Abstract Figures

Last week I took a 3-day workshop on abstracting figures. I’ve been wanting to really loosen up in my work and have this idea of just slapping on paint, stepping back, and voila, I’ve created a masterpiece! While I know that’s a pipedream, I’d like to work towards it anyway. So, this workshop was exactly what I needed to push me in the right direction.

Our instructor, Leslie Masters, is a wonderful older lady whose been around forever and styles herself in the most quirky bright-colored clothing; all shades of pinks and oranges! She tough but sweet at the same time and you can tell she really knows her stuff!

The first day we talked about Picasso and Matisse and started with contoured line drawings of faces from magazines. I chose a beautiful Asian model and copied her face onto tracing paper starting with simple line, more detailed line, straight lines, and curved lines. From there, we chose one to paint, using bold blocky strokes focusing on the value and shapes. Below are my classmates works from the first day:

(Side note: most everyone in my class worked in acrylic or watercolor. Acrylic lends itself to these exercises very well – working in oil was much more difficult.)

The following day we began with looking at Pop Art especially Peter Max. I was not familiar with his work and didn’t really care for his style; flat, colorful with black outlines – very cartoony, 70’s psychedelic; think Beatles Yellow Submarine.

Our task for the morning was to work with a partner and transfer an outline of our profile onto a canvas, then create a bubbly landscape in the background that followed the curvy lines from our portrait. I must have missed the memo, because I used straight lines to create my background. I didn’t get too far with the painting and I’ll probably gesso over this one and use the canvas for something else. However, I loved the way some of my classmates turned out. Here is my partially finished design/painting.

In the afternoon we created figure collages based on images from magazines focusing on the large shapes. Next, we painted the figures in an environment – channeling the abstract artist Richard Diebenkorn.

The third and final day was really fun!! We were channeling de Kooning and our task was to create a large, loose, messy, abstract figure painting using house paints and large brushes. I chose to paint from a favorite picture of my young son when he was about 4 years old. Below is the original picture and my abstract interpretation: my pièce de résistance!

In the afternoon, we each took turns showcasing our works from the three days and gave a brief synopsis of what we learned, what we liked / didn’t. It was a great foray into abstraction; I learned several ways to approach the subject without feeling overwhelmed, great techniques to get started, and about several abstract artists. Now, I can take what I learned and hopefully approach my paintings a bit looser. We’ll see, stay tuned!

Eli Tea Bar

Artist of the Month

Tea can take you anywhere. The Himalayas. The Hawaiian Islands. The Horn of Africa. And right back home. Every cup is a journey. Every sip, a step forward. And wherever you end up, it all starts in Detroit.

What better place to celebrate the land, people and culture of tea than a city known for creativity and community? What better place from which to visit foreign lands than the land of opportunity, itself? Right now, it’s not just Detroit’s time. It’s Detroit’s Tea Time. The only question is, where do you want to go?

– Eli, CEO / Tea Master of Eli Tea

I am happy to announce that I have been chosen as the Featured Artist of the Month at  Eli Tea Bar in downtown Birmingham, Michigan. Each month a local artist is chosen to showcase their work on the large 9′ x 13′ wall just inside the contemporary cozy atmosphere.

The Tea Bar was established by Eli in 2013. Over 50 types of tea and herbal infusions are offered and each cup of tea is brewed from loose leaf to order. They also sell loose tea in bulk and all of their teas are free of artificial ingredients and flavors.

About two months ago, I serendipitously stumbled upon their website and noticed a call for local artists. I filled out the contact info with a link to my website. When I received the email congratulating me as the featured artist for June, I was shocked and excited: I had completely forgotten about it!

For the next few weeks I prepared for the show. I had to talk my son and Mom into letting me “borrow” their beloved paintings for the month with the promise that they would not be sold! However, my son let me know that he would not be completely opposed to selling if I was offered a nice price and split it with him. Always the little business man!

It turned into a family affair: my husband helped me arrange and hang my paintings while the boys entertained themselves; one sitting outside, always on the lookout for exotic, high-end vehicles, and the other performing card tricks for the tea patrons. (He even made $10 that evening!)

Later this month we’ll have a meet and greet and if I’m really lucky maybe I’ll even sell a painting or two! Thank you Eli!

Hey there, Dahlia

A few months ago, my friend posted a beautiful picture of a Dahlia flower on Facebook. To date, I hadn’t painted a close-up lone flower – the fear of all that detail – but I have seen many artists accomplish the task beautifully and I felt up for the challenge. What could be more perfect for Spring?

The Dahlia originated from Mexico and was discovered in the 16th Century by Spanish adventurers. There are over 20 known species resulting in thousands of hybrids. The Dahlia is unique because it has six genes rather than the standard two found in most flowers; therefore it can take on a myriad of shapes, colors, and sizes.

Thank You Word Press

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