Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Textural Bliss

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of taking a textured acrylic painting class with the always lovely and gracious Sarah Whitmire and her charming husband Jarred at the Jeanine Taylor Folk Art Gallery in Sanford, FL.  I've been dabbling with acrylic paints for years (haven't we all), but never did a lot with texturing mediums as, well, they are rather expensive and who knows what you'll like, and not like, and go "what was I thinking" about.  Who knew, they are so cool!!

It was a very full seven hours of class, went by in a flash.  We first drew our paintings onto the canvas, then did some vintage paper collaging, then started laying in textures to our heart's content.  As you can tell, I went rather Van Gogh inspired (I feel a certain kinship with Vincent, as do so many of us I think.  Overwhelmed at times by beauty, struggling with doubt, driven by the need to create) and did a painting of my favorite flowers - the mighty French sunflower.  God I love sunflowers, I love their big happy faces and their liveliness.

And of course it had to be rendered with turquoise and teal and robin's egg blue, because I'm all geeky over these colors.  I practically hunger for them.  Who knows which colors I'll want to taste next year, but for this year, it's all about the warm ocean colors.  And then, there's a bird.

Of course there's a bird, (my artwork always has a bird in it somewhere, they represent the muses and guides) and the bird has lots of eggs around the outside of the gallery canvas.  Because we mixed media artists have lots of little art eggs all nurturing along in our nests at the same time, don't we?

Anyway, back to the story!  We laid in our textures, and then went to lunch (an eminently sensible thing to do with all that creative energy pouring out) at the yummy Gourmet 2 Go restaurant which is one of those restaurants that I wish we had on every corner, as opposed to mediocrity and a guaranteed indifferent chain meal.  I love restaurants where the chef is a real chef, he knows his knifework, he selects his own produce, and he's proud of it.  In another life, I worked in the high-end catering business for five years, I do appreciate my vittles, no doubt about it.  Superb creamy celery soup and a tuna melt with a twist to die for with a nice glass of Chardonnay - I wish my lunches during the week were as good...extra good as I got to eat with good friends and new friends.  Why is time spent with the art tribe so magical and so rare?  It's like a champagne that should just pour every day.

So Downtown Sanford is one of these wonderful little examples of little Victorian downtown revival - and it has reinvented itself gloriously from derelict buildings and general malaise to a thriving, bohemian, art gallery filled creative space.  It has a nice little farmer's market, six or seven art galleries, a paint your own pottery place, a crystals shop, a faerie/eco/hippy clothing shop and a tribal bellydance cafe - all in a couple of blocks. And the truly fab Taylor Folk Art gallery.  I wish all galleries were as accessible, as friendly, as welcoming, and as just plain inspiring as this one.   I'll post more photos about this soon.

So we get back from lunch, miraculously texture has dried, and if not, it can be helped along with your trusty heat gun.  Off to the painting!  And the layering of paint after paint, and washes, and just general fun.  Sarah really shares her art knowledge with this one, and inspired us all to go outside of our creative boxes and let loose.  She manages to pull off grungy yet still cute and attractive as few others can.

Now I'm a big fan of the online class, that's for sure. But once in a while, it's a great thing to be able to take an actual live class with an art tribe.  It refills the well.  Make a promise to yourself to treat yourself once in a while if at all possible.  It's juicy and soul-inspiring.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Weekend checklist

About this time on Sunday night (in this case, Monday) I tend to have these little mental reviews - did I spend my time meaningfully this weekend?  Did I do my chores?  Did I do more art than chores?

  • Washed laundry and put away - check
  • Listed relics of former hobbies on eBay - check (if you need model horses...i have a few...)
  • Sketched - yep!  Four pages of Dachshunds and one sushi lunch.  Waiter asked if I still wanted my soup as I hadn't eaten it....I'm too busy drawing it, you craven vizigoth!  I don't care if it's cold, I've watercoloring to do.  No sense of the aesthetic here.  I'm quite sure in Paris this would not happen.
  • Did my Mom's banking (Mom has Alzheimers, so I get to deal with dreaded math a few times a month, always depressing)
  • Worked in my travel journals - painted backgrounds, printed out some photos, wrote some things in support of my Nick Bantock Spain journal.  For some reason, this book intimidates me a bit.  How do you capture one of the most amazing experiences of your life in a little book.  With mere photos.  Guess that's why it's taken me a year and a half to get started.  Not sure if it will in any way represent, but it certainly won't if I don't do anything it all.  Feeling slightly emboldened.  Slightly.
  • Knitting - knitted three rows!  Wooo hoo!  Mastery of the needles is surely obvious.
  • Swept house - dirt, begone!  Take that, sand...
  • Long artsy discussion with husband the musician - I may be creating the artwork for his band's album. Or whatever they call it now.  They have albums still?  I guess so.
On balance, an adequate mix of the sublime and the ridiculous.  It was a success.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A further foray into watercolors

