I just wrapped up my sewing and painting class last week. This is the first class of its kind I have offered at the Sertoma Arts center. The idea is to create unique hand painted fabrics through several processes that can be used as backgrounds and for appliqué. We create our designs using embroidery, appliqué and additional hand painting. We then stretch the fabric around canvas stretchers to create a piece that can hang on the wall. Here are some examples of the work my students did. I may offer this again in the fall- stay tuned!
I just finished teaching a session of beginning Encaustic painting at the Cart Arts Center. I was lucky to have a very lovely and talented group of students that produced lots of quality work. Along with learning the basic techniques of painting with wax, I cover making lines, drawing, texture, photo transfer, collage/assemblage and stencil techniques. I'm always happy to see each student incorporating the techniques in their own style. Next class starts in April!
Gunta Stölzl was a textile artist in the Buauhaus school in Germany. She worked to elevate weaving, quilting and other forms of textile work to the level of fine art instead of merely "women's work". She's a feminist art hero, and I'm very drawn to the color palette she uses in her work, as well as her composition design.
I especially relate to the composition of this piece. I like the harmony of the curvilinear lines and the horizontal and vertical grid. It reminds me of architecture in a landscape. You can really see the effort she makes here to push weaving beyond the traditional limitations, elevating it to a freer, more responsive medium.
I love the spring colors she uses in this quilt. The design is more traditional, but the patterns become a sort of language. I always love o see turquoise and lavender together, one of my favorite combinations.
a mesmerizing colorist! She painted, drew, designed, and sewed. I love the asthetic of orphism, a type of cubist painting she invented with her husband, Robert.
I'm inspired by her pattern design, geometric abstractions and her ability to cross into different media: painting, quilting, fashion.
I would totally wear any one of these. Especially the one with blue red and brown chevron.
This quilt could easily be an abstract painting-
And I can see this painting as a quilt!
Ingrid and I had the pleasure of participating in a self portrait project at Artspace with Ursula Gullow. She is set up in the upfront gallery ( the small gallery too your left as you walk in Artspace's front door) with a myriad of painting and drawing supples, waiting for anyone to come and add their own self portrait to the growing collection. Ursula herself has been using the format of self portraiture as a mode of self expression and as a catalyst to motivate other work. She has committed to painting one self portrait every day, a practice she has strictly adhered to for four years. Artists have such a wonderful work ethic!
above- self portraits by Ingrid and I.
Below- I could dream myself anywhere by Ursula Gullow.
During July, Ursula Gullow will work in the Upfront Gallery to create an exhibition that will open in August.
Gullow states, “My background in sociology informs a visual investigation into the individual’s relationship to themselves, each other and their landscape. I emphasize the in-between spaces of story-telling and bodies in motion. I am conceptually swayed by political theory and popular media.”
Gabrielle Münter was a student of Kandinsky, one of my favorite abstract painters. She was a German expressionist and belonged to the art collective "Der Bleu Reiter". Unlike other women in her time, she lived a relatively free and unrestricted life.
I love her self portrait painting. I love it's simplicity and lack of frills. I love that it shows her in the act of painting. I love the bright colors. I think about women living in that time that may have been artists except for their duties as housewives or work. She was lucky to have the circumstances to pursue her passion. She lived her life to the fullest and was a free spirit, traveling the world.
I have a weakness for well designed still life paintings. And complementary color schemes. Also I wonder about the statue in the middle- it looks like a saint holding a doll.
This could be me on a winter morning. Watching the birds out of my window....
I love the blue in this painting. All the blue.
Since I'm teaching a lot of classes this summer for kids, I thought it would be helpful to list them all in one place. So, this is a comprehensive view of my summer! (click on each place to find out how to register)
June 12- 16- A Story to Tell- middle school
June 19-23- Nature Art- middle school
August 14-18- Out of this World- elementary school
Artspace June 26-30 Sewing on canvas ages 11-16 Using embroidery techniques and painting students will create unique embellished artworks on canvas. Students will also learn to stretch their own canvas, creating art that is ready to hang on their walls!
