Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cold Wax Online Class

So many of you wrote to me privately expressing an interest in learning to paint in cold wax that I think you planted a seed.

After doing my best to resist the urge (so much work for this old girl who just wants to daydream and fiddle around in the studio) I realized this morning that it was going to happen in spite of my lassitude. It's what I do.

So here you go. Help me spread the word please. I'll include a button with a link at the bottom of this post.

And thank you for giving me the encouragement to share what I know. I love to help inspire artists and share what I've learned from others.

Although I'd started working in cold wax some time before I took a 4 day class at Telluride from Rebecca Crowell, I think actually meeting her and watching her work was what gave me permission to say I really understood the medium.

She's the guru.

So go here to read about the class which will begin on January 21st and go for 3 weeks with daily videos and lots of techniques to explore. One of the best things about a class like this are the other artists you'll meet online. We share information and encourage each other. We take turns boosting each other to the next level. It's amazing.

Oh yes, that button! Here it is:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Happy Best Day

This is me and my daughter Stephanie. She's a whiz. Really. She recently asked me to come to her job as a manager of the make-up and fragrances counters at the downtown Portland Nordstroms to be the sitting sketch artist at the Jo Malone counter for a day. Wow. This is cool. Like bring your mom to work day. I was a little nervous.

 I paint. My sketching skills are rusty.

It was a little like on the job training. (shh, don't tell!)

Armed with a cheat sheet of London landmarks and the work of previous sketch artists who have gone before me I showed up for work an hour early, a little nervous and excited.

It was so darned much fun. Everyone made me feel at home. Stephanie's co-workers turned out to be as nice and welcoming as my friends in the mixed-media world. I could see that they were all so considerate of each other and so very kind as well.

The 5 hours passed so quickly and enjoyably that I didn't even feel like I was working. I was relaxed. Happy. Really incredibly happy.

The best part was seeing the pride on my daughter's face. It was just like the day I brought cupcakes to school for the entire class. (Do they allow that any more?) How my little girl beamed with pride to show her friends who her mama was. It was that. 

Only a mom could understand.

All the way home the trees were brighter with autumn color, the buildings looked more in focus and as I drove past the Willamette Falls I was faced with this extraordinary sunset reflecting on the river. I think I heard angels singing.

Thank you Stephanie Garber for the most amazing day I could ever imagine. My heart is so full.

 Mother is so proud of you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cold Wax Report

Here is some of the class work from the Cold Wax Group that met at Atelier SE over the weekend. Many of the attendees were members of the local encaustic group and so the transition to cold wax for them was a snap. We all got messy.

We only had two days together so many of our pieces were unfinished but it was impressive how many layers we were able to get down and I think these images speak for themselves regarding the high level of work that emerged.

I love to come to the classroom early and get everything prepared well in advance. The quiet room. Waiting. It's a time when I align myself with my intention to encourage. We all have the ability. We just need the courage.

Sometimes we undervalue the work we produce. 

A couple of years ago when I was facing one particular surgery that could have left me without the ability to create any longer, I walked through my studio and realized with surprise that everything I had made was suddenly holy. Maybe the last things I would ever make.

It puts things in a new light.

Suddenly you think about the time you wasted being critical of your work, your love of materials, your sincere efforts to give.

Really. The futility of being so hard on yourself.

We ate lunch right next door both days. Sharing our thoughts over lunch was another precious experience. 

It was all so beautiful. Thank you dear friends for joining me as we explored in unison. Paint, color and expression. It lifts me over every difficulty, it surely does. xo

Sunday, November 04, 2012

A Week in San Miguel de Allende

Where does one start when talking about Mexico? It is the most extraordinary country. An easy place to visit. The place my friends have chosen to live out their retirement years. 

Blogger has unkindly scrambled the photos I so carefully organized. No matter. It will be like my memories of the past week. Tumbled together.

Looking from the rooftop of one friend's house to the rooftop across the street where another friend is building his (their) dream house. On the far hill lives an artist I studied encaustic with last year. 

Heaven is all around.

We stayed in Casa de Noche on Organos. We loved it there. 

As we waited to meet our friend on Quebrada Street we noticed this doorway with the slipped keystone above the door. See how the door is wedged on one side? 

Looking down into one of the Casa's many courtyards.

There were many altars in town. This is a large painting done with sawdust and other earth materials that I couldn't identify. It's a least 6 feet square.

There were Day of the Dead festivities planned for the days leading up to November 2nd. Here is the church with papel picado (cut paper flags) flying across the jardin. What doesn't show very well is the air harp strung from the jardin to high up in the church towers. I have a video of the music it makes that I may post later.

We just got home last night and I may never get all my photographs sifted through. No matter. They're all in my head; sitting lightly on top of the dreams I've been having all week. 


Wouldn't it be fun to come here in 2013 and make art and see the city? Hmmmmm.....

The walls look like paintings. 

My friend William and I made an altar for Helen who passed earlier this year. It was very moving. Next year I'm going to make an altar for some of my relatives. I hadn't realized what a powerful ritual it is.

The jardin was filled with Catrinas one night. There was a parade and a stage with many beautiful interpretations of the tradition. I wish I'd taken more pictures. Next year I might participate. Big hat. Long skirt. Very cool.

Then margaritas and jicama tacos afterward with shrimp and chipotle sauce. Can you say, "una mas, por favor"?

On the way to the cemetery the next day we walked down a long alley filled with flowers, food stalls and people with buckets full of water and vases. Time to take beautiful things to the dead people. Time to laugh, sing, eat and cry. To offer food, beauty, our presence and respect.

Here begins the procession.

First you buy the flowers. 

Carry your bundle through the crowd.

We run into Katya and Yogesh who teach us their practice of putting flowers on the graves of the gringos in the neglected side of the cemetery. They part out their bundles and share with us so that we are able to join in. What a great idea!

The graves of the Mexicans are lavishly adorned. There are bands who sing the favorite songs of the dead family members while everyone looks pensive. Some of the music is very happy and by that you know that the loved one was a person who loved a good party.

My friends and I sit at one of the stands and eat gorditos and drink tamarind agua. Day of the Dead takes it out of you.

Marigold petals are scattered. 

I was attracted to the stacked graves with the names of the dead painted on by hand. They looked like beautiful paintings on plaster which is just what they were. Stephanie Lee is looking at this and smiling (we wrote a book ...).

Another beautiful interpretation.

A perfect painting.

Oh, San Miguel.

You own my heart.

Placing flowers.

The gringo side of the cemetery is much quieter.

Back home now. Amazed at the fall colors. Starting to unpack the dirty clothes and face our lives here again.