Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Above and Beyond!!

Isn't it amazing when you experience something that is way above and beyond your wildest expectations????? It is very rare, it does not happen very often to me, that's for sure! I tend to set myself up with over blown expectaions, most times. My weekend experience at Art and Soul, however, was more than One could imagine without actually being there!! The people, the Instructors, the students ,the vendors ,the experience, the trading, all of it was fantastic!! I have already decided that I will be attending again next year and I have started a special fund to support my next trip to Art and Soul!
When I called home the first evening, I told Tom that my Idols, my Art Idols were everywhere ,and we were all just hanging out getting to know each other ! It was so cool!
I arrived on Friday evening, after dealing with traffic due to the Queen's visit to Jamestown and Williamsburg. That didn't phase me though, OH no!!
On Saturday morning, I started a full day class with Susan Lenart Kazmer. What an amazingly wonderful, talented, kind and giving person she is!! She had all of her most well known pieces on display to be used as teaching aids and we got to touch them !! I will post photos of the project for that class, with more details, in a few days.
On Sunday I had a full day class with Collage Artist Ann Baldwin. Ann is British and was an English teacher for 30 years, before she began her second career as a collage artist. The title of her class was Creating a Family Story with Paint and Collage. Being British, she possessed that incredibly wonderful quality of a very dry sense of humor and a very carefrre and open personality. She showed us how to work with glazes and how to create a piece of enormous depth ,with mutiple layers of glaze , paint and images, She wants her peices to look like an old ,encrusted ,peeling billbaord that tells a story. The images and words or patterns that are far back in the piece are there to draw the viewer in to the piece so they can determine the true story behind the work. It was an amazing class and we all had a blast. She spent some time doing wonderful demonstrations during which she taked to herself constantly and answered herself. Everything that she said was so very funny, and appropriate, and made so much sense. She was a pure delight! She told us that she would not be able to attend Art and Soul VA next year because of scheduling conflicts, so I feel doubly blessed taht I was able to be in her class this year.
The first thing that we did was an exercise in "SEEING". We went thru magazines and picked out images and words that jumped out at us, that were important. They we arrainged our images or text pieces on a piece of construction paper as she walked around offering assistence. I concentrated on looking for things that would pertain to the story that I wanted to compose for my final project. My family history story would be about my grandmother, Jenny Monson. Jenny came to this country on the boat , alone , in 1916 or so , at the age of 16 or 17. Pretty gutsy young lady! She went through Nurses training and worked as a nurse at a hospital in New York City. She was an avid gardener, a wonderful cook, always worked with her hands, and insisted that all of us 'Wash your hands"!!!
Ann also did several wonderful Dmo's and she has finally convinced me that I must indeed start using Golden brand acrylic paints. The pigments and body of the paint make a huge difference in the finished project! I have really been resisting as they are quite a bit mre expensive . Seems that I might get some of my frugal tendancies form a certain Swedish Grandmother!!!
As Ann was doing the demos, she entertained us with stories from her childhood in a very dry, British style! She was such a delight and we could have listened to her for hours!!

Here is my piece. There are lots of historic details in the background so I have included some close ups. Ann's style aims to have the finished product resemble an old, encrusted, peeling billboard that tells a story. Images and text barely visible are used to draw the viewer into the story. These details are much more apparent in person. So if you really want to see all of them, you'll just have to come on by and see the piece in person!!!

Just so you know, you have been saved from a very detailed post describing all of the images, by my computer. Just as I was about to publish this post to the blog, the computer crashed!! ARGH!!!! I really hate these kl1#r%^@$********** machines sometimes.

The finished piece has approximately 25 layers of paint text, images and glaze on it. Each layer must be dried before the next layer is applied. ( Finally, a use for that blow drier that I never use on my hair!!!) The focal image is a copy of a photo of Jenny, with my brother Peter on her lap and me, behind her. It was areal challenge to make the edges of this high-contrast, black and white photo, disappear into the background.

As seen in the top right, crumpled tissue paper was used to create texture. Under Jenny's left elbow, is a copy of a page from an old family bible, printed in Swedish. Jenny had a very strong faith.

In this shot, one can see the stamped image of a bird- Jenny loved her SHICKADEES! There is also an image of a pair of hands doing needlework; the word"pickles" written in my handwriting, (Jenny made the World's best Bread and Butter Pickles); a page from her Nurses Dictionary of Medical terms; and postmarks and stamps from an old letter from her sister in Sweden.

I plan to frame this piece and include a legend on the back so that my kids wil know what it all means. They are too young to have many memories of Jenny but they do know about her, believe me!!!

This is probably more info thatn many of you wanted but several of you wanted "all of the details", so here they are!!!

I will include details and photos of my class with Susan Kazmer, in a later post.


MargaretR said...

I enjoyed every single word of that account. Thanks for sharing and I love what you produced in the class.

Jo Wholohan said...

Awesome Elizabeth!!! There is an Aussie version here in May 08, I cant wait :)) Loving your work girl!!!


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