Artspace- July 10-14 Birds in my neighborhood ages 7-10. In this class we will use a variety of media to create art with birds. We will concentrate on learning how to draw birds, how to identify common backyard birds and will decorate a birdhouse of our very own for our yards! We will walk to the Museum of Natural Sciences to study bird specimens and learn more about our feathered friends.
Artspace- July 17-21 Book Arts: Sketchbook Explorations. ages 11-16. An artist’s sketchbook represents a place of freedom from judgement, a place that ideas are born. We will construct our own Coptic style sketchbook, either creating our own book covers or recycling old book covers. We will push the boundaries of sketchbooks by not only drawing, but glueing, cutting and customizing in every way imaginable. We will discuss the themes of the content we are using.
Wild at Art- July 31- August 4. Sewing and painting- ages 6-12. Create unique art by painting on fabric and embellishing with embroidery stitches. We will also work on some small sewing projects like a draw-string pouch or bag.
Cary Arts Center- August 21-25. Encaustic Painting ages 11-16. Explore basic techniques used in encaustic paintings. Discover the exciting and powerful medium of encaustic wax and how to use tools appropriately to apply it to various surfaces to create playful works of art.
I wouldn't be the first one to feel personally damaged by recent political events. This past year in politics has been brutal for many- especially those who are more sensitive. At the root of that sensitivity lies compassion and empathy for those who were treated poorly and continue to be abused by our new president.
It was out of this sense of helplessness and disappointment that I created my newest painting- The Multifaceted Present Moment. I started without a clear plan- in the beginning it was just abstracted shapes. The very act of applying paint to canvas in circular motions began to move me from helplessness into action. Slowly, a city and figures emerged. A girl and two women. I strongly feel that positive change will in this world happen because of women. The crystal tower symbolizes the multifaceted aspect of all women. We are everything. We are the beginning and the end.
Artists and all creative people need now more than ever to keep producing work. We as creatives are usually very empathetic and feel things very deeply, so it is an especially hard time for us, and a lot of us feel paralyzed. We need to start breaking out of that now.
Our first few creations might not be pretty. They might be raw. But we need to make them. We are lucky. We have an outlet for our anger, fear and disappointment that doesn't hurt anybody.
We need to start creating and doing what we do best. Our country needs us. No politician will be able to start the healing process. That's on us. What changes the world? Love. Art. Music. Dance. Written word. Poetry. Action.
We need to come from a place of compassion. We need to listen to our brothers and sisters and learn from them. We need to use our voices and our art to speak our truth.
We have known for sometime that our country is broken because there is a lack of love. It's hard to show compassion to people who hate, but they need to heal from their negative ways of thinking. It's hard to show compassion to people that are doing so much to hurt people we care about. It's hard to be compassionate to those who put profit before our beautiful earth that we need to protect. Some of us, myself included, aren't there yet. But through the gifts of our creative practice we need to work towards compassion. We as artists have the ability to influence the collective consciousness in a positive way. We need to pay attention to the energy we are releasing. We need to tell the truth in our art and in our words and speak up. Even though it doesn't seem that way we can make a difference.
The Toad in day retreat can easily "drink" a person.
The price of progress and the overlap of the visual current flow
Can mean "whatever occupies space" is certainly part of our world.
Next day, terrors of the imagination ocean wide eddies of circling waters gimcracks and quackery
and in the eye's prism a broad vista forms a basis for paintings
the artist used human vision as a search was made among the schoolyard milkweeds
Good mixers are making color by taking color away
When I'm feeling overwhelmed by political strife at home and abroad, I seek escapism through my art. My new series of paintings takes me far, far away from all the craziness. With the dreaded HB2 here in NC, I have to pretend I'm somewhere else. Otherwise it's too embarrassing and sad. In my universe, no one would make a law out of hate for a whole group of people. I know that we will be able to defeat these evil forces on earth, that the powerful good energy will strike down all the negativity. In the meantime though, I'm hoping to create a peaceful, creative place for my mind to comprehend.
I had the pleasure of doing an encaustic project last week at the Raleigh Boys and Girl's Club teen center, thanks to funding from Cary Visual Art.
