Friday, March 16, 2018

Newport Workshop 2018--Playing with Patterns

Natural light floods the classroom.

Can you imagine a more spectacular spot for a painting workshop? The Newport Visual Arts Center provides a remarkable venue inspiring creative spirits to flow.

A sunset view after a day of creating art.

My workshops are all about sharing some of my techniques to help an artist enhance their own unique work. I try to help someone find their voice and paint from their own experiences. By limiting the class size to 15 participants, everyone had an entire table to work on. This is especially important when you start working with collage materials and stamping papers.

This group of artists arrived with great anticipation and a willingness to try new things. For some this required pushing beyond their comfort zone, but each person found ways to make and use patterns. I really enjoy seeing people's eyes open to new creative avenues!  Here are some of the comments taken from the participants' evaluations.

You freed me!  Theresa

I came away with many ideas for the future.   Sue

Most valuable--how generous you are with your time for each person.  Mary M.

I appreciated being able to follow my own direction with guidance from you when needed.  Dian

I'm sorry I did not get photos of every participant, but I did capture this moment from day 2 when master painter John Bradley sold his painting from day 1.

My two demos are now home and I have finished them in my studio. I'll talk about finishing work in my next post--this is how they looked when I came home with them.

Demo 1
Demo 2 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

What's It All About, Competitions?

(I can't help humming the tune to "Alfie" as I write the title of this blog.)

A friend, who is not an artist, recently asked me why I enter competitions after witnessing my jubilation over getting an award at a national show. He continued, "Is that what you paint for?" The answer to the second question is a resounding "No!" But the first question has made me think seriously about why I, and many of my artist friends enter competitions.

I have addressed other competition related issues on this blog in the past, but I don't think I've ever explored why I enter competitions in a post. It is not a simple answer because there are many challenges, risks and benefits involved.

One obvious reason I enter is to get affirmation. When I create a painting that I'm happy with, I will first have the quality of the work confirmed by a critique group or artist friend or two.  (By the way, they may not see the WOW factor I do.)  If I continue to appreciate it's good qualities for a period of time, I might be brave enough to send it off to a competition. When I get a piece of art into a competitive exhibition, I relish the affirmation I get from the juror who accepts the art into a show.

The flip side of that is that rejections are a bit painful. And I have had plenty of those!

Another motivator is building a resume. Getting art accepted into a show, winning an award is one way an artist builds a resume. When I  add Fallbrook Art Center 9th Annual Signature American Watermedia International Exhibition to my resume, I can take off something less impressive, such as Second place award,  County Fair. And then adding an award makes my resume even stronger.

But I think the biggest prompter is to help me measure my own growth and improvement as an artist. Where does my art land in the many levels of watermedia art being created in the United States? I started at the county fair level, then moved on to city, state and regional competitions. As my skills have improved I have sent my art off to more national level exhibitions. 

This past weekend I was able to be in Fallbrook California for the 9th Annual Signature American Watermedia International Exhibition where my painting, Will She Be Allowed was hung along with 99 other beautiful pieces of art. I went to see the show, but also to visit with the juror Ratindra Das who juried a show and taught a workshop in Oregon a few years ago. 

As I entered the spacious gallery, I began a slow walk taking in the beauty of 100 excellent paintings. Some of the paintings are by artists I greatly admire such as Carla O'Conner, Dean Mitchell, and Jeannie McGuire. Many paintings are simply stunning. Eventually I started the search for my own piece. I walked around a corner and saw my painting with an award sticker by it. I was so appreciative to have my art in this company, and astounded to win an award. 

So this painting being chosen by and awarded by this juror lets me think (for awhile) that I am at a pretty good level. 

Will She Be Allowed
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall Award 

You can look at all the art in the exhibit at: (It takes some time to upload all the pieces, so be patient.)

To learn how my friend Ruth Armitage decides which competitions to enter, read her blog:

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Art That Makes an Impact

There are pieces of art that just get stuck in your mind. The artwork is just so beautiful, so unusual, and makes such a statement that you cannot forget it, nor do you want to. When I first saw the work of Northwest artist Mary Carlton, I almost crumbled in admiration.

She was primarily a collage artist who is best known for her figures and landscapes. When I first began to use Pinterest, I put quite a bit of her work on one of my boards. Of all the art I have on my various Pinterest boards, this figure to the right is the image that is most often loved and saved to someone else's board. I see this as a tribute to the power of this artist and her work. Unfortunately, she died in 2013, so there are no more pieces to come from this wonderful artist.

I do not mean to compare my work to hers, but I am including my own piece, Caribbean Cornrows I which is also primarily a collaged piece with handmade patterns as well. I had attempted to paint this scene from a photo I took in Roatan, Honduras several times. I was unsuccessful until I started ripping paper from less successful paintings to create the painting below.

I had so much fun creating the collaged piece, I gave myself the challenge of painting a second version in transparent watercolor (image below). Playing with patterns using both collage and hand made patterns has long interested me as an artist. And I find a pattern often gives a painting a bit of that unique and interesting element I so admire in Mary Carlton's work.

