Thursday, February 21, 2013

much arting, conversation and laughter ensued....

My sister from Chicago, my daughter Kelsey , my very dear friends Shari and Carol and I spent all of last weekend in the studio being creative. This is our third year to do this over President's Day Weekend. Each one of us brings something different to the table.

Kesley worked on a very large canvas with acrylic paints. We all decided she was working in the style of Monet and the proportions of O'Keefe (both favorite artists of mine) Kelsey's special talent is acrylic painting.
Shari worked on an assemblage and collages. Her specialty is gelatin printing. The past two years I have not been able to get the hang of it very well- THIS year I think I finally connected with the process and created some wonderful background papers for future projects.

Cecelia is a very talented water colorist and collage artist. She is also willing to try something new and experimented with printmaking for the first time by cutting her own stencils and carving a rubber stamp. Carol worked on her photo cards and then pulled out her ever present knitting- she is currently working on a beautiful cable knit sweater. I spent the weekend being a host, demonstrating some new products and techniques that I learned and learned some new techniques from the ladies. I discovered press and seal plastic wrap is amazing for covering a pallet of wet paint and keeping it wet for several days. Pretzel M&M's are addictive as is red licorice. Fingers make the best blending tools and sometimes what you envisioned in your head on what a piece was going to become just isn't what it really wants or needs to be.
I worked on a painting that I started last spring. In my mind it was like VanGogh's Starry Night but with 3D faces where the stars are- and a northern lights kind of feel. Hey- it was awesome in my head. Reality- not so much. Cecelia took one look at my painting and was very polite about it. I knew something was not quite right- so I asked her to be brutally honest- I would not be offended. Because that's why we get together- to get feedback and to learn from each other.
C:It looks like boils and pestilence
         whoa- that's honest-
"Okay- I'm going to scrap this canvas and throw it away"
C:No, try layering tissue paper over it and let it build up in places and see what happens
"Still think I should start over"
C: Try taking some of the faces off. Maybe there's too many of them.
        After several attempts and no luck- "I used WeldBond I don't think they are coming off"
C: Let it rest something will come to you.
Meanwhile she is working on this wonderful still life collage that I am very jealous of -
zombie cats collage
Did I mention this is my sister? Well, I was not about to allow that canvas to get the best of me. On the wall I have this poster that says
"When you think you have made a mistake think of it as an opportunity to make something beautiful"  In other words- a Happy Accident
women hold up half the skyTime to take my own advice. I already hated the piece. What did I have to lose? So I took a page from Kelsey's book and grabbed paint, spray ink some watercolor paint and a spray bottle and started pouring paint on the canvas from the top. Let's see what happens I thought- and if it really sucks I can always paint over it or just throw it away. Guess what? as I was playing with the canvas with no ideas on what I wanted it to look like these figures emerged. They looked like women holding children. The more I saw them the more I worked the canvas to draw them out. I titled it "Women Hold Up Half the Sky"  and I am in awe of what I created. Every time I look at it I see something new. I did that? Wow- I am humbled because I have never really had much confidence in my work.  It was a good weekend.