Abstract acrylic painting workshop

Excuses, excuses. I’ve been laid low with an awful cold since last weekend and have slothed around for a few days trying to get better. The Talisman e-Book is almost ready for test driving, and I’ll be asking three SHARDS readers to do that for me as a favor and give feed back. Hopefully, that will happen in the next day or so.

Meanwhile, a bright spot in the last few days was the Abstract Acrylic Painting workshop on Saturday. Here’s the outline of some of the techniques we explored:

When you have just three hours to get into a process, it’s best to limit yourself by size, structure, and color palette. We did a warmup painting on 9×12 watercolor paper, then moved to a 12×12″ stretched canvas.

Some of the painters reflected the same style with both pieces and some branched out. We had one of the best discussion on composition and color than I can remember having lately. It was a great group. Some had never painted before and others had much experience. That diversity is so helpful in designing effective workshops.

We started with layers of scribbling and stenciling just to “get the door open” and went from there – fun.

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Abstract Acrylic Workshop from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

 Excuse any typos in the video – I’m overdosed on cough medicine!

New! Workshop eBooks! First one coming soon!

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One of the most frustrating things that has happened since I downsized my studio last year is having to tell friends that the workshops are sold out. I mean, it’s sorta good, since it means that people like them (yay, thanks!!) but I want to share some of my favorite workshops, old and new, with everybody.

The other really nice thing that has happened is that I’m being asked to come do workshops in far-away places that I can’t easily arrange. Penny from Australia recently emailed after seeing my Talisman workshop with Joanna Powell Colbert:   “What would it take to get you to Perth to take a class or two??? Maybe I can arrange it….I’d love to make the talisman. They are wonderful!”

So here’s what I decided – what if I take the workshops to YOU? I have to plan them and do demos beforehand anyway, so I might as well video them while I’m doing it. They’ll be fun for people who can’t get into the in-person workshops (like Penny), and they will be a good review for those who have already worked with me. And they’d be cheaper than the in-person workshops.

I got to work, and TAH DAH – here’s a preview of the first Lyn Belisle Workshop eBook! This one is based on the class I did for Joanna in Washington:

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This one is almost finished. It has eight sections of step-by-step instructions and photos on making the mixed-media Talisman. It has eight short Vimeo videos of me showing you how to do stuff (including my usual goofy comments). And it has resources on where to get everything you need for the workshop.

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I’ll sell the eBook for $18 at my Etsy shop, the same place that I sell the Behind the Veil: Beeswax and Collage Book. And if some of the materials that are optional for the eBook project are at my Etsy shop, there will be a discount for those. For example, the Talisman Faces usually sell for $13 a pair, but if you buy the eBook, you can get the “special bookie” price of $7 a pair. (Those faces are all sold out at moment, but I plan to make more when  the eBook becomes an international best seller and the demand for shard faces skyrockets – YAHAHA. )

OK, back to reality – this is an experiment, I’m having fun with it, and I hope you like the idea. As far as this book’s availability, it should be finished by this coming Monday.

If it’s a success, I’ll plan on more Lyn Belisle Workshop eBooks in the very near future, probably starting with the NeoSanto Workshop so you’ll get to join in the fun even if it is sold out.

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So what do you think? Thoughts? Suggestions? Dire warnings?? Thanks, as always, for following me on SHARDS, and stay tuned for the Talisman Workshop eBook release on Monday!

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Altered paper, enduring magic

Ahhh – the smell of Citrasolv was in the air yesterday afternoon. Brushed onto the pages of National Geographic magazine, it never fails to turn photographs into otherworldly abstract patterns. When strips and scraps of this paper are combined, magic happens!

No matter how many times I teach this workshop, the results are fabulous – fresh, original and intriguing. Here’s a short video of the workshop participants creating their outstanding work in yesterday’s Small Worlds: Abstract Landscapes and Altered Paper gathering (If you can’t see the video, click here):

Lyn Belisle Workshop: Altered Paper Collage from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

Each person chose one of his or her works to mat, and here are their favorites:

Wally

Wally

Mackenzie

Mackenzie

Claire

Claire

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Jan

Pamela

Pamela

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Linda

I taught a comprehensive version of this class at Artful Gathering several summers ago, and the DVD is available here.