If you are also interested in patterns, I will be teaching a workshop in Newport, Oregon, March 3, 4, and 5, 2018.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Workshop is Just Around the Corner

Born to teach--you know the kid lining up dolls and stuffed animals and teaching them the ABC's. Yep, that was me! If I know how to do something, say how to make patterns and incorporate those patterns into paintings, then I want to share. I find painting and making stuff joyful and that is definitely worth sharing.  I am now seeking a group of other artists to join me March 3, 4, and 5, 2018 at the Newport Oregon Visual Arts Center.

As my workshop is filling up, I am getting excited to teach and explore art techniques in this beautiful venue.

This is the room with the view!
The workspace.

I will be teaching several ways to make patterns and put them into your work. If you like to collage, that is certainly one way to do it, but you can also just create by hand a pattern directly on to your artwork.

Although "Sound Bites" is a painting with collage, all the squares of various sizes were created by hand, directly onto the watercolor paper.
Newport Bay 

Please contact me for more information about Playing with Patterns, March 3, 4, and 5, 2018. $295 for 3 full days of creating art! or 541-912-3400

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Out With the Old, In With the Current

For over a month now my husband and I have discussed the need to create space for my 21 piece framed exhibit to come home. Because this exhibit will be moving on to Coos Art Museum this summer, I will keep the paintings framed and ready to hang again in a few months. So what to do??

I have stored many older paintings in our garage. Actually they have been there entirely ignored, some for years. Was it really storage? No, these paintings were in "nowhere land."

Emptying out this shelving unit is trying. I've been "trying" to empty it out for years. Each attempt has stopped short of actually pulling out every old piece and breaking down the frames, breaking the glass, and letting go.

Yes, each piece was at some point worth framing and putting out for the public to look at and possibly purchase. But as I went through the process, I acknowledged to myself that these pieces no longer represent the artist I am today. And my attachment to them was mostly a distant memory and proof of the work I have done to be the artist I am today.

Out of all these framed paintings I was able to revisit where I've been, and marvel on where I am going. I could have (and briefly did) lament over the money spent on paper, mats, frames and glass. But I invited myself to feel relief over the new space I was creating for the artist I am today, and the artist I will become tomorrow.

I am forever grateful to my husband, who cheerfully helped me with a screwdriver and mallet breakdown the metal fames and physically breaking much of the glass. There seems to be no way to recycle the glass and I now usually cover a painting with plexi.

I was thankful for this sunny day to do this work outside. It was almost a cheering activity and a restorative process.

I found a couple of things to keep. One was an early painting juried into the Red River Watercolor Society Exhibit quite a few years ago. The painting itself was inspired by a trip Mike and I took with a great-nephew to Hokkaido, Japan. He was 14 years old at the time. Now he is young man who was recently married at our home.

Hokkaido Doorways has a new home.

Another painting I kept was an early attempt at painting people--my parents from a photo. It is not a "good" painting, but too dear to part with.

I also kept  some pieces I thought might make great additions to a collaged piece in the future. but the rest?

I'm not one for huge drama, but I asked Mike to have a bonfire with the remainders. Why? I didn't feel up to any more decisions.

One small piece I tore away from one of my first framed pieces because it seemed to say something about the artist I would become.

Patterns, I am and always have been a pattern painter along with Klimpt, Bonnard and many others.

Playing with Patterns
a 3-day workshop
in beautiful Nye Beach, Newport, Oregon
March 3, 4, 5th 2018

Contact me:


Friday, December 15, 2017

When Paintings Come and Go--One Way to Keep Track

This past month I have had 3 paintings in 2 different exhibits, 21 paintings in my solo exhibit, 2 sold paintings, and have a painting accepted in a February-April exhibit. There are other pieces entered in upcoming exhibits, but I have not yet been notified whether they are in or out. So how does one keep track of all the comings and goings?

Well, I have to admit this sort of thing has never been my strong suit. I know artists who keep notebooks full of records. There are computer programs out there for artist to use to record all sorts of information about their artwork. Frankly, none of these methods have worked for me long term. In part, I don't have that many paintings out there, but enough so my memory bank in my brain can't handle it all.

What has worked well for me is using my computer calendar. I have a specific color for my art entries. I can put the name of the painting, the exhibit I'm entering and the name of the juror on the date I send off my entry. Then I go forward and put in the date I will get notification whether my work has or has not been accepted. After acceptance, I can put in the date it must be delivered, show opening and closing dates and when to expect the painting shipped back to me. If I have not been accepted, I still know what I put out there.

In the last week, these 3 paintings arrived, returned from shows. I knew they were coming because my calendar told me so.

And this painting below will need to be shipped off to California before January 1st. The show dates are also on my calendar--February 4 - April 15, 2018 in Fallbrook, CA.

Will She Be Allowed
Mixed Media on paper

 There are days I get frustrated by technology, but there are other days I love it.

Looking into the future: Sign up for my March workshop in Newport, Oregon. 

Playing with Patterns
March 3, 4, and 5th in Newport, Oregon 
in the Heart of Nye Beach

3 full days for $295

Register today: email or call