Monday, June 14, 2010

PSU Summer Class

Attention PSU Students!

If any readers are currently PSU students, I'm looking for you! I am scheduled to teach my four credit class, "Women, Creativity, and Healing", this summer term on the main campus. The class covers many women, famous and not-famous, who have used their creativity to heal themselves and their communities. You'll make an altered book, have spirited discussions, and explore your own creativity.

This is a great class to teach and to be part of. Feel free to contact me with any questions. The class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays in Cramer Hall from 4:30-7. You'll find the class online at the PSU website under Women's Studies, WS 399. Register online.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"Illustrated Story..."

A student's visual journal page

I had so much fun last weekend teaching "The Illustrated Story of My Life" to PSU students. We learned about visual journalists Frida Kahlo, Maude Tomlinson Berkeley, and Lynda Barry.

"Everyone" knows about Kahlo, but not all know that her personal diary has been published. She poured out her passions, despair, and secrets into this book that she lavishly illustrated with paintings, doodles, and symbols. It feels a bit strange to read a journal Kahlo wrote only for herself. The journal is inspiring to those who worry that their own journals aren't perfect. Kahlo was perfectly fine with crossing out words, putting down stream-of-consciousness rants, and making a general mess of her pages when she felt like it.

Images from Kahlo's journal

Maud Berkeley is not well known. I found out about this Victorian woman when I was googling for women's journals several years ago. Her journal was published in an adapted form by Flora Fraser. Maud was a high-spirited young woman living with two aged parents on the Isle of Wight off the coast of England. Maud's writing shows a delightful sense of the absurd and a wish to document her daily life. She took art lessons to improve her diary art. Her illustrations are full of movement and humor.

Maud Berkeley, far left, and two other members of "The Firm",
a group of twenty somethings who gathered for music
and high jinks

Maud and her friends are scolded by local matron, Mrs. Hatchet, aka
"The Enemy." Mrs. H. apparently felt the young people should be in church,
rather than enjoying themselves on the beach.

Maud's first attempt to use the new-fangled device
called a shower.

Lynda Barry is known to many as a talented and hilarious cartoonist. She has recently published a book in visual journal form all about creativity--what holds us back and how we can reclaim our right to write and make art. The book is called, What It Is. I can't recommend it too highly--it is wonderful. Some of the book takes a form of written and visual remembering of Barry's childhood. She vividly evokes the difficulties she faced and also shows the power of a child's creativity when used to survive.

Barry survives through cartooning

Students in the class did a written project and also a creative one. Each student came up with exciting journal pages. They were willing to experiment and take some risks in creating. To see more pictures of the class, visit my other blog, here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Mind Your Own Beeswax, Part 2" and Announcement

Karen's mixed media/encaustic fantasia (large detail) She used fabric and trim and incising for this joyous piece

Donna's first encaustic--can you believe it? Wow.

Two of KC's small evocative encaustics The one on her left is dedicated to her father

Saturday was part 2 of "Mind Your Own Beeswax." We had some fiery ladies at this workshop as well as in part 1. They expanded on what they'd done previously with some great results!

KC casually holds her piece in hand as she torches. What is it about women and torches? We love 'em!

KC used some specialty paper here to great effect

KC's gorgeous landscape She made about 11 small pieces Saturday! I wish I'd been able to get pictures of all of them!

Donna is a talented professional painter. She wanted to try encaustic to add to her repertoire, and fell in love with it!

Donna whipped out this free and vibrant flower complete with interesting drips and incisions

We all loved Donna's enchanting face--she painted it in oil over encaustic and then added more encaustic to it

Karen ponders her next move

Karen began this piece with a color laser print, transferred onto the wood panel with a blender pen. The transfer came out perfectly.

This is the finished piece. The silver swirls were originally cut from fabric. When she collaged them down, they lost their pattern. Karen then painted them with encaustic paint and incised decorative lines into them. The fabric was nice originally, but now it is Awesome!

Encaustic work doesn't have to be flat. Karen started
this box assemblage. Note the lovely burned edges on the paper-
it makes a great effect as long as it's controlled!


Next Workshop: "Altered Alchemy"

This favorite workshop meets on June 26 from 1-5:30. Bring an old book to alter. All other supplies included.Transform an old boring book in to your own fascinating work of art! Come join us for this mind and book-altering workshop. You can create a cherished keepsake or a travel journal for this summer’s vacation! To register, go here. To see pictures from previous classes, go here to the new page I've started to show student photos.