New Work – Scraps and Shards and Milagros

If you haven’t heard from me in a while, it’s usually because I’m on a deadline in the studio or I’m having computer problems – this time, it’s been both things, but all is well now. I just wanted to drop in to show you five new pieces I’ve built for the upcoming Art League Members Gallery show.

These guys are variations on the idea of my “Two-Byes” which I introduced in this post last year.

These pieces are a little less fiber-oriented and a little more found-object focused, but the idea is the same – take discarded scraps and and create new miracles (or at least new artwork). They incorporate some of the techniques I’ll be sharing in the upcoming working at the Fiber Artists of San Antonio Spirit Box workshop in May.

I’ve also completed a series of five new Neo-Santos in a different format – stay tuned for those. I’ll try to post photos later this week. Thanks for reading!!

The Pilgrim’s Scroll: Stories in Paper and Cloth

Color me happy !! My new online course, The Pilgrim’s Scroll, is open for enrollment! You saw the results of the recent in-person workshop in this post, and now you can join the workshop online with extra lesson and materials and unlimited time to play.

It’s been a dream of mine to explore the fusion of paper and fiber in a way that is both simple and profound. Paper is a fiber, of course. Combining paper and fiber into a scroll is akin to weaving together threads of history, culture, and creativity into a tapestry of artistic expression. The marriage of these materials allows for a unique fusion of textures, colors, and forms, culminating in a fine artwork that transcends traditional boundaries.

This new course, The Pilgrim’s Scroll: Stories in Paper and Cloth, is designed to help you choose what matters most to you and to express that in simple terms. Techniques include several kinds of image transfer , methods of surface design on textiles (think wabi-sabi), creating beads, talismans, and birds from paper clay and fiber, and assembling these with thread, wire, ribbon, and adhesives.

Here’s is the Introductory video which will tell you more about the workshop than just writing about it can:

As always, I try to keep my courses affordable, and this course is just $49 right now for instant access, downloadable videos, free images, and almost five hours of video instruction, including, as usual, the non-perfect parts (which always make us feel better somehow).

Find Out More

I hope you will join me in this course. Even though these workshops are self-paced, I’m always here to answer questions. The Pilgrim’s Scroll represents a journey, as you will see in the lessons, and we will arrive at a place of discovery and self-awareness together!

May our feet always be light on the path!

🙂 Lyn

 

 

 

Painting with Fire – fill your bowl!

It’s so great when things come together almost magically, like bowls and scrolls and wax and fiber!

Today I’m able to announce that my new Painting with Fire Encaustic workshop will be called The Diaphanous Vessel: Exploring Paper, Fiber, Plaster, and Wax.  This class reflects the excitement that I’m having inventing ways to create translucent, delicate but strong vessels.

Vessels are not new to me, but I’ve always thought of them as clay forms. What a revelation to realize that paper and fiber can fuse together to create these organic forms that are surrounded by space inside and outside. Translucent beeswax binds these shapes together and fiber strengthens them.

And of course, if you sign up for Painting with Fire for this coming year, you’ll learn how to make these for yourself.  You’ll also have 53 other great workshops from the best encaustic teachers ever.

Click here for the info and the link to register

My summer class at SW/UTSA will also be about building vessel – there are just so many possibilities, and so many metaphors relating to bowls and receptacles. Stay tuned for that class info if you are here in San Antonio – the summer catalog is almost ready to come out.

Vessels, be they bowls, cups, or urns, embody a metaphorical richness that transcends their utilitarian function. They symbolize receptivity, gracefully accepting the contents poured into them. Conversely, they epitomize generosity, as vessels pour forth their contents, offering sustenance or wisdom to others.  They speak to the human condition, serving as vessels not only of physical substance but also of emotion, culture, and spirituality.

Some new vessels with collage and with Irish paper.

I love this excerpt from Jane Hirshfield’s poem, The Bowl:

A day, if a day could feel, must feel like a bowl.
Wars, loves, trucks, betrayals, kindness,
it eats them.

Then the next day comes, spotless and hungry.

The bowl cannot be thrown away.
It cannot be broken.

It is calm, uneclipsable, rindless,
and, big though it seems, fits exactly in two human hands.

Bowls both give and receive – vessels both hold space and occupy space.  I hope to see you in Painting with Fire this year so we can continue this conversation!

