Saturday, October 25, 2014

Experiencing New York City

Last Coneflower 14x14 pastel 

Me on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
I was in NYC this past week for 5 days and had the best time of my life.  I will admit I was extremely nervous about the trip and many reassured me.  All went so well.  I enjoyed my one day workshop at the Pastel Society of America which is located in the National Arts Club building.  Now I am looking forward to going back again.  I will be  teaching again in 2016 at PSA and it will be for at least two or even three days.  I have so much information at this point that it is very hard for me to condense it into one day - but I try my best!

I looked at a lot of art while in NYC.  Art in museums, commercial galleries and in open studios.  I visited with artists in their studios which was really nice.  A lot of ideas are developing for me right now and they are off shoots from my flower abstractions and drawings of the summer.  Drawing is becoming very important to me again.  Any experience becomes a part of you and you never know how it is going to come out in your art.  It is the same with this trip.  I was impacted by the city, people, art and the environment.  I know it left its impression on my life.  Looking at the works of artists long gone I realize that art really is just a series of marks and colors that represent the experience of being alive. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Teaching Workshops for Artists

Here are a few photos from two workshops that I gave this summer.  I'm now getting ready to travel to NYC for a one day workshop at the Pastel Society of America.  Then I take a little break from workshops.  My next will be while I am on vacation in Scottsdale this winter.  Next summer I have a busy schedule with workshops in Maine, Wisconsin, New Mexico and Illinois.  Summer will probably be the time I give most of my workshops unless there is some warm weather place that really wants me to come visit in the winter!
I have really enjoyed teaching workshops.  It is fun and energizing although I'm always surprised that I get as exhausted as I do by the end of the day.  I've met some great people and have been to some wonderful spots. I look forward to teaching more in the future.  I only plan on teaching six or eight at the most workshops during the year.  I have to balance teaching with my own artwork.  If I don't have time for my own work then I don't have anything to give to others.
I really try to give people their money's worth in my workshops.  I'm really getting things down at this point.  I have a set curriculum for one, two, three and four day workshops.  I focus on pastel mostly but also allow people to paint with acrylics if they choose.  I give everyone a detailed handout that reflects my upcoming Northlight book.  I've also created PowerPoint presentations on abstraction, composition, color and abstract realism.  I strive for a well paced, energetic experience with plenty of time to explore and work for extended time.  I want people to learn, have fun, explore, bond with each other and find their own direction.  I do not give step by step directions for people to copy.
I think everyone needs to discover their own way with abstraction.  In a workshop you learn from the instructor's experience and technique but then it is up to you as to how you will apply it.
I've had very good feedback on my workshops.  I wasn't able to include photos of all the people I've met this summer.  Maybe you will recognize someone.  Maybe yourself?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Essence of Summer day two

Essence of Summer day 2
36x36 oil on canvas

This was the second day working on my new painting.  After about an hour I realized that I was not at all happy with where it was going.  Too much color, the wrong color and too many lines.  So I put the acrylics away and got out the oil paints today and at first that didn't work either.  Then I got out big brushes and more neutral colors and started covering things up. Too much was going on in it and I need to get rid of a lot.  

I'm much happier with where it is going.  I started with a section of a pastel painting I had done.  I put that away and instead started looking at the line drawings on my wall.  I began to add lines from the drawings into the wet oil paint.  I do like adding the oil paint over dried acrylic.  Oil does have a more luminous and transparent appearance.  I will continue to switch back and forth as I really like the fact that acrylics dry so quickly but I also like the more luminous appearance of the oils.  

Day three tomorrow and I will finish it up.  

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Flower Power

Blue Coneflower
pastel on paper

Essence of Summer
acrylic painting in process

I haven't posted on my blog for quite awhile.  I've had a very busy summer.  Not much down time.  I have to work my painting in between things I've got to get finished up.  It has all been great but it has been especially busy.
The top pastel was completed as a demonstration in my workshop in Asheville, North Carolina. I had a great group of artists for four days.  I think everyone came away with plenty of ideas to explore.  I stayed a couple of extra days to spend time with a friend I hadn't seen for over 25 years.  It was
wonderful to see her again and we had so much fun.
Back home I needed to do the final author revisions for my Northlight book.  I'm finished!  It is something to celebrate for sure.  I think it will be a great looking book and I hope people learn a lot from book.  I also completed materials for my upcoming video shoot which will take place in January.  I will be shooting four separate videos which will be out the same time as my book,.  Whew!  Then I went on to begin judging the abstract category of the Pastel 100 competition.  Wow is all I will say about that.  You will have to wait for the results in Pastel Journal Magazine.  It was an honor to be asked.
There is more!  I packed some of my acrylic paintings for the Indiana Design Center and have talked to three designers in the last week who have contacted me about my work,.
Now I am getting ready for my upcoming workshop at the National Arts Club for PSA.  Oh and my pastel sold as a Collector's Purchase and was also chosen by the Butler Institute for American Art for an exhibit in January and February.
Have you had enough!
So today I finally began a new painting based on some of the flower pastels and drawings that I have done this summer.  It felt good to paint today.   I will finish it up this next week.  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Blue Garden

Blue Garden
pastel on paper

This is a pastel that I created today.  I used a photograph taken in my backyard of my cone flowers.   I've used the same photograph now at least four or five times and each time with a variation in color and orientation.  I generally don't like working from photographs but have found it more successful lately.  It is important for me to work directly from observation and I had not done this very much with my abstraction.  I really found the need to draw from observation this summer.  It is grounding and gives me direction.  It is a very meditative experience also.  It centers me and then ideas come to me more easily.  I have been taking a large sketch pad and drawing outside in different locations.  I know that the lines I am creating will benefit my abstracts and abstract realism like these flower abstracts.  I wanted something more from my pastel abstracts and the flowers are giving that to me right now.  

I will be taking off to teach a workshop next week in the Asheville North Carolina region.  I will also be reconnecting with a friend I haven't seen in over twenty five years.  Then I will be going to the PSA school in October and spending time with my cousin in NYC.  My workshops are bringing me together with people I have not seen in a long time.  Reconnecting is something I'm really looking forward to very much.  

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Take Time to Play

Oil on canvas

It is important for me to take time to experiment with materials and different approaches.  I went from working only with pastel to combining acrylic underpainting and pastel.  Then I went to working with acrylics and painting.  It took me at least two years to figure out how I wanted to use acrylics.  I did a lot of not so good paintings.  Now I've figured out how I like to work with acrylics but it has taken a lot of trial and error and experimentation on my part.  Now I'm bringing oil paints into the mix.  I'd stopped using oil paints many years ago because of the toxicity.  I had purchased some water-based oils but was never happy with them so I stored them in the basement.  I am now experimenting again.  Oil paints do have a luminosity that I like and it is fun to play with mixing colors on canvas.  This was just a painting experiment only.  I used some new colors to see how they looked.  I listened to some Moody Blues and old music and just had fun with it.  Not everything has to have a purpose, end up in a frame or have the intention on being sold or in a show.  Take time to experiment and play!