Monday, December 11, 2017

Thank You

It's that time of year when we begin to reflect on all that has happened. When I think of this year and what might be the thread that ran through all the months, it distills down to gratitude. Even in the hardest, darkest times, I found myself being grateful. In the most joy filled moments, I am grateful, and in all the in betweens, too. It is that very undercurrent that is a true pillar of strength for me. 
With deepest gratitude, I want say thank you to each and every one of you. Whether you are family, one of my closest friends, or an acquaintance, you are an expression of the many gifts life has to offer. For those of you who have taken workshops with me, purchased a piece of my art, asked me to help in your artisitc dreams, I thank you. For those of you who have been a source of strength, and for those who have allowed me to help you, I thank you.
We are truly in this all together. We each have so many gifts to share and when we do share them, we all get to grow.

I believe my gifts shine brightest when I am in a creative environment sharing what I know, while also recieving the gifts you bring in return. This expands beyond my studio. It happens in the work place, in the day to day running of errands, it happens in the home, it happens in friendships of all kinds. I become more aware every single day of this, and I wish the same for you. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Nothing is Random

Nothing is Random 
This is the name I am giving to a new series I am currently working on. I believe that nothing is random, even when things seem to come out of left field ~ nothing is random.  This is my belief, I am not stating as a universal belief. We each have our own. 
Nothing is random is something I find especially true for me when making art. There are so many decisions we make that we don’t even realize how quick our brains function, how many thousands of little decisions seemingly go unnoticed. Our subconscious mind is never asleep. 
I've actually tried very hard to be random in my work, but it just doesn't happen. Being quick and non censoring with my art production still involves some thought, some form of decision making. Even if I was blindfolded while making art, I would use my other senses to help guide me in my decisions making even if I were trying to be "random".   
So, what's the point anyway? For me, it is a way to see if there is a voice that will emerge if it isn't shut out by too much planning, or by too strong an attempt to have control over my materials. Its a way for me to become more aware of the actual process of art making. 
Its a way for me to link art and life together. 
I'm not looking for dominion over my art. In fact, I am looking for a partnership with it. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Teaching Is A Two Way Street

Why do I teach?  I was asked to write about this for the upcoming Winter Wax workshop at the EncaustiCastle this coming January 2018. Details about the workshop are found in the workshop link on this blog. I hope you will check it out. Winter Wax is a deeply restorative experience and really taps into your creative vision and goals. I am so looking forward to being a part of their unique experience again. 

So, why do I teach? I ask that very question all the time, almost daily in fact. I actually have to switch out the word teach, to the word share. After all, sharing is what I am doing and teaching is not really what is happening when in workshop with me. What is happening is something that I can not predict at all. 
At first, I was really uncomfortable with the not knowing, and now, it is the only real way I know to be with the act of sharing. 
Sounds maybe a little loose and unstructured, maybe even a catch all or cliche, but I am being as honest as I know how to be. 

Yes, I write out reminders of what I would like to focus on, because I need some sort of anchor. I do stand in front of a group and make statements about how I approach things, knowing that there are many ways to approach anything. Often times I offer a guided exercise to get you going, because I believe that it is in the excavating that we come to know what we really want to bring to life. I have a wealth of knowledge about pigments and paint making. I understand the principles of employing certain techniques. I’m confident in many ways, and have come to know the value added of having had years of experience in the art industry and as a practicing artist. 
All that said, it means nothing in the scheme of things because ‘You’ will bring something that will be completely unique. There in lies the real quest. 

Why do I want to share what I know with you? The best way I know how to answer that, is because I know that in order to successfully share what I’d like to share, I also need to open to receiving what you will be offering. 
I learned a valuable life experience a few years ago that speaks more to a life style. That is, when two or more people come together a separate and distinct other entity co-arises. That entity is full of potential and is very organic. That entity is idea, visions, creative power, untapped potential. I never know what will come out of my working with another person, but I am willing to bet that if we both remain open enough, that we both will learn from it. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Fall Newsletter 2017

Dear Friends,  

I’m home from my Art and Soul Journey to Ireland. It was an outstanding trip for me in so many ways.  This workshop/retreat has confirmed in me a desire to seek these opportunities out as a course of direction in my profession as an art educator, but not just so that I can teach. It goes well beyond that.
I have come to realize that in looking back over the last few years, I have slowly been cultivating a life style that supports me in all ways. It has been in this last year where I have really come to know this in my heart, through experiencing a great loss, I am aware of what I can never lose. 
My art, my undying desire to work with my hands, the rich community I am part of, the desire to share, the love of my friends and family ~ these are all pillars as I carve my way into a new (yet, old) life path. 
This may or may not make any sense, but I suspect on some level it does. It is after all, that other level, that deeper level where I like to swim. It helps guide me in all that I do. 

