very personal. Does success mean selling your work, recognition in the art world, or simply your own satisfaction with what you create? How do our ideas of success shift over time? Can we be satisfied with our current level of success or do we always want more? Today, as we look ahead to a new year, we’ll toss around some ideas about success and what it means for working artists.
January 9th, 2021 | 43 mins 46 secs
art, collaborations, creativity, interview, phyllis lasche, rebecca crowell
Rebecca interviews Phyllis Lasche about her artist collaboration project, Stone Soup!
January 3rd, 2021 | 38 mins 53 secs
2020, art, change, creativity, growth, learning, personal development, rebecca crowell, retrospective
At the end of 2020, we’re overloaded with reflections in the media about how society has navigated this strange and difficult pandemic year. On a personal level, we all have stories of struggles, loss, insights, and changes. Today we are especially interested in what this time has meant for us as artists. Last week, Rebecca posed the question to our listeners “How did 2020 impact your work?” and today on our first podcast of 2021, we’ll share some of the responses we received as well as our own thoughts.
December 26th, 2020 | 39 mins 25 secs
abstraction, art, color, creativity, emotion, fundamentals, line, rebecca crowell
Abstract artists are sometimes stereotyped as uninhibited people who slap paint down in direct response to strong emotion. But this idea is far from true and accurate. While many abstract painters do aim to express emotion and mood, their approaches vary widely --from spontaneous to highly controlled. And even the most intuitive artists need to thoughtfully consider their use of the visual elements and design principles. Today we will look at painting abstractly as an expression of emotion, mood, remembrance, or other states of mind.
December 19th, 2020 | 41 mins 49 secs
art, mindset, personal development, rebecca crowell, richard davidson, well being
Every so often, we like to address the ways that creativity and well-being intersect, and it seems appropriate to do so now as we come to the end of a very difficult and stressful year. In a recent seminar on Buddhist philosophy, neuroscientist Richard Davidson spoke about four pillars of well-being—awareness, connection, insight, and purpose—all of which are practiced every day in the studios of artists as part of the creative process. Today we’ll take a closer look at these ideas and consider how an art practice enhances a positive state of mind during stressful times.
December 12th, 2020 | 33 mins 8 secs
art, creativity, drawing, elements, fundamentals, line, mark making, rebecca crowell
Lines and marks in a work of art connect the viewer very directly with the hand of the artist. They can express individuality, add structure, and show evidence of the artist’s process. Perhaps because these visual elements can reveal so much, many artists are self-conscious about using them and when they do, the results can appear contrived, awkward, or random. How can we use lines and marks in purposeful ways that feel right to us? What might more intentional use of lines and marks bring to our work?
December 5th, 2020 | 41 mins 16 secs
appreciating art, art, art history, creativity, critique, other artists, rebecca crowell
As artists, we are also appreciators and often consumers of art. We not only buy and trade for art, we also study the art of others through art books, documentary films, exhibits, and lectures. What can we gain from looking deeply at the art of others?
November 28th, 2020 | 32 mins 9 secs
art, composition, creativity, fundamentals, practice, rebecca crowell, the wow factor
Words like “wow,” “stunning,” and “amazing” are music to the ears of many artists. We all create plenty of art that elicits no more than a passing glance or Instagram “like” and that’s fine—it’s part of the process. If we are making art constantly, what we make includes a range of qualities and ideas. But what is it about those special pieces that makes them stand out and really engage the viewer? What can we learn from them and what questions do they raise?
November 26th, 2020 | 33 mins 43 secs
art, creativity, gratitude, rebecca crowell, specials, thanksgiving
2020 has been a rough year so far for many of us. We don’t need to go into all the ways we’ve experienced anxiety, loss, and other struggles. But today, Thanksgiving Day in the US, is a good day to think about the things we are grateful for and have helped us make it through this difficult year. We’re going to share a few of our thoughts and also include some comments from listeners of the podcast.
November 21st, 2020 | 36 mins 45 secs
abstraction, art, creativity, rebecca crowell
Abstraction takes many forms for artists—from working with the visual elements for their own sakes to using emotion and mood as a starting point, to interpreting what they see in the world around them. Many artists combine these approaches to find their own personal voice in abstraction. Today we are going to examine the path favored by many artists who are inspired by the figure, the landscape, or other subjects in the visual world while avoiding literal depiction. What are some things to consider if this is your own direction, or intrigues you with its possibilities?
November 13th, 2020 | 39 mins 52 secs
advice, art, boundaries, creativity, personal development, rebecca crowell, rules, tradition
The limitations and parameters we place for ourselves in the studio can have both positive and negative effects on our work. Like so many aspects of art practice, the challenge is to find a personal balance that suits us—in this case somewhere between being too rigid and too scattered. What rules do we set for ourselves and how well do they serve us? Are there rules that we accept from other people that don’t suit us, personally? Can our own helpful boundaries shift over time?