Southwest Landscapes Fall Session

Here is a re-cap of the Southwest Landscape class I taught this fall.  The students created beautiful paintings and I am so excited to share it with you.

Acrylic Painting Demonstration

Southwest Landscape

Painting the southwest is enjoyable and at the same time an opportunity to discover the nuances of acrylic paints.  My demonstration painting (work in progress pictured above) is of Ghost Ranch, the place where Georgia O’Keeffe lived and painted her masterpieces.  Here, we are in the iconic painting studio of The Bemis Art School.  Full of natural light ( sometimes makes it hard to take good photos) and a rich history of instruction and creating within its walls…it is a special place.  Every time I enter this studio I am so inspired to carry on the legacy of teaching and creating art.

At the beginning of class we talk about choosing a subject and how the approach will be to develop an expressive style rather than a photo realistic painting.  Acrylic paints are versatile, and vibrant which makes them the perfect choice for colorful expression.  Take a look at the student palettes…

Just look at these yummy colors!!!

When I teach any painting class, I include the art journal as a tool to begin the design process, record color choices and use the blank pages for paint clean up.  Essentially, any paint left on your palette can be spread across a blank page as the initial layer of creating a journal page.  It serves as a springboard for letting your creativity flow and to begin the process of letting go.  Making art journal pages is not the focus of the painting classes I teach, but I love introducing the concept to students.  Here you can see an example of how a student uses the journal for reference.

Most of the students had some art experience yet considered themselves beginners.  From my perspective, they were a talented group!  As you look at their paintings in progress in this next group of photos you will see for yourself how their paintings reflect excellence.

As an instructor, one of my goals is to encourage students to develop their own style by  experimenting with color and brushstrokes, and to allow their creative intuition to lead the process.  This seems to resonate with creatives and it is evident by their beautiful paintings.  Each student approaches their subject with a personal idea and direction for their painting.  My style of instruction is to enhance their process by making suggestions and giving them clues for color and shape. It is rewarding for me to see their progress and how their confidence grows with each brushstroke.

During a six week class, it is nearly impossible to finish a painting.  Usually students are near completion and only have a few final touches to make.  I always ask them to send me a picture once they are finished.  Here is a completed painting for you to enjoy!

As The Bemis Art School undergoes a transition to a new space, I found myself a bit nostalgic when my class ended.  Perhaps it will be the last time I teach in the painting studio.  Sigh….it has been grand!  And no doubt the new classrooms will have a style and ambience all their own.  I am just thankful to be part of the team, the legacy, the arts, and the school.  Thanks for stopping by my blog and thank you students for the joy you bring to my life.

Soon we will see where the next chapter unfolds! 

My 2019 summer favorites

H E R O E S of  W W II were honored at the 75th Anniversary of D – Day and we were honored to be present at the ceremony.  It was a fabulous, fast paced trip through Europe with our friend who is a high school history teacher and several students who are history buffs.  We merely came along with some other adults, no chaperone duties involved, just soaking up the history and sights of Europe.  It was memorable and our hearts swelled with pride and emotion as the survivors of Normandy were honored and those who had died.  God bless them!

The Heroes of Normandy

Normandy France…we attended the 75th Anniversary of D Day and here is a vintage photo of the heroes from that day long ago.

Saw the Queen in London, she is beautiful!!!

A coach and a creative..seated on a bench in Covent Gardens on a cloudy day in London…

Saw this Van Gogh painting while at the National Gallery in London, yes it is amazing in real life.

Stopped by the Rijksmuseum in The Netherlands, snapped this photo in the outdoor garden.

My Aqua LOVE journal which I shared on my first ever FACEBOOK Live during Playful Experiments, an online forum where I was an instructor, part of 21 SECRETS studio.

C O L O R A D O  S K Y

The view from our tent while camping at Chatfield Reservoir

Our grandson camped with us..his first time sleeping in a tent!

Gifted And Talented Art

The Mountain That Loved A Bird

My Gifted and Talented Art students created the illustrations for this production at the Colorado College Summer Music Festival.  It was a very special opportunity and performance.

Gifted And Talented Art

The Mountain That Loved A Bird

I took a summer art workshop and created my first ever pastel painting.  Thank goodness the instructor lent me his pastels because my big box store brand paled in comparison to his Sommeliers.  It was a productive workshop and moved me out of my comfort zone!

Flowers in my garden

And as the end of August nears, the blossoms are fading.  Already the shadows are getting longer, sunsets are earlier and there is a slight chill in the evening air.  Time to start lighting our chiminea.