♥Lyn

Join Michelle Belto and me in Ireland next July

It sounds rather unbelievable, even to us, but Michelle Belto and I are teaching a Celtic-inspired workshop on the West Coast of Ireland from July 22 – 29, 2023 at the beautiful Essence of Muranny Art School and hope you can join us!

We’ll be offering a new, collaborative encaustic and mixed-media workshop called Offerings to Aine (pronouced ‘aw-ne’). Aine is the Irish Fairy Queen and a legendary inspiration for artists and poets.

Each of us will be lead teacher on two of the four days of the workshop.

For my two teaching days, we will learn various creative fusions with wax, paper, fiber, and clay, constructing an enigmatic goddess figure that is inspired by Aine and wrapped with handcrafted grace and spirit. Using the Legend of Aine as a guide, our figures will be infused with Celtic myth and lore. During the two days of construction and experimentation with wax and mixed-media, participants will find inspiration that will enhance their own studio practice and mixed-media horizons. And the goddess figure of Aine will be your traveling companion on your journey home!

For Michelle’s two days, participants will be guided in a partial plein air approach to the landscape of the area on a cradled panel during the first day. This “sense of place” will honor the elements of Aine’s land and become the basis for a small altar to celebrate her magic. The process will continue as participants create a shrine-like opening in the panel. Found objects from the surrounding land can be attached as honored “relics” representing the places she protected.

As you can tell by the timeline, we will have extra days to explore the countryside with our host, Lora Murphy, award-winning encaustic painter and owner of the school.

Our time in Mulranny will be spent with 4 days in the classroom setting, plus additional time sightseeing with a well informed tour guide, evening entertainment with talented musicians, storytellers or surprise events. Beautiful coastal walks or Great Western Greenway bicycle rides are there for free time excursions. Accommodation is provided in rental cottages and houses nearby the school. Meals are enjoyed in local restaurants, guest houses and private accommodations.

YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS MAGICAL ART RETREAT HERE.

It may sound like an impossible dream at this point, but put it on your calendar. If you are worried about the cost, we have you covered – here is an Irish spell that will help you find money for those travel funds:

A charm to always have money

Take the feather of a black rooster, go to the crossing points of three fairy-paths, and while holding the feather and a gold colored coin, call the name of the Goddess Áine three times, to bring you everlasting prosperity.

And feel free to email me privately if you have specific questions – I really hope that you can come!

The Goats of Mulranny

 

 

Follow-up on Secrets of Spirit Boxes – wow!

One of my life’s great joys is getting feedback and photos from artists who find a workshop useful and then adapt it to their own style and aesthetics. That’s exactly the purpose of teaching classes like the new Secrets of the Spirit Box.

Here’s a magnificent example from Patricia Mosca, friend and fabulous artist. She emailed me this morning, saying “I have attached a picture of a Secret Message Bearer that I did…(my style of course).”  Look!

And here is how she describes her creation on her Facebook page:

…secret message bearer…
we all have them…those deep secrets that we don’t share…the secret message bearer allows you to put your thoughts and words onto paper and hide them…each comes with a small box attached to the back where you can place your secret soul whispers so only you and the bearer can witness them…we all need a safe place for blessings and gratitude…

 

Just as she transforms the idea of Secrets of the Spirit Box, she also transforms my Earthshard faces by painting them in a realistic way that brings a different kind of life to them.

Brava, Patricia, for raising the bar on taking the basics and flying with them to new heights!

Another wonderful artist friend, Ann Leach, is also interpreting the Spirit Boxes and their secrets in her own style. Look at this assortment of her “Sea Sisters SEAcret Spirit Boxes.”

Ann is also the driving force behind the Call for Elemental Spirit Dolls. I’ll be talking more about this in detail, but for now, please follow this link to see more:

https://www.annleach.com/elemental-spirit-dolls

And, yep, that’s my Spirit Doll on the poster. Won’t you join in?

 

 

 

Plein Aire isn’t as simple as it sounds!

I have always loved Vikki Fields’ work. She is perhaps the only painter I know who works exclusively from life, never from photographs, and her En Plein Aire landscapes are stunning. She sometimes spends hours in the outdoors at the same time every day capturing the light on a particular tree or mountain.

I own this small painting that she did of Arroyo Seco near Taos – it’s a treasure.

