Saturday, February 19, 2011

Painting Under the influence......

No I am not refering to Spirits.. or the evils of Liqour.. I am referring to the influences that everything around us has on our work. Every artist is affected by the instruction and impression that our teachers have made on us. A favored artist we wish to emulate, the colours that surround us, the techniques we learn and adapt to suit us. The addition of new Mediums, media, and technologies.. all of these things influence the art we create.

As a child I had a romantic bent to everything I did, roses flowers, pretty things, Houses with picket fences and trees in the yard. Children playing and puppies running at thier feet. This romantic leaning continued until I reached highschool and  I met Mr Anderson. This wonderful Art teacher gave me an assignment after seeing my portfolio of drawings on the first day of Art classes. He told me to paint a landscape, using only black and white. Nothing else. I did.. it was dismal,,, a forest of burned out trees.. it had a smooth surrealistic, almost evil appearance.. I hated it.. he loved it! " So you can paint something other than hearts and flowers!" he said. The he asked me to paint a still life using the same palette, and then a portrait.. and then Flowers... a different subject everyday for a week. I started to love black and white. Then he told me to add one colour and repeat the process again. and then again adding yet another colour. It was a great AHAH! moment.  His odd method of getting me out of my comfort zone has had a tremendous influence on me that continued through out my education and continues to reverberate today.

My first art History lecture ... the subject was the " The Rinascimento" (The Rebirth or Renaissance) This was HUGE for me...another one of those AHA! moments. I examined portraiture, structure, anatomy, For months I took everthing I could find on the subject out of the library. I did sketch after sketch, with chalk, paint, charcoal. I read everything  I could find about technique, recipes for Glue and gesso,painting on linen instead of canvas. ANYTHING.I am still using many of the things I learned or a modern variation of them.

Then came the Impressionists...AHA! Moment!!  I was obsessed! The use of patches of colour, the play of light, the subtlies, and the beauty they captured with such seeminly reckless application of paint to canvas. Again I was a regular at  the library... and again I dove into the subject. Then came the Art Deco Movement, and the Cubists, and the Surrealists and the Dutch Masters.. One AHA! moment after another....I was under the Influence of Art in all of it's various and wonderful forms, it's history, it's power! Yes Power.... the power to communicate in one language that is understood by all.

One Arts Professor I had... . taught  drawing... he had me putting bubbles in everything.. If I drew a womans form  he had me using bubbles to create texture in the fabric, in her hair, in her skin.. in a still life he had me using bubbles, to create surface texture in almost everything...under his influence I saw past what was there, to what could be there. He taught me to see more. Yet another AHAH!Moment.

As artists we come under the influence of so many things , and we should take away something from each of them and apply them to our art.  When something takes your interest, Dive in...take it all in,  learn everything you can, pour over books, images, stories, photos, indulge in it, TRY IT. I promise you'll have an AHAH! moment of your own.

Besides it's great fun  painting under the influence. 

A Question Of Colour Challenge....Doreen Bathurst

Doreen Bathurst was the first to respond to the Challenge!! Here is her piece and her own words regarding the challenge!

Hi Tracy,
What fun this was!!  I have not painted in months and months.  Nothing inspired me until I saw your little challenge in your blog. 
"What a great idea," I said to me.  "I want to try this."
I painted on simple cardstock so it was quite 'grabby' and looks a bit 'watery' but I also needed a card.  LOL
What did I learn? 
Well.  At first I was concerned about the use of colour and what to use where?  I soon discovered I didn't care about the colour at all or even the mixing of colour.  I wasn't even concerned about the finished look and was very loose with this.  I just wanted to know what I could accomplish with just two colours and two non-colours.  I found I was more concerned with value and where to put the light or dark.  Kind of like . . . this is the base painting before I add the 'real' colour. 
My choice of colour to use with the black and white was blue and yellow.  I did not use any one colour on it's own.  It didn't look right and was too 'stark.'  Everything is mixed.  Some a bit muddy.
I really enjoyed doing this and it made me get my brushes wet again.  They had such a shocked look on there little ferrules.  :)
Thanks Tracy.  Sure wish I were going along on that cruise next week.
ps . . . this whole thing looks a tad better in person.  Wait . . . it looks ALOT better.  :)  The sky did not scan very well it is kind of wishy washy.  SIGH.  I tried, I learned and I enjoyed. 

