Tuesday, July 31, 2018

In My Own Town: Watercolor Workshop with Tony Van Hasselt

I'm assisting in a Coastal Maine Art Workshop all week long.
Our teacher, Tony Van Hasselt does a daily demo,
then he goes around to people while they are painting,
and then he does a critique at the end of each day.

 Because I run around tending to details some of the time,
I don't get the painting time the others do.
But at least on the first day I made 2 quick sketches.

I'm lucky: 
My town attracts artists & classes of this sort.
The very gracious students this time are from: 
Florida, Colorado, Minnesota, Maine, 
New Jersey, New York, Virginia, 
Massachusetts, & South Carolina!

I must say it is more than luck.
I worked hard to move here. 
I chose this town carefully.
It was hard to move. 
Hard to leave a longtime hometown
that I dearly loved. 
But, it's been so worth it and
it's fun to share it 
with artistic visitors from far away.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Boxes: My Key to Organization

The workshop that keeps on giving,
That was Beth's. I continue to play.
I notice my ongoing fascination with squares.
Squares. BOXES. Order. Symmetry. 
Containment which allows for freedom & chaos.
Ohhhh. I get it!

I learned about creative surface design,
but I also learned about how to organize materials
because Beth had 
So So Many!  
(Click on Sew Sew Art , 
Beth's website.)
I've been learning that my creative spirit can't flow without 
organizing my materials!

 That generous Beth lent me her BOX of metallic threads.
Sparkly. Shimmery. Oooooh! Thank you, generous Beth!
The BOX for raw material for my August Art Show.
 The BOX for hand sewing & little papers,
for book covers, for little collages. 
For now it has to wait for me in its BOX 
because I need to be into the Art Show BOX.
 Another BOX of Bookmaking stuff. 
Beth's Beads. Waxed threads. Buttons!
A BOX of travel journals from France voyages.
Also waiting for me.
Rita's saved BOXES, 
thrown in a corner of the spare room.
You never know when you'll need another BOX!

I'm remembering one of the first magical 
BOXES in my life:
Jenny's Mom's BOX of old clothes in the basement,
put there so we could play Dress-Up 
when we were wee kids!!
Thank you Jenny's Mom! 

How do YOU organize your materials?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Beth's Maine Coast Surface Design Class-2

Beth's Midsummer Surface Design Workshop.
I got to go for 2 days this time! 
(see previous posts.)
 I made a little book for Beth last year,
inspired by all of the wonderful design work
that I always see in her studio when I visit her.
Now, not just a visit, but an official class!
We made cover designs using plastic credit type cards
swooshing around paint on large sheets of paper.
 I also printed with the edges. 
On top of that I "pounced" and swirled circles
with a small round sponge gizmo.
Another student had discovered the swirling technique.
 Some of us "copied". 
I found myself cutting out circles,
& then began cutting them into spirals. 
It gave me a delicious bunch of small
snail-fiddlehead-brussel sprout-y creatures. 
I pasted them down & hung metallic thread.
How fun! The process was doing its own thing.
All I had to do was to let it!
We used our covers for coptic stitched journals.
I experimented on my top cover,
sort of ruining it (no photo of that!), 
so eventually I pasted a collage design over it. 
It's called Rita's Book of Progress & Imperfection
One of the biggest things that happened
at this workshop is that my perfectionism,
the crippling kind, began to be lifted. 
Beth models & teaches that: 
"You try things,
if something doesn't work, no problem. 
You just keep trying things, & having fun!"
 With a 1 1/2 " hole punch 
I've been continuing to punch circles
from my sheets of painted paper. 

These are on watercolored squares that I'd had made.
They remind me of one of those color theory exercises
that you see in books on painting.
I'd seen Beth's hand-dyed cloth beads several years ago,
& in fact she'd gifted me with some.
I finally got to make my own!!! Total joy!
Above, the cover of a small accordion book.
 Embellishing one of Beth's tags. 
I made the bead,
The rest was from 
her big box of printed papers & ribbons.
"Cloth Paper Scissors", there's a magazine by that name. 

I haven't found the magazine yet, but Marcella,
Beth's assistant shared some wonderful books. 

