Aqua Art Journal Class Re-cap

The color aqua was inspiration for a six week class I just finished teaching.  As an instructor with the Bemis Art School at Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, I am honored to be on staff and am amazed by the talented students that come through our doors. Just take a look at their art featured in this post and you will see what I mean!   My journal is pictured above with a pink beaked peacock made with a stencil.  The first layers were white gesso, and acrylic paint, then gel pens for details.  Students are provided with mixed media techniques and prompts for making pages.  Though the mixed media techniques are the same, each student designs their page from creative intuition and all pages become one-of-kind.   From a variety of backgrounds, and art making experiences each student has a unique gift. I enjoy cultivating a class atmosphere where creatives can let their muse learn, play, explore, and discover.  Take a look at the aqua infused art journal pages made with a variety of techniques and prompts…

“Heart Matters”

This two page spread was created with layers of thick masking tape, white gesso over the tape, and acrylic paint for  lots of yummy texture.  The heart was a page from a wallpaper sample book, painted and stenciled on the front and back, attached only in the center.  Lifting up the right and left side of the heart, reveals each artists words about their special loves.

Instead of a heart design, this artist carried forth the theme of the sea, and used a fish design.

On the first class we made painted art tissue with various shades of aqua and warm tones to be used for the two page spread entitled “By the Sea”.  The painted tissue is a wonderful collage element because it is made by hand and tissue adheres to a page so nicely.  It almost looks like it was part of the page from the beginning.

And then, “Home Sweet Home”, inspired by the color aqua..naturally!

The mixed media technique used for this prompt was bleeding tissue.  Water is painted onto the journal page, then pieces of bleeding tissue are laid down, then more water.  After the water dries and tissue is removed a lovely layer of juicy color remains.  This is very serendipitous, and therein lies the fun.  Unlike the medium of watercolor, this is uncontrolled, and loose but lends itself to fun patterns of color.

Art journal pages in the works using bleeding tissue.

Creatives  with LOTS of room to spread out in this art studio at Bemis!

More pages made using the bleeding tissue technique.

Building layers of collage on top of the colors left from the bleeding tissue technique.

Collage elements with painted tissue and stamped imagery.

Photo transfers were made by using inkjet or toner copies of personal photographs.  This is a perfect way to use your collection of photos.  Each student had beautiful photos from personal experiences depicting the color aqua.  From the shores of Bermuda, to the northern lights, and the architecture from Morocco, there was a place for each photograph.  A layer of liquid matte medium is painted on the page, the photograph is placed face down, burnished, and burnished some more!!!  After it dries for 24 hours, spray a mist of water on the backside, and gently rub the paper pulp away.  After it is dry again, add a layer of gloss varnish or clear fingernail polish to reveal a fairly clear image.  This technique is not flawless and sometimes images do not adhere perfectly.  That’s okay!  To have a perfect image, use a copy of the photograph as collage.  This technique provides the following look….

This is a photo I took at San Juan Capistrano Mission.  I made a black and white copy and used the photo transfer technique.

The page was divided into a grid using gesso and the edge of a already spent gift card. 🙂  By adding lots of water to acrylic paint, it starts to behave a bit like watercolor but filled with pigment.  You can see how great the photo transfer images  blended into the page.

Vellum paper printed with a photograph is another way to add your personal photos into the journal.  I printed my art rocks photo on vellum, attached it with washi tape over a grid page design of watery acrylic paint and  photo transfers.  The grid is a subtle layer beneath the vellum.  Any inkjet printer can be used to copy a photo onto vellum.

Above is a beautiful example of a piece of vellum printed with a photograph from a travel adventure to Turkey.  If you are like me and take a bazillion photos when traveling, I hope you now have some ideas for new applications for your photographs.  They are perfect for lovely collage elements, photo transfers, and vellum prints!

Ah…mermaids and aqua!  Don’t you love her purple hair?