The view from our friend’s lovely mountain-home deck.  We spent a week-end here and also saw the B-52 band at the Dillon amphitheater.  It is one of my favorite places to visit during the summer.  We walked the streets of Breckenridge, rode our bikes along the Blue River, and enjoyed delicious eats at Sauce on The Blue restaurant.

And during the summer weeks I took care of this precious one, my granddaughter Ella Leigh.  We are grateful for her little life and the blessing she has received.  Ella has recovered wonderfully from being sick for many months and now at 7 months, she is thriving, happy, and strong.  

Big brother is a joy also and spending time with my son and his family warms my heart.  Landon’s cousins sent him face paints for his birthday.  Woohoo..and, grandma – a.k.a. Mimi, had a ball painting his cute little face.  Moments like this are ones I truly treasure.  

During the in-between time I found time to sketch.  This is in preparation for my upcoming Southwest Landscapes class that starts in September.  With Labor Day week-end coming up, schools already in session, the days of summer are behind us.  I hope you had some special moments creating art, spending time making memories with your families, looking up at the sky, and keeping your eyes open to see the wonderful gifts of our natural world. 

Art Over Lunch

“Creativity takes courage”   Georgia O’Keeffe

And if you have ever taken an art class, or dabbled in any of the creative arts, or ventured out during your lunch hour to explore art journaling, you know exactly what Ms. O’Keeffe meant.  Exploring something new and different,  being present…and letting your creative muse lead the way, that’s what happened when we made art…over lunch.  And it took courage!

Several employess from Colorado College came over to the art school and I had the privilege of facilitating an art journal experience.  Using black paper, gelli prints on deli paper and National Geographic pages altered with Citra- Solv, everyone made a landscape themed piece.

They came from a variety of departments; facilities, finance, global leadership, library services, athletics, and a host of others.

Each participant had their unique expression and they were comfortable letting their creative intuition lead the way.

Colorful and full of interesting themes, their creations were as varied as the departments from which they came.  It was a lunch hour chunk of time devoted to making art.  Isn’t it wonderful how Colorado College values the arts and makes this available to employees?

White gel pens were used for adding words.  Favorite quotes, music lyrics, or their own poetry were the suggestions I gave and each student easily found the perfect words for their art journal piece.  The feedback has been very positive and I am thankful there will be another opportunity to share something I love, art journaling, with the beautiful folks from Colorado College!  Kudos to all of you for moving out of your comfort zone, and letting a bit of magic happen.

I’m teaching online!!

Sometimes a beautiful opportunity shows up on your doorstep and you grab it with gusto.  That’s what happened when I was invited to be part of this amazing forum for learning art journaling techniques online.  This was a first for me so I was out of my comfort zone with regard to the technology requirements for this kind of undertaking.  But I listened to my own words…moving out of our comfort zone is when the magic happens… and indeed this is exactly what occurred.   Using an iphone to film my work, editing, re-filming parts, keeping my words succinct, thinking, creating within a time limit, consulting with the amazing Tonia Jenny who helped me out immensly every step of the way, and uploading the finished videos.  This process forced me learn new skills and I am glad that I did!  21 SECRETS has been a huge part of my creative journey and I have enjoyed learning online with some incredibly talented mixed media artists.  Now I am part of the team and bringing to you the opportunity for creating at your own leisure; whenever the muse strikes you, in your jammies or even while on vacation, no hassel with parking and toting all of your supplies to a classroom, oh no….just turn on your computer and voila…you can see it all in living color with ease!  I hope you will join me for AQUA LOVE, creating an art journal spread in a grid using the yummy color aqua, and the photo image transfer technique.  It is a combination spread, the photos provide representational images, and watery aqua hues create complementing layers.  It was a lot of playing and experimenting, which by the way is the intent of this summer studio session entitled –

…P L A Y F U L  E X P E R I M E N T S…  

I hope you will join me and let your creative juices flow!  Here is a link for more information and registering. https://bit.ly/2XEb8Ft    There will also be a Facebook group and a boatload of wonderful instruction from a variety of artists.  Try something new, just like I did, you will not be disappointed.    

Live sessions are closed but you can still purchase an e-book with both Playful Experiments, and Capturing Moments; $55 each or the bundle for $98.   These sessions provide so many different and unique approaches to art journaling from an amazing and talented group of instructors.  Please check it out with the link above.  It is always nice to have some on-line classes at your fingertips.  That way when you feel an urge to create yet are drawing a blank on where to start, open up the ebook for a jumpstart.  Lessons are only 35 minutes each, supplies are minimal and flexible, use what you have works in most cases, and voila.. your creative muse is on the move.

