The Big Gesture and more . . .

It seems to take me a while to catch up with everything these days, but that's okay. From my art class on Monday, the one I have been taking . . . I was late to class because of this:


yes, a peacock. In a driveway!

Amazing! I had to stop and get out of my car, take some photos. 
My teacher Bill said he had never gotten THAT as an excuse for being late before!
* * * 

In class, Bill demonstrated the Big Gesture with Sumi-E brush. 
Here is his demo piece below - it is a Zen idea of spontaneity in painting.
I hope to have a short video of his demo to share with you soon.

After Bill demoed, we all took turns trying this ourselves . . .  
Rebecca

Mimi

Lynn - wow!


Mike


a close up of part of my big gesture . . .
Switching gears . . . .
don't those look delicious?

Bill is continuing to teach us about color and line and water media.


Yum!!

painting by BILL BUCHMAN 


Below is what I painted after listening hard to what Bill had been teaching us about not over-working the water media into the paper -let it flow and react to it instead of trying to fix it.
I am pleased!


It is hard to learn new ways but I feel at least this time I was able to tune in to what Bill has been teaching us about line, color and paint. We have just one more class . . . Bill does not resume teaching at the Longboat Key Center for the arts until next January as the classes are only held during the "season", yikes! At least I have his book and two DVDs!

painting by lenna  : )


The best way out of a problem is through it.
  ~ unknown



Creative breakout class with Bill Buchman

Last week in class with Bill Buchman, we learned more about color theory. He started with a lecture about color, showed us what he meant by color temperature and opposite/complimentary as well as nuetral colors and we also talked about our "bad painting" exercise the week before.



Then, we had a short amount of time to do an exercise based on his talk. For structure, Bill asked us to draw some letters using oil pastel which would resist the watercolor media we would paint over the letters. The letters should overlap to make it interesting. Bill did the one below while we worked on our own.

Color chart above is in Bill's book, Expressive Figure drawing
Close up of Bill's try - I just love the colors!! You can tell he is quite practiced at color theory.
Below, you will see some student work and different approaches to Bill's color exercise. I did not note whose work was whose while photographing but would be happy to add your name to your piece if you email me.



caught Bill Buchman by surprise here . . .
I have been having a great time learning from him and painting in his class. 
I will certainly miss it when class ends April 23.




(above) This is mine and I do not like it one bit!
I find solace in the remark that Bill made in an earlier class. He said,
"An artist is someone who can make something he does not like but goes on
to make more pieces, does not give up."
I know this one above is Barbara's, it is beautiful!

Another view of Bill Buchman's piece. 
Bill has made some great instructional DVDs should you want to learn from him yourself. Watching them is like being in a class with him. I have watched Zen Breakthrough: Making Contemporary Experimental Art with Sumi-e Brushes, reed pens and Mixed media and will go back again and again to learn more. My friend Frieda Oxenham in Scotland, purchased Bill's video Creative Breakout, The Art of Freedom and loved it! There are more DVDs available too - I just got his new one: Keeping the Melody: Making Contemporary Abstracts with Inspiring Materials and Techniques. I know this will keep me busy practicing his ideas and techniques till the next time I can take class in person with him again. There are a few more weeks to go of classes at the Longboat Key Center for the arts, so I am sure to be back with more.


I do like this part of my exercise a bit . . . click to view

: ) lenna 

Creative Breakout class with Bill Buchman

Over a bridge out on the barrier islands but not very far from me, is the Longboat Key Center for the Arts - a division of the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota. When I discovered that exhibitions and classes were held there, I jumped at the chance to view and participate. I attended an exhibit of paintings and collage in October that I enjoyed very much and yesterday I went to my first class with Bill Buchman. I was very attracted to the title of his workshop ...Creative Breakout: Release the Power of Your Creative Imagination and the description: This course is a journey of self discovery through art – a complete hands-on exploration of what creativity is and how it works. Sounds good, does it not? Below are sections of one of the exercises I did yesterday in class using a new tool for me, Cretacolor AquaBriques. These are artist quality water soluble bricks of color that you can purchase in a set, or I found the single blocks at Jerry's Artarama. Like watercolor crayons, but better! Bill said this quality of artist grade tools would serve me, or any artist well. Bill wanted us to make a simple composition with rectangles and circles, thinking about color: opposites, similar colors and warm/cool colors.




The whole piece when it was dry this morning - click twice for detail.

After a brief lecture, Bill had us start working in class doing a warm up exercise with paint. He mixed tube watercolor with water in a small plastic shot glass and showed us how to get the right consistency for what we were doing. He lay down a drop cloth on the new studio floor so we would not get paint on the new floor and then he demonstrated pouring & splashing on a piece of watercolor paper followed by making a gesture in the air with your paint brush filled with paint. We are going to add to these paintings each week with a new exercise each time over the next 3 weeks. The idea is that besides the techniques we'll learn, there will be time to think and rediscover our pieces when we work on them again, looking at them with fresh eyes. Here is Bill in action:



He's picking up excess paint with a brush for faster drying

 Another student Elmer, is trying out the exercise

 his result 


 One of my favorites is below - by Barbara, I believe.

