Archives for posts with tag: works in progress

There has been plenty of work happening in the studio this past month. It’s always reassuring when the work gets into a bad place and then I eventually can get it out. Some works often have to be taken apart, painted over, or partially destroyed in order to move forward, but I have accepted this as part of the process. Both 328 (60 x 24 inches) and Witnesses (48 x 30 inches) below have gone through several lives and are finally settling into themselves. Balloons at Night (30 x 22 inches) always knew what it would be -and that happens sometimes too. All of the works below are still in progress.

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I’ve been busy in the past months making plenty of work and finally getting my studio site up and running. Check it out at

I’ve continued with the wood pieces that I started making in February, and they have lead to other work of course. After a trip to Lima, I returned home to find that most of my work has been dealing with density and space. Here is a little slideshow showing the work in progress in the studio right now:

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I have been picking up wood in my neighborhood – in the street, in the park. Wood that appeals to me is both organic (retaining some of it’s natural properties) and changed by human hands. These pieces are from a tree that was cut down with a chain saw in a park by my house. I found them both beautiful and fearsome – aggressive and small.

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approximately 6 x 10 x 3 inches

Yesterday I spent some time looking at work by Joan Mitchell, Franz Kline, Grace Hartigan and others – and then started this piece. Things have felt a little tight in the studio lately – could be the lack of critique, the smaller work, or myself being a little tense. I needed to loosen up a bit with the work so I just started to make something – not allowing myself to attach too much thought. I find that the work still has a more fresh feel if I don’t over plan. Over planning just causes issue — a flattening of an idea usually. So I have no idea what this will do – I am excited about the green… as it isn’t a usual color in my palette.

Witnesses by Heather Riley

Witnesses (Work in Progress)
Paper, graphite, chalk, acrylic and oil on paper
45 x 30.5 inches

Another piece affected by the land of the southwest – along with the consequences of a shifting relationship in my life. It is essentially about grief and loss, but with a wide open space to move into. I’m only in the 3rd or 4th layer, so this is just beginning.

Blue Beneath by Heather Riley

Blue Beneath (work in progress)
Oil on canvas
23.5 x 30 inches

These two panels started with collage on an acrylic wash background that I like to work on. From there I got into scraping paint on them with a palette knife – next I will be drawing back into them, painting more into them as well. They are in the beginning stages so stay tuned…

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Stoplights at Dusk
Paper, graphite, acrylic and oil on wood panels
20 x 32 inches (diptych)

My works continue to be about cities, objects and belonging to those spaces. This piece is in the middle ground of progress for now – I’m not as sure where it will go — I am just trying to not get too busy with it — to micro. I find myself between to warring sides – space and full. I like this dichotomy in the work… the trick is to know when to stop. It seems that’s always the trick.

Smokey City by Heather Riley, local Philadelphia Artist

Smokey City
charcoal, graphite, glued paper, acrylic and oil on paper
41 x 22.5 inches

In the past when I have visited other artist’s studios where the space is much larger than my studio space, I was amazed by how each artist had several work areas with different projects happening all at the same time. But now I think I get why. My studio is all a flutter with much to do these days… I find myself starting new pieces in the midst of working on others, reading, writing, sketching, thinking. The space is working out great – my ideas run into each other and work off of each other. I have been working mostly in oil paints, but always mix my media up, one just isn’t enough for me most of the time. There is more drawing, more writing, and more incorporation of found objects – along with new media like block prints. I am never bored here…

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