The idea was to do an abstract encaustic painting with colors acting as an emotional landscape. The final component was a transferred image of the artist.
The teen center is a pretty cool place. It has a restaurant, pool tables, art room, library, media room with a recording studio, gym and even a place to style hair. The kids there are super creative and did a great job.
I hope to do more workshops through Cary Visual Art. The organization partners with non profits to provide artist workshops for underserved communities. I like being able to share the creative process with people who may not otherwise get an opportunity. Everyone benefits from self expression!
There's so many reasons I like giving my daughter handmade presents. This kitty took me about 5 hours to sew and make clothes and backpack for. She also carries two mini handmade books in her pack. Keith did the packaging. She comes with adoption papers, like Build a Bear, but not cookie cutter.
The rag tag look is because I restricted myself to just using supplies I already had.
The awesome byproduct of me sequestering myself with this project is that it kept me out of Target during the time of year that I absolutely hate to shop.
Here's wishing everyone a happy and creative holiday! Let's all do more handmade things in 2016!
For the past six weeks I've been teaching encaustic classes at both Pullen and Cary arts centers. The paintings my students created are so amazing- I'm so proud- I just had to share.
In my beginning class, I focus on teaching different encaustic techniques. I rely on the students to bring their own ideas and art experience to create work that is uniquely personal to them. As they get further into the class, they work on combining several techniques in any way they like to express their visions.
Beginning Encaustics at Cary Arts Center-
Beginning Encaustics at the Pullen Arts Center-
Cary Arts Center Summer Encaustic Workshop (high school age)-
An artist friend once told me that her bookshelves are a metaphor for mental availability. When they are cram packed with books, there is no room to take in anything new. She and her son regularly pass on the books they are done with so that they can be more open to new ideas or any new thing that comes along.
Sometimes I feel that way about noise. Actual noise and mental static. Sometimes a new idea will creep up on you and if it's not quiet, it will slip by.
Now that I've painted all the visible parts of this city I am starting to imagine what might be invisible, what energies may be there, and what form they could take. Having been so closely involved with this piece since June on a micro scale I am coming to the point that I need to alter my perceptions of it. I am trying to see it now for its whole.
It's my first city with houseboats. If each house is a portrait of someone, the houseboats would be the travelers, the free spirits and the more rootless. Though each houseboat offers a sanctuary of its own.
I like to do "art within art". I love to paint paintings on the walls and include sculptures in the gardens. That's going to happen more in this piece.
Also more animal ideas are coming to me.
A few nights ago I dreamt of dolphins. According to my book of symbols dolphins "can be relied upon to buoy us up and carry us back to shore, protect us from marine marauders, keep us company in our lone passages through treacherous channels and, if we're lucky, escort our ships out of trouble before they founder in the first place." I will be putting a dolphin in this piece somewhere, not sure where yet.
I have been relieving stress by drawing in books these days. These drawings always show me that the bigger picture is quite clear and all my nervous worries are not what my life is about. I'm trying so hard to let them go.
My best shopping experiences are at places that allow for creative and intuitive browsing. The kind of places you can spend a few hours in wandering into nooks and crannies. Art supply shopping is an intuitive process for me. The materials themselves each represent infinite possibility. They suggest ideas. It's entirely possible to end up on a different path with a project that I hadn't thought of before.
The floorboards creak, the wallpaper is at least 70 years old. Peeling paint and a worn staircase are just another dimension in a multi faceted experience. Finding materials at Askew Taylors feels like discovery. It's inspiring.
The store is quiet. Not creepy quiet, but warmly quiet like a bookstore. Since it's an art supply store there are rainbow color spectrums of pastels, pencils, pens and paint tubes. There's a room full of every type of paper: colorful and patterned, lacy, fancy, plain.
Askew Taylor's has been in business for a LONG time. It's a family run art store. Kirk, the owner, is a great person to have a conversation with, and always super helpful and generous with artists, letting us try supplies out. He has passed the baton to his daughter Helen who is equally friendly and helpful.
Being Raleigh, and somewhat of a smallish city, you can count on running into an artist friend or two when you visit the store. It's the kind of place that you can be in and out of in five minutes or linger for hours.
