Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sneak Peek! Himmeli 3-D Sculptures

Himmeli is a traditional Finnish handcraft that would be hung above the dinner table to ensure that next year’s rye crop would be plentiful.  Traditionally, Himmeli ornaments were made by threading string through dried straw and creating 3-dimensional sculptures.  Himmeli are generally rotationally symmetrical and they are hung from the top point by thin sewing thread upon the ceiling. Himmeli will spin with a slight flow of air.  The name Himmeli comes from the Germanic word Himmel (sky).

You can see the artists were so busy at work this week creating with straws and hemp twine to create their own Himmeli!! This will be a two-week project and most of the sculptures are intricate and large. 

 Instead of ensuring a prosperous grain harvest I thought these modern Himmeli would ensure that this Valentines day is rich with love! 

Natalie is making a fantastic sculpture, even hand-tying each knot! It's hard work! She took a break and visually recorded the process. The drawing shows all the cut straws and both her and her brother at work!

If you are interested in making your own Himmeli you can use the easy-to-follow instructions below! You can find red and black straws at Smart & Final or beautiful paper (decorative, patterned & color) straws at your local craft store, or online. Have fun!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pigeon Portrait

Capturing the profile, iridescence and plumage of the pigeon was the goal of our first project of the semester!

We began this project with preliminary sketches, then transferred those drawings onto vintage sheet music 
and then filled it with a thin white base coat to soften the musical notes that we were painting on. 

Next we used acrylic to put down a bright base coat and then we added layers of darker paint over it, leaving just a bit of the bright underpainting to create the illusion of iridescence. 

96 birds fledged the nest (left the studio) this week and each one was unique! Some flew away so fast I failed to get photos of them. A big thanks to Monique for suppling the vintage music sheets and for Annie letting her King Pigeon Stefani be our live model in the studio!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

So EXCITED I Can Hardly Stand it!

I was AMAZED this morning to receive an email from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam asking me if I would be willing to be a part of an exhibit for their permanent collection. 

My first thought was that this some kind of weird but intriguing spam.

Well, it was not spam! I guess The Van Gogh Museum conducted worldwide image searches and stumbled upon my photo (above) that I had posted on my personal blog in October 2012. The museum has formally asked my permission to use the image as a video still as part of a display. 

Be still my beating heart!! 

"Yes," I immediately responded, "and please give me the date of the opening because I want to attend!"  To say the least I am thrilled and honored to even somehow be connected one of the most important and beloved artist in the world, even in such a small way. 

(The following is the blog post that the museum found)

I dressed up as Vincent Van Gogh for Halloween, just for my studio teaching days.
Most of the kids (not all!) diverted their eyes and seemed wary of me. Most thought I was a Hobo or creepy guy. Lot's of the grown-ups could guess, especially when I had paint brushes in my hand.

If you are interested in Vincent, you've GOT to read Van Gogh, The Life. It's the newest most thorough research on Vincent, his family, and his death. It's 860 pages, and written by the dynamic team of Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, who also wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning Jackson Pollock. It's a hard read, mostly because Vincent, from a very early age, had an extremely painful life. Physically it's challenging because the book is so big and heavy on your abdomen that you can only read so much in bed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

So Much Life!

I'm so proud and delighted with the results of this latest project! We "built" these Bones to Blossom multi-media assemblages layer-by-layer and the results are vibrant and complex. 

We started with the B&W images of Leonardo Di Caprio, Nelson Mandela, Toni Morrison, Ashley Judd, Jane Goodall, and a girl named Josie. Each artist transformed each portrait in completely unique way.

We studied the anatomy of the human skull, used acrylic paint & permanent markers to create the skeleton mask. The next step was to create a dynamic dimension in the background. We imagined that the figure lived somewhere between the living world and the after world! That dimension was created using acrylic paints applied in multiple layers with the use of cool stencils. The final step was to create a crown using collage. Wonderful papers, botanicals, jewels & flowers combined to contrast the idea of life and death. We coated the entire piece with Mod Podge then added a little *bling* using jewels and fake flowers.

 Look more closely by clicking on an image and enjoy the beauty, color and textures!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Please join me for a StudioTime multi-media workshopUsing collage, paint, paper, photos, glitter and adornments you will create a layered and beautiful Dia de los Muertos Altar
Two dates to choose from-
Saturday, October 18th 12:30-5:30
or Saturday, October 25th 12:30-5:30
$85.00 Studio fee 
All materials and refreshments included.

Spaces are limited so save a spot now by emailing, using the PayPal buttons to your right, or calling (510)522-3494. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

I LOVE Fairy Village!

I have a week off between workshops and what do I do? Play with my own little world! I love to build houses, vehicles, furniture, etc! Even more fun is creating small Fairy creatures. Fairy babies, men, women and children. I'll load up a few photos then I'm back to building my own little world!

Friday, May 23, 2014

StudioTime Celebration!

This week is the last week of the semester and we'll celebrate by seeing the amazing art work from this year at Spritzer's Cafe, Saturday May 31st! I hope to see you all there!