Sunday, June 28, 2020

Student Work from De-Stress

Here are a few pieces from participants in the last De-Stress class back in March and April. It is offered again, beginning on July 1. Read about it here.

Transfer drawing and collage

Transfer drawing over brayered paint

Blind contour transfer drawing

Transfer drawing and collage

Mandala magic!

Somber Stripes

Mandala oval!

Grid Collage

Embellished Stripes
Grid Collage

Animated Mandala, with FISH!!


Friday, June 26, 2020

De-Stress with Art, or at least with the fun little video

De-Stress with Art begins online next week. Read about it here. You can see some of the student work from the first project here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Handmade Brushes from Mark Making Class

I want to share with you a few images of mark-making tools people have made in my Mark Making class. I love seeing what people come up with!

Making brushes from plant material is fun when plants are abundant. But don't forget the household items like Q-tips, sponges, fabrics, netting, ribbon, string, and more.  Use chopsticks, popcicle sticks, tongue depressors, or paint stirrers for handles. Or just sticks. Have fun!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

More Stripes, Meditations on Color

Here are a few more stripe pieces. They ARE very meditative to do, and I find that I paint over them quite a lot, trying out one color, and then tweaking it or changing it altogether. Very slow and focused. One of the projects in De-Stress with Art is STRIPES.

18"x24"on wood panel

24"x24" on wood panel

18"x24" on wood panel

20"x20" on canvas

Detail of the piece below.

18"x24" on wood panel
Thanks for visiting!

Monday, June 8, 2020

New Composition Class Online

I have just published my first online class on SkillShare, called "Abstract Collage: Creating Compositions with Tissue Paper". Take a look here, and get two months of access to all of SkillShare's video tutorials free. Following the SkillShare format, the class contains ten short video lessons in 43 minutes. You can post your work on the site, ask questions, see other's work, etc.

I take you through the process of painting/staining tissue paper, cutting out the shapes, and playing with arrangement, all in the service of exploring abstract composition. Check it out! And let me know what you think. This is a new platform for me for teaching, though I have been a member of Skillshare as a learner for over a year.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Practicing Art - A Conversation

I posted a photo of my mini-collages on Instagram @janedaviesart and got an interesting question:

Is there a purpose to making these and saving them? I’m asking because I tend to purge art that is not created for display. I have mixed feelings because I enjoy the creative process, but it’s not really a piece of art, per se.

I invited an e-mail conversation so that I could address this question that many artists have: if it isn't practical or doesn't make a salable piece, what is its value? 

Here are some of the mini-collages:

These are each 4.5"x6" on Bristol, collage pieces are painted papers. My 'rule' was to use three shapes only, three different colors, on each one. The next step is to crop them, visually, at least. to see if I can make interesting negative spaces.
Here is the conversation:

Q:  My main question was if you had a purpose in mind when you created these simplified works, if you save them, and how you view the  time spent creating them.  Are you working towards a goal or just doing them for relaxation?

A:  When I need a break from whatever larger work I’m doing, OR when I’ve been out of the studio for a while and am rusty, the best way to get ideas moving is to keep my hands and eyes DOING something in the studio. Not thinking, but doing. And that takes on many forms. This little exercise I just made up and did a LOT of them. The main point is to do SOMETHING with hands and eyes to generate ideas, see where it goes, keep in practice, jog something loose, get back to some basic ideas, etc. It is not for relaxation, though it might be relaxing.

Q:  I tend to feel guilty if I spend a lot of time and money on materials with art ‘just for fun and relaxation’ vs. a finished piece.  I could make dozens of simpler works, but I’m not sure what I’d do with them except throw them in the trash eventually!  My Inner Critic tells me that it’s silly to waste time just doing things for the fun in the moment and then throwing them away, since there is no practical use for them.  

A:  Yeah. I hear you. And probably so does every other artist, especially women. 'Be Useful, Be Practical, Be Thrifty or you are wasting time, wasting space, wasting money', etc. is a strong inner voice in our culture. It reveals our own lack of confidence in the value of our work, and in the value of art generally. In my view, the value has to start with YOU, the artist, not someone else putting a price on it or putting it to practical use. This shift in attitude takes years and constant vigilance. When there is stuff To Be Done (practical), and I am in my studio making useless little collages, my belief in their value has to be stronger than the voice saying I Should Weed The Garden.

