Small Works; beeswax and all

Driving is a must for the annual “art-camp” adventure. The morning I was leaving my husband was helping load my suitcase and tiny cooler only to discover very little space was left due to the amount of art supplies I had packed the day before… I told him that if for some reason I didn’t make it to the mountains that I could always open an art supply store instead. I drive a Suburban. It holds a lot!

I’m happy to report I did arrive safely for my week of fresh mountain air and creativity! Several days I spent 14 hours in the studio… and by day 3 the creative juices were flowing. I tend to work on a smaller scale when I’m out of my studio due to both space restraints and a desire to experiment with new materials, techniques and ideas.

Some themes definitely repeat in my artwork over the years… I LOVE moon and stars, hearts and vessels. All of the small artworks I did at my workshop use beeswax as either the final layer or as the “glue” in multiple layers. Working with beeswax requires specific techniques for both safety and archival properties. I love challenges and problem solving in my art so I love working with beeswax.

I brought most of my materials back with me… I shared some things with my fellow artists and as always with workshops, lots of creative information and inspiration is exchanged. Most artists love to share techniques and resources… there is so much to try!

 

 

 

Preparing for Inspired Results

I LOVE to escape into creativity!  it’s why I named my studio “artescape ” Lol. Escape…  Lately… Not a, chance!  I’m sitting at my studio this morning, oh so briefly, wondering when in the world I’m going to spend 3, 4 hours… the whole day, making art! Everything (nothing fun) lately has prevented that from occurring. Sometime or another, life is overwhelming, everything sort of stinks…  Reflecting back to the 80’s of my young adulthood… it’s like Roseanne Roseannadanna says: “like I always say, it’s always something, if it’s not one thing it’s another “.

I’ve decided to embrace preparing for those glorious opportunities to be free,  to be creative! So I’ve been painting papers, again. It’s amazing how much painted paper one needs to create a large mixed media piece, like a cow or a goat or a sea turtle. A lot! So when I don’t have time to fully escape, I enjoy playing around with my art stuff. Paint, rollers, stencils and paper, along with a fairly clean table (sometimes the floor) and I’m happy.  It’s wonderful to turn on some music and just start painting with nothing particular in mind.

Like a lot of creative people, I’m messy… so every so often, when I’m spending too much time looking for the one thing I need but can’t find,  I stop what I’m doing and organize to some degree. This is another way of preparing for future creative opportunities. I find that “thing” that I saved or a scrap of something I painted a while back, and ooooh, it leads to spotting another bit of something that is so perfectly paired with the first thing and so it goes. I start little piles of gathered items and eventually, they will be used together to create a piece of art, like the 2 square pieces in the photo below. (Works in progress) Just imagining the possibilities… I feel better already. Preparing can be creative and often times more enjoyable than finishing a piece of art. Soon, very soon, you’ll find me at my studio :)

 

Pinky and Sophie

They didn’t stick around long… Pinky and Sophie both sold at the Melbourne Art Festival last weekend. It was fun to work with the animal theme… especially farm animals. I also loved the bright and cheerful color palette and plan to do a few more pieces to add to the “collection”.

Chickens are a favorite… such personalities, and oh my, thinking donkey :) such sweet faces. Thanks to all for your encouragement and nice comments! Parting with art is not always easy, but seeing other people excited and smiling about my art makes all the effort worthwhile.

 

Color of Spring

Over the past year or so, I’ve done quite a few artworks depicting the night… I do LOVE the moon, moonlight and animals that come out at night. The newest pieces I have started have a much brighter daytime palette. It’s nice to get back to some lovely blues, greens, pinks and yellows. I make art that makes me happy… that’s really important to me. These are playful and fun, and explore the amazing imagination of our Creator! I’m thankful to have the opportunity creatively share my vision of the world we live in. There is magic to be seen… everywhere.

While I’m trying to wait patiently to welcome an actual goat to my family… I decided to paint/collage one — not that I’m planning to get a cow too, but she needed a friend. Next…a flock of chickens. I’m working on some sketches :)

 

 

If all goes well… Sophie and Pinky will make their debut at the Melbourne Art Festival (Booth A 185) April 27th and 28th.  (18″ x 24″ mixed media on cradled board. )

Bon Appetit

I can’t believe it’s been soooo long since I last posted. So much art… and life,  has happened in the last year. I’m going to try and fill in a lot of blanks, but for now, I ‘m getting ready for the Melbourne Art Festival next weekend and recently finished 3 new pieces for “Bon Appetit”, a show at Fifth Avenue Art Gallery, here in Melbourne, Fl.

