Monday, April 27, 2009

New Experiments and "Abbess & Entrepreneur"

I leave for Art and Soul Retreat in Hampton, VA day after tomorrow! I can't believe it's finally here. I've been rushing around getting ready but had time to do a few pieces to take with me. Here are two pieces using what was at hand, including stained shop cloths used to wipe paint.

The Time Before Mixed Media on Panel

This piece is 6" square. I used re-inkers, acrylic paint, acrylic glaze medium, alcohol inks, and a piece of stained shop cloth.

Contemplative Chaos Mixed Media on Panel

For the above piece I used a lot of the stained shopcloth, photo transfer, re-inker, acrylic medium, and Asian paper.

Iris Mixed Media on Board Magazine pages, re-inkers, acrylic paint, and acrylic medium

Below are photos of some very creative work done by students in my PSU weekend class, "The Abbess & the Entrepreneur."

The class in mid-creation

Lindsey decorated this very handsome mixed media picture frame in honor of artist, nun, writer, musician, and saint, Caterina Vigri, also known as St. Catherine of Bologna.

Sophia's elegant and well-composed paper and fabric collage honoring Lavinia Fontana and Artemisia Gentileschi's paintings of strong women heroines.

Nakita stayed up late Friday night to get a start on this beautifully framed poem by Caterina. Nakita made a late-night trip to Michael's to find these faux flower petals and other embellishments for her frame.

Patti, who is Sophia's mother-in-law and a long-time student of mine, made this lively collage painting combination honoring Caterina Vigri. I think this is her most creative class piece to date.

Neomi, another long-time student, created this layered, free flowing collage for Caterina Vigri. There's so much richness in this piece.

Neomi's sister, Beatriz has been in my classes before also, but this is the first class I have been able to have them together. Beatriz prefers a more ordered collage. This one to Lavinia Fontana expresses perfectly the artist's discipline and love of beauty.

Melissa, another long-time student, did her first painting of Caterina Vigri. Great job! She really caught Caterina's experience as a mystic.

Kate made this amazing assemblage, complete with halo, for Caterina. Wow.

Jae created her first painting also, of Lavinia Fontana. It's a wonderful, humorous tribute to the artist and her work.

Chelsey likes to use her class projects for her everyday life in order to better be inspired by the women we study. This is going to be her Women's Studies notebook.

Here's the inside of Chelsey's notebook, honoring both artists we covered. What an inspiration to see this every day!

Leticia had the brilliant idea of re-writing Caterina's "Seven Spriritual Weapons" for her three year old daughter who was going to be presented at her church the next day. Leticia updated Caterina's ideas in this keepsake for her daughter, "aged" to look like the heirloom it will be.

This will be my last weekend class until next fall. I'll miss my inventive, brave, and totally enjoyable students.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Visiting the Inferno and Latest PSU Class

The Permit Office (Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here?)

GASP (Garage Art Studio Project) Update:

If Dante's Inferno were written today, the poet might have envisioned at least one circle of hell as a colorless room full of cubicles, lit by florescent lights. I had imagined that the trip my contractor, Steve, and I would take to the City Building Permits department would show us something to fit this description. I'd heard tales of endless waits, bureaucratic red tape in unimaginable convolutions, and people sobbing, or atrophying in a corner, covered in cobwebs.
t wasn't really that bad, except for the physical environment which was just what I'd expected.

We met with three people, each in charge of different aspects of the permit requirements. In between these meetings, Steve and I kept ourselves entertained by imagining "What if they say this.. or what if they say that?" We laughed a lot which made the time waiting pass more quickly.

We soon discovered that much hinged on the issue of "setbacks." Not the kind of setback that is an obstacle in your path, but the all-important question of how far back the property to be converted is from your property line. If the garage was found to be set back less than five feet from the line, we were, as one of our interviewers kindly said, "dead in the water." It turned out we weren't quite dead if the garage was, say, 4.5 feet from the line. Less than five feet, we could not convert the garage to the new use of a studio. (Instead of a repository for junk.) But we
could put in the desired bathroom and use wall and space heaters, and I could do whatever I wanted in the space. I would just need to keep the garage door in place and not have installed heating. I could insulate, do whatever with the wiring, etc. So the setback wasn't too much of setback (this is a pun) after all.

When we got back to the house, Steve measured and found out that indeed, I do have the five precious feet required. However, if I officially convert from garage to studio, the permit people will require insulation of the small attic storage loft as well as to the studio itself. So now the question is whether to go with Plan A or Plan B. After this is decided, Steve and I will again make our pilgrimage to the Permit Office with new plans in hand. I'll keep you posted...

Some of the class members at play

Last weekend I taught "Living to Paint/Painting to Live" for PSU. This class covers the lives and work of artists Sofonisba Anguissola and Artemisia Gentileschi. I love teaching these weekend classes. The students are so engaged and enthusiastic. Here are some of their creative projects.

