Changing Direction

At the beginning of the year, I created a vision board. I’ve been creating one or two a year for about five years. This one was all about what inspired me. There were things I thought I’d like to make and colors I was drawn to. It didn’t stay that way for long. In March, my vision board did not reflect how I was feeling, but most of the colors stayed the same. Now, nature inspires me. Going on little walks and wandering in my own backyard made me feel that all I needed was to be in nature and experience all its beauty. I made a small vision board that reflected this renew love of the outdoors.

I love flowers, trees, and mountains with creeks and streams in and around rocks, covered by mossy slime in the most vibrant greens. After I created my nature vision board that I call “The Dirt”, I had dreams of making art with dirt and mud, rocks, and brick dust in a muddy stream that made me want to cry with joy. I hung these works on a clothesline under a freeway overpass. I’m not sure why there was a freeway in this dream. I have had this dream a few times and think that I need to explore its contents.  

 I explored different styles by taking nature inspired online classes. I followed the class lesson as close as I could and pushed myself into using colors that had not excited me before. The styles did not grow on me but the colors did. They all seemed to be the colors of  nature experiences that underscored my entire life. I found new surfaces to try. Raw canvas and Ampersand’s aquabord™ really got my creative juices flowing. I stumbled on to other artist that were exploring some of these same things and that helped me in my direction.

The forest floor, what happens in nature, and what makes things grow makes me think of the rich colors of the forest and what feeds that system. These elements are some of the things that feed me. What happens when seasons come and go? Things change at the end of summer. Leaves, and flowers fade, die, or go dormant, resting for the next year. Temperatures cool and rain comes to add to the resting, creating a pot of things: branches, leaves, dead things but new growth of moss, mushrooms, and lichens. A new life comes as one recedes. The decay and growth of the autumn and winter life add to the earth.Those things lie back and breath in the damp. Sticks crack under foot — moving that decomposition of pine cones, leaves, needles and bugs that have finished their life but add to the ecosystem of the forest.

I see my art life like this. I do not think I’m stuck or that ideas have dried up. There is no block. The only block is what I place on myself. This is the time of resting, falling back and studying and observing my art as I think and plan for the rebirth of the art I want to make. The art that brings me joy and conveys the feeling of this nature to others.  Do I move forward by creating something? What if I change? What does that say about me? I’m not lost just bringing my passions forward. I have many and you might also. Think of it like rolling over a rock. The earth below the rock is sometimes hard and cracked. My art has sometimes seemed that way. The rains come, temperatures cool, and the earth gets wet and soft and earthworms come up to bathe in the dampness. I introduce a different medium to create with and explore its possibilities. I am the rock in the forest, set in a space for awhile making a dent in the earth, sinking in until something turns it over. Moving out of that rut can be painful. But we stay in that place so long, we don’t realize what else we could do and how we can be refreshed. If you want to refer to that as “stuck,” I guess that would be your idea. I’d rather say I’m growing like the earth beneath the rock. I’m becoming someone, something else. I’m letting the rain of a new medium or subject sink into me, creating a place for new art to grow and evolve. I’m still me. I’ve only added new ideas, supplies, and my attitudes to this art-making.

I study nature and the different natural elements. On walks, I pick up rocks, twigs, pine cones and at the beach I bring home all the sea shells my pockets will hold. They overflow with dirty rocks and all the other things.

These have become my inspiration. Along with new paints, papers and other surfaces, I will create paintings about nature, our environment and what happens when we don’t take care of it. I’ll create from what has been a deep love for me, and now I have found a way to communicate that in my art. 

See you at CHA!

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Hello CHA Hoppers,

Last year was my first time at CHA. I had no idea what it even was. For those of you that don’t know the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA), here’s the story: This association is “celebrating  75 years of connecting the creative arts and crafts industry. CHA Mega Conference and Trade Show is the only place where you can conduct a year’s worth of business in 6 days” (chamegashow.org).

I am an artist that uses many different elements in my work. I also teach classes at my studio. Why would I want to go to a trade show that has manufacturers that sellbig orders to stores? Because I get inspired by art supplies. I get inspired when I can touch and feel the products. And I get inspired by meeting people that are very passionate about the products they demo. Plus, it is always great to meet people of like mind that love to create beautiful things to look at and/or use.  There are many other things to learn and see at CHA also: demos, hands-on labs, boot camps on business, workshops, artisan workshops, and business seminars are just a few.

