Painting with Fire

The title sounds like something my mother would have warned me against, but it’s actually one of the best things that could happened to an artist/teacher!

I’ve been invited to join a group of the Best Encaustic Teachers in the World (yes, they let me in!!) to participate in a year-long learning experience called Painting with Fire.

Click here to visit Painting with Fire Essence of Mulranny .

Would you like to meet these artists and see what their work looks like? It’s pretty awesome – check out the video.

Painting with Fire Online Workshop A Year of Encaustic from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

The program was founded by Lora Murphy, an encaustic artist who was born in Ireland and has a school there in County Mayo called Essence of Mulranny. Lora sent out an invitation to us, scattered all over the world, and brought us together to teach this Masterclass. And it’s for beginners, too!

My pals Michelle Belto and Clare O’Neill are teaching in Painting with Fire, as well. I’ve learned so much from both of them. And when you sign up, you can take every single class offered by every single teacher over the course of a year, including mine and Michelle’s and Clare’s. Oooh, and Crystal Neubauer and Trish Seggebruch and Shary Bartlett and so many more of my favorite encaustic aritsts are in this, too!

The class that I am teaching is called MYTH AND MIST: Fusing Image and Imagination in Wax. It’s a combination of all the things I love about encaustic – pale translucent layers, mysterious photos and objects, fragrant beeswax – well, take a look for yourself. Here are some details from one of the first pieces I’ve been working on::

I honestly can’t wait to participate in Painting with Fire. Maybe Lora will invite me to Ireland to teach in person next year!!

I almost hesitate to say this, because I feel like I might jinx it, but there’s this new stirring amongst us creative creatures – a cautious optimism that’s reminding us that spring is coming and we can start reaching out again rather than just hanging on in survival mode.

By the way, The Enso Circle is certainly stirring! Michelle Belto and I have had a number of incredible applicants who want to join us in virtual residency. If you didn’t get a chance to read about it, here’s my last post that will explain it. It’s a program for the long-term, and when you are ready to consider it, we will be around! Applications are still open until February 21st, which is a week from this Sunday. Applicants will be notified of acceptance on February 23rd.

I hope to see you at Painting with Fire — it opens today!! Warm your hands with us at the encaustic griddle!

Click here to visit Painting with Fire Essence of Mulranny .

Take good care, trust the process – ♥

Lyn

 

 

The Story of The Enso Circle

Creative work is rarely done by a lone genius. Artists, writers, scientists and other professionals often do their most creative work when collaborating within a circle of like-minded friends. Experimenting together and challenging one another, they develop the courage to rebel against the established traditions in their field. Working alone or in pairs, then meeting as a group to discuss their emerging ideas, they forge a new, shared vision that guides their work. When circles work well, the unusual interactions that occur in them draw out creativity in each of the members.

Michael Farrell, Collaborative Circles: Friendship Dynamics and Creative Work (2001)

After six years of hatching, percolating, and polishing this concept, Michelle Belto and I are (at last) introducing you to The Enso Circle, our Invitational Online Artists’ Residency program. When we previewed the new website to several artist friends, here were their reactions:

  • “I just read your note on the class/residency that you and Michelle will be teaching and just wanted to let you know that this sounds truly amazing. Love both of your artwork and this sounds perfect! I have been creating art for over 50 years so I think it’s time I joined your tribe.” Bosha S.
  • “Brilliant idea. Brava!” Jean D.
  • “What a fabulous idea!!! Love this! This is a BRILLIANT venture!” Christine S.

When we began talking about what has ultimately become The Enso Circle, we wanted to create a structured, collaborative community that we ourselves would want to belong to.

This community would offer a supportive space in which to both expand and focus our present art practice, and to offer us a safe place for sharing ideas with like-minded creatives. It would have a starting time and an ending time, and be long enough to be meaningful but short enough to keep the energy going.

