TRY IT! 7-Day Found Object Challenge for Composition Competence

Say THAT three times fast – anyway, this is fun! And it takes practically no time at all each day. It will sharpen your observation skills and boost your composition fluency.

HOW THIS STARTED (you probably do the same sort of thing):

So, I take walks every morning and most afternoons and often find a small object along the way  – like a rock or dried leaf –  that intrigues me. Sometime I put it in my pocket, sometimes I just look at it and leave it.

Last week, I challenged myself to choose one found object a day, bring it home, and see how the daily objects might fit together at the end of the week.

There’s a table inside my front door where I often drop stuff, and here was where I put the first object. (You’ll need a designated spot, too, for your daily objects.)

Monday’s object was a piece of thick layered cardboard, which I first thought was a little book. I found it in the street by my sidewalk and it had been run over a few times and flattened nicely.

Monday – flattened cardboard fragment

Tuesday’s object was a dried leaf that had the most gorgeous rust-patina colors and was curved like an umbrella.

Tuesday – interesting dried leaf

On Wednesday, I thought I had found a bird’s egg by the driveway of a neighbor’s house, but it turned out to be a seed pod of some kind. I brought it home to add to the collection.

Thursday’s find was a slightly grubby bird feather, which is always a nice touch.

Thursday – bird feather, probably a dove?

On Friday, I brought home another seed pod thingy – this one look kind of like a bird.

Seed pod, probably Magnolia

Saturday’s and Sunday’s finds were rather similar for no particular reason – a rolled leaf, and a stick with no bark on either end.

Then came Sunday, which was Composition Practice Day – I  started arranging the seven objects in different configurations on a black piece of paper, then photographing the experimental arrangements with my phone camera.

Important point – there is more than one right answer! This is the great fun of solving art problems versus math problems!

This one may have been my favorite, but that could change depending on how the composition was going to be used:

I also tried the objects on a white background.

It’s instructive to note what works for you balance? Scale? Horizontal versus vertical? symmetrical versus asymmetrical? Stacked versus separate?

You can save your favorite photographs and use them as inspiration for paintings (you already know that the composition works!) or as backgrounds for digital art – here’s one example that I did from the photo on the right, above.

I would love to see examples from all of you who want to play with this idea.

You don’t have to wait until a Monday to start! You just need to choose one object a day without thinking about how it will go with anything else. Choose it just because you like it. When you start your arrangements, document them with photos, and send your favorites to me.

Go to my website (CLICK BELOW) to submit photos of your own 7-Day Found Object Challenge for Composition Competence. I’ll put together an online gallery on September 1st.

FOUND OBJECTS CHALLENGE LINK

I can’t wait to see what you find!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screens and shelters as art

archaeological excavation shelter

screen panels of heavy paper and sticks

As part of my work with the “Unearthed” series, I’ve been working with panels of paper, wax, sticks and silk to construct three-dimensional sculptural objects that can be configured in different ways.

This has become a very exciting project for me, informed and inspired by shelters and screens for archaeological excavations as well as the idea of versatile art panels that can be viewed from many perspectives to conceal and reveal.

Here’s one that is almost finished. It is large, about four feet long and two feet high.

Lyn Belisle, Shelter Screen #1, 48″ x 36″ Paper, wax, silk, pigment, and sticks

This is a close-up of the surface of one of the panels – torn silk is adhered with beeswax to squares of archeological symbols printed on paper. It’s multilayered and complex. The surface is meant to suggest ancient shards and scraps that have been collected and stuck to experimental surfaces for further study.

Detail, “Shelter Screen #2”

Another great thing about working with these kinds of panels is that each panel has two sides. Here is the reverse side of that piece.

“Shelter Screen #2”, reverse side

The artwork can be displayed on a wall as a four-panel work, or it can be configured on a pedestal or table as a three-dimensional object.

Here is another Shelter Screen in the series that also has two different-sided surfaces. This one is slightly smaller, about 3.5′ long.

Lyn Belisle, “Shelter Screen #3”, Paper, wax, sticks, acrylic, pigment

The back of this screen features photos of one of my earthenware face shards in a series of altered photographs.

“Shelter Screen #3”, reverse side

And it can be hung, or folded or tied into a square with either side out!

