Sunday, June 12, 2011

Finally, A Little Art in my Life Again

My life has changed so much since the recession began in 2008. I have a different job that requires a lot more energy for a lot less the time I get home most days, I have no energy left for art. I share my house with two young people, struggling even more with making it in this economy...but have lost my dedicated space to create art. We're all adjusting to a new world, one much different than what we dreamed for our future. I've learned to be grateful for what I do have and have learned that the key to survival when your world falls apart is learning to be resilient. And to reach out to those who are also struggling to regain their helps me to remember that this recession has been much harder on others and that my blessings outnumber my setbacks.

And I am grateful for the opportunities that present themselves so serindipitously, such as being give the chance to attend an art workshop taught by the talented Rogene Manas.

A talented collage artist, Rogene has created a process melding paper clay with tissue collage on board or canvas that has the appearence of carved wood when completed. For the class, I used a design I created and donated to the Audubon Wild Arts Show 6X6 project a couple years ago and added design features to fill the 9X9 inch board I used for the class. Once I had the design elements, I cut them out of paper clay and applied them to the board.

After the clay dried, the board was painted black before applying tissue to the background and painting over the raised paper clay areas. I used a linoleum cutter to carve away paper clay that did not look right after I painted which left clean areas on the clay that needed little sanding. The end results are at the top of this posting, although I am still tweeking the paint job a bit. This process really appealed to the 3-D artist in me!

Rogene was a super instructor and shared her techniques freely. I took the class with fellow PAC members Suzanne, Tammy, Fran and Debi and while we were in class, we talked about our art group, the Portland Art Collective and how we loved to swap materials to use in our art. On our second day of class, Rogene brought us a present in the form of a box of silk remnants from a frame store that we eagerly dug into to increase our ever growing stash of future art projects!! Including quite a few pieces of off-white silk suitable for mind is already spinning....! Thanks, Rogene!!

This is Rogene putting the finishing touches on one of her own pieces during the class. This was an inspirational class and I can hardly wait to incorporate her techniques in my encaustic projects.

The piece appearing above and below, I sketched on one of the art papers you find inside Somerset Studio. They make great backgrounds for sketching. I then scanned the sketch and turned the black and white sketch to sepia. I had planned to use this design for the class but did not get a chance to start a second piece...but look for it in the future!

And lastly, I promised in an earlier post to share with you the finished book I made with the secret Belgian binding while on my retreat with my art group last month. One of our members, the talented Lorraine, took the time to show a group of us how to create the book. I prepped my covers with Daniel Smith's watercolor grounds and created my own design for front and back, mimicing the paper used on the inside covers (wrapping paper from India) and using a poem I wrote for my winter challenge. I wasn't aware when I created the cover that the binding thread would reach so far across the edge, or I would have adjusted my design to accomodate it.

The cover is made in three pieces, front, back and spine - each is covered before binding. The cover is sewn together and then the individual signatures are sewn into the spine and the structure is held together with the tension of the waxed linen thread. The structure is sturdy and allows the book to stand open for easier use in sketching. I cover the thread endings on the inside cover with pieces of ultrasuede that I embroidered, again incorporating the colors of the inside cover papers. I can see creating many more of these books for future sketching!

But now I am going to be taking a little break from creating, as I get ready to return to .....drum roll please....Australia!! Yes, I am going back for a visit in late September to mid October and will teach a couple of classes while I am there! I am so excited to return to a country that totally captured my heart when I was last there in March 2010! I'll have more info for you soon, so stay tuned!!


Lucy said...

Dear Jan, What a brave post.
Life has so many ups & downs, but I didn't realise the economy was so bad for so many in America.
I am proud of you writing your thoughts for us to have an insight into yours & others struggles.
Love the art you made!
On a brighter note, sooooooo looking forward to seeing you again & taking a class with you!!!!
hugs & Love, Lucy from Oz

Jen Crossley said...

Jan,You are always in my thoughts and I often worry about how you are going in these hard times in the states.Your honesty in your postyou are a very strong woman who has touch my life more than you know.I love the class you attend and My only wish is that I could of seen you while your down under while I will be a short distance from your home.
I miss you

Rogene MaƱas said...

Jan...I knew when I met you that you were a special person. Your openness and optimism is inspiring. You are so generous with so many. And you are a very fine artist. I am honored to be in your blog. Thank you for all the nice comments. Your piece turned out beautifully. Keep finding time to make's the antidote for these troubled times. I hope we cross paths again someday.

Paula McNamee said...

Glad to hear that you have more art in your life. Your book and painting are gorgeous - full of energy and life.