Showing posts with label Abstract Acrylics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Abstract Acrylics. Show all posts

October 23, 2022

The Grid Journal - What I've learned so far

 Back in May I started the Get Messy May journaling challenge and didn't get very far but I did do Kellee Wynne's grid journal class. I was smitten! And I've been making them ever since. 

Initially, simple small ones. 

When I took Kellee's free course Grid Journal Crush, I decided to dedicate my brand new big sketchbook to grid journaling and it's kinda been a game changer.

So what have I learned after making a grid per day for almost a month now?

  1. Even if the individual cells/squares don't quite work, the whole page/spread often does.
  2. Limiting your palette allows more freedom.
  3. Mark making is ALWAYS a Good Thing.
  4. Colour mixing is a whole OTHER ball game.
  5. Sometimes you make mud. Mud can be okay though.
  6. Burnt Sienna is my kryptonite.
  7. White Gesso is your friend.
  8. It's a sketchbook. Make the mistake!
  9. Add your notes because you won't remember what that colour was.
  10. Diggin' the Grid!

June 3, 2022

New Paths . Neural Pathways.


Once all the work was safely packed and headed to the show, I breathed a sigh of relief all the while thinking, "So. What's next?!?" Because the reality of Life as an Artist is we are only as good (or as bad) as our NEXT piece. Today's work. I hauled out the gelli plate because making a whack of prints is ALWAYS a Good Idea. Until it isn't. 

The thing with making a ton of prints, without direction, is a little like eating only dessert for days. Initially? SO. Good. And then you start to crave, NOT sugar and eventually lettuce. You start to crave lettuce and you know the dessert thing is over. I began to crave direction. Except I was still full of  "A Made Up Life" and nothing else was being let in.

Enter Sketchbook Revival 2022, a two week intensive make-a-thon, two classes a day creating things I may not normally create. Being told exactly what to do frees up the brainmeats to rest so, eventually, I can start to think about what the next path(way) might be. 

Sidenote: In writing this post, I just discovered my New Path by doing some research on Neural Pathways. This really jumped out at me

"A new neural pathway forms when you encounter a piece of information (thought) for the first time. For example, a young child already has existing neural pathways for common fruit like apples and bananas. But the first time they encounter something exotic, like dragon fruit, for example, the brain checks: is it an apple? No. Is it a banana? No. So it must be something new – and a new neural pathway is formed."


 Back to Sketchbook Revival, I hauled out my watercolours and happily splashed paint, sketched, collaged, printed, tangled, made collage fodder, inked my way through March into April. And had a jam packed sketchbook to prove it!

Friend Jane Chipp, best-selling author of  "Artful Memories", had a collage challenge for April. The idea of using vintage photos for a challenge felt a bit too close to the work from A Made Up Life so I set some pretty stiff parameters for myself. I created a small 4"x6" concertina book to house all the collages and decided they would be pure collage. No paint. No stencils. No markmaking(!). Gotta say, there were more than a few times I questioned these self-imposed harsh limitations. I did discover that I'm not very good at pure collage and wanted to "fix" many of the pieces with some sort of markmaking. But I hung in there. And my compositional skills got a teensy bit better over the course of the month. (maybe!)

At the beginning of May, I started feeling an itch to get back to abstract acrylics, something I dabbled in a long time ago...2016, I think. I really felt drawn to play with paint ONLY. I searched around for a class and came across Louise Fletcher's Find Your Joy free online class that was to start at the end of the month.

In the meantime I pulled out the gelli plate and became much more structured with my printmaking following Mark Yeates on YouTube. He's the first gelli plate printer I've encountered making Fine Art prints vs more craft oriented textural, background type pieces while not focusing solely on image transfers. Don't get me wrong, I love me a good image transfer but once I've figured out the process it leaves me a bit empty. More sugar. Any. Way. I played happily with multiple pull prints, using my own drawings with wax resists and having a great ol' time!

On May 20, 2022, I jumped into Louise's class with both feet and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It really was as satisfying as I'd hoped, Facebook group notwithstanding.

 Sidenote: I honestly do NOT get the FB mindset in online classes. I feel like that 'fish out of water' Grade Seven girl all over again. Like everyone else got the memo but I was sick that day. (after day after day after day) It's just too disconcerting and really makes me start to hate the CLASS which is ridiculous. I tried a few times to engage and then realized, "Nope. This isn't working. Again." and withdrew to just doing the work. Which is really the point anyway.

