What the heck IS an “Interactive eBook,” anyway ???

I’m happy-dancing about the reviews for my bestselling interactive eBook, Postcards to Myself.  It’s the perfect way to practice your art when in-person workshops aren’t possible.

But what the heck is an “Interactive eBook” and how does it work??

Basically, you purchase a PDF file of the book here, download it to your own computer, read it at your own pace, and follow the embedded links to see the workshop videos in whatever order and how ever many times that you want.. Watch this short explanation!

Video Link – What is an Interactive eBook?

Here’s how the online purchase process works. It’s super-safe and super-easy – watch this.

Video Link – Buying and Downloading an Interactive eBook

Now, let’s say that the worst happens – you pay for the book, but it somehow gets lost in the download or you can’t find the file. Just email me, and I will send you a new copy as an attachment. But I seriously doubt you’ll run into trouble with the download.

Click here for more about Postcards to Myself, including the purchase link

If you’ve never used an Interactive eBook, I’d love to have you start with Postcards to Myself, of course 🙂 Here are reviews from artists who are trying this “postcard” method of mixed-media compositions just so you’ll know it’s working for people who are downloading it:

  • Great idea, wonderful instructor. This is more than an eBook, it’s a class! (Eva Macie)
  • Lyn, you are an incredibly generous teacher! I felt like I was getting a front row seat as you shared your various processes and let me even watch how you fixed a piece that didn’t work out like you had planned. I just loved this class.  (Linda Harris)
  • If you enjoy making collages and if you have time to work on some collage projects, my friend Lyn Belisle is a wonderful artist who wrote an e-book on making collages. It is called “Postcards to Myself” — https://www.lynbelisle.com/ebooks.html I have gone through the first part of her e-book and here is a photo of my first collage. I used photos of my mother in the 1920’s. (Linda Moody)

Linda Moody, Tulsa, OK

As a life-long teacher, I think this “postcard method” is a fun way to discover your potential for doing your best work. You don’t need fancy materials, and you’ll find lots of “right answers” in your creative experimentation.

So that’s how Interactive eBooks work. I think they are a great way to learn because they are a combination of words and videos that you can return to time and time again.

Thanks for making Postcards to Myself so successful. I’d love to hear from you! Stay safe, trust yourself, and trust the process.

♥Lyn

Workshop Update – Meow

THE MYSTICAL CAT SHAMAN IS BACK!

The Mystical Cat Shaman Workshop was first offered in 2016 as part of the Artful Gathering summer class program. When the Artful Gathering group scattered, I decided to bring this popular class back to a new audience.

The NEW Cat Shaman workshop will be available until August 1, 2020 for $39 tuition, which is about half of its previous cost. In this new version, I have updated the handouts and added to them. The videos, for the most part, are the original ones, almost three hours of detailed instruction.

You can read more about it on my website. There is a free lesson from the workshop available that might help you decide if you want to create some feline magic. Ask your cat if she wants to help. Yeah, right 🙂

Click here for the CAT SHAMAN WORKSHOP info.

And there are new Cat Face Shards in my Etsy Shop!

If you decide to take the workshop, I will show you how to make your own cat faces, step-by-step, using about four or five different techniques. That’s always the best way to do it, learning for yourself.

But if you want to purchase some Cat Shaman from my Etsy shop, great!

I’ve added some new cat faces using the mold I made in the the original workshop. They are kiln-fired earthenware and they come in three finishes. They’re $9 each and there is a limit of 2 (I have only 30 right now).

You may find that they are sold out when you go to the Etsy shop. I sent an advance notice to my private email list last night, and the cats are going like hotcakes. 🙂

However, I’m making more earthenware cat faces today and they should be fired and  ready to go by Saturday. I’ll re-list them ASAP. (And if you’d like to be on my email list for previews and updates, you’re welcome to sign up).

Last note – I’m finally internalizing the reality of these times. Sigh. It’s going to be a long summer and fall without in-person interaction.

As a social creature and an artist who cherishes the company of my circle of friends and co-creators, I miss the times we could really look at each other’s work, touch the textures, laugh and hug in person.

But if there was ever a time to count our blessings, this is it. Be safe, trust yourself and trust the process, and take good care!

