I have not had such a connection to this place and to my work as I have these past months. I celebrated my best art show to date this past November…it’s a privilege to share my love of various media with others. I go from one thing to another, moving around the studio sometimes on a whim. It’s fun, challenging, sometimes frustrating, but the trick is to keep on going…trying new things and making great discoveries. Paper clay has me right now. Rogene Mañas came to teach this wonderfully rich process last year, and I fell instantly in love both with paper clay and the wonderfully talented Rogene. I’ve since decided to teach it with my dear neighbor artist friend Ruth. She gets color and she PAINTS (something I do only with chalk pastel sticks)….so it was a natural choice to do this workshop with her. Here’s a peek at a 14” x 14” cradled panel covered in gesso, with a huge poppy on it (shown wet). Along side is a small section of a panel covered in urchins, sea stars, barnacles and such...bas relief in paper clay. This stuff is a blast to work with!
Jean Keertan, a talented textile designer and felt artist rented my studio for 5 days. She was hosting a teaching artist named Marjolein Dallinga, an artist known as the "wool whisperer". Workshop: 5 days, 10 students, and more wool than I had EVER seen in one place. The creativity began, and the students walked with Marjolein on a journey of unknown discovery working on designs that had no "finish line", no real concept behind them. They were creating experimental wearable art using nothing but dyed wool. Students came from back east, the Oregon Coast, southern Oregon and beyond to study with Marjolein of Cirque du Soleil costuming fame. I completely understand why. Not only is she a deeply intuitive artist, her techniques are out of the box, and she said to me that finding wool was her way to express her ideas as a formally trained painter in a sculptural, 3 dimentional way. It was "her media". She's fabulous, open and an inspiration to so many.
The beautiful images that resulted form that workshop were incredible. I worked upstairs in my studio space, but stopped in often to see what had transpired....So these exchanges we had as artists were very rich, and definitely, inspirational. Marjolein created a necklace and felted fish into it, she said, "inspired by your fish, Carrie."
So I decided to begin a reductive pastel painting inspired by the colors in the necklace Jean had designed in the workshop, and a strange, beautiful german cabbage I purchased at Farmers Market that morning. Odd combo, but I guess I was due to make an odd painting.
Our neighbors, Cindy & Burl Mostul have an amazing winery down the road from our home/studio. They host every kind of event there. The latest annual event was Art in the Garden Party where plein air artists were invited to paint, show and sell their works. Not being a "plein air" artist, I gave it a go. No landscape for me, but this most fascinating hind shot of a sunflower was inspiring. Back to my graphic sensibilities - large organic images, some chalk and the most important part - ERASERS! So the process is color on - then "moosh" all the colors together, literally. What results is a horrible mess that can only be sorted out by removing the dust on the surface. It's backwards painting. The colors first touching the tooth of the paper stay there! I then add lighter values by erasing them in & pulling color off! Add contrast back in later with a dark purple pastel pencil. L to R first row: 1 & 2 are reference photos. 3 is after color is applied loosely, and I've "smooshed" it...(or rubbed it down) blending color. Row 2 is beginning to erase in lines/patterns, remove excess dust. 5 is "I'm tired and going in for dinner now".
Welcome back. Finished the painting by adding in MOSTLY contrasting dark values. 18" x 18", Titled: Mrs. Burl's Folly
Pastel on sanded paper. It's eluded me for almost a year. Couldn't paint. Didn't want to paint. I discovered it was because the photos I took, the places I thought I wanted to paint lacked emotion. So I went to see the ocean. Then it clicked.
July 9th post. My second attempt at a wave and water. I find it really challanging, but I'll keep pushing on.
Chantel Barber taught an acrylic portrait painting workshop here weeks back. It was really eye-opening, and she completely removed fear from the room. Fear of painting faces. All the students minus myself (sometimes I take the workshops, sometimes I just support the artist teaching) have painted a portrait. I was the only one with "fear". So one of the students who frequents many of the workshops here says, "Carrie, pretend you're painting a fish!" Well, Carol, thanks for that challenge. It goes to show that the shapes, the colors, the positive and negative spaces are the same. Draw. It informs. It's crucial. So I did a pastel painting of my brother Garry. Left photo is my tiny field sketch, his photo as reference, and my grisaille in dark purple NuPastel. The only step I missed in showing here was the underpainting that occured after I put in a pink background around his face. I loosely painted alcohol over the entire surface of the sanded paper (ArtSpectrum) once I had layed down the grisaille (dark purple NuPastel for face). Slowly, I layed in the colors as values. My favorite part is his hair. It's green, dark violet, with hints of pink chalk pastel. He loved it. I'm sending it to him soon! And I plan to do more faces for sure!