Last year, I fell into CHA at the eleventh hour and was only able to attend on the  final day. I was one sad puppy, kitty, or otter….insert the cute animal of your choice.  I found out about CHA from my business coach, Laura Bray, who will be posting at the blog hop tomorrow. She is also the daughter of a friend that I admire most, Laura Miller.

At the very last moment, my membership was accepted. After phone calls back and forth, I would have a badge waiting for me and my assistant. I only  had to drive the 30 minutes to Anaheim, CA. I was there before the door was to open and connected with the registration/information desk and got my badge. Then I took a selfie, went to the restroom, and was on my way. I had a mission. I was Ethan Hunt.

 

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As soon as the door opened, I poured into the convention floor. I was a squirrel, darting back and forth trying to get everything in as soon as I could. I got tired very quickly. Some of the booths were already shut down. It was the last day and they were ready to travel back to their homes from all over the world. I didn’t get to meet many people, but some were still doing demos and giving out great information. I did get my inspiration that I was hopping for, but at a very low key. My assistant and I took a break and decided we would look at the map and go in a more organized manner. That is what I usually do when I go to craft fairs or art shows, anyway. I felt the panic leave and I was able to focus.  I saw every booth with demos and without, and got enough information to get the brain in creative mode.

The key is, you must plan. You must be organized. You can’t wait. Classes fill EARLY.  Not all manufacturers can stay to the very last moment. They have to travel. I wish I had done my homework early and planned and got myself to a point where I knew what CHA was before I jumped in. But, I am going back this year, January 7-12, 2016 at the Anaheim Convention Center,  Anaheim, CA. I will be organized this time. I know about round tables and demos and classes. I will do more than just walk by the Business Center. CHA is very supportive of small business and many services are offered for members like me, and  brick and mortar businesses. Classes and guidance are also available.

I did get a lot of information last year. I was in a spin. It took a good month to finally sort it all out and sink in. What I did was not the prefered. It did not do CHA justice.  But, I will this year.

 

Check out more participating bloggers here!

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You Don’t Have To Have A Degree In Art……..

We sometimes think that unless we learn it all that we can’t create a great work of art. That is not so. Art is about willing to take risks and play and explore. Artists throughout the ages used their tools,  took risks and explored to drive their art.  Picasso was one of these artists that pushed and played to move himself forward in creating. He had  not been happy with some of his paintings. He cut some paper and glued it to one of his sketches. This became Collage. The term collage was coined by both Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in the beginning of the 20th century when collage became a distinctive part of modern art.

“Bottle of Vieux Marc, Glass, Guitar, and Newspaper,” Picasso, 1913. Courtesy of the Tate Museum, tate.org.uk.

What things do you do now? What things are you drawn to? What supplies do you have? Are you a realist or do you enjoy abstracting the real?
These are all questions to ask yourself when you are just starting out. I encourage you to take the tools and supplies that you have and do whatever comes to mind. Example… For a long time I painted in watercolor. I love it but as things go I just wanted more. But I didn’t know what to do or how to do it. I kept asking myself, “what do I want to change? Why am I not as happy any more?” I didn’t know that I was growing. Change is growth. After much reflection and after a five day workshop I was taking, I realized that watercolor just was not bold and bright enough and that it did not contain the elements I wanted.

An idea is a point of departure and no more. As soon as you elaborate it, it becomes transformed by thought. ”
-Pablo Picasso

Collage and watercolor. "The One With Heart"
Collage and watercolor.
“The One With Heart”

First, I started painting using the paint right out of the tube. Instead of using the brush, I was using a pointed stick I had found in the yard. I would buy oil and acrylic brushes and break the ends off the handle some so there was a jagged edge and run them through the paint. I got tired of that too and found with learning new techniques with acrylics I was happier. I had always loved collage. I missed using scraps of paper and glue so I went back to creating paintings that contained all of these elements.

Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don’t start measuring her limbs. ”
-Pablo Picasso

Collage and watercolor Featured in,  "Incite - Dreams Realized"
Collage and watercolor
Featured in,
“Incite – Dreams Realized”

If you think that you need a degree in art to enjoy creating, you are wrong. It’s about playing, exploring and painting things that you like. It’s about feeling good about creating and enjoying the process. This not to say that a degree is not useful. If you are planning any kind of art career a degree is needed. But, if you are wanting to create something because you enjoy art or feel the need in anyway…it’s about play. Create something everyday.