So I've really been getting into trying to stretch my drawing talents a bit further, and well, what's the fun in not adding some color to them?  It is probably stretching it a bit to try to learn two skills at once, but you can't really do much watercolor without drawing.  And at least the sketching end of drawing looks a bit empty without watercolors, so there we are.

I thought I'd share with you the drawings I did this week - I'm really pleased with how they are coming out.  No, I didn't happen to find myself in Brugge (or Bruges, all the same place) this week.  More is the pity, as it's no doubt much more fabulous than the hot, rainy, drearyness of late summer in Florida.  Next time I go, I'm so bringing my watercolors.  I wasn't 'into that' when I was there two years ago.  The photo this drawing was taken from was taken by me though.

I saw this little guy at work on Friday.  We have woods right near my office building, and I was getting in my car to go home for the day and saw this lovely buck sitting in a patch of sunshine, ruminating on the world.  One of the things that really appeals to me about art is that it makes you very observant.  And appreciative of the world around us.  All these other people were heading to their cars, on their phones, I don't think a one of them even noticed this guy.  I'm sure he didn't mind flying under the radar either.

This one I drew this morning; and this may be my favorite.  Nothing like post-breakfast sleepy hound in your lap to inspire a bit of drawing.  She was all curled up and cuddly....

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Watercolors with Jane LaFazio

Oh, it's been ages, just ages since I posted last!  I've been up to lots of things....I do need to go back and finish up those Artfest 2011 posts, though with some irony since Teesha Moore is now getting ready to take registrations for Artfest 2012....hah.

Isn't that always the way though - when you are busy with lots of things, it's hard to find time to post.  After Artfest, I went the very next month up to Prince Edward Island, Canada to do a workshop with Sabrina Ward Harrison.  Which was just amazing!  That's another whole post in and of itself, and needs to be revisited.  And journaled about.  I did write a 'words only' journal a few days after I got back at least.  The art journal part of it though?  Well I do have the book actually bound (yes, hand bound) and all ready to start getting filled to the brim with Sabina-inspired mixed media goodness.

Carolina Wild Daylily

One month later, I went up to North Carolina to take a class with Jane LaFazio at Random Arts, in Saluda.  My third visit to Random Arts, and always a genuine joy.  Probably my 10th at least visit to North Carolina.  I can't quite decide if my spiritual home is in the lush green mountains and rushing streams of western North Carolina, or the land of the tall trees and the powerful oceans of western Washington.  One or both I think.
Little plump dove, blind contour sketch

Anyway, I wanted to share with you the results of my watercolor sketching class that I took with Jane.  What an amazing lady!  A very kind and generous teacher, and so full of encouragement and sparkle.  I really felt very inspired and confident that I want to pursue the fine art of sketching more after this class.   Class works scattered throughout the post.

Still life Study

And when I got back to the cabin that we stay at whenever we are in WNC, aka - my "pretend home" up there ("oh, yeah, our cabin is in Fruitland...it's near Hendersonville.  Oh you don't know Hendersonville?  Well it's about 45 minutes south of Asheville." sounds like I own it, no?) I don't, but the very nice Landen and Benny do, and for very reasonable rates, they let us think we own it for the week.  I sat out on the back porch one fine and sunny morning, surrounded by the tall, tall trees and the wonderful sound of nothing but birdsong and silence, and painted what I saw.  And here that is...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Artfest Forever! Day One

 I'm just back from a crazy busy week at Artfest in Port Townsend, Washington.  What an incredible event
 - I am already counting the days till I can return to my own version of heaven.  Just a few quick snippets of day one here.  The above picture is on the Bainbridge Island ferry, on our way to the Fort - really quite pretty weather, and that was a preview of the glorious days of sunshine to come.  I was very lucky to carpool with some wonderful new friends to the event - you meet just the nicest people at Teesha and Tracy's events.

