About lynbelisle

Lyn Belisle Artist’s Statement: Shards and Veils As an artist, my personal obligations and passions are pulling individual connections from the circular nature of time, fashioning shards of recognition from the well of collective unconscious, exploring the idea of the “secret handshake” in symbol and archetype, celebrating the frozen moment between what was and what is to come. I work in four main media to explore these ideas: • In collage, often using beeswax and altered papers to celebrate anonymous faces and otherworldly places • In unglazed earthenware clay and found objects, often to create spiritual and symbolic “neo-santo” assemblage • In fiber and paper, often to create wall pieces with natural colors, wax, felt, cheesecloth and digital photo images • In acrylic paint, often as pure, non-referenced exploration of form and veiling I take inspiration and comfort from the knowledge that we are all connected on a deep cross-cultural level with shared collective memories that each of us can glimpse through art without the need for words.

Thoughts on a studio anniversary.

A year ago – almost to the day – I said goodbye to my studio in Carousel Court. It was a hard goodbye. The space had been a gathering place for workshops, art shows, Show-and-Tell Saturdays, poetry readings – many things to remember and cherish. I truly miss that place, but it had become a huge responsibility, too big (and expensive) for one person to keep up forever.

Here’s a look at one of the early workshops there with beloved guest artist Sherrill Kahn. It was so much fun!

A month after I closed the doors forever, I found a smaller place just down the street from my new house. It has four rooms, lots of storage space, and reasonable rent.

Some of you have been there – thanks! Because of downsizing, and new responsibilities at the Art League, my workshop schedule had to be adjusted downward. Arg!

But ironically, on this anniversary weekend, I had two workshops at the new little studio, both of which were delightful (and neither of which was on my website calendar).

The first one on Friday the 13th was organized by six friends who wanted to learn some encaustic basics. They contacted me, and we scheduled it at their convenience.  We did a variation of the “Behind the Veil” vintage photocollage workshop. We worked with layered beeswax, oil paint, book foil, walnut ink – all the fun media that gets good results. Here’s a video of that “workshop-by-request” gathering:

Lyn Belisle Workshop: Encaustic Collage by request from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

The second workshop on Sunday was my old favorite, Creating Spirit Dolls. I have a group of friends who went with me three years ago to Whidbey Island when I taught with Joanna Powell Colbert. They had been wanting to learn to make spirit dolls, and so we did it! Here’s that video – it’s so interesting to see how different everyone’s turned out.

Making Spirit Dolls at Lyn Belisle’s studio in San Antonio from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

I love teaching workshops! And as I look back on this year, I’m feeling the loss of those gatherings at the old studio. In the new place, we are limited to six people in a workshop, but that’s actually a good number. If you have a group of four to six people who’d like to learn mixed-media together, let’s talk. Workshop-by-request is a great concept.

I’m also going to expand online workshop offerings through some new ebooks with videos, starting with the popular “Postcards to Myself”. I got the nicest letter from an Etsy buyer yesterday, which gave me some encouragement:

“Dear Lyn,
Please continue making the e-books for people like me who live in another state and want to learn and experiment…am so excited…youre such an inspiration…thanks for sharing…and with your open heart all that you share and give will come back 10 fold to fill your heart and spirit as you have done for myself and others.”
  Jacque in Washington State.
Finally, I have high hopes for the studio space at the Art League on King William Street. With good luck and some anticipated financial support, that studio may become the kind of gathering place that the old Carousel Court studio was. We’re having a workshop there on the 29th, and there are still two spaces left. Join us and give us your ideas and feedback

Workshop at the Art League Studio on King William Street

Looking back, it’s been a crazy, exciting, challenging year and one that has confirmed how much I love teaching and learning with all of you, no matter when, where or what! I hope to see you soon. Thanks for your support and friendship 🙂

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not fighting the old, but on building the new.”

― Socrates

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The art and science of aromatherapy – essential oils and Alzheimer’s Disease

I’ve studied and used essential oils since 1989 and was actually teaching workshops on their uses way before I began teaching art workshops. In the late ’90s, Dr. Bill Kurtin and I partnered in sharing research-based information about aromatherapy with social agencies and college classes, and set up our informational website, called Chemaroma, in 2006.

