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 🙂

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.

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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:

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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!


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On and off Fred

Dale Jenssen

Heads up! One of the best studio tours of the year is coming up this weekend, and six of the best artists I know will be at Dale Jenssen’s studio showing and selling their work. The tour is called On and Off Fredricksburg Road here’s the info.

Dale’s work is gorgeously edgy (you may remember her workshop at my studio), and her 5 guest artists –  Michelle Belto, Lesta Frank, Thelma Muriada, Linda Rael, and Alison Schockner –  represent the best in diverse mixed media.

Alison Schockner

Linda Rael

Dale’s studio at 1651 W. Woodlawn will be open Saturday the 18th, from 11-6, and Sunday from 12-5. Catalogs with directions to all of the studios will be available at the tour.

And be sure to take in the opening Autograph Party at Bihl Haus Arts on Friday night. 6-9 pm, 2803 Fredericksburg Road, across from Tip top Cafe. Music by Los Nahuatlatos, hors d’oeuvres & libations.

Hope to see you on and off Fred! Meanwhile, I’m headed back to the studio to finish a painting in time (hopefully) for the San Antonio Art League’s 87th Annual Artists’ Exhibition.

y painting in progress - 30x40" - who knows what this one will look like when it's finished!

My current painting in progress – 30×40″ acrylic on canvas – who knows what this one will look like when it’s finished!

Hey, and check out the San Antonio Art League’s new website if you have a chance – I designed it – and it’s another work in progress!

 


 

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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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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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.

entrada

 

 

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A workshop and visit with Julie and Greg from Australia – wow!

How often have I had an Australian come to Texas for a workshop with me? Well, never – until now.

Greg is amazed by Julie's talent!!

Greg is amazed by Julie’s extraordinary talent – of course!

Australians Julie (Julz) Dandelyon and her husband Greg Dodge had been in touch with me for a while about a possible get-together when they visited the States, but I never thought their visit would become a reality.

It did! We’ve just finished the most amazing two days together at my new house working in mixed media, making molds, firing earthenware, and creating collages on canvas. We also ate, drank, visited, talked for hours about their extensive world travels and plans for the future. Total bonding!

Julie was such a quick study with clay – it was her first time working with the shard face process, and she quickly developed her own unique style, making her own molds and embellishments. Take a look at the video of some of Julie’s work over the past two days – beautiful stuff.

Of course, she did everything upside down . . only kidding. I hope to get to Australia next year to work with Julie on several projects that we discussed – what a dream that would be! Thanks, Greg and Julz!

 

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??

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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

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Barbara Dean Hendricks: Author

Book Signing and Reception at the Twig

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Susanna Morrow: Collagists

“Now I Become Myself: Explorations in Collage”

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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.

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 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!

♥Lyn

 

 

 

 

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Santa Fe, Round Two

My workshop on Saturday at the Artisan Exp in Santa Fe once again proved to me that starting with a good grasp of composition works magic in any collage-based process. I discussed my Composition AB3’s ( Alignment, Breathing Room and Thirds) and demonstrated how easy it is to master these guidelines.

Voila! Every person produced a really good encaustic collage, all different, but all strong in subject, vision, and composition. Below are some of the pieces in process, and some that are completed. (If you can’t see the images, click here to view them in your browser.)

One of the participants, artist, author and tarot reader Arwen Lynch-Poe, documented her process and with her permission, I’ll use her photos to show you how she put her piece together. (If you can’t see the images, click here to view them in your browser.)

So between Encaustic Bling with Michelle Belto on Friday and Engraven Images on Saturday, the Santa Fe workshops were super fun and successful!

And if you want to take this workshop, you still can. I’m teaching the all-day version, plus a Wax, Earthenware and Fiber Talisman class at ViVi Magoo in Round Top in three weeks.

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Update note: Since I returned from Santa Fe on Monday, I’ve looked at a couple of places for new workshop venues – and there are several good possibilities.. . .more soon.

But the good ol’ Studio isn’t closed yet! We still have a fantastic event coming up a week from today. It’s Monika Astara’s popular trunk show and sale of exquisite, artistic fashions!  Here’s more info – hope to see you there.

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Right now I’m off to the Trinity Alumni Art Showcase where I’ll be showing and selling my Encanto earthenware and sari ribbon mixed-media pieces. Wish me luck!

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