Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Asian collage

I have been working on a collage for a little over a week. I started with a piece of cardboard that I peeled to expose the corrugation. I rolled some white gesso on, and then some black and red paint. The paint was a little too garish, so I covered it with some Chinese newspaper, and then a napkin which I also peeled. I kept adding things over the course of several days. I prefer to work faster with a collage, but I wanted this to have a certain look, and so kept auditioning additions to the collage. I didn't take anything off, but I left several hours, or a day between additions.

I am happy with the way it turned out. In this photo, it makes me think of grafitti on a wall, layers peeling away.

Play in Olympia

Below are the two papers I made with my friend, Lynne when I went to Olympia last Friday. These are close-ups, the papers are 12 x 12. They are also slightly back-lit.

Lynne made two or three beautiful papers, too, but I stupidly did not take photos of them! I haven't been very good about taking photos, lately.
These are using the techniques I learned in Anne Bagby's class at ArtFest, you can see that there is lots of layering of stamps, and color. They are both finished with glaze, the one on the bottom has a bit of blue in the glaze, and the one on the top had red in the glaze. The glaze really brings out the layers and the slight color change seems to bring up colors that were less evident before the glaze.
We used commercial stamps, and some work better for this technique than others, deeply etched show up better than detailed stamps, though some of those showed up better after the glaze was applied.
I don't think that I am going to be buying as many decorated papers anymore, these are too much fun to make!

A Road Trip!

Last Friday I made a road trip to Olympia to visit my dear friend, Lynne. She used to live in Seattle, and I saw her more often, but unfortunately, when she and her husband moved to Olympia, we lost touch---for four years!

By happy accident, we reconnected a few months ago, and she is also into art, so after sharing show and tell, we decided to get together to play! Hence the road trip.

This wonderful place, called Fun Junk, is only open on Fridays, so that is the day I chose to go visit. I guess it changes from week to week, and it was definitely FUN! I was blown away by all of the cool junk, apparently the woman who runs it hits junk stores and junk yards from Olympia to Alameda, CA about once a month, and unloads her stash here.

Some things displayed are favorites, and when you ask about a price, she explains that she likes that piece, and isn't ready to sell it. There were a couple of things I liked that were on the favorites list, but there was plenty more to choose from!

I found this wonderful wood box for a Gilbert Junior Microscope, it has all of the original hardwear, the sliding fastener on the door, says "Gilbert" and there is a handle on the top of the box. There is a decal on the door and inside, as you can see below. I think that my brother had one of these. I was VERY glad that it wasn't a "favorite"...I was afraid it was, as there wasn't a price tag on it. I have several ideas for it.
The treasure trove below represents the rest of my haul. I went over budget a bit, but I won't get to Olympia every month, and couldn't resist! I love the blank ledger book, the pages that kept track of the "egg money" were torn out, but there are lots of pages remaining. There is a homemade Valentine from 1914, stenciled price tags, cigarette cards from WWII Britain, a 1919 almanac, old calling cards, number cards that I liked for the graphics, a copper heart, and some type of holy card, and other assorted papers.
We had a great time there, and I will make it a point to go back to Olympia on a Friday!

Lynne and I played in her wonderful studio, where I stupidly did not take pictures! She had fun stuff every where I turned! Her studio is a smaller room than mine, and I am put to shame!! She is very organized!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

More Art Fest classes

On Friday I took Tiphoni's color theory/mixing class. I have been looking forward to this with great anticipation, having heard many good things about her teaching at last year's Art Fest. Also, she gave a very brief demo at PLAY: the retreat in February, so I was really ready!

Our supply list said only six paints plus white. We learned about cool vs. warm colors, and had a cool and warm of each of the primary colors. Tiphoni taught us a little about the color wheel, and introduced us to saturation, hue and value. We learned to mix colors by looking at a color and deciding what was the main color in it, and then thinking about what other color might be in it. We also had to think about whether it was a cool or warm color.

I loved doing this, though there was a learning curve, and always will be. It was really fun to mix a color that actually "matched" the color I was looking at. In the afternoon, we were given small gesso boards, about 5 X7, and could do a composition of our choosing. Some did something representational, and some did something more abstract.

We were to use some of the color theory we had learned, and make a balanced composition, color-wise. I chose to do blocks of color, so I wouldn't worry if it was "good" or not. I started with non-saturated colors in the gray family, but they were too dull, and really not my favorite colors.

Tiphoni encouraged me to add a color I liked, and go from there. Then things got really fun, as I covered the whole piece with color. I covered some sections several times, trying to get a color I wanted, and in the right relationship to the colors around it.

This photo is not the best, to say the least, and the right side of the painting is not as dark as it seems, but I did have darker values on that side.

Tiphoni is a great teacher, she wandered around to everyone, and gave encouraging advice and lots of praise. I want to take her watercolor portrait class next year, if she teaches it again. I really want to do more painting, and not being sure about how to mix color has been holding me back. I feel confident now, and know that even if it takes me a few trys to get the color right, I will have a great time doing it! On Saturday, I had a class from Anne Bagby, an artist whose work I have admired for years. The class was wonderful and exciting. I was a little disappointed in the color palette I chose for myself, but I learned a ton about creating "Beautiful Papers", the name of the class.

The class was very fast-paced, Anne is a bundle of energy and we hit the ground running. Those who were a teeny bit late to class were playing catch-up! We had our own plain paper, and she wanted us to work on at least ten papers at once, letting some dry while we worked on others.