 Bill's example for us for our second exercise using shapes and color . . .

students working during class -so much fun to see the variations.

Bill's second piece he worked on while we worked on our shapes and colors - I love it!

I am very happy I registered for this workshop! Visit Bill's website where there is lots to see in the Galleries, plus instructional Art DVDs and even a book!

gardens, friends, art & family!

My dear friend Carol Van Gerve has the most beautiful garden(s) and is the most prolific artist of paper & stamps that I have ever seen! We were lucky to be invited over last Sunday afternoon for pie! Steven did a little computer tweaking for her husband Donald, and I spent some time in Carol's studio. Then we took a walk in her gardens. I had brought my new camera (Nikon S220 Coolpix), got to try it out and was quite pleased.
I brought Carol a little something . . .
I used one of my favorite 2x2 pieces I had made for Helga's weekly challenges (pink & blue), adhered it to another card and added more stamping and watercolor crayons.

Carol & I exchange a lot of art! She will be exhibiting her paper art at the Collinsville, CT Art Walk on August 28th, 5:30-8pm.

Here is a photo of me Steven took with the new camera ~ a very happy lenna, on her way to visit her mom & dad in Florida for a few days . . .

ARTchix Weekly Challenge 7/7/09 ~ play with pink & blue

Note on July 9 - These twinchies were chosen as one of Helga's favorites for this challenge and I have won the new Chixies Art Blast Collection! Thanks so much, Helga!
For Helga's weekly challenge on her blog I played with the colors pink & blue! Amazingly, in the monthly color combo I participate in with 4 friends, we have yet to work with this particular combination . . .

I decided to make 'Twinchies', which are 2"x 2" squares, as I already had some watercolor cards cut in that size . . .

I used various words (fortunes) and images from the ARTchix Imagine collage sheet, a sticker from the Chixies True Colors Sticker collection (spoil me muse -i love art) and wonderful words that I love from the Her Words collage sheet. I painted the watercolor squares first with Twinkling H2Os water colors in watery shades of pink & blue, added a bit of blue checked scrapbook paper and finished them all with a blue glitter pen. This was just what I needed to do today. Thanks for the challenge, Helga!

ARTchix Weekly Challenge 6/16/09

Here is my answer to Helga's challenge on her blog when she said, "Make a grid of art." Please click on the photo for a close-up.

Making a grid is something I don't think I have ever done before . . .
I hemmed and hawed and did not do anything until after our Open House was over, our friends from New York had left, and the deadline was seriously upon me!! I decided finally to do a grid of rectangles, 2.5" x 3.5" in size, as Helga said any shaped grid was okay. Then I chose items from the goody bag Helga sent me when she picked my entry as one of her favorites a couple months back. This was serious fun! I also used a 10" x 14" watercolor painting I had created in the class I was taking the past few weeks as a base for my grid. It was not a good painting by itself as I am not a realistic painter, but it was awesome to use for what I wanted to do, and I was happy to recycle it into this challenge!





















I laid the papers, collage images, stickers and ART Blast card from Helga's Goody bag out on top of my still life painting and glued them down once I got an arrangement I liked. I punched a heart shape out of the middle image and laid the extra heart shape on the receipt above it. I added black lines with a thick marker around some of the rectangles, and painted a black border around the entire edge with black acrylic paint. I used 3 different Magenta stamps by brushing the same black paint on them lightly before stamping; I wanted the same look. I added a couple of paper flowers Helga had included by using a brad, in fact everything you see as far as paper & images was from her goody bag! I think I went this way because it limited me in my decision making and helped me accomplish my goal! To finish my piece, I splattered some paint and brightened it by sponging more yellow paint on. Thank you Helga, it is always a pleasure!


playing with paint and fabric

Above is a scan of what I worked on in my 'water media' class with Frank Federico this week. Click on it for more detail. Instead of working on landscapes this week, we worked abstractly -- much more my forte! We started by penciling in our name or our initials and tried to work with complimentary colors, something Frank excels at and is trying to teach us. I turned the letters of my name into very round shapes and went from there. The scan does not show the whole thing, so here is a photo:
I am not sure what I will do with it from here but I sure had fun getting this far. It is unusual for me to paint or create without a specific purpose - like for a submission, or for a deadline for an art swap or an exchange. It is different for me to just create for myself and also without a specific theme! This is a good thing I think . . . .

Some other creating I did today was for the generosity project (or meme) that I announced a few weeks ago. You can read the original post here. I decided to make art for the 8 lovely people who replied to my post . . . . and I sent out 3 of the pieces today. Each of them is different, and each made with the recipient in mind. As they arrive and they let me know (it's a surprise!) I will post photos of what I made and discuss the pieces here. Doing this project was also a very good way for me to spend time today! With the busy-ness of getting our home ready to sell and on the market, I had to cut back on my art time, a lot. Making and sending these things for those who replied was invigorating for me.

