Easter Sunday stroll on the Greenway Trail

Easter Sunday was our chance to explore a new greenway trail in the neighborhood. I had watched its construction on my daily commute to Trinity University last year. It parallels Devine Road, a winding tree-lined route through the Olmos Basin Park. 

The 3/4 mile trail starts in the Park  and ends at the Alamo Quarry Market mall. In fact, I saw a woman walking back along the trail carrying a Chico’s bag – nice combo of shopping and hiking! The weather was beautiful, and the park was filled with families celebrating Easter Sunday with barbecues and egg hunts. Here’s a little video of some of the greenway sights.

The brainchild of former Mayor Howard W. Peak, the ultimate vision is to encircle the entire City of San Antonio with a complete ring of trails. When the full system is completed, the connected network of trails along tributaries, neighborhood connections and the San Antonio River will total more than 130 miles.

It was fun to get out of the Studio and onto the trail – after all, French painter Pierre Bonnard said, “Art will never be able to exist without nature.” And it’s particularly nice when the trail ends at Chico’s and Starbucks.

 

Dale Jenssen Workshop at the Studio

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Contemporary mirror by Dale Jenssen, 2015 – owned by me! Yay!

Dale Jenssen is a multi-talented artist whose work I love. I have one of her iconic mirrors and several pieces of her jewelry. Whenever I wear the earrings she created, other artist friends always admire them and say, “Dale, right?”

Exciting news – Dale is coming to Lyn Belisle Studio in June for a one-time afternoon workshop to show you how to create these wonderful earrings from metal, beads and small found objects. You will NOT want to miss this. You can find the details here.

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I met Dale several years ago through the Fiber Artists of San Antonio – yep, she’s an amazing fiber artist as well as metals sculptor. Check out two of her creations for FASA, below, and don’t miss the chance to work with Dale at my Studio on June 12th. I’m so excited!! Thanks, Dale, and TGIF, Y’all.

Waterlogued at our retreat in Fredericksburg

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Last year at this very time I was on Whidbey Island at Joanna Powell Colbert’s Gaian Soul Retreat. Four friends from San Antonio went with me, and this weekend the five of us celebrated our one-year anniversary with a reunion trip to Fredericksburg. We stayed at Sidney Burnette’s charming B&B called Butterfly Cottage.

Butterfly Cottage owned by the very lucky Sidney Burnette

We shopped and ate and reminisced. And shopped. And ate! I collected photos of the wonderful colors and textures in this great Hill Country town. Special thanks to Sidney for sharing her country home with us!

One of the things we played with at the cottage was the artful iPad app called Waterlogue. I’ve had it for quite a while but the others hadn’t seen it – it transforms every photo into a watercolor masterpiece. We went crazy taking photos and transforming everything into watercolor paintings – cats, rocks, each other – nothing was safe. It was an unexpected and fun diversion.

Below are some before and after “Waterlogued” examples from photos I took on Saturday. Truly, the watercolor version take exactly one second and one click to create. I thought you might want to know about this fun app to try it for yourself. It works on iPhones and iPads and costs a mere $2.99 (cheaper than four years of art school). It’s an easy introduction to altered digital images. Here’s more info.

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The kitchen at the cottage

 

 

 

Waterlogue version

Waterlogue version

Bluebonnets on Willow City Loop

Bluebonnets on Willow City Loop

Waterlogued version

Waterlogued version

Cemetery angel

Cemetery angel

Waterlogued version

Waterlogued version

Artful Gathering, Artful Abstraction

180 wingsAs you might guess, I’m excited to be teaching at Artful Gathering Online Art Retreats 2016, June 6 – July 17 and July 16 – August 26. The preseason kick-off includes the Artful Gathering annual Hop Contest.  I’m one of the featured  instructors this week! Just follow this link

These are the two uber-nifty classes I’m teaching for Artful Gathering – both designed by yours truly
A Story Within a Story: Narrative Collage Covers for your Personal Technology & Journals and The Mystical Cat Shaman. Be very afraid of that cat one – Meow!

What’s in it for you, you ask?  When you join the class for just $85 each session, you get almost three hours of video instruction right from my studio, plus “live” feedback in our online classroom. And these workshops are never “sold out.”

This is my third year with Artful Gathering, and I wasn’t sure how it all worked when I first started. But it’s very cool! And you can come to class in your PJs! Registration opens on May 1st. Hope to see you at Artful Gathering!

smNow – –  on to ARTFUL ABSTRACTION.

Wednesday’s workshop, Abstract Acrylic Exploration, was hard work – just ask any of the participants! Painting from an abstract perspective is like walking a tightrope without a net – there are no representational objects to look at. You are on your own, trusting the process and making decisions every moment while trying not to over-think. It’s tough.

