Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Experimental Painting Workshop

With my current penchant for experimenting, over the weekend of October 20th and 21st, 2012, I joined eight other participants to learn some new methods to employ in mixed media. The lovely and articulate Ursula Reynolds of River Rock Studio (in the countryside NW of Cochrane, Alberta) came to Canmore and was our instructor.  

Notice the white gauzy stuff draped over the railing in the background; this is what gave the effect in Ursula's piece

Ursula demonstrates the cobweb resist technique

Above the artificial cob webbing (available in stores at this time of year) has been stretched over watercolour paper. With clear water (either sprayed or brushed on) she wet both making sure the webbing made contact with the paper. Then, onto the wet surface, Ursula added colour using a brush, mouth atomizer as well as dropping in some paint. To show how each responds, to the technique, Ursula used watercolours on half of the page and fluid acrylics on the other.  

It is critical to remove the webbing before the paint is completely dry to save yourself from having to spend ages plucking the spidery stuff off of the artwork!

My webbing resist technique on watercolour paper

My webbing on Yupo (plastic) paper using acrylic paint. The mauve is a pearly metallic ink

Ursula also demonstrated painting, thickly and boldly, with heavy bodied acrylics. While this was still wet she created texture by scraping, stamping and lifting paint. It was left to dry overnight. On day two she showed us about masking selected areas using painters tape, contact paper and flat objects. With all that in place and using a roller she lightly spread a thin layer of opaque paint over the open areas. And, when the tape, etc., was removed this was the result ...

Dog's Breakfast turned into You Can Make a Pig Sing!

Another of my webbing pieces rolled with opaque paint over masked areas; all acrylic on MDF panel

Above is my least favourite work. I'm unhappy with the colour I used to roll over the webbing start and I'm not sure about the shapes, especially those on the right.  Think I'll cut it down and keep only the left side.

With heavy bodied acrylic I painted the piece below. I don't know if I want to mask parts of it and roll opaque paint on it. I don't know that I want to do anything more to it at all!

Heavy bodied acrylic on canvas.  Unfortunately the camera can't pick up the texture or the metallic steel blue

Sharing a table with Dana Roman was a lot of fun!

Now, here I am at home wondering just what to do with these starts? I don't think they can be considered finished pieces. Should I hand paint something on top them and if so, what? Stick things on them? Oh, decisions, decisions!

To see the entire photo essay about the workshop please click here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Creating in Creston

A couple of weeks ago (on my 3rd visit to Creston in as many months) I'd hoped to paint and finish my annual birthday gift for our granddaughter's 4th birthday. A hummingbird because that's what Bill calls her. He is so right in his choice of nicknames; she is rarely still! Now that she's had her birthday party (October 14th) I can post about her present. Her actual birthday is today. 

HUMMINGBIRD FOR AVERY   mixed media on cradled panel, 12" x 9"   -    in progress and finished

This time Win taught me the technique of wet paint and plastic wrap. So enamoured with it, it showed up in the backgrounds of almost everything I did! Including the hummingbird. The green at the bottom of the unfinished piece was applied using fresh leaves as stamps. Under the applied dried flowers I also used commercial stamps and there is micro, transparent glitter (which the camera can't pick up) on and coming away from the wings as well as in a curved swoop beneath the tail feathers.

Win demonstrating the wet paint and plastic wrap technique

Our husbands (enablers) have been collecting old watches and taking them apart for us so that we can play with the bits ... I mean incorporate them into our mixed media pieces ...

Win's time piece

My time piece on a 12" x 16" cradled panel

We are both seeking a satisfactory way to affix beautiful, coiled watch springs to our work. Mine will go to the top left, slightly overlapping the sheet music.

We're happy with our combined, mostly unfinished, efforts at the end of 3 days

On these visits, we are learning balance. That is to say we are not spending all of our time in the studio! While Bill went off to Nelson one day, Win and I took a long break. We walked around the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, visited the Creston Museum grounds (it was closed) and Win took me on a drive in the countryside. With Bill, we visited the Columbia Brewery, home of Kokanee beer. John was away, so he wasn't able to join in on any of this and it was especially unfortunate that he missed out on our decadent lunch ...

Lunch on the exquisite patio at the Skimmerhorn Winery

Many thanks to Dinns for always welcoming us and especially to Win for continuing to give generously of her knowledge as I make my way in the Magical World of Mixed Media!

For the complete photo essay of this Creston visit please click here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Grand Teton National Park and Jackson, Wyoming

I wasn't born in the mountains, and I don't live in them anymore, but my 30 years of being cradled in the Canadian Rockies has made me need to see them whenever I can. Grand Teton National Park is just to the south of Yellowstone (which hasn't got any real mountains) and being this close we knew we'd go there too.

Dawn of September 13th, 2012 at String Lake

There were forest fires all around and the clearest time of day to see the peaks was at dawn. Those of you who know me are aware that I will drag myself out of a warm, cozy bed on any clear morning if there is the promise of catching the fleeting minutes of alpenglow.

Along the Schwabacher Road is this delightful backwater of the Snake River

Recall that this was a camping trip and know that at Grand Teton's Signal Mountain Campground there are no showers. Happily you can buy them at the coin laundry in nearby Colter bay Village where we got spit-polished clean for my birthday and our anniversary dinner at Jackson Lodge.

Sundown, viewed from our table in The Mural Dining Room at the Jackson Lodge

For more photos of Grand Teton click here.

Dinner was the perfect ending to an already sublime day. That morning we had opted to go to the National Museum of Wildlife Art a place I didn't know existed, until the day before! Such lucky timing; as part of the museum's 25th anniversary celebrations, this was the day of the grand opening of their outdoor sculpture trail and the unveiling of Richard Loffer's 64 foot long, 1.5 times life size sculpture.

Bill insisted I introduce myself to the Saskatchewan born sculptor of The Buffalo Trail

In the museum's auditorium, Richard gave a marvelous talk and slide show about this five-year, epic project.  The museum is absolutely top notch and exquisitely grand. Their collections span three centuries and include over 5000 pieces, by more than 550 artists. My photos of our museum visit are here.

Rungius Gallery

They boast the largest public collection of Carl Rungius paintings in the USA. Richard told me that they have 95! For a long time, I've been an ardent Rungius fan; imagine my delirium at seeing so many, live, after years of drooling over book reproductions? Consumed with photographing close-ups details of wildlife paintings I give you one of Bill's images of a complete Rungius oil ... 

And then there were the abundant commercial galleries in the quaint town of Jackson which are filled with more delights! I came home with this burning desire to paint wildlife again. Better catch it quickly before the fire goes out!

Mountain Trails Gallery, Jackson

A photo essay of our time spent in Jackson can be seen here.