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12x12 on flat wood panel, painted similar background to match the apple
Last month in my Sedona, AZ Paper Paintings 3-day workshop I created the demo apple on the left to show my students the technique of collage. As often happens, one of my students purchased the demo piece from me.
Lesley asked me if I could also make her a pear, (and a pair) to display with her apple. Creating a companion piece after the fact, vs. creating it at the same time can be tricky. When I create two collages that go together, I typically put them on the easel at the same time. I work back and forth between the two so that I am utilizing some of the same collage papers on each piece, giving them harmonious color and patterns.
mimicking the same line quality, style, and underpainting of the pear
Since I was going to create the pear after the fact, I told Lesley that I'd need to take the apple home to the FL studio. I was in luck that I had created the Sedona Apple on the road because this meant that I was working from a limited stock of papers in my travel bag. Working from a gallon sized bag of papers vs. a full studio drawer of papers narrowed down the search for similar patterned and colored collage paper.
completed pear, you can see the same leaf papers, reds and yellows on both pieces
In addition to bringing Lesley's Sedona Demo Apple home for reference, it was also imperative that I bring it home to varnish along side the pear. I did demonstrate varnish in the class with the apple, however my varnish at home is my own mixture of gloss and matte and it was not going to match the sheen of the varnish out of the bottle. Any time I create companion pieces, I want to be sure that both have matching varnish. When I completed the pear I gave them both a coat of my secret recipe varnish.
Now the pair is complete and they are going to look great hanging in Lesley's kitchen!
for being a part of my Art Journey,
Friday night at the Craft Shack in Longwood, FL I will be giving a mini class in collage from 7-9pm. we will be working on Holiday Angels this year. These 6x9 pieces will make a great gift for yourself or a friend this season. Why not join us for a glass of wine, some good conversation, and a night of creativity at The Shack in Longwood, FL.
My first two Holiday Angels
First we will sketch simple angels (we have reference images for you), then paint them, and THEN we get into the fun stuff of gluing papers over our paint. Since this is only a 2-hour class, we have some pre-painted papers for the students to work from on their 6x8's. The Friday night class at the Shack is about, friends, fun and no pressure! You don't have to be an artist to come out and have a good time with us here.
my last class with their finished birds in just 2-hours!
Last January we offered a three-day paper paintings workshop at the Shack and we had a great group outside under tents in some AMAZING FL weather. We had such a great time that we are going to offer it again next January. This class is more intense and we get into painting our own collage papers and learning how to apply them to complex shapes and subject matter. You don't have to be an artist, but some drawing skills do help. Do you have a friend or a family member that you'd love to spend the weekend with making art? What a great gift to give come Christmas time too!
Lorie came all the way from Miami to join us for the weekend,
it was a gift from her husband to take the weekend off!
Today was my last day in Sedona. Class ended yesterday and I took today to explore my favorite place. Sedona is a small town, so most of what I did today, was like visiting an old friend. But this morning was very different. I started my day on a very special mission, a new experience.
the path less traveled, fuel for the soul
In all my visits to Sedona, I had heard about the power of the vortexes and how it was the sole purpose in many folks coming here. I guess I was more about the views and the sunset, the red rocks mesmerize me to this day. When I come around the bend on 179 into town and see the first sign of the red rocks, it takes my breath away. Every time.
A map to the Universe
In this weekend's class at the Sedona Art Center I mentioned that I had a special mission, I had some ashes to spread in the red rocks of Sedona, for a friend. Mary was so sweet to make an amazing suggestion, she said "You know, Boynton Canyon has two vortexes a male and female." Right then I realized, that's my special place.
I did some research on Boynton Canyon and how to find the vortexes there. They don't label them or advertise them. Thanks to the time and effort of his blog An Alternate Route, by Steve Prefontaine, I had no problem finding my way. I followed his photos and directions by downloading his page before I went out into the Canyon ad lost cell signal.
I headed out early in the morning, so I had no trouble parking at the trail head. There were only mountain bikers unloading whenI pulled in and purchased my red rock pass out of the solar powered vending machine in the parking lot.
It was all great until I saw the bear sign.
And there it was. My land shark. GEEZ! I was struck by the very same fear I have for sharks. I hesitated, I walked, I turned back, I walked, I stopped, I walked, I turned back.