A free workshop on Teachable – Spread the Word

The events of the past two weeks have been unsettling and rocky, and perhaps that is necessary in order to prioritize some important discussions that are long overdue. I can’t presume to speak with any sense of understanding, but I can listen and encourage the discussion through art. You can, too. Read on to see how you can sign up for a free workshop.

It occurred to me that WORDS are potent agents of change in difficult times.

And that reminded me of a project I did a long time ago with my high school art students which elevated meaningful words to artwork. It involved choosing a “mantra” word as the basis for a symbolic collage.  This can encourage a lot of good discussions about personal values. Here’s a digital example of that project using the word “Justice.”

We’ve seen a lot of that word lately:

One thing I CAN do to participate in the discussion is teach about how we can communicate with artso over the past week, I’ve created an absolutely free workshop on Teachable called “Spread The Word.”  The idea, based on my lesson with students, is to choose a word that has meaning and making it into art to share.

I worked this project myself before I started filming the lessons on how to do it. I chose the word “breathe.” Breath is life and must be honored and protected. Here is my finished artwork:

This piece is made from several kinds of cut paper. It’s 11 x 14″ and putting it together was really an easy process. You can do this with almost any word. How about using the word “Dad” for a Father’s Day art collage?

This workshop, as I said, is absolutely free. You can take it just for the experience without any agenda at all.

It’s an engaging and easy technique that everyone loves. You can make a word collage of your own name or a friend’s name. You may, like I did, choose a word that helps you reflect on how we treat each other in this incredibly difficult time – a word like “unity” or “love.” Whatever you like. No experience or special materials required.

If you want some inspiration, here is a good post on words about social justice on the site Astronomy in Color. Some of them I hadn’t hard of, but I know about them now.

The free workshop, Spread The Word, opens today on my Teachable site and will be up until the 4th of July. You just need to sign up at the link below.

SPREAD THE WORD

If you’d like to share the word art that you create, I’d love to post it on my website in the Spread The Word Gallery page. Just email me a photo of your work before July 4th.

Spread the word. We’re all in this together.

 

 

Sign up for Small Worlds – and last chance to enter Postcards drawing

Happy weekend! I wanted to send out a couple of reminders before tomorrow.

cove

If you haven’t signed up for the drawing for a free copy of my new interactive video eBook, Postcards to Myself, time runs out at midnight tonight. I’ll draw three names tomorrow for three free downloads of the book.

It’s getting  great response, which pleases me to no end, because it’s a book I wish I’d had when I started working in mixed media years ago.

ALSO —

My second Artful Gathering mixed-media class, “Small Worlds,” is up on Teachable and attracting good sign-ups – if you haven’t looked at the workshop, it’s a useful one, especially for people with small work spaces.

Here’s a sneak preview of Video Four from that workshop:

Video Link

As I was watching the Small World videos and remembering how much fun it was to work with Citra-Solv, it occurred to me that the product might not be available because of the pandemic. But Citra-Solv is still is readily available in health food stores, online, and at Amazon.

This is a user-friendly class for every level of experience and  and has techniques that will serve you well in almost any medium.

Finally, Here’s an inspirational graphic for you to download if you like – I’ve been trying to learn new versions of Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, and this little poster is my latest experiment. The quote appealed to me.  Robert Henri was an early 20th-Century American Painter who wrote a book called The Art Spirit (1923) which I have and highly recommend.

Download Poster (8.5 x 11″)

I hope you’re keeping your OWN spirits up, keeping safe,and keeping busy!

♥Lyn

 

 

Postcards to Myself – and two workshops on Teachable

Thank goodness for cyberspace! Otherwise I’d be a sad teacher with an empty workshop studio. But fortunately, I’ve got a three new online workshops to tell you about.

First, thanks to everyone who ordered my new interactive eBook, Postcards to Myself, which just came out. And special thank for helping me tweak it! The response has been great – a new comment came in just yesterday, “This is one of the best workshops I’ve ever taken, it’s full of ideas and very thoughtfully done.” Yay, thanks, Rosmary!

An “interactive eBook” is an interesting critter – you download a PDF document that looks like a hard copy, but it also has links on its pages that take you to a video that shows you what you’ve been reading about.