Lastly, I created a fabric card for my local friend Carol Van Gerve, who is always sending me delicious and creative cards and who also had Steven & I over to visit with her & her hubby and enjoy yummy peach pie in her garden last Sunday - what a treat! Click on any of the scans below for more detail. Here is the envelope & front of the card:



The inside of the card is made from a piece of fabric that I tried "shaving cream marbling" on, during a class Carol & I took together earlier this spring. It still smells good! : ) Below shows the front and the back, spread out.


All images in Carol's fabric card are from ARTchix Studio. Enjoy the day!

water media class (I am taking)

water color on canvas paper - brought home and added to with my sewing machine!














Before we even decided to sell our home, I signed up for a "water media" class at the local West Hartford Art League with Frank Federico. His paintings have been exhibited in New Orleans, LA, Florida, California, New Mexico, New England, Brunei, Stockholm and Tokyo, in group and solo exhibitions. I am so glad I signed up for this class, even if I've had to miss a couple of sessions because I was getting our home ready to put on the market.

A few years ago I had taken class with Frank and was absolutely charmed by him. I cannot paint anything like the way that Frank does, but he has always encouraged me to use whatever I can take from his example and combine this new knowledge with my own mixed media art, and my own style. Such a great teacher! I love watching him demo his painting techniques at the beginning of every class. I find his demo so magical! This week I've taken photos while he was demoing and created a slide show to share. In class I've also learned a lot from the other students, many who have been taking class with Frank for many years. To find out more about the artist Frank Federico, please visit his website. Besides teaching at the Art League, Frank gives many workshops around the country throughout the year. One particular workshop at the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops in New York, coming up this September, really caught my attention. The example of his painterly pastel on the workshop page is so beautiful!

Here is a slide show of Frank's demo - he's painting a dock scene in Gloucester, Massachusetts from a photograph, for our class on May 28th, 2009. Frank starts with a few pencil lines, then he adds paint with a fat brush, switches paint, switches brushes, tells us about the color palette he's using and what he's doing, and 45 minutes later, voilà! It is amazing.






I have had so much fun in this class, even though I am not a"water color artist". I usually take my attempts home and then add something very mixed media to them (see the top of this post) like fabric or I'll cut my water color papers up and create ATCs (Artist Trading cards) out of them! I did this recently with a neon painting I fooled around with in class, brought home, added rubber stamped quotes to -- and then surprised Frank and my fellow students with a few ATCs in the next class as gifts. This was all new for Frank and my classmates, and I think they really enjoyed!




















Thank you, Frank!! xo lenna

Empty Mailbox Contest!

Click on any scan for more detail.
Ginny Carter Smallenburg, over at Small Studio is having a little contest. It's going on through the end of this month, so if you work fast, you can still get an entry to her in time (Sorry! The contest ended 2/29/08). It seems that Ginny got a P.O. Box so she could receive snail mail orders and checks. Every day when she went to mail her orders for Small Studio she found the P.O. Box EMPTY! Ginny decided to turn that around by having an Empty Mailbox Contest -you can read the details here.

Ginny's mail clerk, Josh had been teasing her about her empty mailbox. Hmmm. From what I've seen it looks like she's received at least 15 or 20 pieces of mail already and there is still a weeks to go! To view ALL of the entries, follow this link to Ginny's blog.

On the 29th of this month Josh and his co-workers at Ginny's post office will decide which piece of mail impressed them the most. Ginny will award a $35.00 Gift Certificate to her web-based business Small Studio. Wow! I really had fun creating my envelope for her. On the front I used a variety of rubber stamps which I stamped with StazOn Inks: Claudia Rose (envelopes, talking mailbox, A message for you, tiny sayings), Stampers Anonymous (LETTERS box), an old DIVA rubber saying (not available) and a few others. The Art postage stamp is one you might recognize if you read my blog regularly. I created it at zazzle.com from a scan of an ATC that I made recently for an International swap. Here's the back of the envelope; I think Josh & his co-workers will enjoy it! After I stamped with StazOn, I used watercolor pencils and my water brush to add a little zip!

Ginny is the former owner of the Creative Block in Westlake OH. She created and organized the Art Continuum, an annual art event which ran for 8 years in Cleveland OH. This is where I have met Ginny before. She is also the originator of the Stampers Anonymous stamp line and continued to be the Creative Director until very recently.

The back of the envelope I stamped has a variety of mostly older stamps that have been in my collection for 15 years. The "ART is just another way of keeping a diary" is a Stampers Anonymous stamp -enjoy!

p.s. Ginny posted my envelope on her blog after she received it . . . scroll down to see what she wrote, what fun!

watercolor hearts














I am taking a watercolor class called: Understanding Abstract Art using Water Media with a wonderful instructor, Frank Federico. The class is held at the West Hartford Art League - a first for me, on all counts - the watercolor class, the instructor and the Art League!

After reading the 'play' challenge on Inspire me Thursday, I took one of my class painting exercises, embellished it with painted hearts and cut the page up to create Valentines.
See the process below:

We were first working with transparent watercolors in class and then later I was using gouache for the first time. This is an opaque water color. I don't usually paint "paintings", although I am having fun learning techniques and trying new mediums. It is also wonderful to *take* a class! Frank is a very accomplished painter and a great teacher. I love watching him demo the week's technique!