There are also a number of free, online resources on this technique, including this really good one from Cathy Taylor.

This is one of those simple processes that rarely fails and is a lot of fun to put together! Happy Citrasolv sniffing!

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Back from a week in the wilds of Washington

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I woke up Sunday morning to a temperature of 38F and a herd of elk lurking around the cluster of farm building where I was staying. It was the last day of the Spring 2017 Gaian Soul retreat, held this time at Cedar Springs Lodge and Farm, Skagit County, Washington, just south of the Canadian border.

The theme of the retreat was Tarot and Talismans. I taught talisman-making techniques, including beeswax applications on clay and fiber, and rolled paper/fiber/wax bead techniques. My dear friend, Joanna Powell Colbert, infused these techniques with mystery, magic and spiritual intent through her teaching of the Tarot. It was a perfect fit. We were all thrilled with the results.

I kept wanting to post pictures to SHARDS all of last week, but the internet connection was slow out there, so I just put a bunch of them into this video to share with you:

Tarot and Talismans from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

I also put up a page on my website for the retreat participants with links to the supplies that we used in the workshop, and you are welcome to take a look, too!

Click this Tarot and Talisman link.

Making the beads was such a success that I want to offer it as a separate workshop at my studio later this summer. The talismans took quite a while to complete – three days of fairly steady work, but you can make several dozen spectacular beeswax, fiber and paper beads in an afternoon. Stay tuned.

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I hitched a ride with my friend Lisa Sanger Blinn from SeaTac airport to the Cedar Springs Farm, which is about a two hour drive. We visited the town of LaConner both coming and going. It has great galleries, restaurants and shops. The Calico Cupboard Cafe and Bakery is fantastic. And all around La Conner, we saw acres of daffodils that are being harvested for commercial florists. Most were not in bloom yet, but some were – spectacular!

And, yes, they grow in boggy soil. There were also fields of swans and snow geese.

Thanks to Lisa for showing me the sights – for a Houston girl who works at Rice University, she sure knows her way around the Pacific Northwest!

And more special thanks to Joanna Colbert Powell and the Gaian Soul circle of women for inviting me back to teach the talisman workshop – it was a wonderful week!

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Lotus and clay

First, the Lotus – as in yesterday’s Lotus Book workshop at my “Studio Cinco(one of the participants told me that the address, #515, was very auspicious). Must be true, ’cause the workshop was really fun!

This is such a simple project, but it’s deceptive. Working with a small scale sometimes makes it  difficult to pull off a striking composition. However, fiber artist Mary Ann Johnson shared some absolutely gorgeous Asian papers that made us all look good! Take a look.

One of the great things about these workshops is the sharing of information and sources. Yesterday while we were working on our Lotus Books, Leslie Newton from the San Antonio Potters Guild and I discussed our favorite new source for clay and tools, Roadrunner Ceramics.

It’s not just a store for potters – mixed media artists can find all kinds of stuff there. I was there last week and got some great stencils ($4 each) as well as some needle tools for incising wax.

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Roadrunner also has these rolling pattern stamps that would be good for inking paper and texturing paper clay.

I found a teeny tiny stamp for my shard faces – they have all kinds of these little guys.

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So add Roadrunner Ceramics to you list of cool art stores in San Antonio. They are located near DeZavala and 1H10 and they are super friendly and helpful.

Have a great week! Is winter over for good??

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Whiter Shades, the Sequel!

Lesta Frank and I had been wanting to repeat this popular Whiter Shades of Pale  workshop collaboration, and yesterday we got to! Yay! Plus we got to teach it at Lesta’s cozy studio – what a treat.

We added a few more things to the mix this time, including beeswax and gold book foil. Some of the participants had not worked with encaustic techniques before and they loved it.

As usual, the results from this workshop were fantastic. We had a full day to work on this project, including a lunch break in Lesta’s sunny back yard.

Take a look at the video, and then, at the end of the post, I’ll share some of the things we did in the workshop.

