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.