At $18, it’s a real bargain for people who like both reading instructions and watching demonstrations.

Here’s a sample page from the book:

And here’s an example of the video clip on that page:

Link to Video 16 from Postcards to Myself by Lyn Belisle from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

You can order it here. And . . . .

I’M GIVING AWAY THREE FREE COPIES OF POSTCARDS TO MYSELF THIS SUNDAY – WANT TO ENTER THE DRAWING? CLICK HERE.

But wait! There’s more! (as always)

I have two workshops online at my new Teachable site, Lyn Belisle Studio. Both workshops are new versions of classes that I’ve taught at Artful Gathering in recent summers. Now that Artful Gathering faculty has scattered, I’ve brought back those classes at (ahem) really low prices so more people can enjoy them. They are all such fun, and each class has about two hours of instruction.

Teachable is super-easy to use.  The first introductory workshop – still only $10 – is about making unique portfolios –  “Story in a Story.” More than 30 people have already signed up for that one. Here’s what that looks like once you’ve signed up:

The second workshop, Small Worlds: Altered paper landscape collages, just went live last night. This was one of the most popular workshops at my old Studio. If you haven’t played with Citra-solv papers, you will love this one. Tuition for that one is $29, which is a lot less than the Artful Gathering price of $89.

Like all my Teachable workshops, it’s self paced and you can download any of the videos or just watch them online wherever you want.

When times get strange and scary and sad, we get comfort in doing what we love, and I love teaching. Right now, I’m putting together a free mini-workshop called Spread the Word. You’ll hear about that one soon, but it’s my small way to teach about sharing kindness through words.

So sign up for a workshop! This old schoolteacher needs students <grin>. And have a nice weekend. I could not do without you – and this wonderful community.

(from the Small Worlds workshop :))

 

 

The results are in . . . thank you so much!

What a great response to my plea for help in my last post! We must trust and rely on each other in times like this, for sure, and your input on what online workshops should look like was invaluable.

Here are two charts from your responses (my geek side took over while I was compiling these stats). The first one shows suggested workshop topics by most votes – #5, Mixed Media on Paper, had the most, but everyone liked pretty much everything.

This shows preferred method of deliveryonline classes with several videos and eBooks with videos tied for favorites. Excellent. Those are my faves, too.

These results mirror the topics and methods I love in my own teaching and learning. The new Postcards to Myself eBook with Videos is coming out in just five days. –

And you can sign up for one of my online classes with several videos today if you want to help give more feedback.

Here’s the deal:

I have been researching a platform called Teachable, like it a lot, and have put up a new “school” there called Lyn Belisle Studio. And — as a first move, I’ve decided to add the mixed-media workshops I made from my Artful Gathering classes from the last four or five years to the new “school.”
Artful Gathering, as some of you may remember, was a wonderful organization (thanks, Zinnia!) that subscribers purchased every summer. The faculty, including me, taught various intensive mixed-media online workshops for a period of about six weeks for each class.
While Artful Gathering sponsored and managed the events, the content remains the property of the instructors. It seemed a shame to me that more people couldn’t see those classes now that the Artful Gathering instructors have scattered.
So, I am going to make the classes I designed for AG available again on the Teachable platform all year round and at a lower price. Makes sense? I’ll also be developing new courses but this will get us off to a fast start with fun video workshops.
The first workshop that I’ve made available is called Story in a Story, and it has been reworked to fit the Teachable platform. What a learning experience that was!
There are ten videos totaling a little over two hours which show all kinds of techniques for creating portfolio covers for your kindle or iPad – or for whatever you want! I’ll put a link for the promo at the bottom. So . . . .
  • I’m asking some of you to help me test-drive this new workshop platform
  • I’m currently using the trial version of Teachable, which allows me to have just 10 students – later on, I can have an unlimited number
  • Before I pay the monthly fee for Teachable, I want to make sure you like it – I need your feedback
  • The Story in a Story course is available for registration right now, but again, registration is limited to ten students
  • The workshop price will normally be $39, but right now it’s $10 just to see how the payment process works and all of that – again, limit 10
  • If you would like to register, I will pass on your $10 tuition  to the San Antonio Food Bank (later, the tuition will be $39 and will go toward paying the Teachable platform fee).
  • If you are one of the ten students, please help me with comments on how you think it works, how easy it is to access the videos – all of that stuff.
  • You will help me immensely with my decision to go with the paid version of Teachable going forward. Oh, and I can have classes by other instructors there too – like Lesta Frank and Michelle Belto! It’s exciting.

