Friday, February 15, 2019

Gel Prints on Found Papers

I have been experimenting with making collage material by re-using existing papers. Newspapers, brown paper bags, magazine papers, and a discarded HUGE dictionary that someone left at the post office for the taking, have been my favorites.

One way I like to make collage papers is by gel printing. Here is a video about it. I will be teaching Monoprint Collage in Santa Fe this spring, and there are a few spaces available still. We will use the gel plate and other techniques for printing and painting collage papers, and then do and in-depth exploration of collage.

Sign up for the workshop here.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day!

As you may have read in recent posts, I've been making heart collages and drawings as a way to warm up, play, have fun, and let it be light-hearted. But my friend Lucie Duclos totally hits it out of the park with this ten-minute Skillshare Class. Here is here intro video:

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A Few Collage Papers

A little update on the Collage Challenge #1

I can't tell you how FUN it is to go to the post office and find my box full of envelopes full of collage papers! As I open them, I'm doing a preliminary sorting into GOOD VARIETY, and NOT SO GOOD VARIETY. Many of the envelops contain really beautiful papers, but not as much variety as others. For example, several of the papers are similar in color or value or pattern. I will definitely come up with a way to use all of them, though!

I scanned a few of the collections in the GOOD VARIETY category. Take a look.

I thought this one was particularly good. Variety in color, scale (of pattern), value...

I love how the two black and white patterns (upper right) are SO different because of the scale of pattern.

The bright circle piece on the right makes me want to paint like that, scan, and print out collage paper! Do you see two papers in this collection that are very similar?

This collection included an acrylic skin. Can you see which piece that is?

Love that big black and white!

cocktail napkin, donut bag, marbled paper....

Definitely some variety here!

Gorgeous collection here.
Keep the envelopes coming! The papers don't need to be large or beautiful; just go for variety. I hope you are having fun putting together these collections. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing.

Friday, February 8, 2019

A Few From The Collage Challenge #1

Here are a few pieces posted on our Collage Challenge group on Flickr. View the rest here. And read about the challenge in the previous post.






I have received some envelopes of collage papers too! Waiting until the end of the month to choose the ones I will make collages from. So fun!

Monday, February 4, 2019

Collage Challenge #1

I am offering a 2-part collage challenge this month. I hope to make it a monthly event.

The first challenge is to send me a group of 6 - 10 papers to use in collage. These should be small, fitting in a letter size envelope. The challenge is to make them as diverse as possible. That is, make them as different from each other as you can. Think VARIETY in color, value, pattern, scale of pattern, etc. These should be abstract in content, not images. You could include part of an image, but it should not be recognizable as an image. Gather materials from your own stash, junk mail, magazines, decorative papers, gift wrap, maps, etc.

Send your envelopes to: 
Jane Davies Studios
Collage Challenge
PO Box 45
Rupert, Vermont  05768

Send papers by the end of February. I will choose a few winners (in the sense of the best VARIETY, the papers that are most different from each other), and make a collage out of each one. I'll post the images and send the originals to those who sent the papers.

The second challenge is this: I have put a collage sheet, 8.5x11" up on a Flickr group that you can download. Print it out, and make one or two (or more) small collages. Here is an image of the collage sheet for this challenge:

This can be downloaded from Flickr at higher resolution, and printed out on 8.5x11" paper.


The rules are as follows:
 Download the Collage Sheet here. Click on the arrow, and choose "original" size.

  • Use only the collage papers in the downloaded sheet. 
  • You may add one color of paint, and one more mark such as a line, a scribble, or a pattern. 
  • And remember that it is more fun if we are all bound by the same set of directions.
Join the Flickr group, and post your own collages - scans or photos. I suggest you keep them small. I've posted two of my own, which are 5.5"x7.5". I will post below as well:




Join the Flickr group.

Download the image here.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Hearts on Video!

This is just a playful little video of me drawing and collaging simple heart images. I am finding this practice of making hearts a really good way to HAVE FUN in my studio, and I'm using it as a warm-up exercise. We discussed what it means to "have fun" making art, and the difference between doing it "just for fun" and doing it as a serious practice but finding it fun, in a previous post.

I realized that I didn't have a particular thing I go to when I want to relax a bit and just play around with materials in my studio. When I've been away from the studio for a bit and feel a bit rusty, I do have some really low-pressure practices that get me back in the flow, but there had not been one particular focus. The heart image might just be it. It could be something else - a landscape, a circle, a grid, a drawing of my cat or the view out the back window. But there is something just silly enough - cliché and sentimental - about the heart that keeps it from getting the least bit serious. See more of my hearts on Fine Art America.

So, here is the video. Miche Fambro has kindly allowed me to use his music.


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A Few More Hearts for Fun

Just a few more in the collection. See my "Light Hearted" gallery on Fine Art America. Let me know your own ways of injecting a little "just for fun" into your art practice. All of the pieces below are 5.5"x7.5".







Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Hearts for Fun

OK, I finally found a thing in my studio I can do JUST for fun. As in, light hearted, for the purpose of relaxing and enjoying time in the studio without the kind of focus and effort that Art requires. Making valentines!  Just making collage, drawings, paintings, on a really small scale that feature hearts.

This is a collection of the single heart pieces I made. I'll be posting a video about this on February 1.


Here are a few more; these are 5.5"x7.5".




