New year collaboration with Lesta Frank: Whiter Shades of Pale

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Lesta and I had such a great time teaching this workshop last September. We’ve decided to repeat it, this time at Lesta’s studio. The date is Saturday, January 21st and it’s an all-day workshop from 10-4. Click this registration link for more information.

If you’d like to take a look at the last Whiter Shades workshop at my old studio, here’s the video. Notice how mellowed out Mary Beth is – this workshop will totally calm you!

Remember that the best way to know when a new workshop is announced is right here on my SHARDS blog. Thanks for reading – and happy new year!

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New year, new workshops, new adventures . . yay!

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
           (Little Gidding)”― T.S. Eliot

It’s not quite the new year, but I’m already planning new workshops for the new studio. Some things will be changing. As I said in an earlier post,  the space is different, more like a home than a storefront, so our workshops will be limited to six instead of eight.

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Intuitive Collage workshop in the new studio on December 11th

When we work together, I want to concentrate on the incredibly satisfying Practice of Art (more about that later) and to bring you ideas that you’ll get excited about and use as catalysts to do more personal art on your own.

It’s fun to bring home a finished piece (and we will always do that) but that piece should be a springboard for you to use, change and claim as your own inspiration for something new. In other words, Steal Like an Artist!

Here’s the first of the new year’s workshops – it’s called Postcards to Myself, and it’s designed to send a message to yourself without knowing what you’re going to write in advance. All will be revealed through the process of layering collage and beeswax. Sounds like fun? I hope so! It’s also a good way to learn about using beeswax as a mixed-media tool.

And its hidden agenda is to get you excited about your own art. Click on the image below to go to the sign-up page.

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By the way, did you know today is Boxing Day? It’s celebrated in the UK and other places the day after Christmas. Here’s an entertaining article about its origins and somewhat goofy modern-day activities.

Six Color Christmas Bows isolated on white

My personal take on Boxing Day is to celebrate the old year by mentally “boxing up” last year’s memories, tying a silver bow around them, and packing them away in a special cupboard at back of my mind, clearing the boards for new adventures! What a year it was, what a year it will be! Thanks so much for being a part of it all.

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Wax and trees and happy meetings

Opening night at ASmith Gallery in Johnson City, Texas

Opening night at ASmith Gallery in Johnson City, Texas

In an earlier post, I mentioned I was taking work to ASmith Gallery in Johnson City for an encaustic show. The show(s) opened this past Saturday, and the exhibited works are a wonderful combination of diverse photoencaustic and lyrical photographs of trees in every artful interpretation. And the gallery is gorgeous. Here’s a description:

Established in May, 2010, A Smith Gallery is located in Johnson City, Texas in the Nugent Avenue Arts District. The gallery exhibits the work of both amateur and professional photographers through juried and invitational exhibitions. Amanda Smith and Kevin Tully are the Gallery Directors.   Izzie, Be and WeeGee are the official gallery cats.

Amanda Smith is the director. She and co-director Kevin Tully also teach workshops in encaustic and photograpy. In addition, they provide printing, matting and framing services for photographers whose work is selected for juried show.

I love the layout of the exhibit space – there is a small “salon” area inside a larger gallery perimeter. Meeting Amanda was such a pleasure – I am adding her to my “steal-ideas-from” list!

Amanda Smith and me at the ASmith Gallery last Saturday

Amanda Smith and me at the ASmith Gallery last Saturday

I also met two artists whose work resonated strongly with me. Pat Brown is the first. I was looking at matted work in the bins and every piece I picked up seemed to be hers! Here are two and, oops, all of the photos I took at the show that were framed have reflective light spots on them, but you can get the picture :).

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The other artist whom I met (and whose work I loved) is Keith Kesler. Here is one of his photoencaustic pieces.

Keith Kesler

Keith Kesler

When he’s not wearing his artist/photographer hat, Dr. Keith Kesler is a Board-Certified Psychiatrist with an active psychotherapy and coaching practice in Austin, Texas. He and I talked about encaustic process. I got some great ideas about layers with tissue and wax from Keith. His work is very dreamlike and symbolic. Nice!

