Summer art camp registration is OPEN!

This summer, I’ll be teaching two workshops in a very special classroom at Artful Gathering, my fifth year there. Several of my friends have already registered – hi, Gaye, hi Joanna, hi Aileen!

Lots of people ask me about Artful Gathering – what exactly is it?? Well,  it’s an annual online art retreat that draws students from all over the world to virtual art studio classrooms where they interact with artists like Leslie Marsh, Debby Anderson, Keith Lo Bue – and me!

This year’s Artful Gathering theme is “Nature,” and I’m teaching two summer sessions this go-round. The first one, from June 6-July 17th is called Natural Expressions: Evocative Portraits using Nature’s Palette with Beeswax. It’s a comprehensive workshop that combines beeswax and rust with mixed media portraits. It also has two tech tutorials that show you where to find copyright-free images and then how to manipulate them with vintage effects – without Photoshop!

Here’s the description:

Session One: June 6 – July 17
Lyn Belisle guides you through the steps for creating mixed media portraits with natural materials, including layered beeswax. You’ll learn how to enhance digital images, tinting, preparing small stretched canvas substrates for layered collage, assembling a wrapped mat around a canvas substrate as well as attaching natural objects to a mat and integrating them into the mixed media composition.

And here’s a video clip that I lifted from the class introduction that shows you some of the things we will play with:

The tuition for this five-week class is $110, kinda like two regular workshops in my studio. If you’ve never participated in a virtual classroom before, it’s really fun. You can work at your own pace, but you can also have conversations with me and the other students at any time in our discussion forum during the five-week session. Here’s a link that will answer all of your questions about registration.

Click on the image below to go to the Directory of all the classes – heck, you might want to take somebody else’s class – my pal Michelle Belto is teaching one this summer, too!

I hope to see you at Artful Gathering – it’s a summer art camp without the mosquitoes.

 

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In praise of nature

I’m lucky enough to live across the street from a woodland area, and when I go walking in the morning, my pockets are often filled with rocks or sticks or even little critter bones that I’ve picked up along the way.

These natural objects are like mysterious sentences in a story or lines in a poem without words. You do that, too – right?

Sometimes, these things end up in a big jar on my bookshelf, looking kinda creepy cool:

Jars of found nature objects on my bookshelves

Jars of found nature objects on my bookshelves – ok, so the face didn’t actually appear like that in nature 🙂

And sometimes, they end up in assemblages and little shrines.

Lyn Belisle: Nature Shrine

Lyn Belisle: Nature Shrine

So when Zinnia at Artful Gathering told our faculty that we would be teaching nature-themed classes this summer, I was ecstatic!! Artful Gathering is my favorite “summer camp” and online creative community. Here’s the description of my Nature Shrine class:

Session Two: July 16 – August 26

Lyn Belisle will show you how to make small shrine-like assemblages created from serendipitous finds in natural settings. Through the power of storytelling with symbols, Lyn will show you how to construct natural elements enhanced with her iconic air-dry faces. You’ll combine rocks and shards, twigs, leaves to create a meaningful non-verbal story.Then, using unconventional construction methods such as knotting, wiring and wrapping, you will create diverse surfaces on little 6 x 6 canvases that can be displayed in a variety of ways.

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As part of the Artful Gathering fun, we’re having a Blog Hop. That means that somewhere on my blog page, there’s a secret word for you to collect. It’s not too far, and when you collect all of the words, you can win truly nifty prizes. The secret word is right around here, AND it’s easy ( wink). Click here for more about the Blog Hop.

But wait, there’s more! In the first AG session, I’m teaching an encaustic portrait class called Natural Expressions – here’s the info:

LYN BELISLE_edited-1

Session One: June 6 – July 17
Lyn Belisle guides you through the steps for creating mixed media portraits with natural materials, including layered beeswax. You’ll learn how to enhance digital images, tinting, preparing small stretched canvas substrates for layered collage, assembling a wrapped mat around a canvas substrate as well as attaching natural objects to a mat and integrating them into the mixed media composition.

Obviously, I’d love to work with you in one or the other of these classes. We have an online classroom for questions and critiques and extra resources.

So here’s your homework:

1. See if you can find the “cleverly hidden” secret word to collect for the Blog Hop

2. Check out the Artful Gathering catalog to see the class offerings. Besides mine, there are some great classes by pals Debby Anderson, Michelle Belto, Monika Astara and Luthien Tye, among others.

