Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Integrative Portraits with Orly and Katie

On July 21st I travelled to Bainbridge Island, Washington to attend the Integrative Portrait with Katie and Orly Art Retreat.  I have taken several classes with Katie and Orly.  It was a real treat to have them collaborating on a retreat about portraits.  I spent many days anticipating what the classes would be like until I decided that it was much better to be open and receive whatever was presented with open arms and spirit.  I was not disappointed with this decision.

Each morning started with some method of meditation and setting intention

Katie Kendrick
Katie presented on day one and we began with an exercise related to mark making.  There was a different feeling from previous classes because instead of using an 18x24 or 24x24 canvasses we used an 8x10 watercolor journal.  The mark making involves graphite and white gesso and is very organic.  I love this process because there are no mistakes.  It really gives you a base to explore and use as a starting point for more work.  The beauty of a journal is that you can take days, weeks, even months to complete a spread.

Our next project involved using a small sheet of transparency film and making a sketch of our table mate to the left.  My mate was my dear friend Michele Unger,  once the sketch was done, we painted the underside of the transparency and with the paint wet, pressed it onto the journal page.  It was so cool and I definitely plan to try this process many more times.  We then painted the journal page.  I absolutely loved this process, it was fun and challenging at the same time.

Our final project for the first day was to pick a picture and use it to tell a story.  Now this sounds pretty safe, right??? Well let me tell you.....after working for about a half hour cutting out paper images to collage and tell the story, Katie said pass your book to the right, Huh???? your neighbor was to add to your page.  The book was passed around the room one person at a time until you got it back.  I was so happy to get it back and then..."Ok, not pass your book to the left."  What the What???? this time we were to add paint to the page, so once again it travelled around the room until you received your book back.  My reaction?  " What the Hell?"  To say it looked a mess is putting it mildly and I did not think to take a photo, you will have to trust me on this one.  Anyhoo,  our task was to embrace the page and use it as a jumping off point for further creating.  I was initially overwhelmed and then thought, "just look at one spot and fix it".  This kept me from getting overwhelmed.  I decided to make an angel but could not get the face to work.  I sat there thinking for a while and remembered a course I had in January taught by Brian Kasstle and Roxanne Coble.  I picked up my paint brush and painted a blue block on the page, then curated some ephemera and clued to the page and I was off to the races.  My page changed completely.  The original work became texture under the paint, collage and detail work.  The lesson of this project is truly process, do not get over attached to your work and being able use anything as a base for future work.

Mark Making with graphite and gesso, great warm up

sketch of my table mate

Redo of class collaborative page (still in progress)
Orly Avineri

Friday Orly led the class.  One of the projects was using a rusted scroll and wrapping all types of ephemera around it.  I used a lot of different items including napkins, deli paper sprayed with dylusions spray ink; lace, half a doily and other papers; then tied the package with string.  It was put in hot tea to soak for a few hours and then laid on a table to dry.  The outcome was fantastic.  I forgot to photograph the bundle before I pealed the pages (boo hoo); but I do plan to do it again.

The next project was to paint 95% of a spread (making sure to leave some white space) with black gesso and tracing picture from a magazine on the gessoed page using white graphite tracing paper.  We exchanged our page with our neighbor to the left and then worked on painting our pages.  Mine is still a work in progress but truthfully, I love the way the tracing looks without completely painting it.

We also did a process inspired by artist Marlene Dumas with water and watered down black gesso.  It was interesting and I think my portraits came out pretty well.

The rusted scroll and a portrait to be used on our scroll of ephemera

Tracings on black gesso with white graphite paper

Portraits based on the process of Marlene Dumas
All are works in progress and that is wonderful.

Orly and Katie

Saturday was less intense a day, we did a smash technique where we were to use two colors of paints on a spread and our neighbor to the left used two colors and then we smashed and dragged our spreads to mesh the page colors, it was so great.  We also unwrapped our bundles and the reveal was simply amazing.  I just was overcome by the process of revealing each piece.  I cannot explain it really.

I worked on the smash and drag page and the outcome was stunning especially the page with the whales.

ephemera soaked in tea
Smash and drag pages

We had a picnic dinner on the beach, dinner with friends who drove up from Seattle and a lot to really open my eyes.  I love Washington State and Bainbridge Island and the time here with this class was memorable.

On to Maryland.....

Monday, August 01, 2016

A Tale of Two Art Retreats Part 1

Over the next few posts I am going to write about two Art Retreats I attended between the period of July 21st to July 31st. It was a glorious time experiencing two very different venues and yet the same.  Two very different styles of art and yet the same.  Just a wonderful experience.

On Wednesday I will write about my time on Bainbridge Island in Washington State.  The theme of the retreat was Integrative portraits with Katie and Orly.  On Friday I will write about the Maryland Art Weekend held in Linthicum, Maryland outside of Baltimore.  Sunday will be a comparison of the two.  Will they be different or the same?

Both events stretched me and made me want more.

