Pat’s Monoprints!

YAY!!  I had my first Individual Art workshop last night!

In case you didn’t see this post, I created a unique workshop experience called Individual Art, whereby one can choose between seven different techniques: Collage, Printmaking, Monoprints, Embroidery, Encaustic, Dyeing, and Papermaking.  Here’s the poster for the workshops (and you can sign up HERE):

Individual Art poster PDF

Well, the same day that I announced I would be holding these workshops, my friend Pat signed up for the monoprinting medium!  It was fantastic.  We worked non-stop for three hours and he made some of the most beautifully striking monoprints!  Check out his prints, here:

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We worked exclusively with the Gelli Plate last night for our monoprints. I like the Gelli because it’s very forgiving and if you’re new to monoprinting, it just makes it more fun.

I was so inspired by these prints because Pat works differently than I do, and with a completely different palette. He did lots of layering and experiments with edgy lines and scratches. Watching him work made me want to try different colors myself!

Pat told me that as soon as he got home, he ordered the 8×10″ Gelli plate for himself. YAY! I count that as a successful workshop! Thanks, Pat! 🙂

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Dog + Wood!

April is shaping up to be the Month of Exhibits!  I am THRILLED to announce that my friend Amy Jarvis and I just put up our collaborative show at Glas Coffeehouse in Sheboygan called Dog + Wood, which consists of works that pretty much showcase what you think they’d showcase – dogs (Amy) and works featuring trees and forests (me).  🙂

The idea for this show was born from a candid conversation that Amy and I had about what we were working on at the time (back in September last, when March seemed so far away).  I came up with the “dog wood” pun, since I knew we were going to be hanging it in the spring and the dogwood trees would likely be in bloom (not yet, but soon!).

Frank Juarez gets the credit for bringing this opportunity to our attention.  If you know Frank, then you already know he is the Connector of Connectors.  We’re both so grateful that this exhibit came to fruition!

The exhibit runs through the month of April, but if you’re in the Sheboygan, Wisconsin area we hope you can attend the artists’ reception, which will take place on Friday, April 24 from 5-8 p.m.  See you there!  🙂

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Individual Art Workshops!

I’m really excited!  I just developed a new way for me to teach my classes, called Individual Art!  🙂

A little background about me – I ADORE teaching workshops.  It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been teaching for SIX years now!  My first class was thanks to my friend Carolyn Brady, whom I met because of our mutual love of ATCs (Artist Trading Cards).  She heads up our live trading group in Milwaukee, and the Kewaskum Public Library wanted her to teach a class there.  It’s quite a hike from where Carolyn lives to that library (about an hour and a half drive), so she very kindly suggested that I teach the class. I very nervously agreed.  That was in May of 2009.  That class did several things for me: it boosted my confidence in public speaking; it got my name out there as an instructor; and I made a lot of new friends.  (On a coincidence of coincidences side note – the head librarian at Kewaskum, Steev Baker, is my good friend Nina‘s brother in-law (he’s married to Nina’s sister), which I didn’t even know at the time!  Even crazier – Steev’s sister in-law, Harmonie (who’s married to his twin brother Dan), was involved in the ABK Weaving Center in Milwaukee, where I’ve also done classes!  Just goes to show you that the art world is indeed a very small one!)

WHEW!  Okay, on to my new classes!  This new (to me) idea has been percolating for a while.  It was born out of the reality that we are ALL so busy, and there are many folks who wanted to take my workshops but were working or didn’t want to drive the distance to wherever I was teaching (I have a “have supplies, will travel” approach to workshops – I’ll go wherever someone wants me!).  Well, here’s the new format!

Individual Art poster PDF

I’ve chosen seven different media from which to choose – my “bestseller” workshops.  And it seems to be a fairly decent idea – I’ve already had three people sign up for six different classes, all in the last three days!  😀

The best part about these classes is that they’re catered to YOU.  For example, one of the people taking the classes is a photographer.  So I will be showing her how to utilize these media for her needs.  It’s a great feature that you just can’t get in a large workshop.

My first class is this coming Monday.  I can’t wait!!  If you live in the Fond du Lac, Wisconsin area and are interested in taking one of my workshops, you can sign up here.  I’m excited to begin!  😀

Encaustic Fun!

As an artist, there are a couple of scents that fuel my desire to create art – block printing ink, glue, old paper – and beeswax.

Oh, that delicious, warm, inviting smell!! I LOVE that natural scent.  And right now, I’m in the thick of it, because I’m taking an encaustic class at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield!  🙂

I have my second of four class sessions tomorrow.  I can’t wait!  Last week was my first and it was fantastic from the first minute I got there.  The instructor, Matt Luther, is one of those instructors who immediately put you at ease.  He has an easygoing style that’s just so conducive to creating!  I strive to be that way when I teach and I hope I succeed.  He’s one to emulate, for sure.

Here are the two pieces that I made during our first session!  I haven’t felt this free during a class in a LONG time.  It was 100% enjoyable!  I’m so looking forward to tomorrow – we’re doing portraits and landscapes!  😀

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Judging one’s Art

What an interesting week!  I was on the giving AND receiving end of having one’s art juried.  That’s never happened before, and it brought fresh, new perspective to the jurying process!

Any artist who puts him or herself “out there” has been through the jurying process.  And it can be exciting, or it can maybe ruin your day.  Well, allow me to shed some light on the process and possibly help you see what it all entails!