Bill is a biochemist who chaired the Chemistry Department at Trinity University for many years. We’re married now, and since Bill retired from teaching, he’s had time to do more research on current studies about essential oils. He’s just written an article for our Chemaroma blog summarizing recent research on essential oils and Alzheimer’s Disease. Here’s the link to the complete article, which I think is wonderful and encouraging.

In his article, Bill writes, “The research . . ., as well as much work not mentioned, strongly suggest that EOs may provide an excellent alternative, natural, widely available, and inexpensive treatment for AD, particularly for easing the symptoms of the disease.” He writes for a general audience, who, like me, have trouble with scientific complexities – whew! It’s a fascinating premises that could help millions.

If you have not any in-depth reading on the science of aromatherapy and need an introduction, here’s a good background article from the University of Maryland Medical Center. And, or course, you can always go to our website, Chemaroma, for more info.

I’ve always relied on Clary Sage essential oil for getting past creative blocks – the name in Latin means “clear eye” – and its smell is intoxicating.  Here’s another take on essential oils from an artist on the Craftsy site.

Bill and I are especially interested in essential oil research that pertains to our aging population – anything that will help all of us stay alive, engaged, and creative longer is worth pursuing! Read and share the article, Are Essential Oils Useful in the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.” It’s a good one.

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Celebrating arts diversity – clay, glass, fiber

Vincent van Gogh wrote, “I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart.”

Good artists keep refining and redefining their medium, pushing boundaries and asking questions of themselves and their fellow artists. The San Antonio arts community has this kind of commitment – deep roots and diversity that would make any city proud. And they share and collaborate.

This evening, the San Antonio Potters Guild and the San Antonio Glass Art Guild are joining together to meet at the San Antonio Art League, viewing and discussing the work of sculptor and painter James Hendricks. And later in the fall, the Fiber Artists of San Antonio will tour the Art League Museum. I love this city and its multi-talented artists!

Speaking of the Fiber Artists, I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of Friday’s opening of the 43rd Juried FASA Exhibit. The photos of the work are amazing.

Here’s a short video of some of the work you will see at Friday’s opening:

Fiber Artists of San Antonio: Preview of 43rd Juried Exhibition from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

And here’s the exhibit info – the juror, nationally know fiber artist Doshi, has done a remarkable job in her selective process:

  • FASA 43rd Annual Juried Fiber Art Exhibit
  • Opening Reception: Fri., Oct. 13, 2017, 6-8 p.m.
  • Exhibit on display: Fri., Oct. 13 – Fri. Nov. 17, 2017
  • Semmes Gallery, University of Incarnate Word, 4301 Broadway St.
    San Antonio, TX 78209

Doshi is not only a discerning juror and curator, but a fantastic fiber artist herself. While she is in San Antonio, you can meet her and see her own spectacular work. She creates exquisite hand dyed clothing in original designs that range from contemporary to traditional. Her technique uses knotting, pleating, rolling, pressing or sewing during the dyeing process. The resulting designs are the memories of the method used to resist the dye.

Want to see for yourself? You’re invited!

Art is everywhere in every form. Celebrate it and share it – and even wear it!

 

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Workshop: light a candle

Sometimes it seems as if the world gets scarier and scarier, and it’s awfully hard not to get discouraged. We just have to keep focused on creative ways to keep ourselves centered so we can continue adding a little beauty to life’s journey.

That’s not exactly the way I intended to talk about this upcoming workshop, but it seems fitting. I’ll be teaching once again at the San Antonio Art League studio on King William, and we’ll be lighting things up with a votive candle collage project. The date is Sunday, October 29th and the time is 2-5 PM.

I wrote about this project for Cloth Paper Scissors magazine a couple of years ago, but now I’ve added the idea of personal collage to the basic structure.

We’ll spend a relaxing three hours talking about art and life while we create these collage votive cards. I’ll provide all materials, including the little switch-on candles.

You’ll add your personal touches through the collage elements and the colors you choose.

There are four spaces left at this writing, and you can sign up here on my website.
A portion of the tuition will benefit the San Antonio Art League & Museum.

Let’s shine some light together. I am so grateful for you all —

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Assemblage assembly tricks – and a place to get inspired

Stick with me, Kid – I’m been furiously creating assemblages for the last month for Marta Stafford’s First Friday opening in Marble Falls – be there!

