Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Ventura Adventure--Part I

After two weeks in Ventura, CA, a week and a half waiting for my art box to return to me, I finally have my paintings and art supplies home with me in Blue River. This morning I photographed my paintings and thought more about what I learned while there and how it might affect my art-making.
Katherine Chang Liu and yours truly

Katherine Chang Liu is the mentor for artists using all sorts of media--found object assemblage to traditional painting. She does not teach any techniques, nor does she show her own work even though she is a well-known and gifted artist. I was one of only three "newbies" in the class of 29. Many artists have been studying with Katherine for years.

Every day started with a program of images Katherine collects from a wide range of artists from all over the world. Each program embodies a particular genre of work such as new realism, working with shapes or assemblage. By the end of the two weeks I felt like I'd taken an advanced course in Modern Art along with the many studio hours of creating my own art.

On the first day she advised the participants to clear one's studio from all other artists' work. She feels strongly that an artist needs to eliminate other influences in order to find one's own source for creating art. So right away I started thinking about the many times I've "borrowed" ideas accidentally or on purpose. That led to digging into my brain, trying to figure out just what would be my own unadulterated creation of art. This is heavy stuff!!

In the first two days, Katherine schedules a private meeting with each artist where the artist shows 6 images of their work to discuss and set a goal for the first week. I had planned a particular avenue to travel in the two week, but Katherine veered me off that course immediately. She challenged me to take one of my River Tapestry series paintings and turn it into a vertical painting, which she told me was my natural bent for creating art.

The other observations she made about my work are that my art is based on thought, not reaction and  I use a lot of symbols and icons in my work. She noticed that I used circular shapes in many of my pieces and suggested I think about something circular to place in my river series. I especially liked her comment, "You are sitting on the bridge between realism and abstraction."

River Tapestry #4
Because I was there to listen and learn, I released myself from what I thought I would do and set about painting a vertical piece incorporating elements of the River Tapestry series and filling my circles with a river related symbols. To the left is the piece I was challenged to use as inspiration for a vertical piece.

Life Cycle Imperative #1
Mixed Media, 30 x 22 inches

And here is the first piece I painted in the Ventura Workshop. I included water, stenciling, rock, fish from my previous work and added a new element--(get this) salmon eggs. I learned to respect and relate to the salmon's life cycle over the next 10 days, which I will talk about in my Part II post. I'll also show the other paintings that came from this beginning. I was surprised and perhaps you will be too.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Margaret - thank you so much for sharing your experience and showing us your art and the explanation of what you learned and created. It is very exciting and I can hardly wait to see the next one.

Looking forward to talking with you more in Medford at Convention.