Whether you are just getting started making art or have been on the journey for awhile, making mixed media pages in a journal is a gratifying experience.   Thank you for opening a new world of art for me.  Now I know what to do with all of the bits I have collected from our travels.  I have learned so much from your class and am looking forward to the next and the next.  Kind words from a note to me from a student who took this class.  Granted there are lots of amazing online classes and sometimes that is just the right fit.  But rest assured, taking a class with others builds community and offers an experience quite different from taking one online.  Interaction with other creatives, working side by side offering encouragement during the process, and seeing how others use their creative intuition are the intangibles that come from taking an art class at Bemis. As the new year gets ready to unfold, maybe it will be the perfect time for you to get your art on!!! These are wonderful times for makers because opportunities abound for discovering your creative language.

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you are inspired and perhaps one day I will see you in class.  Coming up in the 2019 winter/spring session I am teaching a painting class, Southwest Landscapes and another art journal class entitled Reflective Journal. Both classes are suitable for beginners.

Class information will be posted in the next couple of weeks and you can register online at

http://www.coloradocollege.edu/fac/bemis

SONATA

SONATA  

12 x 12 Gallery Wrapped Canvas

Acrylic Inks, Paint, and Mixed Media

I love the butterfly and its attributes, so perfect, delicate, intricate and full of genius.  Did you know the Monarch butterfly can fly over 2,000 miles?  Such an amazing feat for a paper thin winged creature.  And butterfly wings have over 1200 lenses to see all around.  Ever since I painted  Georgia’s Wings, the steel alloy sculpture which resides in the courtyard garden at Penrose Main Hospital, I have been enchanted with this insect.  It is a favorite subject of mine so expect to see more featured in my work.  This painting developed intuitively using a perfect specimen, the butterfly, and abstracting the  wing design.  The name “Sonata” seemed fitting since the butterfly floats through nature pollinating in a musical fashion.

Floral Workshop Re-cap

E X P R E S S I V E  A N D  B E A U T I F U L  


We just finished my Expressive florals workshop and it was filled with talented and creative students.  Take a look at their work and see how creative intuition takes center stage throughout the process.

In this painting, the clear tar gel application is visible as a first layer, see the swirls behind the lilies? On the first day I like to warm up with acrylic inks dropped onto gesso coated newsprint.  The organic shapes are then transformed into blossoms, and one section is abstracted. 


This artist used stencils in a fresh and creative way.  If you look closely you can see a layer of stencil design in the background. 

Artists at work in the Bemis studios…painting F L O W E R S.

Works in progress…whenever I take a workshop, my paintings are never complete at the end.  There is a lot to learn and experience.  Sometimes the finishing touches come at home.  These paintings are well on their way, full of vibrant color, and great shapes.

  Kudos to this amazing group of ladies who learned new techniques, created beautiful paintings and moved forward on their creative journey.  It was my pleasure to spend the week with you and I hope our paths cross again one day.


Thanks for stopping by my blog.  I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Expressive Florals, a workshop for the beginner or advanced artist at Bemis Art School.  “What lies behind, what lies ahead, are tiny matters compared to lies within.” Emerson  

 

My heart is about helping you tap into and discover your creative intuition, that which lies within.  Once it starts to happen, your whole world takes on a new glow. And as my 86 year old father wisely says, “when you are green, you are growing..” Let’s keep growing together.  When you take a class at Bemis with other students, in the historic studios which have been around for over 75 years, it is truly a special experience.  Hope to see you in class one day.

Blooms at Bemis

Bridal Shower


For the last few months I have been busy preparing to host a bridal shower for my daughter.  Last week we had the shower and I snapped a photo of the ribbon bouquet that she will carry during the rehearsal in August.  Remember this tradition, it is a keeper! There were many helping hands working to bring this together.  My friend Pam helped plan and decorate.  My sis helped with all of the food preparations and the final details before guests arrived and Gita did a beautiful job arranging the flowers in crystal vases.  A floral garland draped over a doorway, with tulle billowing all around, pink roses and gladiolas, baby’s breath, silver dollar eucalyptus, bride and groom photos, flickering tea lights, yummy eats, personalized pink and white M&M’s, and lots of love showered over the bride to be last Saturday.  The art of living!  Our home became the blank canvas for this event and it is just a little example of how creativity is part of every day life.  Cheers friends and thanks for stopping by!  P.S.  see those candlesticks in the photo, they used to be black and I spray painted them a chalky ivory.  I was a mad woman with spray paint getting ready for this shower.  I love me some DIY.