Today I am going to post art from the past, Wednesday and Friday I will post art from each retreat.  Life is something to be cherished and each day is to be treated as a new canvas waiting for the very first mark or swash of paint.

Post card painted for a Sketchbook project

Painting of black and white photo from Lisa Bebi's class at Art Fest

Portrait drawn in Doodle love book

Portrait inspired by a painting done by Mystele Kirkeeng

Posting these photos are more for me than anyone else.  To see progression is comforting.

Check back Wednesday to hear about great times on the beautiful Bainbridge Island.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Who is to Define What is Safe?

Hello dear readers, it has been a while; but I promise to do better.  I have been running a few ideas in my head based on some suggestions from friends and I think I will start to work on them soon.  However, the topic of this post is needless advice/criticism.

I participate in a lot of challenges throughout the year aimed at building confidence and stretching myself.  During the month of July there is the #worldwatercolormonth-july2016.  The paintings below are days 1-5.  I decided to try this challenge because I wanted to practice painting with watercolors.  It is fun and yet takes a lot of practice.  I got the really groovy idea to work through one my books on watercolor and make greeting cards instead of painting on a canvas.  These cards will be mailed on Monday as part of project to send encouragement to those in need of a good word.

Now you may ask what got my knickers in a not?  Someone posted in the Facebook group for the watercolor challenge that people should be brave and paint harder subjects and stop painting safe.  Well, what defines safe; and who is the one to define it?  It takes a lot of courage to post your work among strangers, even if it is a dot on a page.  The act of painting and then sharing is major; at least it is to me.  Plus, this not a class, it is a fun challenge for artists at all levels.

There was a time a statement like that would send me into hiding for months (and it was not even personally directed at me).  It is just the fact that as my daughter likes to say (and she is so right), we never know a person's backstory.  What seems safe to one person could be a major challenge for someone else.  

Each one of the cards below have things that could have been done better; backgrounds could be blended better; position on page could be in better proportion, etc.  However, the fact that I did it means so much to me.  And if have adopted the following attitude; I am doing the best I know how at this given moment and I am very proud of that.

I am so proud of all my art friends and always make sure to say an encouraging word.  Why, because they may need that word on that day.  

Watercolor Flower in Pot

Flower with Blue Background

Cute Little Birdie


Building Doodle on Watercolor Background

So dear readers be careful.  If you are an artist of any type; writer, chef, painter, jewelry maker, etc, think what you would want to hear and then act accordingly.  Don't tell a person on Youtube they have a terrible voice or talk to much...if you do not like it, just don't watch.  Everything we do is not going to be perfect (personally, I think perfect is overrated).  Yet, and this is very important, we tried and that is taking a risk; that is not playing it safe.

Ok, I am off of my soapbox now.  The smoke has cleared and on to another day of painting.

Until next time.....Pilgrim

Friday, May 27, 2016

2016 - Year of Rebirth

Photo taken in Alhambra, CA

I was just watching a video on art Heals hosted by Heidi Easley, it is a free series that is really good.  Today Lucy Chen was interviewed and what she had to say was phenomenal.  I am going to listen to her interview again.

She said that 2016 is a year of rebirth and that resonated with me. I realized that at the end of June, the first half of this year will be complete.  The thought occurred to me that I still have time to continue on my journey toward discovering who I really am.  But, I need to get busy and get back on program with purging "things" that clutter my space.  I need to set up my easel and commit to painting on that 30x30 canvas.

Art does heal and I have been trying to wrap my head around how I translate my feelings to the art journal or canvas.  I have kept so many deeply hidden, that I do not necessarily want to talk about, but need to be releases, so my goal for the rest of this year is to learn how to use art as a means of self expression, not a regurgitation of art class lessons.  Hmmm, this could prove to be really interesting.

See you soon, pilgrim.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Secret Sisters are so Very Special Journal

Today's post is about a very special project in which I was a very willing participant.  It was a Secret Sister Art Swap.  I like these swaps because you get some really great items.  This time was out of the norm really.  When I received my secret sister's name, Paula, I studied her wish list very carefully.  I wanted to make sure that I understood her likes and got items that would fit her life and style.  Many of the items I sent I already had on hand, but there were some items that I purchased because they would make the adventure of opening the box really delicious.

I have been blessed to visit Paris and have a lot if Parisian ephemera that I was glad to share with my "sister".  Last year one of my very best friends gifted me with a year's worth of french ephemera.  Every month I received a letter with the best french items.  I shared one of the month's with my sister; but the best item I purchased was the Pug Mandala coloring book....Oh that book was a real hoot.

Today I received a box and knew it was from the person assigned to be my Secret Sister.  Well I was blown away when I realized that my Secret Sister was Paula......This was just a coincidence (remember there are no coincidences)  more to the point it was a God Wink.  Below are a few pictures I took of the items I received.....It has a Paris theme, but more important it was actually art created by my sister.  A journal that I need to complete, Gelli plate Crusty bits, Napkins which I absolutely love to use as an under layer in my art.  One of the napkins is an Owl Motif and Owl is my totem animal.  I am so verklempted and overjoyed.  When I took the photos I started to crop and eliminate the background "noise", but I realized that I am an artist and that is how my artist table looks, full of brushes, paper, paints; all tools of the trade.  So my new finds fit in perfectly.