We knew from experience that we both need certain guidelines to make this work for us. Among those are:

  • A time-defined goal to motivate us (an art show submission, an article deadline, a workshop design, a group exhibit)
  • Private time to generate or refine a creative concept
  • A concrete plan to reach our goal with focus but flexibility
  • Group time to get feedback on where we are, where we were, and where we are going with our project
  • A collection of resources, always available, that can give us both technical and aesthetic advice and answers
  • Input from mentors outside the community who have expertise and objectivity
  • Small-group opportunities to brainstorm and problem solve the small steps in the process that sometimes get us stuck

Why did we name our community The Enso Circle? Because the Enso is a manifestation of the artist at the moment of creation and the acceptance of our innermost self. It symbolizes strength, elegance, and one-mindedness.

The very imperfections and hand-created contours are exactly what makes the Enso beautiful.

If you want to cut to the chase and learn more right this moment, just click here.

(And here’s what I know that you’re wondering up front . . .the program costs $325, it’s 12-weeks long, only 12 people can be accepted, and yes, it’s absolutely worth it)

But there’s more, and it’s important – and unusual – read on:

The Enso Circle is based on the idea of an Artist’s Residency – a twelve-week commitment that results in a personal body of work, large or small, conceived and completed through goals that you set with the support of the community throughout the process. You do need to apply and have a goal in mind, although that can change over the course of the term.

The Enso Circle is a unique experience for several reasons.

  • It has all the advantages of an in-depth workshop: resources, technique videos, handouts and printables.
  • Like an academic residency, it allows you to select your individual goal and work toward it with peer and mentor support.
  • It has the power of a critique group through frequent informal Zoom meetings and discussions in our private Slack space.
  • It is led by nationally known teacher/artists Michelle Belto and Lyn Belisle, who will model the process by working toward their own goals right along with you during the three-month program.
  • And it culminates in an online exhibition.
  • Lyn and Michelle plan to offer three twelve-week Residency terms throughout the year. The first one will start on March 2nd, 2021.

Here’s an up-close and personal invitation from both of us, via our Zoom recording. Just click on the video image.

VIMEO LINK

We hope you choose to apply to be one of the first twelve residents of The Enso Circle!

HERE’S THE LINK TO THE ENSO CIRCLE CLASSROOM./RESIDENCY WEBSITE WITH ALL THE INFORMATION AND THE APPLICATION FORM FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

Thanks for reading – you’ll know if it’s right for you, and if it’s not, thanks for learning about our Enso Circle story!

Take good care,

Lyn

Want to explore encaustic portraits? Use your phone to email photos to yourself!

Another enthusiastic workshop group met at my studio on Wednesday afternoon to explore collage, composition, and beeswax. Thanks to Marcia Roberts for organizing this great gathering. They were fantastic.

It’s my custom at the beginning of the workshop to give everyone a large packet of images that have been printed on regular letter paper with an inkjet printer. This insures that the paper is absorbent and will be “beeswax friendly.” I ask everyone to choose only from these images for their first collage.

This gives everyone choices within the same range of images, and it’s amazing to see how different each resulting artwork is. Here are a few of the images being arranged and veiled with white paint and asemic writing.

Then I showed them a tip that I want to share with you as well – how to use your own photos in an encaustic collage. I took a photo of Veronica while she was working at the table, then emailed it to myself from my phone. Here she is – great smile, right?

I went right to my studio computer, opened the email and the attachment, and showed everyone how to print out the photo in sepia tone. Then I adhered it to my demo collage and added some graphic elements such as veiling, asemic writing and stamps.

I continued the demo and showed how to apply a layer of beeswax, to incise, and to add pan pastels and book foil to the composition. It was fun playing with a photo of someone who was actually in the workshop, and Veronica got a collage portrait to take home!

I encourage you to take photos with your phone and email them to yourselves to print out and use in your work. It doesn’t even have to be a person – think orchids, cats, and spider webs!

Everyone in Wednesday’s workshop was really inspired – here are some of their encaustic collages. They paid attention to the composition lesson, and even though some of the packet images were similar, the results are beautifully original.

Veronica Miller

Maggie Fitch

Maggi Peachy

Catherine Danner

Marcia Roberts

I think these encaustic collage workshop are so useful and popular because the lessons on composition and layering can be used in any medium, from acrylic painting to fiber to journaling. And using your own phone photos gives a personal touch that makes this kind of art practice a unique statement of who you are.

