Monday, September 29, 2014

Nia Intensive

I love to dance!  Although I don't go out dancing at all.  My husband does not like to dance.  But that's o.k. because that isn't favorite way to dance anyway.  When I was in high school, I took jazz and ballet classes.  In college I took a ballet and modern class when I could squeeze it into my schedule. Even though I was way out of my league there, I just wanted to dance.

After college,  about the only time I danced was when I was alone in the house listening to the radio. About six years ago, somebody in my yoga class told me about Nia.  I had never heard of it, but she mentioned there was dancing.  I am a member at the Y and they had some classes there.  So, I decided to try it.  I thought it was great and have continued to take classes.

When people ask what Nia is, it is hard for me to explain.  It's not really a "dance" class as you might imagine, but you do dance.  Here is how I would describe it now. It is a fitness class that uses movements that integrate the dancing arts, martial arts and healing arts.  It is not high impact, unless you want it to be.  Everybody can do it and move to their own body's way.

I know there are other dance classes out there, like Zumba.  But what I like about Nia is that it emphasizes moving properly and paying attention to your own body (very similar in that way to yoga, I think).  I tried a Zumba class one time and I was so caught up in the fast music and doing the moves that I wasn't paying attention to how I was moving.  Consequently, after class my knees were sore.  I realized that wasn't going to be a class for me.

Borrowing from the martial arts, Nia also has a belt system.  You can take Nia Intensive trainings to earn a belt.  Last week, I took the Nia White Belt Intensive to earn my white belt.  It was all day, everyday for a week.  There was lots of information and moving and dancing.  Now, I can get licensed to teach Nia, which I am thinking about doing.  Or maybe just as a substitute teacher for a while.

White belt is just the beginning belt.  You can also go on to green belt, blue belt, brown belt and black belt.  Right now, I am pretty happy to have completed the white belt training.

This is the book we received with over 200 pages of the information we learned in the intensive. Since we all had the same book, it was suggested we put our names on them to distinguish them from each other's.  I decided some doodling would help distinguish mine even further!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Oil Painting with William Lewis

On Saturday, I took a three hour workshop at the Sequi-shop downtown.  It was oil painting with William Lewis.  I signed up because I have never used oil paint before.  There wasn't much instruction, just getting down to it.

Our "assignment" was to paint one of the objects on display at the shop.  The exhibition was about the history of fire in Boise.  We were given a pre-primed board to paint on and there were brushes and palettes for us to use.  Oil is different than acrylic and watercolor and I can really say that I had know idea what I was doing.  But just jumped into and went with it.

This is our instructor, William Lewis, working on his piece with some of the fire objects displayed on the wall.

There were eight of us participants painting.  Theresa Burkes is on the left and I do not know the other ladies.

This is the object I chose to paint.  It is a nozzle for a hose.  It was on the wall.

And here is my very first oil painting ever and my interpretation of the nozzle.  Yes, I know the object is smack dab in the center of the painting (which is not the strongest composition).  I also realize that it is floating there in that space.  I was concentrating so much on the shape and color of the metal, I completely forgot about the little things holding it to the wall.  Really, I was just trying to figure out how to use the oil and not worrying about actually making a masterpiece!  I was able to finish this in about two hours.

Here is Pam McKnight's painting.  She was working next to me.  It's at a funny angle because I was trying to get the picture without the glare of the lights on the painting.  The oil paint is shiny as it takes a while to dry.

I don't know the name of the person who did this painting, but I think she did a good job with it.

Here is another person's painting.

And here is the instructor's painting.

Since it takes several days for the oil paint to dry, we did not take our pieces home with us.  The Sesqui-shop is actually going to hang them and have them on display for the rest of the month.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fabric Stamping

Here are some more of the fabrics that I stamped at Studio B. We used fabric paint applied to the "stamp" with a sponge.  The fabric needs to be heat set with an iron when dry.

You saw this one in the last post.

This one was also in the last post.  The stamp is the yellow piece.  I cut some thin strips of Fun Foam (with adhesive already on the back) and curved them around as I mounted them to the Plexiglas piece. I stamped two different colors on the fabric.

These are two scraps of green fabric that I stamped with the leaf shape.  It was also made with a thin strip of Fun Foam curved around on the Plexiglas.

I had a long strip of blue fabric that I stamped with lines.  On the right is a stamp made with rubber bands wrapped around a piece of Plexiglas and below is another with the foam strips.

The stamp for this piece is made from a carvable material such as Soft-Kut printing blocks.  (This link has some examples of the material.)  I'm not sure what kind mine is but I bought it in a big sheet and cut off what I need.  I carved some offset lines.  I printed two different colors (turned the stamp upside down from time to time) to try to create a water effect.

Here's another stamp made from carvable material.  This one was already a pre-made circle with adhesive on the back.  You could also use one without carving it to have a perfect solid circle, which might be fun to layer with a carved one using different colors. 

