I’ve spent the past couple of days preparing. Preparing my studio space to begin a new series. Preparing mentally and emotionally what direction I want to go. Preparation involves cleaning and organizing to make physical space. It also means taking an inventory of the boards I have on hand, determining what I need to order. It means writing, lots of writing. Jotting down ideas, looking back at notes in my journal. It means figuring out what resonates with me. I usually begin with the title, and that informs where I go. Of course, where I go brings surprises and unexpected discoveries, but it is my road map of where to begin. No GPS in this process. My show is in July, so I have six months before I give birth.
P.S. I have a tentative title and theme, which I’m very excited about.
I just completed 17 (seventeen!) Funky Junkyard Birds! I started the new flock on Monday by auditioning body parts, wings, and legs, then began the arduous task of attaching the different and varied elements. Lots of raw materials go into making the birds, here’s a peek at some of the bits.
It felt so satisfying to finish up the gang this afternoon. Here’s the proud mama of her new flock:
My Funky Junkyard Birds will be flying off to Guardino Gallery in Portland, Lunaria Gallery in Silverton, and I’ll have a few available for sale from my studio. Here’s a sampling of my new birds.
Week six was the final week in my on-line course taught by Jane Davies. The theme for our last lesson was creating depth and atmosphere. Jane covered transparency and opacity, and then more specific information on building an interesting composition. All of this requires the use of color, adding paint and removing it, shapes, depth, pattern, veiling, and lines. Since I’ve been on vacation the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working from the table in a condo using the supplies I could easily pack and transport, which means, I was just a tad limited (i.e., in our last lesson, we were to practice building layers using transparent paints, well, I hadn’t brought any transparent paints).
So, instead of following Jane’s instructions, I veered a bit to the left and took a sharp twist to the right. I used what I had learned over the past six weeks and applied those techniques along with my own body of knowledge to create a series of 4×6 pieces (going over some of the pieces I had created in earlier lessons). I enjoyed playing with collage, pattern, color, line, and shape – all things I use regularly in my art. I’ve added some new tools to my repertoire, and strengthened some techniques that were weak.
I totally and completely recommend taking a class from Jane – online or in person. She has another composition class beginning in January, Extreme Composition: Breaking All the Rules. You can bet I’ve already signed up for that one!
I’ve done my homework for lesson five of the Jane Davies class I’m taking, Dynamic Composition. Our lesson for this past week dealt with lines and shapes, with the addition of working in grids with lines, and of course, with collage. I lined up my papers along the floor to choose from.
I’ve been on vacation for the past week, so I’ve worked on this lesson from a hotel and from a condo. Here is where I worked on the first phase of the lesson, on a little desk in a hotel room.
Here are the underpaintings I did in preparation for the next phase.
One of our exercises was to experiment with an open grid using only collage papers, no paint, and to add a line.
We moved to a condo for the balance of our vacation — and where I had a much bigger workspace.
The next portion of the project was to add a line to a collage painting. I worked on two.
Only one more week to go!
The theme for Week Four in my online class, Dynamic Composition, with Jane Davies, was pattern and scale. I loved the first part of our homework where we made all kinds of lines, patterns, and repetitive marks. I already use a lot of these elements in my art.
But when I went to create three pieces emphasizing these elements, I stumbled and fell. I struggled with incorporating a variety of marks, lines, circles, along with color, into some sort of cohesive composition.
I didn’t finish any of the three pieces I was working on. I’ll share a snippet of one – just the top half.
This piece has the most potential if I decide to go back in and work on it some more.
What I learned is that using pattern, scale, lines, circles, and various marks make a composition interesting. My challenge is to find a way to incorporate these elements into my art in a way that enhances what I’m already doing and as a way to add even more layers of interest.
I blogged recently about the seven pieces of art I created for Guardino Gallery’s 7th annual Day of the Dead Show. The art got hung and Thursday night was Last Thursday on Alberta, a monthly street party on a very cool street in NE Portland. It is also the night that Guardino Gallery hosts their art opening for the featured artists. This year I decided it would be fun to join the party in a different way: by dressing up in a Day of the Dead Costume. Warning: the only art you’ll see in this post is face make up, costumes, and a little incidental wall art.
The Make Up
Cast of Characters
Week two of my Dynamic Composition class with Jane Davies got me fired up. I was intrigued with the process and had such fun playing with the paper and paint. I was also away this past weekend on an art retreat with the Portland Art Collective at Menucha, so I used the opportunity to work in a series.
I don’t want to give too much away about the process, but I will say it involves working in layers – lots of layers. Gesso, paper, paint, more paint, then colorful paper, paint, more paint, and yet more paint. Since I like lines so much, I incorporated lots of dark lines to add even more interest. Come on along for a look at my weekend work.
I finished several pieces over the weekend, then came home and did the final touches, including adding a layer of cold wax to seal the canvas and make the color pop. All of these are on their way to Lunaria Gallery in Silverton.
I’m taking an on-line class, the second time I’ve done this. Although I love the in-person classroom experience, I must admit, these on-line classes are a pretty cool way to: 1) take an art class from anywhere, 2) experiment with new techniques and ideas, 3) connect with new members of the art community, and 4) build a new body of work.
The class I’m currently taking is from Jane Davies, an artist I have followed for a long time and last AprilI had the privilege of taking a class from at Art and Soul in Kansas City, Missouri (here’s a link to the blog post I did about Jane’s class – just click here). I’ve had friends take some of Jane’s on-line classes and they raved about the experience (and how much they learned). So I jumped in and registered for Keys to Dynamic Composition. I’ve completed week 1 (of six). Take a look at Jane’s website and blog to see her amazing work.
Our first lesson in creating a dynamic composition had to do with using variety of size and repetition with a limited color palette (yikes, that was difficult for me!) and only squares and rectangles. Here is my Pink Series from our first exercise.
For our second exercise, we had to again use a limited color palette, squares and rectangles, but we got to add one shape of our choice. I was much happier with being able to mix it up a bit. I give you my Blue Series.
I’ve already read Lesson 2 and watched the accompanying videos and I can’t wait to get started with a new series. Stay tuned for my next post about the process and my finished work.
Guardino Gallery is celebrating the 7th annual Day of the Dead group show October 31- November 24. Opening Festivities are on Halloween from 6-9 pm and will include spirits in costume, revelry, merriment, glowing alters, live music, and face painting. A ton of cool artists are participating and I was invited to be one of the artists. I created seven Curious Elements for the show.
Rest in Peace
A Lock of Mother’s Hair
The whole line up:
Day of the Dead 2013