Taos by Vikki fields

So when the Witte Museum asked the Art League to partner with them in teaching a Plein Aire painting class to celebrate to opening of their new exhibition, Vikki was the first person I asked to teach it. She agreed!

Fifteen of us signed up and met at the Witte last Sunday afternoon (hot, hot!) as Vikki guided us through the plein aire preparation process.

Vikki Fields discusses choices and vistas

Most of us painted from the shady balcony overlooking the San Antonio River.

The view was beautiful — but, where do you start?? It’s sort of a green blur to me.

Some people used watercolors, some painted with oils, others, like me, started with a pencil sketch.

I hadn’t painted from life in about 20 years, so I had to try and remember how to “look” at the subject in a different way. For me, it works if I can flatten it out in my imagination, like an illustration. For a painter like Vikki and some of the others, it’s a process of starting with values and underpainting.

Three hours went by remarkably quickly. If it hadn’t been so hot, we probably would have stayed on, but we went inside the (air-conditioned!) museum to look at our work and discuss it.

The differences in approach were fascinating – take a look at some of the paintings. We weren’t expected to finish, nor to create a masterpiece since we were just working on studies, but I loved seeing the results.

So here’s mine – remember when I said I thought like an illustrator rather than a painter? Good thing we weren’t supposed to paint a masterpiece!

The huge lessons I learned were PATIENCE and OBSERVATION. It was really hard for me to slow down and truly look at what was going on with the rocks and the water since I don’t have a painter’s eye for suggesting many details with one brush stroke. It was also a relief to know that I could still draw – whew! But painting? Not so much.

Here’s my friend Lara Hye Coh – now this girl can paint!

A million thanks to Vikki for her encouragement and teaching skills. And many thanks to Mary Margret McAllen, Director of Special Projects at the Witte Museum, who cooked up this great collaborative workshop!

This Plein Aire Workshop was designed to compliment the wonderful exhibit now at the Witte called James Ferdinand McCan: A Texas Artist Rediscovered. It features more than fifty of McCan’s paintings—most of which are rarely displayed to the public. And we in the class got to see them even before the exhibit opened.

McCan was a plein aire painter, friends with Julian Onderdonk, and he captured the incredible change in animals and landscapes that occurred in the 30 short years (between 1895-1925) he was painting in Texas. Please go see the exhibit! It’s open until October 2nd at the Witte.

Here’s an example of one of McCan’s remarkable paintings.

Mossy Oak and Bluebonnets, James Ferdinand McCan

Want to give plein aire painting a try? One of the things I did before the workshop was to set up a suggested materials list for those who signed up. For those of you who would like some guidance with materials, here is a link to a list of suggested supplies to purchase online. They are portable and not very expensive. Go for it!

I am so glad I had this learning experience!! It was humbling and exhilarating, all at the same time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More about Painting with Fire (by request)

Thanks for the great response to the Painting with Fire announcement, and thanks for all your questions. It occurred to me that I have been teaching this program for a year, and so was just assuming that everyone knew how it worked.  Not true – yikes. So here is some more info, by request –

This is a year log program with 52+ workshops of which mine, The Shaman Spirit in Paper and Wax, is just one little part of many really amazing classes. At the end of this post, I’ll show you who all the other teachers are and you can see the names of the classes that they are teaching. And all of these are included in the $249 Early Bird price.

pro

A lot of the questions I got about this year-long program were about experience level and also how to access the classes. So I went to Lora Murphy, the genius artist behind PWF, and got a few of her answers for you:

All the lessons are independent projects from start to finish and it is up to you which order to take them in or how many lessons to complete. You can work at your own pace it is up to you.

All the courses on Painting with Fire have a lifetime access and all classes will stay on the course page.

All our courses are for individuals of all skill levels, including beginners. Don’t be intimidated by comparing your work to other students who have more experience in art. We are all in different phases of our creative journey and we all once were beginners. The best thing – is to compare your own work from before to what you do now, and how it changes and improves as you practice. I would recommend to post your work so you can get feedback from the teachers and support from fellow students. Be kind to yourself and others!

As Lora alludes to, we have a great Painting with Fire Facebook group that’s active and helpful – I’m on there all the time getting ideas and giving advice.

So here’s the best part – look at this list (below) of the 26 teachers and the topics of their classes – you really do get all of this for one price for the whole year! You can watch them as they come out every week, and you can save them for when you have time – you can even pick and choose from the classes that have been released.

