Saturday, April 30, 2011

Another Workshop

Yes, I've been at it again. I signed up for an Akua printmaking workshop which was held this weekend. Why?  I'm not really sure except I like to take classes.  Also, when I did printmaking in college, we really only did etching and aquatint.  That wasn't a very exciting process for me.  I wish we had gone through many different printmaking techniques so we could discover the ones we liked the best.

The workshop was taught by Melanie Yazzie, an artist and professor from Colorado. For half the day on Friday, she demonstrated different monotype techniques using the Akua inks, which are soy based.

As with the encaustic, there are so many avenues to explore with this medium. Melanie showed us a three color reduction method.  Below she is working on the second color on the plate.  The yellow prints were the first pulls; the fully inked plate and then the second "ghost" print.

After running the red through the press, then she did a layer of blue on the plate and came up with the two prints below.  They are so different because some of the pulls were the "ghost" layer of ink.

She also showed us how to use stencils.  That was very exciting to me because there were so many different ways to get prints from them and you could do them fairly quickly.  Melanie shows one of her monotype stencil demos below.  She showed us several other techniques as well.

Today we actually started to work on our own prints.  Melanie had to fly home Friday afternoon, so she was not there.  The workshop was hosted by Amy Nack of Wingtip Press.  Below is the space in which four of us worked.  Three other people were in another room.

Names of people above from left to right: Terry, Lisa Cheney-Jorgensen, Molly and Deb or Debra.
 The whole group: Terry is knealing, Lisa C., Amy, Melanie, Molly, Karen, Linda and Deb.

I'll show you some of my prints tomorrow.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Color Fields Interrupted

I have been quietly working behind the scenes here and have completed Color Field #6 (#4 still needs to be quilted).  But I had to interrupt the flow to create another piece for a juried show I'm planning on entering with the deadline very quickly approaching.

I finished the piece yesterday and will just give you a detail peek.  This piece is very different from the way I have been working.  I pretty much had to make up the steps of getting it together as I went along.  It has lots of texture and lots of stitching.

I will give you more information on this piece at a later date.  I'm hoping once I get the entry done that I will be able to pick up the flow of Color Fields again.  We'll see.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Today I picked up Anna from school and took her to the art museum.  I wanted her to see two things.  One was the biennial juried high school show, Higher Ground, which is in three galleries at the museum.  She will be eligible to submit artwork when she is in the tenth grade.

Secondly, the Rocky Mountain Printmaking Alliance Symposium was hosting an event of steam roller printing outside the museum.  Unfortunately, it's been a rainy and cold day, but they were still out there printing when we arrived. 

They were printing on fabric so it didn't matter that it was getting wet.  There were separate sections of blocks that were put together to create a big piece. 

The pieces were inked and then laid out together.  

The fabric was placed down with boards and a large felt on top.  Then the steam roller did it's thing and rolled over it. 

 The fabric was pulled up carefully (it was a little windy) and hung on the sculpture garden fence with PVC pipe.

There were some pretty cool designs.  I had Anna stand next to one so you could get a sense of the scale.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sneak Peek

Yesterday and today, the exhibitions committee of the Treasure Valley Artists' Alliance has been installing our first annual membership show. There were four of us there to measure, place, hammer and label. It looks great, if I do say so myself. There are 47 members represented and many different media.

The exhibition is being held in the Boise State Public Radio offices at 220 E. Park Center Blvd. The opening reception is this Friday from 4 - 8 p.m. I think there will be lots of people. The show will continue to be open during offices hours Mon.- Fri. from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. The last day will be First Thursday in June and will be open late again on that day from 4 - 8 p.m.  Hope you can come see the show sometime.

This is Melissa being interviewed for a TV blurb on channel 2.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Encaustic Workshop Review

After I had signed up for the encaustic workshop, I was sent a list of supplies I might want to bring.  Really, I didn't need to bring anything, except lunch.  The instructor had everything we needed to work.  But she did have suggestions for our own stuff and I scrounged.

Of course I wanted to bring fabric.  That was basically the whole reason for signing up.  I put in my rusted fabric and scraps of others.  I also brought sheer fabrics.  I went through collage papers and brought some of those.  We could bring toner copier images to transfer.  I had some moths from a printmaking workshop and brought those (which you could see in some of my pieces).  I packed some legos, plastic canvas, and spools to impress in the wax.  I also had scissors (one pair for fabrics, one for paper), masking tape and my camera.

After the first day, I had a better idea of the techniques and left some stuff at home and brought some others, like my pressed leaves and flowers.  But there were just so many ways to work with encaustic that I didn't get around to playing with many of the things I brought.  I didn't try out any of the stuff to impress in the wax.  It was just overwhelming.