“Assemblages” by definition mean you have to stick stuff together, and I’ve learned more about attaching stuff to other stuff than I ever thought possible. Here’s a quick look at some adhesives and glues and how I use them.

GLUE STICKS:

I use these to tack layers of lightweight material to each other before attaching them to more permanent surfaces. In this photo, you can see that the layers of amate paper are stuck together to keep them from shifting. I’ll go over the surface with beeswax soon, but right now a glue stick is perfect to keep them from shifting. I like Scotch Permanent glue sticks, BTW.

E6000:

If you have two different materials, such as clay and wood (below) and can weight the pieces for several hours, E6000 is a great solution. The self-leveling formula forms a powerful bond with most any material and will remain flexible once cured. You just have to be patient (which sometimes doesn’t work for me).

HOT GLUE GUN:

This is the method I most often use in my workshops because you get an instant bond. You can work quickly and It is the most versatile adhesive you will find. I have had some pieces come loose after a few years, so I discovered a trick that I’ll share.

When you are ready to hot glue two objects together, such as a clay face to a piece of archival matboard, put a small dab of E6000 on the substrate and then hot glue the objects together right over the E6000. The hot glue will bond immediately, and the E6000 will cure gradually and provide a stronger bond. And you get instant gratification.

2P10:

I have to thank my contractor for this tip – he told me about this stuff. Man, 2P10 is scary strong and scary fast! The piece below got its designed changed because I made a crooked bond, but it turned out great – happy accident.

You have to be absolutely ready to make the attachment and work quickly. I would advise you to practice with some scrap pieces before using the two-part system. Follow the cautions. But if you want to glue a Volkswagen to a tree, this is the stuff for you!

This piece has metal glued to paper glued to clay glued to wood glued to canvas – etc – but 2P10 works on almost all surfaces. Use with care.

Hope some of this helps you with your own assemblages.

BUT WAIT!! If you want to see some of the most beautiful assemblages in the universe, go to the Bijou Theater tonight at 6:00 for Celebration Circle’s Altar show!!

ONE PEOPLE, MANY PATHS: The Sacred Art of Altars 14th Annual Exhibit & Silent Auction is a must-see!

Tickets are just $15 and are available at this link.

Here’s a list of participating artists, and you can bet you’ll be inspired to get out there and glue stuff to other stuff after you’ve seen this spiritual altar assemblage exhibit!

Maria Alvarado, Zet Baer, Lyn Belisle, CeeJay Black, Bill Bonham, Pam Bryant, Susan Calkins, Sofia Dabalsa, Susan Damon, Steve Daniel, Lynn Denzer, Sandy Dunn, Jane Dunnewold, Dani Ferguson, Sarah Ford, Betty Franklin, Karl Franklin, Joan Frederick, David Anthony Garcia, Skip Gerson, Suzy Gonzalez, Martha Grant, Rudi Harst, James Hendricks, Jon Hinojosa, Dawn Horten, Jagwired Art, Julie Jarvis, Joy Jimenez, Stefani Job Spears, Amy Jones, Deborah Keller-Rihn, Mark Kohnitz, Kevin Lewis, Fontaine Maverick, Marcia Rae McCulley, Jeff McDaniel, Beverly Meyer, Kathy Miner, Jose Mojica, Susie Monday, Alexandra Nelipa, Ray Palmer, Cindy Palmer, Junanne Peck, Cynthia Phelps, Kathleen Pittman, Theresa Powers, Tomas Ramirez, Thom Ricks, Patsy Sasek, Ron Schumacher, Bill Simons, Chuck Squier, Jodi Stauffer, Melanie Strybos, Pamela Taylor, Dean Valibhai.

 

 

 

 

 

In retrospect . . .

Delaware artist Rebecca Raubacher at her retrospective exhibit, Rehoboth Art League

What is a “retrospective”? In art-speak, it’s an exhibition showing the development of the work of a particular artist over a period of time. I met Rebecca Raubacher last Friday in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, at an event honoring her and her retrospective show at the Rehoboth Art League. Here’s one of her early drawings.

Debby, Rebecca Raubacher, 1976

Talking with her got me thinking about how our paths as artists change and build over the years. Rebecca has always been a consummate draftsman, and her current paintings have a lot of mixed media drawing techniques with oil sticks and metallic inks. Her themes of faces and figures has continued throughout her career.

