Composition Camp – transferring ideas

In yesterday’s workshop at the Studio, we explored composition through a mixed-media collage process using Ebony pencils, watercolor pencils, stencils, graphite transfer paper, white tempera paint, TAP heat transfers and digitally altered images. This non-traditional combination of tools led to some pretty spectacular results!

Image transfer, whether done with graphite sheets, TAP paper, gel mediums or any other method is simply another way of selectively inputting and arranging images on a substrate. It’s neither “cheating” or “tracing.” Even if drawing is not your forte, you can use graphite media to produce striking lights and darks in a classic drafting  style. Look at some of the work by iconic painter Larry Rivers to see how a master uses this technique.

We had some poets and prose writers in yesterday’s group – always a good sign for cross-genre inspiration! And our post-workshop critique was one of the best I can remember. There were lots of dream images and personal insights floating around. Fascinating stuff! Here are a few photos from a very rich and productive afternoon! Thanks, All!

I’m headed to Boston tomorrow for a few days so I can see the family and come home with a renewed appreciation of South Texas temperatures (it’s supposed to be 17F while I’m there – yikes). Now, y’all go outside, smell the Mountain Laurel, and bask in this lovely weather!

Texas Mountain Laurel - scratch and sniff :)

Texas Mountain Laurel – scratch and sniff 🙂



Composition Camp commences with collages


My demo collage created during Sunday’s Composition Camp workshop – 8×10″, mixed media, titled “Again?”

First workshop of the year taught by ME (yay!- I love teaching workshops) was Part One of Composition Camp. So what is Composition Camp?? It’s an intensive three-hour workshop directed toward planning and starting your artwork with strong composition bones, no matter in what medium. And it’s super easy.

I’ve developed a composition system called the AB3’s, which stands for

  • Alignment
  • Breathing Room
  • Threes and Thirds

It’s kind of like a simple kick-start for your artwork because it lets you know in advance where your main elements will be most effective. The students in yesterday’s Composition Camp: Collage workshop were given a folder with photos of a random person and a random cat along with some scraps of paper – they had to make a narrative collage using only those elements.  Everyone  took the challenge and ran with it. Take a look!

Before we began our work yesterday, we talked about painterly influences on collage imagery, particularly the works of Larry Rivers and Robert Rauschenberg, two of my favorite artists ever. Rauschenberg said that he works “in the gap between art and life,”  that he wanted to question the distinction between everyday objects and art objects. I like that!

Robert Rauschenberg, Buffalo II, 1964

Larry Rivers, French Money, 1962

It’s always good to go to the Masters for inspiration! There are two more sessions of Composition Camp to come, and there will be more in the summer and fall.