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! 

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.

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

she found her way

A page in my art journal..moleskine watercolor journal.  Layers of collage including vintage text, and snippets of paper.  I remember exactly where I was when I created this page, a little casita in Taos, NM.  After a day of painting in a workshop with Gwen Fox, one of my favorite mentors, I came back to the casita and began playing in my art journal.  There is something magical about the light in Taos, it is different than any other place.  It is no wonder why so many artists love going to NM and discovering for themselves what it is all about.  I know I do!  “She found her way” was my response to the workshop and new things I learned about painting.  Each brushstroke of color and how it is placed on a page is an expression, unique to a moment in time.  I was thrilled this page was published in Art Journal magazine, one of Somerset Studios publications.  The beauty of art journaling is the freedom it gives us to explore, play, paint, and be ourselves on a page.  To enjoy mark making, writing words describing our thoughts, painting with the colors we love, accessing our creative expression readily are all the reasons art journaling is so popular.  See for yourself and join me for a class in February 2018!  “A101”  at Bemis Art School – Fine Arts Center – Colorado College.  www.coloradocollege.edu/fac