Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Little Hunting and Gathering

A Lovely Day for a Picnic By the River

How I miss garage sale season. Today I found a few things at Flutter and Porch Light on Mississippi Ave. At Flutter I found a page from a photograph album showing lovely citizens of Maine disporting themselves by a river. I'd like to take a brief time travel trip and join them.

I want to be the one in the white dress and hat.

This young man below is feeling good about himself. The gold arrow thing in the right upper corner is a strange kind of photo mount.

At Porch Light they had some very small leather books with various contents. I chose one with satiric poems by W.S. Gilbert, of the famous Gilbert & Sullivan duo.

Here Gilbert describes being haunted by the
ghosts of his many social gaffes

I scanned these at high resolution so I can
use them as backgrounds, etc. Weird illustrations!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Journals on My Mind

New journal begins

The film Martha Ballard

In the PSU classs I teach, called "Women, Creativity, and Healing", we just saw the film "A Midwife's Tale" based on the real life journal of Martha Ballard, a midwife in Massachusetts and Maine in the late 1700's.

The film was made by a woman filmmaker after many years of work and shown originally on PBS. The filmmaker,
Laurie Kahn-Leavitt,
based the film on the book by Laurel Ulrich, which in turn was based on Martha's diary and includes many excerpts from it. From Martha's journal we have fascinating insights into the everyday of life of a woman of her time and of Martha as an individual.

A page from Martha's journal

I highly recommend the film. It's beautifully made and researched and will draw you into Martha's life and times. If you love the film, you may want to read Ulrich's book, which gives even more information and insight. I found that two of the families in Martha's community had the surnames of my ancestors who lived in Maine and Massachusetts at that time, which adds a personal connection for me.

To me, this discovery and acessibility of Martha's journal shows how important it is that we leave something behind for our descendants and others who will be interested in how we live now. At the same time, a journal needs to be a repository for our private thoughts and feelings.
One way to balance this is to keep visual journals. I'm going to be teaching a class called "Journal to the Center soon, so I've been thinking a lot about journaling and doing work in my own journals.

I started a new journal with a cover influenced by the appearance of
Martha's journal.

It turned out that this new journal was not very strongly bound. So I ended up covering the inside pages I'd done and the spine with packing tape. This strengthened the book and gave it a nice shiny surface, but clearly departed from my original vision! So it goes.

Right now it seems I'm working on two journals. One is just for fun experimentation and some personal writing, and the other is for very, very personal writing to be kept private. (But I will show the Blues Page from it.)

The journal for those deep, private, thoughts
and feelings--
not only teens need this outlet!

More experimental journal pages (cropped)

Another (cropped) spread from the experimental journal

When you have the blues, it helps to paint the blues

Waiting for jury duty, I sketched my fellow jurors
and the newscaster on TV at the time

I feel so much better when I work in my journal!

Here's the information about the upcoming journal class:

Journal to the Center

Sunday, February 7 2010 11-4:30
50. Bring a blank journal. All other supplies provided.

You'll bring a blank journal to begin your artful descent to your center with visual journaling! You'll receive written and visual prompts to inspire you to begin writing and illustrating your experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Whether your subjects are profound or everyday, you will create a lavish and enticing book in which to record and honor your life.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My studio is getting published

The Spring Issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors STUDIOS Magazine

I'm excited to announce that my beloved studio will be featured in the spring issue of Studios magazine! I just found out, but will have to wait until February to see it. You can pre-order the magazine now here to make sure you get a copy. This issue is the biggest so far and should have a lot of cool ideas.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Not Just a Pretty Face

Chris begins her painting based on a Greek encaustic portrait

Today I was host to a wonderful group for my class, "Not Just a Pretty Face." The students had not created paintings of faces before and I'm so delighted to share what they did today!

We practiced using layers of acrylic paint with water and various mediums. Chris began her first painting with a green undertone to the skin. She chose a face from a Greek encaustic burial portrait. The emphasis on the class was on seeing: lights and shadows, shapes, and color, and also on feeling: who is this person, what is her/his mood?

Here's Chris much farther along on her version of the Greek woman.