I discovered a bunch of things through this process: 

  • I LOVE making a mess. Fast and furious, slapping down of paint.
  • Sometimes that isn't the best course of action.
  • Having a practice page of paper or two on the side allow me to make a big ol' mess without having to edit myself. Win. Win.
  • I don't always react to what's going on ON the work in front of me, but what's going on inside of my heard.
  • Again. This isn't always "good" when trying to make a workable painting. (great for making backgrounds however)
  • Having multiple works going on at the same time can save me from myself.
  • I don't know ANYTHING about colour mixing. Gotta fix that.
  • I don't really know anything about composition other than intuitively knowing what I like, or something looks off. Gotta fix THAT.

And now it's June and we're up to date. I purchased a grownup legit H-frame easel and I'm delving into abstract acrylics. And I'm loving it. I realize I DO need a bit more direction either with subject matter or at least a pathway. (see what I did there?) But I'm excited where this might lead me!


February 16, 2022

Day 2 - Art2Life Workshop


Day 2 - VALUE

Gah. My brain was overflowing, hemorrhaging, last night as I tried to process all the information I'd glommed onto. So I pushed today's lesson to Noon and continued working on my show pieces while I thought about "Design".

Lots of good things today too!

 I remember this lesson from when I took this workshop years ago, the idea of LOUD and quiet conversations being a new concept and could quite easily see this in my current (then) work.

What I DIDN'T recall was the absolute magic that happened when Nicholas demonstrated the concept of quiet conversation, adding low contrast items to a page without ANYTHING changing to the high contrast shapes.

 Folks, this is a game changer for me.

My work often has subtle stuff going on behind the scenes but I've struggled with not allowing it to take over and become a Garage Sale. (OMG love this term!)

Previously I assumed I needed to put in less which always made me feel a little sad. But it turns out all I have to do is lessen the contrast. One value up from pure white and I can put in ALL THE STUFF. Who knew?!?

 Yup. Game Changer!

A corollary of that idea is the control you have over where the viewers eye goes. It notices contrast above all else.

So yah. Having that in my back pocket is HUGELY useful! Not to mention looking at all my current show work thinking, 'Ugh! I should change that!' But not THIS day! 

 A final nugget was a comment Nicholas made ...maybe quoting a participant?... about how the painting is both the question AND the answer.

I've always been interested in this idea of having a question in mind when starting a project or series but not always on an individual painting basis. And while I've inherently understood that the process of moving through each work is the conversation that ensues from that presented question/idea, that it can also hold the answer? Well that's new to me.

Why? Because it means you can formulate the question so the answer occurs. Does that make ANY sense? Maybe it's a semantics thing. But it galvanized an idea I've been pondering for some time.

Without a formal lesson on Wednesday not sure I'll be posting but if something comes up, I'll be back.

 Okay. Off to finish up some work so I can get to playing with these concepts!

February 15, 2022

Art2Life Workshop

I've been craving a new direction for a while now and the advent of Nicholas Wilton's Free Workshop came along at just the right time. Winding down from creating work (that I started last Fall) for an April show, I noticed some abstract painting sneaking in. Something I'm really ready to explore.

Prior to the Monday, February 14th start, Nicholas offered up these tips to keep in mind as we moved through the workshop, all really good ideas and ones I've incorporated into my own art practice over the years. Sometimes we get so precious and hung up (read: stuck) on certain elements within our work, having a few Go Tos in our toolbox can be very helpful.


 5. Turn your work upside down for a new perspective. 

4. Start with THICK PAINT.

3. Embrace Risk.

2. Make Two. At Least.

1. Principles. Not Rules. 

 On Sunday, I noticed I was quite apprehensive, sorta anxious and a little bit excited about Monday's start. When talking classes I often feel this... trepidation? certainly nervousness... around fitting in, being less than, or, VERY often, not seeing any improvement or having any AHA moments. I tried to settle my brain monkeys, assuring them that the fate of the world, my world, did not rest on whether I got anything out of this workshop.

It helped.

Kind of. 

 Day 1 : Design

Watching the first video with a sinking heart, "Oh no! I've seen this before!" 

Aside: why do we assume the lightening will strike MOMENTS into something new? I blame movies!