Well Doreen you succeeded!!  Great Job!! Thank you for accepting the challenge!!

Smidgen of Art History ...... Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564)

I don't think that there is anyone with a love the arts that has not heard that name... Michealangelo. Perhaps one of the most famous names in art, even those with no affiliation to the artworld know who he was. He was perhaps the most prodigious artist of his era , and to date is the best documented artist in history. He left behind copious sculptures, carvings, sketches, drawings, paintings, poems and letters and because of this we have a very clear history of the man himself.

Madonna of the Stairs
Born in the town of Caprese, near Arezzo, Tuscany, at several months of age his family moved to Florence, where he was raised until the death of his mother.During this time he spent a great deal of time in the home of a local stone cutter, that worked froma quarry owned my Michealangelo's father. This is were he is said to have developed his love of sculpture. After failing to be a good student, his father sent him to be apprentice to the Painter Domenico Ghirlandaio. Were he became a paid apprentice by the time he was 14, Domenico Ghirlandaio was asked by the then ruler of Florence , Lorenzo di Medici to send him his two best students to apprentice under the tuteldge of Bertoldo di Giovanni. Were he completed two major commissions, "The Madonna of the Stairs" at the age of 15 and the "Battle of the Centaurs" at the age of 17.
Battle of the Centaurs
At the death of Lorenzo di Medici, there was a change in Michealangelos situation and he moved to Venice and Bologna and worked on a variety of comissions before returning once again to Florence.

According to Condivi, Lorenzo di pierfrancesco de' Medici, for whom Michelangelo had sculpted St. John the Baptist, asked that Michelangelo "fix it so that it looked as if it had been buried" so he could "send it to Rome…pass [it off as] an ancient work and…sell it much better."  Cardinal Raffaele Riario,  discovered that it was a fraud, but was so impressed by the quality of the sculpture that he invited the artist to Rome. This apparent success in selling his work encouraged Michelangelo to accept the prelate's invitation. He was 21 yrs old and already an artist of significant if somewhat questionable  repute.

 His fame was to grow, in Rome where he completed what is likely one of his most famous sculptures. The Peita, a depiction of Christ in the Lap of his Mother following the crucifiction. he was just 24 yrs old. 5 yrs later  he completed the David.

In 1505 Michelangelo was invited back to Rome by the newly elected Pope JuliusII He was commissioned to build the Popes tomb. Under the patronage of the Pope, Michelangelo had to frequently stop work on the tomb to accomplish numerous other tasks. Because of this, Michelangelo worked on the tomb for 40 years. The tomb,was never finished to Michelangelo's satisfaction. It is located in the Church of S. Pietro in Vincoli in Rome.

During the same period, Michelangelo took the commission to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which took approximately four years to complete (1508–1512). According to Michelangelo's account,Bramante and Raphael convinced the Pope to commission Michelangelo in a medium not familiar to the artist.It is said,  This was done in order that he, Michelangelo, would suffer unfavorable comparisons with his rival Raphael.
Michelangelo was originally commissioned to paint the 12 Apostles against a starry sky, but lobbied for a different scheme, representing creation, the Downfall of Man and the Promise of Salvation. The work is part of a larger scheme of decoration within the chapel.

The work would eventually contain over 300 figures and had at its center nine episodes from the book of Genesis, divided into three groups: God's Creation of the Earth; God's Creation of Humankind and their fall from God's grace; and lastly, the state of Humanity. On the pendentives supporting the ceiling are painted twelve men and women who prophesied the coming of the Jesus.

His last work in the chapel would be the last Judgement on the Altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. This work would draw immese censorship from within the church, but the pope supported Michealangelos interpretation.and the work remained uncensored until after his death.

The infamous "fig-leaf campaign" of the counter Reformation,  aiming to cover all representations of human genitals in paintings and sculptures, started with Michelangelo's work. Many of his sculptures were covered by added drapery, many remained covered for several decades. Also, the plaster copy of the David in the Victoria and Albert Museum  in London, had a fig leaf in a box at the back of the statue. It was there to be placed over the statue's genitals so that they would not upset visiting female royalty.

