Monday, April 26, 2010

Am Back!

After two different workshops and two special visits with family [on both coasts], my batteries are recharged and I'm ready for lots of artmaking and sharing of wonderful lessons learned this past month. [Will post about Myrna Wacknov's workshop later today.]

The first workshop was for five days at the Kanuga Watercolors Workshops, in Hendersonville, North Carolina, where a dozen first class watermedia instructors hold classes in a "campus" setting. What a wealth of talent!

I chose to take Nicholas Simmon's workshop [Nicholas Simmons' Blog], which was watermedia and innovation on steroids. I have fallen in love with fluid acrylics, and learned several ways to work the medium.

I'll say right here, my caveat is that I don't believe any of my best work comes from workshops, but certainly the things I learn from them are life-altering, and truly add to my own art experience. So, I did two pieces in Nick's workshop that are not anything I might hang in a show, but I LOVED what I learned doing them.

For the first piece, we "threw" paint, then sketched a design, integrating some Asian characters loosely based on a few symbols Nicholas shared with us. We masked the characters and other bits of our designs, then poured some more paint. What a hoot! We finished those with a few details and then had the "Great Reveal," removing the masking from the characters to complete the pieces.

Nicholas was very generous in sharing his secrets and process. Lots of hair dryer use and lots of tipping and spraying. Lots of stories and kudos to other artists. I like that about Nicholas and most artists I have met or seen ... very generous with hints and tricks, and gracious about other artists' work.

One of the reasons I chose to take Nicholas' workshop is that he uses Photoshop as a tool in composing and manipulating his work. Although I have been using Photoshop Elements for years, I learned many other ways to use technology in my own art.

For the week at Kanuga, I was a "commuter," because I stayed with my sister, Jodie and her husband, Tom about five miles from the campus. It was the best of all worlds, as I was immersed in art each day, and had lovely visits with Jodie and Tom in the evenings at their lovely home. Jodie and I were able to catch up and paint together as well.

All in all, it was a terrific workshop, and I HOPE I can do it again next year! I have already chosen the instructor I would like to work with!

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