Friday, December 28, 2012

Exploring the Self-Portrait

Happy New Year!  On January 9, we are beginning my online workshop, "Exploring the Self-Portrait".  This is really an exploration of drawing, painting, and collage techniques using the self-portrait as the subject.  With the tools you'll gain from this workshop, you can approach any subject for artistic expression with confidence and flexibility.  We draw over a photograph, spill ink, make colorful random collage, make blind contour drawings, create wet-in-wet watercolors, and get into a whole lot more trouble.  If you want to sharpen and expand your drawing skills for 2013, consider joining us in Exploring the Self-Portrait!

Student work and my examples from Exploring the Self-Portrait

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

COLOR for the New Year!

If you've wanted to strengthen your foundation in the use of color, my "Unlocking the Secrets of Color", staring January 9, is an opportunity to do exactly that.  You will learn basic color theory/practice and vocabulary, but, more importantly, you will discover how color works for you, using your materials and ideas.  This is a six-week, six-lesson online course that will get you using color with confidence!

I hope you'll indulge my fooling around with sound effects in the above video. They have nothing to do with the visuals; I was just seeing how they work.
A collage color wheel done by a student

The color wheel is just the beginning of our study, a tool for illustrating some of the relationships around the spectrum. 

There is also value, or light to dark:
Bright colors and dull colors (different levels of saturation):
A selection of bright colored patterns against a dull grey green on the left, and a selection of dull patterns against a bright magenta on the right.

And there are the expressive qualities of color, which are largely subjective, and very exciting to play with, once you have a working knowledge of color relationships.

A beautiful abstract landscape done by a student

I hope you have a lovely holiday season, and a bright new year, whatever it brings.  Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Process and Practice

I went to a figure drawing session last night in Chester, VT at Vermont Institute of Contemporary Art which is an hour away.  It is not a class, but a session organized and administered by an artist, for artists.  It's been a while since I have done life drawing in a group setting, and it's also been a while since I've practiced art in the company of other artists, other than in my classes (where I am the teacher, which is different).  One thing I noticed is that NOBODY said "oh, this is no good", or "I can't draw", or "I'm rusty", or "I'm not good at this".  In fact, nobody even discussed the drawings.  It was just understood that this was practice, not aimed at the goal of making Good Drawings, or any Drawings at all.  Just showing up and doing the practice was what it was all about.  How refreshing!    For three hours we just drew, first warm up 2-minute poses, then five minute, ten minute, and so forth until a final long pose.  Hard work, but such important work.  I am so grateful to VTICA and to Bruce Blanchette, who is taking charge, for organizing this.
One of the 20-minute poses.  We had a fabulous model!

Meanwhile Back At The Studio

Here is another 1-2-3 of a piece still in process.  It is 22"x30", hanging on my painting wall while I do Big Fat Art on the work table.

This photo was taken on 12-5.  Not sure if that's when I started the piece.


12-12, and it is not by any means finished, but might be close.
Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Big Fat Art

My friend Mego came over yesterday to make "Big Fat Art".  Which is to say we got out the 18"x24" cheap drawing paper, some craft paints, watercolor crayons, and drawing materials and just went at it.  What a great way to loosen up the art muscles!  Working with someone seemed to provide momentum as well as a way to not focus TOO much on the particulars of any specific "piece".  Know what I mean? Just enough distraction to avoid over-thinking anything, and yet enough we're-in'this-together to keep the focus on making marks.  Here are a few things I did:

Stage one, drawing and painting

Stage two, more paint and stamping

Stage one, drawing and painting

Stage two, more painting
These are all just practice, in process.  Maybe some will evolve into pieces, but it doesn't matter.  The practice was what I needed. I did more on my own the following day, and will continue to use this format for loosening up for working large

If you want to try this, here are some parameters:
Get out your materials:
  • large cheap paper
  • craft paints- limit your palette; I used black, white, and a few neutrals
  • large cheap brushes
  • large palette
  • big stamps or textures
  • paper towels, bucket o' water
  • a few drawing materials: pencils, crayons, graphite, charcoal, pens, markers
  1. Start with paint: make large gestural marks, big shapes, big lines, etc. Do at least half a dozen painting "starts"; they can be all variations on a theme, or each one different.  
  2. When the first one is dry, go back and make lines using different drawing materials.  The lines can have different relationships to the painting underneath - they can be in sync, they can be counterpoint, they can go off on their own...
  3. Then go back into each drawing/painting and do something more: stamp patterns or textures, add some color, draw more, paint more, whatever. 
Or you can begin with drawing.  Or begin with stamped patterns, or whatever you want.  The point is to make a loose plan:  Start here, then do this, then do that.  Stay in the process, and remember that these are not finished pieces.  They are practice. 

I know, loosening up and making beginnings is easy - exercises and "prompts" are a dime a dozen.  Finishing your piece is the hard part.  As a piece progresses, your options narrow, your piece becomes more specific and more focused.  Staying on that path and letting the piece make its statement is where the artistic rubber meets the road.  More on that in another post.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Couple More Verticals

I've been preparing work for Gander Gallery in Manchester, VT, which will be showing my work now.  YAY!  I will get pictures and post more about that soon, but since I haven't posted in a while I thought I'd share a couple more of my vertical experiments.  These two are done, and will go in the gallery.

