Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
And see that they have a queen! She loves pink flowers and rainbows, notice how her throne is crowned in them...
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Heartsfire asked if I could post a few samples of work from Anahata's class - I'm happy to (thanks for asking ;-) Here's a few bits and pieces of widsom in my "class notes" (a bit stream-of-conscious but there it is) that I took to remember all the outpouring of wisdom pure creative juju that was zooming and flowering in that quiet and sunlit room where some swore that they saw a blue aura around our Queen Anahata...
The journal is not a finished product, it's not perfect, it's not "precious" -during the first 20 - 30 minutes of working on the page, expect a lot of mental chatter. Don't feed that cookie monster, art friends! Banishing the blank page with some pencil marks, some pen marks, some scraps of paper - whatever you can dish out to start pushing that blank page monster away. Start to create an environment on your page - your ingredients are a character, a background where your character lives, and then play paperdolls with whatever accessories the character needs to tell the story. Keep the "sweet spot" in one area of the page (the sweet spot is where you have whatever coolness is emerging) and try to resist the urge to do that same cool effect everywhere else too. If you start to delay and question what to do next, you aren't moving fast enough, and you're thinking too much. Let your impulse rein. Do what is unexpected - if you think you are supposed to put on another layer of paint, then resist that urge. Splatter on some random ink lines instead. Dark colors push objects into the background, light colors bring the object out. So, use this theory to make the parts of your picture disappear where you don't want to see them, and make the parts you want to highlight pop.Oh, I wish I'd had a tape recorder, or maybe it wouldn't have made a difference - maybe it was just the juicy inspirational flowers that were seemingly placed in our heads. I do know that we all created work that we had probably never done anything like before or since, and there definitely was a sense of building techniques from the first illustration (the rose one) to the second (the white background one). I had a harder time with the white background, as when in doubt, I tend to stick on more color. Even with this, I probably cheated and gave my girl red and purple dreadlocks, hey, go as the spirit moves you!
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I haven't updated the blog in quite a while, as I'm sure you noticed, but fear not! I have not been idle on the artistic front during the absence :-) Quite the contrary - I had the extreme good fortune to spend three weeks in July in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and England, and I'd like to share a few souvenirs of my adventures with you...
Twilight in the Jordaan District, any second you'll see the boats come out with their Dutch flags flapping in the breeze
A waterfally of color at the Waterlooplein Market
Friday, July 3, 2009
Me with Sally Jean, the Soldering Queen
Me with the spectacularly glam Claudine Hellmuth
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Thank you everyone that has sent me wonderful e-mails and comments, I truly appreciate your support and enjoyment of my little story. :-)
Saturday, June 6, 2009
I am registered. I am really here at Art and Soul. I am really hungry, it's 7 p.m. on night one....
My stomach is pretty disciplined around a lack of food, but not a lack of drink. Thus a visit to the Hampton Inn Manager's Happy Hour was clearly in order. I don't know who this manager is, but I wish I'd been more like him back in the days when I was in management! Free drinks and nutritively suspicious chips for everyone! I didn't have a lot of time, so I grabbed a gin and tonic (the first of many over the course of the next few days until I was actually tired of them and switched to the more artistic merlot), and saw Juliana Coles (my heretofore unmet roommate, and teacher of my first class) in the drinks line.
Juliana is the creator of Extreme Visual Journalism, which is her form of art journaling with an emphasis on raw inner work. She's a bit of a force of nature, and one of those women that just exudes "artist" with her awesome energy and soul and wacky chick vibe. (I mean that in the best way!) Relocating a glass of wine from the hotel to her class, she was quickly emoting in a throaty voice that we should "bear down harder! Ooooohh yeah, harder! Harder!" with our pencils! I'm drawn to gorgeously eccentric like a moth to flame, so obviously an evening with Juliana is far better than the normal dozing in front of "Good Eats with Alton Brown."