Here are the relevant links:

If you’d like to register for the Story in a Story Workshop on Teachable for $10 (which will then go to the Food Bank) follow this link and scroll to the bottom for Featured Courses (there’s just one so far):
If you’d like to see the original class promo before you consider signing up to test drive the workshop, go here to Vimeo:
I’ll get notifications from Teachable when you sign up and will make a class email list for your feedback. No pressure, just thanks for considering this. I need your help to know how best to bring you new workshops.
Oh, and the next two Artful Gathering workshops to go up on Teachable if all this works will be the Citra-solv collage class and the Mystical Cat Shaman class! Those should be up in the next week or two, tuition $39.

One more thing- from all the names that submitted suggestions and data, Rosemary Uchniat is the randomly chosen winner of the lovely Johnny Was mask! Rosemary, decide whether you like the blue one or the green one, and I will get it in the mail to you.

Thanks for listening to all of this. There are important things going on in our world.  We are all learning – together.

 

♥Lyn

 

 

Chop wood, carry water

Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” — Zen Buddhism 

I have a book called Chop Wood, Carry Water that I bought decades ago. It still helps me remember to focus on the things I can control in my day-to-day life, and to try to do those things with a full heart, to keep on keepin’ on.

So I’ve found comfort, as usual, in art and teaching. Now that my duties as President of the San Antonio Art League are over, there’s more time to return to those beloved foundations.

The new eBook workshop I’ve been putting together, called Postcards to Myself, will be finished by June 10th. I’ve been working on it since February, off and on.

It’s actually kind of metaphorical. First, you make a big, mixed-up picture with lots of words and images, and then you focus only on the most beautiful small areas and take notes on why those little parts make your heart sing. This helps us remember that there are little patches of beauty in today’s crazy-quilt of chaos.

Anyway, before I get too carried away, here’s a short clip that tells you more about this interactive eBook book and the 19 (!) videos. Or if you like, just skip to the bottom of this post where I have a question for you.

VIDEO LINK

Here’s the question – I’ve been talking with friends in my circle (Lesta Frank and Michelle Belto among them) about how we can continue our work in art and teaching during this time of physical distancing and beyond, into whatever the “new normal” might look like. Interactive eBooks (like the one above) can almost substitute for an in-person workshop, as can online classes and Zoom critique groups.

As part of this change, I’m updating my own email list so that anyone interested in sharing their thoughts and getting further information about all of this can be included in the discussion. I won’t be sending out a zillion newsletters or anything like that – who has time? – but I may send occasional updates on new classes and collaborations from my studio and with other artists like Lesta and Michelle. And I’ll be asking what you think.

If you’d like to be included in future updates, just click this link to submit your email.

And there’s more! If you submit you email (and optional comments) before Friday, I’ll put your name in a drawing to win a lovely new face mask from Johnny Was. Winner announced Friday afternoon, shipped to you or available for pickup.

In the meantime, chop wood, carry water, put one foot in front of the other, and keep on keepin’ on safely and kindly. Thanks for your help.

 

Postcards to Myself – take a second look at a mess

So my next big project is called “Postcard to Myself” and it’s an expansion of a workshop I taught several years ago, this time in eBook form with eight or ten fun instructional videos embedded in the pages.

The idea is that we all have artwork that we make along our journey as artists, and every time we create, we learn something worth remembering. Not everything is worth saving and storing as a finished piece, obviously, but experiments can be saved in postcard size 5×7″ format with notes on the back about the process – what worked, what didn’t, and what were the profound surprises. These are the “postcards to myself.”

It’s kind of a different way to art journal, I guess. Every piece is an inspiration and a reminder of where we’ve been and what we’d like to remember. I should be finished with the eBook and videos by the end of June and will be asking some of you for reviews before it goes up for sale (cheap) on my website.

