Revival! Workshop at the Art League studio opens new doors

Nine pioneering participants joined me on Sunday to test-drive the decades-old studio space at the San Antonio Art League & Museum.

Our workshop was called “Postcards to Myself” – it’s all about learning to trust the creative process without exactly knowing where it will take you – no preconceived notions allowed.

Here’s a little video of the intuitive work that the participants created during the three-hours session.

Lyn Belisle, “Postcards to Myself” -The First SAAL&M Workshop from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

The time together was fun and informative. One of the best parts was the feedback everyone gave about the space itself as a venue for workshops and art gatherings. We all are excited about its potential and had plenty of ideas for improving the old studio to make it even better. Our wish list so far . . . .

  • lots of skylights!
  • another bathroom!
  • more storage space!

I’m determined to find funding to make this studio space even more vibrant as it comes back to life. It would be a perfect place for guest artists, small lectures demonstrations, and beginning art classes. It’s already very accessible.

If you’re interested in attending another session of “Postcards to Myself” at the Art League Studio in the next month or so, send me an email. And stay tuned to what’s happening at The Studio of the San Antonio Art League & Museum by signing up for our newsletter here on our website.

 

 

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SAAL&M meets the phallic alien claw

The favorite so far, but not yet a winner

So let’s talk logos – the results are in. And, boy, are they mixed. Overall, designs 2 & 3 were the favorites but we still have lots of work to do to perfect a new logo for the San Antonio Art League & Museum.

I wanted to share some of your comments so you can see what a funny, complex job it is to design a logo for an organization. Among my favorites were, “The tree looks like an alien claw,” and, simply, “Phallic.”

These particular comments came from the online survey, although I received lots more via email and messaging.Here we go:

LOGO #1

SELECTED COMMENTS:

  • This is my first choice! I don’t care if the background color is green, but I like the overall feel of this logo the best❤️
  • nope the “A” look like arrows that go nowhere
  • This one feels a little chaotic to me and my eyes keep getting drawn to the “arrows and away from the pertinent info
  • I like this one best because it says today, modern, forward thinking, and it shows respect for yesterday. I would like to see it with small green triangles added to both large triangles.
  • the swoop after the T is distracting, although i love that graphic. the two triangles, of which one is an A, are confusing.
  • My favorite because of the triangle shapes. Eye catching.
  • I don’t like this one. The downward-facing arrow that’s connected to the arch has a negative vibe to me….as if it’s suggesting “down with art”.
  • Phallic
  • Not too crazy about this one. Not sure why.
  • Don’t like the triangles
  • First choice

LOGO #2

SELECTED COMMENTS:

  • Does not really reflect art but only the building
  • This is my favorite.
  • Nice but not my first choice.
  • I like this logo the best! The Turquoise and black stand out and the image of the house gives it a lot of flavor. What about the paintbrush from #3 placed under “& Museum” on its side? #3 is my second choice. Not crazy about the background color.
  • nope like the building but not the branch in front of it looks like an alien claw
  • This one is my favorite. I love the whole package. #3 is my second choice. They all look great.
  • My fav! I emailed you with comments about each one…Your survey page worked!
  • I like this one!
  • My favorite, hands down! Easy on the eyes, the relevant information is right up front, and then I’m drawn to the lovely rendering which captures visually the historic nature of the place.
  • This one would certainly encourage me to go there… love the design in the circle.
  • I like this one the best
  • Probably my favorite.
  • hard to see the photo. why is there a tree branch?
  • don’t like at all
  • This is my favorite. The circle suggests timelessness, and the type names who you are – in plain, simple letters. You might play with the color, however. The teal blue feels dated.
  • classy. favorite
  • I think this is my favorite. And since you like that bronze color, in my mind’s eye this would look fabulous in bronze!
  • LOVE LOVE LOVE this one.

LOGO #3

SELECTED COMMENTS:

  • This is my choice. Simple, elegant and to the point
  • This is the one I like best–crisp and clean, “ART” stands out, love the contrast of the vintage-looking brush against the contemporary lettering (because I did like the architectural elements in the 1st two logos).
  • I like the bold letters. It is contemporary!
  • This is super easy to read. ART being the main focus. Simplify, simplify……..great logo. Anne Brennan
  • Like the design although paint brush might lead people to only think of painting.
  • yes yes yes classic classy tells it like it is
  • I don’t care for this one. It’s not clear (maybe I’m dense) whether I’m seeing a brush or a table leg. 🙁 Of course it’s a brush because it’s art but then there’s the change in text direction. Despite the clean lines, it feels like too much to figure out at a glance.
  • The color and graphics say it all – and, in spite of no visible purple, draws me in.
  • My second choice
  • looks scatological, under the A. colors are not interesting.
  • clean, simple. love the colors: I personally like black and brown together.
  • This one is too busy, and nothing is gained from the paintbrush coming down from the ‘A’.
  • paint brush is overused
  • Not crazy about this one either.
  • OK, not very exciting
  • Third choice

