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.....

1 comment:

Michele Unger said...

So much fun to share the class with you! It was great, wasn't it?