These pieces are a combination of acrylic paint and collage. The multi artist show, Bon Appetit, celebrates food… mostly nice looking (pretty) food. I had a lot of fun with these and think they would make a nice addition to any kitchen or dining area :)

The show at the gallery ends next Saturday (4/27/2019)… so I will bring them to the Melbourne Art Festival to add to my tent, on Sunday.

Prints and greeting cards are available. Here

 

Working with Teenagers

 

I just finished my “residency” in Dr. Susan West’s classroom at Viera High School. 7 days, 150 students, 5 classes, lots and lots of paint, paper and glue. The plan was for me to teach my mixed-media technique of painting paper and creating a collage incorporating the paper and acrylic paint.

Day one: First of all… school starts early! I’m not really a “morning person” but managed to organize myself and wake up early to get to school on time each day. Time is limited! By the time I explained a little about myself, showed some examples of my work and talked about the project… the bell would ring. Wow… how in the world can we make this project happen within the 2 week plan.

Day two: I went home day one after 5 classes seriously considering a nap. Today was our project start day. I explained the process of painting layers of pattern on paper to provide for materials for collaging. Dr West had pre-cut their work surfaces (watercolor paper) to size. They decided on their subject choosing from a variety of Florida wildlife, sea-life or flora. They sketched 2 thumbnails of their chosen subject in their notebooks.

Day three: Today they prepared their background papers by deciding on their palette to contrast their background and foreground. They applied washes of acrylic to their backgrounds.

Day four: Finally… today we paint paper! Some of them really didn’t understand the necessity of these papers. My instructions were to just layer pattern in paint, fill up the paper eliminating the majority of white. Paint 3 to 5 pieces. We switched from paint brushes to small roller to speed up this part of the process. 30+ students in each class, with rollers and trays and lots of paint… I loved it!

Day five: Some of the students thanked me for coming to their class and teaching them. I really was enjoying this. Most of the students were on board with the project, making changes, thinking forward and being very creative. A few were avoiding eye contact with me… lol. I loved talking with them about their artwork. “Tell me about this”, “and why are you painting a green piece of paper with green paint and your animal is going to be green”?

Day six: We are painting paper and gluing and changing backgrounds. They are realizing now why they needed 5 pieces of painted paper in their different palette colors. It’s quiet. They are really engrossed in their projects.

Day seven: My last day. The goal was to continue with collaging the subject, adding collage elements to the background, correcting, refining etc. They had been required as part of their lesson plan to submit questions pertaining to being an artist, art education, art marketing etc. So today I answered some of the questions while they were cleaning up their spaces. Dr. West also emailed me a list of questions which I answered. They will be using those answers to write an article about the experience of having me work with them as an artist in residence.

They are still working on their projects… for a few more day. A lot of the artwork I saw them producing was excellent! I cannot wait to see all the completed projects. It was so interesting, getting to know them. They had very distinct personalities but were all pleasant and welcoming to me.  I enjoyed working with them and talking with them each day.

I applaud you teachers! So many requirements, restraints… I can also see the appeal of teaching. You have such an impact on young lives.

 

The process took me several years to develop with lots of trial and error. It’s not a one-step thing.

ps.

1. Thanks to the bubbly, positive, kind girl in period one that ask everyone how they were, complimented their outfit and just cheered everyone on, every morning.

2. Thank you to the quiet young woman at the first table on the left who thanked me several times for coming to teach and share my art and helping her with her project.

3. Thank you to the young man doing the turtle who I didn’t think was at all interested in the project because he was working so slow. Thank you for coming up and asking me if I was returning this week to work with the class.

4. Thanks to Dr. West for inviting to come.

 

Artist In Residence

I’ve been in my studio this week doing a little sorting and exploring and remembering. I used to be so good with names and memory recall… Not so good anymore. I’m leaning on the theory that highly intelligent, creative thinkers brains prioritize memories to best utilize brain function… something like that :) lol, I can’t quite remember.

I’m going to be the Artist in Residence at Viera High School, here in Brevard County next week and have been thinking about my current creative processes. With 24 years as a practicing artist there are a lot of experiences, workshops, materials and creative exploration that have brought me to where I am now. This will be an important message to share with young artists. Experience and exploration is just as important as profiency in specific techniques. I love teaching… sharing information and my personal experiences. My number one goal is to express the excitement of living a life that values the beauty and wonder of everyday.