LOGO #4

SELECTED RESPONSES:

  • I was too busy trying to look at the background drawings before I got around to reading the Museum part… last choice
  • I don’t like the purple and the logo is very hard to read and distinguish what it is advertising.
  • nope too busy
  • My favorite!
  • Here, I feel frustrated trying to figure out what the image is and what the dots mean. It also feels too top-heavy to me, despite the grounding line at the bottom. Please pick #2 – it’s perfect! (Let us know what you decide.)
  • What about this one in the bronze?
  • hard to see, and the purple dots don’t jibe with the (column?).
  • I like this too. The & symbol is a little lost. King William District could be a little larger.
  • This would be my second choice, but I don’t understand the meaning/reason behind the circles up top. A few suggestions: 1. Eliminate the dots/circles at the top, 2. make the top and bottom horizontal blocks less deep, and move the “In the King William Historical District” line up so that it is closer to the top of the bottom block.
  • might run into problems with the purple
  • This is probably my second choice. But, like you, I’m not too fond of the purple color here. … Also I think I don’t care for the placement of the King William banner; maybe it could be thinner: just tall enough to hold the letters. ???
  • Too confusing
  • Last choice

Thanks for all of the comments!! The are hugely helpful – I’m going (literally) back to the drawing board and refining your favorite designs – stay tuned.

Designer Milton Glasser said, “There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.” That’s what we wanna do for the San Antonio Art League and Museum!

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I need your help with a logo design!

It’s time to update the media/branding look of the San Antonio Art League & Museum. Coincidentally,  I’m the new President and I love playing with logo design. So – aha! I get to create some new design ideas, and you get to help!!

Here’s the original design – it’s been around for years, but it doesn’t seem to reflect what we are – it’s fairly generic and undistinguished. It also has a drop shadow effect that’s hard to reproduce in print.

I like the way the old logo kept the word “ART” as the focus, so I used that in the new designs. But it doesn’t say much about the organization.

When you create a logo, you are creating a visual symbol that says “who we are.” At the San Antonio Art League & Museum, we are

  • guardians of a precious permanent collection of notable paintings that are exhibited several time a year
  • an active support organization for San Antonio artists. Our Members Gallery, opening in September, will feature work by area artists throughout the year
  • part of one of America’s most beautiful historical areas, the King William District

Getting all of that into one design is a challenge.

Here’s the first idea – The green color suggests the leafy environment in the area and the triangles add a contemporary touch. There is an architectural fragment used as a graphic element on the top right.

The next one is a clean contemporary design with a rendering of the Art League building in the circle.

This logo features my favorite vintage bronze color with an antique brush etching and a very contemporary font.

The last idea has a classic column on the right side and a paint spatter on the left side. Designers have a saying that says “purple pulls” so this one is purple, but I’m not sure about that.

You can take this link to tell me what you think about each logo, or just tell me which one you like the best. You don’t need to be an artist to choose what you like – in fact, that sometimes complicates the choice!

If you are an artist, I’m open to suggestions – if you have a design that you think works better, send it along to me via email and I will give you TWICE what I earn as the SAAL&M graphic designer. Lucky you!!

And if you are a SAAL&M member, these logos will go out in tomorrow’s newsletter for you to vote on. It definitely takes a village to support a beloved non-profit art organization like the San Antonio Art League & Museum!

 

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An experimental workshop venue: the San Antonio Art League studio – everything old is new again!

Do you have a pioneering spirit? Join me on August 20th at the venerable King William Street home of the San Antonio Art League and Museum for a workshop.It will be held in their old studio building that’s not been used for teaching in a VERY long time.  We’ll test-drive the space and see how it works!

The workshop is called “Postcards to Myself.”  It’s a mixed-media exploration of everything from composition to mark-making to collage to encaustic in just three hours.

Here’s the story behind this workshop:

  • As President of the San Antonio Art League & Museum, I want to help make it an engaging and lively organization for local artists
  • That means that we need more members and more exposure
  • Workshop bring new people to the group
  • Voila! New members, new energy! People come to make art and talk about art!
  • And, as with all non-profit arts organizations, we need money, so I’ll be donating all workshop proceeds to the Art League.

So here’s what I want you to dosign up for the workshop if you’re interested.

If it is sold out, go to this link to add your name to the SAAL&M email list to be notified of the next one.

And please go to this link to join the San Antonio Art League & Museum. You’ll get discounted workshops as well as eligibility to exhibit in our new Members Gallery.