Life is rich ~

Here are some images of my work where I explore the notion that ~ Nothing is Random 
This is the beginnings of a new series for me. I believe that nothing is random, even when things come out of left field ~ nothing is random. I find this especially true when making art. There are so many decisions we make that we don’t even realize how quick our brains function, how many thousands of little decisions seemingly go unnoticed.  Our subconscious mind is never asleep. Even if we are blindfolded, while making art, we would use our other senses to help guide us in our decisions making.  As I type, I’m coming up with another idea for my workshops. You see . . nothing is random. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Art and Soul Journey to Ireland 2017

My bucket runneth over. It is with bittersweet thoughts going through my mind that I write this post. Art and Soul Journey to Ireland has come and is now but a memory, albeit a recent one.
I've never been to Ireland before and it was always top of my list of places I would want to go given the opportunity.
Last year,  Lora Murphy (look her up) and I decided we would embark on offering an encaustic workshop and soul filling retreat. It all came together beautifully the first week of September when we held our event at The Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare for 19 lovely women. These women came from all over the globe and had varying prior experience with the encaustic medium, always a plus in my mind.
Lora taught portraiture in her portion and I guided the women in creating the "inspired landscape". There was a lot of wiggle room in what is "inspired", but the main idea was to begin to cultivate the impressions of the landscape in our mind first. We had spent the very first day touring the countryside, so our impressions were fresh. You will see in this post a beautiful expression from each of the women in the workshop. Many of the images are all but finished, while others are more sketch like. What I love about them is the freshness and of course, I have memories of the behind the scenes cultivations of these pearls.
If you ever get an opportunity to visit this neck of the woods, I would encourage you to do so.
Be on the lookout for when we offer this workshop/retreat again. I'm ready to pack my bags.

Phyllis Bryce Ely

Maureen Church

Patrice Maloney

Catherine Mansell

Kelly Finnerty

Laurel Haslett

Janis Loehr

Nancy Torbitt-Stewart

Bernadette Wright

Robin Samaljin

Rachel Packham

Maureen Butler

Mindy Rollins

Mandy Rollins

Marie Taylor

Diane Phillips

Connie Ehindero

Patricia Dusman

Anne McCune

Monday, August 28, 2017

Summer 2017

Summer 2017 - a little reflection 
It is my sincere wish that you have had a wonderful summer so far. My summer has been filled with many good things. I’ve kept to my promise to only say yes to things that will be enriching. Having a zest for life means that I say yes to a lot, but who can say no to awesome opportunities?
As a teaching artist, I get to work with a lot of really wonderful people. Many of the people I work with are coming in from different parts of the country, even globe. So, it seems that travel is becoming a large part of my creative undertakings and workshop offerings. Being in new surroundings, or in new communities of people really helps to broaden my skills. 
By the time you read this I will be on my way to Ireland for The Art and Soul Journey, where I will be teaching a workshop alongside my dear friend, Lora Murphy. In my portion of the workshop I will be focusing on the landscape and how our surroundings impact us in powerful, yet sometimes subtle ways. I feel so strongly about understanding the language of the land, that I have developed a course around this concept and am taking it with me to Ireland and to my future workshops. 

I am eternally grateful to Mike Lesczinski, owner of Enkaustikos, where I have worked for over 10 years. The experience and knowledge I continue to gain from working there is crucial to my teaching and reinforces what I am capable of sharing. It has inspired me to dive deep into the world of pigments, where they come from, their true nature, how they mix, and how all of this applies to expressing ourselves with color and responding to our environment in visually creative ways.  ~ This is what I bring to my art and to my workshops.

About the image above… The Inspired Landscape. I often wonder what makes us see things the way we do. How programmed we are from infancy. I had a teacher once say to me that all you need to create the feel of a landscape is a horizontal line. He went on to say that it really didn’t matter what colors I used; the line was the strongest element in the painting. I have explored this many times in my work. In this painting, I wonder if you would read it as landscape if the suggestion of trees did not exist. The patchwork of colors in a loosely formed grid speaks nothing of reality and resembles more of a sketchy pattern for a quilt.  Oh, but the colors are soft like a rainy day. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

