Friday, September 30, 2011

The Great Civil War Tour

I spent the last two weeks traversing the countryside of Tennessee visiting Civil War sites. I have had a long fascination with this particular time in American history and have visited many battlefields in Maryland, Virginia and Georgia but my husband and I had never been to Tennessee and really wanted to visit that area.
We started our roadtrip at The Cumberland Gap (which is really in Kentucky) through Knoxville, Munfreesboro, Franklin, Nashville to Shiloh via the beautiful Natchez Trace, down into Corinth Ms and over to Chattanooga. Just for good measure we did Lookout Mountain, Chicamauga and Kennesaw Mountain Battlefields on the way back to Florida.
One of the highlights of the trip was an artillery demonstration at Shiloh. The men always come at least the day before and set up camp. They love to talk about their "company", share their feelings about why they do what they do, the importance of being authentic and the respect they have for the soldiers who fought in these battles. You cannot help but be moved when you visit any of our National Battlefields.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Collage Workshop Day 1

Paper Paintings Workshop, Elizabeth St. Hilare Nelson//follow Paper Paintings on Facebook or

Saturday morning 16 happy, enthusiastic artists, all loaded down with years worth of the most interesting papers you have ever seen settled in for two days of learning and sharing. Elizabeth started the workshop with a demonstration of painting and stamping your own papers. We discussed different kinds of papers, how they reacted, where to find them and using common objects to make interesting designs.

After Elizabeth does several sheets we all gave it a try



Elizabeth's beautiful rabbit!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Correction and a flurry of activity

I stand corrected in some of the information I posted about my upcoming collage workshop. Elizabeth does not use magazines in her collages, she feels they wrinkle too much. I am really sorry about that. Of course this news inspired a new fluffy of activity on my part. I started painting papers like a madwoman.
I used all of the methods that Elizabeth suggest plus some experiments of my own. I did lots of reds and oranges for my apple and got a jump start on the blues I will need for my second painting.
I also broke out a new apron for the occasion!! I love aprons and I know this one will keep me smiling.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Getting ready for Paper Paintings

This week-end I will be lucky enough to attend a collage workshop right here in Viera. The instructor is Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson and her website is  Her approach is a little different in that she not only uses magazines for her collages but she makes and hand colors many of her papers. She also likes to use found and personnel  papers that have a connection to what she is doing.
Taking a workshop with such a creative and talented artist is a great oppurtunity and I am so looking forward to it, especially after my unplanned hiatus from art this summer. I am hoping this will get my creative juices flowing again and bring me back to my easel.

Checking my paper supplies

drawing my apple for our first excercise

Blocking in my colors with acrylic paints. This very rough painting will help guide me when it comes to shadowing and lights and darks.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Wetting your feet

After so many weeks of inactivity it felt wonderful to hold a brush again but after several tries everything I did seemed forced and flat. I felt like I had forgotten how to paint! Where was my spark? When I took out my palette knife to scrape yet another attempt a little light came on, why not use the knife to move some paint around, play a little, put some color on the canvas?
The mind is a strange instrument. Palette knife paintings are just as challenging as using a brush but somehow it seemed to free me up. I began to enjoy myself. I stopped trying so hard and got into the process of painting, looking at blocks of color, moving the paint around and getting lost in the process. Maybe the lesson is if you can't do what you normally do, just do something.