Fear, it can be paralyzing. Just today someone emailed me and said they had my DVD, bought all the collage supplies, but were too scared to start. Why? It's not like your collage is going to MAUL you. Oh my goodness. I wasn't going to let fear deter me from my mission.
"I'll sit on this bench and wait for someone else to come along the trail and I'll hang behind them," I thought. I'll let them go ahead as an appetizer. OMG. How often do we do this? We don't want to go first, we don't want to put our art out there to be judged, we'd rather follow behind someone else, safe.
Along came two women who looked like experienced hikers, I hung behind them and headed up the trail. They were going my way, so it worked out. (It felt good not to be totally controlled by my fear of the land shark.) When we got to the vortexes, they had their own agenda, and I had mine. It was just us three up there, so very quiet and peaceful.
The vortexes from the Vista Trail below
I climbed up to the area between the two vortexes to experience the energy. Warrior, the male vortex on the left (I climbed to the very top here and sat) and the Kachina Woman on the right. Can you see the "V" formation in the clouds? that's not doctored, this is the photo as it was taken with my iPhone.
I imagine experiencing a vortex is like experiencing art, there is a special energy to it. We all bring a part of ourselves to the definition of just what that pull feels like, and how each individual describes their experience is always going to be unique and different. I felt out of balance when I stood there in the center and closed my eyes, I felt like I was slightly swaying on my feet, like I could feel the earth moving.
I went around the back of the male side of the vortex (which was free standing) to find a peaceful place. There are personal cairns (rock piles) built all over this place by previous visitors. I decided to build a cairn in honor of my special mission.
the cairn I built in honor of Jared
I came to the strongest vortex in Sedona to spread a small amount of ashes of a young man with a huge personality and a pretty strong pull of his own. I have never spread ashes before, so it rounded out my all-new experiences for today.
When was the last time you did something for the first time?
the central area between the two vortexes is marked by a rock circle and many cairns
the sign of a Sedona vortex is said to be the twisted trunks of juniper trees that appear nearby
After ceremoniously letting a handful of powder catch the canyon breeze, I climbed around to the front of the vortex. And there he was.
Out of nowhere came a man, now standing with his arms and legs spread apart like an X in the center of the two vortexes. He came over and handed me a stone heart, put it in my palm and told me it was the energy of the Creator, the power of the Universe, it was Unconditional Love and it would go with me wherever I went, I could take the power of the vortex with me on my Journey, I could then pass Unconditional Love on to someone else. This is how we will change the world, he said.
Robert (he later introduced himself) told me he was going to climb to the top of the Warrior formation and play healing Reiki music. "Do you want to join me?" he asked. Really?
Why not? Open your heart and your mind.
Together we climbed up to the top of Warrior, Robert knew the footholds and pointed the way. What an incredibly spectacular view! It took my breath away to sit there and gaze out over 360º of the red rock canyon colored by Karma and brought together by the Universe for me in that moment.
My view of the Universe
Robert playing healing music for the earth
I don't now how long I sat up there listening to Robert play, it certainly was relaxing. Between songs we spoke about Unconditional Love, the Creator, and about letting go of all the baggage and crap that bogs us down in life. His last song was called Releasing, just for that purpose.
I'm not sure where Robert came from, but I am very glad our paths crossed. I believe it was all meant to be a part of an original experience, and my special mission.
the Warrior formation
Yeah, I climbed to the top of that and back, and never did see any land sharks.
for being a part
Art Journey, Elizabeth click on any image to enlarge
fluid acrylic paints with a plethora of stamping and stenciling techniques
Color, for me it's all about Color
A typical workshop weekend involves classroom work and studio work. The first day we spend some time learning about the collage technique and the goals students need to keep in the forefront of their mind while painting their collage papers.
Painting paper is the first step of the studio work because students come in with their small apple project already under-painted. This is the pre-class homework.
wonderful textures and patterns for collage application
Painting papers for collage is all about experimentation. I offer several specific tried and true techniques in my demonstration. What's interesting about any group of students is that not every technique works for everyone nor appeals to everyone. Some folks love the alcohol resist, some love the soap bubbles, most love stamping and stenciling. I love how charged with excitement people get as the "oohs and ahhhs" are uttered over the papers they are making!