What I learned is that encaustic is a very versatile medium.  It is also something that would require a bit of money to invest in the stuff to get started.  You could use a skillet to melt the wax, but that wasn't recommended.  Brushes must be natural hair so they don't melt (because you have to keep them on the hot palette).  You need parafin to clean the brushes, the wax paint (the instructor had all the colors because she used to work for the company that makes them).  In addition you need medium to work with and a heat gun to "fuse" it after application.  If you want to do the rub in color afterward, then you need oil sticks (which are slightly different than the oil paint sticks that some of us are familiar with) and something to rub on the piece first (forgot what it is called). 

This is not something I will be getting into.  We can sign up for another workshop (at a discount) and go use all her stuff if there is something we want to do.  But you would want to maximize your output to make it economical. 

I do see that I could get just the medium and use my skillet to melt it and coat fabric with it if I wanted.  But that would be about all I would invest in, right now.

The process was immediate, as the instructor said, because it basically dries as soon as you paint it on.  But if you wanted to do something specific, you would really need a plan because it is a layering process.  Some of the techniques do need the wax to be cool to do (such as drawing with the Neocolor) and some need the wax to be warm (like image transfers).  It is a really different thought process for me.

I was the only one there with an art background.  It wasn't necessary.  Everyone was able to work with the techniques and come up with some interesting and fun things.  My favorite was the random texture you could get from the air bubbles and the way you brushed on the wax, then rubbing the color in afterward.  That seems very different from the graphic, geometric, controlled way I am working in fabric right now.

I really enjoyed it, but it's not something I will get into right now.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Encaustic Workshop

This weekend went by very quickly, mostly, because I was holed up in a studio taking an encaustic workshop from 10a.m.-5 p.m. both days. I've known about encaustic painting (hot wax painting) for a while and was kind of interested in it, but I didn't really need another activity to take up my time.  However, I do love to take classes and learn new things. 

What motivated me to sign up for this workshop was my experiment with rusting fabric.  I liked how the fabric turned out but knew that, even after neutralizing and washing out the fabric, the fabric would still continue to rust over time due to exposure to air.  I know I can try sealing it with acrylic medium (and I will try that sometime), but I thought, "What if I could use it in encaustic painting and then it would be sealed." 

Fortunately for me, we have a local instructor who does workshops every so often and I finally signed up for one this weekend.  The medium is really amazing with so many different ways to use it.  It really could be an entire semester or year long course.  But we only had two days.

It was fun, educational, concentrated and tiring work (standing up on concrete all day for two days).  I will just show you a few of my things to give you an idea of techniques.  I have not done this before at all and there were only a few pieces that I really ended up liking.

This is the instructor, Eve-Marie Bergren, on the right and another participant, Malia.
You can see the hot plate and brushes among other stuff on the table.

This was the first piece I did to try the opaque colors and to build up texture. This board is about 6 x 6".  I liked this size because it was big enough to try stuff on, but not too big to make it seem like a commitment.

On this piece I tested layering transparent colors and carving into the wax to add color afterward.

This piece uses both transparent and opaque colors, as well as drawing between layers with Neocolor II crayons.  I also tried the impressing of metal letters on this with the pink color rubbed in at the end.  I love the technique of rubbing color in the impressions and "pock" marks at the end.  I like how it accentuates the texture.

Here is a piece with an image transfer of a moth and the blue is the same rub-in color technique. I also used gold transfer paper to write the words.

This is the one Anna would like to frame and put in her room.  I tried using some sheer layers of fabric in this, tulle on the bottom (and underneath other layers) and a sheer with the gold dots on top.

This is the first piece where I tried the rusted fabric along with a couple of other strips.  I like how this turned out.  I also rubbed in color afterward.

Here is a second smaller one that I like even better.

This is just a little piece to show how you can collage things in the wax.

There was a lot of information to process.  I will write more about what I learned later.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Color Fields #3

Color Fields #3
hand dyed fabrics, machine pieced
machine quilted
34-3/4 x 29"
© 2011 Lisa Flowers Ross

I have been quietly working behind the scenes, here, on this series.  I just finished #6, but haven't quilted #4 yet because it is quite large.  Today I am presenting #3.  I think I mentioned that I was having some trouble with this one.  I had done all the quilting lines, but when I was finished, I was very unhappy with the quilting in the green area.  

I could have ripped all the stitches out, but since I wouldn't be going over the same lines again, I would have had lots of little holes (which can be taken care of by brushing some water over them and letting it dry naturally).  Instead of doing that, I decided to lop off the green section entirely and re-do it.  I have done this once before with a piece.

