In praise of nature

I’m lucky enough to live across the street from a woodland area, and when I go walking in the morning, my pockets are often filled with rocks or sticks or even little critter bones that I’ve picked up along the way.

These natural objects are like mysterious sentences in a story or lines in a poem without words. You do that, too – right?

Sometimes, these things end up in a big jar on my bookshelf, looking kinda creepy cool:

Jars of found nature objects on my bookshelves

Jars of found nature objects on my bookshelves – ok, so the face didn’t actually appear like that in nature ūüôā

And sometimes, they end up in assemblages and little shrines.

Lyn Belisle: Nature Shrine

Lyn Belisle: Nature Shrine

So when Zinnia at Artful Gathering told our faculty that we would be teaching nature-themed classes this summer, I was ecstatic!! Artful Gathering is my favorite “summer camp” and online creative community. Here’s the description of my Nature Shrine class:

Session Two: July 16 – August 26

Lyn Belisle will show you how to make small shrine-like assemblages created from serendipitous finds in natural settings. Through the power of storytelling with symbols, Lyn will show you how to construct natural elements enhanced with her iconic air-dry faces. You’ll combine rocks and shards, twigs, leaves to create a meaningful non-verbal story.Then, using unconventional construction methods such as knotting, wiring and wrapping, you will create diverse surfaces on little 6 x 6 canvases that can be displayed in a variety of ways.

20

As part of the Artful Gathering fun, we’re having a Blog Hop. That means that somewhere on my blog page, there’s a secret word for you to collect. It’s not too far, and when you collect all of the words, you can win truly nifty prizes. The secret word is right around here, AND it’s easy ( wink). Click here for more about the Blog Hop.

But wait, there’s more! In the first AG session, I’m teaching an encaustic portrait class called Natural Expressions – here’s the info:

LYN BELISLE_edited-1

Session One: June 6 – July 17
Lyn Belisle guides you through the steps for creating mixed media portraits with natural materials, including layered beeswax. You’ll learn how to enhance digital images, tinting, preparing small stretched canvas substrates for layered collage, assembling a wrapped mat around a canvas substrate as well as attaching natural objects to a mat and integrating them into the mixed media composition.

Obviously, I’d love to work with you in one or the other of these classes. We have an online classroom for questions and critiques and extra resources.

So here’s your homework:

1. See if you can find the “cleverly hidden” secret word to collect for the Blog Hop

2. Check out the Artful Gathering catalog to see the class offerings. Besides mine, there are some great classes by pals Debby Anderson, Michelle Belto, Monika Astara and Luthien Tye, among others.

3. Get out there in nature and collect a little object that calls to you and write a one-line poem about it!


Save

Save

Thoughts from SAAL&M Juror Bill Eiland

Did you enter the 87th San Antonio Art League Exhibition?  I did, and my fingers are crossed that I got in! We will know in a couple of days Рhowever, I did get to meet the juror, William Eiland, at a dinner at our house last night.

Sorry, I have no inside track about who was accepted, but I did learn that the juror is absolutely delightful. I think you’ll agree when you see the video, below, in which the charming museum director from Georgia discusses everything from fried chicken to what makes a good submission to a juried art show.

 

Here are some photos from last night’s very informal, very enjoyable dinner.

Cappy and Suzy L:awton, SAAL&M's 2017 Art Patrons

Cappy and Suzy L:awton, SAAL&M’s 2017 Art Patrons

2 copy

Doris Walsh, Vikki Fields, Bill Eiland, and Richard Tietz

3 copy

SAAL&M President Helen Fey with Clarence Fey and David Johle

¬† I loved Bill Eiland’s advice to artists who enter juried shows:

  • Avoid sentimentality
  • Avoid cliches
  • Be true to your personal vision

Now, back to crossing my fingers that we all were accepted!!

Round Top Report – Vivi Magoo at the Prairie

Historic Round Top home

The little town of Round Top, Texas (Pop. 1200) is friendly, charming, and enjoying an artistic Renaissance. I returned there this week to teach at the Vivi Magoo Art Retreat on the Prairielucky me!

When you go there, check out the Round Top Inn –¬† that’s where I got to stay. The Inn is really a collection of vintage farmhouses and cottages set on lovely grounds framed by oak trees and guarded by a huge furry black cat.

The main house porch

The breakfasts are yummy, too – organic and locally sourced. Here’s my Wednesday morning plate, a fresh tomato tart and sausage. Drool.

01f3c83706c03fae3e93ad6f00bbde9fbaea7279b1

I taught two all-day workshops, The Beauty of Beeswax: Behind the Vintage Veil (which includes collage composition and basic encaustic techniques) and Fabulous Fusion: Wax, Earthenware and Fiber Talismans (which included mold making, wax on earthenware, and assemblage techniques).

Here are two of the demos I did during those classes – you can get the idea of what we worked on from these photos:

Lyn Belisle: "Frisky Nun"

Lyn Belisle: “Frisky Nun”

Lyn Belisle: Wax, Earthenware, Fiber Talisman

Lyn Belisle: Wax, Earthenware, Fiber Talisman

But the real fun of these Vivi Magoo retreats is, of course, watching the students get excited by the process and create breathtaking work.  I am so happy when they take the methods I teach, adapt them for themselves, and then use them in their own spectacularly individual ways.