3. Get out there in nature and collect a little object that calls to you and write a one-line poem about it!


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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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Tissue techniques and encaustic exploration

15We had a full house for yesterday’s Wax and Tissue workshop. Everyone was particularly interested in how to print images on delicate tissue paper. If you do an Internet search, you’ll find all kinds of methods to do this.

Most of the methods involve taping or tacking the tissue on all four sides to a sheet of regular copy paper. I just cut the paper slightly smaller than the copy paper, put two pieces of clear tape at the top, and run that sucker through the printer. So far, so good – I printed about 25 sheets for the workshop and had only two of them crunch up in the printer. Not bad odds considering how thin tissue paper is.

In my example below, you can see how the bird image, printed on tissue paper, becomes translucent when wax is applied over it. It’s always interesting to see how unpredictable the translucent images appear when wax is applied over them. Different kinds of tissue yield different results. I use just plain old wrapping tissue and I iron it first to get the creases out. Works like a charm.

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Lyn Belisle, demonstration piece done during wax and tissue workshop

You can see in my demo piece, above, that the bird image, which was printed on plain white tissue, has a translucency that conceals and reveals elements of the collage above and below it. In the workshop, we started with two opaque “anchor” images and then added layers of wax and tissue to build up our narratives. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience – everyone was experimenting and developing the best stories as the process evolved. Here’s the video – what do you think? Pretty cool, right?

If you’d like to see what the supply list looks like, you can go to Roses on my Table, a site developed by the fantastic Zinnia from Artful Gathering. Michelle Belto and I have an online class there on Wax and Tissue, but you don’t have to register for the class to get the supply list. You can just click on the Material and Supply List link to see both sources and “ingredients” for this project.

Encaustic Month at Lyn Belisle Studio ended on a high note! And mark your calendar for next Saturday’s Show and Tell from 2-4 pm. Happy Monday!

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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…..

 

 

eBook and Friday Freebie

TGIF, y’all – some of you hopefully downloaded the free eBook I did on Dimensional Collage for the Gaian Soul Retreat on Whidbey Island  in March. And some of you have asked for more information on my new beeswax collage process, especially since last weekend’s workshop was such a success.

3 So – tah dah! I’ve written a new eBook called Behind the Veil: Beeswax and Collage The 34-page PDF eBook describes my new encaustic process, gives suggestions for photo sources, and includes a gallery of examples.

This one isn’t free. I’m embarking on my first step toward a publishing empire – yahaha. Only kidding. But I did want to see how selling eBooks online worked, so I figured out how to set up a PayPal button on my website. And this little gem of a book can be yours for a mere $5.99. That’s less than a Double Meat Whataburger! I started to ask $6 but marketing people say do the 99 cent thingy. Here’s the link to my first-ever “eBooks For Sale” page.

beescoverwebadMy friend Rosemary, who encouraged me to get this thing done and out there, just read it and said, “It’s like being in the room with you!  Everything seems to be here, the pictures make it clear.  It’s really wonderful!” My first review! Yay!

Anyway, Behind the Veil: Beeswax and Collage is available on my website, and I will give away a free download as a Friday Freebie to one lucky subscriber to SHARDS, name to be drawn Sunday night.

If you decide to buy the eBook, and something doesn’t work, for heaven’s sake let me know! But so far, so good. Thanks for reading my blog!! Happy weekend.

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PhotoEncaustic – what I’m learning in school

To get prepared for my Beeswax Collage workshops, I’m taking a fairly intensive online course with PhotoEncaustic artist Clare O’Neill. There are about 24 people in the class, and we meet both on Facebook and in the online classroom to watch Clare’s videos and to question and critique our work. I love the flexibility of the class. We’re in our third week right now. Here’s a video of Clare’s work – you can see why I was attracted to it. She’s passionate about what she does and she’s a good teacher, too.

Here are three practice pieces that I’ve competed so far. The first and second ones are my own still-life photos and the third one is a vintage photo from Flickr Commons. I have a long way to go, but have already learned soooooo much from Clare and the other people in the class. (There are still some spaces in the second Beexwax Collage workshop on May 17th at my Studio if you want to sign up and see what I’ve learned) –

PhotoEncaustic 1 - Lyn Belisle - mounted on wood

PhotoEncaustic 1 – Lyn Belisle – mounted on wood

Tissue and wax PhotoEncaustic

 

 

 

 

Encaustic and vintage photo - Lyn Belisle

Encaustic and vintage photo – Lyn Belisle

NOTE: A great source for all things encaustic is my friend Michelle Belto’s book, Wax and Paper Workshop. All of her techniques and tips can be used with PhotoEncaustic, and it’s a perfect book for beginners who want to explore the possibilities of working with wax as an art form.