I can not make good, real, art that is truly mine unless I constantly explore, constantly make and observe, and allow myself the space-time-money to make work that does not see the light of day. 

To tell you the truth I do not know what will become of my little collages, and that is the furthest thing from my mind as I am creating them. It’s paint, paper, matte medium (for the glue), a little time, a little process-focus. To me the value is in doing it and “keeping in shape” as an artist. 

Q:  I’d love to hear your take on it; why you create so many simple, practice works, with good materials. What is the purpose, what do you do with them, etc.,  so that I can stop feeling guilty when I “play” and spend time lots of time just for the sake of enjoying my materials, and the end product has no real purpose other than the joy of creating in the moment, unworthy of sharing as a piece of art.

A:  I don’t think of them as ‘practice works’. Doing them is just part of Doing The Work as an artist. I recommend to my students to keep the focus on process and on developing and maintaining a HEALTHY ART PRACTICE. The good, genuine pieces of art, art that is yours, is a byproduct of your healthy art practice. Let it show up on its own, don’t force it.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Stripes Morph into Grids

I am still working, slowly, on my Stripes, but I started some smaller works that are becoming grids. They are very much inspired by the Quilts of Gee's Bend, in particular, the ones made from work clothes. I want faded, neutralized colors, like the worn out clothing that is given a new life in a handmade quilt.

I started by painting the center of the 9x12" bristol substrate in a kind of variegated neutral, and then started adding collage bits and some paint to the border. Not sure where this is going.

This is an example of the beginning, in this new series.

Beginning to add collage around the edge. I love the wonky stripes of gray on gray.

This is another one at Stage 2. I want to use minimal color, and emphasize the subtleties in the neutrals.

Still in progress

This one is resting.

This and the next one are a little more colorful. I like the wonky edge around the neutral center. Maybe I'll play with that a little.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Stripes as Meditations on Color

Here are a few of the stripe pieces I've been working on. The ones pictured below are all 11"x14", acrylic and collage on paper. There are larger ones in the works as well, which I'll post at some point.






Since all of my spring workshops have been cancelled, and the non-profit I'm part of, the Rupert Village Trust, has suspended activities for the time being, I've had more time in my studio. Though I am teaching online, I am not traveling, and I find the longer stretches of time in my studio have allowed me to relax into a narrower and deeper focus than is typical.

How has the pandemic affected your art practice? Are you more distracted? More focused? Do you have more time or less time to make art?

These stripes and others are available as prints and products on Pixels/FineArtAmerica.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Stripes to Cheer Up a Room

This is a super easy project I'm offering, as a way to relax and make something cheery (or calming) for your home or whatever personal space you are occupying. We are Painting Stripes on a Paper Bag using materials that you may already have around the house. In the video I use craft paints, one color of Liquitex Basics, and a few NovaColor paints. You can use all craft paints, or even leftover colors of interior latex house paint. I prime the paper bag with interior latex.

Use whatever you have for brushes - even sponge brushes or cheap hardware store brushes will work. I uses these Dynasty Brushes from Blick.

A couple of the craft paints I use are Blick Matte Acrylics, which are very opaque. They are a little more expensive than DecoArt - type craft paints, but still very affordable. I suggest you make a few of these, and tape or tack them to the walls. 

If you prefer an easier, but more expensive, way to introduce stripes into your home, go to my Pixels/Fine Art America site and buy a print or product with stripes.

The nice thing about prints is that you can get them much larger than the original paintings.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

A Timely Mandala from the De-Stress Class

Here is a post from a participant in my De-Stress class.

She says:
"As a Microbiologist, I couldn’t resist the urge to make something very timely. On the left is my version of the CORONAVIRUS. On the right, we’ll call that one INFLUENZA!"

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Mandalas from the De-Stress Workshop

Here are a few, a very few, of the mandalas that participants in my De-Stress with Art workshop shared on our group blog. This is the tip of the iceberg, as it were. SO fun to see all the gorgeous pieces. The project is to make half-mandalas and then play with different combinations.

Check out the fish in this one.

Enjoy! Thanks for visiting.