As you watch this video of both my all-day workshops, pay attention to the different directions that the participants take in their finished pieces. I always tell them there is more than one right answer, and each of them found a brilliant one.

To make the experience totally perfect, beautiful Barb Solem, the Vivi Magoo founder, invited me back for next year – yay! It was the best ending possible to a wonderful three days in Round Top, Texas.

Dixie and Karen make talisman magic!

Dixie and Karen make talisman magic!

Henkel Hall, where the workshops were held

Goodbye, Henkel Hall – see you next year!

Save

Save

Monika Astara delights fashionistas with her magical wares

Monika Astara and her friend Jenika drove in from Austin yesterday and parked in front of the Studio in a regular old car. Why is that notable? Because concealed inside the car trunk were racks and racks of designer clothing. It gave a whole new meaning to “Trunk Sale”.

Serious magic happened when the car trunk opened, the racks were put together, and over 400 pieces of gorgeous designer clothing were wheeled into the Studio.

We had an amazing day – Monika is a joy, always transforming her clients with the flip of a scarf or a tweak of a top. Take a look. (If you can’t see the photos, click here)

Photos by Jenika!¬† And if you missed the sale, and are curious about Monika’s creations, you can visit her website and order online.

I had the pleasure of visiting her Austin studio last year – here’s a replay of that awesome visit! Thanks, Monika – the next trunk show will be announced soon – guess where??

Save

Save

Save

Save

Talented pals showcase their work in upcoming events – most free, all priceless

Coming attractions – be there!

Happily and often, I get email notices from friends who are very talented in very diverse ways – I love to pass along these opportunities so that we may support our arts and letters community.

Here are just a few for your calendar – and don’t forget to read all the way to the bottom of the post for an event from one of my favorite creative women!!


Carol Coffee Reposa, Poet

Featured this evening at Lyn Belisle Studio at 6:00

carol


Barbara Dean Hendricks: Author

Book Signing and Reception at the Twig

barb


Susanna Morrow: Collagists

“Now I Become Myself: Explorations in Collage”

unnamed

Susanna Morrow began exploring collage as a complement to her daily journal writing practice a decade ago. She has a developed a body of work that is dream-like and deeply personal, revealing what she is becoming as she moves through life’s changes. There are three series of collages in this exhibit: larger “portraits” of self and others, journal cover designs (“self studies”), and a visual discernment process about stepping into the second half of life.

Exhibit is at the Church of Reconciliation, Brown Hall, 8900 Starcrest. Exhibit hours are Sundays through October 30, 8AM-1PM, and weekdays by appointment. Contact susannacreates@gmail.com

All are welcome to wine and cheese reception Saturday, October 15, 6-8PM
Please visit susannamorrow.com for more information.


Alison Schockner, Lesta Frank, Jan Longfellow

Artist’s Garden Party

Saturday & Sunday,
Oct. 15th and 16th
11:00-4:00
at Alison’s studio
Come through the garden gate
by the carport on Flores St.

ali

 Join us for a multi-media exhibition.
¬†Alison’s garden art totems and plate flowers
¬†Carrie Bye’s printmaking magic
¬†Amy Jones’s felted critters
¬†Jan Longfellow’s cast silver clay jewelry
¬†Lesta’s mini abstract paintings,
bookmarks and cards

Bryce Milligan, Poet, Picker and Publisher

(click the image for details)

bryce

Every year Gemini Ink honors a great San Antonio writer with the Award of Literary Excellence at our annual gala, Inkstravaganza. This year our honoree is the beloved journalist and distinguished author…

Jan Jarboe Russell

October 13, 2016

Pearl Stable

6PM

Click on the image for details!

AND FINALLY . . .

monika

Get out and support our beloved creative friends at any or all of these events!

‚ô•Lyn

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

2016 National Juried Photo Encaustic Exhibition

“Untitled” ¬© Kathryn Oliver

Clare O’Neill has pulled together a fascinating and eclectic exhibit that goes a long way in defining the relatively new art genre, “Photo Encaustic.”

As juror of¬† the 2016 National Juried Photo Encaustic Exhibition, Clare writes, “This newest exhibition of photo encaustic work beautifully blurs the lines between photography and painting; melding together what the camera captures with the vision of the what the artists sees.”

The show opens on June 2 at the Sage Gallery in Portland, Oregon.

D is for Dragonfly © Darren Terpstra

Michelle Belto introduced me to encaustic painting several years ago (thanks, Michelle!). And then I worked with Clare in her online class in January of 2015. With her guidance, I was able to craft a personal encaustic style that worked well for me. Clare and I became friends, and her sold-out classes at my Studio this past January were hugely inspiring to all of us. It’s an exciting medium with unlimited possibilities for both the photographer and the painter.