These were some of the ways we created our own pale papers:

Methods

  • Tissue “glued” to gray palette paper with matte medium
  • Brushed with gesso, sprayed with walnut ink while wet
  • Deli paper stenciled with gesso, dipped in coffee when dry
  • White stamps on kraft paper – ink, acrylic paint with felt
  • Walnut ink on kraft paper, dried, brushed with gesso
  • Tinted white paint stenciled
  • Circles stamped with cups and objects
  • Cheesecloth
  • Walnut ink through lace
  • Silver and gold acrylic glazes

There really are no rules, just guidelines and suggestions. Discovery comes through experimental play.

After we made the papers, we constructed a collage on canvas:

Constructing the Ephemeral Collage on Canvas:

  • Review the AB3s of composition
  • Pale images manipulated and printed on plain paper
  • Glue stick to matboard, add small collage elements and wax
  • Sand edges
  • Punch holes
  • Add torn hand-decorated paper to canvas
  • Add box
  • Add sticks
  • Add fiber
  • Sew with tapestry needles
  • Attach with hot glue
  • Overpaint with gesso
  • Overspray with walnut ink, burnish
  • Glaze with metallic acrylic

You can see the steps in progress on the video – these steps, combined with everyone’s individual ideas, led to stunning (and pale) results!

Art unites. Keep up the good work with your creative life – onward through the fog, one step at a time!

 

What do you have to say to yourself?

That was the question in yesterday’s workshop at the studio called “Postcards to Myself.”

It’s a new workshop, one that I designed to see if we, as artists, create unconscious messages to ourselves as we work on art pieces that combine random images and text. The small works that were produced were amazingly lyrical, and many did seem to have meaningful messages.

The project itself was done in seven stages on an 11×14″ sheet of archival matboard.

  • Stage One – images and objects
  • Stage Two – veiling
  • Stage Three – vintage text chosen randomly
  • Stage four – enhancement and alteration
  • Stage five – selection
  • Stage six – wax or acrylic medium
  • Stage Seven – interpretation

When the collage layers were complete, 4×6″ post-card size areas were selected with transparent plexiglass rectangles. Those were cut out, and then finished either with beeswax or acrylic mat medium. We even wrote notes to ourselves on the backs of our “postcards.”

postcard

In the example above, this postcard-size section from the larger work shows faces from two different cultures and contains words such as “separate,” “restrain,” and “ruin.” It sounds like a trailer for a mini-drama! And yet it’s a completely coincidental juxtaposition within the larger collage.

We had such fun and learned so much from this project. I’ll definitely repeat it, and will probably create an eBook with with a list of materials and instructions. In the meantime, please enjoy the video from “Postcards to Myself.”

By the way, the first prototype postcard I did included text that said “eat one’s words” – so I was very careful about what I said during our critique!

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New year, new workshops, new adventures . . yay!

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
           (Little Gidding)”― T.S. Eliot

It’s not quite the new year, but I’m already planning new workshops for the new studio. Some things will be changing. As I said in an earlier post,  the space is different, more like a home than a storefront, so our workshops will be limited to six instead of eight.

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Intuitive Collage workshop in the new studio on December 11th

When we work together, I want to concentrate on the incredibly satisfying Practice of Art (more about that later) and to bring you ideas that you’ll get excited about and use as catalysts to do more personal art on your own.

It’s fun to bring home a finished piece (and we will always do that) but that piece should be a springboard for you to use, change and claim as your own inspiration for something new. In other words, Steal Like an Artist!

Here’s the first of the new year’s workshops – it’s called Postcards to Myself, and it’s designed to send a message to yourself without knowing what you’re going to write in advance. All will be revealed through the process of layering collage and beeswax. Sounds like fun? I hope so! It’s also a good way to learn about using beeswax as a mixed-media tool.

And its hidden agenda is to get you excited about your own art. Click on the image below to go to the sign-up page.

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By the way, did you know today is Boxing Day? It’s celebrated in the UK and other places the day after Christmas. Here’s an entertaining article about its origins and somewhat goofy modern-day activities.

Six Color Christmas Bows isolated on white

My personal take on Boxing Day is to celebrate the old year by mentally “boxing up” last year’s memories, tying a silver bow around them, and packing them away in a special cupboard at back of my mind, clearing the boards for new adventures! What a year it was, what a year it will be! Thanks so much for being a part of it all.

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