First she had us introduce ourselves, then select five magazine images. As you can imagine, everyone thought they were going to express their artistry, their aesthetic values, their ability to select things they might be able to actually draw. When Juliana said, "Now give your pictures to the person sitting next to you, " the lady sitting next to me looked like she was going to have heart failure! To be honest, I wasn't inspired by lovely images of cats (dachshunds all the way for me), nor was she best pleased with my kabuki dude and African women in beads and not-much-else. (actually, the horrified reactions to this exercise was my favorite moment in the whole class.) I think we were practicing letting go. I hope the lady next to me emotionally recovered.
I don't want to give away Juliana's trade secrets, but we did a rather neat and unexpected thing with carbon paper and our journals, and there was no shading of boxes. We then made backgrounds with tape, lots of wild lines on pages (harder! more graphite!), and did some visual note taking of stuff around us. I can't say that I made a gray convention center partition wall look any more interesting than it was, but I did get the idea that really, it's not about the object. It's not about the drawing either. It's about the documentation of your life. You need to practice it. You need to lose your judgments of it, and just get it onto paper. Even if it's harder than it looks. Really enjoyed spending some time with Juliana, and even though it wasn't one of her deep inner work classes, I think I got at least a flavor of why her fans love her.
Yes, I gave the unused kitty images back to my neighbor, my karma is intact.
9 p.m. - still hungry - hadn't eaten since 7 a.m. Is this what they mean by starving artist? I sat in the hotel dining room by myself, and before I knew it I heard a "Yoo hoo! Come sit with us!" from one of my classmates, the estimable Pinky La Rouge. Pinky, another force of nature, is a member of the Bretheren from Juliana's Key West retreat in January. I'd been rather curious to meet her as I've enjoyed her energetic blog posts on Juliana's Extreme Journaling Yahoo group. I visualized her as swathed in a hot pink feather boa, spectacular earrings, and a big saucy grin more or less permanently in place. I'm so glad to not be mistaken! She was exactly who I thought she'd be and was much amused by the Edward Cullen action figure fondling that took place. So, suddenly I was enjoying my solitary shrimp and grits and wine with Pinky, Sandy, Pinky's son and girlfriend, and Juliana.
A note for those of you who have never attended Art and Soul (for those of you who have, you already know this) it is the friendliest, most outgoing group of like-minded ladies imaginable. It's a technicolor swirl of scintillating real women who talk like there's no tomorrow, and who want to enfold newbies and oldbies and anyone passing by into their chat. It's like a United Nations of Paint. If you don't know anyone, you will by the time it'll take you to read this sentence. A simple, "So, what classes have you taken/are you taking?" will occasion at least 20 minutes of gab, an exchange of emails, quite possibly a handover of cool ephemera, and the knowledge that you've found your tribe. And (as I keep insisting) I'm an introvert!
Day Two - Friday - 8 a.m.
I wake up from a dream that Traci Bunkers has told me that I shouldn't put off doing art just because I'm convinced that I need to clean up an entire stable full of manure first. I heard many reports of people having the oddest, most colorful dreams over the next couple of days. Not sure if anyone else dreamed that their roommate told them to not clean up crap, because art is more important. Yes, I got the hidden inner message.
Breakfast and lunch (yay, I'm eating!) with Sophie - wow, what a talented and fantastic person. I really wish that I'd got to spend more time with her; she is just one of those people that I instantly connected with. As mentioned in my previous post, you meet soul sisters at this event that you just know you were supposed to meet in your life, even if just briefly. That's why it's called "Art and Soul" I think. I wear the beautiful crystal necklace that she gave me often, (always to rave comments) and reflect on how lucky I am.