These are both 7" x 22".  Fun fun FUN working in this format.  More later.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Vertical Experiments

I've been taking it a bit easy the last few weeks after months of an intense teaching schedule.   Time to recharge the batteries, then get in some real studio time.  I have been exploring a vertical format.  Over the years I've done loads of sketches of vertical pieces, but on paper I never seem to actually do them.  So I gave myself (and my Extreme Composition students) a challenge to work in exaggerated proportions.  Here are a few of my efforts.  All of these are 22" high.

This is one piece in three parts. 
It's fun to try a new format! Vertical, extreme horizontal, way bigger than you are comfortable with, way smaller, modular.... give it a try!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fall Fearless and Fly

I am featured this week on the Artists in Blogland blog.  Take a peek at this Fall Fearless challenge, where I talk about working in black and white.  You can win some cool stuff here.
Another oil pastel study in black and white

Monday, October 22, 2012

Abstract Painting on Whidbey Island

I will be teaching a four-day workshop on Abstract Painting (including collage, of course) at the Pacific Northwest Art School in Coupeville, WA on Whidbey Island next summer.  Registration is now open!  Space is limited to 12, and there are several people signed up already, so don't delay if you are interested.
  • Dates are July 22 - 25, 2013
  • Cost is $475
  • Fly into Seattle
You can read the description of the workshop on PNWAS's web site, but in a nutshell, we'll be exploring the elements of visual language and learn lots of techniques for playing with them in context. I use the term "painting" loosely, as we'll be including collage and drawing as well. 

See video demonstration of this piece

acrylic, ink, graphite on cheap paper, 18"x24"

acrylic, ink, crayon, graphite on paper, 22"x30"

acrylic, collage, ink on paper, 8"x8"

acrylic, ink, crayon on paper, 8"x8"

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cathy Farrell at Open Studios

I was teaching at Guilford Art Center in Guilford, CT last weekend, and had the opportunity to visit City Wide Open Studios in New Haven where my friend and student of several years, Cathy Farrell, was exhibiting her work for the first time in quite a while.  What a pleasure it was to see Cathy's work mounted, framed, given adequate wall space, and being admired by so many visitors. 

Cathy and me at her Open Studios gallery with "Turning In", Cathy's first larger-scale piece
"Turning In" 22"x30"

"Turning In" in progress, at Collage Journeys in Vermont retreat, August 2012

Cathy at Collage Journeys, August 2012, "Mooncircles" in foreground

A group of Cathy's collage compositions at Open Studios

Self Portrait collection at Open Studios

"Mooncircles", 22"x30" at Open Studios

Cathy at Guilford Art Center, 2011

"Day at the Beach" made at Guilford Art Center, 2011

"Gateway to the City", made at Guilford Art Center, 2011
See Cathy's post about the event on her blog, with more photos.  And, see her VIDEO TOUR!!

Thanks for visiting!  I hope you'll all consider attending your local Open Studios events, and participating if you can.  It's a great way to talk with artists about their work in a relaxed environment.  You won't get that at a gallery opening!  And for participants it's a way to get feedback, and engage in conversation about your work.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sketchbook Practice Begins

My online workshop, Sketchbook Practice, begins today, and I'm leaving registration open for another week or two.  We've got a great group, but there is room for a few more.  I meant to give you more advance notice, but I have been teaching teaching teaching, and playing catch-up all over the place.  Here is a little teaser, including examples of my work and student work done in the class last spring:

Whether you take this class or not, I hope you enjoy the video and find time to work in your own sketchbook!

A page from my own sketchbook

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Video is Available!!!

For pre-order, that is.  Scribble Collage with Hand-Painted Papers is the title of my new DVD from Creative Catalyst Productions.

For any of you who have take my Scribble Collage workshop, this video will serve as a review plus lots of more detailed demos and information.  And if you haven't taken this workshop, I hope that my new DVD will get you painting, tearing, collaging, and generally making a creative mess.

Sept. 21
OK, now that Nan has pointed out that CCP Videos already has a preview available, here it is!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Workshops at Random Arts

I'm just getting back to reality after spending last weekend teaching three workshops at Random Arts in Saluda, NC.  What a blast! We're already looking at scheduling workshops for next year, tentatively in early August.  What a fun place is Random Arts and Saluda, plus I got to see a bit of Asheville as well.  Here are a few pix from the trip:
My color class, with owner, Jane Powell, front and center

A page from the Visual Journal class by Lynn, who posted about the workshop

Holly and Ruthie doing fabulous painted papers

Deb making a grid collage, who blogged about it here.

The two Janes in Tree Pose (take my word for it, since you can't see our legs)

The fabulous front porch of Random Arts
Porch decorations made with colorful fabrics and embroidery hoops

Christy, center, who was extremely prolific!  Vickie, her mother, on the right, and Denise next to the wall.  Denise was drawn to my workshop by my video with the chicken.

Carol Stangler, a bamboo artist, with Jane Powell
 Thanks for visiting!