No more pencils,
No more books,
No more teachers' dirty looks,
When the teacher rings the bell,
Drop your books and run like hell!
... Oh wait, I AM the teacher!
Except for my retirement residences, all of my classes ended last week. I thought I'd take some time for myself and unwind, but that apparently isn't going to happen. It seems that my Right Brain told my Left Brain to take a hike for the summer and has been flooding my head with great inspiration, which I am helpless to ignore! Oohheeee!
I've got some mixed media abstracts in mind, as well as some pieces using masks as the focal point, similar to my "Keeper of the Garden" piece, not to mention a couple of florals I've been working on, from photos borrowed from friends. I don't usually do florals, but every so often I see something that sets my soul on fire. These two photos did just that!
I've also started working on original note cards. I've wanted to do cards for a long time, but my work does not photograph well, because of all the texture, bling and metallics that I love to use. So then I thought I would have them printed and "remarque" them by adding bits of bling, metallics and texture. Well, the other day I was wandering through DeSerres art supply store and came upon some precut cards and envelopes for making original cards. "AHA!", says Right Brain, "lets make them by hand." We agreed and I purchased a package of 10 mixed media cards, got them home and got working... more about this later on in the blog... anyway it was so much fun that I'm already planning a different technique for my next ten, and then my next... next...next...!
This spurt of creative energy is perfectly timed as I will be participating in the New Edinburgh Studio Tour (NEST) on September 17 and 18, so I will have lots of new work to show!
Keeper of the Garden
Today's Painting Tip: Plein Air Painting
Plein air painting, while it might not be your cup of tea, can only help improve your studio painting. It teaches new skills, imparts confidence and enhances your problem solving abilities. You also learn to work with a basic set of colours and equipment because toting all the stuff you have in your studio gets old real quick!
My first experience with plein air was a two week course at Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB. We painted for four hours every morning and four hours every afternoon. My first morning I took all four hours just to sketch my view on the canvas... just painted outlines of objects on a white canvas. I felt totally inadequate as others taking the course had finished their first painting, but each day I improved and by the end of the two weeks I could complete a painting in two hours. I had gained confidence and learned not to get bogged down in the details. It effected how I have painted since.
The important thing about enjoying plein air painting is to be prepared and have at hand all that you need... things like water to drink; water or solvent for washing your brushes; sun screen; insect repellant; a good hat that will protect your head, face and the back of your neck (even in the early spring you can get a serious sunburn without realizing it); of course your pared down art supply list and tools; a portable easel and/or folding stool, depending how you prefer to paint; your camera and sketch book for making notes for working back in your studio; lunch/snacks; and a knapsack to put stuff in so that it is easy to carry. Being prepared does take a bit of planning, but it makes the entire experience much more enjoyable.
While I was at Mount A there was an exhibition in the Owens Gallery of plein air oil sketches done by the Group of Seven. These were all 12" x 16" panels, to fit into their paint boxes. Having seen the studio paintings that resulted from these sketches, at the National Gallery, I was in awe of the sketches. They were raw and powerful. They transmitted what the artists were seeing, feeling and smelling while they painted at each location. Sadly, some of that was lost in the translation to their studio paintings, which brings me to an observation that many artists have made... when you paint plein air you are able to capture and share a better understanding of the location, than you are by working from a photograph of the same location.
So, if you want to experience plein air painting and the difference it can bring to your studio work, I am offering a 4 day plein air workshop here in the Ottawa area on August 2 to 5, 2016. We will meet at a central location and carpool to the day's venue. Paint all day and then return to the central location. For more information email me or check out the summer courses on my website.
Painting Update: Finished leaves and original note cards.
Below I have included a photo of the second maple leaf painting, which I finished this week. The process was the same as the first, which I have already shared with you.
The note cards started with random applications of glue for metal leaf, and then the application of variegated gold leaf. The variegation is a result of a chemical process and creates great visual interest, as you will see in the photos.
Then I used pouring medium, mixed with soft body paint, for colour, and poured some shapes onto a plastic garbage bag. Once the shapes were dry I peeled them off the garbage bag and glued them onto the cards using gel medium. Voila! Original abstract note cards.
Hope you enjoyed this blog. Please let me know if there is anything you would like me to write about, and don't forget, you can subscribe to receive future blogs by going to my website, clicking on Blog and entering your email in the box on the lower right hand side of the page and clicking on subscribe. You will receive and email from "Feedburner" asking you to confirm your subscription. Once you confirm you will receive notification of new blogs, and of course, you can unsubscribe at any time.