She Is An Explorer


She is an explorer, she is curious, she loves to create pages in an art journal.  This page was done on watercolor paper, 140lb. in a handbound journal with the pamphlet stitch.  I prepared this page for a class I was teaching and the word prompt was curiosity.  It also is created with silhouette images, book text, handwritten words, and some mark making.  First layer is paint applied with a baby wipe, smudged around the page, and soft edges.  On non porous paper I dripped alcohol inks, and then blended them together.  After drying the paper I cut out squares and with an acrylic ink pen spelled out the word curiosity, and cut into squares.  I highlighted the letters with white dots then attached the letters to my page with a UHU glue stick, the best glue stick around! Color, line, silhouettes, words, expressions from heart, these are the ingredients in an art journal page.  Let me know what you think.  Hope to see you in class so I share some ideas for your creative journey!

Folk Art Inspired

Inspired by a trip to Guatemala where folk art abounds.  Wooden carvings depicting saints line the perimeters of places of worship.  Each one intricate yet primitive, made by hand and paying homage to a person of the past.  This is a page in my art journal, a photo image transfer technique upon a page layered with white gesso, acrylic paint and mark making.  Using personal photographs for image transfer gives special meaning to a journal page.  It is a one of a kind picture from a point in time.  A memento of time and place identifying somewhere along the way of life.  I wanted to share this with you for inspiration for a journal page.  Make a copy of your photograph, a laser copy works best.  Those are done at your local print shop.  Paint a layer of gel medium on the page and place your photograph copy face down on your page.  Burnish, and burnish some more until the ink from the copy starts to release.  Once it has released, remove the copy and your image appears.  Most of the time, it is not a perfect release and therein lies the beauty of this technique..imperfection and a weathered look!  Give it a try and see the endless possibilities of ways to use your personal photos of faces and places. Let me know how it goes!

Bumper Stickers Rock

SEDONA

I just had to snap a pic seated on the bumper of this van loaded with stickers…crazy and fun!

Tulips

Nothing says spring like pink tulips.  Winters are long here in CO and tulips do not grow well. In fact we rarely have spring.  So when friends came over with these tulips in hand it tickled me pink!  I hope you are enjoying the season of new beginnings, and as my 86 year old dad always says….when you’re green, you’re growing!  Simple but true.

Art Journal Class Re-Cap

Spring 2018 Art Journal Class at Bemis

A M A Z I N G       W O M E N       M A K I N G      P A G E S  

It’s all about words and using them for expression.  The first prompt involved making strips of printed deli papers and Citrasolv pages from National Geographic magazines.   These papers were collaged onto the back page with a word holding special meaning..a word to carry with them for the rest of the year.  A cover of tea stained muslin stamped with a stencil and some stitching for flair was added with brads over the last page and another stencil used on the adjacent page.

Fabric and stitching add a unique texture element to art journals.

Expressive underpainting was the first layer, gray tone painting to define organic shapes, and then journaling with a white gel pen.

Paying tribute to a favorite artist gave everyone the opportunity to discover..maybe a new artist or one that had been a favorite for a long time.  One student chose her mother and when she showed the page to her children, they immediately knew that their grandmother was the chosen artist!

 

From Klimt to Van Gogh, Cezanne to Ansel Adams, Flavia to a beloved mom, and a few others, these pages reflect a tribute to an admired artist.  Looking at another artists work and techniques provides ample opportunity to learn about process, color and brush strokes.

Here is a tribute to one of my favorites…Vincent Van Gogh!

Making and using personal stamps with sticky back foam and a wooden block.

This was inspired by Marks in Place..a book dedicated to the photography of  ancient marks made by native people in North America.  For centuries mankind has used tools to make marks in stone.  We still enjoy the process of designing and making marks! We made ours in the art journal.

Each page tells a story and offers a chance to discover something new.  Whether it involves a technique, a color, a word, or reflection working in an art journal is pure delight.  No pressure just expression and fine tuning the creative muscle.  The best part is meeting others who enjoy making art, sharing stories and celebrating one another’s creativity.

Creative hands playing with mixed media and bringing beauty into our world!

Lots of love and expression goes into these art journals!  They are an artifact of our journey in mixed media and exploring new frontiers.  Thanks for stopping by!