I like that it's not slick or made of shiny plastic. I like that it's not a "big box" though they carry everything a "big box" would. It's friendly and personable. It's a place with a soul.
For the month of August, Keith and I will have our total collection of sketchbooks available in the studio for perusal. Together we have almost 40 completed skecthbooks, dating from our time at SCAD until present. Keeping a visual journal has been a way to connect our everyday lives to our artistic practice. It's a place to try out an idea or scribble when the need strikes.
The sketchbook habit started for me in college. Art nerds that we were, Keith and I carried our sketchbooks everywhere with us and diligently drew everything that was worth drawing. We weren't the only ones, there were lots of art nerds in Savannah. From apartments to coffee houses to homework parties, art nerds abounded.
My collage experimentation traces back to Savannah. I developed a thirst for national geographic and vintage time life series books. After creating lots of sketchbook collages, Claire Stringer and I founded "Pinch Underneit". Inspired equally by the dada movement and religious propaganda so prevalent in Georgia, we created images and found poetry and issued our own manifesto.
The sketchbook was a format I could use to process information and fill countless hours, sometimes taking notes or writing down bits of conversation. Trading sketchbooks with an artist friend and seeing what they've been thinking about, and adding a little drawing for them.
The move to Raleigh was a radical shift in sketchbook usage. I was drawing more than ever. In a new town not knowing very many people, and being removed from an art nerd culture, my sketchbook was a commentary, diary and refuge.
Once my daughter was big enough to hold a drawing implement, my sketchbook became a place for us to collaborate.
One of my saddest sketchbook moments was loosing a whole book at Lowes. Maybe one day it will come back to me.
A physical manifestation of the flow of ideas and visions. Staying current in my sketchbook means taking time out from projects I'm working on to let my thoughts free.
"Painting is an illusion, a piece of magic, so what you see is not what you see."- Philip Guston
I am making a gradual shift to working larger and working more with oils again. Here are three cityscapes I completed this month, two oils and an encaustic.
"Head in Cloud"
I dream of an urban setting alive with culture and nuance. Each one of us has several coexisting narratives in us. This city is a multi-faceted jewel with concurrent narratives playing out.
I wanted a cozy neighborhood at the wood's edge. Having one foot in the wilderness, the inhabitants were rather diverse. A peaceable kingdom to be sure.
"City in the Pale Moonlight"
The patina on the surface of an old building is the microcosm of this city's soul. All the linework is carved in, so in person you see a lot more texture.Cities are all about visual and cultural texture.
My show at the express library on Fayetteville st. will be up for all of June.
It's funny how well my work shows around books, since I'm such a book nerd, I appreciate that.
Chamblin's bookmine (used, rare and nonexistent books) is located in Jacksonville, Florida, the city I grew up in. There are two locations- one in Riverside/Lakeshore, and Chamblin's uptown, in downtown Jax by Hemming plaza. I have followed Chamblin's through 3 moves/expansions. I think I started going there right when I learned how to read. I even worked there briefly as a teen.
Chamblin's is the best bookstore on the planet. You need about 3 hours to really go through all the books. The Riverside location is larger and easy to get lost in. Especially in the annex. They buy and trade books too, so every trip to Jax, I bring my books to trade.
It's such a quirky place, and really appeals to my sensibilities, just like Askew Taylor art supplies here in Raleigh. You can be happy wandering for hours, stopping to read at one of the tables, adding to your pile of books. I love to shop for my daughter's books there too. I've found so many great vintage kids books there! There are lots of hidden gems to be found for any book lover. I highly recommend it.
My show is in their newer Uptown location, across from Hemming plaza. I love this area of downtown Jax because the JMOMA is there, the downtown Library- which boasts 3 stories and two outdoor reading porches, plus a huge OWL STATUE on the front of the building and lots of beautiful murals inside. I really wish Raleigh would build a library here like the one in Jacksonville. Le Sigh.
But anyway... If you are in Jacksonville do yourself a favor and go to Chamblin's! But set aside a few hours because it's a rabbit hole!