Because I have very limited studio time these days with all of the Art League duties, I find that working with these shelter panels is like meditation. Each one that I construct is slightly different, and when they are stitched or hinged together, their possibilities are endless.

I love the way this process grounds me back to the basics of building. And the fact that they are inspired by archeological screen and shelters gives them a deeper meaning.

Here is my second “Unearthed” sculpture displayed in front of a Shelter Screen – they were obviously meant to be together!

It’s as if the past is reaching out into the present, giving me guidance. Maybe “Nine Antlers” has a hand in all of this!

“I held my breath as we do sometimes to stop time when something wonderful has touched us…” ~ Mary Oliver

RIP

 

A new website – and it’s mine, all mine!

TAH-DAH!! New studio, new website - life is bueno!

TAH-DAH!! New studio, new website – life is bueno!

Whew! My new website is finished (or as finished as those things ever get – tweak tweak). Take a look!

coverweb

I built it myself so I could include things like links to my Etsy page and a “Your Page” place to show video tutorials for you guys. It also has a super easy link to the Behind the Veil encaustic collage ebook, which makes downloading a snap.

Creating a new site was hard, but worth it! And it works sooooo much better than the old website, which had been around since the dawn of the Internet.

SHARDS readers are the first to see this, and I would greatly appreciate any feedback or suggestions, positive or negative (sometimes negative is a very good thing).

Yeah, I know the studio workshops aren’t up yet, but they will be soon, and the check-out process should be simple and easy.

So here’s the link – thanks for checking it out!! And stay warm and dry this weekend – here in South Texas it’s gonna get nasty – brrrrrrrr.

Circles of connection

Saturday’s Show & Tell was the best kind of connected circle – it seemed as if everyone had a story or an idea that made the collective group smile and even applaud. When you begin with Vicki Siptak’s beautiful necklaces made from socks (1) and end with thoughts from a poet about imagery, words, and art, what’s not to love? Join us for the next one if you can on Saturday, August 29th (2-4 pm), and connect with this creative circle at my Studio. Here’s a video from Saturday.

kimAnother connected circle is getting really huge, as in International – that’s the Spirit Doll connection. It started for me with Joanna Powell Colbert in 2012 and her order for faces from my Etsy site. She and I both started teaching Spirit Doll classes, and the word spread. I’ve sent shard faces to many countries and  just got these photos from Jo Rockendorfer, who recently taught a Spirit Doll class in Sydney, Australia – here’s here description: “The red doll is Hummingbird Medicine, the green/blue was for a friend after she did a healing ritual and the last and most recent is Sophia Goddess of Wisdom”

I love the fact that Texas clay enhances Jo’s beautiful work from Australia – and if you’re reading this, you’re connected, too, in our circle – lucky me! Circles unify, art connects –  life is good. Have a great week.

 

Beacon Hill Art Walk – ups and downs

 

aw3Hooray! There were many more Ups that Downs yesterday. The only little downs were the really strong winds that spontaneously rearranged the artwork every fifteen minutes, and the high temperatures. But hundreds of people turned out for the eighty or ninety artists who showed on the streets and in the courtyards of Beacon Hill.

 

Among the highlights – I saw an old friend from Chicago, Sharon Bostick. She lived on Beacon Hill for many years and happened to be in town for the show, looked me up, and voila! Sharon and her husband purchased several pieces. Thanks, Sharon! An unexpected highlight came from the Art Walk committee who visited my spot and awarded me with yellow ribbon for third place in show – wow! Not bad for this first-time non-Boston newbie. Thanks, Committee!

aw

I could not have done the show without friends Pat Semmes and Danny Sanchez who helped haul the stuff (including tables) up and down the brick sidewalks. I think after all was said and done I sold ten pieces, got a very nice award,  met some super artists (who said that it was more of a looking day than buying day, but still . . .) and will definitely apply for next year. I’ll be back, jurors willing and the creek don’t rise.  Here are some more photos:

Art Show on Sunday – you’re invited

I’m hanging on Sacred Ground – well, actually, I’m hanging my *work* this afternoon for Sunday’s Sacred Ground art opening at the Cathedral House Gallery along with a really special group of artist friends. Please come! One of my pieces in particular has surprised me. It’s the encaustic painting I did at Michelle’s workshop. I’ve been experimenting, and think it’s finished, but I’m very new at encaustic (painting with wax), so who knows. Anyway, it’s going in the show, it’s the first and one-and-only encaustic I’ve shown, and its title is Wax and Wings:

Hope to see you Sunday – it’s a beautiful place and there will be a wonderful meditation walk followed by a wine and cheese reception – truly Sacred Ground.