A hauntingly beautiful portrait

Carrie starts a portrait after Berthe Morisot

Here's the finished portrait.
Carrie caught the subject's pensive mood perfectly

(Carrie I am likely spelling your name wrong. I think there are more spellings possible for this name than any I can think of. Carrie, Kerry, Kari, Keri, Carey, ... let me know what's correct :)

You can see in the above and the following examples how the undertone color of the face adds richness to the portrait, and shows through a bit in the shadows.

Chris' finished Greek lady.

Ruby starts her version of Manet's Olympia

Here she is, finished. Note the rich unblended brushstrokes.
This was Ruby's first painting ever!

Chris wanted to really let loose with her second piece. She used a painting knife and gel medium to build up layers on this fascinating character.

Chris' Renaissance man. He is such a character that
I kept laughing with delight whenever I looked at him!

Ruby's ethereal portrait after Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun.
She began this piece with a purple undertone.

Carrie's wonderful woman after Van Gogh.
Carrie captured Van Gogh's style really well, which
is not easy to do.

Carrie's last piece is a soulful madonna. Carrie's
brushstrokes and shading made this painting
even more interesting and lovely than the original!

Chris painted a modern take on a smiling young man
from a Renaissance portrait. She saw him as a jester,
which really came through here.

Here's Ruby's last piece in progress. It's off to a great start
and I can't wait to see it finished!

I got such a kick out of seeing the lively work this group produced, and also out of seeing how they surprised themselves by what they could do. Keep painting, ladies--you have what it takes!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Charlotte Assemblages and PSU Class

Right side of "Victorian Spirit"

This month has been so busy, especially the last week. I'm busy teaching PSU classes, seeing clients, and taking care of all the business details we all must attend to. I gave a presentation on women artists of Bologna to a wonderful audience from the Portland-Bologna Sister City Association. I have had
some time to make art, and am currently playing with Frozen Charlotte assemblages. In the assemblage above and below, I started with a doll head and torso. I added arms and legs and a little dress made of teabags.

"Victorian Spirit" Assemblage

"The Third Apparition"

"Rule, Britannia"
This doll started out as just a head and shoulders.

Closeup of Above

Here are some great pictures from this weekend's PSU class, "Emerging from the Shadows", about Marietta Robusti, a Renaissance painter and Camille Claudel, the 19th century sculptor. The students each make a creative piece based on the artists and issues discussed in class. Several students used as their inspiration this familiar picture of the French sculptor.

Camille Claudel

April's first drawings ever, of Camille and Marietta Robusti, Renaissance artist.

Beatriz sculpted this piece representing Camille
and her lover, the sculptor Rodin.

Chelsey made her first sculpture, referencing Camille
and a painting by Marietta.

Fatima did an abstract piece on Camille Claudel

Karleah's first ever painting represented "The Wave" by Claudel

Melissa's mixed media collage for Camille

Monica's first ever painting honored both artists

Corinne did her first sculpture which represents Claudel and Rodin

Neomi's mask represents Camille

Tina made this mixed media tribute to Marietta Robusti,
the daughter of Tintoretto.

Young Vivianna visited the class with her mother, Beatriz. She cut right to the chase with this drawing from Camille's photograph.

I'm proud of the risks these students took to try something new--great work, ladies!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

Melanie Sage's portrait after John Singer Sargent from a
previous "Not Just a Pretty Face" class

Happy New Year to all! I hope the year is starting out well for you. I am delighted to report that my computer is fixed! My daughter's friend kindly retrieved my files and put in a temporary hard drive. Now I need to get a new one and an external drive so I can back up my files. I don't need any more convincing about that! Thanks, Abe, for saving me!

Other good news: I will be teaching two classes at Art and Soul Retreat, Portland 2010. Yay!

Now that the holidays are over, it's time to make art! Join us for "Not Just a Pretty Face" on January 24. Here's the info:

January 24, 2010 11-4:30
80. All supplies included.
What Leonardo and Van Gogh knew: Learning to paint faces is all about learning to see! Choose faces painted by great artists to work from, discovering your own style as you go. Leave with several practice studies and at least one finished painting that you will be thrilled to hang on the wall. No previous experience needed!

To inspire you, here are a few paintings by students in past classes. Most of these are by students who'd never painted a face before. You can do it!

Holly's portrait after Matisse

Anniko's portrait after Anguissola

Mary's portrait after a Byzantine artist

How are you starting out the New Year? What are your goals?
Let me know, I'm interested!