Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Pastepaper Using the Stencils

Here are some of the pieces I am playing with, some of which will make their way into books. Maybe.

I start out with a fairly limited palette and as I work the colors get "modified". That's my new way of saying the colors get polluted as I put the blue brush into the red container and the yellow brush into the green container because I am working so fast and having so much fun.

These changes in the original colors are often quite wonderful. As the colors change they become more mine and often lead me to move in a new direction design-wise.

Now these pieces below are interesting to me. I was cleaning up and wanted to use the paint that was leftover on the sponges, brushes and stencils. I was working on papers that had something on them already. The dogs. The rejects you don't know why you saved. I just stenciled over them. I got hooked on one stencil in particular and worked really fast and messy and I absolutely love the rawness of some of these pieces. I couldn't stop and the clean up phase was long gone and I was making yet more mess.

Life is good.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sensational Stencils

Recently more and more wonderful manufactured stencils have come into my world. This is a good thing because I absolutely thrive on pattern, lots of pattern. And I get tired of using the same thing over and over. And I like to have many choices. But I don't really like cutting my own stencils so what a thrill to have new designs to play with. The best thing is that you can get the same design in various sizes. Maria, who owns the store Collage on Alberta St. in Portland, OR and sets up shop at the Art & Soul events, bless her heart, carries the Crafter's Workshop plastic templates. These stencils are a nice thickness of plastic, which is something I appreciate.For those of you who will be at Art & Soul in Hampton, VA it is possible that Maria will have the Crafter's Workshop plastic templates available for sale. I will be bringing mine for use in my classes.

My friend and super-student, Marcy turned me on to another stencil source which is fabulous, http://www.istencils.com/ . These are not as thick, but oh the choices. You can spend hours on the istencils website, but the categories I really like are: "all over repeats", "backgrounds", and "animal prints".
If you visit my etsy website, http://albiesmith.etsy.com/ , you will be able to see how I used stencils on my paste paper. Notice the mix of large and small stencils of the same design on one piece of paper. And don't just look, try making some yourself. Big fun.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

An Artful Journey

Though it has been a week since An Artful Journey ended I am still under it's spell. The opportunity to have this time together exploring whatever held interest for each of us was a wonderful experience for me as an instructor. I had so much fun and loved every moment. It was a big commitment of time and resources for people to come to a retreat of this kind; three days with one instructor. The big surprise for me was how many signed up for my workshop who had never taken classes with me before. How courageous and trusting! One of the things I most enjoyed was how helpful and encouraging everyone was to each other. It felt to me that we were bathed in love, gratitude and appreciation for those days. It's a lovely way to live and I find myself feeling that much of the time now. It's as if I have received a big enough dose that it's boosted me to a new level of well-being in my life.
One of our first projects was a journal. Several people used them immediately to document their journey.
Look at the beautiful work that was created. Our classroom wasn't huge so we took over much of the hallway outside it to dry papers. Lots of folks passing by had a chance to lust over them!
One of the offerings was an "artist's challenge". I gave each person a small piece of my own paste paper and a piece of heavily textured gesso paper and asked them to incorporate them into a piece of their work. The book covers in the above photo are one artist's response. A good deal of experimentation and some innovation went into these sweet little books.Look at the variety below. One of the benefits of working with the same medium for days is the time to explore and find what you really like and get good at it.

Here we all are, a bunch of happy, satisfied and connected women who created not only art, but a safe and nurturing space to take chances and succeed.An Artful Journey is a creation of Cindy O'Leary. She took a chance and shared with us and it was a rich and deep experience. Thanks and love to Cindy.