If you’d like a gentle introduction to the technique, Michelle and I have collaborated in an online class about Wax and Tissue if you’d like to check it out. Here’s the link – it’s at Roses on my Table art community. Online classes are really fun, particularly since you can learn at your own pace.

Back to the Wax!!

Living and learning

learning copySchool starts for me this week – as a teacher and a student! I go back to Trinity to teach my course in Essential Information Technology, and I’m taking an online photo-encaustic class from Clare O’Neill. The tuition for that one is rather steep, but I expect to learn a lot of new skills in both photography and encaustic that I can pass along to my own workshop participants. (Did somebody say “Old dog, new tricks?” – arf.)

If you’d like to experience an online class, do I have a deal for you! Michelle Belto, encaustic artist extraordinaine, and I have teamed up in an online offering called “Wax and Tissue.” You can see details here at Roses On My Table. It’s a good way to gently discover the encaustic process, and if you take a look at the materials list, you can see it’s not all that complicated. It’s a lot of fun, too – we had a great time making this video.

Online classes are easy to access and view (you get specific easy-to-follow directions) and you can look at them as often as you need to or want to. I like to watch the ones I take in sections so I can have “think breaks” in between.

“Wax and Tissue” has a lot of information (and a certain amount of goofiness – you know Michelle and me) and you can email us questions through the forum with the other students. The course costs $55, which is a *lot* less than the encaustic class I’m taking with Clare O’Neill – and definitely less than my Trinity students are paying for *their* tuition! Lifelong learning in the arts is truly priceless, especially when you can do it in your jammies. Think about joining us – OK, I”m off – gotta head to class!

Juried art shows – and how to make a crane (the bird kind)

Good news yesterday – one of my pieces was accepted for the International Encaustic Artists “Poetry Bleeds Rust” exhibit in at the NAWA Gallery in New York. Boy, am I surprised, first of all, because encaustic is a stretch for me, and secondly, the piece that was selected was not the one I expected to be, if any were. Here are the three pieces – which one do you think juror Jenn Dierdorf choose?

She chose the third piece, Rune and Relic – that’s the one I had to re-do because the first version didn’t fit the size retirement. I liked the one called Campfire Poems better, but there ya have it. If you decide enter a juried show, remember these things (I try to):

1. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally – put yourself in the juror’s place – it’s a tough job and opinions about art are extremely subjective and subject to one’s own taste. After all, you don’t like every piece you see in a gallery or museum, maybe not *any* of them.

2. If you are accepted, be grateful! But don’t start making every piece of art you do from then on just like the accepted piece – be true to yourself and continue on your own intuitive path, even if it veers off in another direction. Don’t let acceptance of one piece by a juror determine your limits.

3. Keep entering shows even if you don’t get in – it gives you a free critique, a new perspective, and a sense of professionalism. Both of my entries in this year’s San Antonio Art League show were rejected, but I figure they didn’t resonate with the juror. I liked them though, and I’ll keep working and submitting. So there! Neener neener 🙂

And now, for your weekend folding pleasure, here’s one from the vault, a video tutorial I did for a friend two years ago before I had the big Studio. It’s a five-minute origami crane – can you do it in five minutes? Ready – GO! And have a great weekend.

New work, new face, new mix-up

I’ve just finished work for the Fotoseptiembre show at Northwest Vista College – it’s called Mixing It Up. These two pieces are indeed a mix-up of media – heat phototransfer on fabric with encaustic and mixed media over stretched canvas. My model, Ellis, is a good friend’s daughter whom I’ve known since she was a baby – what a wonderful face. She did a half-hour photo session with me and I was inspired by her expressive eyes to create this duo called “Bound” and “Determined.” (I borrowed the dove in the second piece from my friend, Ramesh, a fantastic photographer who is now on a safari shoot in Africa – I steal only from the best 🙂) This exhibit opens on September 18th, but there will be a celebration of art through photography all over the city. Viva Fotoseptiembre USA! And now, to the Friday Freebie winner . . .


Dani Wildason was the randomly drawn winner of the five-pack TerraSkin mixed-media stone paper. Dani, let me know how you’d like to claim your prize – hope you’ll drop by the Studio and say hi! Speaking of claiming Friday Freebies, Rob in Australia, I owe you a Studio t-shirt! Your name was drawn way back in January – check the end of this post!