I am so proud of their results! Each of the students had the same guidelines (layers, textures, limited palette with just two colors on a 12×12″ canvas) but individuality ruled! Take a look at these amazing abstracts – intricate, passionate, personal – nice work, everyone!

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Indigo Blue, Take Two

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The magic of indigo never gets old, even to novice fiber artists like me. Sunday’s workshop was flat-out fun – many thanks go to Mary Ann Johnson, whose expertise in shibori and dyeing greatly enhanced our experience. The weather was perfect – our fabric dried quickly in the breeze and the sunshine on our makeshift clothesline.

Here are the basics of how we did it:
The fabric is tied, clamped, rusted stitched, crumpled – any or all. Then it is submerged slowly into the indigo vat for about a minute. The bound fabric is gently removed from the dye bath, avoiding  splashing or dripping into the vat, as this introduces oxygen back into the dye. The fabric looks green when you first take it out of the bucket. This is when the magic happens (or to be more precise, chemistry). Indigo develops its color when it is exposed to oxygen. Once the fabric is in contact with the air, it starts changing color and turns from green to blue. You can see some of this happening in the video, below.

If you are new to this process, I highly recommend that you start with the Jacquard Indigo Kit. It has everything you need to make true indigo plant-based dye. The video below, from Jacquard, shows how to do it.

Things to watch out for – holes in rubber gloves!  The biggest danger, though, is addiction to indigo dyeing, particularly when you realize it can also dye paper and yarn.

I can’t wait to cover some journals with my indigo fabric, and perhaps combine indigo-dyed paper with encaustic. It’s true blue indigo love!

 

 

Indigo Wednesday

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I’ve scheduled a few Wednesday afternoon workshops this spring at the Studio  and it’s working out well. Yesterday’s Indigo session was kind of a “test drive” of the three hour format – the second Indigo workshop is on Sunday, and there is another special request group on Monday, so the Studio will be blue for almost a week.

Wednesday’s participants had some excellent suggestions about how to keep the dyeing process flowing during the short three hours. It was a rainy day, so our drying was done inside or on the bench under the awning. Everything clicked, the indigo did its magic, and we had a fantastic time.

I’ll be wrapping up the indigo experiences next week and will give you some tips and resources on how you can do this at home or in your own studio. One of the most-repeated comments from yesterday’s students was , “This is sooooo much easier than I thought it would be!” And it is!

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Sunday’s workshop rocked

GET IT? It was a Pebble Mosaic workshop! Well, the pun may be bad, but the workshop was great – David Chidgey, Master Mosaicist, did a splendid job of teaching us how to turn pebbles into art. We learned new terms, such as “Interstice” (pronounced inter-STEE-cee) and “scratch coat.” We delighted in picking through bins of tiny multi-colored pebbles looking for just the right one to fit our designs. There wasn’t (much) rock throwing. Honest.

Free free to admire our results in the video (below). Not bad for beginners – high fives to everyone, especially David!

I was afraid for a while that I’d never make it home in time for the workshop. My plane out of Boston was delayed and I missed a connection in Minneapolis and had to stay there overnight. Unfortunately, that caused me to miss the opening of the HotWax/Cold Wax show in Kerrville. Bummer. But I’ll get there soon.

One good thing the trip delay provided was extra time to play with some iPad art. I’m trying to learn ProCreate, a really cool digital art program that I had mentioned in an earlier blog post. The experimental work below is a photo of my water bottle in the seat-back pocket on the plane, combined with a selfie and some other stuff, including some filters and special effects. (You can see a warning about keeping your seat-belt fastened while seated if you look closely.)

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So, see – you can make art anywhere, even on a plane (especially if you have an iPad), and out of anything, even plain old pebbles (especially if you have David Chidgey). Artists are never at a loss for fodder.

Hope you all have a great week – it sure is nice to be back in Texas.

PS – Registration for most of the summer workshops at the Studio is now open at this link – yay!

Hot Wax/Cold Wax opens this weekend in Kerrville

Undoubtedly, you’ve heard me talk a lot about “encaustic” lately and you might wonder why I’m so excited about this medium and its possibilities. This weekend, you’ll have a chance to see a showcase of those possibilities presented by some of the region’s best artists. The exhibition is called Hot Wax/Cold Wax and it’s hosted by the Kerr Arts & Cultural Center just north of San Antonio in Kerrville.

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It was nice of them to use an image of my work (above) on the announcement! I just received some photos of the installation from Lynn Luukinen – the space is spectacular – take a look. Debbie Minns, Director KACC, did an outstanding job of staging the show.

I’ll be home from Boston just in time to hit the road for Kerrville on Saturday to see this exhibit in person. The reception is from 2-4 on Saturday – hope to see you there, but if you can’t make it then, don’t miss the show. It’s on display during the month of March, and will be well worth a visit. Woohoo for wax!!

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