Rebecca Raubacher, 2015, Watercolor, graphite, sepia ink, and metallic and opaque markers on paper 11 in x 14

So here’s the question for you – have you gone back recently and looked at your earlier work? (This is not a “have-you-gotten-better” question – who even knows what “better” is anyway.) And it doesn’t matter if you’ve been making art for one year or fifty. All of us choose what to keep and what to leave behind. That choosing and abandoning gives us our “style.”

Thanks to a house fire in ’83 (arg), I don’t have much of my earliest undergrad work back in the 60’s. I did take a photo of this piece called “Datachip” which I did in 1979. It’s hard to get a good photo of a drawing behind glass, but you get the idea.

Lyn Belisle, Datachip, graphite and PrismaColor, 24×30″, 1979

Shortly after that, I abandoned drawing for a while and started making a series of large-scale origami kimonos and other large collages which sold well in the ’80s and ’90s.

And like a lot of other artists, I was doing commercial art along the way, like these covers for the NEISD Community Education program – they were mostly collages, too:

And my love for clay has always followed me around – here’s a bowl I did in the 80’s – faces and clay!

So the things I’ve kept are clay, collage, images of faces, and earth colors. I’m still experimenting within those areas. And, overall, the idea of “shards” – constructing new things from small found objects, images and clues from the past, connects the dots for me.

Go back and look at your own work. What colors and themes and images predominate? I read a lot of those advice-for-artist blogs that say, “Get out of your comfort zone! If you like neutrals, go wild with color! If you like watercolor, try oils!” I don’t necessarily agree. Our style develops from our intuition about what we do best.

Our personal retrospective journey is just that, a journey. We take what we discover along the way and build on it. More likely than not, the work of other artists influences us but it doesn’t define us as we keep what resonates and forgo the rest.

So your homework is to find the oldest piece of personal artmaking that you have, and give it a good look. Post it on Facebook if you like! See what changes you’ve made. Think a bit about your personal retrospective. It’s fun and enlightening.

Georgia O’Keeffe, drawing of hand, age 14

 

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Monika and more – spectacular art-to-wear for fall

New from Monika Astara – Alison Jacket “Tapestry”

Monika Astara is one of those designers who makes everyone look good. Her garments are created individually from artful fabrics and her patterns are designed to flatter. If you have some of her designs, you understand, and you love them as much as I do.

Sooooo – I’m delighted to announce that Monika will be in San Antonio on Saturday, September 30, for a Trunk Show from 11-3. And she’ll have it in my home! Talk about convenient for me (and for you).

Monika is also getting pretty tech-savvy! She just sent me this short video of some of the things she’ll be bringing. Wow, love those silks!

MA Trunk show Invitation Sept. 30, 2018 from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

So here’s the deal – if you’d like an invitation to see this fabulous collection, just send me an email for directions and details. Monika always has deep discounts for my friends – woohoo!

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But wait! There’s more!! My friend Mary Ann Johnson from the Fiber Artists of San Antonio has organized an evening with Doshi, nationally-known fiber artist who will be here to juror the annual FASA Exhibit.

Doshi creates exquisite hand dyed clothing in original designs that range from contemporary to traditional.  Shibori, an ancient Japanese textile dyeing process, is the method she uses for her artistic expression.  The technique uses knotting, pleating, rolling, pressing or sewing during the dyeing process.  The resulting designs are the memories of the method used to resist the dye.

Doshi’s wearable art is represented in numerous galleries across the United States.  Buyers are invited to browse the on-line catalogue or, better yet, come to the Trunk Show while Doshi is here in San Antonio!

It’s going to be so much fun seeing these new designs and getting a special look for fall. Fiber art-to-wear is everywhere this fall – look at this Artful Home collection. – but we will have a better selection right here in San Antonio at these two Trunk Sales.

Now, I’m off to the Fiber Artists meeting where we will be hearing from another nationally known artist, Elaine Lipson.  In 2007, inspired by the Slow Food movement, she began to form and write about the concept of Slow Cloth. Her textiles writings articulate links between food and fiber, the importance of sustainable and ethical production practices for artists, designers, and entrepreneurs, and the joy, contemplation, and connections inherent in any textile medium.

I can’t wait to hear her and see her work! Come join us at the Garden Center at 10:00 this morning if you want to learn more – it’s free, and guests are welcome.