In 1546, Michelangelo was appointed architect of St Peters Basillica in the Vatican, and designed its dome. As St. Peter's was progressing there was concern that Michelangelo would pass away before the dome was finished. However, once building commenced on the lower part of the dome, the supporting ring, the completion of the design was inevitable. Michelangelo died in Rome at the age of 88 His body was brought back from Rome for Burial at the Basilica di Santa Croce, He was to keep illustrous company there, along side Galileo, Machiavelli, Rossini, Foscolo and Gentile. Fulfilling his last request to be buried in his beloved Tuscany.

A smidgen of Art History ....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Question of Colour....

Colour theory .. we learn the basics in kindergarten... Red and blue make purple, yellow and red make orange.. you get it.
As we get older and develop our skills as artists ,Colour theory is often far down the list of priorities. A new technique, method or medium seems to take the stage and "Boring old colour theory" is placed on the back burner. So can we move it to the front of the line?...can we make it fun?Can we make it VITAL? make it IMPORTANT to the student? Can we make it the I HAVE TO TRY THAT product of the year?. Now how the heck are we gonna do that?

ok... I have an idea . it's in the form of a challenge.... Choose two primary colours, plus white
 and black . now cut and paste the sketch to the left or  I'll email it to you if you want, or create something on your own.. . Make it any size you like, and paint it... using only the Black , White and the two primary colours.

Make a secondary colour using the Two primary colours and a variety of values of that colour using the black and the white,  to finish the painting. You MUST mix all of the colours. You may NOT use the Black or the White by itself. You may use the Primary Colours by themselves as well.

Once you have finished it, scan it or take a pic, write a paragraph detailing what you learned from it. Email it to me and I'll post the results here.  Then we'll move on to Tertiary

This is not a test of your artistic abilites, it's not a test at all, just try it,  you may surprise  yourself with how much you DO know and how much fun it can be to paint using such a limited palette.

Come On .. Try it...I'll be painting right along with you..... I am waiting to see what you create!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

I Don't do Pink....

I don't do pink..I don't wear pink, I don't paint pink,. friends and associates have heard me say this.. a few GET IT..Though  Pink is a decidedly girly colour.. like Barbie dolls and Hubba Bubba not horrid.. just not for me. . The colour doesn't  stir unpleasant memeories... I just don't like it.

It does however remind me of things that are quite pleasant..
 Like my Nanas favorite perfume,  the bathroom of the old house
and of MR Bubble.

My Nana wore Chantilly lace for years .... though she went through a short Chanel #5 Phase in the early seventies, it didn't last. Even now ...when ever I walk through the BAY at Christmas time and I see that familar pink box.. I always get a spritz from the sampler... Not because I particularly like the scent , but because the memory of her is so strong with that scent in my nose.

The bathroom in the old house... the house where as a child ,I crawled  into  the Flour bins,to hide  from Poppa during a game of Hide n seek. Nanna had had the Bathroom renovated  and they installed a very modern new tub, fittings and Ceramic tile. Replacing the chipped Clawfoot and the old water stained oak wainscotting. The room sparkled.. White Black and PINK tiles.. large ones on the walls and small mosaic tiles on the floor.. I Loved this room, it had  lacey curtains, it was pretty, girly and smelled like Nana.. there was always Chatilly soap in the dish., and BIG Box of Mr Bubble.

Now many won't know what MR Bubble is... It's a powdered bubble bath.... hard to describe the scent.. kinda like Tide and Creme Soda. As children we had our baths in that huge tub, water up to our chest and bubbles up to our ears... Nana didn't spare the Mr Bubble. It was always a prelude to a cup of Tea ( heavy on the milk), a fresh cookie and story before we were tucked in for the night.

Colour like scent , is a powerful reminder of time, place people and things.. I am not fond of pink.. but I am fond of the things it reminds me of. A sweet scented hug from your gramma, A favorite room and a warm bath.... hmmmm. maybe I can do pink.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Smidgen of Art History......... Edouard Manet 1832 - 1883

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1882
Édouard Manet was born in Paris on 23 January 1832, to an affluent and well connected family. His mother  was the daughter of a diplomat and goddaughter of the Swedish crown prince. His father, Auguste Manet, was a French judge who expected Édouard to pursue a career in law, But it was his uncle, Charles Fournier, that encouraged him to pursue painting . In 1845, at the advice of his uncle, Manet enrolled in a special course of drawing met  life-long friend Antonin Proust.
At his father's suggestion, in 1848 he sailed on a training vessel to South America. After he twice failed to enter the Navy the elder Manet relented to his son's wishes to pursue an art education. From 1850 to 1856, Manet studied under Thomas Couture. In his spare time, Manet would make copies of the works of the masters in the Louvre.
From 1853 to 1856 he visited Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, during which time he absorbed the influences of the Dutch painter and spanish Painters.