Today was Altered Curiosities - The Illuminated Shrine with Jane Wynn- and it was amazing! Jane is an incredibly generous, kind teacher and gives so much encouragement that before you know it, otherwise well groomed and normal women are getting busy with a drill press. And a butane torch, and a copper pipe cutter. Oh my! What I truly loved about this class, from the pretty bags of mystery objects that we were greeted with to the photo session six hours (felt like six minutes) later was how everyone's individual creativity was so encouraged and supported. We all started with photo frames from Michael's Crafts, and we ended up with fifteen or so completely different illuminated (beyond cool when something is lit up from within!) jewelboxes of ideas. I had no idea what I was going to emerge with - my finished project turned out to be Mata Hari dancing on a glittering stage complete with footlights and a crystal chandelier. My table mates created a winter woodland scene with stars, and a cute little girl with birds. Others created beautiful miniature worlds under the sea, in an English telephone box, and with a glitter queen. For the trimphant class show-and-tell, look at the hyperlink above, my project below (as photographed by Jane Wynn herself.) Just a really inspirational creative class, I highly recommend.
6 p.m. - it's happy hour again! My, that is one generous Manager.
I waded with a "I hope I'll see that person I know in a minute..." look through the crowd, (actually, it was a ruse, I was hoping someone would ask me to sit with them). Sure enough, within seconds I was asked to sit with Jo, Jeane, and Dale. Dale is a patroness of the arts, and the hippest 80-something chick ever. I enjoyed several breakfasts and dinner drinks with her over the weekend, and she is truly inspirational. Jo and Jeane, the Girls from New Zealand, became my new BFF's (best friends forever!) and my great companions over the days ahead. We talked and talked, and closed down happy hour, and kept on talking and drinking over at Harpoon Larry's - and eating some awesome scallops too. By now I'd eaten plateloads of seafood, which just kept getting better and better. We just clicked like friends who had known each other since always, and I laughed harder and more that evening than I have in months. Also, the added amusement value of zooming around the New Zealand Embassy Squad Car to the local WalMart in search of 2 part epoxy at 11 p.m. on a Friday night just can't be beat.
Tune in to this blog for the next chapter - coming in the next few days.
"Chapter Three - Happy Technicolor Dream of People to Meet and Things to Buy!"
(Sneak preview, from "Vintage Metal Deck - Leighanna Light")
We transform ordinary metal into a fabulous thick, chunky, beautifully embellished deck of cards. Each card represents a meaningful word or theme which is further explored in text. Learn several surface techniques using patinas, rust, gesso, and wax.
Patinas! Rust! I'm there...
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Art and Soul has been one of my "must-see's" for a few years now, but I didn't really have any plans to attend. Then, I sort of got a wild hair, realized (no doubt due to the economy) that there were still lots of classes available even two weeks before the event, and just decided to jump in with both feet and go. I'm not attending the entire event, just three days, should be more than enough art to keep me inspired for months to come. I'm very excited to be taking classes on drawing, color theory and mixing, assemblage with lighting, and metal patina work. These are all areas that I definitely can use some expert advice in, and with Claudine, Jane Wynn, Leighana Light, and Juliana Coles at the helm, I think I'm going to learn a LOT!
Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
I was on vacation in Washington state last August for a wedding. We spent a few days in Vancouver, BC, Canada and then took the ferry to Victoria which is on Vancouver Island. Now anyone who has visited Vancouver Island will ask, "Did you see Butchart Gardens?" (It's kind of the main attraction to see.) Answer is, well, no. I really do like gardens, but we only had a day, and about three miles from Vancouver Island is Salt Spring Island - where, you guessed it, Nick's studio "The Forgetting Room" is located. Well this just seemed to be too good to miss, so after having arrived at expensive B&B in Victoria, I promptly asked the husband if we could maybe not spend the next day in Victoria at all, but instead could we rent a car ($50+fuel), buy ferry tickets ($60), get up early to get on the ferry (vacation?) and spend the entire day trying to find an artist's studio? If we got done early enough, perhaps we could see the gardens...
