Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Beginning, "The Forgiving Medium", and Next Month's Workshop

Extreme Makeover Needed

This doesn't look like an art studio, does it? It is the first "before" picture of my project of turning our freestanding garage into my new studio. A momentous step occurred today when a man from Cascade Auto Auction removed the old Honda which has been sitting in the garage, since 2002. (Embarrassing but true.) I was happy to donate the car to the "All Classical" local radio station in return for their broadcasts of glorious music. Next step, clean out the rest of the junk that's accumulated for the last 18+ years. I'll keep you posted on the progress of the makeover. It's pretty daunting, but I'm trying to keep focused on one step at a time and on the vision of a spacious new studio where I can work and hold classes with plenty of room and the tools and supplies I need (including an exhaust fan.)

Last Saturday I held "The Forgiving Medium" workshop at The Art of Your Life Studio. Originally I had five students, but due to schedule conflicts and family emergencies among the participants, I was left with two. I held the class despite the low number, and I'm delighted that I did! Robin and Lisa were wonderful class members. They experimented with various techniques and produced some fascinating work.

The two came to the class from different painting backgrounds. Robin is an experienced painter and teaches classes herself. She said she likes to be back in the role of student sometimes and experience how others teach. She also likes to put herself in what writer Natalie Goldberg calls "beginner's mind" in order to work differently than she usually does.

Lisa brought the one acrylic painting she had done before taking the class. She didn't think much of it, but Robin and I noted that she has a good eye for color and brushwork. Lisa comes from a creative family and it didn't take her long before she was coming up with bold and colorful work.

We started out just painting strokes on canvas paper using a variety of mediums for different effects. I had faux and real pears available as models. Lisa admitted to being a perfectionist so I suggested she start out using a painting knife and a heavy body medium. She was able to let loose and produce this brightly colored pear.

Lisa's second painting ever

For her second project, Lisa used a drawing gone over with glazing medium.

Robin experimented with a metallic gold paint and a transparent iron oxide paint mixed with glazing medium. She produced what she decided was a lovely background. After we put it on the wall, Robin said she saw the shape of a woman in the design. After she pointed this out, I saw the same thing. Robin then defined the shape she saw into an image. It was brilliant but a bit tricky. She wanted to define the image just enough, but not make it too tight. It worked out wonderfully. I love it when images seem to appear by magic and inspire us with what we need to complete the work.

Robin's mystery woman emerges

Lisa's still life in progress

Lisa's third project was a still life. Below are a couple of closeups of this piece.

Lisa's pear close up. She used glaze medium blotted with a paper towel to get this rich texture.

For the grapes, Lisa added a bright red over a dark purple.

Robin's layered, fascinating plant piece.

Robin decided to work from life on this piece, as she usually works from her imagination. It was a challenge for her to stay loose as she painted using a plant as a model. When the painting seemed a little stiff, she added broader strokes and more color. She then scraped away some of the paint, making the image more and more interesting and complex. We were all thrilled with the resul

Robin's small pear--it seems alive!

Robin painted a pear on a 4" square canvas using a painting knife. It's not easy to work that loosely on such a small canvas, but she got a lively and beautiful result.

Robin with today's paintings in the background

Today's work. At the bottom you can see part of Lisa's first painting that she brought. She may add to it later, now that she's experimented more.

Thanks, Robin and Lisa for a great workshop!

Cindy's window to the world

At the Art of Life group last week Cindy shared this painted window frame that she did for her windowless office. We're eager to hear what her office mates think when they see it--our group is certainly impressed and delighted with the new "window."

The next workshop at The Art of Your Life is one of my favorites. It actually starts at SCRAP and then moves to the studio. Hope to see some of you there! (You can register online here.)

Closeup of Jodie's assemblage from the last assemblage class

Assemble Yourself!

We’ll meet at SCRAP (School & Community Reuse Action Project) as it opens at noon. Your goal is to spend no more than 10.00 collecting all kinds of found objects, paper, fabric, and valuable junk.

When we go to the studio, you’ll create a 3-D collage that expresses your dreams, using the supplies you found at SCRAP. More supplies, including cigar boxes, will be available in the studio. You'll leave with a unique assemblage, perfect for a special gift or cherished keepsake.

February 8, 2009: 12-6 pm

Tuition: 75.

The Art of Your Life Studio


Last assemblage class at work (or play)

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