Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ending Workshlp Trickles into Sunset

With the remaining time at the Journaling Workshop (see previous post), we'd hoped to go outside, but the day is chilly and pretty windy. Luckily we have a wide panoramic window and use it for my next process, my "Awareness Meditation". And although you can't see my beginning contour line drawing, it gave the basis for this rich page. When the contour lines were done, I began painting and coloring in the scene with my watercolors and even writing in tiny text that curved and danced around various shapes created in the drawing. I did later drop in a side view of Yelena, who sat next to me, as she worked in her journal. I can't tell you how happy I am with this page on so many levels. What do you think?

The adjacent page came from one of my Journaling "Clinics" held monthly in my Ashland Art Center Studio. April's focus was "Sunsets". With sunsets and their extreme colors, you really have to be in a bold mood. As usual, I start with a teeny bit of wax crayon (mainly as reminders as to where the different colors end and begin - - and to serve as "fences" which stop one color from flowing into the other), note where I want to save my whites and begin with my yellow (Aureolin). I've wet most of the sky area and jump from yellow, to pink (Quin. Rose), then to orange (Pyrrol) - - using a lot of pigment to water ratio. I do dip into my darker orange (Brown Madder) and some cooler red (Aliz. Crimson) for variety and richness. And while the page was still wet, I began to drop in some blues (Cerulean, Thalo and Indigo) and purples (Thalo Blue and Quin. Rose). When the page was dry I began to add the Indigo Blue landscape silhouette and finally, the delicate tree branches poking into the page from the left. The five seeds window-ing thru at the bottom right were a happy accident that occurred when I worked on the following journal page. You'll have to stay around to hear that story!

When I was finishing up this journal spread, I had to make some adjustments. Because the sunset was so strong and dramatic, I did have to pump up some of the values and colors in the opposite page. But I was happy eventually and deliberately wanted the branches and teeny text from the left page to help you traverse into the tree branches of the right page. The end result . . . a pretty dynamic duo to savor, eh?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Refreshment ~ A Shared Workshop

Months in the planning, another Ashland Art Center Artist, Yelena Joy and I have created a tandem-taught Journaling Workshop. "Self Discovery Through Journaling" at the tucked away jewel of Hidden Springs, was a one day affair and did some deep and refreshing work.

We arrived early to set up the beautifully coral colored room. We have ample room and tables enough for samples of both Yelena's and my journals. While Yelena leads off the workshop with some breathing and awareness exercises I get to savor some of her new-to-me processes. All us participants are lead to a safe, playful place and with no design in my head, I allow marks and colors to land on my journal page. I get to hear my usual "critical" voice wondering where
the order is? the tidiness? the structure? And in just ignoring "her", this is the page I create. Viewing the curves I begin creating lil' people and fish to inhabit  the
 playful world. And eventually, just out of triangles, comes the graphic fish swimming along my border. It truly was refreshing and freeing.

After our lunch break, we gather for my portion of the class. I guide them through one of my all time favorite processes, "Animal Mandala". Everyone gives vision to different animals ~ reminding me of how different and how at diverse places we all are in 
our lives.

I giggle, because once again, I out-picture the Chipmunk. He seems to be with me for awhile and I think I sort of know what he looks like. I sketch in a rough chipmunk and save completing his head 'til I'm home and can get a better reference from which to work. Well, when I begin to finish up my chipmunk, I realize he's more like a squirrel. I have to enlarge my critter, scrape off wax crayon and re-design the entire mandala. Now, my chipmunk has the right proportions (what happened to that photographic memory I had as a child?) and the correct tail. And he even gets to dab his tail onto the underwater play of my previous page. Sigh. I do some research in my "Animal Speaks" book and feel out what text applies to me and the particular attributes I need to be wary of or work on.

The workshop continues onto the following page ... with an appropriate finale ... stay tuned!

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Whispers of Spring

As we move into March of 2013, my journal takes note of quiet lil' whispers that suggest Spring is arriving. The first comes with an annual tradition in which Roland, Cody and I indulge. Each March we see the promo on television of the nearby Grange Co-ops announcing the arrival of tiny, fuzzy chicks. YEAH! it's a red flag for Spring!! This journal post records the feathery fluffs poking around in their over sized watering trough in which the Grange Co-op presents them. When you enter the large building you hear the buzz of lil' peeps despite the enormous room. Once we arrive at the trough, I discover there is a bigger variety than in previous years. Some even with tiny tail feathers and they all hop and tweet over their sisters and brothers. It captures your heart and each year I have to be talked out of bringing one home. Cody seems attracted to their movement but we limit his viewing so as not to freak out the wee birds.