This last piece of fabric was one on which I had tried a shibori technique years ago.  It involved a lot of stitching to get those circular patterns.

I think I used a cap from a spray can that was the same size as the shibori circles to stamp around.

Do you like it better with or without the stamping?  The first picture is actually the back and so I could use either side.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Stamping on Fabric

Last week I spent another fun day with friends at Studio B in Weiser stamping on fabric.  You may not know that I have tons of stamps.  In a past life, I actually had my own mail order rubber-stamp business which I created all the designs for.  Most of those stamps are too detailed for fabric stamping.  Although some of the original carvings I did for those are big enough.  But I did not want to use any of those.

Here are Linda, Thea and Kathleen in Linda's Studio B (Sue was there, too).  I am very grateful that Linda lets us all come and play in her wonderful studio.  

We had out lots of stuff to play with.  The red fabric at the bottom of the picture is a piece of fabric I stamped with a stamp I had made with Fun Foam. We used fabric paint applied to the stamp with a sponge.

Above is a scarf that Linda had printed with carved blocks.  Nine blocks were carved and glued to a plexiglass mount, then printed repeatedly along the scarf.   I like how the simple line designs become so effective.

Below is another simple line design that was repeated.  I need to carve one of these for myself.

Linda had carved and printed this ginkgo leaf design.  The paper mask is there to show how she made them look like they overlap each other.

Here is another piece of fabric I stamped with that little roll you see at the top.  It is the plastic center of a register tape.  Linda had all kinds of fun household items to stamp with.

I stamped a few more fabrics which I will save for another post.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Weaving Soul Threads at Track 13

Last week was the opening for a new art exhibition at Track 13 Gallery in Nampa.  I went to the Preview Night for Lisa Cheney's Weaving Soul Threads: The Art of Visual Journeying.  

Lisa works with mixed media and creates layers of texture, details and meaning into her work.  She has incredible visual journals that document her personal journey and stories.

In the gallery, there are several original artworks, such as this one, entitled Release.

Lisa Cheney

There are also reproductions of pages from her journals.  At the preview, Lisa had employed the help of several guys, her "book keepers,"  who were holding her journals (with white gloves) for people to look through them.

Lisa Cheney (on the left) with friend and one of the "book keepers."

I was fortunate enough to have already seen some of her journals when we were both artist-in-residence at the BOSCO space downtown earlier in the year.

The remaining artwork in the show was inspired by Lisa's trip to Paris and Southern France earlier this year.  She kept a journal of her travels and collected ephemera while on the trip.  Upon returning home, she created original "Postcards from Paris" and several encaustic paintings.  Large reproductions of her journal pages from the trip are also on display.

Lisa Cheney
Village Doors I, II, III, IV

 Lisa Cheney
Postcards from Paris
mixed media

I like the creative hanging method for the postcards, since they were two sided.  The glass would spin around so you could see both sides.  I also like the shadows they created on the wall.

 Lisa Cheney
Postcard from Paris
mixed media

Lisa Cheney
Café au Lait
enlargement of journal page

Lisa Cheney
Marais Circuit and Metro
enlargements of journal pages

The exhibition will be up at Track 13 through Oct. 5.  Lisa will give an artist's talk on Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. Track 13 is located at 13 12th Ave. South, Nampa, Idaho.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


This is a photo of Weekly Square #27, which I did a while ago and have already shown you.

After I had done this one, I was looking through a book on Piet Mondrian and found his Composition 10 in Black and White.

They look very similar, albeit in reverse coloration.

In my square, I was trying to do random running stitches and just letting them cross wherever they happen to fall (it is actually very hard, for me, to do random, irregular stitching).  I'm sure Mondrian was a little more deliberate with his lines.

I find it interesting when you sometimes create an artwork and then later, since we have so much more access to the world via the internet, you find another artist who has created something very similar.

Or the other thing, which I find a little more frustrating, is when you have an idea (but haven't brought it to fruition yet) and then you see somewhere that somebody else has already done something very similar.  Then, I feel like I can't use that idea because someone might think I'm copying the other person, even though the thought had come before seeing the other piece.  That rarely happens, but still. . . . 

It probably happens more than we know/realize that two (or more) people have the same idea in different places around the world, at different times. I guess that's why we have a patent office in the US.

What do you think?  Has this happened to you?  Do you think this happens a lot or just rarely?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Weekly Stitching

The last weekly square I posted here was number #31.  I have a few to show you to catch up.

 Weekly Square #32

 Weekly Square #33

 Weekly Square #34

Weekly Square #35

I really do not like #34, for some reason.  I might have to go back and do some more stitching on it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


In an earlier post, I shared some photos of when we did some discharging of fabric at my friend's studio.  I have used some of the black discharged fabric to create a small artwork.

hand dyed and discharged fabrics, machine pieced, free-motion stitching
14-3/4" x 12"
©2014 Lisa Flowers Ross

Here is a detail of the free-motion stitching.