Monday, November 18, 2013

Creating a Companion Piece

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! 

Thank You
for being a part of my
Art Journey, 

click any image to enlarge

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Workshop Fun

The Craft Shack!

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!

Visit the Craft Shack Online:

Debbie (left) the owner of the Craft Shack is a doll and she makes
every class, whether it's 3-hours or 3-days, the BEST!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fueling the Body and Soul

We are made up of 50-75% water,  fuel for the body

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 360ยบ 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.

Thank You for being a part 
of my Art Journey,

click on any image to enlarge

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Workshop Weekend Fun

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. 

Thank You for being
a part of my Art Journey,