Thanks for reading SHARDS!

 

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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pat2

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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Après-turkey Saturday, out and about

ASmith Gallery 103 N Nugent Ave, Johnson City, TX

I’m headed to Johnson City on this beautiful fall morning to take some work to Amanda Smith’s Gallery. It’s a new gallery for me, and I can’t wait to meet Amanda.

They specialize in photography, but do some amazing workshops with photoencaustic. The show I’m participating in is called, simply, “encaustic” – it opens December 17, 4-8 pm. Click this link to see all the accepted work. I especially like Sandra Carrion’s “Dragonfly.”

Sandra Carrion

Then it’s off to the Pearl for the San Antonio Clay Arts Festival.  I’m hoping that some of my favorite potters will be there, like Marcia Dahlman – love her work.

Marcia Dahlman

Marcia Dahlman

And then — TAH DAH – I’m going over to the new studio to do a little planning and a little art.  It’s so nice to have a comfortable space close to home to hold workshops and explore new directions for my own art. If you missed the newsletter yesterday, here’s a short video preview of the space – not quite settled, but almost.

A new place of creative belonging . . . from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

Oh, if you did miss the newsletter, another exciting happening is an invitation-only trunk show and sale with Monika Astara on December 10th from 11am-1pm at my home. If you’d like to be on the list and get details and an invite, just email me.

Monika’s designs are perfect for the holidays – elegant and easy.

The icing on the weekend cake will be a Sunday get-together with uber-talented Michelle Belto – we are planning an exciting collaborative website for 2017 that will be totally unique.

Michelle and I have worked together for several years – here’s a video from one of our first collaborations – always fun to revisit.

I hope YOUR weekend is a happy one – thanks, as always, for keeping up with SHARDS and me!

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Five friends learn composition, collage and beeswax

My friend Mary James organized a great private workshop for five friends at the Studio yesterday afternoon. We worked with vintage photos and beeswax. I really hadn’t worked with anyone but Mary before, but I loved every one of the participants! They were enthusiastic risk-takers – some first-time artists, some  with art backgrounds – all great students!

We followed my usual teaching sequence – explaining the AB3’s of composition, arranging the visual elements accordingly, layering and fusing wax and stamps and foil and – of course– spraying walnut ink to accent the incised lines. Some people brought photos of their grandmothers and mothers to work with – beautiful.

They got it all! You can see the incredibly individualistic results in this short video. Fun! Thanks, everyone, stellar work!

Composition Camp commences with collages

compcampcoldemo

My demo collage created during Sunday’s Composition Camp workshop – 8×10″, mixed media, titled “Again?”

First workshop of the year taught by ME (yay!- I love teaching workshops) was Part One of Composition Camp. So what is Composition Camp?? It’s an intensive three-hour workshop directed toward planning and starting your artwork with strong composition bones, no matter in what medium. And it’s super easy.

I’ve developed a composition system called the AB3’s, which stands for

  • Alignment
  • Breathing Room
  • Threes and Thirds

It’s kind of like a simple kick-start for your artwork because it lets you know in advance where your main elements will be most effective. The students in yesterday’s Composition Camp: Collage workshop were given a folder with photos of a random person and a random cat along with some scraps of paper – they had to make a narrative collage using only those elements.  Everyone  took the challenge and ran with it. Take a look!

Before we began our work yesterday, we talked about painterly influences on collage imagery, particularly the works of Larry Rivers and Robert Rauschenberg, two of my favorite artists ever. Rauschenberg said that he works “in the gap between art and life,”  that he wanted to question the distinction between everyday objects and art objects. I like that!

