Saturday, August 22, 2015

Images from Maine Workshop

Drawing from nature in a Maine garden

Developing beginning compositions

Working larger

Creating diptychs

Lobster boats

Maine!

Here are some images from my workshop at Acadia Workshop Center in Maine.  Ten artists from various parts of the U.S. came to Maine to vacation and work abstractly for the week.  It was a wonderful group of artists who really all produced unique, individual visions in both pastel and acrylic works.  Two artists had not worked with pastel previously but I think went home as pastel enthusiasts.  It is always exciting to me to see the direction people take their works.  I also love the energy of a group and the way people learn as much from each other as they do from the instructor (me).  I always learn new things from artists when I teach a workshop as well.  I discover new materials and ways of working.  And all of the personal sharing and funny stories are great!  I'll be returning to Acadia Workshop Center in 2017 to teach another workshop.  I'll be there much the same time during August.  

It has also been a very busy summer for me in other ways.  I just shipped three paintings to Cortile Gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts for an invitational exhibit during September.  I have an upcoming show at Quad City Arts Center with good friend Larry Jon Davis that runs from September to end of October.  I have a painting in a showcase home in Atlanta for This Old House.  It was chosen from Ugallery.  I will also be sending a few works to John Brown University in Arkansas for a special invitational exhibit as well.  Whew!  Lots going on.  And I've gotten a lot of painting in both pastel and acrylics done this summer.  Excited about the direction they are both taking now.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Be Okay with Not Knowing

Chrysalis
22x17 pastel on paper

Several years ago a friend gave me a necklace with the quote  "Not all who wander are lost."  This was significant to me and I know it is an important quote for others.  What does it have to do with art and working abstractly?  Many times I don't know where I'm going with what I am doing.  It can be uncomfortable but I guess I'm used to it now.  In the beginning I wanted some idea of how to do things and what to do next.  Now I question and try to search without knowing where I am going to end up.  I think it is a good thing.  I ask myself often "what would happen if I do this" and then I try it to see what will happen.  Sometimes it goes in the garbage.  Sometimes it helps me find something new but it may take ten experiments.  I reach a plateau where I think I have a handle on a process and then I get dissatisfied.  I want to go somewhere else but I'm not sure where so I begin this experimentation and try to enter into a frame of mind where I don't care about outcomes.  That is where I've been this summer.  I've taken to covering up old pastel paintings with clear gesso.  I didn't learn this from anyone but just wanted to try it.  I had never used clear gesso before but I had heard someone mention it online or elsewhere that it had as much tooth as pastel ground.  So I took a big brush loaded with clear gesso and covered up one of my pastel paintings.  It created a really dull neutral ground when all of the pastels were mixed together but I really liked the texture and feel.  One experiment led to another and another and now I am at work covering up a lot of older works.  So my wandering around has been important lately.  I am discovering new ways of working - again.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Create with No End in Mind

pastel on paper

pastel on paper

Pastel
21.5 x 21.5 inches

Right now I am in a period of experimentation with my pastels.  I am creating with no end in mind.  I am not working towards a show, competition or gallery right now.  I only want to work to discover and uncover.  I am trying out different gessos.  I have been using the pastel ground for quite some time and I do like it very much.  Right now I am looking at using different gessos with my pastels so I have been experimenting with white, black and clear gesso.  I am also applying gesso on top of previously completed pastels to see what will happen.  I find it is really important to take the time to just "do" with no expected outcomes.  If it doesn't work it goes in the garbage.  I may discover a new way of working.  

I am preparing for my first workshop at the Acadia Workshop Center in Bernard, Maine.  I am really looking forward to this workshop.  So far there are 9 artists attending.  It is a wonderful location that should be very inspiring.  The setting will influence all that takes place during the week.  It will be nice for people to have four days of working and it will be a relaxing environment for myself and everyone else.  

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summer!

Coneflower in the Garden
acrylic painting
Inspired by the Garden
acrylic painting

Summer is here!  I love summer.  I spend a lot of time outside after being cooped up during the winter.  I get a lot of ideas at this time of the year.  Its great to feel the energy of nature.  I sit on my porch every morning, listen to the birds and wind chimes.  I journal and I record ideas in sketch books.  I do a lot of pondering.  I also buy flowers, plant them and then draw from them.  I use these drawings later and maybe even into the winter months.  I get ideas when I am riding my bike or playing golf which are totally separate from my art but important activities.  These other activities bring balance, relaxation and fun into my life.  I'm enjoying this down time before heading off to my next teaching workshop.  It took me several days to wind down from IAPS!  It was a whirlwind trip for me with a lot of activity.  I hope that I can attend the next convention in 2017 and spend more time being a volunteer, attending workshops and visiting with my pastel friends.  It has been an honor for me to teach the past two conventions.  So happy to meet many other pastel artists, have a chance to talk with a few and see such amazing pastel paintings.  I encourage you to attend the IAPS convention if you have not done so.  If you are a pastel artist it is where you need to be.

Next on my travels is the Acadia Workshop Center in Maine!  Maybe I will see you there.  

Monday, May 25, 2015

Visualizing

Coneflower Abstraction
45x32 acrylic and mixed media on canvas

I spend a good deal of time visualizing.   I usually do this in the morning when I am up alone and drinking my coffee.  I imagine and picture myself doing things, creating things, going places, overcoming obstacles, etc.  This has been a part of my life for years.  It is setting an intention and going through the movements in my mind so that I can see the way.  This is important in living life and in creating.  I will never be where I where I want to be with my art.  I'm never satisfied.  I always want more, different and better.  I do visualize works in my mind.  I sit in the quiet and spend time seeing possible paintings, color combinations and compositions.  Then it is important to go and get out the charcoal, pastels and paint and see if I can materialize some of the things I have seen.  Sometimes I am not able to do it - yet.  So I keep trying.  Right now I spend a good deal of time visualizing abstracted garden paintings.  I ponder how I can get the same elements from my pastels to carry over into the acrylic paintings.  I am getting closer with each one.  As long as I keep trying and visualizing I will make progress.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Videos and DVDs coming soon





It has been a very busy year for me and I have enjoyed it all.  My big projects for F&W Media are now complete.  My book Abstract Art Painting: Expressions in Mixed Media is out and it has received very positive reviews.  Thank you if you have given it a review.  Please do so if you have not.  My series of four videos will soon be available.  They can be purchased or viewed online.  If you would like more information on the videos and links for more information please go to my website at www.deboralstewart.com .