In the studio

In my studio: Celebrating wellness

I have really grown to love New Years. I used to find the ritual of staying up late and making resolutions that I probably wouldn't keep to be a bit underwhelming, but now I see it as a great way to look back and celebrate the blessings of the year, and renew my commitments to various practices.

 In my studio: Celebrating Wellness || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

With all that in mind, I got to spend much of New Years in my home studio working on collages. This mini-series is a celebration of the extra time we got to spend time together as a family and our hopes for the upcoming season! Hope you enjoy!

 Celebrating wellness || an abstract collage mini-series || Rachel Loewens Fine Art
 Celebrating wellness || an abstract collage mini-series || Rachel Loewens Fine Art
 Celebrating wellness || an abstract collage mini-series || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

 
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In my studio: Instagram catch up

 

It has been awhile since I've posted completed works here on my blog. After several months without a regular studio practice, I am again trying to establish a bit more of a routine in that area. With the weather being just SO COLD in Omaha, I am focusing more on painting so I don't have to go in and out of the house like I do with cyanotypes. 

 Instagram catch up || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

I've been breaking away from the color blue...

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and combining collage with painting...

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and then coming back to blue again!

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To stay up to date on my latest work, follow me here on Instagram


 

 

Don't miss out on my New Year, New You promotion with Young Living Essential Oils. Click here to find out how you can encourage wellness and eliminate chemicals in your home and save $20. Now through January 15th!



In my studio: Sunny December Cyanotypes

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I've taken advantage of this un-seasonably warm Omaha weather to start another mini-series of cyanotypes. The yupo paper had been prepped a few months ago and showed signs of being exposed already so i knew right away that I would be going over the prints with paint. 

 Sunny December Cyanotype || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

 Sunny December Cyanotypes || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

 Sunny December Cyanotypes || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

I employed an evergreen tree branch cut off from the bottom of my mother-in-law's Christmas tree for both the sun-print and acrylic paint layers. By keeping to a simple color palette, I was able to let the shape of the branch really shine!



 Sunny December Cyanotypes || Rachel Loewens Fine Art
 Sunny December Cyanotypes || Rachel Loewens Fine Art
 Sunny December Cyanotypes || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

I love how the branch keeps a record of the different colors I use along the way. It moves from being just a mark-making tool to a timeline of my process. 


 
Don't miss out on my New Year, New You promotion with Young Living Essential Oils. Click here to find out how you can encourage wellness and eliminate chemicals in your home and save $20. Now through January 15th!


What makes an ordinary week

(for further context, see last week's post Ordinary Time in My Studio

Lesson plan for history: To experience a “taste” of what life was like as a monk, prepare a typical “monk’s meal” for supper one night. You might like to pretend that it is Christmas, so you can have some butter on your bread!
 Pretty Pavlova || What makes an ordinary week || blog post || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

Me: "Since we are learning about Monks, we are going to make a bread like the kind they would have eaten. "
AJ: "Can't I make Mary Berry's Pavlova instead?"
Me: "I'm not sure we have enough eggs... "
AJ: " We only need six!" (proceeds to recite rest of recipe and directions)

Yeah, she won. 


This month, we are still figuring out what an ordinary week for us will look like this year. I was given some very wise counsel that co-teachers (homeschool moms) usually doesn't get their routine down until October so I know we have a few more weeks to get our stride. I'm still participating in the #PCJ30in30 Challenge on Instagram and am loving the process of observing one memory or moment of each day in a painting. 

 Chilly Sunday || #PCJ30in30 || Rachel Loewens Fine Art
 Pretty Pavlova || #PCJ30in30 || 8x8" acrylic on watercolor paper || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

Sometimes I know what I want to capture within the first few hours of the day, other times it takes until dinnertime. Either way, this practice is helping me focus on what little thing sets each day apart from the next (a tall order for someone who is big-picture minded).

 Raining sunshine || #PCJ30in30 || 6x8" || acrylics + paint pen on watercolor paper || Rachel Loewens
 Turning season sunset || #PCJ30in30 || 8x8" || acrylic paint on watercolor paper || Rachel Loewens

To stay up to date on this challenge follow me on Instagram



Ordinary time in my studio

 Ordinary time in my studio || Rachel Loewens

I just finished the book Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren, and it was really amazing. One of the moms at my daughter's school gave this whole presentation on establishing rhythms of liturgy in everyday life, and I felt like it brought deeper meaning to some of the practices my family tries to observe. Something that was new to me was this idea of Ordinary Time. Ordinary Time takes place two times a year, generally January-February and then again June-November (more info here and here).