Two hours of ferry riding and navigating later - here's the Fort Worden Commons!  Time to get checked in and pick up our adorable goodie bags - these were very useful tote bags (for your grocery shopping) and water mugs that were incredibly handy for making sure you remembered to hydrate with all the swirl of gypsy art madness going on.
Ok, there was one hitch in the proceedings.  The US postal service apparently sat on my box of paints that I shipped - with an explosion of gesso as a result.  Yes, that was me cleaning gesso of of EVERYTHING in the bathroom of dorm 225 for an hour or so.  I did have lots of tea and sympathy from my fellow artists though, and the use of a scrubby sponge.  Everything pretty much got cleaned up, and I learned a valuable lesson about the powers of ziplock bags.  Lesson:  use bags for paint!  And, Akamai Art Supply to the rescue - one tub o' gesso later, I was all set again.  Yay Akamai!

After the opening meeting, I went for a quick walk on the beach - this is what the real Twilight in Washington State looks like.  Nary a vampire in sight...  More of the story soon!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Artfest Trades!

I'm getting ready to attend my first Artfest!  I have been to Journalfest before, so I can't wait to get back to the magical Fort Worden, now packed with 500 of my fellow mixed media artists.  I'm told Artfest is like a really amped up version of Journalfest - I think my muse is going to be spinning about a hundred miles a minute....

So one of the big events from what I've read on the Yahoo group is trades - and these are the ones I'm bringing.  They are hand made, hand painted, enameled pendants with handmade 'yarnpeltery' tassels (that's what I call my collage knitting and fiber endeavors).  Some of them even have Swarovski crystals on them, others have moonstone and amethyst beads - I'm so looking forward to sharing them!

I'm also including my artwork on Moo Cards with the pendants, (see below) I think this will be awesomely fun.

Really looking forward to meeting my fellow Artfesters and trading with you all!  (as a journalism major a few moons ago, I think all these apostrophe marks would probably get me in trouble with my old professors, but hey - it's a goddess tribe gathering!) 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Beautiful backgrounds for you to enjoy

Sunshine warmed my toes on my back porch this afternoon - it was a beautiful day for getting outside and throwing some paint around...and after I threw, here's what I got back from the paint goddesses...

There are just one layer - the beginning layer of my new art project - I asked the universe what my guiding word for this year is - and what I got back was focus.

 I'm thinking every day on this word...I suspect it means more than it seems.  It turns and swirls every day, bringing me more things to consider, more joys to revel in.

I think focus means to choose what art project I most enjoy, and to pursue it with relish and abandon to its richest conclusion.  Not let myself get sidetracked, sideswiped, sidelined.  See what mysteries will be unfolded to my newly opened eyes.  These paintings, just the first layer, are part of that focus.

Practicing yoga, freedom, self acceptance, non-judgment, honesty, contentment, peace.  And layers that will continue to unfold throughout the year.

Please feel free to download the backgrounds in this post for your own creative endeavors!  Just leave me a comment and let me know what wonders your new art year is unfolding.  Sharing is caring!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The muses are swirling around....

I firmly believe we can achieve world peace through art journaling, universal health care, and subsidized massage therapy for all.  Tell me we would not all be better off with these things?  In the meantime until all this becomes reality, I listened to the summons from my internet friend Samantha Kira Harding, and I wrote up a brave, crazy thing today.  I wrote a plan for my art journals, for making things to actually sell (so I can prove to myself in some concrete fashion that somebody else is listening - Capricorn, we are tangible affluence kinds of folks).  I wrote to myself the who/what/where/when/whys to try to explain to myself why I want to teach and to share the wonder, frustration, obsession, life affirming things that the mixed media collage art world has brought me.
That's me in the left corner of the picture - soaking in the pearlescent sky and swirling mists that rose from the earth as I drove home from work - the muse was letting me know she was listening to my dreams, and she was believing.  This will all become reality.  I know it.