Happily I am married to a very supportive husband; besides, he's had to trek across muddy and cow-pat laden fields all over southern England for me to see some prehistoric rock or another before, so he's used to these things. This was comparatively mild by comparison. So, he rents the car, we get up early, we drive 25 miles to the ferry terminal, and find out we JUST missed the ferry. Next one didn't leave for another 2 hours. So much for up early. Not wanting to waste vacation time (when time truly does equal money) we visited the quaint little town of Sidney, whose motto could probably be "We're here when you miss the ferry..." A pleasant tea and croissant sitting in the sunshine watching people walk their dogs isn't a bad way to spend a morning either. As a bonus, I found the Saltspring Lavender store and we had a lovely and purpley-scented visit (even though I grow lavender myself, I always want more). The store owner suggested we should really come back that night for the summer festival and street faire. I'm not one to let a street faire or farmers market go unvisited, so events were entirely conspiring at this point to never allow me to see the Butchart gardens.
Back to the ferry terminal. I really enjoyed the car ferry, as you can stand out on the deck and watch all these gorgeous islands pop up out of the blue green sparkly sea, plus work on your tan. (Over the course of several ferry rides during the week, my arm hairs bleached blonde! I'm viewing this as practically a BOGO - buy one car transport, get blond hair free. My head remained brown however).
Well, nothing for it but back to town, and a bit of lunch ourselves. But first, a visit to Sabine's Bookstore and the Nick Bantock room! Yes, my first glimpse of a real NB painting, in the flesh (well, paint) and first editions of his books, and editions in Japanese, and signed copies, oh my! More money flies out window. I feel at this point that if I actually did get to meet him it would be practically a bonus, and really, what would I say anyway that wouldn't totally embarrass me in a fangirl sort of way. Lunch was delicious - local crab and white wine on the shaded patio of a cafe next to the town yoga studio, with a view of the marina. You can do worse.
Back in the car, winding roads, tall trees, yep, there it is again. And the door was open! In we stepped, to be greeted by a very friendly British woman "Hi, I'm Joyce" (much later turns out she's Nick's wife), who encourages us to look around and make ourselves at home. We chatted for a while, me babbling no doubt incoherently about how much I love the great man's work. She then says, "Do you think you can stick around for a little while? What's your name?" Me, "Oh yes" She then picks up the phone and calls him! Apparently he was off that afternoon with his son visiting from college, but not 10 minutes later this red Mini Cooper pulls up in front of the studio and out pops, well....Nick Bantock! He comes in, all smiles, and says, "Hi, you must be Jane!" to which I can think of nothing else than "You must be Nick?!" Son parked out on the back porch, he then spent the next hour walking my husband and I around the studio telling us about all the paintings, asking me about my art, just really took a lot of personal interest and time. It was like something out of a dream. To top it all off, he even gave me a set of his personal Griffin and Sabine faux poste artistamps and autographed them for me! I couldn't believe it. It's not so often you get to meet your heroes. Much less get to just hang out with them. Such a nice, funny, charming guy. Even my non-art husband was discussing art with him, and told him about how now that he had seen Nick's work, he sees the inspiration in mine and proceeded to inform Nick about my art! (blushing fiercely magenta here - but he got MASSIVE husband points for all this).
After we left, me dancing on cloud nine, we drove back to the ferry, crossed back to Vancouver Island, went to a gorgeous beach and sat on the rocks with our feet in the water, then went to Sidney's street faire, and finally got back to Victoria in time for a late dinner. It was truly one of the best days of my life.
If you're still awake by now, thank you for reading my story and clicking the links (you know you were tempted just to see what they were) :-)
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I'm a kid - I draw everything, all the time. I love drawing and coloring. Whether drawn well or poorly I don't know, but my cousin (a real professional artist) encourages me with very fancy Caran D'Ache art supplies, my grandmother's next door neighbor gives me her set of antique Reeves watercolors that she took with her to Egypt in the 1920's....I draw horses in the margins of my textbooks.
I get to junior high - I am convinced I'll be either an artist, and archaeologist, or a flight attendant when I grow up. (Stewardesses were much more glam back in the 1960's and 70's when I was young). I take art class. I am completely shattered as I don't really draw apples and their shading very well. The art teacher pays no attention to me whatsoever. I give up.