The word "ordinary" is referring to both a counting of days (ordinal) and to a simpler season between times of the year filled with extraordinary amounts of celebration. The second meaning is what I'm taking comfort in right now. My summer was just so full of good, fun things that I feel like I'm trying to catch up with just ordinary time at home and in my studio. 

 Road trip across Nebraska || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

 

The #PCJ30in30 challenge on Instagram by Amira Rahim is really helping me to get back in the swing of ordinary life practices. I'm aiming to have each piece tell something about the day that it was created: the weather, an experience, a memory with my family. 

 Pulling and printing with ornamental grass || Ordinary Time in my studio || Rachel Loewens Fine Art
 Raining sunshine || Ordinary Time in my studio || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

To stay up to date with this challenge, you can find me over on Instagram as RachelLoewens!



30 days, 30 pieces of art

We survived our first week of school, and I forgot just how much I love our fall routine. Drop off, errands, and the afternoon to spend working on projects before pick up or lesson time, symposium with all the kids, lunch and the conclusion of lessons before nap/ dinner prep time. Dividing our time between at home lesson days and at school lesson days keeps things from feeling monotonous. 

 30 days, 30 days of art || Rachel Loewens || Fine Art || Omaha, NE

Now that we are getting back into our groove, I've been itching for a bit of accountability with my studio time. Another mom at my daughter's school is doing a #100childhoodstoriesproject on Instagram (go check out Oana Befort's AMAZING work) which got me thinking about trying to do a smaller daily challenge to reestablish my art practice. That's when I heard about the #PCJ30in30 challenge Amira Rahim is hosting during the month of September. Thirty days sounds just about right!

I am really good at coming up with grand plans for things but often get stuck in the first few days of a new venture. Making a mini "look book" of colors, marks, and shape inspiration to get things going often helps me start a new collection so I'm going to try the same with this challenge. 

 30 days, 30 days of art || Rachel Loewens || Fine Art || Omaha, NE

 

Follow me along HERE to see my (hopefully) daily posts beginning September 1!


The return of Sun printing

 The Return of Sun Printing || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

Alas, I am not yet back to 100% but am doing well enough to work in my garden and outdoor studio (my back porch)  a little bit.  A few years back my husband and I transplanted some ornament grass from my mom's garden to ours because we thought it would add some nice height to our perennial bed. At the time, we did not realize how much more sunshine our garden received so the grass grew more like a weed and began choking out other flowers. Not good!

 The Return of Sun Printing || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

 

So this year we've decided to get rid of it once and for all! So far, only one shovel has been completely broken and another is not in the best shape. My husband had to use a crow bar and hammer to get one of the clumps out, and I am continuing to work on the last two. At this rate, it might be July before we're done but it will be so nice to have that off of the checklist!

With all this unwanted plant life piling up on my porch, I find myself again making sun prints with these cast off bits. Kinda like my Winter Garden series but still a bit different. 

There is just such a creative freedom that comes when you don't view your supplies as precious, and there is nothing less precious than weeds or, in this case, clumps of grass destined to go in the yard waste bin. 

 The Return of Sun Printing || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

 The Return of Sun Printing || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

 
 Cyanotype closeup || Rachel Loewens Fine Art || Omaha, NE
 Cyanotype closeup || Rachel Loewens Fine Art || Omaha, NE
 
“Before you dismiss any gift as worthless, look again because it may just contain hidden treasure.”  ― Rejoice Denhere, Trash to Treasure

Roadside foraging

So there I am, just driving down my street after a fairly conflict-free trip to the grocery store with my littles when, bam! I see this amazing flower/weed growing in the yard of an abandoned house on my block. 

 Tragopogon || Roadside Foraging || Rachel Loewens Fine Art

I mean, amazing right? Like a ginormous dandelion! Thanks to some help from someone on Instagram, I was able to find out that it is a Tragopogon (possibly Tragopogon dubius) and is indeed a weed. 

Now, the gardener in me hates weeds, but my printmaker sides loves them!! I don't have to be precious with them while I try out different ways of using them in my art because they will grow back in abundance. 

 Tragopogon || Roadside Foraging || Rachel Loewens Fine Art
 
 Tragopogon cyanotype || abstract print by Rachel Loewens
 

I've had a few days to play with them with cyanotypes, but not yet with acrylics. Fingers crossed the lawn they are growing in doesn't get mowed anytime soon!!

 Roadside Foraging || Rachel Loewens Fine Art