Fall and Fiber Art go together like peanut butter and jelly, love and marriage, ham and eggs, Pancho and Lefty . . . . get your art on!

 

 

Critters for Marta

Marta Stafford

One of the nicest surprises of the summer came from the amazing Marta Stafford, who invited me to be a part of her hugely popular gallery, Marta Stafford Fine Art, in Marble Falls.

This is a dream come true – I loved Marta’s gallery from the first moment I saw it six or seven years ago.She has the absolute best in mixed media, sculpture, contemporary and traditional painting, and more. Marta will represent me and my work (woohoo), and I’ll be featured in the exhibit that opens Friday, October 6th.

I need to create some nifty new work for this show, especially imaginative assemblages, so I started digging around for earthenware body parts! Heh, heh.

It’s so much fun putting my clay shards together with found objects and watching new critters emerge. Here’s the progress so far – some are not finished, as you can see – perhaps you can see where they are going? One never knows, do one?

This is a details of a piece I really like

There is actually another face underneath the one you see. Her arm moves in a sweet, spooky way – she’s about 12″ tall.

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The one below is just started, but I like the simple elegance so far.

When finished, this piece will be about 18-20″ tall

Shades of spirit dolls! This construction, below, has some hand-dyed and rusted mulberry paper.

And while I was looking for clay body parts, I found this cat head! It’s now a new Cat Shaman.

Finally, here’s one I started a couple of weeks ago and it’s finally starting to come together. It looks like some sort of ancient goddess staff.

So far, every piece is different from every other one interesting.

I plan to have a number of these assemblages as well as some paintings and collages for Marta’s opening on Friday, October 6th at the Marta Stafford Fine Arts in Marble Falls.

Thanks, Marta, for the invitation – prepare for a critter invasion! ♥

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Goodbye, ol’ pal – CraftArtEdu closes doors, leaves freebies

Waaa-aay back in 2013, I wanted to learn how to teach online classes. CraftArtEdu was a place I’d heard of from another artist, so I emailed them and asked if they needed teachers. They told me to develop a proposal, and they’d give me 30% of the tuition (wow) that I earned.

So I designed a simple composition class that later became the AB3 System that I’ve taught at workshops all over the country.

In retrospect, CraftArtEdu wasn’t really a good fit for me since most of the classes were about polymer clay, but I learned how to upload lessons and how to create content. I didn’t earn much money at all, but I’ll always be grateful to them for what I learned in my first time out on the Internet.

Now they are closing their doors – but they are leaving behind a library of free intro classes on Vimeo that you might want to take a look at. Most of these are photo-based rather than video based. There’s still lots of good step-by-step information, though. For example:

You can check out all 166 of these freebies at this one link:

All of them are short, basic lessons that might give you some inspiration. I have to say, the video lessons and DVDs I’m doing now for Artful Gathering are a lot more rewarding, but you gotta start somewhere, and CraftArtEdu was that place for me.
Thanks, Donna and Vern! Adios!

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Hurricane worries

Yesterday, I was working on a blog post about a new project, and, as all of us here in South Texas, was distracted by worsening news about the hurricane looming off our coast. That blog post is on hold until the storm is over – too hard to think about anything else.

The photo above is the current view of Hurricane Harvey as I write this. It’s a menacing spiral, not the nice kind of spirals we use in design, but spirals come from nature, and this is definitely a natural but blessedly rare example. We have friends and family in the Corpus Christi area, and some have already evacuated here to San Antonio.

What do artists do when they have to wait and worry? Well, one way they cope is to use the event for inspiration and try some creative distractions. It helps with the waiting.

Here’s the first creative distraction – spirals. I found this tutorial on drawing them.

How to draw an Archimedean Spiral

This is an easier method than trying to draw the “Golden Spiral” that you see in ammonites (and hurricanes).

And while I was thinking about tidal surges and monsoon rains, I remembered another project that I used to love (and still do). It’s called “Monsoon Paper,” and it was invented by art and business coach Quinn McDonald.

Quinn McDonald’s “monsoon paper”

It involves literally allowing rain to create natural pattern on paper that has been prepared with water media. Here’s a link to the instructions.

Quinn McDonald Monsoon Paper Tutorial

Now it’s back to watching the Weather Channel and waiting for updates from loved ones – be safe, everyone! Like all storms, this one will eventually pass.