A Few of My Favorite Things

Plein Air painting, teaching and sharing what I know, Linwood Gardens and encaustic!!! Add a few extension cords and thank god for folding tables, and a bright sky over looking the Genessee valley made for a wonderful day of doing something I have wanted to do for a long time.
For those of you who have known me, know that I found my first true expression of art making with pastels and more specifically in the plein air style. However, after years of working for Enkaustikos and learning all the ins and outs of working with encaustic I decided I needed to offer the people who take my workshops a little something different, something that felt natural to me.
I've never been one to sit in front of the easel for long periods of time working on the same piece. My nature tends to do many sketches of the same subject matter until I feel as though I have a sense comprehending the the light quality, the patterns of line and rhythm, the colors that are always in harmony. Ultimately, after the sketches a painting usually happens, but in a quick and gestural way.
This was the format I used when offering Plein Aire with Encaustic at Linwood Gardens and the results from the participants was so rewarding. Many of the women in the workshop had little to no experience with plein air, let alone working with encaustic. I found that so much of working with pastels really fueled my ability to convey what was important in this workshop and I am already planning more more of these classes.
Please enjoy just a few of the paintings created in this workshop by the participants.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Following My Inner Voice A Little More

We are always in transition whether we barely notice it or feel the impact of it suddenly. I seem to have hit the speed dial a little over a year ago and find myself trying to make sense of this new map I’m holding in my hands. Most of it is still printed in invisible ink. Or, is there such a thing as time released ink, when only at a certain time the ink shows up and pathways become clear? An interesting thought. 
So, I look and listen for clues, and learn to trust my instincts a little more every day. It is a waking process. 
One thing that has become very clear to me is that I want my workshops to be more than just about learning techniques. I’m feeling very called to really nurture that creative voice in myself and in doing so, want to be a support to others. Everyone has a creative voice! It’s our own personal roadmap. There are so many ways of tapping into our unique language of making and creating. I am learning some of these ways and look forward to sharing them with you personally and hosting guest presenters to share their knowledge with you, too. My studio is a welcoming place to this energy and discovery.  So, while my workshops are art centered, there is just a little extra something that I am bringing to the table. 

Thank you, as always, for being supportive. 

About the image above… Her name is Blue Angel. One day when trying to remedy what I would call a blah painting I decided to see if adding a glaze of color would help. As I started to work, I could see that I simply needed to get out of my own way and stop thinking about any preconceived notions or designs that I had in mind. I needed to let go and allow my hands to lead the way. Let go of thought and allow for that inner voice to be able to express itself. It is not easy getting my mind to quiet down, but I am practicing because this is when I really learn, and something always shows up. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Beauty of Learning Something New

I just taught two separate workshops in my studio over the weekend. The first was an Introductory to Encaustic workshop and the other was Pastel Meets Wax, both a joy to teach. I was privileged to work with eleven spirited and gifted women. Most of these women have full time positions not involving the arts, some do, some were retired but have filled their retirement with volunteerism or teaching their own craft. But we came together with a common goal, to learn, to expand, to deepen our knowledge. 

Watching these women move around the room, exploring a new technique, or working with a foreign media, quietly talking among themselves, or sharing stories and experiences with the group, was wonderful to be part of. 
I love offering workshops and really enjoy filling my studio with people who want to learn. There is something wonderful about being part of a learning experience. 

The work they created was pure. The thought that went into their process was at times like learning to walk, taking time to be present with each little step. I think that is what I like most about it - the presence we bring to our learning. 
The room was quiet and calm at times and at other times busy and energized. It was like watching a dance as if synchronized. It is a beautiful thing to come together, to learn, to share, and grow from each other. 




Monday, January 23, 2017

Winter Wax 2017

The only word I know to use at this point is ecstatic. That's how I feel even after a nine hour car drive, a couple loads of laundry, hours spent catching up on emails, and putting all the workshop supplies away. 

Ecstatic that this workshop provided a space where twelve beautiful women tapped into something very good and unique in each others presence. Ecstatic that we allowed a bond to form so quickly among us, that we took part in a greater vision and it proved to have yielded more than we could have imagined. 

What was it? The perfect alignment of the planets? 
The energy of the house? 
The trusting and open hearts? 
The letting go of all things except to be present? 

Winter Wax 2017 took place in a newly inhabited Victorian home. A home that is experiencing a beautiful transition. A transition that honors its past and embraces the polish. A home in Lexington, Kentucky owned by Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch and husband, John Govaert. 

Winter Wax 2017 was the vision of Patricia, and in collaboration with Brenda Tassava, a woman who skillfully empowers women to speak their dreams and embrace them, and myself, a lover of sharing all I know and being in full presence with my fellow creators. We did what we do, and we did it well. 

Winter Wax 2017 was twelve beautiful women who stepped up to the table and allowed themselves to be open to the new, truthful in their voice, and above all supportive of one another. 

The art that was created, the stories we told, the poems that we read, the meals that we shared, and the goals we set are all worthy of celebration. 
I'm so honored to have been a part of this very special week. This is the kind of high that I could live on. In gratitude, thank you Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch for seeing this come to life. We are all the richer for it.