Good Stuff to Share

  • The “Golden Mean” and why it is so “golden” thanks Greg Grant for the best introduction into art!
  • thin darks, thick light, thin darks, thick lights… thanks to Greg Grant for repeating that over and over. I say it at least twice in my painting class every week.
  • limited palette… mix your own colors
  • create obstacles to explore and conquer!
  • we are not re-creating a photograph, we are creating an illusion of the image with paint, paper, charcoal etc.
  • layer, layer and layer some more… then start your composition
  • paint 100 paintings of something… then you will start to understand that thing… paraphrased but one of my favorites from teacher Frits van Eeden.
  • Don’t be afraid to show people… artists, art snobs, your mod podge! Or your foam plates. Mod Podge is archival. Use new stuff and old stuff and never before stuff…but less talk, more play please. If you are talking about paint colors or if an isolation coat is necessary… you are not in your “right brain”.
  • Don’t get attached before the 5th layer! As soon as you LOVE something you’re working on, fear of “messing up” can kick in. Try to discourage that for as long as possible!

Wish me luck… my husband says to “be on guard, don’t show any weaknesses or they will devour me”. I say, “these are budding artists, we are all sensitive, emotional, expressive people… we speak the same language”.

Updates to follow!

Remembering

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The flag project

Every November I participate in an art show in my town, called Artworks. This show requires the participants to demonstrate their art techniques to inform and engage the art lovers that attend. Personally, I like the interaction with an audience and enjoy sharing knowledge about my craft. This year’s Artworks festival was a short time after Veterans Day and it inspired me to do a collaborative piece creating the American flag in collage. I invited show patrons to make a small piece that would be a part of the large collage. I had prepared precut paper in red white and blue and each participant could collage and paint their small piece and choose a location to place it on the flag layout. 

I had a lot of helpers stop by to make a piece to add to the flag… Young and old, girls and guys. It was very exciting to see it take shape. The “volunteer artists” really enjoyed picking the perfect spot to add their masterpieces. Several days before the art festival I did a little research on veterans organizations in my area. NVHS National Veterans Homeless Support is a non profit organization with a mission to support homeless veterans in Central Florida with transitional housing, PTSD awareness, seasonal support and more. The  proceeds from the sale of the finished artwork will be donated to Port St John chapter of NVHS. 

 I’m back to work on the flag… Still creating small collages to fill in the empty spots and collaging and painting the border. I really love how it’s looking! A big thank you everyone that helped with it…  making it even more special. There are a few veterans names along with a surprise maple leaf (the Canadian flag) included… It all works. A great BIG THANK YOU to all the veterans that served and risked their lives to ensure Liberty for all their fellow Americans… especially those near to my heart :)  my dad, my father in law, my brother, my grandfather and my uncles.

If you are interested in owning an original artwork of the American flag for your home or office contact me! It will be finished soon.

Selfie

It’s been a busy summer! I like a good thing when I find it… and 16 years ago I heard about a wonderful place to go to in July (when it soooo hot in Florida), up in the mountains of North Carolina and make art.

For the last 16 years, minus the summer I broke my leg, and last summer leaving early, I have spent a week at Wildacres, NC with the continuing education program of Ringling School of Art, located in Sarasota, Fl. I love it there… the location, the tranquility, the comradery, open studios and some years there have been very “memorable” events.

I was so happy to get back there this summer! I spent the week in a mixed-media with beeswax class, taught by Elena De La Ville with 12 other artists, working with paper and wax. I have always loved work with a wax element… it’s such a wonderful tactile medium that is difficult to control but has so many options as to how it is utilized. We had several assignments involving composition and one was to photograph our surrounding looking for examples of good composition, then re-create the image with our materials.

I took lots of photos on my morning walk, but the last one was an elongated shadow of myself standing on the pathway. I liked the design and the emotion of the picture…and used it to create a piece. One of my classmates pushed me to work on a series of “selfies” and I ended up creating 5 pieces.

It’s good to step out of your artistic comfort zone… although my work is definitely “out there” at times. It’s also good… even though I don’t love it, to listen to other artists about my work. I love challenges in all aspects of my life. I never want to be too comfortable in my art, but to push forward and hope to discover and relate more about who I am and what message I want to share.