Another workshop with Jim Scherbarth

Last weekend I drove up to Minneapolis for the pleasure of studying with one of my favorite artists, James Edward Scherbarth. I had taken a workshop with Jim last April at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point, WI. I really respond to Jim's style of teaching and got so much out of the first class, that I signed up for another course as soon as I had a chance.

Jim's studio is located in the Northrup King building - an enormous L-shaped warehouse building in Northeast Minneapolis, that has been taken over by the local artists community. The place is filled with artist's studios - what a dream to walk through that place!

All six of the students were comfortably placed at tables in Jim's studio which was lined with all of Jim's amazing work, currently for sale in his gallery. What an inspiration that was! We had three wonderful days of learning, inspiration, and creativity. Jim taught us some great techniques, and inspired us with thought provoking exercises and lectures on art and creativity.

Thanks Jim! Can't wait to take another one of your workshops!


Workshop with Karlyn Holman

I've just returned from a week long workshop with Karlyn Holman in Washburn Wisconsin. This is the 4th year in a row I've attended a workshop with her. Karlyn is such an inspiring person - she's created a wonderful life for herself in the arts. She is a great artist, she teaches in her studio and in workshops all over the world, she has a thriving business in an idyllic small town - she really is a wonder.

The first class I took with Karlyn a few years ago opened my eyes. Her success has inspired me change my life and pursue fine art as a career - something I never really believed was a feasible goal until I met Karlyn. Thank you, Karlyn - you are my inspiration!

Each year, Karlyn has new techniques to teach and new directions to take us. Each year I come away with inspiration to feed my studio time, incorporating the new ideas I've learned into my own work.

Below are my finished pieces derived from the lessons we worked on last week.

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Encaustics and the discarded series

"Sordid" - encaustic on 10" x 10" cradled board, $250.00

As another branch of my "Discarded" series, I have been incorporating antique photography into encaustic works.

I have a fascination with antique photography. It's sad and intriguing to find old family snaps and formal shots for sale at junk shops and antique stores. I can spend ages sifting through these crumbling old pages from someone else's life.  I like the idea of giving them a new life by putting them into art pieces. I find these images so inspiring - precisely because I don't actually know the people in them. It affords each image the potential of infinite stories.

My newest iteration of this series is incorporating these images into encaustic works. Encaustic is painting with melted wax, and you can do image transfers, collage and carving into the wax to build your image. I used the image transfer method to create this series.

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Now on Facebook

Facebook - at long last. I have been meaning to create a page for quite a while now and finally have got it up and running. Here's the link.

I guess this means now that I need to separate my art postings from my personal facebook page. That will take some discipline!

I'm picturing the page as an extension of this website. I'll be posting my work there in addition to here, and links to my blogs. I'll also be posting inspirations and ideas, fun stuff hopefully.

Feel free to follow me there and communicate your ideas and thoughts about art as well. All are welcome!

Next up - redesign of this site - I have some big ideas!

Happy arting!


Hi acrylics, long time no see

Indiana Dunes at Lake Michigan

The original inspiration - photo taken at the Indiana Dunes

It's been a very long time since I worked in acrylic - however I was at Michaels Crafts the other day and saw some sales going on pre-stretched canvases so I thought I'd give it a try. Luckily, I still have loads of paint left over from the last time I painted in acrylic, which must be at least 5-6 years ago.

Now what to paint? I thought immediately of a photo I'd taken on a recent trip to northern Indiana - sand dunes central. I had forgotten how much fun acrylics can be, and this subject with the wind in the grasses lent itself perfectly to the task. What a huge difference from working with watercolor!

Watercolor requires planning and patience. You paint a bit, then wait for it to dry, then paint some more, and so on. Mistakes are very hard to fix, sometimes impossible. You learn to make the most of "happy accidents", but they're not always so happy.

Acrylic painting by contrast is much more immediate - you paint what you see. If you don't like something you can just paint right over it. I have to say, the easiness of painting in acrylic was a welcome change!

I have loads more canvases, I can see this becoming a "thing".



The comfort of home

(Pictured above, "Rita's Back Yard", watercolor)

A lot of painters use a method called "plein air" - which means to bring your paints and paper and set up outside in front of an inspiring view and paint it on the spot. In my travels, I've seen this a lot. Florence, Paris, London, San Francisco, New York City - you see artists in all sorts of places like this, set up in the middle of a crowded square doing their thing.

This has not been my method of choice. Firstly, I'm a little shy about people watching me work. If I were to do plein air painting in Chicago where I live, guaranteed there would be some people watching. Maybe this is something I should work to get over, but for now, eesh. Secondly, what do plein art painters do to record a winter scene? Or a night scene? or a rainy day? I don't believe in suffering for art.

I prefer to use photography to record scenes that move me and then paint later, in the comfort of my own home. Two paintings finished recently, both derived from photos I took while visiting my Aunt Rita in Pittsville Wisconsin last spring. It was cold, wet when I took these photos, but I completed them in warmth, privacy and security, in my living room.

Autumn River

Autumn River


Sweet attack

Wayne Thiebold made a name for himself during the pop art movement by painting cakes and pastries - and I can see why he chose them. They're so pretty! Like making a painting of a sculpture, it's art inspired by art.

While the Pop movement was about glorifying objects of mass culture, my inspiration is more of an homage to the work and talent that goes into making a beautiful cake or pastry.

These were way too fun to paint, and I have lots of ideas to continue the series. However, the fall out is a pretty hefty sugar craving. Uh oh!

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A week of art

I just got back from a week in Canada hosted by my lovely upstairs neighbors. We stayed in a cabin overlooking a beautiful lake (photo at left) in Nestor Falls, Ontario and I spent the entire week soaking up the beauty of the place, snapping pics for future inspiration and ... wait for it... painting.

I painted most of the week (when not eating, sleeping or goofing off with my friends). I got 7 paintings going and wanted to share them here (see below).

They're all in various stages of done-ness and will finalize all of them soon. I'd love your input if you'd like to share your thoughts. Please leave me a comment! 🙂

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Justin's sunset - the Aqua series

Well - I have many talented friends. This painting was inspired by a gorgeous sunset photo taken by my neighbor, Justin. I think it fits nicely into my "Aqua" series.

Justin's photo jumped right out at me because of the drama created by the composition and intense color contrast. His photo was amazing - I hope this painting does it justice!

Pictured above, "Justin's Sunset" - the Aqua series. Measures 32" x 40" framed.


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