Sunday 25 November 2012

Painting papers...

has got to be right up there on my list of favourite things to do.

Yesterday the studio was filled with colour

because this group was so fast to catch on to the process they could have done ten sheets in the allotted time!

 They quickly learned to add sparkles to their sheets, and I think the results were juicy!

Each sheet was a colour revelation, as they splashed,

and spread, and dropped,

and dripped,

 and sprinkled,

 taking their plain mulberry paper splashed with water to one filled with colour mass and energy.

I suspect the odd Christmas gift under their tree will be stunningly wrapped in these luscious papers.  Oh, and think of the cards they can make, and the colour they can add to their paintings, and the mini gift bags, and, and, and....   

I love doing these workshops because each time I see a colour combination that grabs me by the throat and makes my heart sing.  I always feel so lucky that the participants love it too!

Saturday 17 November 2012

The studio...

...right now is a peaceful oasis, as it's hung from top to bottom with a series of mandalas placed for last weekend's 'Into the Mandala' workshop.

My fascination with mandalic motifs has been ongoing for the past 25+ years.  I've drawn them,

coloured them,

collaged them,

and even 'pointillismed' them (which, like the paper mache horse, comes under the category of never again!).

I've added natural elements to them,

   as well as alien-looking ones.

 They've been published in a 'textbook' on mandalas

and I've created a colouring book especially for adults from them (see top right sidebar for Color Me Up!).

In all cases, I've not only learned from the experience of creating them, but I've achieved a level of meditative peace that I've found through no other means.  There is something about the process of creating mandalas that slows time, fosters introspection, and brings peace.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Urban Decay...

...takes on a new meaning in the town the size of Creston (5000+, just barely).  It happens mostly at the tail end of autumn, as we shift into the winter months.

The gardens shift from green and glorious to faded and rich,

the gardeners bundle their debris,

the roadsides become a rich tapestry of tangled brush,

 and the sidewalks and lawns gain a new carpet.

Yards look filagreed

and intensive decomposing starts.

In colours ranging from dun

to delightful,

 our world starts to molder

and deteriorate

in ways that are eerily beautiful.

Does your neighbourhood shift from one season to another this way?  What do you think when you hear about urban decay?

Sunday 11 November 2012

Into the Mandala

We had a great day yesterday at the mandala workshop here in my studio.  We drew, coloured,


 and chopped,

and in the process, came to a greater understanding of the fascination that is the pull of the mandala.

One of the comments from the satisfaction survey at the end of the workshop read as follows:

'...I feel like I have a much more meaningful approach to creating mandalas now - as well as technique.  Thank you!'

I hope you'll continue to watch the sidebar on the right side of this blog to see where and when your next mandala journey might take you.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Here's some Methyl for you...

Methyl Cellulose, to be precise.

I've just spent the morning doing one of my favourite things - learning something new.  A Nelson artist, Susan Andrews Grace kindly came to my home studio to teach me about her unusual technique for using this product.

Susan started by explaining that  her initial work with methyl cellulose about twenty years ago was an effort to protect her artwork incorporating burnt papers.  The cellulose allowed her to to affix it to canvas without breaking the fragile pieces.

© Susan Andrews Grace

Her more recent works are deconstructed screen printings on silk and organza in multiple layers, all around the theme of worms.

© Susan Andrews Grace

A series of 500+ artworks revolve around the lives of these creatures.  I was fascinated to learn that worms have five hearts!
© Susan Andrews Grace
Methyl cellulose is a neutral ph substance used in bookbinding, paper repair and art framing.  Susan prepares it by adding 2 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon (depending on the thickness desired) of the powdery substance to one cup of water, mixing, and letting it sit overnight.  The resulting mixture is mucous-like and can be applied to the fabric with a credit card, palette knife, or the like.

One distinct advantage of this type of 'glue', is that it allows the fabrics to retain the feel of fabric, as opposed to other glue types which destroy the hand.  Another is that it can be used for two- and three-dimensional work.  And, it can be broken down with water;  the fabric pieces can be lifted, rearranged and pasted back down with more methyl cellulose, so it would work beautifully as a final layer in a mixed media piece.  One distinct disadvantage of this glue is that it can be broken down with water (yes-works both ways!), so I'll also be testing ways to fix it for those times when fixing is the only option.

Here, Susan demonstrates the application to the second side of the fabric after the first has been applied to a surface.

 You can see how several layers of transparent silks can create a rich and varied focal point.

 Susan spotted some cheesecloth under my easel, and added it to her silk start.

 A painted dryer sheet added yet another beautiful layer to her piece.

I layered several pieces of her luscious hand-dyed silks on a matboard, and then

 I tested one layer after another layer

 including two difference cheesecloths,

 a dryer sheet,

 and another of Susan's silks.
I couldn't make up my mind which I preferred, so I thought I'd let you have a say!  All comments are welcome, as always.

Before Susan packed up, we traded fabrics.  I scored some of Susan's incredible silks, and Susan got some of my painted cheesecloth and dryer sheets.  Somehow I'm certain I got the better deal!

Saturday 3 November 2012

The studio cat strikes...

and nearly dies.

I've been remiss in blogging, no doubt due to trauma created by Opal, the studio cat.  In September, I mixed a large glob (very technical term) of a dark colour with a luscious phathalo green and cadmium red, preparatory to creating a grey for a background.

 I painted a 3' x 4' wooden panel with the resulting grey, affixed plastic wrap, and waited for it to dry.  Alice Saltiel-Marshall was visiting at the time and took this photo of the process, thanks!

During the night, Opal the studio cat happily pounced on a wet painting of Alice's, a lovely piece which was predominantly peach/tangerine, and then into a wet start of mine, a very bright phathlo blue, and then meandered over my wood panel...

 and the floor, and up the stairs on to the laminate, and, and, and.

You have to know that Opal was grounded for a week as a result of this, which is just as simple to accomplish as the proverbial herding of cats.  

© Garden Patterns II  mixed media by Win Dinn  3' x 4' on wood panel
Some judicious sanding, three more layers of plastic wrap technique, some under-the-breath cursing, and I finally finished a piece this week that was as traumatic as any I'd ever done.  And there were no thanks going to Opal the studio cat for her help with this one.

And while I'm at it, I just want to let you the know the major news in town here over the past month.  Two of my favourite people here in town are Susan and Gary Snow,  owners of Tabletree.  Tabletree produces exceptional black cherry juice, and has recently won the FoodNews World Juice 12 award in Barcelona, Spain for Best Pure Juice Product, an award that is VERY well-deserved.  If you're somewhere near an available distributor, you're very lucky.  If not, make sure you lobby to have it brought into your area.  Your taste buds will do a happy dance in delight if you do!
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