San Antonio Art League & Museum 130 King William, San Antonio, TX 78204

Everything old is new again!!

(Note to friends who teach workshops – if this works out as well as I hope, you can contact me to use this studio space for your own workshops if you will consider giving a portion of your tuition profits to the San Antonio Art League & Museum.)

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Wednesday all-day workshop with NEISD art teachers

The workshop schedule/format at my studio has changed for a number of reasons – smaller space, my increased responsibility as president of the San Antonio Art League, and just general life changes – but I’m always happy to accommodate special groups like yesterday’s art teachers from North East ISD.

They had requested an all-day session that would give them six hours of CEU credit and jump start their school year with some new ideas for themselves and their students. We decided on a workshop that was similar to the one I taught in Provincetown. It has a little bit of everything – composition, storytelling, photo manipulation, mark-making, encaustic and collage.

We worked hard from 10-4 in the studio, and each participant created a beautiful portfolio of four five mixed media works, one of which was chosen to be matted. Want to see photos from the day’s workshop? Start scrollin’ down and see it step-by-step!

Mixed media stash ready!

We prepare the substrate by taping the edges with blue painters’ tape for a clean border

Once the composition is in place, we veil with white paint

. . .and then use an old credit card to scrape off and reveal chosen sections

Notice how the placement of the objects makes a unified composition

Some quiet work time —

First works are pinned up to the wall for discussion – lookin’ good!

Suggestions are marked up on one of the example handouts

Melissa adds her work to the critique wall

There’s a lot of good image alteration in this one

One of my favorites – subtle and painterly

Although these pieces are studies rather than finished works, they are quite lovely

After lunch, we start working with beeswax, incorporating some simple encaustic techniques

Book foil is a bright addition to the wax layer

Remember this piece from the morning session? It’s layered with beeswax.

This mixed-media collage uses family photos and letters enhanced by beeswax

You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, and you can make art without messing up a studio!

Each person chose one piece to may and display at the end-of-class critique

This is Melissa’s strong work that you saw earlier, this time with beeswax added – notice the vertical blue line and the fantastic marks

Grizelda pulled together a lovely collage of vintage family photos and memories

S’lena’s work is perfectly balanced between image and pattern – the faint writing in the background is a secret layer of history that only she knows

Susan’s work evokes Renaissance themes . . . it’s horizontal rather than vertical

This piece is mine, and is the demo piece I did as I worked along with the others

Happy art teachers, beautiful work, and proud teacher –

I think this workshop format is perfect, at least it was for us. It worked because:

  • We had all day to really explore and immerse ourselves – we even ate lunch at the work table and discussed the process
  • Four to five people is the right number for this space – good dynamics, intimate atmosphere
  • The workshop topic had lots of structure, but also lots of room for exploration with many techniques that could be extended into individual work

This may be the new workshop model at Lyn Belisle Studio. Let me know if you have a small group who might like to spend a day with me making art.

In the meantime, I’ll be teaching a “Postcards to Myself” workshop at the San Antonio Art League on Sunday, August 29th as a fundraiser and introduction to the Art League. I’ll put the details up this weekend and post it on Monday.

Special thanks to all of the teachers who worked with me yesterday – art education is in good hands with you to guide and mentor creative kids!

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Zen and the art of fly fishing

I’m in love. If you had told me that I could stand in an icy stream for hours and be totally attentive and happy, I would not have believed you – that is, until I was introduced to the beauty of fly fishing in northern New Mexico last week.

My teacher was my husband’s grandson, William, who is plans to major in marine biology when he graduates from high school.

Grandson William explains how the line works

William is a smart and passionate fly fisherman, and ties his own flies. These are his, made of fur and feathers and wonderful stuff, very artful assemblages that mimic nature: 

William was patient with me in teaching the techniques, but more importantly, he taught me how meditative this kind of fishing is – it’s really not about catching fish, since fly fishing is a catch-and-release partnership – it’s more like a dance.

It’s about the observation of the water and the creatures that inhabit it.  And it ‘s about the ritual, such as threading the fly rod with the tippet, the leader, and the line, each of which has its purpose in a successful cast.  The purpose of the leader and tippet is to complete the transfer of energy built up in the fly line through the casting stroke through the line and down to the fly so that your line rolls over and straightens itself out if a fairly straight line. Wow.

I also want to learn to tie my own flies – talk about an art. William told me that there are two kinds- wet and dry. This is a dry fly, one he made and floated in a glass to show me how it mimics a mayfly.

Lest I get too zen-like about all of this, it’s also about getting your line stuck in a tree across the stream. AAcckk!! But William saved me by patiently untangling the line.

Quite honestly, I’ve been totally entranced by this. You are alone with your thoughts, your rod and your serenity. You hear the rushing water and you stand and you wait. You cast and you wait. It’s peaceful. It’s rhythmic. For someone like me who can’t sit still for a minute, this is a revelation.