And if you have more questions – send them along – as you can tell, I am such a fan of Painting with Fire and feel so privileged to teach with all of these great instructors. Here’s the info/registration link.

 

Shards and Santos, Clay and Collage

Happiness is teaching in Taos!

A week from tomorrow, I’ll be at the Taos Ceramics Center working with students in my Shards and Santos Workshop. The class takes place on two consecutive Saturdays – here’s a description.

In this workshop, we will create personal assemblages inspired by these iconic figures of Santos. In the first class, we will construct handmade textured slab-based clay components such as heads, bodies, and enhancements. We will also learn to make hand-crafted clay press molds. These components will be fired once.

Here are some examples of assorted assemblage components that I’m taking with me – honestly, working in assemblage is just like working in collage, only a bit more dimensional:

Continuing the workshop description —

The next week, we will build our figure, incorporating found objects such as bones and shells and bleached twigs into the final assemblage and perhaps include cherished objects and hidden words. We will explore the limitless possibilities of cold finishes, such as metallics and beeswax, to enhance the surfaces of the unglazed earthenware.

These santos, below, are in progress, and I’ll use them to show how the components are put together.

Since we will not be glazing and re-firing the shard components, I’ve been experimenting with cold finishes for fired clay for the last couple of weeks.

One of the most successful combinations I’ve discovered is Pearl Ex powder by Jacquard mixed with Gamblin Cold Wax Medium.  You can control the translucency and the color saturation, then buff the wax finish. It’s exciting to see how well it works on bisqueware.

 

Another technique I’m playing with is tube acrylic paint mixed with a bit of cornstarch to dull the finish.

In the sample below, the acrylic mixture mimics the look of Gilder’s Paste at about half the cost and with less potential toxicity.

This kind of experimentation is part of the fun of planning a workshop. And then I get to share with new people!

I’m grateful to the Taos Ceramics Center for inviting me – and at this writing, there’s just one spot left, so if you need a quick get-away, come on up to the mountains of New Mexico!

 

Serenity through bamboo – for you?

My latest online class for everyone is called, “Sumi-e Painting: Serenity and Simplicity.” It’s absolutely free, and it’s designed to de-stress your mind and to celebrate the coming of spring – yay!

In this class, you’ll learn to paint a variation of the ancient Asian art form called Sumi-e in a simple way that anyone can do. It’s fun and relaxing, even if your bamboo leaves end up looking like bananas. 🙂

Here’s the class link.

The class opened on Monday, and right now there are 90 people signed up, painting graceful bamboo stalks and wild orchid grass. I’m getting lots of favorable responses!

There is a joy in providing a no-cost chance to be creative that money can’t begin to buy – honest!

One of my favorite responses came from a participant who wrote:

“My friend was asking me about some painting tutorials and where to get started.  I told her about (your) lotus book tutorial and how much fun it was. Your free painting video arrived today in my email has been a great way to show her what you are doing.

We had great progress and successfully completed the tutorial this afternoon.”

bamboo

“The first photo shows (my friend’s) work from start to finish and you can see the progression after we practiced and how quickly we got some good results with your excellent instruction.” – – – (Wow, thanks!!)

I told her how much I loved their work – and how nice (especially these days) to get to paint together with a friend.

She wrote back:

I did two little cards on some scrap watercolor paper. We were using the same watercolor paper as you demonstrated with.  I even found a little stamp that we dipped in red watercolor for chop mark.

I actually had a stone chop made when I was in Taiwan in 1978 but I really couldn’t put my hands on it this afternoon. It has my name in Chinese carved into it with an ox figure on top. I am year of the ox!

Before we went I had pored over a book my Dad had brought back from his travels of Chinese watercolor painting . I was fortunate enough to get the watercolors and brushes ( the brushes  we used today) and paint and paper while I was in Taiwan. . . Funny how things come full circle!”

(Special thanks to Marti Bledsoe for sharing this painting adventure.)

So, try this project if you haven’t – you don’t’ need any fancy materials – just some inexpensive watercolors and some paper. And maybe some nice wind chime music in the background. You, too, can bamboo!

If you like this technique, I also have a new in-depth workshop called Sunsets and Serapes which, strangely enough,uses this Sumi-e technique to make Southwestern striped paintings for mixed media artists!

