Despite good intentions, January turned out to be busier than usual. I chose January (which, believe it or not, has some lovely sunny days) for my winter workshop at the historic Campbell House in 29 Palms. We were blessed with a window of sunshine and that fabulous winter light! It was great fun to share water based paint techniques and approaches in a beautiful, quiet setting. Within the week, I took 17 new paintings to the 29 Palms Art Gallery for my Pathways Exhibit. This series is combination of figurative-landscape paintings, a response to many years in the desert and how we as individuals confront the environment.
So, what’s in this for you?
Living near Joshua Tree National Park is a perfect laboratory for looking at rocks. I wish I had a stronger background in geology, and no matter where you go, the rock formations on this planet are incredible and unique.
In "Rock Scramble” I reflected on my own experiences scrambling over the granite boulders; hikers often leave the dirt path to scramble over the large round rough surfaces. I stippled and splattered paint. I used the favorite texture technique:
1) I paint on a soupy layer of paint mixed with acrylic medium
2) let that sit for 30-60 seconds
3) squirt with a gentle burst of water allowing a few medium sized drops to lay on the surface
4) wait another 30-60 seconds
5) apply a paper towel to the surface and press lightly
6) remove the towel and voila! There should be a texture where the water drops removed the first layer of paint.
Below are images of the painting in progress and of a participant, Lynda, during a mini "rock" lesson at the workshop.
Although I often begin a painting drawing directly with brush and paint, I also like to sketch using colored pastel pencil and applying liquid acrylic matte mediums over that to establish the basic structures or figures.
As artists, our rhythms are affected by the seasons. Each of us has a preferred time of year, depending on climate, opportunity, vacations and small daily challenges. In an ideal world, we might pick the perfect creative activity to match the calendar.
My natural instinct leans toward sunny days of summer! However, last year I resolved to embrace winter light. This year—I went further, teaching and painting through it. My next workshop is March 2.
Whether you are an actor, writer, painter, photographer or painter– I encourage you to delight in the season you are in! Of course, you may point out that I’m in Southern California--in front of the fire. But it is a chilly 32 degrees with gusts of wind today up to 50 mph! It’s cold!
I conclude with a segment of my proposal for Pathways: “Texture depicts the effects of the elements on the terrain and upon human skin and being. Few paths are direct; detours make our existence more interesting. It is the less traveled road that allows unique relationships to grow and has nurtured my figurative response to the landscape.” Allow that less traveled detour to nurture your art, and make the most of it!
Above, close ups of three of my new paintings, "Confronting Space" 24x24; "Looking Up" 36x24; "Perched" 24x8-acrylic on canvas. Below photos from the workshop: 3 Brush-ka-teers; catching that golden hour sunlight, my demo plein air sketch of the eclectic surroundings.
Note: The last 15 months have challenged us! This month I encourage you to learn from the isolation and I wish you a cautious, but joyous June reopening!
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