Demo painting tip

When teaching a painting class I like to paint my demos on newsprint coated with clear gesso.  How many times have I bought newsprint for a class and never seem to use it up.  This is a great way to upcycle those pads.  Using a foam brush, coat the newsprint with clear gesso and it removes the porous quality of the paper and gives it new life!  Now acrylic paints or inks or all matter of mixed media can be added to the paper.  I really like this technique because when teaching I prefer to focus on my students and their work. Painting on newsprint gives me freedom and I am not as invested on what is on my easel, rather I am more engaged with what is happening on yours!  And if my painting bombs..no worries, I can toss it or rip it up and use it for collage.  Painting on newsprint coated with gesso requires a board with clips to hold it in place.  Any big box craft store has them and it fits perfectly on my easel.  Let me know if you give it a try and how it works for you.

Expressive Florals at Bemis

Expressive floral painting is all about discovery.  Letting your creative intuition lead the way and learning to trust the path.  This painting was done by an experienced artist and the focus was painting with a palette knife.  It was a new pursuit and look at his success!  We started with a layer of clear tar gel and beaded gel medium, by Golden, dribbled and scraped across the canvas.  Using clear tar gel medium is one of my signature starting points as an instructor and the outcome is always successful. It brings a subtle element of texture to the painting.  The added beaded gel medium by the artist was stunning on this floral painting!

The clear tar gel is easily seen in this photograph and it added a layer of interest to a lovely painting.  The application is unplanned, random, and free flowing.  After seeing the great results of adding the medium, this student said she would like to add more clear tar gel to her canvas next time.  Sometimes taking a risk, moves an artist in a new direction and the process opens a door to new sparks of creativity.

It is a privilege to be on staff at Bemis teaching art!  The joy is overwhelming and I am so grateful for this opportunity.  And now with the Colorado College alliance, it is a top tier venue in all aspects.  My students are talented and creative, with an eagerness to learn and push their art in new directions.  Sometimes we just need to trust that still small voice that says, “This might work…what if I try it?… YES!” It is all about fine tuning our creative instincts and honing this skill is a life long process.

No matter ones age or background, artful expression brings a unique experience to life.  The time melts away during class, and before we know it, two hours have flown by.  It is such a gift to ourselves to slip some creative time into our busy lives which are full of obligation and domestic chores.  Making time for art in any form whether it is as a maker, or an observer never comes back void.  Life is richer because of the experience!

 

“Nobody sees a flower-really-it is so small it takes time-we haven’t time- and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”  Georgia O’Keeffe

Making time to paint…opening our eyes to see the beauty in a flower…letting our creative intuition be the guide…holding a brush…finding just the right color…stroking the paint on a canvas…seeing the image unfold…tweaking, highlighting, darkening, pushing ourselves and our art in new ways.  We are never done, we are always on the climb, looking for new vistas, navigating the frustrations and rewards, each time reaching a different level.  THIS is living a creative life!!!  Thanks for stopping by, leave a comment and share your thoughts about the creative journey.  I would love to hear from you.  We learn and grow from one another.  Cheers…hope to see you in class one day!

Happy Easter

Peace be with you….

 

The Duomo in Florence, Italy was completed in 1436. A feat of architecture that still baffles many as to how the dome was constructed.  This cathedral is one of my favorites, a masterpiece of beauty and engineering… the art of man unto The Savior. To take this photo I had to walk up a tiny circular staircase in the tower next to The Duomo, hundreds of steps.  But it was so worth it!!  Cathedrals are fascinating and to see this one from a unique vantage point was incredible.   They are massive, intricate, and impressive with their adornments of glory and honor.  Today we still have many churches, not quite as fancy as the Duomo, yet they still offer glory and praise not in the form of a structure rather through active worship.  Maybe you find yourself wondering what Easter is all about.  Is there more to it than dyed eggs, chocolate bunnies and jelly beans?  This coming Sunday, Christian churches all over the planet will be opening their doors to persons of faith and seekers.   Maybe instead of just passing by, follow you heart and venture inside. In our present age there are churches a plenty; in shopping centers or schools, cathedrals, some are small or large, ornate, or plain, they are readily available. No matter the building, let your heart lead the way and rest assured…if you seek, you will find!