Expressive Florals Re-Cap

Student work from my Expressive Florals class.  Close up of blossoms painted with bold brush strokes, and texture.

The first layer was clear tar gel, applied loosely across a blank white canvas.  You can see slight traces of it in this photograph of a student’s painting.

I taught the class in the painting studio of the historical Bemis Art School at the Fine Arts Center at Colorado College.  You can see the top of the FAC in the window.  Lots of space, individual easels and natural light made for the perfect setting.

Before we start painting, several weeks are spent warming up to the shapes of blossoms.  This exercise was done in an art journal; layers of text, paint glazing, patterned tissues and then completed by painting a flower as the finishing touch.

Each student has a personal style.  As an instructor I aim to encourage discovery and allow a student to develop their unique creative expression.  Each of us is wired with creative intuition, we just need to learn to trust it.  This only occurs by actively engaging our creative muscle.  My class, Expressive Florals is a safe place for students to discover their creative language.  It does take time, but just look at these amazing paintings, some students had never painted before!  When there is no pressure, or focus on perfection, we find our natural FLOW.  And when we move out of our comfort zone…that is when the magic happens.

Text can create a lovely layer in an expressive floral painting.  Take a look at what his student created.  She hand wrote meaningful words on a piece of thin drafting paper and added it as a layer.  It was a beautiful and bold addition to her painting.

To start with a blank canvas can be intimidating no matter how long you have been painting.  With the first layer of tar gel, then a light blue grey underpainting, the canvas is no longer blank.  We also add big blocks of neutral color, and then sketch the blossom image with charcoal on the canvas.  This helps break the ice and eases the pressure of beginning the painting.  Also several weeks of fun and useful warm up exercises in the art journal help set the stage for a successful painting.

 

Pushing and pulling color is part of the process.  In other words, darkening and lightening areas to create pops of color.  Expressive painting is a “loose” process, quite different than a botanical painting or the wonderful floral still life paintings of the Dutch Masters.  In my class we paint from photographs, and also I bring in fresh flowers for inspiration.  We are not trying to paint every nuance of the blossom in Expressive Florals.  It is more about expression, brush strokes that come natural and interpreting the blossom in a personal way.

Stencils….yes!  I love to encourage the use of stencils, a serendipitous layer that adds interest but does not detract from the florals.

My demo painting from a magazine photograph.

Please join me for Expressive Florals (A 41).  Next class starts 3/1/18 to 4/12/18, Thursdays, 10-12pm.  Register at Bemis Art School at Fine Arts Center at Colorado College.

coloradocollege.edu/fac

Bemis@coloradocollege.edu

Hope to see you in class!!!  And even if you have taken it already, come back again, there is always a new expression waiting to be discovered.

Art Show at Fine Arts Center

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The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center

 

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DSC_0003The Permanent Collection has some beautiful pieces by Dale Chihuly

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The Native American Collection is extensive also..DSC_0015

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And there is a portrait of General Palmer’s daughter painted by the one and only John Singer Sargent.

Arthur Dove’s Foghorn is part of the permanent collection.  He was pals with Georgia O’Keeffe.

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The Bemis Art School Gallery is currently featuring an Instructor show and that is where I come in.  I am so honored to have several of my paintings on display in the Fine Arts Center in the company of other talented instructors.

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TA-DA…here is my  “Land Secrets” and “Mixed Messages”, mixed media paintings.

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A glimpse of the gallery which is on the second floor of the museum.

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Paintings and ceramic pieces by fellow instructors.

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I am literally over the moon to have several of my paintings on display during this show and for them to be in the same building with the likes of those artists I have mentioned and others such as Gustave Baumann, Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams is just plain WOW!!! It is a highlight of my adventure as a creative and a once in a lifetime event.  The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center has been purchased by Colorado College and the future is sure to be exciting and at the same time uncertain.  But at this moment in time I am thrilled with the opportunity to have my paintings on display and look forward to the next chapter of this amazing place. 

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The building is magnificent.  Alice Bemis Taylor, philanthropist and patron of the art complex, chose John Gaw Meem as the architect and it was his crowning achievement.  It was completed in 1936 and for its outstanding design Meem received the silver medal from the Fifth Pan American Congress of Architecture. The Fine Arts Center and The Bemis School of Art, which is housed on the north side of the building, is a jewel for my hometown.  I am over-the-moon ecstatic to have my paintings hanging on the wall of the Fine Arts Center, it is more than a dream come true…literally beyond anything I could have imagined.  Having spent most of my adult life in Colorado Springs, attended numerous exhibitions at the Fine Arts Center, taken classes at Bemis as a child, then later as an adult, taken classes together with my children, taught classes to youth and adults as a Bemis Instructor, it is indeed a rare privilege to be entwined with this institution.  If your travels bring you this way or if you are local, please stop by the Fine Arts Center and see for yourself this incredible arts complex.  And be sure to take a peek at the Bemis Gallery on the second floor where you will be see pieces by folks like me! The show runs until March 13, 2017.