Southwest Landscapes Re-Cap

The beauty of a southwest landscape by embracing a sense of place and observing the colors of earth and sky, this was our world for 6 weeks.  A group of students from various backgrounds gathered together and shared the experience of making art in the historic art school we call BEMIS.  A few had painted before, others had not, but with some tools, instruction, and confidence each one set out on a painting journey.

The underpainting was a layer of orange which you can see pictured here.  The range of color in the underpaintings was like a rainbow full of a variety of hues. Such is the beauty of mixing color, any variation in combinations produces something different.  The underpainting produced a glow which worked well with the subject matter and also eliminates the stark white blank canvas.

Students used a variety of photographs and pictures of paintings for inspiration.   By developing soft edges, hard edges, texture, color, perspective, line, and shape the paintings began to reflect each individual’s style.  As an instructor, this is my favorite aspect of the process; encouraging the pursuit of style.  Each artist has an intuition with regard to brush strokes, imagery, color preference, and design.  Mastering skills is secondary to trusting the intuitive process… in my opinion.  Somewhere along our journey, this intuition can shut down because of a critical voice, giving it wings again takes courage, persistence, and experience.  I love encouraging this process in my classes.

Each student completed one painting during the duration of the class.  I also incorporate art journal exercises such as thumbnail sketches, an abstract charcoal line drawing, color wheel, simple landscape paintings and a collage landscape on a trifold black paper using my personal stash of gelatin printed papers and altered National Geographic papers.  Here are my samples of these exercises.

The charcoal line drawing with gesso and tint was inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe and southwest imagery.

And the tri-fold collage landscape exercise, front and back with a little Van Gogh inspired sky!

I suggested words to be added on the back side, maybe a quote, song lyrics, any thought or idea that came to mind…

C L E V E R …a little play on words…(Bemis is the school name)  so Jack came up with this..

get it?   beam us…up scotty   FUNNY!!! 

The best ingredient in any class is the people and this group was full of creativity, and a willingness to learn about acrylic painting.  When the session is over, there is a great sense of accomplishment, just look at their paintings!! And also a sigh…hard to see it come to an end.

That’s a wrap.. Southwest Landscapes..wonderful!   Kudos to all, you did an amazing job.  Until we meet again, keep creating, keep in touch, and enjoy what is NEXT.

Women in History

 

Expressive portrait painting

E V E

A mixed media acrylic painting to honor the women who have shaped history by making art…our world is more beautiful because of you.  Some have passed away and others like myself are in the midst of our creative journey.  During this month of honoring women in history let’s remember the artists past and present who are devoted to expression by making art for the world to see.

Bonjour France!!

GOURDES FRANCE

A beautiful village built on the side of a hill in Provence.  At every turn, this village delights with shops full of unique treasures, quaint restaurants, a cathedral, hotel, views from every vista, and winding streets full of surprises.

Shop windows in France display curiosities and are works of art themselves.  I find myself stopping to taking photographs, meandering inside the shop, and wishing I could take it all home with me.  Those who dress the windows make everything look lovely, and appealing, it is an art form unique to Europe.

PROVENCE

While walking to dinner in Provence, I glanced up and saw these beautiful shutters.  They were the most amazing color of lavender and the perfect adornment in this land where rows and rows of lavender grow.  The fields are full and the shops are too.  Little sachets are plentiful, full of lavender buds, fragrant, and tenderly wrapped in muslin.   The land in France is a living canvas, and the rows of lavender, cared for by gardeners, are like paintings.  When the sun is setting, the shadows, and hues take on a captivating luster.  It is no wonder many great masters painted the countryside in France. Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Cezanne, Pissarro, Morisot, their landscapes and images were influenced by the world around them.  It is a reminder to keep our eyes open and behold  the gifts of nature and also to….  look up!!!

 

ST. REMY

St. Remy has a Vincent Van Gogh walk through town and ends at the hospital where Vincent was treated.  Along the path are signposts with his paintings, a brief description of a painting and where Vincent painted it.  We walked this path in the late afternoon. The scenes and images were characteristic of his paintings and I could see how he responded to the landscapes with his unique creative language.  His colors were vibrant yes, but so is the landscape he painted.  How fortunate he was, to allow his creative intuition to guide the way, and use colors and shapes that came from within.  After all, as artists, this is what we seek.  Not to mimic another, but to find our own way of expression that responds to the world around us.   Vincent Van Gogh was a true master, under valued during his time on earth, yet timeless.  His body of work is a treasure and walking in his steps was special.  It gave me a deeper appreciation of this artist I admire. If you have not seen the film, LOVING VINCENT, you must!  It is a wonderful piece of art and tells a beautiful story about one of the world’s greatest artists.

 

 

 

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!