“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. ”
-Pablo Picasso

 

Getting the New Year off to an Art Start

Hello All,
After all the crazy times of the holidays I always try and review my art and projects that worked and what didn’t work. I look at the things I’ve created and see if this the direction I want to continue.
After all that work I have to get myself back to creating and sometimes that is very hard. It seems more important to take down decorations and put gift wrap away. But I have to make myself get back to my art and art related things.

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If you are feeling parched from not creating for awhile for any reason come and visit the 511 Art Studio. We are in Upland, CA and I am a proud Creative Pusher. If you are stuck or don’t know what you want to do but want to create, I can help you find your path.

I teach classes for children and adults. I work with where you are and what you want to create. And if you are not sure I will help you find your path.
Classes for children are by appointment that we can set up. I have many options.
Classes for adults are a workshop environment with things to try out or work on your project in a safe and nurturing group of artists.

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You can contact me through this blog/website for more info.

January 10, 2015 I am teaching a Texture Workshop for mixed media 9:30am-3:30pm. Cost is $50. and I will supply everything. All you need to bring is your lunch. Come and find a texture application that suits you.

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Classes And Workshops

This is a new website for me. I have shut down my aletajacobsonart511 website to combine my site and blog. This is the way to go if you ask me. So much easier and time saving so I can create art and teach more classes.
One day I plan to have online classes right here and you can watch and learn right in the comfort of your own home or wherever you choose.

Today I will be cleaning my classroom and gallery studio. I have Chris Cozen coming tomorrow for a wonderful 2 days of Color Color Color and A Little Collage Thrown In workshop. Chris is an amazing artist and has been a working artist for Golden Acrylics for many years. I first took a class from her at Claremont’s stamp store, Stamp Your Heart Out many years ago. I think she is one of the kindest and most sharing of teachers. We are sure to learn all about color and mixing and creating wonderful effects.

So, stay tuned here and I will be posting many pics and upcoming events.

Go create something.

Texture In Art

It’s Monday. I have buried myself in papers for weeks. Collage papers, notes, grocery lists, articles about art, and notes for this blog. I have been digging out for a few days now and I have found some interesting things about texture. And I have been using it in my artwork.

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I love texture. There are other things about painting and creating that I love but I have just started to use more texture in my work and I’m having a freaking good time creating.

There are many ways to create texture. One that I used in this piece is *Molding Paste. It’s kind of like a light weight Spackle that you’d use to patch holes in your walls. I have heard that some people do use Spackle in their art but I wonder what it’s made of and if it will hold up. I know it’s good for walls. Does anyone have all the palette or putty knife info on Spackle vs Molding Paste?

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The thing of it is you can get carried away with the Molding Paste. You will fall in love with the texture and think that if a little makes me shiver then a lot would bring me to my knees. Not so. I know now that a lot is not always better.

Molding Paste is just one of many mediums to use in your art to bring interest and layers to your work. But just like salt in cooking, a little is great but a lot is way too much and you feel like you just drank pickel water straight from the jar . So go easy on the Molding Paste. Take a little and move it around on your canvas or paper with a palette knife or old credit card. Then drag some *tools through it. Making marks with a pencil is always fun. If you think the work needs more then add more paste.

Take it slow. Maybe let a thin layer dry to see if you like it. Then try a little more.

These two pieces were overdone. I removed some of the paste after it dried by sanding them and then coming back and adding more paste in a few areas.

If you would like more info on Molding Paste and creating texture in your artwork please see the page that list the classes and workshops.

And if you would like to have these posts about art dropped in your email box please subscribe to this blog.

I welcome all comments and questions.

*tools that I use besides palette knifes and credit cards are:

Catalyst brushes and wedges by Princeton Artist Brush Co.You can find these at CheapJoes.com or Blick.com

Decorator tools by Plaid. These can be found at Michaels
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2014-08-04 14.35.34

New kind of painting

When I see things that interest me I need to know “how that was done.” So the first thing I do is study it and work it over in my brain to see what was used and how it was used and so on. This has been good for me but sometimes an impediment also. You can’t create and study something and turn it over in your mind and expect that creativity will burst forth. I saw a painting someplace. I can’t remember were it was but it was not a show or gallery. The painting intrigued me. First it had birds in it and I seem to be drawn to birds. I don’t paint many of them but for some reason I like to look at them. This painting was not bright with color. It was not one of those, Oh, I got to have that or even I need to paint one like that. But the contrast in the painting was so striking I had to mull it over and over. Days later I was still thinking about that painting. I will try and describe it. There were two complimentary colors that had been laid down in random strokes. Wide swaths across the canvas with some blending to create a nice neutral to go along with the pure color. The painter used a slate blue and an orange brown. They then used a watered down white to negatively paint branches with birds. So the white covered the background and the only thing that remained was the birds and branches. It looked something like this….

