This past Saturday, I wrapped up the four-day workshop "Combining Subject Matter with Abstract Design" at Emerald Art Center. It was certainly an exciting 4 days for me. Teaching always helps me become more aware of my own art endeavors, as I have to articulate my inspiration, my composition and design ideas, my use of materials, my decision making and problem solving process as my own paintings progress.
In this workshop, we focused on two composition formats: cruciform and strata. Both formats are easily understandable, and, in my experience work well with inserting subject matter. Another large part of the workshop was creating collage materials by tinting natural rice papers, making stamps and stamping gessoed papers. For the participants who are mainly transparent watercolor painters painting fairly realistically, this workshop really stretched their thinking and expanded their experience. For those who are already experimenting, this just added new tools for their tool-belt.
Throughout the workshop, I did short demonstrations on how to begin an abstract painting with various surfaces. And perhaps the most daring thing I did was take in a piece of my work at it's most awkward stage, and bit by bit build it into a finished piece. (I use the word daring, because I had to have the courage to work through the process in front of an audience, and the belief in myself to be able to bring the piece to a satisfying conclusion.) By doing this, I was able to show not only how to make interesting materials, but also how to apply them to a painting.
Participants with work (some pieces are in progress)
And here is the piece I brought in at mid-stage and worked through to its completion. Stay tuned for my next post which will take you through this work from inspiration to completion.
River Dandy, mixed media, 22 x 30