I paused, took a breath, and thought, "Maybe. BUT you haven't seen it with your 2022 eyes, or heard with your 2022 ears. Let it happen."

So I did. And a few nuggets made their way into my notes. 

Differences = a feeling of Being Alive, what we crave 

There are differences of shape and size and position, colour and value, line and edges. Basic Design stuff. But there are also differences in feelings. How you approach your work... happy? sad? angry? And what mood you want to convey...calm? frenetic? These are the thing that will inform the overall basic design elements.

Curation is YOUR Contribution

Of course! How did I not hone down to this nugget before? Funny how you hear something said in a very specific way and everything galvanizes around it. I think I've always thought of it as "editing" which has always felt like 'correction' or 'wrong vs right'. Something I should inherently KNOW (and the corollary if you don't, you're stupid/dumb/an idiot/fill in with whatever self-recrimination you want). Curation on the other hand, feels like CHOICE and makes so much more sense to me. ALL marks are valid. But for THIS work? Maybe not *that* mark. Do you see the difference?

Has to stir YOU first.

Just last week I was listening to a podcast...something I haven't done in years and decided to start up again. only during busy work however. I find words, sometimes even music, disturbing whilst I am in the creation phase... and wrote this on my wall, "if you feel it, other people will feel it too'. So this felt like a validation for that thought. So often when I get moving into a piece, particularly assemblage, I will choose an element because it fits, is accessible, doesn't make me angry/throw up/irritate but not always does it make my heart sing. Time to change THAT!

Afternoon Live Session

Two viewing notes: 

  1. It makes me giggle whenever Nicholas draws a rectangle on his rectangular pad of paper to offer up an example. I can hear every art teacher I've ever had scream, "Use the WHOLE page. Right to the edges."
  2. I love Nicholas's energy, when he really gets going, "Do You Get It?" comes fast and furious and I want to shout back, "I DO! I DO!"
Energy of Conflict

This was written on the FB group by a fellow workshop participant and it HIT something deep. I'm not sure I would use the word "conflict" but I wholeheartedly get the sentiment. I have yet to fully explore this notion.

Question to Ask: How can I make something that's different?

I want a whole LIST of questions to ask myself whilst in the process of creating. This is a Good One. It pertains to the elements within a painting/piece not its entirety.

The larger the difference, the stronger the work

Again difference pertaining to the elements not the whole. This is really galvanized if you see a print of a pretty landscape, say. Lovely, for sure, but not energetic. Kind of a One and Done, viewing. The best works, even representational, have something that pulls your eye back into the work. Jaggedy edges vs smooth. Dark moody light vs ethereal bouncy light. Altered perspective to enhance a tree or barn or flower. In short, difference. 

Everything is a shapes/size as you move forward.

This one is super personal and a bit of an AHA moment. As I review my work, I often look at it as a whole rather than the specific elements. If the elements don't relate to each other, playing off their differences, the overall whole may feel balanced but not energized. It's one of those back pocket tips that can really help figure out what's NOT working. This might have been my most useful take away of the day.

May 25, 2016

The Big Painting


Background: In January 2016, I started an online class by Katie Kendrick. Part of our assignment was to paint, intuitively on a large canvas. Enter the Big Painting. Serendipitously, the size suggested fit EXACTLY a canvas I had MacGyvered together some 10 years ago. As the course progressed, and the painting became a glimpse into my current headspace, I wondered what would happen if I painted on this one canvas for the rest of my life. This is the visual progression of that one painting.

The Original MacGyvered Canvas

January 18, 2016

January 25, 2016

January 29, 2016

January 31, 2016

February 1, 2016

February 10, 2016

February 10, 2016

February 12, 2016

February 13, 2016
February 16, 2016
February 17, 2016
February 18, 2016
February 20, 2016
Ch-ch-ch-changes! February 21, 2016
February 23, 2016
February 26, 2016
February 29, 2016
March 2, 2016
March 5, 2016
Cardboard GONE! March 7, 2016
March 8, 2016
March 9, 2016
Black Gesso came out to play. March 10, 2016
March 13, 2016
March 16, 2016
March 17, 2016
March 18, 2016
March 21, 2016
March 22, 2016
March 26, 2016
April 2, 2016
April 4, 2016
April 7, 2016
April 15, 2016
April 19, 2016
April 22, 2016
April 28, 2016
May 24, 2016 . Calling it done
All Rights Reserved . JJ Worden . emerge