Sunday, April 15, 2018

Back from a Fantastic Workshop!

Just returned from a five day workshop with artist and author Jo Toye. It was the most amazing experience...Jo is an extraordinary instructor and gifted artist, and I must say her workshop was THE most helpful and informative workshop I have ever taken! (And I've had the privilege of studying with some very well known instructors in the world of art workshops!)

An 8x8 practice "sample" of a Gesso Pull on Yupo paper -- fun to do, but a bit tricky to do well! 
 Photo ©2018 Lynn Edwards

Jo's approach to teaching is a departure from the norm. Rather than working toward completion of a painting, those of us in her workshop came away from it with a number of 10x10 and 8x8 completed "samples" of  the many distinctive techniques Jo has developed. They're all depicted in her very popular book, Abstract Explorations in Acrylic Painting, released in 2016 by North Light Publishing, but actually working through each technique under the direction of its creator heightened the learning experience even more.

I found the small format approach to be does indeed relieve apprehensions that can crop up when an artist faces a large, blank, costly substrate. It doesn't take much to cover such a small piece of paper, and storing the finished samples is considerably easier than storing full sized sheets of watercolor paper or Yupo.

In this workshop I learned how to use a mouth atomizer to spray a super fine layer of paint, how to use single edge razor blades to "draw" motifs and geometric shapes onto these small surfaces, and how to use Fineline applicators to outline and brighten specific areas of the work, to build texture, and to create interest and variety. Those were just a few of the things I learned this week; there were so many other things my head was spinning from all the valuable tips and information Jo shared.

If you ever get the chance to attend one of Jo Toye's workshops, take it. You won't be disappointed, nor will your art be the same when it's over. "Transformative" is the only way I can describe it, and I feel very blessed and grateful for being able to participate in such an extraordinary experience.

Text and photo ©2018 Lynn Edwards

A Thought for Sunday, April 15, 2018

"There's nothing like staying home for real comfort." -- Jane Austen

Sunday, April 8, 2018

A Thought for Sunday, April 8, 2018

"Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul." -- Oscar Wilde

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Artist Tip: Save Money on Bottles

Many liquid acrylic mediums are packaged in plastic squeeze bottles with tops that seal securely. When you use up the contents, don't throw the bottle away. Rinse it out and save it for future use in transporting mediums and other liquids to art workshops. Or fill with fluid acrylic paint and use it to dribble or fling color onto your canvas. Bought new, these plastic bottles can be pricey. Re-using them is not only thrifty, it helps keep plastic out of landfills.

©2018 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, March 18, 2018

A Thought for Sunday, March 18, 2018

"I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort, when I am filled with music." -- George Eliot

Monday, March 12, 2018

Artmaking and Environment: Relocating to Santa Fe

This past Saturday night we attended a retirement celebration for our friend Sam. It was a most enjoyable evening, with much laughter and good wishes for a man who is clearly loved and respected by his colleagues, church family and a wide circle of friends. Hubs and I are both very happy for Sam and his wife Molly: now that Sam has retired, he and Molly are relocating to the home of their dreams in Santa Fe, New Mexico. So the occasion was also something of a farewell party.

Santa Fe is a magnet for artists, photographers, writers, musicians and other creatives. The area's spectacular scenery and the town's art-centric vibe make it a highly desirable place for immersing oneself in whatever art form holds one's interest. For Sam, a gifted photographer, it's a longed for chance to devote himself more fully to self expression with a camera. For Molly, a wonderfully talented textile and collage artist as well as a sought after workshop instructor, it's an opportunity to expand her artistic horizons even further.

New Mexico's spectacular landscape has inspired artists for centuries.    ©2018 Lynn Edwards

In Santa Fe, simply to breathe the air is to be influenced by all things artistic. It's impossible to come away from there without a heightened appreciation for art in some form or another. Santa Fe is a place where artwork graces everything from trash cans and public restrooms to million dollar masterpieces in the area's proliferation of art galleries. In Santa Fe art permeates every aspect of life.

For those of us living in places that are not nearly so art-focused, a visit to Santa Fe is sure to send one's creative impulses into overdrive. When Hubs and I vacation there, I find sleep to be impossible. After a day of exploring, my head is filled with color combinations, ideas, images and inspirations whose details I try to capture in a notebook but, like a fast moving slide show, am unable to chronicle adequately. For non-resident artists, a trip to Santa Fe can so overwhelm the senses that it's impossible to process everything one sees and experiences. I've never used drugs, but I suspect the Santa Fe experience could be described as -- artistically speaking -- like a drug high in which everything becomes so much more impactful and fascinating that one doesn't want it to end.

This decorative garden gate is typical of gates found throughout Santa Fe. ©2018 Lynn Edwards

Molly and Sam are on the threshold of a whole new life, filled with creative potential, in one of the most pro-art destinations in America. I know they're going to be wildly happy there. In their new home, the grandeur of mountains and sunsets painting the high desert terrain in stunning colors will be an endless source of pleasure as well as inspiration.  

At some point after settling in, the wide eyed wonder artists initially experience in Santa Fe probably gives way to a calmer view, but to live and make art there will always be an extraordinary experience for those artists who become residents. Our friends Molly and Sam are fortunate indeed to be joining them, and although we will miss them dearly, we're genuinely delighted for them at the same time.

"Retiring" is another word for new beginnings. As they leave the familiar and embark upon this exciting new chapter in their lives, we can hardly wait to see what happens when every day for Sam and Molly is touched by Santa Fe's magic. However it manifests, it's bound to be amazing and extraordinary!

Text and images ©2018 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, March 11, 2018

A Thought for Sunday, March 11, 2018

"A poor original is better than a good imitation." -- Ella Wheeler Wilcox