I know it is hard to believe, but sometimes I have to admit defeat and throw the failures away. (This from the woman who seems to save everything as a potential project!) It is hard to do and getting to the point of no return can take a long time, but there was something quite refreshing about just sticking these dreadful canvases in the trash. It all started when Carol Ann and I began planning for our Feb, 2018 art retreat and we have been experimenting for months with various mediums and ways to combine fibers and fine art. Yesterday we had our break thru during our workshop "dress rehearsal"; and we are so excited. It all came together, and some things went out! What have you thrown away (or recycled) lately that tells a story or had you learning a big lesson? I do love the notion of embracing the failures as an integral part of the creative process. In this case, Carol Ann and I figured out how to integrate canvas, hand stitching, molding paste & some amazing painting techniques....now I can't wait to play with all the possibilities and share them during the Mixed Media Adventures art retreat. Onward!
Whew. I can hardly believe that the Magnificent Spain; Sketchbook Adventure trip is actually in the past! Danny (Adler & Marlow Travel) and I planned for 14 months - longer than I planned my wedding - and we finally met the students on Oct. 5, a few days into the Catalan Independence movement. What a great group of adventurous folks to travel with! What a fun 6 days together! There were so many joy-filled moments (like seeing the Mediterranean Sea thru the vineyards on our first day), amazing wines and gourmet meals. We all wished we had more sketching time but no one wanted to miss the next sight or interesting walking tour. Here are a few highlight photos; my travel journal will be up-loaded on Youtube (I will link in my next blog post) and you will see how I worked from photos to allay the time constraint frustrations. It really is interesting to look back on an adventure for which so much planning and imagining took place. Don't you feel like this when you re-enter? There is a bit of a let down as I find my footing and routine. It is not quite jet lag, but, instead, it is a lack of walking miles in awe and the 'not knowing' aspect that I miss. Ah yes, the travel mind vs the routine mind. I am happy to get back to my studio and creative work, but I do miss the group and the excitement of the trip.
I have moved onto the phase of packing where I am looking for content to download onto my iPad for the long flight from Denver to London...and received an email from Craftsy announcing a new class. Urban Sketching in 15 Minutes a Day by Suma CM just launched, and it is terrific! I put a link on my shop page, I hope you will check it out. I have probably read every Urban Sketch and travel watercolor book on the market, and have watched countless videos, but I am still intrigued with how the act of looking and recording can bring such delight. Even though I developed and teach the Simple Sketch © technique it is still so much fun to hear someone else describe their work along a similar path. I can download all the lessons, watch them on the plane when I am supposed to be catching some ZZZZZ's, and look forward to a great few hours in the sky. wooohoo! Next post from Spain!
Two and a half years ago I cornered CarolAnn Waugh and suggested we put together a mixed media workshop that would challenge us as artists and teachers, and offer our students a chance to see "how the other side" works. It has been an amazing ride! We taught our 4th workshop this past weekend, and had the honor of working with 18 students from 3 states and all around Colorado. I am so grateful for the generosity of our participants, and especially CarolAnn, who all share their process and creative energy. We had experienced fiber artists, experienced art journalers, newbies to all forms of mixed media and everyone in between. It was such fun and the two days were filled with growth, humor and layers and layers of color, texture and patterns. Thanks to our "angel", Diana, everything ran smoothly and everyone stayed well hydrated. Thanks to Debbie, our resident baker, and Marj we all stayed snack-full.
Tomorrow (Tues, Sept. 5 - first Tuesday of the month) is the annual World Art Drop day. The concept is to drop off a painting or sketch so someone can randomly find it and enjoy....and to spread art and peace! I'm excited to be dropping two pieces (above). I love a stealth act of gifting! Both pieces are mixed media, using maps at the base layer, then paper towels, then watercolor & pen for the top layers. One will be dropped at the Washington Park boat house, the other at one of my favorite coffee shops in town (Nixons on Washington and Louisiana). I look forward to hearing from whomever picks up the work. Nice way to welcome the fall season.
I created this video for the students going with me to Spain in Oct, 2017 - but anyone about to take a trip might enjoy seeing how I started preparing the pages.
Is your cell phone full of pictures you "might" do something with down the road? Here is a quick and satisfying way to use them so you can actually hit the delete button at some point. Print them off (in a small size if possible), cut out the section you'd like to use, attach to the journal page, then continue the picture in whatever way brings you delight! Top left, i extended the picture with just pen lines, and some imaginary elements (the larger lamp post does not exist). In the middle image, I cut out a part of a selfie, finished my body in ink and watercolor and had a good laugh. The image on the right was extended with watercolors trying to match the "value" (darks and lights). My Sept. Adventure Journal Newsletter reviewed portable printers (another way to print from your phone) but you don't need to spend much ; printing your pictures on your home printer works just as well. Once I have used these images in my journals I happily delete, delete, delete. Its almost as fun as cleaning out a drawer!
I love any technique that allows endless variations. I never grow tired of the simple paper bag book! I found that machine stitching holds the bags together nicely (used as the binding) and can also be a lovely decorative element. To learn how to make the bags, check out my Craftsy class: Expressive Pages (discount link on the Shop page).
My son (recovering from a broken leg) and the dog and I are waiting for the natural miracle of darkness to pass overhead here in Denver. I have enjoyed all the hype about this eclipse; such a welcome break from the normally upsetting news cycle. I subscribe to a monthly astrological newsletter (Power path) and they described this as a time to reset, and I certainly see it my own orbit!
I have considered a few, new, personal goals as I look at resetting (and my birthday coming soon, oh my!!) and one is to play with video more often. Here is my first of a planned series of new Youtube videos (link here). If you like it please subscribe! Another goal is to explore some new materials for my art journaling and basic sketching approach and I am thrilled to be exploring gouache these days. Can't wait to share some thoughts in coming newsletters and videos.
Another goal is - wait! - this would be a great journal page as I love to work with lists; so I shall reset right now and grab my journal.