Sunday, November 24, 2013

I took a workshop myself.

A great perk I receive for teaching at the Scottsdale Artist School is I get to take a workshop of my choice (with the permission of the chosen instructor).  Like an instructor trade.  I was lucky enough to take Mark Daniel Nelson's workshop combining realism and abstraction.  It was fantastic.  First, I can't recommend highly enough taking this class.  Taking any class from Mark would be great.  He is a really good and thorough teacher.  His demos are great.  His slide shows pertaining to each idea are brief and to the point.  He gets us excited to start the next painting idea and keep going.
A couple of things that really stuck with me is he talks about design and "the big dumb shape" and the creative curve from "1 to 5" and how if we can stay in the zone of "2 and 3" this is where we will create our most honest and intuitive work.  So interesting.  I just got so much more out of this.  
We did exercises paying close attention to cropping.  We did sketching outdoors.  Just walking around and randomly drawing, only to later bring them to the studio and create works from them.  And even to create  works from maybe just a section of the larger piece. 
He's big into cropping, rearranging, using photoshop and creating these marvelous compositions with wonderful color.  Check him out on Facebook or
Here are a few of his works below.  Amazing. 

So I dove in and have to say I felt like a "duck out of water" and loved it.  This is just the start I needed and the words I needed in order to keep giving my self permission to go on to other ideas.  To allow myself to experiment more.  I love a good abstract work and ya know, they are not easy and "NO ! a monkey couldn't do what Joan Mitchell did!"
I didn't go hard core abstract but I pushed myself and here are a few examples of work below.  I did a ton!   I am going to take several of them and find that "big dumb shape" and work it into the piece. 

Working on cropping.  This was the first idea to think about.

So I just grabbed random objects, juggled them around and played with the cropping.

And we were to try and approach the drawing with a more child like interpretation just to see where it would take us.  

Then I had to move on to some figure work.  I just started looking around the class and composing without too much judgement.  That's another thing he talked about!  Avoiding the judgement zone on the curve.  A lot of doubt and second guessing will creep in!  

I cropped in on a car I drew out in the parking lot and played with the screaming red.  
Oh, I worked in Holbein Acryla Gouache and regular gouache for the 3 days.  How I wished it would have been a 5 day workshop.

More of the students in the class.  Just turned around and had this great view.

Had a lot of fun with this.  Really pushed the composition and then created the big crop with the one below.

And another working with the figure.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Busy with the Beach!

For while there, galleries were requesting more "Beach" paintings and I couldn't seem to find them anywhere inside of me!  I was on to other things just trying to renew my energy.  I took a couple of ceramic classes.  I decided to draw at night.  I tried doing some abstracts.  I was a teaching maniac all over the place.  It was taking all I had.  But for some reason, after teaching my Scottsdale workshop and being with such a great group of people, I was able to explore the beach again.  And bigger too!

"Beach Patterns"
16" x 20"
Oil on Canvas Panel

"Pacific Grove Overlook"
18" x 24"
Oil on Canvas Panel

"Child's Play"
16" x 20"
Oil on Canvas Panel

"Torrey Pines Umbrellas"
24" x 30"
Oil on Canvas Panel

"Building Dreams"
18" x 24"
Oil on Canvas Panel

I WANT one!

Yes, I want one.  Can you imagine?!  Of course we would need a full time crew.  The crew would need to be Air Force trained and looking for a cush job with great benefits and plenty of time for their families.  And then we would have a townhome in Scottsdale and  I would hanger the aircraft at the Scottsdale Airport.  I could say to Ray, "Sweetheart, we need to see the show at the Met in New York but we would have to be back in time to take the kids to Hawaii for Christmas." And then I could say, "Tammi, I will pick you and Chuck and Trevor and Bob and Deb and Bill and Nici up at the Menominee Airport and we are going to Hawaii for two weeks and get you out of that cold Michigan winter!"  
So I guess I need to build an empire a la Martha Stewart, Tom Cruise, or whoever else owns their own plane with crew!!!   So it's just fun to do some crazy creative visualization!  

And if the one above is too much then how about the one below!  Can you imagine!  No more commercial flying going through those stressful TSA lines.  Fully reclining seats.  My own armrests.  Setting your own hours.  A cashmere blanket on each seat.  And, and, and.  I will have to sell a lot of DVDs, paintings, note cards, MVPs, books and what else am I going to have to create?!  Diane Von Furstenburg did amazing things all starting with her signature wrap dress.  It can't be something with food.  I absolutely hate to cook even though my scalloped potatoes and ham is delicious.  And you know what else?!  I would be part of that Angel Flight program donating hours to flying people and animals in need and getting them to where they need to go. 
What fun! 

Scottsdale Airport is where I learned to fly.  I got my pilot's license when I was 19.   I did my Ground School through Arizona State University.  I took all my check rides from this airport.  My final solo cross country flight was from Scottsdale to Blythe, CA of all places during the middle of the summer no less.  Talk about thermals and a bumpy ride as I came down in altitude.  I learned to fly in Cessna 150s and 172s.  I loved it!  Such freedom but responsibility.  I used to think I wanted to be a corporate pilot but chose a career in art.  And this was a perfect airport to learn to fly at.  They had a Unicom at the time and now they have a Control Tower.  It's quite different now from when I was training there some 40 years ago!      

Back from Scottsdale.

Every year during November I teach a 5 day workshop for the Scottsdale Artist School.  I was raised in Litchfield Park, Az and later lived in Scottsdale, Az during my early twenties after Art Center and then later in my thirties to raise the kids.  It's going back to my old stomping grounds and seeing old friends.  I love Arizona.  And I love the Scottsdale Artist School.  They run a top notch program and draw an incredible roster of instructors.  I usually teach a figure class, studio and plein aire.  
Below are photos of some of the stuff I bring!  Costumes, teaching tools, paint, equipment.  Lots of stuff.    

This is the class working very hard!  We had a lot of exercises to cover over the week and this group was so receptive to experimenting!  Love that!  There were 13 students and 2 lovely models.

Sometimes I bring 5 boxes of costumes.  We had one fabulous day at a private home with a beautiful pool belonging to one of the participants.  The weather was perfect.