Fortunately, I had enough green to create a new section.  I cut the same curve first since I wanted to echo the line with the quilting.  I quilted as usual (which was much easier since I only had that piece).  I trimmed it and fit it right back in with the rest of the piece.  Then I zig-zag stitched the two pieces together.  

Since I had also removed the brown curve, I could now cut another one, turn both edges under, put fusible webbing on it, line it up on top of the stitching and fuse it to the top.  I also did the same on the back side.  The last step was to zig-zag stitch the edges of the brown curve with invisible thread.  It looks good and I am much happier with the green section. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chartreuse is in

We saw a lot of green when we were in Oregon.  I noticed quite a bit of chartreuse.

Flowers at the zoo.
Jennifer Gallagher's glass bead basket as seen at the Maryhill Museum.

You can see even more chartreuse on the Twelve by Twelve blog because today is their reveal day for Chartreuse.  I was playing-along with this one.  I had pulled out an old, unfinished piece I  because it had chartreuse in it.  I started doing some hand stitching on it and, . . . well, life happened and it's not done.  But you can enjoy the others.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, Baby

Our girl is 14 years old today!
What does a 14 year old get from her parents? 132 colored pencils!

Earlier in the week I had been looking through some old scrapbooks and told Anna,
"You were so cute back then!"
And she says, "Well, what about now?"
My response, "Now, you are just beautiful."

Friday, April 8, 2011

Portland: Part 2

On our second day in Portland, Anna wanted to go to the zoo, probably to see the big cats.  That's where the handy light rail came in and took us to Washington Park. 

It was somewhat rainy and cool.  We stayed there for a couple of hours.  We decided to just have lunch at the zoo eatery.  It was pretty good.  I wanted to go to the Japanese gardens as well but we were kind of cold from being outside for a while.  The shuttles within the park weren't running and we didn't feel like walking to the gardens.  Plus, we still had the Portland Art Museum to do.  So we headed back into downtown.

We were fortunate enough to find a 2-for-1 admission coupon for the museum at our hotel.  That was our next stop.  The admission guy asked if we had been there before and I told him about 15 years ago.  He said that since then they had acquired the building next door which use to be a Masonic temple.

Here are some of the things I liked for found interesting. 

Native American piece made from porcupine quills.

C.C. Wang, Calligraphy, c. 2000

Cris Bruch, Politics of Time, 2000, wood, epoxy, graphite

Anna liked this one.

This is a chartreuse one for the gals at the Twelve by Twelve blog.  Ludwig Sander, Chicksaw I, 1970.

Mel Katz, Garden Gate, 2002, painted aluminum

Frank and Anna are usually very patient with me when I drag them through an art museum.  They were again, but Anna was getting tired by the end.  You know, when the first thing she looks for when entering a gallery is a bench.

After the museum, we went to Nordstrom's Rack, but didn't buy anything.  (I hear Nordstrom's is coming to Boise).  We didn't do much shopping, but did stop in a few places when we were walking around.  Dinner out and more swimming at the hotel rounded out the day.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Portland: Part 1

It had been fifteen years since I had been in Portland and sixteen since Frank had been there.  It's hard to believe.  So it was good to return to the city for two nights.  We stayed downtown in a hotel on the tenth floor. Anna didn't much enjoy the "tummy drop" feeling of going up and down in the elevator that went quickly.

But being that high had it's advantage of seeing things from a different perspective; like reflections on the building across the street.

Portland is a great city and has some good public transportation.  I love when a city has effective, extension public transportation.  We used the street cars and light rail (as well as our feet) for getting around. 

Last time we were in Portland we walked a long way to get to Washington Park to see the Japanese and Rose gardens.  This time it was so much better to just be able to buy a ticket on the light rail and have it take us there.

Portland must have the best bookstore in the world called Powell's.  It was there fifteen years ago and still is.  They have new and used books.

This is the sign to guide you where you need to go.  It says they have nine color coded rooms on four floors which take up nearly an entire city block (65,000 square feet).  They also have a coffee shop inside.

I went straight to the art section.  They had a nice little space to display some local art.  What an idea!  Frank and Anna did the rest of the store while I spent my time in the artist section of the art section.  I quickly glanced through the rest of the art section after I was done with the artists, but knew Frank and Anna would probably be ready to go.  I could spend a week in there, I think.  The nice thing is that they have used books, so you might be able to find a book that is out of print.  I thought I was quite self restrained in purchasing only two books: one on Alexander Calder (which is an older, used book), one on Paul Klee (different than the one I already had).

Since we arrived in the afternoon, going to Powell's, out to dinner and then swimming in the hotel pool was all we did the first day.