Thursday, April 29, 2010

Artiscape: Barbara Close - Paper Textures

My first half-day class was with the wonderful Barbara Close. Titled "Paper Textures," it focused on watercolor as the coloring source, with a variety of items used to texture the paper and add depth to the colors.

We started with four sheets of watercolor paper, folded in half, so we had 16 pages or eight spreads to work with.

We painted all the pages, and while wet did a number of techniques to give them some life.

Included were stamping techniques (linoleum block with or without design), powders, pastel (wet down) and more. This is a swath of pastel, then watered, on a watercolor background.

Sometimes she used odd bits as a stamp -- these marks were made with a corrugated Starbucks drink holder all folded into a square or circle.

And here she's working with the linoleum block.

This is what it looks like on the page.

When done, we put our books together in a cover and stitched them up. Barbara showed us how to judge and place the holes for the awl...

And the stitch the binding.

I learned a lot in this class. You'll note, I'm not showing you my grand book! Well, maybe later! I did some pages I adored. And a few that -- well, let's just call them gross violations of the color wheel! So, I think I'm not done playing with it yet!

But I will say I will do this again -- and use the papers for books or cards. And, this class went well with my afternoon class, which you'll hear about next!

(New at Chopsticks and String: Anne Frank in Words and Pictures.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Artiscape: The Demos!

Shortly after my first class concluded, I attended the Artiscape reception, which included a preview of the marketplace (dangerous spot but considerably smaller than the last time I attended). Also on tap was a series of demos. I attended four.

The first was from calligrapher and painter Barbara Close, in whose class I was enrolled the following day.

This was fun, simple and effective. She took copies of a couple of quotes she had elegantly penned. Our task was to use paints and powders to add accents.

I used watercolors -- both "traditional" watercolors and this wonderful pan of metallic watercolors (which I bought at the marketplace.) I also used a bit of the gold powder. This is the final result.

I loved this because it was so darned simple. Of course, part of what makes it looks good is Barbara's lettering, and I won't be able to duplicate that! Still, you get the gist of it!

Patricia Baldwin Seggenbruch showed us some encaustic basics.

I've seen a number of bloggers (but most notably Kristine Campbell) do things with encaustic and it sounded rather complicated.

Certainly a 10 or 15 minute demo is going to cut some things short! But Patricia was an excellent teacher, able to cut a complicated and time consuming process to its essence and deliver some beautiful results.

I have to say that I'm probably not going to take up this amazing art myself -- but I have tremendous respect for it, and it wouldn't surprise me if a piece of someone else's ended up on my wall someday!

The third demo I was was from Jacqueline Sullivan. I was signed up for her class the following day as well and have taken classes from her before. She's an excellent instructor. The topic of this one was "foil painting."

THIS one I must try! Basically, Jacqueline covers a surface with foil (attached with gel medium -- again, more complicated than I'm saying, but enough to give you the idea). It's then textured with a variety of tools.

She then mixes fluid acrylic with GAC 200 and paints.

It sounds simple. But there's more to it than meets the eye! What I can say is that the end result is fabulous!

Finally, Kathleen Wentz (I can't find a website for her; I'll put in a link if I get one) showed us some fun techniques with stamping and inking.

I don't stamp very much and when I do, it's pretty much -- hit the pad, make the impression. So it was good to see how easy some of the techniques were.

And the colorful piece she worked on was fun!

Can you imagine how after seeing a bundle of creativity -- fast creativity -- I was excited for the next workshops? In the next post, we'll go to Barbara Close's "Paper Textures" class.

(New at Chopsticks and String: "Anne Frank in Words and Pictures.")

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Artiscape: The Cubicle Book

Artiscape is a series of diverse workshops hosted each year by European Papers. From Thursday through Sunday, artists learn new techniques or perfect old favorites with a strong list of instructors. In between classes, one can stop at the vendor marketplace (much smaller this year), visit the European Papers store (the "mother ship") and get to know lots of like-minded creative types!

My first class was called "Cubicle Book" and it was taught by Amy Flowers at her off-site studio, Shrew'd Studios.

The shuttle dropped me off in front of what used to be a garage -- one step in and I knew it was going to be great!

Amy greeted us with "find a seat -- there's wine, pop, and cookies in the back!" Art and wine. Works for me. And she introduced us to Linda, who was her studio helper.

There were five of us in this class, so there was plenty of room to work. And, until it began, we took a long look at Amy's studio -- I loved this astounding white kimono on the wall --

And there were lots of nooks with cute stuff, all jammed in so there were always surprises!

Amy began the demo explaining how this book -- using six squares of a card stock with tiny holes punched in each corner would go together to make a box that was completely reversible.

First you lay out your cards and get your concept for the piece.

Then you go to town with Lumiere...

Lots of ink and stamps!

I had a green/aqua side (which would later get stamped tulips and borders).

The other side was deep blues and golds. Yes. The cat side.

Amy was most generous with her supplies, her time and her encouragement and we had a good deal of fun putting together our boxes.

Here's the end product! (I have since added some beads and trimmed my "strings." When you flip the cards, it stands up this way, but with the reverse side.)

(And no, you won't see the other side -- because the other thing I learned about this is that you may have all your cards lined up right for one side and it looks great -- but if you aren't more careful checking BOTH sides, you'll find half your tulips upside down!)

Incidentally, Amy pointed out one could use this box as an art therapy project -- your "face to the world" side on one side of the box and your "hidden" face on the other. I'd love to try it with kids.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Tea with Biddie

Well, I arrived in Columbus and at the home of my friends, Lin and Larry, which would be my haven for the next few days. Of course, the first order of business was to shop!

We headed to Powell/Dublin, towns a short drive from Lin's home. First stop was Morgan House -- a wonderful gift shop. (For those on the shopping alert, it also has a marvelous restaurant, in which we've dined before.) Here's Lin on the porch. We just smiled all day!

I love the cheery outside with its garden and porch-art.

The trees were in full swing -- I felt as though I was from some alien country seeing the New World for the first time. I couldn't help but gasp with every redbud, crabapple or apple tree.

After doing my bit for the southern Ohio economy at Morgan House, we went to Biddie's Coach House, where we enjoyed lunch.

One enters into a charming shop where Sweet Madeleines -- beautifully decorated sugar cookies -- are sold. A quilt lies across a sofa.

Steps lead above, with a colorful pink and white floral wallpaper motif.

And then to the tea room. Now THIS is a charming place, hundreds of years old and now a tea room. Colorful floral tablecloths cover tiny table tops -- some are quilts, some lacy, all beautiful.

And at every place there is a beautiful china cup and saucer.

And of course, the table was beautifully set.

The menu was delightfully old fashioned -- with many a tasty dish listed!

Lin and I both ordered Biddie's Tea Basket, which included a half of an egg salad sandwich, a small chicken salad sandwich, a wee salad, some fruit and divine lemon bread. And yes, we both had tea!

And yes, we couldn't stop talking!

Did I mention that even the bathrooms were cute?

From then, it was across the street to Thalia and Dahlia, a lovely gift shop with glorious soaps, glasswear, and elegant gifts.

I particularly loved the topiary bunny on the porch!

From there, we visited The Wren House in Worthington. My basket of gifts for the spring birthdays kept getting fuller and fuller!

Then it was back to Lin's to get ready for my first class at Artiscape! Tomorrow, you'll see what I did!

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