This past Thursday, I was invited by my friend Frank Juarez to help jury a call for artists for his magazine, Artdose Art Guide. In every issue this year (quarterly), there is a different, juried “show” of a different medium.  The current magazine shows excellent photography.  I was one of three artists asked to jury the collage entries.

There were 30 entries from 11 artists.  I honestly (and quite foolishly) thought we’d get through it in an hour.  HA!  The entries were so intriguing, and the work so good, that it was nearly impossible to choose the eight entries.  Eight out of 30!

It wound up taking Cooper Diers and me (and Erika Block, from her satellite location) over 2 hours to decide!  It was agonizing at times!  In the end, the decision was based on so many factors besides whether or not the art was “good”.  How do you eliminate entries when ALL the art was good?

On the flip side, I was also on the receiving end of a juried show.  I wish I could say that it ended well but alas, I judged and was judged.  🙂  Here are the two pieces I entered into a small print show:

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It was a national show, so I figured that it was a long shot.  They had to choose only 80 prints out of 407 entries!  That means that 327 others got the same news I did.  I’m sure I’m in excellent company.  And I’ll never know how close I came to being chosen.  Maybe it wasn’t close at all, or maybe one of mine was the last one eliminated.  But I do know this – it won’t stop me from entering next year’s show.  Because after this week, I realized first hand that it’s not about how good you are, but what the jurors are looking for.  Maybe someday I’ll get lucky!  😀

Go Big or Go Home? (Or, In Celebration of Small Work)

Show of hands – how many you artists out there have ever been told, “You need to work larger.”?

For those of us who enjoy working small, I’m guessing 90% have.

In my time as an artist, I have made some larger works.  One of the largest includes a collage that measures 8″ X 24″.   But I’ve just always enjoyed working tiny!  I love lots of detail and when one works small, it packs an even greater punch.

Here’s a good one – very, very recently, I was told by someone in our art community that, “Maybe you should have a glass of wine or two before you work.  Loosen you up a little.”

And while I took that advice with a whole shaker of salt (i.e., not at all), it got me thinking about how great working small really is.  So I’ve comprised a list of all of the great reasons to work small.

1.  Salon-style walls are COOL. Almost every room in my house is comprised of art hung salon-style. When art is hung this way, you can buy so much more of it, and really become a collector.  Nearly all the artwork that hangs in our house is from local and regional artists with whom I have some sort of connection.  I love that each piece in my home means something! Here are some examples.

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2.  We don’t take up much space.  If space is an issue in your home or studio, working small is almost necessary.  But even when I had a HUGE room during my artist residency at Sheboygan North High School this past fall, I still worked small (but it was “bigger” than I normally work).

3.  ATCs!  Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) are how I fully got into collage.  I credit them for helping me find my “voice” and my style.  Even without them, though, I would’ve started out small (and stayed that way!).

4.  Made you look!  When a piece of artwork is small, it forces you to really look at it.  Take my piece at the top, for example.  That is a quarter-inch square collage.  A quarter-inch.  You simply cannot see it from far away (which was the whole point, as it was part of an exhibit called “Through Mia’s Eyes”, which I created to raise awareness for Stargardt’s Disease, from which my niece Mia suffers).  The viewer can really connect with a piece if they have to get closer.  I love that.  That’s when questions arise and real dialogue begins.

5.  Control issues.  Some artists just work better when their brush, pen, or scissors are held firmly in hand.  If my hand is just flinging about willy-nilly, I think my work looks sloppy.  Oh, don’t get me wrong – I LOVE work that’s loose and free!  It’s just not how I work.  Artists who work similarly – you are NOT alone.  Let’s raise our (controlled) hands in solidarity!

I hope this sheds some light on why some artists work small or even tiny.  Like I do!  And I will continue to enjoy working this way until I can no longer hold a brush in my tightly-gripped hand.  😀

Here are some more of my smallest works!

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Some Collagraph Experiments!

Oh my – it has been SO very cold here in Wisconsin for the past week!  It’s times like this that I just love being in the studio.  And yesterday, I took the time to experiment with one of my new favorite printmaking forms – collagraph!

Back in September, I found this video about Harvey McWilliams, a printmaker from the Richmond Humanities Center in Virginia.  I’m guessing it’s from the early ’70s, and once you get past the awesomely warped soundtrack, there’s a great collagraph tutorial.  I watched this 12-minute film 5 times in a row, because I was so intrigued!  (This is one of the reasons why YouTube is so amazing. But you already knew that.)

I created my collagraph a little differently – I adhered carpet tape to a wood block my dad in-law made for me, and then placed my cut cardboard pieces onto the block (BTW – carpet tape is INSANELY sticky.  You need Goo Gone if you get it anywhere besides where you want it!).  After they were adhered, I used Mod Podge to “seal” the cardboard pieces, making them “waterproof” (Mod Podge to the rescue!  It works great!).  To prevent the carpet tape adhesive from getting on my papers, I then adhered some butcher block paper to the “open” spaces.  This also aids in clean-up when you inevitablly get ink on your block – it wipes right off of the butcher paper!

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Here is a sampling of some of my prints!  If you’re intrigued by the inking, I took Akua Chromium Oxide Green and Phthalo Blue and “rainbowed” it together with some transparency base in the middle for a smooth transition.  I then brayered it right onto my block.

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What can I say – I just love art. :)