Serape Mother and Child

This particular painting workshop is not free (a mere $39) but it has four hours of videos on painting with strong East/West influences. Here’s that link.

Finally, here’s a challenge/idea – how about making Lotus Books (another free workshop) and doing the covers with Sumi-e paintings? That would be beautiful!!

Wishing you a serene and stress-free day! ~~~ Lyn

The Story of The Enso Circle

Creative work is rarely done by a lone genius. Artists, writers, scientists and other professionals often do their most creative work when collaborating within a circle of like-minded friends. Experimenting together and challenging one another, they develop the courage to rebel against the established traditions in their field. Working alone or in pairs, then meeting as a group to discuss their emerging ideas, they forge a new, shared vision that guides their work. When circles work well, the unusual interactions that occur in them draw out creativity in each of the members.

Michael Farrell, Collaborative Circles: Friendship Dynamics and Creative Work (2001)

After six years of hatching, percolating, and polishing this concept, Michelle Belto and I are (at last) introducing you to The Enso Circle, our Invitational Online Artists’ Residency program. When we previewed the new website to several artist friends, here were their reactions:

  • “I just read your note on the class/residency that you and Michelle will be teaching and just wanted to let you know that this sounds truly amazing. Love both of your artwork and this sounds perfect! I have been creating art for over 50 years so I think it’s time I joined your tribe.” Bosha S.
  • “Brilliant idea. Brava!” Jean D.
  • “What a fabulous idea!!! Love this! This is a BRILLIANT venture!” Christine S.

When we began talking about what has ultimately become The Enso Circle, we wanted to create a structured, collaborative community that we ourselves would want to belong to.

This community would offer a supportive space in which to both expand and focus our present art practice, and to offer us a safe place for sharing ideas with like-minded creatives. It would have a starting time and an ending time, and be long enough to be meaningful but short enough to keep the energy going.

We knew from experience that we both need certain guidelines to make this work for us. Among those are:

  • A time-defined goal to motivate us (an art show submission, an article deadline, a workshop design, a group exhibit)
  • Private time to generate or refine a creative concept
  • A concrete plan to reach our goal with focus but flexibility
  • Group time to get feedback on where we are, where we were, and where we are going with our project
  • A collection of resources, always available, that can give us both technical and aesthetic advice and answers
  • Input from mentors outside the community who have expertise and objectivity
  • Small-group opportunities to brainstorm and problem solve the small steps in the process that sometimes get us stuck

Why did we name our community The Enso Circle? Because the Enso is a manifestation of the artist at the moment of creation and the acceptance of our innermost self. It symbolizes strength, elegance, and one-mindedness.

The very imperfections and hand-created contours are exactly what makes the Enso beautiful.

If you want to cut to the chase and learn more right this moment, just click here.

(And here’s what I know that you’re wondering up front . . .the program costs $325, it’s 12-weeks long, only 12 people can be accepted, and yes, it’s absolutely worth it)

But there’s more, and it’s important – and unusual – read on:

The Enso Circle is based on the idea of an Artist’s Residency – a twelve-week commitment that results in a personal body of work, large or small, conceived and completed through goals that you set with the support of the community throughout the process. You do need to apply and have a goal in mind, although that can change over the course of the term.

The Enso Circle is a unique experience for several reasons.

  • It has all the advantages of an in-depth workshop: resources, technique videos, handouts and printables.
  • Like an academic residency, it allows you to select your individual goal and work toward it with peer and mentor support.
  • It has the power of a critique group through frequent informal Zoom meetings and discussions in our private Slack space.
  • It is led by nationally known teacher/artists Michelle Belto and Lyn Belisle, who will model the process by working toward their own goals right along with you during the three-month program.
  • And it culminates in an online exhibition.
  • Lyn and Michelle plan to offer three twelve-week Residency terms throughout the year. The first one will start on March 2nd, 2021.

Here’s an up-close and personal invitation from both of us, via our Zoom recording. Just click on the video image.

VIMEO LINK

We hope you choose to apply to be one of the first twelve residents of The Enso Circle!

HERE’S THE LINK TO THE ENSO CIRCLE CLASSROOM./RESIDENCY WEBSITE WITH ALL THE INFORMATION AND THE APPLICATION FORM FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

Thanks for reading – you’ll know if it’s right for you, and if it’s not, thanks for learning about our Enso Circle story!

Take good care,

Lyn