I take a crafts class in college - yes, as a liberal arts major I really did take Basketweaving. I loved it. I learned how to carve stamps from linoleum and make monoprints, but somehow didn't really pick things back up. Do suspect that there may be a bigger world than fine arts.
1991 - start to hear about a literary phenomenon. See a cool book at a little independent bookstore in town (no longer around, sigh) and lo and behold - it's this phenomenon book. Griffin and Sabine - it's an artful correspondence between two people separated by space, and depending on your theory (it's rather a mysterious story) time. Or maybe they aren't really two people at all (Sabine may just live in Griffin's mind) but they have an enigmatic correspondence in postcards and letters. Their story unfolds via one of the most intriguing ways - opening their letters (incredibly artful and highly illustrated) and reading their mail. It's like spying on someone else's life, and trying to decipher their art along the way. It's just surreal and mysterious and romantic and it totally captured my imagination. It was like the view from the inside of my head had been mapped out, not the one that was there formerly, but the one that wanted to be and the one that felt completely right.
Skip forward through the 1990's and I would occasionally see books and cards and random things whose artwork and sensibilities just drew me in and fired my imagination. Merchant of Marvels, and Paris Out of Hand, and random stuff that just appeared in offbeat gift shops and would call out to me (it called "buy!" incase you're wondering). I didn't know why I liked this strange and exotic look with a dash of humor - sort of a combo of Monty Python cartoons and sensibility, 17th century woodcuts, North African dancers, and the curtains of Marie Antoinette's salon in a kaleidoscopic haze of color. I just knew it when I saw it and wanted more.
Forward again to Spring 2003 - I see Legacy magazine at my local Borders and am intrigued. I saw all these amazing art projects that seemed somehow do-able, had no idea how to do them though. I am fascinated, and at this point....I still had money ;-)
Summer 2005 - after a few forays into jewelry making, the purchase of an occasional rubber stamp at Joann's (no real idea what to do with it though) I happen upon an entire rubber stamp show - I go thinking I'll spend an hour or so. Two hundred dollars and the rest of the day later - I'm hooked. And Nick Bantock appears in my world again (bet you wondered when I was getting back to him) - as one of the many tools in his art arsenal is - yep, mundane rubber stamps. (Sadly, Limited Edition Rubber Stamps who sold his personal line of stamps is no longer in business) Not cutesy bears that say "I heart you beary much" and remind you of the sappy stuff people wrote in your high school yearbook "2 sweet 2 B 4 gotten" etc. No, there were art stamps out there - Stamp Camp, and Lost Coast and Stampers Anonymous and well, a lot of other cool and surreal stuff that would probably scare your grandma. Not mine, she was rather progressive, but somebody's grandma.
I was off and reading every book and magazine I could get my hands on on this wonderful world of mixed media art - with its rabbit holes of all sorts of stuff to do - paper and paint, assemblage, rusty metal, fairy dolls, postage stamps on top of old photos of silly Victorians in paper hats, polymer clay and those stamps - well, it's all a bit endless and if you want to see more - try Somerset Studio magazine...expensive, but worth it.
And I kept buying art technique books, and going to classes and educating myself - and learning to solder, and carve, and emboss, and paint, and journal - and well, as you read in my last post, I'm getting some art published in the aforementioned magazine. Forty years, and I'm finally feeling like an artist. And all because I found out there was a wide world of art out there that didn't rely on being able to draw a good apple. And if I hadn't seen that book, all those years back, by Nick Bantock, then I wonder if I would have discovered this world at all.
So, what's your story? Who is your inspiration? and incase you're wondering - did you ever get to meet yours? Well, that's a story for next week (yes, I know I told you that last August, but didn't somehow get to writing it. Sometimes it takes a while...)Wishing you artful dreams...
Monday, February 9, 2009
In rather wonderful news, Somerset Studio, the journal of the world of mixed media art, is actually going to be featuring this momentous occasion in their upcoming (Nov. 09) special magazine "Somerset Black and White."