Chez Père Lathuille, 1879
In 1856, He opened his own studio. His style in this period was characterized by loose brush strokes, simplification of details and the suppression of transitional tones. Adopting the realistic style initiated by Gustave Courbet, he painted The Absinthe Drinker (1858–59) and other common  and everyday subjects such as beggars, singers, Gypsies, people in cafés, and bullfights.

After the death of his father in 1862, Manet married Suzanne Leenhoff in 1863. Leenhoff was a Dutch-born piano teacher of Manet's age  whom he had been romantically linked to for nearly ten years. Leenhoff initially had been employed by Manet's father, Auguste, to teach Manet and his younger brother piano. It is believed that she was also  Auguste's mistress. In 1852, She  gave birth, out of wedlock, to a son, Leon Koella Leenhoff.
Eleven-year-old Leon Leenhoff, whose father may have been either of the Manets, posed often for Manet. and is seen in " The Boy Carrying the Sword" painted in  1861 (Now Housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). He also appears as the boy carrying a tray in the background of The Balcony

Young Flautist, or The Fifer,, 1866
Manet's paintings of cafe scenes are observations of life in 19th-century Paris. People are depicted drinking beer, listening to music, flirting, reading, or waiting. Many of these paintings were based on sketches executed on the spot. He often visited the Brasserie Reichshoffen on boulevard de Rochechourt, upon which he based At the Cafe in 1878. Several people are at the bar, and one woman confronts the viewer while others wait to be served.  These are painted in a style which is loose,  yet they capture the mood and feeling of Parisian night life. They are snapshots of the bohemian, and the vewryday life of The working people as well as the upper classes.

While his technique changed over time his love for his subject matter did not, he continued to paint with an eye to society as a whole and no one segment of it. He was as apt to paint a beggar in the street as he was a dandy at the opera. 

 He died at the age of fifty-one in Paris in 1883 of illness related to untreated syphillis, which he contracted in his forties. The disease caused him considerable pain and partial paralysis in the years prior to his death. He passed away  11 days after his foot was amputated due to gangrene.

Just a smidgen of Art History....

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Editors... Magazines and Inspiration.

Ok time to fess up... Like every other  painter out there.. I watch the stands at the local book store for that new Issue of Paintworks. It's THE magazine if your a decorative painter. And like most I thumb through it diligently , sipping a cup of coffee and oohing and ahhing over the various designs inside. I look forward eagerly to each issue!

Now as a contributing artist, (and  I have to be honest.). I get a secret thrill every time I open it up and see my name in print, a rush of pride and yeah  even a giggle of excitment. You would think that after a few years I would be a bit more blase' about it, but I am not. I am excited every time and  I know why... My editor is  crazy.

I can say this because I admire her, and I can  because its true, I think You have to be a special kinda crazy to give me carte blanche to paint and write about whatever I want. Her trust that I will provide her with something worth printing is humbling and more importantly inspiring. Having the freedom to Play, paint, design, and create with no boundries, lets loose all kinds of ideas! Linda has a gift, she inspires painters with her magazine everyday, but she inspires each of her contributing artists as well, gently steering us in directions we hadn't thought of, and letting us use our own knowledge and creativity to giver her what she needs to make a great issue.

Linda Heller is a terrific lady, fun to be around, a quietly extrordinary and unassuming person, and exceptional at what she does. She has a unique view and an inate understanding of what will work. She utilizes creativity to actively inspire others by pulling a string of seemingly unrelated pieces and articles all together into what is quite possibly the best magazine of it's kind in this industry.  She doesn't paint with a brush , but she creates a masterpiece with every issue.