Anyway, part of the process besides writing the book is the experimenting and note taking. Yesterday, I was playing with an ink-jet transfer technique using matte medium. Here’s the image I found on Flickr Commons that I wanted to use.

I got the “bright” idea to undercoat the surface with white tempera paint before I did the acrylic medium transfer.

Well, duh. The tempera paint just kind of glopped into the gel and it was a big mess when I tried to peel of the transfer image.

Oh, well — there was a big fat failure. Until . . . .as the gloppy paper dried, the figure with its veil of tempera started to emerge a bit. I smoothed it out and gave it another look.

What if I cropped it and enhanced it just a bit with a wash of Quinacridone Azo Gold acrylic (aka “Secret Sauce“)?

This is the result – not a masterpiece by any means, but a 5×7 “postcard to myself” about an accidental process that has possibilities. I took notes to remind myself how this happened to attach to the back of the work.

Here’s the piece in a mat. I always encourage you to view your work this way when you can in order to isolate it, elevate its status, and give yourself a new perspective on possibilities.

So that’s an example of how a “postcard” might be useful when you’re working out of your comfort zone. And if it doesn’t work, you don’t have to let anybody know – although you can still make a note.

I’m going to end this post with a video about image transfer that I did back in the Old Studio days. The process uses matte medium and actually seems to be successful most of the time – here it is:

Video Link

Stay safe, stay in touch!

 

 

 

 

Here’s to YOU, Old Chap . . .

Sorry about the corny title, but I wanted to share a little tutorial with you about how to make a chapbook journal.

Chapbooks by Lyn

I made the video for my friend Alexandria van de Kamp, Executive Director of Gemini Ink, San Antonio’s Literary Arts Center. She loved it and thought it might be a fun project for poets and writers. I thought that most artists could always use another small journal, too.

This one requires nothing more than 20 minutes and uses materials that you have already: paper, string, scissors, a glue stick, magazines or other collage stuff.

Here’s how to do it, Old Chap:

Video Link

And if you missed it on Facebook, here’s another helpful video (OK, so it’s a commercial for my eBook, Wax & Words) that will give you some composition tips that you can use on the cover of your chapbook.

Video Link

As I say in the chapbook tutorial, these little journals are so easy to make for yourself and for friends. Make several and record your cheery thoughts about quarantine, plague. . . . .oh, wait, never mind. We are artists! We create joy!

HERE ARE SOME QUOTES TO INSPIRE YOUR CHAPBOOK MUSINGS:

  • “Because most artists are ‘sensitive’ in every sense of the word, if you don’t take charge, negative emotion can ruin you.” (Gaye Adams)
  • “I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.” (Winston Churchill)
  • “When asked if my cup is half-full or half-empty my only response is that I am thankful I have a cup.” (Sam Lefkowitz)

Stay safe, everyone – hope to see you soon! And dare I say, “May the Fourth be with you” ? ♥♥♥

Mexican Folk Art to Color – have fun!!

A long, long time ago (1987) I worked with Dr, Marion Oettinger at the San Antonio Museum of Art to produce a coloring book of some of the engaging pieces of art in the brand new Latin American Folk Art collection given to SAMA by Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller. The Museum itself was only a few years old then.

I was working as a free-lance Illustrator for the San Antonio Express News at the time, and this was a fantastic chance to go behind the scenes at the museum to get a first-hand look at this comprehensive collection. Fun!

Long story short, earlier this week while I was doing my hunkered-down-at-home book organizing routine, I came across a copy of the coloring book we did. It’s called, appropriately enough, “Coloring the Folk Art of Mexico” and it was published by my dear friend David Bowen, whom so many of us still remember.

There are lots of folk art coloring books these days, but back then it was a novelty. We did a second printing with a different cover, but here’s the original version.

And here are a few original images from that coloring book for you to download and color (oh, boy!!) – you’ll be enhancing a little bit of San Antonio history with every mark you make!

Click on the download link below the small images to open and print the page-sized versions. The Devil Biker is my favorite. The Siesta one is the easiest to color. Staying in the lines is NOT required.

Download the Blouse

Download the Delivery Man

Download the Devil Biker

Download the Jar

Download SiestaTime

HAVE FUN COLORING . . .  AND TAKE GOOD CARE in your safe shelters !!