ALSO- the info and registration for the Transfer Workshop is up. I had a lot of interest in this. It’s a ways away (June 30) but sign up now if you want to come. Here’s a preview of what we’ll be doing – it’s super fun and fail-proof:

IMG_3573

FINALLY – (honest) – The Summer Newsletter is posted on the website. I think most of you are on that list, but if you want more info on Pablo Solomon, Eileen’s workshop, upcoming openings and such, click here.

Happy Friday dance – bye for now!!

 

 

 

Workshop video – we learned so much

It’s astonishing how much happened in two short days. Here’s the complete video of our weekend workshop at the Studio. Michelle Belto’s spiritual and physical energy took us on an unforgettable journey of artistic discovery!

 

I need to, I should . .arg!

It’s one of those “I need to” mornings right before the Hildegard: Art and Soul Workshop which begins at 10:00 this morning at the Studio – incredibly good timing, because it is much needed.  “I need to post a Friday Freebie – oops, too late – I need to fold up the laundry – oops, forgot to put it in the dryer, it’s probably all stinky – oh, no.” Have you ever been swamped by so much stuff that you can’t talk yourself out of panic mode? I’m not quite there yet, but am on the outskirts. However, after visiting with Michelle Belto yesterday about the workshop plans, there’s hope, because she could calm and refocus anybody. Check out her blog post on Viewpoint and Perspective. It makes me wonder why we don’t give our own selves permission to chill out once in a while, like Michelle did at the Spurs game. I’ll report back from the workshop as a new, improved serene ME.

On that very topic, Here’s a link to upcoming Studio events – lots of cool stuff- actually, being frazzled is sometimes productive. I keep telling myself that the best research papers I ever wrote in college were the ones I did the night before they were due. Yeah, sure.

Your Saturday order-of-the-day is to do something relaxing for yourself. Get a pedicure – guys, too! Eat some gelato, that yummy salty caramel kind! In the meantime,convincing myself that things are getting done, I did finish the five Guardian pieces – they will go to the Cathedral House exhibit on the 19th of this month along with some other small paintings. Here’s a phone shot as I was leaving the Studio last night – whew! Happy Saturday 🙂

guardians

 

Gloria Hill: Guest Artist for April

I’m honored to feature my long-time friend, Gloria Hill, whose expressive abstract paintings have blossomed in 2013. She started working with me at the Studio in February (I hesitate to say “taking lessons” because I learn as much from her as she does from me). Gloria grasps an idea and makes it her own. She is dedicated and amazingly prolific considering that she has a demanding full-time career as North East ISD’s Director of Visual Art where her art teachers and students win state and national awards. Gloria is, thankfully, finding time for her own art, and boy, is she good! Her paintings (below) speak for themselves, but this is what she has to say about her personal creative journey:

“We all have to start somewhere and I feel that I am at the gathering stage in my work.  I am motivated by the strong urge to create.  I hope that through the process of discovering, gathering, creating, experimenting, searching, failing, and learning I will develop the tools, techniques, and processes to better express myself.   I know who I am and am happy with me.  I never want to stop growing and learning and I am finding that my art is taking me down the path I want to travel.  It is giving me joy, inner peace, confidence, and a feeling of personal accomplishment.”

Thank you, Glo, for sharing your talent and inspiring work!

Paintings at the SoL (Source of Light) Center

I was invited last fall to exhibit my work at the Sol Center, the education outreach of the University Presbyterian Church, in April and May of 2013.  That’s right now!This morning, I was literally painting the edges of a canvas minutes before it was time to go hang the work.Whew! Done in the nick of time.

The SoL Center a beautiful facility with a high domed ceiling. The track hanging system is unique. There are wires that hang down from the crown molding that have hook-y clamp-y things that slide up and down the cables. The whole installation process took less than an hour with help  from some of the great people on the UPC art committee. The show will be up through May. Here’s a look – and it’s up for Easter Sunday!