The theme of the photography portion of the exhibit was “trees.” When you visit the exhibit, take your time walking around the gallery walls – you will be delighted with the fascinating interpretations of trees through the eyes of master photographers. Here are just a few (please ignore the light reflections in the photos – these are taken with my iPhone)

Amanda has had a number of excellent photography exhibits at the ASmith Gallery – I had fun looking through her catalogs and at the archives on her website. Great inspiration! She also has a wonderful assortment of curiosities and small works that grace the walls and table tops.

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Here’s the best news of all – if you’d like to make a quick trip to Johnson City (which is just a little over an hour north of San Antonio) and visit ASmith Gallery and the Nugent Avenue Art District, there is a second reception for this show on January 28, 2017 from 4 to 8pm. I’ll be there – hope to see you!

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Last-minute gift tags

This is a quickie post – we’re all holiday-busy! Four years ago I designed some little gift tags for SHARDS readers, and I actually needed to print out some for myself this morning.

I found the old post from 2012 and decided to share it again with you guys. Here’s what the gift tags look like – you can just print out a sheet of six on card stock, fold them and attach them.

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Get your tags here!! And happy wrapping!

Stack of books and other presents in basket. Christmas decoratio

Hebe Garcia, and “The Mirror’s Entrance” at the Carver

Hebe Garcia, La Novica

Hebe Garcia, La Novica

I met Hebe (pronounced (A-bay) Garcia for the first time on Tuesday while we were bringing our work to the Carver Cultural Center for the  La Estrada del Espejo ( The Mirror’s Entrance) exhibit, which opened last night. It’s a stunning show.

Hebe’s painted ceramic work work was lying on a table, and it drew me like a magnet. I asked Sylvia Benitez, our curator, whose work it was, and she introduced me to Hebe. We immediately hit it off, and launched into a great conversation about ceramic glazes and underglazes and such. I am fascinated with the painterly way she enhances her surfaces.

Hebe was raised in Puerto Rico, and her work reminds me of the kind of magical realism that I find in Isabel Allende’s books. She’s now living and working in Abiquiu, New Mexico where renown artist Georgia O’Keeffe once painted her iconic desert landscapes. Here are some more pieces from Hebe’s website (which includes her acrylic work). Lucky me to get to meet her in person!

“Lilith” Hebe Garcia, “Lilith” Acrylic on cradled gessobord, 8″ x 8″ x 2″

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Hebe Garcia, Moonlight That Reaches from Within

The whole exhibit at the Carver resonates with this kind of magical realism. Here are some photos that Sylvia sent to our group of exhibiting artists after the show was hung. Thanks to everyone who came to last night’s opening! If you weren’t there, I do encourage you to go see it before it closes on January 13th..

 

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First time’s a charm. . .yay!

Yesterday was the first workshop at the new studio. I am so grateful to everyone who helped me test-drive the space as a workshop venue (Lesta, Peggy, Claire, Mary, Rosemary, Mary Beth, Silvia, Cecelia). Not only did they give me great suggestions about workshop logistics in the new space, they also did some fantastic collage work!

The workshop itself  was called Intuitive Photocollage. We created mixed media collages using images, paint and other very simple elements to enhance our art practice through visual storytelling. The main goal was to examine how our intuitive choices influenced the process and to understand why we chose certain placements or values.

It was totally cool to see the differences in each person’s work, even when they used exactly the same images and materials – check out the video.

The Process – tear images from magazines and arrange them using Lyn’s AB3s of composition as your guideline. Veil, conceal and reveal the images with loosely applied acrylic paint, stamps, stencils and other collage elements.

The Goal – achieve an intriguing balance of images and paint strokes enhance by mixed media techniques for both a finished work and as an extension into other art forms.

