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

 

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 Journal pages

 

Each page tells a little story…reflects a mood….or an inclination….or takes a scrap and makes it new…a bag from a purchase turns into a she dots page….something leftover from a class I taught becomes a she loves page….a clean up wipe becomes part of a cherish the moment page…a new feather stencil becomes the star of a collaged page….discover the beauty of keeping an art journal…try it…I guarantee you will like it!

Save

Just Imagine

The possibilities for finding our creative voices are endless.  With paint splashed across a page in my art journal, (extra palette paint always finds a way onto a blank page) waiting for something to happen, the process begins.  Usually there is not a plan, at least for me it works that way.  I let the paint, wherever it has been brushed onto the page and the color be my guide.  It is amazing how something so simple can be so much fun and work our creative muscle too.  By starting a page with utter abandon I feel free to paint from an intuitive place.  I think that is why so many of us are drawn to art journaling, we are keenly aware of how making pages enables us to TRUST our unique, one-of-kind, beautiful creative intuition.  This page started with Quin. gold paint, and Pthalo turquoise, layers of text from a  vintage encyclopedia, a rectangle piece from a larger painting that failed, a floral drawing, a couple of stencils and stickers, acrylic glazes and then journaling with a paint pen.  When I look at this page I remember how it felt to let my imagination run free and to let the art just flow.  Learning to trust our creative intuition is the first step to becoming authentic with our work.  Indeed, the tools of the trade such as drawing skills, composition, value, and color are vital…there is no way to side step those skills.  Creative intuition that is cultivated and worked and trusted combined with an understanding of the “must haves” is what makes us whole.  When I look back over history and see the masterpieces of Matisse, O’Keeffe, Monet, and Picasso, each one is so different.  It truly is a visual array of imagery, each one with a different voice, yet trusting what they know to be “theirs” as right, and enough.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get stuck right there in a place when I start asking myself is this okay?  Is my art good enough?  Is it unique enough?  How am I going to stand out among the crowd of talented artists and let me just say right here, there are A LOT of talented people in the world!!!  When that starts happening I remind myself to enjoy the process, keep learning, experimenting, doing what I love, read inspiring blogs, stay true to my creative intuition, create more pages in my art journal, and pray.  Before long, I am back at it, having fun, painting, playing, and onto my next art piece.  How do you move over these little bumps in the road on this artistic journey?  Please let me know, and as always….be true to you.

Wings

 

butterflyThis piece has been accepted in the Manitou Springs Commonwheel Artists Co-op show entitled  Recycled Art.   The stubstrate is a vintage piece of sheet music.  When the pages are closed, the title of the music Forest Sketches is visible, when opened the mixed media of Wings appears.  There is a story behind this piece of music!  While poking around an estate sale in Denver I discovered a stack of vintage sheet music and also learned about a woman named Lois.  She had been one of the first medical missionaries to China in the early 1900’s.  Her hands had played this musical piece  as well as skillfully healed the sick.  She was a true ministering angel!  I used a Cathedral themed stencil with acrylic inks and paints as the first layer.  With white acrylic ink I drew the angel and added hand painted pieces of paper as wings.  Words are written on top of the wing and also  around the angel.  The opening reception for the show is October 21 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.  If you are in the neighborhood please stop by and say hello.  To enter a piece in the show, it has to be for sale.  I was reluctant to enter this piece because I love it so much.  Time will tell if someone else loves it too!!!

Travel Pages Class Re-Cap

DSC_0696

DSC_0713The first application was to cover chip board pages in white gesso and then a layer of hard pastels in various colors was added just before the gesso dried.  Acrylic inks applied over stencils created another layer.

DSC_0735

DSC_0714

Students travelled through Europe visiting a myriad of countries including Prague, Germany, Scotland, England and Iceland.  One page was dedicated to creating an acrylic painting.  The results were stunning!

DSC_0699

DSC_0737

An Icelandic landscape and a Picasso inspired painting.

DSC_0715 DSC_0700 DSC_0716 DSC_0723 DSC_0725

With travel and exploring new places there are ample opportunities to collect photographs, maps, museum brochures, postcards, and a whole host of ephemera.  Pages are the perfect place to use these found papers for collage.  Combined with acrylic paint,  one-of-kind papers made from National Geographic pages using Citrasolv, and stencils, each page becomes a work of art.  The best part is…  subway ticket stubs, a bakery paper holding the croissant purchased while waiting in line to see the Eiffel Tower, a leaf picked up while walking through a park in Austria, or a paper placemat  from an Indian restaurant in Maastricht…they are FREE ephemera and make for the most interesting collaged pages!

DSC_0697

Photo image transfer gives each page a personal stamp.  As pages take shape with layers of mixed media techniques something special happens…the opportunity to savor the places we have been.  Our memories come alive through the process of art making. Visiting foreign lands are life changing experiences and the visual feast needs to become more than just a memory, it needs to be shared as an artifact.  Creating travel pages is just the place for this to happen.

DSC_0729

DSC_0732

DSC_0731

Whether it is Medieval art or postcards from a museum, it is all fair game for creating travel pages.

DSC_0711

DSC_0741

DSC_0728Fused shopping bag makes for a great journal page. With an iron on a medium setting, place 3 to 4 bags together with the “star bag” on top. Lay parchment paper on top of the pile of bags, and parchment underneath the bundle. Iron away, slowly, to fuse them together.  Trim to the right size, and hole punch the edge… wa-la… a page of texture and a reminder of shopping at Harrods!

DSC_0780Photo image transfer with acrylic paint and some vintage letter stamps, a family heirloom one of the students brought to class for all of us to use.

DSC_0778

DSC_0781Letters made with clear tar gel and acrylic paint.

DSC_0782Stencils and drips make for interesting backgrounds.

A little Monet inspired painting

DSC_0785

DSC_0744Teaching Travel Pages was a wonderful experience for me, and the pages created by each student were full of interesting subjects, techniques, color combinations, and layers of collage.  Every student had an approach that reflected their personal travel experience.  Each page was unique and demonstrated a flair for using ephemera from their adventures to make artful pages.  Maybe it is time for you to pull out those maps, brochures, postcards, photographs, ticket stubs, crumpled napkins, and found papers to create an artifact of your travel escapades.  It is easy to put a travel journal together using some of the techniques I have described, it just takes time, a precious commodity…but it is worth the effort!

Art journaling

DSC_1107 (2)