Thursday, February 26, 2015

Playing with Dye!

I always love to come to Whidbey and teach at what I still think of as the Coupeville Arts Center!! That's a sign of how far back I go with the school and the wonderful people who organize and manage the classes. We always have a great time, and the students are exceptional. Many of them become my friends, which is a double bonus of teaching. Later this spring I'll be teaching a class focused completely on using MX fiber reactive dyes. The dyes are versatile - you can print with them, fold up fabric and put it in a bucket of dye to create patterning, pour dye over the cloth - stencil and stamp. The possibilities are endless and the effects can be random or very controlled - depending on what "look" you're after. One of my recent interests with the dyes is using as little water as possible, in an effort to share environmentally sound practices with my classes. So we'll talk about that, too. I expect students will complete several yards of fabric (and/or scarves) by the end of the week - and will then have a stash to use for quilting, clothing or home dec - I never know where the fabric will go once the workshop ends, but I DO know we'll have a gorgeous rainbow colored stack of cloth completed, and I can hardly wait. If you aren't signed up yet, come and join me. You'll LOVE it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Musings from Seth Apter, Mixed Media Artist...

I have often been asked to describe my artistic style – something that I have a challenging time doing. In thinking about this question, I typically look for commonalities in my work, regardless of the medium. In doing so, I have noted that I favor certain color palettes, aim to create surface texture, often utilize text as both a design element and method of communicating my message, and integrate found objects into many of my pieces. But, the aspect of my work that truly stands out to me as a defining characteristic is my love of layers. While this does not necessarily differentiate my work from others, as many people use layering in their art, it may just be the most important aspect to my creativity.

I love layering. Paint. Paper. Objects. Anything really. Part of it is the look that is created when layer after layer is applied to a surface. There is a depth that is developed that just cannot be made any other way. As a new layer is added, it is both informed by and brings changes to the previous and future layers. Even the earliest layers that cannot be seen help determine the look of the finished surface.

Layers are about adding and subtracting. Covering and revealing. The artist’s hand is evident in every choice. Two artists, layering the same two colors of paint or paper, will create completely different pieces. Two hundred artists will do the same – and by the same, I mean different!

Layers create history. They add a sense of time passing and a feeling of experience. In this way, they echo our lives. And this may be the most salient reason why I love to layer. Layers in my work are symbolic of the layers of my life. You can look at a picture of me and see the surface but there is a lot underneath that you do not see. It is those layers that really define and determine who I am. In this case, it truly is a case of art imitates life.

In my upcoming workshops at Pacific Northwest Art School, my love of layers will be shared with all attendees. Both the literal and symbolic aspects of layers are highlighted in both my own workshop, Cover to Cover, as well as my collaborative workshop with Orly Avineri, If Walls Could Talk. I hope you will consider joining me there.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

We Have A Winner!!

Thank you ALL so much for your kind comments on my blog post!  The response was overwhelming, and I wish I had a set of Golden paints for each and every one of you.  But I can give you a couple of downloadable "handouts":
THE WINNER IS... Christine Jermyn in Toronto.  Congratulations, Christine!  E-mail me with a shipping address and I'll get the paints out to you.

Meanwhile, since I can't do a blog post without some kind of image, I'll show you what I'm working on in the studio: a series of "pieces" (really, they are just experiments) exploring all-over atmosphere, color, texture, without strong contrast of any kind. 
Well, this one has a bit of contrast, but really soft edges.

I like the really monochrome aspect of this one.

I like these last two, but they stray from my initial intention of being mostly monochrome.  Will keep experimenting. We may do a series like this (with all technique demos) in the Abstract Painting workshop.  But you could try it on your own.

Thanks again for all your terrific comments. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Working in Series with Jane Davies

Hi.  Jane Davies here.  So glad to be guest posting on this blog!

Like many artists, I work out ideas through a series of paintings, rather than individual pieces.  The series format helps me focus on process, and not get too precious about any one piece.  It helps me keep in the flow of art-making.  I am not concerned about whether the resulting pieces "hang together" or not.  I use the series as my process, which is why my class (May 31 - June3) is called "Abstract Painting: Series as Process".  Here is a little video of the development of one piece, the first in a series, in which I talk a little bit about my inner process as I work:

This shows some of the sequence of the piece.
This is almost finished, but I need to let it sit for a while, and do many more.  This is 10"x10".

The piece in the video is loosely related to this series. You can read more about this series and see some of them in process here.  These are 10"x10".
Take a look at Abstract Painting: Series as Process, and if you can't make it to the workshop, I hope you'll enjoy working on your own series.  It's FUN!!  I will be giving a slide presentation on Monday, June 1, 5:00 - 6:00 pm, on The 100 Drawings Project.  It is free and open to the public.

MEANWHILE, I have a GIVEAWAY for one lucky winner.  I'm offering a set of Golden Fluid Acrylics!  Ten 1-oz bottles of fabulous, intense color.

All you have to do to enter into the drawing is comment on this blog post.  Identify yourself uniquely ("Mary in Minnesota" not just "Mary", for example), and then go to my blog on Thursday, February 5, where I will post the winner.  If Lisa lets me, I may post it here as well, but will definitely post the winner on my blog. Good luck.  And keep making art!