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.