Friday, May 31, 2019

Five Day Art Retreat

If you were to give yourself a five-day art retreat, during which you had no other responsibilities, what would you do?
  • Would you prefer to have a studio all to yourself, or be in a large group studio with a handful of other artists, but have your own designated space?
  • Would you prefer working alongside a mentor in this group, or not?
  • What would be your expectations in terms of your own work?
  • Do you imagine focusing on one series, or creating a body of work for a show?
  • Would you prefer to leave the goals open ended and just work?
  • Is such a retreat possible at home or in your own studio? 
  • Is five days enough?
Mentoring workshop at ACA in Florida, 2018

Me working on the wall.
 Lorraine Glessner has written an "Art Bite" series on a self-made artist's residency. Read it here. Let me know your thoughts on all of the above.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Body of Work

From the previous post you will see that several people expressed the need for more focus. They feel like they are all over the map, artistically, and have a hard time deciding on a direction. In my workshop "The Body of Work: Freedom and Focus",  I am addressing this exact issue. I think many of us feel like we get pulled from one medium or type of imagery to another to another, and we feel like we "should" settle down and focus. Me too. All the time.

Look at this more-or-less random selection of my work from the past few years:
These are all different sizes, from 10"x10" to 36"x36". I just re-sized them for ease of layout in Photoshop. To me, these are all over the map, and each one is part of a different series. What do you see? I also work in encaustic occasionally, and dip into oil media as well, so that takes the work in yet more directions.

I think as artists we NEED the freedom to explore broadly. I also think there is a time and a method to focus and go more deeply into a particular exploration. There are just a few spaces available in my workshop at Madeline Island School of the Arts in July, where we will tackle this issue and move more easily towards building bodies of work.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Selected Comments from the Art Practice Survey

It has been fascinating to read the results of my survey. There was some overwhelming consistency in some of the answers (most of you who answered have been practicing art for more than five years, e.g.), there were some comments that varied quite a bit. I am posting a selection of comments that have a common theme, but I'll post other selections on other themes as well.

Here is the first selection:

I have lots of ideas. But I need help developing a practice that will make me more productive, more of a risk taker and more confident in my abilities to make work that has something to say. I tend to sit in the shallows of my creativity and am looking for someone who will push me beyond what I think I am currently capable of.

I guess really learning how to stay with one trying and go deep. I’m all over the place but maybe I just have to accept that that’s me.

Developing a daily (or at least weekly) routine of setting a goal, then working toward that goal.

I have a hard time narrowing down what type of art I want to make. I lack confidence and often feel overwhelmed by the possibilities .. so many techniques, mediums, subjects, etc. that I don't even start, or I just end up exactly copying the style of whatever workshop I'm following. When the workshop ends, I don't continue experimenting on my own even though I want to.

I seem to get side tracked in trying different subject matter and techniques and even though I know I should work in a series I find it hard to stay committed. I find doing your workshops a great way to keep focused except they stop and then so do I.I am not disciplined it seems.

High on my priority list is finding my artistic voice and developing a body of work.

having trouble finishing things to point they would be sellable--jump around too much (experimenting and then experimenting on something with different materials)
Does this sound like you? Do you feel you need to push yourself to go more deeply into each exploration? Is jumping around "too much" something you struggle with?

Friday, May 10, 2019

What Do You Want in a Workshop?

Describe your art practice and tell me what you most want in workshops, videos, books, and other content. I have created a survey with twelve questions and optional comments where you can let me know about yourself as an artist, and how I might address your most pressing issues.

There is a little Thank You gift at the end of the survey, which you can download and print.

Thanks for making me laugh!

You can tell I love teaching by the heart on my shirt, if not by the look on my face.

I would love to get your ideas for a caption on this one.

Hudson River Valley Art Workshops, 2017

Fabulous group in Arizona a couple years back.
Thanks in advance for taking my survey. I hope it helps you clarify your own art goals or art practice as much as it helps me decide which new workshops to develop.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

A Few Hearts from Collage Challenge #4

Check out the Heart Collages on our Flickr Group here. I have added a few of my own. See the challenge in the previous post, and please participate if it sounds like fun.

Here are a few from the group. As you can see, some of them made use of the collage papers I made available for download (which you can do here), and some did just fine without.

Here are a few heart collages I did on Friday:

This is the only one in my group in which I make the heart the center image. In the others, the heart is simply part of a larger collage. I like playing with both approaches.

This one came out of left field. End of day, fooling around, did not even expect to put a heart in this one. Maybe it's a heart perched on an outhouse.

Even if hearts are not your thing, I hope you will find inspiration in the work posted on Flickr.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Collage Challenge #4 for the month of May

Collage Challenge #4 Part 1

For Collage Challenge #4 we are making hearts. Yes, hearts. Here is the most recent post on collage hearts, with links to previous posts. The rules for this collage challenge are:
  • The hearts should be collage only. No painting or drawing in these. 
  • Make one heart per piece. That is, don't make repeating hearts in one piece.
Download a few collage papers here. Using them is optional.