Getting to Know Each Other
Generally the time spent making papers is when the students are chatting and sharing ideas, talking and getting to know each other. Making lunch plans. This is my favorite part of the collage process because making paper is pure enjoyment, you get to play with color and texture for hours and hours. When 4:00 p.m. rolls around, the reaction is always the same. "What?" People can't figure out where the time went. It's like a color time-warp.
In the zone, Nora and Mary (right) made more paper than anyone else, they were a mother daughter paper making machine!
This weekend we have two sets of people who came with friends and family, what a great way to spend time together. Nora is the daughter of Mary who took my class last year. Nora is from MN and Mary splits her time between MN and AZ.
Leslie brought her friend Deb, and I know I am going to mess this up... Leslie and Deb are Stacy's Mothers... Leslie is her Mother-in-Law and Deb is her Step-Mother. (Stacy has awesome hats.) They told me about three times how they are all related... but remember, I'm on medication and I can't hear. Deb is from North Dakota, she brought her friend from home Nancy.
making use of found papers as well as purchased papers for painting
Jeannine came all the way from Oklahoma. She drove 16-hours on brand-new tires to be here. Can I just say that I am humbled and honored? We also have locals like Dorsianne, Gia (originally from Germany) and Jan (who also took my class last year and came back for more color).
It is the biggest honor when someone comes back to take my workshop for a second time, this happens quite often. I am so honored to know that people have enjoyed themselves enough to want to return for more. Thank you Nancy and Jan!
Applying and Gluing what You've Learned
Today is Sunday morning, we are delving further into the collage process that we began late yesterday afternoon. The room goes quiet when the collage gets rolling. The collage application requires concentration and presents many more challenges than painting the paper does, so the room takes on a totally different vibe. Students go into deep concentration and I come around to each person individually to help them through any struggles they may be having, and to offer suggestions on how to make things better.
I had better jump in the shower, I have the key to the room and something tells me they are going to be waiting at the Art Center door for me if I don't hustle.
a part of my Art Journey, Elizabeth
AM, yes, an hour some of you never see. I'm very familiar
Maybe it was the anticipation, that kept me awake. Maybe it was the congestion. Either way, I could't sleep.
My iPhone alarm was set for 4:00, by then I was long awake – tossing and turning, watching the clock glow, blowing my nose, checking my email. How do you rest an ever running mind? "Have I forgotten to pack anything? Should I bring my Red Sox cap? (let's face it, I am a fair weather fan, born in Boston) Do I have enough business cards? Do I have enough to keep me busy in flight?"
You'd think I never did this before.
Today I am headed to the Sedona to teach a collage workshop at the Art Center, I've been doing this twice a year for going on three years, April and November. When booking the flight, I was trying to secure the lowest possible fare for the Art Center, overlooking the fact that I had signed on for an American Airlines Journey that included two layovers between Orlando and Phoenix. Two.
"What? WHAT?" I asked myself out loud while viewing my Expedia itinerary email which featured a very long and colorful list of flight numbers starting at 7:25am this morning and ended at 2:30pm this afternoon, INCLUDING gaining two-hours of time with the time change. Ugh. "How did that happen?" "Probably because you weren't paying attention when you booked it." was the reply from The Voice of Reason on the other side of the couch.
And then there's the two hour car ride through the dessert from Phoenix to Sedona. On 3.5 hours sleep. Sigh. Passion Tea sounded appealing to me on my arrival at OMA's Terminal A Starbucks, but when I get to Miami (yes, I am flying South first... ugh) I'm opting for some caffeine.
guess what? we cannot accommodate your carry-on luggage
And why is it that every flight you go on these days, they announce that they are ALREADY out of overhead bin space for your carry on during the boarding of Zone 1? So now they are fighting with me to check my roll aboard, which happens to include all the things I did not want to include in my checked luggage. Thank you very much.
A beautiful day in Miami
My husband set me up with the new MacBook Air 13" and I couldn't be happier. This new computer is MUCH lighter and more compact than my MacBook Pro was. It's also much less weight on my shoulders (can I just tell you that the computer bag slipped off my shoulders and dropped on more than one occasion? Yes, I can tell you that now because I finally came clean with my husband about it)
It's about having the right tools for the job. I would not have blogged on the go with the other computer, it was just too much effort. How spoiled does that sound? OMG.