Beautiful bag that I am going to use for my Real Brush markers, soap from Lush and special eraser

Journal created and painted by my sister

yummy page for me to create on

Another Yummy Page  have to future out what to do

Owl Napkin...I am in love

Gelli Print - Crusty Bits technique using Paula's Stencil girl stencil,,,super in love
Portrait drawn by Paula to paint and add to journal page.
Swaps are so much fun.  I love the opportunity to participate in  them.  Thank you to Paula, my secret sister for making my day.  I will cherish all of my "goodies" and try my best to enjoy the creative process working in the journals, coloring books and everything else.

Dear readers, if you have an opportunity to participate in a swap, please do so.  You will have so much fun.

Until next time......Pilgrim

Comments are always appreciated.  Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Where Has the time Gone??????

Painting done in Mystele Kirkeeng's class during An Artful Journey Retreat

The painting above almost did not happen.  I have a love/hate relationship with painting faces and went into class with a resolve NOT to paint a face on Sunday morning.  A classmate relayed a statement from another teacher about overcoming fear by just doing it.  So I dove in.  I used a painting I purchased from Mystele as a guide (more about using guides in another post) and got busy. I have a lot of work to do to get more comfortable with the process ( even on this painting), but I am so glad that I am once again trying to paint faces.


The post on Happiness below was shared by Renaissance Unity Church of Warren Michigan.

I love, love, love Don Miguel Ruiz and his writings.

Our life is so short that every time I see my children, I enjoy them as much as I can. Whenever I can, I enjoy my beloved, my family, my friends, my apprentices. But mainly I enjoy myself, because I am with myself all the time. Why should I spend my precious time with myself judging myself, rejecting myself, creating guilt and shame? Why should I push myself to be angry or jealous? If I don’t feel good emotionally, I find out what is causing it and I fix it. Then I can recover my happiness and keep going with my story.
~ Don Miguel Ruiz
Today's Affirmation
Adversity provides me with a chance to grow.
Today's Meditation
Dear God,
Life is fragile and oh so temporary.
I commit myself to enjoy who I am; to enjoy my own company, to be ever grateful for who I am - a vehicle for you to express through.
As I remind myself that it is You who has made me,
I feel a surge of respect and gratitude. 
Help me, God to remember that I am important to You and to all of life.
Help me to see in my loved ones and friends, Your goodness so I treat everyone with the uttermost respect, knowing that life is fragile and none of us knows who may be next in line to exit the body form.
As I celebrate myself and all others, I rest assured that my mind and heart are one with You.

Hello Dear friends and readers.  It has been a while. Where did the time go?  We are entering the 3rd month of 2016 and time seems to have just flown by.  I went to a wonderful Art retreat over the past weekend,  It was number 2 of the retreats I have planned for this year.  I received a lot of food for thought and creative action that I will reveal in later blogs.

In July I will be celebrating my 10 year Blogaversary. Now that is a real hoot.  10 years people.....What will I do to celebrate?  Hmmmm.......only time will tell.

Well that is all for today, but I will be back soon.

Follow your dreams dear readers, follow your dreams.  pilgrim.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 4 and Final Days of the 30 day on same canvas challenge

The start of the final days of the 30 days painting on the same canvas are so exciting.  To work with no direct purpose or goal is very freeing.  The make drastic changes is really out of this world.  I know that when I covered Day 24's painting with black Gesso many of my supporters cried Nooooooo!  To tell the truth, I loved that painting and did not want to cover it up, but, the purpose of this exercise as I have said many times was to embrace change and not become married to any one thing. I found that all of the bumps and texture of previous layers pushed through making this a most juicy canvas.

Day 25
Start of the final week with Black Gesso

Day 26
Adding color to the canvas by means of a grid

Day 27
Marks and secret language

Day 28
Adding stencil marks and color

Day 29
Added a little more color and marks

Day 30
Finished painting Varnished and signed

Well, the project is do I feel?  A little sad because I loved the process and yet very happy and proud because I accomplished it and have a hangable painting. Am looking at as I write this post because it represents a breakthrough for me.  I actually completed an abstract painting.  This is not part of a class, a prompt or anything else.  I have pictures of paintings that I can go back and use as inspiration for future paintings and that is so exciting to me.

What did I learn from these 30 days?

  1. I love painting without a plan
  2. I can make changes freely
  3. life is about changes
  4. life is about trial and error
  5. always sign you work, commit to it, it is you
  6. just have fun
I think this will be an annual process, so I will mark my calendar for Oct. 16, 2016, tuck a way a canvas (much bigger than this year's), and just have fun,

Thanks for following me on this journey.  Thank you to Judy Wise for inspiring this wonderful process.

Until next time, be happy.....pilgrim