I love to work fast in a class, because then my right brain can be in charge, and I don't think about how to do it perfectly. Far from it. Anne encouraged us to just keep working, not to throw anything away, and as we were layering, the ones we thought were ugly might turn out great. It happened over and over.

We used some of her large, and beautiful hand-carved stamps, as well as stencils, glaze, and more stamping and stenciling. She showed us a great way to get beautiful edges on our papers, everything was great. I really tried not to think about what the outcome would be like, but I felt stumped by my choice of colors frequently. This after a day of color mixing...., maybe I DO have more to learn in that department...

Some people had given a lot of thought to their color choices, and it showed in their work. There were papers produced in that class that could be sent straight to a printer and sold in stores. The next time that I make papers this way (and I will), I am going to think more about what colors I want to work with.

This is an array of the papers I made. Some I like better, now that it has been over a week since I made them, and I will probably add to some of them. They actually get better as you produce more layers, up to a point.

Anne's class was great, and I would love to take more classes from her. She gave us a homework assignment to do between now and next year's Art Fest. We are to make small collages from our papers, 5X 5, or 6 X 6. We can use other paper, too, but primarily the papers we made, and do one every day, 5 days a week.

She said (and I SO agree) that we get this big rush before AF and for a couple of weeks after, but then we don't do much the rest of the year. This way, we spend a little time every day, and on the weekend we will be primed to do more. Even if we don't do more on the weekend, we will be way ahead by the time next year's AF rolls around.

I must confess, I haven't started yet, but I will, and now I HAVE to, because I wrote it here, and some one will ask me about it! Besides, I want to.

And, speaking of being accountable, I lost 6 lbs the week I went to AF, I gained a little back the next week, but I have been writing everything down, and planning meals, so I am back on track this week.

Sorry for such a long post...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Selection of Photos from my classes at Artfest

The first day at Artfest, I took a class from Theo Ellsworth ( I have long admired his work, and wondered how he could draw such incredibly detailed pictures, not only are they amazing to look at, they seem like they would be fun to do!

His class was called The Mystery Play Inside You, and we drew on these head and shoulders shaped pieces of cardboard. He guided us through the mystery play, that we discovered for ourselves by drawing on each piece, one at a time. At the end of the class, he gave us a wonderful handwritten book, of all the exercises and descriptions he gave us during the class. Above is the first page of my mystery play, we drew with our eyes closed, for several minutes and then opened up and worked on what ever mysteries we had begun with eyes closed. This was great fun, and a great way to loosen up. I think that we had almost an hour to work on each piece. It was such a luxury to have that much time, and nothing else to do, and really get into drawing. I never feel self-conscious at AF, so I just let myself go and had fun!
For this piece, we drew with both hands at the same time! That is mostly on the bottom of the drawing, and then we could finish up with one hand, and again it was great fun to draw! This might seem like it is about anger, but it is not. We were drawing the gateway for our big voice inside that has so much to say, and such a tiny mouth with which to say it. I loved the idea of this, and for me, the red equalled power, not anger.
This piece is about the heart, transforming garbage into beauty and truth. I loved this concept, also, and the book in the face was stream of consciousness.
The next piee was a self portrait, and I used eyes closed, both hands and just drawing. I let myself be completely free doing this, and I am very happy with it. I especially the head full of easter eggs! I also like the dancer who made her appearance!

Theo is a great teacher, and I am so glad that I was able to be in this class!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Been back for a week

I have been back from Art Fest for a week. It was wonderful, as usual. It is so great to hang out with other like-minded creative people for 5 days, basking in the joy of being your crazy, creative self and knowing that everyone "gets" you.

This year, I went with my friend, Ruth, and we met up with our room mates, Margot and Karen and Catherine. Catherine is the one responsible for this great car! It was photographed by the local (Port Townsend, WA) newspaper and appeared on the front page! The photo below is my own, though. Catherine's car was the talk of the Fort, and every time I saw it, someone was photographing it!

I will do another post about my classes, but one of the highlights of Art Fest for me this year was going with a friend, and having all of that time to connect and share. Ruth, Margot and Karen were all experiencing their first Art Fest, after hearing all about it from me the last two years.
It was a real joy to see each of them get the great buzz that comes when one realizes that they have really tapped into the huge well of creative energy that is so readily available at ArtFest!
This was my third year, and I was worried last year that the first year had been a fluke, but this year I KNEW that the magic was real, and just expected it to happen!

On Friday night, my friend Paula and I finally found each other, and seeing her was another great part of the experience. We got to know each other at the PLAY retreat in early February, so it was great to have a chance to reconnect! We both took Theo Ellsworth's class, but on different days, so it was fun to compare our books. More on that class in another post.

Paula and Ruth and I had a wonderful breakfast together on Sunday before heading home. Earlier that day, Delorse took this photo of the three of us, from left to right, Ruth, Paula and me. We were in the cafe in the Commons, where I enjoyed a split shot soy latte every day, they were fantastic! I have only recently started to drink coffee again occasionally, and those lattes were so tasty! Luckily, they don't seem to taste as good around here, because the price of a latte has gone up a lot since I last indulged!
Once I have photographed my pieces from the classes I took, I will do another post. For some reason, I wasn't as interested in taking photos while I was at ArtFest this year.