Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Retreats

If you are considering an art retreat for 2012, or even if you aren't, I'm thrilled to announce that I will be teaching at a few:

In July, I will be teaching at CREATE, hosted by Interweave Press, in Somerset, NJ:
Registration opens sometime in January.

In August I'm returning to Art Unraveled in Phoenix:Registration opens January 15.

I'll be returning to Art and Soul in October:
Registration is open NOW!

Collage Journeys in Vermont
will take place here in Rupert, August 14 - 18 (Tue. - Sat.). I will have the description and registration sometime in January - don't worry, I will certainly blog about it!

Monday, December 26, 2011

More Self-Portrait Experiments

Here are a couple of experimental pieces I did in my sketchbook using the blind self-portrait one-liner drawings I did a couple of weeks ago.

One thing I love doing in my sketchbook is to put down at least two different things that will be a challenge to reconcile. On the page below I cut out and glued one of my blind self portraits. I knew I wanted to work on heavier paper, which is why I did not work on the original drawing, done in a light weight sketchbook. After applying some washes of color, I collaged some found and altered images as well as found text down in the lower left.

Now what? Well, I don't know. That's part of the fun. I looked back at my sketchbook and found this:
...which inspired the heavy black oil pastel lines, and also the color scheme.

In the piece below, I was just playing with my water soluble colored pencils. This is a new material for me, and I'm not yet comfortable with it. So why not just play with it in my sketchbook?

I do look as if I've been in a brawl, but it was fun trying to create a more spare image using the colored pencils than I usually do with paint and collage, and to try out new colors.

Exploring the Self-Portrait
, my newest online course, begins January 2.

I'm offering Unlocking the Secrets of Color again, beginning January 4.

Get the new year off to a creative start!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sketchbook Practice Workshop

I am so excited to be offering a Sketchbook Practice workshop at the Northshire Book Store in Manchester, Vermont, starting January 10th!! The idea for this has been sloshing around in my psyche for a few months now, and it has finally come together.
Give your inner artist a little breathing room this year beginning with The Sketchbook Practice Workshop. You will get a creative workout, but in a relaxed, supportive setting, where experimentation and play are encouraged.
Read the rest of the description here.

We will draw:


Combine techniques:


I know most of you reading this blog are nowhere near Manchester, Vermont, but let me know if you are interested in an online version. It is something I would like to try later in 2012.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

One-Liner Blind Self-Portraits

You just can't make this stuff up! I did these with fine-point marker in my sketchbook, looking in the mirror, NOT at the paper, and did not lift the pen off the paper (or hardly at all).

I love the unpredictability of these, how each one is unique. I wonder what happens if you do ten blind self-portraits in a row in one sitting? Or blind self-portraits and then self-portraits looking at your paper, or the other way around. What does that do to your hand-eye coordination?

What happens if you begin at the hairline, or at the nose, or the ear?For this one I switched hands. I guess I'm more comfortable drawing left-handed, and this one is with my right:
I decided to try one that is not a one-liner, and my right cheek ended up in left field:Stay tuned and I will post the follow-up. We'll be doing plenty of blind self-portraits in my online workshop: Exploring the Self-Portrait.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Thanks for all your comments on my Gallery 47 show! I will post a how-to on the wood panels as soon as I get my next order from Dick Blick. Meanwhile, I wanted to show you some recent sketchbook output. I was looking at a few images of Kurt Nimmo, one of my favorites on Flickr. Inspired by the spareness of his work, I decided to play with the idea of paint-collage-line. Each piece has at least one paint application (and not much more), one piece of collage, and a linear element. These are made in the spirit of the JOY of creating!

I used a brayer to apply Baltic Green (Liquitex), then spritzed and blotted it, first letting the water drip down the page a bit. The collage is a bit of mono-print; and the line is a blind scribble.

More Baltic Green, plus quinacridone gold (Golden Fluid Acrylics) and some gray. Mono-print collage, and graphite scribble.

The paints here are Van Dyke Brown and Quinacridone Burnt Orange with a tad of Quinacridone Gold, all Golden Fluid Acrylics. The collage is a piece of a paperback cover, and the line is graphite. Plus a little sgraffito in the paint.

