Artist in Residence

Things are a little weird out in the world right now. Like a lot of folks during the Covid shutdowns, I have found myself with an abundance of time on my hands. To get my art fix I have turned to online classes and YouTube videos. I’ve been working on a variety of projects, and I have revisited some mediums that I have ignored for quite some time. I thought it was time to share what’s been inspiring my studio time.

My first projects were handmade books. I have been binge watching The Paper Outpost, Johanna Clough, Moonside Parlour and Amity Bloom as well as others. Give them a look see if you have time. Plus if you are having any worries about the future of our world, Nazi at Amity Bloom is pure sweetness and light.

I’ve made recycled paper bag journals, a huge Field Guide with removable watercolor notebooks to record flora and fauna and some altered book junk journals.

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I got on the mask bandwagon for a few days too, making sure that my peeps all had the protection they needed. I’m not the best seamstress, but they are cute and they work. It was a good excuse to dust off my sewing machine and sort through my fabric stash. I’ve been meaning to do that for a while.

 

 

I’ve also dipped my toe back into the mixed media world with some collage and Gelli plate printing. There are some really fun new techniques out there for your Gelli printing plate, including magazine photo transfers and alcohol ink printing.  I especially enjoyed combining all three techniques. There are a ton of videos, so search around. I used the collages and prints to make cards and book covers.

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I have taken a few really nice online workshops including Wandering Muse from Jeanne Oliver and Sketchbook Revival from Karen Abend. Wandering Muse had several lessons on drawing faces in different mediums, plus finding your artistic voice, block printing, creating an inspiration board and sculpture…. very cool stuff. She also has many free classes to get you started. Sketchbook Revival was a free course with lots short lessons on working in your sketchbook, taught by teachers from all over the world. Something for everyone!

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I’ve also been working on a few new paintings. Its been a few years since I really painted, so I’m a bit rusty, but it feels good to slow down and paint again. Here are three I’ve completed.

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And, don’t worry. I have also been spending some time outside when the weather allows. We have been kayaking as often as possible.

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Some of my other favorite instructional sites are:
Carla Sonheim
Ivy Newport
Flora Bowley
Susan Lenart Kazmer

Some of my other favorite YouTubers are:
Illustrator James Luke Burke
Illustrator Leigh Ellexson
Resin Artist Artsy Madwoman
Watercolorist Watercolor MIsfit
Journaler Ali Brown
Crazy Creative Struthless
Jack of All Trades and a Voice Like Butta TheCrafsman SteadyCraftin

I hope you enjoy some of these fabulous teachers. Sandy

Studio Assistant, Sparky

lighting the candles

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A few years back I took a 3-day painting class at Art & Soul with Dan Carrell. We each painted an amazing landscape using his tried and true method of textures and glazes. Check out his book called ‘Realistic Painting Workshop: Creative Methods for Painting from Life’  here.  I treasure the painting I did that week, but I don’t know if I could do another. He held our hands and led each of us thru the many layers until the very end when he helped me ‘Light the Candles’ on the painting. He said that painting was like baking a layer cake, and at the end, adding the final little details was like lighting the candles on the cake.

You already know that I am an art class junkie… knowing that each class I take adds another layer of knowledge and experience to my work. Right now I am building jewelry for our Friends’ Pop-up Shop in November. These jewelry pieces are a product of many, many classes— soldering, resin, wire, metal work, painting, patinas, beading, clay, assemblage, leather and more… and as I finish each piece, I am asking myself how to light the candles on it. Sometimes it means adding an extra dangle, an extra flash of light, an extra color or special bead. Some have words on them that only the wearer can see — hidden in plain sight to wear next to their heart.

My advice to anyone who wants to make better art or jewelry is to take as many classes as you can. You might not think that a painting class can help your jewelry making, but it can. Open your mind to the possibilities and light the candles!

I take some classes online, some at local art institutions like the Rawls Museum Arts, the Suffolk Art Gallery and Suffolk Art League, and some at Art Retreats like Art & Soul. I’ve been attending Art & Soul each year since 2008 and I have enjoyed each and every class. This year I am slated to take classes in resin, metal, abstract painting, soldering and polymer clay. Hope to see you there.

More info on our Friends Pop-up Art Shop to come…

artful octopus tour

Intuitive Painting Class
Cecile’s deck – Rodanthe, NC

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A few of the gals in the trailerhood wanted me to teach them how to paint. They wanted to paint something bright and funky to liven up their beach trailers.

Instead of the “normal” way of painting, we did things a little different. We started out painting intuitively, working the background with lots of layers of color, texture, and pattern…waiting for the octopus to find his way onto the canvas. We painted with our hands and with different size brushes, letting each layer dry in between. Once the layers were in place, we used a pattern to paint the water around the octopus and finished up by adding in the details.

Even though we all used the same pattern, each octopus was a unique creature with its own personality! They now all hang proudly in the trailer homes of the artists.

During the “official octopus tour” the artists invited us into their homes to show off their creations on display. One artist even told me that I had inspired her to get out her paints and long-forgotten brushes and make art again! That is what it’s all about!

We are planning on a turtle painting party in the fall.

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