And now a note from the scribe of Dachsonia: I'm so excited about this! I've never submitted any of my art to Somerset Studio before, much less actually get published. As you can imagine, my mind is quite filled with all sorts of other pieces that I could make.... Truly, publication in Somerset Studio is one of my artistic dreams come true. Between this and meeting Nick Bantock last summer, I feel very blessed to have found a hobby that continues to inspire and intrigue. Now I think I had better start to dream a little more, maybe a whole article next? I hope this inspires you, fellow artists and readers, to try sending in something - you never know!!
Saturday, January 17, 2009
The paintbrush holder is the bottom of a cannister that held a whisky bottle - sawed in half, covered in paper, rubber stamped on (stamp is fro m Stampers Anonymous Michael de Meng collection), painted on, doodled on. I am quite fond of it!
So, we're reusing, reducing, recycling and simplifying here. Now if only I could think of something to hold all my little tiny "cats eye" shaped inkpads...the quest continues.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Well, actually this post has nothing to do with a song from the 70's that I can only remember part of the chorus of (it just amused me) - it has instead to do with this week's exercise from the Soul Journal group on weaving our dreams.
Rather than intentions, and resolutions, and all that stuff that falls by the wayside two weeks after new year, this is about focusing on our dreams. Maybe they'll happen, maybe they won't, maybe you wouldn't really want to do them but the idea is lovely. This little project gives all of them a place of honor.
Also, I felt this went well with the "use what you got" part of the whole simplify thing - my word for the new year. So, I cut 16 strips of paper (you can make yours whatever size and however many strips of paper you want) from my scrapbook paper stash, my leftover bits of art journal backgrounds, etc then wrote some dreams of mine on them. The writing uses my almost-never-used group of letter rubber stamps (oh goodie-using my stuff!) , different colors of ink, and some are just handwritten.
My favorite strip of paper is the green and orange one (my own handmade background - it's cool) - it says "Study art with Nick Bantock", and then there's "Go to Art and Soul retreat" and "Raise lavender on a herb farm in North Carolina" and "Travel to Turkey, Morocco, Thailand, and Indonesia..." - actually I have no idea where Indonesia came from...I want to see the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, not Indonesia. Huh..what am I supposed to see in Indonesia?
Oh yeah, then there's the big one - be an artist!
What are your dreams, maybe for this year, maybe for sometime, maybe just for silly but fun? Write them down!
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I am also truly touched to be the recipient of a remarkable piece of assemblage art (and a Teesha Moore print) from the inspired and genius hands of my friend the truly talented BNA (big name artist) Cindy. Seriously readers, you need to go look at her blog and see this awesome piece! Go check it out :-) You'll want to have one yourself, I promise. She is now accepting commisions...
Sunday, January 4, 2009
My Soul Journaling sisters had a prompt on textured backgrounds I decided to stay with the theme and keep mine in the winter whites. The idea is to use gesso to coat and glue down items on your journal page. This creates textures that appear almost fossil-like in the background of your page. The plaster element of gesso kind of binds it all together, and it actually comes out quite beautiful.
The picture below is of my grandmother taken back in the early 1980's, with lavender from last summer now encased in a blanket of snow and ice (courtesy of gesso). In my grandmother's letters, she would always enclose a few sprigs of lavender from her garden and smell being what it is, it would transport me back to the summer before. When I was drying the gesso, the heat tool brought up the sweet and slightly spicy smell of the lavender as though it had time travelled me back 30 years...
Friday, January 2, 2009
The point of the exercise was to use gesso (normally used to prep paper and canvas to hold paint) for "resists" meaning that you create a background with gesso, then paint over it. The gesso remains somewhat visible in the background and creates special effects. This is definitely a mixed media approach - I don't think that a classical painter would ever quite venture that far out of the box with gesso.
Thank you Michelle for another inspirational crusade - sorry I missed it!