Did I ever tell you that my dad used to bring me home little chicks for Easter when I was small? We'd keep him under our parakeet cage on the floor, in a Jim Beam box with a sheltered light bulb for warmth. I was terribly creative with the name, and we called him "Peep-peep". One grew 'til he had lil' feathers and we had to find a ranch/farm that would take him. Another year, I remember my dad coming around the corner of the couch when I had "Peep-peep" out for a living room tour, and dad stepped on him. That might have been the last year I was gifted with lil' chicks. So this annual event I'm sure is a throw back to my childhood ... and a sweet one.

Shortlly after Valentine's Day, my brilliant crocus announces the approach of Spring too. I noticed how very enthusiastic my plant was this year, expanding to over eight inches across! Of course, when my Journaling Clinic came around with the topic of "Spring Florals" I had the perfect subject. Here's the quick demo.

During this same period we were reading (Roland and I read together each morning - a cozy ritual) this book that so impacted me, entitled, "Say You're One of Them". This book presents numerous vignettes of children's lives in Nigeria and Kenya that will open your eyes and break your heart. Many night after we finished this book, I went to sleep wondering what happened to the children brought to life on the pages. My
aim is to add to this illustration of the book, adding more children's feet running off the page. Well, that's my intention ...

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Newberg Escape

Roland announced he "needed" me for February 15th, 16th and 17th. Ok, I agree and I eventually wiggle it out of him that we are going north to a small town near Portland, Oregon, called Newberg. No, this has nothing to do with "Lobster Newberg" ... but that was originally where my mind went when I heard the name.We left early gratefully leaving behind grey, rainy skies that opened more to blue by the time we reach our destination. Our early arrival allows us to hit our favored "Sweet Tomatoes" Restaurant and squeeze in a movie too. I'd tried to take Roland to see his girlfriend, Julianne Hough, who stars in "Safe Haven" in the Rogue Valley. It was bizarre that the specially released Valentine Day movie was no where to be found where we lived. So we hunted it down and he was very satiated ~ she is awfully cute. And the movie was romantic so we were all happy. Here's my attempt at
the kissing scene with Julianne and her honey.

Next morn we wake to an unplanned day. I'm buzzing through the web for things to do, so of course I check out what's going on at the Portland Museum of Art. Very cool ... I see they offer a tour of their studio artists and Roland is up for it too. We doddle around in the fabulous sculpture gardens til the Museum opens. Thrilled to find a piece, "Desert Harvest", by Allan Houser, an artist we'd just read about in a book by Kent Nerburn, "The Wolf at Twilight" (a book I highly recommend if you love authentic stories of Native American Indian life). When the Museum opened we trotted to the appointed meeting place for the studio tours and they told us it was only for children and that we'd be bored. Grrrrr ... wish they'd have mentioned that in their promotional.
Anyway ... we peruse the remainder of the floors and are enamored with exhibits on the Native American Indians of the Northwest. Most fascinating to me is an exhibit of small (say, 3-5 inches) glass creations of Indian relics. There are over three hundred of them mounted on a vertical wall that reaches two floors. The colorful, delicate pieces are mounted on a black, maybe six inch slender post that holds the piece off the grey wall. Not only are the pieces amazing but I'm quite captured with the intriguing shadows cast by the strong lighting (one is captured as best I could here). I stood
there for a good long time ... a feast for my lil' artistic eyes.

Another favorite we always have to hit in Portland is their "Pearl Bakery" (I've echoed the Pearl Bakery's window graphic in my journal page - so appropriate for the bakery). After leaving the Museum, we landed there for a yummy coffee. We needed to eat light for Roland had picked out a special restaurant for dining that night, "The Painted Lady" Restaurant. It too was in Newberg so after freshening up we arrived with appetite in hand. A charming ole' Victorian home refurbished into a cozy, intimate place. There was some entertainment factor with the five courses, but, for me, I have to say, my Lemon Souffle (which you see here - please, don't drool on the screen) was the high point of the over-extravagant meal. I did adore their double business cards, one for the restaurant and the other for the cottages. They tied the pages together nicely with the contrasting colors and elegant text.

The trip was a special treat ... just the thing that Roland loves to dream up and I get to participate in. Here I am ... counting my blessings!!