30 min in the air didn't even give me time to log into GoGo inflight, just one of the few ways I entertain myself when sitting still. The other way I entertain myself is breaking out the collage supplies, but that didn't happen either. Im not big on sitting still, as you can imagine, so this was a bit of a squirmy 30 min. I thought about sleeping. I reclined, closed my eyes, and started counting sheep, but then I started thinking about how much fun it would be to collage sheep. "What would I use to create all the curls? would I paint white paper or just use text and type and sheet music? would I infuse colors? would they be warm or cool colors? Cool of course..." and on and on like that. No rest for the wicked (witch in the purple tights) I tell you.
Miami did offer me some much needed grub. I am a big eater, so any airport that offers me the opportunity to sit down and eat eggs, potatoes and Cuban coffee, makes me happy. Even if it's totally off the direct path to Phoenix. Life is about the Journey though, and I am keeping that in the forefront of my mind today. Right behind the pressure that's building up in my sinus cavity.
Sitting on the floor of Miami Airport tethered to a plug outlet
Next stop Dallas, TX. Side Note: I saw more than one person wearing cowboy boots in this huge airport. Somehow in all my travels, I've never been to Dallas. (and somewhere I too have cowboy boots) I took the tram from terminal B to terminal C (oddly, via D and E) which was pleasant enough, it was like a monorail track outside. Unlike Atlanta, you could not have walked it if you wanted to.
My in flight entertainment
This was a 3-hour jaunt so I managed to whip out the collage supplies and work on two small pieces. I always bring small pieces to work on my seat back tray table. I bring my collage glue in 3-oz. containers in one zip top, clear plastic bag. Since I ended up in a middle seat, this was quite the challenge, I usually have the isle as extra real estate to pull the travel bag of papers into as I dig through it to find my colors. Not today. Given the alternative of sitting still, I opted to figure out how to make it work, and I did. However, next time I will check in earlier and have the opportunity to choose an isle seat! Expedia is FIRED, they did not remind me to check in yesterday. What's up with that?
Upon arriving at Terminal C I immediately began looking for food options. Right across from Gate 30 was TGI Fridays where folks were lined up waiting to get in and a man in a candy striped tie handed me a menu to look at while I waited. Fried, Fried, Fried. Maybe that's the Fri in Friday. The soup of the day was broccoli cheddar. The healthy options on the menu boasted 750 calories or less. For lunch. hmmmm. There was not even a salad to be had for less than 749.
After much deliberation, I went with a grilled chicken salad, hold the cheese and the croutons and the dressing. (surely this might get me down to 650?) Out came the salad just as I was asking if there were any plug outlets under the table. Always tethered to the plug.
A metal fork and a plastic knife. Hmmm, "Can I get a real knife?" I asked my server. "Unfortunately, no." And then it dawned on me, security. Security? I mean I probably could to as much damage with metal fork tines as a butter knife, no? For me it was about the weight, one heavy utensil, one light. Strange.
Here I sit at gate C waiting for the last leg of this trip to Phoenix. The plane has been delayed by a half hour. "Blah, blah, blah," I already forgot why. In a way I am happy, as I am currently tethered to the power tower along with everyone else around me. Half an hour will charge my devices.
The tower may be constantly plugged into, but it's never cleaned. Maybe that's because it's in 24-hour demand.
And we are off, from Dallas to Phoenix! The pressure in my ears and sinus cavity continues to mount with the altitude adjustments in flight. Note to self: find a walk-in clinic in Sedona. Which by the way is at 5000 feet elevation. Florida is ZERO. My ears are going to kill me all weekend.
If you are not familiar, Sedona is a small town that can only be accessed by a two hour drive through the dessert from Phoenix. Upon arriving in Phoenix, I gathered my bags, took the rental car shuttle bus and headed to Alamo. At this point, I cannot hear anymore.
headed out of Phoenix, once through the traffic the landscape and lighting were fantastic! You can see the Saguaro at the top of the hill.
I rented my car, hooked up my Google Maps and hit the road. Let me say that I have been to Sedona about six times before, so I do have a general idea of where I am headed. I rolled up onto the ramp of Route 17 only to hit rush hour (really?) traffic at 4:30pm getting out of Phoenix. Oh boy do I wish I could use the HOV lane about now. Oh well, it's about the journey, the Journey!