All American Crafts is the publisher of Paintworks, and the  same high standards that they have come to expect of Linda is evident in the quality of the numerous other Craft and Hobby magazines that they produce as well as the beautiful hard and soft cover publications they publish. This family owned and operated  business has through hardwork, attention to detail and a true love of what they do, become a staple to both Canadian and American crafters. Check em out!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

How do you do that?? I get it all the time.

The Quick Tutorial I posted today was in response to a "How do you  do that?"   Do you have a "how do you do that"???  If there is a particular thing you would like to see as a tutorial??... I'll be happy to do it. Just lemme know!!!

 This blog is designed for just this purpose.. not to inflate my ego ( doesn't need it) but as a vehicle to share information and knowledge.  So Jump in... let me know what you want to see and I'll do my best to get it up here!!

Wendy from New York asked for easy Butterflies....and  Diane from Mook Mook Island asked for Lettering.. a quick tutorial on my lettering.. so  thats next, but beyond that ..pffft... I got nuthin'   ....ya gotta tell me. Other wise I'll just be here yappin my own ears off.. and last time I checked.. they medicate you for that, and not in a good way.

 See ya in a bit!

Easy Visual Texture...REALLY!!!

I talk alot about different kinds of texture... tactile or visual. Creating the illusion of texture, or movement within a painting, can be quite easy. Most of the time a simple change in value , or colour, or layers of colour can make a huge difference. Adding pattern can help alot.

I like using stencils and layers of colours in most of my backgrounds, to lend interest , movement and depth to a piece.Here is a quick Tutorial on this method.

You will need to make 2 glazes.. Glaze #1  L'Acrobate Glazing medium Mixed 5:1 with Tuscan Red, Glaze #2 L'Acrobate Glazing medium mixed 5:1 with Asphaltum

Tuscan Red Base
Apply a base colour in ONE direction , either vertically or horizontally, but applied in only ONE direct.  The base should be Opaque, iof the colour you choose tends to be a bit transparent, then reapply.

Wasabi Green Stencil
Position a stencil on the surface and tape into place. Use a nice big Stencil brush to apply Wasabi Green. It doesn't need to be fully opaque, in fact it looks better if it isn't

Tuscan Red Glaze Colourwash.

Apply a glaze of Tuscan Red over the Surface using the Colour wash technique ( with Soft cloth in a circular fashion and changing directions frequently) Let dry and repeat.

Asphaltum Colourwash

Apply a colourwash of Asphaltum Glaze over the surface, allow the irregularities, to bury SOME of the stencil but not all.

Now you have a great background for Florals, Still life or anything else that strikes your fancy. You can deepen the edges with More Asphaltum or with Soft Black... Wouldn't Green Grapes and a bottle of Wine look great on this.....hmmmmmmm.. oooh.. how about a Dress form and something naughty.. or not. Do this with a Blues and Whites instead.. would be great for a Snow man!!  The mind Boggles!!! There are just SOOOO many things you can do with this technique!!

try it!!  then SHOW ME!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Paper Paper everywhere.....and not a scrapbook in sight.

Scrapbook Paper
For me it's alll about the background...I gotta build something great to paint on!! Everyone knows that I love texture  of all kinds weather tactile or visual. A great method for creating a fab background is to use paper.

I keep a stockpile of great papers, scrapbook paper, craft paper, news print, paper bags , gift wrap, tissue paper etc. I also keep a good selection of deoupage glues, Modpodge and of course Texture Glass. A variety of coarse brushes, sponges,  palette knives and a variety of Stencils are handy too!

Substrate makes a difference too.. I like using Artists panels or Canvas, but there are some really inexpensive surfaces in your local DIY Center. ( Home depot , Depot Reno, Rona, you get it...) I Like to have 1/8 MDF sheets cut to size, usually 12 x 12 or 8 x 8 .This size is ideal for home decor purposes. You can have them cut in standard framing sizes too ( 11 x 14 , 16 x 20 etc )  if you want to frame your finished pieces, with out having to custom frame.

Now to begin I suggest coating the surface with two or three coats of Gesso, allow each coat to dry well before recoating. Sand lightly between coats.

