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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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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It’s almost showtime . . .

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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.

 

Monday two-fer – beautiful bones and beeswax

You get two art reviews for the price of one (yeah, I know, they are all free) but still –  I wanted to post Part Two of my Colorado Trip while it was still fresh in my mind, and I couldn’t wait to show you the video of yesterday’s Beeswax Collage workshop at my Studio (see the amazing video, below)!

Colorado Trip Part Two –  Georgia O’Keeffe at the Colorado Springs Art Center

Horse’s Skull on Blue – Georgia O’Keeffe 1931; Oil on canvas

Georgia O’Keeffe and the Southwestern Still Life is not strictly a “Georgia O’Keeffe show”, (which I should have known had I done my homework before we visited the exhibit). And thank goodness it isn’t, because when her work is placed beside that of her contemporaries – including modernists like Stuart Davis and Marsden Hartley as well as more traditional painters who were also lured by the Taos light –  O’Keefe’s cutting-edge brilliance shines.

One of her quotes that ran across a bright orange wall at the CSAC gallery read, “I had to create an equivalent for what I felt about what I was looking at – not copy it.” That, to me, was huge – and her work showed this journey into interpretation and abstraction through the loose structure of “still life.”.

I was so impressed by the juxtapositions and inclusions that I searched to see who had curated the exhibit. It was Charles C. Eldredge, former director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, who placed O’Keeffe’s work in the context of other artists who were influenced by the Southwest at the same time she was. The exhibit raised thought-provoking questions such as “What is a still life, really?” and “How does an artist chose represent an observation?”

I loved the show – my favorite painting was this one (below) – and my friend Carol Mylar and I talked for a very long time about why it was included as a still life, and why its powerful simplicity is so mesmerizing. For a much more educated and detailed review of Georgia O’Keeffe and the Southwestern Still Life, read Gayle Cement’s enlightening, enjoyable discussion of the works.

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Georgia O’Keeffe Black Patio Door 1955

22And now . . . . .Fabulous Sunday Workshop – Wax and Layers and in Beeswax Collage

The smell of the beeswax, the roar of the crowd – what a workshop! Every single participant took the notion of wax enhancement on monochromatic collage and ran with it, creating evocative personal statements. I’ve recently added another hour to my workshop format, and three hours instead of two makes a huge difference. We have more time to critique and discuss – it obviously worked yesterday. Take a look at some of the inspired pieces the students created. Nice work, Y’all!

A guru for digital photocollage . . . and a glitzy Friday Freebie!

Hallelujah – I’ve discovered the Digital Imaging Evangelist! She’s for real – Julieanne Kost is the “Principal Digital Imaging Evangelist” for Adobe Systems, and she is a wealth of creative inspiration for artists who work with digital images. Like me! – You might know that I’ve been using vintage digital images and encaustic wax in my latest work, like this piece, below.

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“Drifters” Lyn Belisle – Encaustic Photo Collage on Birch Panel, 14×14″

The encaustic part I’ve learned from Michelle Belto and Clare O’Neill – and now I have a new Photoshop guru in Julieanne! She can be your guru, too – she has a ton of great FREE tutorials on her website. Combining, enhancing and altering digital images is an addictive art form – just ask my friend Jennifer Martin, who’s working with me, learning Photoshop and using her own beautiful digital images. So take a look at Julieanne’s tutorials if you’d like to explore the endless possibilities of the art of the digital image.

gold leaf smallDid you notice the small gold leaf accents in the piece above? That’s another technique that you can utilize when you combine wax and photocollage. Here’s a photo from my new eBook, Behind the Veil: Beeswax and Collage, that shows how to use a circle punch to cut the leaf. If you don’t have gold leaf that’s already studio to a backing, watch the free tutorial I made to show you how to manage and use loose sheets of metal leaf.

Finally, the Friday Freebie is a whole packet of paper-backed gold leaf to use in any creative and/or goofy way! If you are the lucky SHARDS subscriber whose name is drawn Sunday night, I’ll send you a package of Simple Leaf by Speedball your choice, silver or gold. So many creative ideas, so little time – and don’t forget there’s a Show and Tell at the Studio tomorrow from 2-4! TGIF, Y’all…..