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I gave everyone an A+ on both their helpful suggestions for the studio and on their intriguing artwork.

studio2The new studio is an intimate space, more like a home that a storefront. The test-drive participants suggested that workshops be limited to six people, and I agreed. We had eight yesterday, and while everyone worked beautifully together, six is a better number for both getting around in the space and getting personal attention. It may make getting into a workshop a little harder, but we’ll be more comfortable!

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Other than that, most things will stay the same. The tuition fee is still $65 for three hours, and I plan to continue providing most, if not all, materials.

We’ll have plenty of room to work with encaustics as well as other mixed media projects, including air-dry clay and other 3-D media.  And I can’t wait to create paintings and collages in my very own studio room next to the workshop space!

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So, yay! I’m looking forward to creating some interesting new workshops in 2017 that will help you in your art practice. The first one will be called Postcards to Myself.

That’s the Monday workshop report! In the meantime, you’re invited to the Carver Cultural Center this Thursday from 5-7 pm for the opening of a wonderful exhibit of magical realism works sponsored by GAGA (Gentileschi Aegis Gallery Association). I’m proud to be a part of it! Hope to see you there.

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Big problem, but I got it covered . . .

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My nifty new ultra-cheap ultra-cool floor covering in the studio workshop room

So when I moved into the new Studio, two of the rooms had wood-grain floors that I was really afraid of messing up with paint and glue and art stuff. I tried a drop cloth, but kept tripping over it and saying bad words. I tried plastic sheets, and that was worse. Think Attack of the Saran Wrap Monster.

In desperation, I went to Home Depot and asked a nice guy named Dave what might work. He showed me this fantastic indoor/outdoor carpet that is a perfect solution!

I’m sharing this with you guys in case you need something cheap and durable for your workroom floor. It’s called Elevations Indoor/Outdoor carpeting, and it comes in 12″ and 6″ widths. They cut it for you with a giant machine to whatever length you want. I got enough to completely cover two big rooms for less than $100. I kid you not.  Cheaper than canvas drop cloths.

This is where I taped a seam together with clear packing tape - works great.

This is where I taped a seam together with clear packing tape – works great.

The sheets of carpet lie flat and are light enough that I could lay them down by myself – I moved half of the furniture to one side of the room, lined the carpet up and rolled it out part-way, moved the furniture back on that half, then – well, you get the picture. No glue, no tape – when you move out, you just roll it up!

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You can see how nicely the edge of the carpet meets the door – it’s not glued down and it still lies flat.

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It has a tightly-woven grain – not bad looking at all!

 This carpeting comes in four colors – I picked “Stone Beige”, of course – Neutrals ‘R’ Me – but they also had a pretty blue, a grassy green, and a nice gray. It’s worth the purchase just to see them cut the stuff with the 20′ long cutting machine. Rowwrr.

And that’s your Studio Tip for the Day, kids – by the way, don’t you just love the way Home Depot smells when you walk in? It makes you feel all strong, like you really want to buy a chain saw or a flat of Sheetrock. Yeah!!

Elevations at Home Depot – great for art studio floors – yay. Hmmm, wonder if they’ll give me a discount for this free advertising  . . .?

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A new website – and it’s mine, all mine!

TAH-DAH!! New studio, new website - life is bueno!

TAH-DAH!! New studio, new website – life is bueno!

Whew! My new website is finished (or as finished as those things ever get – tweak tweak). Take a look!

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I built it myself so I could include things like links to my Etsy page and a “Your Page” place to show video tutorials for you guys. It also has a super easy link to the Behind the Veil encaustic collage ebook, which makes downloading a snap.

Creating a new site was hard, but worth it! And it works sooooo much better than the old website, which had been around since the dawn of the Internet.

SHARDS readers are the first to see this, and I would greatly appreciate any feedback or suggestions, positive or negative (sometimes negative is a very good thing).

Yeah, I know the studio workshops aren’t up yet, but they will be soon, and the check-out process should be simple and easy.

So here’s the link – thanks for checking it out!! And stay warm and dry this weekend – here in South Texas it’s gonna get nasty – brrrrrrrr.