Scrapbook paper
 Apply a generous coat of  DecoArts Deco Page or Texture Glass to the surface using a coarse brush. Lay your paper choice into it and smooth it out using the palm of your hand. Press firmly and smooth out from the center to the edges. This will remove any bubbles and excess texture or adhesive. Let it dry well. Applying another coat over the stll wet paper will cause the paper to stretch, buckle and ripple, so to avoid it I let it dry.
    Once dry you can apply texture Glass over the surface to create what ever texture you like and keep all the colour and pattern inherant in the paper. It makes a great base to build on.

If you  want to create texture WITH the paper you have to get it pliable. For this you have two options. 1 You can crumple it up and wear it well by unfolding and recrumpling then apply as described before. or 2:  You can crumple it and soak it in the DecoPage medium then apply it to the surface, leaving all of the folds and ripples and flaws in place. Once again use the palm of your hand to smooth it into place. ( the wet method using brown craft paper produces a nice faux Leather look that is stilll smooth enough to paint on.)

Toile Wall paper
Wall papers make for great surfaces, prepasted and textured paper are great for producing nifty backgrounds and for hiding flawed substrates.
Once a sealer is applied over the paper it can be treated like any other painting surface. using oils and acrylics.

So start saving that gift wrap, and the paper doileys from the dollar stores and the brown paper bags. Pick up on the sales at your local scrapbooking stores and hold on to those Sheets of music that came with the piano you no lonmger own. You never know when you'll be inspired by it or need it for that great background for the piece you've been wanting to create!
Paper Lace Doily
 It could be as simple as using a paper background instead of the one used in a favorite painters book, Or covering up an ugly old box to develop something new. Paper is a terrific way to change things up, create wonderful colour, pattern and texture with little effort.
 Try some , play on sample boards and see what you get!!  Then SHOW ME!!!

Winter wonderland....and finding inspiration in rubber maid

I live in a tiny village in southwestern New Brunswick... It,s snowing.....again. We are accustomed to a lot of snow over the course of the winter ,but it seems that we are getting a winters worth in a two week time span. I was storm stayed in Toronto last week due to an Atlantic snow storm, and I got home Thursday,It started snowing again last night and this morning ...well...there's a meter of snow piled at the end of my driveway. So I am sitting here with a cup of yummy Timmies coffee, in my jammies, watching my darling husband displace the snow... Thank heavens for snow blowers.
While I may seem to be griping about the snow, I am really quite enjoying it. New Maryland is quite rural and homes are surrounded by great many trees, the snow laden branches and snow covered fields turn this tiny village into a very "Currier and Ives" like scene. Most inspirational!
When it's cold and snowy, it's a great time to get into the studio and rifle through my piles of inspiration. NOw WHAT, you are thinking, are your piles of inspiration?? Well over the years I have kept all kinds of things, birthday, Christmas , Easter and thank you cards. Napkins, bits of fabric, bits of lace, bits of fancy papers. I have binders filled with post cards,photos,coasters and labels. Rubber maid filled with shells , stones, and bits of wood. WHY you may ask...when we have so much at our fingertips via the Internet, would you keep all this stuff? Well sometimes it isn,t just how something looks that inspires us.sometimes it's the smell or texture,or even just the memory that the item stirs.
So today I am thinking about a long walk on The beach at Cap Pele, in my hand in a sun bleached shell, and it carries the fain scent of the sea. Thoughts of the warm sand between my toes and cool wash of waves brushing past my ankles,the screech of gulls and the snap of my sun dress in the winds coming off the strait. I think I,ll paint something nautical....

You get my drift....sorry.. But its snowing....again.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A smidgen of Art Hsitory.... Vincent Van Gogh

This painting inspires an emotional response, an intense one. You can nearly feel the drowsey warmth of the sun, the lazy gentle summer breeze and smell the fresh air. Almost hear the gurgle of the brook and the rustle of the Wheat in the breeze. The beautiful amber tones of the grasses and the stone walls, the Sea glass colour of the sky, the rich greens of hedgerows and feilds. It is because of this seemingly effortless ability that  Vincent VanGoghs is considered one of the worlds premier post impressionists and his genius is so very apparent in every painting he produced.

Van Gogh left this world by his own hand at the age of 37. Although he was, as we know now , an artist of singular ability and extraordinary vision, he was mostly unnoticed in his own lifetime.

Van Gogh was mostly self taught, in fact, thought he did draw a little for many years he didn't begin to paint until 1882, at the age of 29. He had a unique ability to create texture and movement with ease. There is a fluidity to every brush stroke.