Quin Gold, Van Dyke Brown, a piece of book cover, and a line done in pen.

And for the last one I decided just to play with paint.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Here are a few pictures from my show at Gallery 47 (which does not have a web site yet, or I'd have put a link). I didn't get good pix at the opening, though it was (thankfully!!) well attended. I was too busy chatting. FUN!! Now I am psyched to take more opportunities to show my work - in the flesh as it were.

These pieces are mounted on wood panel:

A few of my 5"x7" pieces, framed in 8"x10"

A couple of larger pieces, 11"x14"; sorry for the glare on the left one.

Also mounted on 10"x10" wood panels. I love this alternative to framing with glass:

Some 8"x10" pieces you've probably seen on the blog or site:
Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Self-Portrait Experiments

For the first lesson in my online Self-Portraits workshop we'll be starting with a photograph and tracing around it. Simple enough, right? I started by taking a few photos of myself using the automatic delay thing on the camera. Then I made them into black and whites in Photoshop, though you could use color photos. For the first two I printed them out light so that the drawing would be emphasized.
Nice how you can draw lines selectively and end up looking twenty years younger!

On this one I printed the photo out without making it lighter. I drew over it and then painted it in black and white, emphasizing my gray hair:

OK, so I look like I'm choking, but it's fun anyway.

Today I added paint, mostly with a brayer.

I used my "spritz and blot" technique (contained in this video) to make the water droplets.

After you get comfortable drawing your face over a photograph, it is much easier to tackle the self-portrait on a blank sheet of paper. And there are all kinds of fun things you can do with your altered photos of yourself!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

More Sketchbook Output

These are in the spirit of Peace, this week's theme from CCP Videos' Holiday Paint Out.

Just a little sketchbook output. Playing around... percolating ideas.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Percolating and Playing

A comment from one of my Text and Image students inspired me to address the issue of giving ideas time to percolate. Here is what she said about the last lesson, which involved making a series of small collages that tell a story:
[This exercise] reinforced my sense that ideas need time to percolate before being expressed. I had been thinking about the assignment for days, so when I had time to work on it, everything just flowed.
I find I definitely need some percolating time, but this does not mean sitting around doing nothing while waiting for it all to come together seamlessly. For me, it is the struggle that seems to work: I have a few sessions of wrestling (or playing) with ideas and materials, when it all seems so "out there" and unresolved. Then, after a break (usually of working on something else or at least doing a little housekeeping in the studio) I come back to the piece(s) and it DOES all come together.

I used to find this period of unresolved work so frustrating and even debilitating - I was sure I'd never have a worthy idea or make a good piece of art; I was sure that for real artists it can't be nearly this hard or frustrating. Now, however, I have made friends with this part of the creative process, and I consider it fun, playful, and necessary. I embrace the open-ended aspect of it, and I don't worry whether a piece will resolve itself or not.

Playing with Pouring Paint

Since making a regular practice of using my sketchbook, I do lots of playing in it, purposely pushing myself off-balance and mixing things up, posing unsolvable visual questions just for fun! It has made my art practice SO much more enjoyable, and maybe even more productive! I have totally let go of the idea that something has to be resolved and finished, and it has made me more open to taking risks and pushing through the boundaries of habit.

Throwing Myself Off Balance

For daily inspiration to work in your sketchbook, check out the Sketchbook Challenge, or just consider a New Year's (or Solstice, or Holiday) gift to yourself to take a few minutes each day to play with paint, drawing, collage, or stitch, whatever your medium of choice.

Circles (which have ended up all over my work)

Percolating and playing are inextricably related. DOING, engaging in the process, is what keeps you fresh, keeps the ideas flowing, and facilitates the lovely surprises and discoveries of making art.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Online Class - The Self-Portrait

Thank you so much for your encouraging comments! I am officially offering the self-portrait course online now, starting January 2. Some of you may want to use it as a guide to doing a self-portrait-a-day, though that is not required in the class. In each lesson we will do warm-up self-portraits using various drawing implements, and then move onto the main project.