I’ll never be more than a rank beginner – there are people who devote their lives to this – but the gift of this discovery for me is a peaceful mind, a spiritual concentration, and an immersion in natural rhythms. Thanks, William, for showing me something wonderful! I came back from the trip with a new energy and a feeling of accomplishment. 

My teacher, William, practicing his art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A visit with Gwen Fox in Taos

Gwen Fox is an extraordinary woman whose abstract paintings glow with inner light and compelling composition. I first fell in love with her work about ten years ago in a gallery in Colorado Springs and knew I had to meet her. So I signed up several years later for Gwen’s week-long painting workshop in Taos and loved every moment. Here’s a post from that 2012 workshop.

Gwen and I and have kept in touch since then, sharing ideas and conversations online. Yesterday, while I was in Taos, NM for the day, I got to visit her in person again.

Lyn and Gwen Fox in her Taos studio in front of a current painting that Gwen has done in oils on canvas.

I was so excited to see the new studio that she built herself – it’s completely inspiring and spiritually satisfying – a perfect space in a perfect place. It’s adjacent to her adobe house.

Everything on the inside and the outside has its place.

The view from her serene bedroom window is as layered as her paintings.

The bathroom sink in the studio is made from a rectangular piece of agate that glows with a translucent abstract landscape when you’re there and, er, sitting down.

And against the walls, Gwen’s painting glow with a resonant energy —

She has a video setup in her studio that I covet.

And here is the most exciting news that I learned from Gwen – she is filming and producing an extensive online class about painting and creativity that sounds amazing.It should be ready this fall and it is the first time her techniques and teaching/coaching expertise will be available online.

Be sure and get on her mailing list to hear more about it and gt updates – I honestly can’t wait for it.

I could go on and on about how much Gwen has influenced my work and my outlook, but I’ll let the video of her home and studio, below, reflect her amazing spirit.

Look for all the little touches she pulls together like grace notes in this home and studio space – like an antique Chinese chest in the pantry because she wants to look at something beautiful when she’s in the kitchen.

Lyn Belisle visits Gwen Fox in her Taos home and studio from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

I’m headed back to Texas tomorrow but I always feel inspired when I spend time with Gwen. Do subscribe to her list and follow her wise advice for every artist.

There’s something else that inspired me while I was here – fly fishing! I‘ll tell you about that in an upcoming post. It was a total surprise.

James Wyatt Hendricks update

Beloved SHARD readers,

I want to let you know ASAP that James and I decided to change the date of his 2017 Artist of the Year exhibit opening from the 3rd of September to the 10th of September after we realized that the Labor Day Weekend holiday might prevent some of his collectors and fans (like ME) from attending the opening.

The press releases haven’t been sent out yet, so only you will know that the date was changed. Again, if you want to be included on the opening invitation list, send me an email.

CLICK here for the new info!

 

 

Studio visit – James Wyatt Hendricks, SAAL&M 2017 Artist of the Year

James Wyatt Hendricks has been named the 2017 Artist of the Year for the San Antonio Art League & Museum. Lucky us!

And lucky me to get to visit his Alamo Street studio yesterday. Wow! I encourage you to mark your calendar right now for the opening of his exhibition at SAAL&M on Sunday, September 10th, 3-5 pm. It’s going to be a blockbuster!

James’s sculpture in progress for Laurel Ridge Hospital – huge sheet of metal balanced by incredibly detailed birds

James’s works ranges from mammoth steel sculptures to incredibly delicate Prisamacolor drawings. With 30 years of experience as an artist and craftsman his art is expansive and eclectic.

Frida lamp by James Wyatt Hendricks – I’m in line for the next one!

In a recent interview, James said,

“I work at my studio on a wide range of mediums that include oil painting, stone carving, forged steel, cast bronze, printmaking and traditional welding. I am considered a master craftsman, and I take my work very seriously.”

We talked about the fact that both of us share a background in commercial design – and that both of us worked as illustrators for the Express-News. James has an amazing ability to switch from teeny tine detail design on his Mac to welding huge sheets of steel.

It’s impressive to see him at work in his studio. Here’s a short video of some of the cool things I saw yesterday during our visit.

Studio Visit with James Wyatt Hendricks from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

James is so engaging and talks about his work with an insight and sensitivity that is totally authentic – you will enjoy meeting him. You can read more about his work in this article from the Express-News.

As I said, this is going to be a blockbuster exhibit at the San Antonio Art League & Museum on September 10th. Invitations will go out later in August. Email me if you’d like to be on the list.

And you are not to late to catch the last two weeks of “Visions of Summer”, the current exhibit  at the Art League – through July 30th!

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