I found this a great way to play with color, shape, composition, and materials and techniques. You can see more of the collection on Fine Art America. Even if you don't celebrate Valentines Day, try making a group of heart images JUST FOR FUN!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

2019! Happy New Year

As the days begin to get longer here in the northern hemisphere, many of us take the time to consider what we might like to accomplish in the new year. Do you have plans or goals for your art practice?

Thanks to all of you who have taken my workshops, read my books, and shown up to my blog posts, videos, or newsletters, I feel an overwhelming sense of support for my own work.

Here are a few things on my list for 2019:

1. Spend some time with oil and cold wax. I keep "dabbling" in oil media, but haven't spent concentrated time on it. Here is a post about pigment sticks and oil media. Here are some of the pieces that came out of that exploration; they are 10x10":




2. This is always on my list: work larger. By the end of 2019 I would love to have some idea of what it is like to work on a piece that is 6'x8' (72"x 96"), or somewhere on that scale. I don't aim to finish a piece that size, (if I make that a goal, it will not happen), but to work on pieces of that magnitude.

Here is a mock-up I did a few years ago that allows me to imagine myself working at a much larger scale. Thanks to Photoshop.
3. I want to do a project I'm calling "Art on a Roll": painting/drawing on a continuous roll of paper or canvas. This is inspired by Mayako Nakamuro. Check out her Emaki Study here.
This is a gallery shot of one of Nakamuro's continuous scrolls.
If you have tried this, let me know. It seems as if it would lend itself to a communal project, but I'm not quite sure how that would work. Any ideas?

4. Anther thought that has been kicking around awhile is: incorporating referential (representational) imagery into my abstract paintings. I don't know how I will approach this, but I've been dancing around the idea for a while and it's time to plunge in. Maybe I'll take a workshop, or work from photographs, or make cartoon doodles of chickens or trees or bicycle tires. I just have no idea where this idea would/could lead. Any suggestions are welcome!

In my teaching practice I have a few plans too:
I plan to offer more small mentoring workshops in my schedule. I love painting with people, and also love talking to people about their work, outside of any assignments or content that I might "teach". At the other end of the spectrum, I am adding some beginner workshops and resources to my offerings. THANK YOU for all the feedback and suggestions you gave me in this post about workshop suggestions.

I would love to hear from you, either in a comment on this post or in an e-mail, about your plans for 2019 in terms of your art practice. What is new for you in 2019?

Friday, December 21, 2018

Happy Solstice!

In the northern hemisphere, where I live, this is the shortest day of the year. I like to celebrate the fact that the days start getting longer from here. I think of solstice as the turning point, the beginning of the new year, and, in keeping with so many traditions, time for a celebration of lights. I am happy to celebrate the fabulously extravagant lighting in my new studio!

One month of the 2019 calendar



We put together a full 2019 wall calendar as a solstice gift to you. Each month has a cropped image of one of my paintings, and we have filled in my workshop schedule for the year. See my website for links and more information on workshops. I may add one or two short workshops in the fall, and the calendar does not include online workshops. Each page should print out on 8.5"x11" paper; use matte photo paper for best results. Happy new year!

Friday, December 7, 2018

New Studio

Although my new studio is not quite complete, I have started moving in, and thought it would be fun to do a little retrospective of its progress.

Here is a photo of the studio I worked in for thirteen years (before that, I was a potter, and when I started doing freelance work and painting I used an upstairs tiny bedroom in the house).
Though this upstairs in a barn served me well for many years, its main challenges were the knee walls and gable ceiling, and the lack of running water in the building. No sink, no bathroom.
Beginning to pour concrete for the foundation

The deck is done and framing the walls begins


Second floor and loft framing begin

Beginning to close it in

Interior, sometime in the summer

Exterior, awaiting exterior insulation, strapping, and siding.
Drywall defines the space.

Exterior is insulated and strapped, shingles are going up.

Here is a brief tour of the studio after the first day of working in it.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Art For Fun

I read this article from the New York Times the other day, and shared it on Facebook because it raised interesting questions for me as a teacher. The article states that fewer people have "hobbies" these days because we have devalued the practice of leisure activities, things we do just for fun and relaxation with no pressure to be good at them.

I will admit to bristling just a little bit when someone comes to a workshop saying "I just want to have fun", and treating it like a vacation. Huh? I ask myself.  
Why shouldn't someone come to a workshop for fun? What is MY problem with this? 

I guess I think that implicit in "just for fun" is the idea that it's easy, and anyone who practices art knows that it is anything but easy. But it IS FUN TOO, or we wouldn't do it.

 Do I feel that "just for fun" somehow diminishes a practice that I take seriously? 

One thing about making art (or singing, or making jewelry, or acting, or cooking - creative endeavors in general) is that you CAN do it for fun. You CAN achieve a skill level that will allow you to enjoy it and get some satisfaction out of your creations. And that engaged enjoyment of a creative activity is valuable in itself. 

If I were to teach a workshop, or maybe "offer a session" is a better way to put it, that was really focused on "art for fun", what would that look like? Easy techniques with which you can make beautiful things? Art Without Agony? ... and then my mind jumps to the slightly cynical "quick and easy ways to make real art".  
Can I just relax with the idea of encouraging art practice for pleasure?

Students making art and having fun at Madeline Island School of the Arts.

Having fun and making art in Green Valley, AZ
Having fun and making art (and goofing around with my ukulele and alligator puppet) at Hudson River Valley Art Workshops

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.