The drive was spectacular because of the daylight as the sun set. It changed everything. Usually I get into town much earlier in the day (no, really? OMG there are direct flights) And I end up driving through the dessert smack in the middle of the day. That lighting does not flatter the Saguaro cacti or the landscape very much. The Saguaro is native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and the blossom is the State Wildflower of Arizona. A little tidbit of useful information for you.
the pink mountains in the distance, maybe it's the red sand reflecting the sun
Getting close, I can feel the red rocks coming, but I'm losing daylight
So the Journey was different for me this time, and I appreciated very much the color of the dessert at dusk. It's been a very long day getting to Sedona from Orlando. By the time I had my "ah ha" moment when I come around the corner on 179 headed into uptown (I know right where this is on the road) and I see the red rock outcropping for the very first time... it was dark, I missed the sun by about 20 min.
Open your heart and your mind, you never know where the Journey will take you
But no fear, the sunrise is almost as glorious as the sunset and I am an early riser. I have to be, because the Urgent Care clinic closed at 6pm. What? They open up again at 8am tomorrow morning. I'll get my sinuses checked and then make my way to the Chapel of the Holy Cross if I have time before class.
Many thanks to the Art Gallery of Viera for inviting me to judge this years annual juried exhibit. Yesterday morning I hit the highway around 8:30 am out of Orlando and headed South on 95 down the coast of FL about an hour until I arrived in Viera. It was really nice to see Susan, Helen, and Jerry again.
Art Gallery of Viera hosted a Paper Paintings workshop about two years ago, it was a very well attended class and we had an excellent weekend. Ironically, Amanda from that class popped up in my Houston class again this year! You just never know...
The new gallery space is stunning, as is the plaza in which they are located
Jerry told me that this year they turned away 35 pieces and kept 48, much higher numbers than they had in last year's show, and the quality of the work represented this.
I took my time looking at every piece individually and making notes on my favorites in no particular order. I revisited my favorites and intently considered what it was that I liked about each and every one of them, it's a very difficult decision to narrow things down.
some examples of the work in the show
As a juror and a viewer, it is impossible to disregard the personal experience and preference that you bring with you to a piece of art. I am someone who appreciates unique technique and bright colors, as a result, work of this genre is most interesting and appealing to me. I was drawn to the liberal use of color in some of the landscapes as well as the creativity of technique in some of the photos and mixed media pieces. Making art is much about honoring creativity, conceptual thinking, and technique; some of the most creative pieces in this show were the ones that pushed their medium and execution way outside of the typical “box.”
Check out The Gallery online if you are in the area and are interested in showing your work or taking a class, this is a great group of people. I know who won, but I can't say anything! Winners will be announced on Sunday, stay tuned and in the mean time, visit the Gallery on Facebook.
After a nice lunch with Susan, I hit the road another hour South to visit Cherie in Vero Beach. Only to witness her in a STANDING FRAME upright and vertical. She's doing amazingly well and in her new room (she moved to a bigger house!) are framed Art Cards from her days in the spinal cord rehab center. For all of you who sent notes and cards, she still talks about how much it meant to her.
Cherie and I posing for the camera, pulled out all the family jewels this morning!
Demonstrating my technique for onlookers on opening weekend
photo courtesy of Kim Santini
A great big THANK YOU to everyone who helped support my trip to ArtPrizein Grand Rapids, MI to view the installation of my piece Awakening Ophelia, Nishikigoi Dream at the Amway Grand Hotel. Also I wanted to thank the Amway Grand for agreeing to take me on along with 22 other stellar artists who were also hosted by this fantastic venue.
I funded my trip via print salesof each and every individual 12x12 section of this 3x5 foot piece. I am forever grateful to all of you who purchased sections to help me afford to travel.