Robert Rauschenberg, Buffalo II, 1964

Larry Rivers, French Money, 1962

It’s always good to go to the Masters for inspiration! There are two more sessions of Composition Camp to come, and there will be more in the summer and fall.

iPad Pro and the Procreate app – digital discoveries!

procollage

I returned home from Boston with more than just happy memories – I also got an early Christmas present of an iPad Pro! So what makes the iPad Pro special? It’s simple: This is a tablet for artists and creators.This device is a digital designer’s dream – it has a 12.9″ touchscreen with incredible resolution. Lucky me . . . so many artists like my friends Sherrill Kahn and Susie Monday are huge iPad enthusiasts and digital design experts. I’m still a beginner, but ya gotta start somewhere. The image at the top is my first attempt at making a photo collage design on the iPad Pro. I used an app called Procreate

 When I first downloaded Procreate (it costs $6), I was a little disappointed because it just seemed like a drawing pad app, but then I watched some You Tube tutorials and began to see why artists like it so much. You can insert photos, use layers, draw with a zillion different brushes in a zillion different colors.

One of the most fun things Procreate does is to record your actions and export them to a video. Here is a eight-second video showing the steps that went into the finished image. As you can tell, I’m not very experienced with this program yet, but the learning curve is kind of addictive!

First Experiment with IPad Pro and Procreate app using layers and photo imports from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

This process won’t replace the kinds of hands-on art I do in the Studio every day, but it’s a great tool for ideas and digital design development. You don’t need an iPad Pro to download Procreate – you can install it on a regular iPad and have a great time playing with it.

susiemonday copy

If you really want to get into it with a passion, I highly recommend Susie Monday’s Art on the iPad workshops – the next one starts on January 12th – here’s a link. I love tools that expand our repertoire as artists and creators, and my iPad Pro is definitely a gift of inspiration! Thanks, Boston guys 🙂

 

Encaustic excitement – Clare O’Neill at the Studio in 2016

Clare O’Neill “Paulette” Mixed Media: Photography, beeswax, pigments and oils

I’m packing for Round Top and Vivi Magoo this morning, but before I leave, I gotta tell you what happened this weekend. First, there was Monika Astara’s amazing sale on Saturday, and then there was a great meeting of the South Texas encaustic group on Sunday – and then last night, plans for an incredible workshop were finalized with the amazing Clare O’Neill.

It still seems like a dream, but Clare really is coming to teach at my Studio in January of 2016. She has been such major influence in my new work – several artist friends have taken her class on my recommendation and everyone agrees that she is an extraordinary teacher and artist. Here’s a post I wrote during her online class in February. Even at that early stage, I knew I was on to something special with Clare.

_Ava's Bird

Lyn Belisle: Ava’s Bird

I haven’t announced it yet on my webpage, so you’re the first to know – here are the details (click on the image below for the online version). Two people signed up yesterday, so there are only six spaces left.

If you know you’d like to meet Clare and work with her in person at my Studio for two days (yay!), sign up now. And if you’d like to hold a spot with a $50 deposit, just send me an email.

clareoneill

It’s almost showtime . . .

coeur

danmeat

William Henke’s Uptown Henke Meat Market, now a contemporary art gallery

Michelle Belto and I went to Fredericksburg, Texas yesterday to check out the space for our upcoming duo exhibit at  Dan Pfeiffer’s gallery. The space is an architectural wonder, a 120-year-old meat market which Dan converted into a stunning art gallery.

Dan’s architectural background gave him a reverence for the original structure, and you can see lots of the original trappings of the market, such as the huge meat grinder, which looks kind of like a contemporary metal art object. Dan’s own work is fantastic – carved wood sculptures and furniture that are an amazing blend of artistic form and practical function.

_DSC3746_300ppiOur show is called “Coeur Samples,” and I thought of the name when Michelle first showed me her new sculptural pieces. They resemble blocks of iridescent material that could have come from the heart of a mysterious planet –  and they fit well with my PhotoEncaustic work which samples a moment in time through vintage photographs. “Coeur” is French for “heart” – so, voila – the show became Coeur Samples: Encaustic Explorations. Although Michelle and I have taught together many times, we have never exhibited together, so I hope you can get yourself to Fredericksburg to see our first-time duo show next month. Here are a few photos from yesterday’s visit with Dan at the gallery – we’re excited, and grateful to Dan for hosting our work in this amazing space.