Thursday, September 29, 2011

Art & Soul 2011- Part One

It's finally here... Art & Soul week, Portland 2011! How I wish I was one of the lucky attendees for whom this is a true retreat... staying the whole week in the hotel, far from home and so-called "real life". But, since this event happens practically at my back door step, I always just dip in to a class or two and try to juggle everything else in my life around it. Saves a ton of cash, but I miss out on fully immersing myself in art, camaraderie and inspiration for the full week.

My first class was Lisa Kaus's "Color My World". I've been wanting to take a class from her since Art & Soul 2009 when a friend of mine reported how much fun it was, and how much she learned. We covered a lot of ground, first playing around with Golden fluid acrylics, crayon and graphite pencils on a primed piece of loose canvas. That was meant to warm us up, get us comfortable with sloshing paint around and not worrying too much about making things perfect. Here's a shot of Lisa doing a demo and making it look simple...
Lisa's style is funky-folky... very loose and comfortable, with layers and layers of color. Now I know how she gets creates those pieces that seem to glow from within! She is not afraid of color, and just encouraged us to keep adding more and more... blending water-soluble crayon over layers of fluid acrylic paint, then highlighting with graphite sticks.

Being massively sleep-deprived on this particular morning, and not feeling particularly tuned in to my creative self, I chose to copy one of Lisa's original designs to use for my own class project piece. She offered a number of examples we could trace with graphite paper onto our prepared boards. I chose this sweet and simple little bird design. Very glad I did that, as it saved me wasting time dithering over the design. The whole point was to play with the color techniques... layering and blending, then finishing the piece with a coat of hot beeswax. I wasn't going to risk going home with an unfinished project!
Lisa's birds tend to be in shades of blue, so I went the opposite direction... being in a very red-yellow-orange mood on this particular day. When I got home, my husband took one look at the bird in the detail above and said, "Angry Birds?".
I added some vintage paper scraps and an old stamp as collage details. After getting to a "finished enough" point in class, I was able to do the final step of coating it with hot beeswax, which is something I'd like to play around with further. Note to self:  Check Goodwill for a small crock pot to dedicate to beeswax!

I have to admit, there are some drawbacks to the wax coating... one being the smell! The wax Lisa uses is a refined white beeswax, not the lovely warm yellow and yummy-smelling beeswax I have here at home. I'm sincerely hoping the odor will dissipate soon so I can actually stand to be in the same room with my finished panel. It's really rather unpleasant... which I was not expecting!
It is also tricky to photograph these waxed surfaces, as I discovered today. The colors looked very muted or faded in many of my shots due to the wax itself picking up reflected light. Finally figured out a way to get a good image (the last photo posted above) of the full piece that does justice to the true color saturation. I think of this piece as a practice exercise... certainly not a fine piece of art.

Painting on flat surfaces is not something I'm naturally drawn to, but this class helped me get past a little trepidation in that regard. All in all, a positive experience. I met some great people and am now lusting after a large set of Lyra Aquacolor crayons and more bottles of Golden fluid acrylics!

Monday, September 26, 2011


Another of my favorite Trick-or-Treat kitty dolls, designed by the adorable Donna Veal of Moonchild's Primitives. This one was donated to a fundraiser auction for the Humane Society of Southwest Washington. If you can't adopt a real-live kitty, consider buying a ticket to their annual dinner and auction on October 22nd and you could bid to adopt Teaser for your very own!

Teaser sporting her rusty backdoor key.

She can't believe it's already time to greet this season's Trick-or-Treaters.

Upcycled pull-tabs make great hangers.