Yasemin's collage for Sofonisba. The bright colors reflect the artist's love for life and her modern way of thinking about women's rights and abilities.

Sharon shows her Sofonisba collage filled with quotations she chose that fit Sofonisba's life.Sharon was talked into taking the class with a friend. She wasn't sure she'd like it, but she loved it and did a great job.

Lindsey's imaginative Sofonisba collage, going outside the borders as the artist did.

Our unoffical attendee, Liliana, who came with her mother and did her own collage!

Leticia tried painting for the first time in this class. She created a folk-art type work based on a painting by Artemisia Gentileschi.

Kate's elegant piece for Sofonisba, with 3-D embellishments.

An original poem for Sofonisba, beautifully presented.

Anna did three small pieces. This one combines two paintings by Artemisa to illustrate two aspects of the artist's life. Very creative!

Another of Anna's pieces depicting Artemisia.

This piece of Anna's shows one of Artemisia's painted heroines, Cleopatra, wearing a self-portrait medallion of Sofonisba. This acknowledges Artemisia's mentorship and inspiration from the older artist, Sofonisba.

Alicia's collage of Sofoniba has the trademark black and white of the artist's clothing and text of the list we generated in class of women's issues that impacted Sofonisba's life.

The other side of Alicia's collage shows Sofonisba as an old woman who'd lived a full and happy life. The text describes her qualities as a person.

Beatriz made this stunning piece for Artemisa Gentileschi, while simultaneously keeping her five year old daughter entertained. The background of silver paper looks like the real metal.

Chelsey decorated this treasure box with sides for both artists. She's going to keep her jewelry in it and remember the artists each time she uses it.

I had a great time with this class! Many of the same students will take "The Abbess and the Entrepreneur" this coming weekend. I can't wait to see what they come up with!

Week after next...I'll be teaching at Art and Soul Retreat in Hampton, Virginia!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Short Post of Pictures

April Flower Collage

In just a few weeks, I'll be at Art and Soul Retreat in Hampton Virginia. I'll be teaching "Tear It Up"--a class on torn paper flower collages, and "Wabi-Sabi Wonder." Above is a flower collage I made tonight. I used a mixed paper background with inks and acrylic glaze medium. The flowers are made from torn magazine illustrations.

Journal pages done at the coast

A couple of journal pages. On the left, we are reminded that we're not alone. On the right, a saucy miss shows off her slip created from an 1870's French journal, "La Mode Illustree."

Journal Collage

The above was done at the coast, with few supplies available. It reminds me of a SoulCollage card.

That's all, folks!

Monday, April 6, 2009

An Artist a Day Keeps the Megrims Away

The very beginning--underpainting the face in blue

Friday I was the artist for An Artist a Day at Muse Art and Design. I arrived at noon ready to paint for the next six hours. No interruptions, yay! I had decided to do my work in acrylic due to the fast drying time. Once I got to Muse, I feel under the spell of the lovely large tubes of oil paint provided and went with oil.

Yep, I'm painting in the window

I started working from a favorite photograph of my great-grandmother, when she was young. I can't just copy something, though. Whatever I paint, it ends up being such a process.

What it looked like when I broke for lunch--kinda scary

My hands at the end of the day--well, I can't just use a brush...

Here's the painting at the end of Friday's session.

One should never have to make decisions about a new work without at least an hour of staring at it. But, it was time to go, so I decided to take the painting home and put finishing touches on it.

As so often happens with me, finishing touches turn into A Lot of Reworking. Then as the painting glistens with layers of oily wet paint, I feel I've gone too far. But, I have to get it back to Muse! I get frustrated and "thwock" the painting.

The term thwock comes from a successful intervention on a painting about ten years ago. I was frustrated then, too, and thwocked the wet painting with a towel. The painting then looked perfect--who knew?

So, this time the thwocking consisted of removing a bunch of layers of the wet paint. That gave me an image I really liked, which needed only a little touch-up. It didn't look anything like my great-grandmother, but hey, I liked it and it was done.

I also like the painting as it was at the end of the day on Friday. If I get to do this Artist a Day gig again, I'll leave the finished project at Muse for a few days before I get any ideas about finishing touches! Despite all this process, I had a lot of fun painting at Muse and hope I get to do it again. And I still have a date with great-grandma Mary Belle to capture her image in paint.

Painting post-thwocking

Up on the wall at Muse with others--lots of different styles to choose from

A new artist will paint each day at Muse, so go on by. Check out the Artist a Day blog with pictures and descriptions of each day's creation! Be sure to come to the silent auction, where you can pick up an original artwork at an extremely good price. All profits go to provide art supplies for children in the Portland public schools. Let's keep those young ones making art!