“No Good Outcome” ¬© Lyn Belisle

I’m delighted to be included in the 2016 National Juried Photo Encaustic Exhibition Michelle Belto’s work is included as well. You can see all of the selected works on this page. It’s obvious that the old chicken-and-egg question applies – “which came first?’ – did the medium inspire the image or did the image call out for the medium? Fun stuff.

“Soul Boxes” ¬© Michelle Belto

If you’d like to know more about Clare’s photoencaustic workshops, here’s a link. I’m also teaching three encaustic workshops in August which have sold out, but I’ll be added a second session of Vintage Veils: Encaustic Photocollage on Saturday, August 13th. It isn’t listed yet on my Workshop Calendar, but if you’d like a spot, email me and I’ll put you on the list.

Now  get out your camera and melt some sweet-smelling warm beeswax to enhance your images!

 

Saturday Show and Tell, April 30th

showtelllogo copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My cup runneth over with good stuff! Yesterday’s Show and Tell was a feast of creativity and sharing. It was an almost serene experience – everyone’s work seemed to be somehow connected, and the afternoon flowed from fiber to metal to painting to digital images and poetry.

When other artists and friends take the time to come to these sessions, it truly makes Lyn Belisle Studio a Place of Creative Belonging. Thanks to all of you – I am pretty dang blessed.

If you see some work here that you’d like to know more about, feel free to email me and I’ll put you in touch with the artist. Happy May Day!!

Words as art – it’s National Poetry Month

poet copy

Are you a poet?If you think like an artist, you probably are Рart has always inspired poetry, and poetry has always inspired art. I saw Express-News poetry editor Jim LaVilla Havelin  at the Voices de la Luna gala on Sunday, and I can testify from hearing his crazy schedule for National Poetry Month that poetry is alive and well in San Antonio.

Jim and his wife, Lucia (a fantastic fiber artist), are long-time arts advocates. Jim was the Master of Ceremonies for the Sunday event which honored Bryce Milligan of Wings Press and the Writers in Communities program at Gemini Ink. These people share a passion and commitment to the power of poetry and writing as tools of personal freedom through self-expression.

If you are a poet but don’t know it (remember that old poem –your feet show it, they’re Longfellows? Sorry!),¬† you might want to come by the Studio on the second Wednesday of every month to hear some of the city’s best poets gather to share their work. Our own Studio Poet Laureate, Harold Rodinsky, is usually there – and the guest poet at tomorrow’s meeting is Paul Pineda, whose work is gentle and powerful, always eloquent. . Here’s the info:

paul

And if you need inspiration for your art through poetry (or vice-versa), I highly recommend the J. Paul Getty Museum Connecting Art and Poetry site – it’s written for little kids, but it’s a fun exploration of¬† writing from art – I mean, if a giant bug with a pin stuck in it doesn’t inspire you to verse, what will? Get out there and write a poem – it’s National Poetry Month, for heaven’s sake.

 

 

A Gift from Joanna

joannamadonnaDear friend Joanna Powell Colbert sent me a beautiful gift, a limited edition print of her newest artwork, Dark Madonna and Daughter. I found the perfect home for this lovely work in an old tin retablo frame from the early 1900’s. It’s hanging in my study on the wall above my computer. I love the serenity of this piece – it reminds me to slow down and take a breath when I get too rushed. You can order this print for yourself from her site, Gaian Soul.

I would encourage you to read Joanna’s blog post on how this piece came about. It speaks to the creative process in all of us. She also has a wonderful online series which has just started called 30 Days of Yuletide: A Daily Sacred Pause to Welcome the Return of the Sun. Just reading it each day helps keep me grounded to the season and the earth. And, boy, don’t we all need some grounding this time of year! Thank you, Joanna!

A quick reminder to San Antonio folks, Linda Lucretia Shuler will be signing her novel, Hidden Shadows, at my Studio this evening from 5-7. Her book (which I am thoroughly enjoying) explores how we ground ourselves to a homeplace – in this case, the beautiful Texas Hill Country. I hope you can join us for some informal literary conversation with Linda and share some refreshments.

Seek serenity, y’all – and celebrate the season!

 

2016 Spring Workshops open for registration

bannerworkshop

Yay! It took most of the day yesterday, glued to my computer instead of playing in the Studio, but the spring workshop calendar is finally up on my website. I hope you find something that you like! Thanks to everyone who helped me out with the workshop preference survey – I included most of the things you suggested (like three Composition Camps) and I still have the rest of the year (and some Saturdays) to add new stuff.

And I have some great guest teachers right off the bat – Clare O’Neill, of course (can’t believe she’s actually coming to MY studio – woohoo). There may be one or two spots in her workshops as things shift around, so email me if you are interested.

Also coming are Kelly Schneider Conkling who is teaching meditation as an art process – I saw how she worked with Zelime Matthews and was just amazed. And my friend Lisa Stamper Meyer is going to teach a workshop on simple screen printing for mixed media artists. When she showed it to me, I couldn’t believe how really easy it was.¬†

handsAnd then there’s ME – I’m teaching 10 workshops this spring, including some on Wednesdays.

Hope to see you in the new workshops! Thanks for making this so much fun – big ol’ group hug!!