Taking over Kim's kitchen the evening before my demo
photo courtesy of Kim Santini
I arrived in Grand Rapids on opening weekend, Saturday the 21st of September. The entire downtown was bustling with foot traffic, people walking from venue to venue to observe and vote for their favorite piece. Thanks to great advice from my friend and fellow artist Katie, I set up a demo piece the night before. Boy was I lucky to be hosted by the infamous Kimberly Kelly Santiniwho had me all hooked up with a 16x16 cradled panel, an acrylic paint palette, an easel, and reference photos of Queen Anne's Lace. Now that's a good friend!
my view from my demo piece, people kept pouring in all day long
I worked in front of my piece for HOURS and the onlookers never stopped. Amway Grand and the entire town of Grand Rapids was transformed by ArtPrize and the energy was incredible.
Thank goodness for Katie Dambro and her daughter Lauren who hung my art, setup my DVD, put fans in the room the day of my demo (boy was it hot) and helped me sell my work when I started to get more into the painting than the talking... I couldn't have done it without my girls!
Silkwaves in the Grand by Al & Laurie Roberts
On Sunday I took the time to walk around and view art at the B.O.B and the DeVos Center, as well as across the river. WOW was I impressed at the scope and creativity of this event. So many amazing projects. I'm so glad that I had an opportunity to view and to vote for some fellow amazing artists.
On Monday I returned home to Sunny Florida, so inspired. What an amazing opportunity I had not only to be a part of ArtPrize (for the second year in a row) but to view what other artists had accomplished for this event as well. My favorite piece had to be Michigan Forest: The Future of Genetic Manipulation on an Eco System. Rob Vander Zee had me up close and personal, viewing his fantastic painting from inches away. Such depth and color, in such an image of fantasy and imagination. It drew me in.
completed in the studio; Queen Anne's Lace @St.Hilaire Nelson
You may purchase a print of this 16x16 ArtPrize demo piece for a limited time. It's a giclée on extra deep gallery wrapped canvas, wired and ready to hang.
I was visiting Michigan for a second time this year (previously I was there to teach a workshop with the Traverse City Art Centerover the summer) to view my ArtPrize entry installed at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids, MI. You can follow ArtPrize on Facebook, it's a short lived (now through October 6) HUGE public art contest that spreads out 3-square miles of downtown.
The kids worked on a collage of the school logo, inspired by a Matisse paper cut
Keeping in contact with Ms. Novak from Stadium School since last year about presenting to her kids, we decided to pair my visit up with my ArtPrize trip. Stadium is a school of choice, a place where parents can choose to send their children because they value the focus it offers on the arts. Many of the children in this school have parents who are artists and are used to being exposed to art, music, dance and theatre. These kids were ready to soak up everything I had to teach them.
What fun we had tearing and gluing papers. The kids told me they loved my hair, they wanted my autograph, and that it was the best day ever! Much like the Elders, only much less contained in their enthusiasm. Gotta love kids for their passion and excitement. "WOW is that a peacock on your shoulder?"
I left the school feeling loved. I was given a green ballpoint pen, a yellow hand-made rubber bracelet, a drawing inspired by my DVD, and lots of hugs. There really is no better feeling for me than the idea of inspiring children in art. These kids were already totally inspired by Ms. Novak and their amazing school, but I hoped that I might just inspire at least one child to pursue an art education and career someday. I told the kids about my high school art teacher who was my inspiration to pursue art as my major in college.
words to describe my visit - click to enlarge
Today I asked the kids to give me one word from your visit, it could be an action, a feeling, material... Anything. Here is what they did (above). This sent from Ms. Novak today.
Taking the Show on the Road
Demonstrating my technique in front of my ArtPrize installation
I decided to explain the technique behind my work for viewers this opening weekend of ArtPrize by demonstrating. I took the collage show on the road to Grand Rapids for the day on Saturday. Thanks to my friend and fellow artist Kimberly Kelly Santini, I had an underpainting, an easel, a side table, water, and snacks to keep me sustained as I worked away and answered questions from hundreds of visitors.
I explained to the viewers how I painted the papers, blended the edges with overlapping colors, and created the whole 3x5-foot image out of tiny bits of torn papers. Folks were really engaged in my description of the process and had to get up close to realize that it was a collage and not a painting.
I reminded them, like I tell my workshop students, I NEVER paint on top! What you see is purely collage, every challenge is solved with paper and I never, never cheat!
I appreciate every opportunity I have to be a mentor and a teacher in art. If you are ever interested in taking a workshop from me, my classes are listed on the right hand side of this blog. You can also visit my Facebook page to follow the progress of many of my collages from sketch to completion.