 Join our Flickr group and post your heart collages there.

You could just cut out a heart and glue it to a background, but to make it more fun and challenging try creating the heart shape out of several collage pieces, and/or same with the ground. Here are a couple of examples from the previous posts:

 Part 2

Send me collections of collage papers that you would like to see made into heart collages. Six to ten pieces is plenty. Send to:

Jane Davies Studios
PO Box 45
Rupert, Vermont 05768

I will choose one or more winners and make collage hearts for them.

Also, send me a self addressed envelope with postage if you are in the US, and not if you are outside the US. I will send you some collage papers.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Winners of Collage Challenge #3

Thank you to all who participated in Collage Challenge #3! What a great collection of collage papers with TYPE I received from so many participants. Be sure to check out the fabulous work on our Flickr group here. It is inspiring to see such diverse and creative work from so many of you.

I will post the next challenge, Collage Challenge #4, on Friday. For now, here are the winners of Collage Challenge #3. 

Jo Murray sent me this collection of papers, all the way from Australia.

Joyce Francis sent these papers.
 I will send these two 9"x12" collages to the winners.

Meanwhile, here are a few contributions from the challenge that are posted on the Flickr group:

Check out the whole group here.

Friday, April 26, 2019

30-Minute Mark Making

30-Minute Mark-Making is an exercise I do when I'm not feeling particularly focused, or if I need a jumpstart in the studio. It's pretty simple, but not easy. Basically, you just paint/collage/draw for thirty minutes, in a continuous manner.
  1. Choose your format, i.e. size and material of substrate. In the videos I am working on three 19"x24" sheets of Bristol, which are pinned to the wall.
  2. Get out your materials. I'm using a paint, a bit of collage (and matte medium for adhesive), graphite, and Caran d'Ache NeoColor II crayons.
  3. Start the timer and get to work. Stop (optional) when the thirty minutes are up.
The point is to practice NOT hesitating, judging, trying to plan the next steps. So as soon as you DO hesitate (which is inevitable), catch yourself and make a mark. You'll see this in the second video, I do hesitate and then notice that and keep going.

The first video is the first round of the 30-minute exercise in time-lapse. The second video shows actual time and I chat a bit about what's going on in my head.

This is where the first 30-minutes ended up.

This is where the second video ends up. These are all still works in progress, but they are looser and more surprising, or at least different, than if I had not imposed the 30-Minute rule.

The hardest thing about this exercise is to remember that CONTINUOUS work for 30-minutes is the ONLY rule. You don't have to cover the page or the multiple substrates, you certainly don't have to finish anything; you don't have to make anything you like; you don't have to work fast.

I would love to hear of your experience if you try this. You can change the time frame if you like - twenty minutes, or an hour, or five minutes - as long as you stick to the continuous rule. Let me know how it goes!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

100 Drawings on Cheap Paper

I am offering my "100 Drawings on Cheap Paper", an interactive online class, this fall, starting September 4. I use the term "drawing" loosely, to include painting and collage, and any other kind of marks you make. This class is designed to cultivate a habit of working in series, working in quantity, to delve more deeply into a visual inquiry than we may typically do.

Each of the ten weekly lessons has a particular focus, and you get to explore that focus over the course of (at least) ten pieces. We emphasize the exploration, the process, and don't aim for "finished" pieces. Read more details and register here.

In one of the lessons we do the speed painting exercise shown in this video (this is not the lesson video, just me doing the exercise in a workshop).

Here are some examples of student work from the class. All works are done on 9"x12" cheap drawing paper. Find it here. Or use Blick Bristol for a heavier, but still inexpensive, substrate.

Enjoy the work!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Art On A Roll

One of the projects I wanted to try in 2019 is Art on a Roll. You can see my thoughts on what this year might bring on my Happy New Year blog post. I began it in early February, on a roll of Strathmore Bristol, which is 42" wide and ten yards long. As you can see in the photos below, I expose only a few feet of the roll at a time, and just work on that section. Then I roll up most of what I've done, unroll some blank paper, gesso it, and continue.

This process has helped me stay in the present moment, stay with what is going on in front of me. I have had lots of questions about what my plans are for the whole thing when it is "finished", but the truth is that I don't have any. It is the experience that I want to explore.

This is a few layers into the first section.

Close up of second section

Another close-up

Second section again

Beginning of third section


Many layers into section 4

More of Section 4

This is where it begins to turn into a landscape
And I put this little Scottish Village on it. Could also be in Newfoundland, but a friend is visiting Scotland and posting gorgeous photos, so that was on my mind.

Close up of the village

There might be another village across the water...

I am on another section now, and I did put some buildings on this patch of earth. I have an idea to do a workshop on this process, where we all work on our own Art on a Roll, and also do a communal one. I'm considering logistics and venue. Let me know if this interests you, or if you have ideas on how it would work for you.