Austin Kleon in Steal Like an Artist says that
side projects 
inbetween work on your major project
are valuable. 
"Productive Procrastination".
"Just play. That's where the magic happens."

Now, I'm back working on my exhibit at the library.
I'll be showing sketches that were all done
"Not Far From Home" .
Which happens to be the name of the show.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Black & White in the Have Sketchbook Will Travel

I've been carrying the 4 X 6 Have Sketchbook Will Travel
everywhere I go.
Enjoying very fast, good old fashioned 
black & white sketching.

The 3 below were made at The Farnsworth Art Museum.
Fast & unfinished, a sketch of a favorite painting
by NC Wyeth.
A visitor looking a a display of art books outside
the Museum Store.
 Two from the Grocery Store Line Series.
(see previous post.)
 Yesterday I was making some notes from 
books on cursive handwriting at my library.
I was glad that
my little book & pen were standing by.
A little still life at a friend's home where
we were listening to a violin concert.
I got myself a seat in the back row 
so that I could sketch without being noticed. 

Below: At the Friday Morning Farmer's Market. 
I go each week partly for the produce, yes.
But it is the music & the happy gathering of people 
that I absolutely love!
 This one should be in color as she was dressed all in 
red, white & blue plaids & had a bright
stars & stripes umbrella! 
 Très chic, leaning against the swingset 
while children were swinging.
 The Flower Guy sitting in the door of his truck
chatting with shoppers.
 One of the farm tents, Peacemeal Farm.

Love the outdoor music concerts
& love the Belfast Bay Fiddlers.
(there were actually 8 or 10 of them that day.)

Do you carry a little notebook or sketchbook with you?
Mine is the Pentallic with very white paper,
but there are so many mini's these days!
You never know when you might need it!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Beth's Workshop: Things I Learned

At Beth's Workshop: (Previous post Here) 
I learned of a book: 
Expressive Drawing by Steven Aimone. 
Incorporating the freedom we had as children
with our developing adult ways of making marks
and drawing.
Beth's post about that workshop is Here.
And another post Right Here.

It really was "artistic life changing"!

I am challenged by, & I get satisfaction from 
gravitating to order & simplicity 
when confronted with many materials & possibilities.
My simple sketching practice 
with line & watercolor
was affirmed & enriched by playing in this different way.
The pages I made at Beth's (see link above)
 are now in an accordion book setting.
Ah, Order. Cohesion. Sequence, 
though I have much to learn about this.
About the principle called "Unity".
A play between unconscious impulses 
& conscious art principles & choices.
The more I study art, 
the more the conscious learning
becomes unconscious while I work.
(Does that make sense??)

I'm going back this weekend for 2 more days!

There is a spot open, if any of you want to join us!
Contact Beth using the links above to her site.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Time Out For Making a Book

 Interlude from preparing sketches for the show:
Back to the handmade book, inspired 
by teaching some friends how to make 
non-adhesive bookcovers and handmade books.
 2nd Version.

And inspired by Beth's workshop. (see older post.)
And her buttons.

A pamphlet stitch for adding signatures 
to an accordion fold. 
A lesson in accepting imperfection.
I slid the end tabs of the accordion strip
into the cover wraps. It actually works as a book!
I'm trying to use up watercolors from one of my paint boxes.
 I keep coming back to this striped, polka-dot motif. 
Such fun to be surprised by the colors that turn out!
Meanwhile, a lot of the show sketches are framed,
but I'm creating & selecting more.
It's a huge challenge 
for this brain of mine,
I don't have time for the many ideas that pop in.
 It's a challenge to go through many old sketchbooks.
Trying to make selections 
Curating. Editing. 
No wonder I'm taking time outs for polka dotted stripes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A Still Life with Robert

My childhood art teacher presented us
with still lifes. 
Many, many still lifes. 
Above: I quickly arranged some things that were 
already on my table. 
The caption,
"Every picture tells a story" showed up
as a complete serendipity.

In August I'll have my 2nd show at my library.
Theme: sketching locally. 
This still life is very, very local.
My table.
A friend who is visiting France writes that
she has found paradise on earth.
Reading & looking up French vocabulary at my table, 
this is for me a local paradise on earth.