His art is full of passion, and life and reflects a vibrant tone of Optimism and wonder, and yet the mind that created these beautiful works and vingettes of rural european life, was a very troubled one. Van Gogh suffered terribly from bouts of depression and was frequently institutionalized. In fact many of his lovely landscapes were painted from the window of his cell .  His  self destructive behavior  and mental illness is oddly seldom reflected in his work.

Even when he used darker colours, like this one, "Starry Night Over the Rhone" it did not reflect the troubled mind of the genius that created it. It was only in the days leading up to his death in 1890 that his work took on a somber and bleak appearance.

He is credited with Over  900 Paintings and 1200 Sketches and Watercolours and todays technology has shown via xray ,that he in fact painted over many pieces, hinding from us a large part of his work.

Just a smidgen of Art History......

Playing In Someone Elses Sandbox.... in the Divas Craft Lounge!

You meet all kinds of people while at CHA in LA... I have met movie stars, TV hosts, Musicians... but I have to say that one of the Most Memeorable for me was taping for the DIVA CRAFT LOUNGE in the DECOART  booth.

Danielle Forsgren( The Craft Diva) the lovely lady on the right,  and Rayme Royale ( The Duke of Craft) the handsome  gent on the left,  Was indeed a rare treat. Two people with a flair for the dramatic... a gift for Gab and a love of all things blingy!!  They bring a unique and wonderfully FUN flavour to crafting and host the #1 Craft Show online! I had a wonderful time with them , while filming an info segment for thier show. They even stayed to paint a tote bag with the NEW Shimmering So Soft Fabric paints!! You have to check out thier show and thier site... You'll be glad you did!!

Social Artworking...bringing FUN back to art.

In recent years there has been a noticable decline in the number of people painting. Some blame the Big Boxes for the disappearance of the smaller studios, some blame the economy  and a variety of other factors, personally I think that it's just things changing. We have become connected via the internet, the world has become so much smaller and we have access to so much more and  while the world was changing, the demographic that was painting 20 yrs ago, has either  stopped painting or simply moved on to another medium. Such is life.  It will come around again.. every craft , medium, or technique has it's day. Painting was so huge for so many years that manufacturers, publishers and retailers continued to follow that group and neglected to shift thier attentions to a younger demographic. THAT is changing too.

Today the group that has the industry focus, has a little disposable income but even less disposable time. They are raising children, working full time and maintaining a home. There is soccor practice, hockey games, ballet , school government , parent associations and a host of other responsibilities.. it doesn't leave much time or money for a craft class or social interaction. But most of them can find one evening a month to spend with friends.. Thats the logic behind Social "Artworking". An evening out with the "Girls"  or  "GUYS".

So here is the thing.... You go to a local shop , studio, or perhaps you organize it at home...You choose a painting that appeals to you, you register, and on the date of the class, you bring a bottle of wine, your best friend and you sit down to Paint. When paint is drying , you have a glass of wine and introduce yourself around, you engage and connect with others of like interests or just spend the time with your friend or friends, The teacher takes you through the steps to complete the painting in the 2 or 3 hrs required and the entire time you are relaxed, connected and venting your creative needs.

The patterns or painting styles are loose , simplistic, Colourful and contemporary. The entire process is FUN.. the perfect blend of education and relaxation.. no expectations, no pressure , it lives up to my belief that neatness doesn't count and perfection is to be avoided at all costs!!  You learn simply because you are relaxed and enjoying the creative process and you do all of it with your best friend or friends, or with new friends. You are not commited to 6 weeks every wednesday night, just the one night. Painting classes on your own terms.

The great thing about this program for the consumer is the all inclusive format. Register. No brushes to buy, no canvas, no paint, no pattern, no easel... it's all supplied! One price thats it!  easy breezy!! Of course there is a reasonably priced retail option if you decide you want to do this at home, you can purchase the brush set ( total of 5 brushes) and the individual patterns, and the individual paints required to finish the painting you've chosen.
everything about this program is SIMPLE. There are even instructional DVDS to teach you at home!!

This idea is growing and fast. People are doing Bridal Showers, Girls night out, even date night with the significant other, Home parties and events for fund raising and so many other reasons.