Pre paint
The acrylic layer only

2 birds
Adding the image…

g. bird almost done
Adding more image…

These are three samples that I did when I was working up the lesson.

I first painted acrylic paint with a brayer* over mixed media paper* or canvas*. I use Golden fluid acrylics* and did not think about where or how I was putting the paint down. I then watered down white gesso* so it was runny like the “legs on wine,” more on that later. I took a stencil* that I liked and traced around the image onto the painted mix media paper, placing the image so I had the colors showing that would work together.

Stencil that I traced around #1
Stencil that I traced around #1

Stencils I traced around #2
Stencils I traced around #2

After I traced the images I painted around them with the watered down gesso. Putting on a very light layer.

After I painted around traced area #3
After I painted around traced area #3

I added more gesso as it appealed to me. Some areas I painted two or three coats of the watered gesso and some areas only one coat.

Sample # 4 after painted around image.
Sample # 4 after painted around image.

These are some of my students’ work from the lesson that I developed. You can see the different ways that they created their work as they completed their paintings.

Hummer 2 birds Green Bird

These are paintings that are almost complete from some other students.

Lg Leaf Blue Bird Orange Blue Bird

The students had a good time learning this process and then they took the ideas and made them their own by tweaking them as they saw fit.

I hope you will give this a try and let me know if it works for you and/or what you did or didn’t do with the process. Please share your thoughts.  Thank you.

Keep creating everyday!

Tools and materials used: Speedball 1.5inch brayers @ Michaels or art supply stores. Strathmore Mixed Media paper @ Michaels, Aaron Brothers or art supply stores. Acrylics, Golden Fluid Acrylics @ CheapJoes.com or art supply stores. Any brand of Gesso you like. Canvases at any art supply store. Stencils @ stencilgirlproducts.com

Art Store in Progress

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Hi All!

I have just today added an art store to my blog! There, you can see some of the work I do and purchase some small works and maybe more, as time marches on. I currently have only one department, but be sure to check back soon for more updates! New things will be added, such as: journals, larger canvases, prints, greeting cards, and my famous mini-boxes! Click on the “Art for Sale” tab at the top of this blog!

Many thanks to my wonderful daughter for helping through this process and setting the store up for me. She also has a gift with words. You can check out her blog at: bethkjacks.wordpress.com.

Happy Shopping!

Aleta

Cleaning Stencils

Having a free Monday is a treat for me. Most of the time Mondays are a big clean up or finish up of the weekend. Not that we throw thrash and things around but you know those last dribs and drabs that didn’t get done?
With not too much to do around the house I gave myself the gift of creating today.  I got my stencils* out, some silk tissue and fluid acrylics. Dabbing away I created some background papers for collage. That’s a whole other blog post.

 
                                                                     
After stenciling and making lots of papers I found a great way to clean up stencils. It’s safe and very effective.

Murphy Oil Soap** and some hot water is all that it takes to clean up many things. The soap is pure vegetable oil.  I also use it to clean my paint brushes and brayers. It will bring back that nightmare brush you forgot to clean last week. Just soak the brush in half Murphy Oil Soap and water. Don’t allow water level above the metal ferrules or you can loosen where the brush attaches to the handle.  In a day or so that brush you thought you would have to throw away is soft enough to use after a good rinsing. Rinse until the soapy feel is gone.

For stencils use a shallow plastic tote***.  Place hot water and the soap in the tote and submerge your stencils.

                                                            Tote size 14x11x3 1/2 inches

If you are in a hurry you can scrub gently with your fingers, rubbing at the paint to remove it. You will be amazed at how quickly the paint will dissolve. I work for a long time with my stencils, and they will have many coats of colors on them, so I will let them soak overnight. I have forgotten them soaking in their little bath for days. But nothing happens to the stencil, but it just makes it easier to remove the paint.

                                           
                                           After a short soak and the blue paint is almost gone


                                          After rubbing the stencil in the soak for a minute. 

When the stencils are clean rinse until all the soapy feel is off. Dry on clean cloth.

Go make more art with your clean stencils!

Resources: * StencilGirl Stencils   http://stencilgirlproducts.com/
                ** Murphy Pure Vegetable Oil Soap    www.murphyoilsoap.com
              *** RE Large Clip Box  by Sterilite    http://www.target.com