Blind Self-Portrait using white crayon and watercolor
The main projects focus on experimentation with materials and techniques rather than the finished outcome, and my hope is that this will take the intimidation factor out of the self-portrait. Meanwhile, along the way you will draw so many self-portraits you can't help but gain the skill of making a realistic one if that is what you wish. Read the full description here, and e-mail me with any questions.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sketchbook Output

I am participating in CCP Videos' Holiday Paint-Out, designed to encourage all of us to keep on creating through the busy holidays. Here are a few sketchbook entries I did over the Thanksgiving weekend. The theme was "community", and I did have the concept in mind while I worked on these. Mainly, though, it was just great to get into the studio and PLAY!

These pages are not to be mistaken for finished pieces". I love using my sketchbook this way, though, just playing, pushing, seeing what happens when I use a color over that one, this pattern next to that text on top of something else... Check out the Paint-Out for inspiration, or just go to your sketchbook and see what happens.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thoughts on Self-Portraits

Several of the participants in my Text and Image Online Workshop expressed interest in doing self-portraits as an ongoing practice. So, of course, with my vast experience of doing self-portraits I thought I might host/teach an online class exploring this practice. Here are a few that showed up in our Text and Image blog:

Self-Portrait at Russian New Year

Self-Portrait after my "Branching Out"

Blind Self-Portraits in White Crayon and Watercolor

Mirror Mirror

So, I am wondering if any of you would be interested in this class? No commitments, just some feedback would be really great. I'd like to explore self-portraits in contour drawings, blind contours, paint, color, collage, fantasy, creating collage/paint environments around yourself, layering one portrait over another, cutting up portraits and putting them back together again, and generally using the self-portrait as an anchor for exploring the expressive potential of drawing, painting, and collage.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Guest Artist at Gallery 47

I've been invited to be the guest artist for the month of December at Gallery 47 in Manchester, VT! I have not put a lot of effort into showing my work, as I've been more focused on teaching and making art, but this gig should be fun - local, easy, and low-pressure.

Gallery 47 is participating in Manchester's first "Holiday Art Walk" on Wednesday, December 7 from 5 - 7 pm, sponsored by Garden Arts. I think they are going to try to make this an ongoing First Wednesdays event, which many cities have - designating one night a month for art galleries to be open late, making it a festive occasion.

For the gift-giving season, I'll be showing mostly small works for under $100. I hope those of you in the area can make it to this Art Party on the 7th, or drop into the gallery during the month of December, Fridays and Saturdays, or by appointment by calling 802.233.1850.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Holiday Paint Out

Creative Catalyst Productions is hosting a Holiday Paint Out on Facebook. The goal is to inspire people to keep creating art during the chaos of the holidays. It's also serving as a bit of promotion for Anne Bagby's third DVD, which will be the drawing prize each week. Each week CCP will send you a theme to inspire you, and you can post your work on the Facebook page. Click here to sign up! The first prompt, or theme, arrives in your e-mail box this Tuesday, November 22, just in time to spend some of your holiday weekend MAKING ART INSTEAD OF SHOPPING!!!! I posted a piece "pre-Paint-Out" on the Facebook page, which I'll post below.

This piece is inspired by this month's Sketchbook Challenge theme, Imaginary Animals, created by Carla Sonheim.

My Sketchbook Practice Survey is still open if any of you would like to take it. I will keep the survey open until Thanksgiving. It is SO INTERESTING to read what people say about their use of the sketchbook. So many common themes run through the survey results. I'll share the summary of it in a few weeks. THANKS!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Text and Image Online Class

Just thought I would show off some gorgeous pieces from my Text and Image online class. I'll be offering this six-week class again in the spring, beginning April 4. Click here for a full description.

Altering Imagery

Making Transparencies

Playing with Ways of Creating Text

Transparencies again (we all agreed that this reminded us of the house in Daphne DuMaurier's "Rebecca"!)

Pairing Found Text and Image (in French)

Creating Gorgeous Backgrounds for Transparencies

Creating Text with Sgraffito Technique

I am thrilled with all the participation, the work, the comments, the discussions. It is extremely gratifying to see people take off with the assignments I give and make such individual and unique pieces.