I had soooo much fun just creating patterns for this program, It was outside the lines even for me... it was relaxing and enjoyable and utterly stress free and yep.. I poured a glasss of wine and just enjoyed the process!!!

As a business woman I can see this as a significant business opportunity for a studio or retailer as an add on business. If you have a classroom, this program can generate a whole new customer base. Affordable classes, a one time commitment by the consumer,a relaxed atmosphere and a creative outlet with friends, family or complete strangers, it adds up to a great night out, and plenty of repeat business!Of course the glass of wine doesn't hurt either.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Face lifts and New Products!

I got a face lift ... well not ME personally but the packaging on my Stencils Did!!  A little name change too..

Stencil # TS04
They are now CLASSIC Stencils by Tracy Moreau all wrapped up in a contemporary and Trendy package!! I Love it!!  Along with a Hockey Sock full of NEW designs from DecoArt , there will be PLENTY of  NEW toys for My Sandbox!!

Use them for texturing, painting , home decor or for fabric painting and Other great projects!!
Stencilled Relief  Using Stencil TS04
Stencilled Relief using Stencil TS02

I used this Stencil Shown to creat this terrific relief on a cabinet door, using DecoArts Texture Stucco , the Stencil, and DecoArts Rich Espresso Metallic paint! The Next Cabinet door is done using a Stucco and Warm White, Antiqued with a Glaze and Khaki Tan.
 Deco Art created a New Paint to be used in this New Program, a Mid body acrylic, nicely pigmented with an extended open time. A lovely 20 colour basic Palette with an additional 4 Neons and 3 Metallics!! All water based and a soap and water clean up!!

I have had the pleasure being one of the contributing artists to this program, there are 15 designs to start! Pattern packets are available as well as instructional DVDs Teacher Guides and a Classroom program!!
 People are looking for a NEW way to enjoy a night out. Social ARTworking is the Perfect solution!!

Crafting On An International Scale

I am home... a little jet lagged, but Home. 7 days in the City of Angels was enough, but 5 days at CHA wasn't even Close!!  I could have spent another three days just looking at all of the new products that are availabel to us crafters.

The Annual Craft and Hobby Association Trade show and Convention is a mecca for crafters, retailers, and distributors. Not to mention a huge opprotunity for Professional Designers and hobbists to get a first look at coming trends and products.
Booth after booth of Make and Takes, Demonstrations and Designs.. is jaw dropping. Hundred of companies and thousands of products for every possible Craft. it's more than over whelming.

First Off I gotta tell you about DECOART's great line up of products for 2011.
Gloss Enamels.. paint formulated for beautiful results on Glass and ceramics.. Always a great product.. but they raised the bar...Now they Have Transpapernt Paints.. in GREAT COLOURS and then they made a line of DIMENSIONAL go go with em!!!  Hundreds of people stopped by the DecoArt booth to Paint a Martini Glass with them.

Then there is the So Soft Fabric Paint...The best fabric Paint ever  Bar non .. now it's in 2 OZ bottles!! AND they made a Glimmery Shimmery Line to go with em! Just like the Glamour Dust paints!!  TOO MUCH FUN! Hundreds of people came by to paint a Tote Bag with these wonderful new paints!

My Stencils got a little facelift with some trendy new packaging,, and then they added 18 New stencils to thier product line with Stylish Borders and great individual motifs too!!

For the Decoupager, Scrapbooker, and Painter and Paper crafter.. The  New  "Deco Page" in both a MATT and a GLOSS finish.  Wonderful tintable and easy to use medium!!

If you craft with Styrofoam.. you are going to go NUTS with the New "MAGIC KOTE". You can change plain old styrofoam into ANYTHING with this terrific new medium!!  It fills the holes and stabilizes!!  Letting you create virtually ANYTHING from Styrofoam!  All water based and virtually odorless! a MUST for the Multi Media artist!!

And of course what would a DECOART booth be with out adding great NEW Colours for 2011.
7 wonderful ON TREND colours, Wasabi Green , Mulberry, Purple Wave, Sea Glass,Butterscotch, Coral Blush, and Persimmon!!

last but not least watch my site and others for a great new painting program from DECOART!! 
SOCIAL ARTWORKING!!!  Girls nite out will never be the same again!!!

More on that later!!!