Workshops

Give it a Name

As soon as you see the face, there’s always a name waiting for it. This one became Oscar.

oscar

inks and gesso on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

I was doing a demonstration of expressive painting with ink droppers, gesso, and scraper tools for a new private student. The next day this fellow in the wonderful cossack hat winked at me. All I had to do was paint in the eye, give him some teeth, and name him.

I hesitated at first. I had to reassure myself that it was OK to be so foolish. Surely I’m a more serious sort of artist than that. Perhaps I’ve been sketching so many people that I just can’t stop? But then perhaps you’ve have noticed that I’m having too much fun lately to stop it.

Here’s another one though, where maybe one can see more serious intent. . .

anarray

acrylic molding paste, textured foil collage, acrylic paint and gold leaf flecks

Embossing foil, collaging with metallic flakes and juxtaposing cool greens/blues and burnt orange are some of the techniques I’ll be sharing in the “Patina” workshop coming up next weekend at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. At this writing there is still time to register for the last spot. For more info and to register visit my website. And by the way, there’s good air conditioning in the painting studio there!!

While the poor little studio air conditioner here tries to help me survive the 100 degree heat outside, these lovely blue squares are the tinkling ice cubes in the glass!

 

Sketching the Vignette

Last weekend I taught an Urban Sketcher workshop in Graton, CA, country style! It was the last of a series of  ten Urban Sketch workshops in the greater Bay Area celebrating the tenth anniversary of the worldwide organization.

The Graton Gallery generously let us meet in the shaded sculpture garden.  We also occupied the whole town, all one block of it, as we sketched lots of vignettes on the sidewalk, in the antique shop, the field, the garden at a restaurant and more. We took lots of pictures to share the day with you.

A vignette generally gets to the point of the story you want to tell without bringing in a lot of distracting (and possibly boring) details. It’s a way to express your enthusiasm about your subject so it’s clear why you picked it. It’s a well designed shape that is as important as the white of the paper around it. And it’s an extremely useful concept for the busy sketcher who wants to capture multiple stories in a day!

The students were busy with one assignment after another, doing thumbnails to identify and name the stories they wanted most to tell, connecting their subject to the environment it was in, “designing” the white space around it, and adding color to draw interest to it.

vignettedemo

For my 5 minute color demo I chose the subject of the green foliage peeking through the eye holes of Peter Crompton’s collosal sculpture in the garden.

airstream

Many of the students stayed after to have lunch at Zosia’s, where some had sketched this Airstream trailer. (This sketch of mine was done on a different day).

Mixed Media workshop coming up!

On June 24 and 25 I’ll be teaching a workshop on one of my favorite techniques – achieving the look of patina in experimental mixed media painting. At the moment my studio is strewn with my own experiments and ideas I want to share. There are a couple spaces left in the workshop at this writing. Let me know if you’re interested and available to come join us!

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 4.50.03 PM

Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 4.50.22 PM

For more information and to register visit my website!

Rest, Retirement, Gardens

Sometimes I have to remind myself that we have gardens for more than weeding. In other words, it’s OK to simply sit outside and enjoy.

rest

inks, gesso, collage on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Time for rest, on a cushion in the garden, draped with ferns and fragrant blooms, a pair of cooing doves and a lap full of purring cat. The weeds can wait another day. The plans for tomorrow, the latest world news, the emails, all of it can wait.

For now there’s those cushions. If you don’t try them out a bit each day, the cats soon will and your throne of rest will be usurped. Then how will all those lovely garden idles find their way into the art? So take a rest – it needn’t be for long.

This piece was actually a demo I did for a private art party/workshop held in my studio a couple weekends ago, something I offer from time to time with great delight! We had lunch under the trees on the patio and I didn’t pull a single weed!

retirement

Actually I was contemplating my husband who just retired June 2 and is learning to occupy a lounge chair outside while reading. At least he tried it for a couple days before getting all busy with his art again.

matilija

My own strategy for sitting still in the garden is to do a quick sketch. For me that counts as rest, even though I find it quite energizing.  But then I’m not retired, exactly. . .

Travel Sketching Workshop

I just scheduled a new on-location sketching workshop for this summer. Hope you can come!

travelsketch

Leave your cell phone in your pocket and record memories in a pen and watercolor sketch that tells your own story. In this on-location workshop you will have a day of instruction and practice with drawing exercises, strategies for designing your sketches and adding watercolor, all in a charming town nestled in the redwoods in Sonoma County.

For more info and to register, visit my website.

Geology

My latest experiments in the art laboratory explore the territory of “patina”. They are usually a response to the query “I wonder what would happen if. . .” and in this case. . .if I wet the watercolor paper and paint into it with iridescent paints. The metallic particles drop out of solution on the wet surface causing spontaneous “events”.

geology

Lumiere’s Halo Blue Gold and Metallic Bronze and Golden’s Iridescent Bright Gold acrylics and Higgen’s Black India ink on w/c paper (with plaster of paris medallion)

The frustrating thing about these patina paintings is the difficulty in photographing the reflective paints, so you’ll have to use your imagination because they’ve gone flat in this image. The lovely blue is actually the blue portion of the Blue Gold as the gold is left behind by the water.

Imagine the treasures that surface on the trails we walk. Then again imagine the ones packed within the earth’s core. The restless imagination becomes a geologist digging deeper into that landscape, more wondrous and bizarre, that cannot be seen with mere eyes.

And then it surfaces again, to the just-enough-loveliness of everyday to sweeten this perplexing gift of life.

I’ll be teaching a new version of Experimental Mixed Media Painting: “Patina” at Sebastopol Center for the Arts on June 24 and 25. There’s still a couple spaces if you’re interested! For more information visit my website.

 

An afternoon in Graton

With the thought of sitting out in the lovely warm weather to sketch, my friends and I scheduled lunch at Willow Wood Market Cafe in Graton, followed by sketching in the town. It was Wednesday this week, and yet another day that never really warmed up.

graton

fountain pen with brown ink and w/c in Stillman + Birn Beta sketchbook, (full spread)

But I think I’ve been complaining too much about the weather lately! One can always put the hood of the sweatshirt up over ones head, after all. This spot, a boarded up abandoned house across the street turned out to be a wonderful subject. Just as I finished the sketch, (where I obviously got mesmerized by the old brick fireplace), the owner of the property showed up and gave us the history of the place! She grew up there, next to what was one of no less than three gas stations in this little one block town. For many years now they have been going through the environmental clean up, since it has not been a gas station for a long time. How fun to get the history from an old timer!

I woke up in the middle of the night after and knew I had to put this woman in the sketch, because I’d dreamed it! So I added her from memory the next day.

graton2

I was also scouting out sketch spots for the workshop I’m teaching June 10, which is a 10 X 10 Urban Sketch workshop and the topic is Sketching Vignettes. I changed the location to Graton because I think it’s quite perfect for this workshop and very “user friendly” with all the restaurants, art gallery, historic buildings and the like.

graton3

I started to sketch this gorgeous truck, but it was parked only briefly and drove off before I got too far. So I finished it later from a picture I’d taken.