Saturday, October 29, 2016

Gwen Fox Online Coaching and Critique Group

"Nature's Light"
Watercolor on Paper
7" x 9"

Continuing with my art year in review, I will tell you about some wonderful online coaching and critique group.

A couple years ago, artist friend Joan and I met in New Mexico for our yearly art vacation. We attended a workshop in Taos taught by artist extraordinaire, Gwen Fox. I wrote about that 2014 workshop beginning here. After that class, I signed up for a year of individual coaching from Gwen using Web services. I focused on my collages that year and Gwen really helped me along. Gwen began a online critique group and I could not resist participating even though I was traveling during half of the ten sessions. She recorded sessions, so any of us with other commitments could catch up.

Weekly we would meet, able to see and talk with each other via a private group on Facebook. Gwen would give some instruction on design and a challenge for the week. We posted our art, and the following week Gwen critiqued them. There were about a dozen artists from around the country who participated.
Because my collage work requires so much time to complete, I painted my assignments. The first project was to take shapes that Gwen provided and complete an abstract. I did a small one in watercolor while onboard Amtrak between Denver and San Jose. I used existing shapes from Gwen, a different approach than I learned in the Salminen workshop. I will explain her Getting Started method in the next post.

Here is my first abstract for Gwen. I did a second in collage which was decidedly not my best work. My collages are people or objects, not abstracts, and I decided that I prefer to paint abstracts. Gwen's assignments were broad after the first abstract, so we could choose to paint whatever we wanted.

Friday, October 28, 2016

John Salminen Workshop

"On The Edge"
Watercolor and Collage on Paper
20" x 32"
After a very busy travel schedule, I am going to post art done this year that I have not yet shown.

In February, I took an amazing workshop from very famous watermedia artist John Salmanin. John is both a great urban landscape painter and a fabulous abstract artist. I missed taking urban landscapes from him, but managed to enroll in Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society's abstract workshop featuring John. I really believed myself incapable of doing abstract art, but he proved me wrong. He is a wonderful instructor and his wife teams with him. In their workshops, everyone has equal access to the instructor and assistance.

He had us sketch four individual random objects, then we drew the objects onto a full sheet of watercolor paper, overlaying them upon each other. We removed some lines to create pleasing shapes in mama, poppa, baby sizes, while maintaining a path of unpainted white that is not cutoff at any point--a mouse could run through it. We spent the entire week painting and reviewed our progress each day in an individual session with John.

Along the way he taught us some favorite techniques: taping a shape, removing the paint, and repainting if we desired; using the Pat Dews atomizer to add shading to some areas; and adding bits of collage. Because I do collage, that part was especially pleasing to me. We were artists at various points in our journey, and he made sure that everyone was successful.

I was pleasantly surprised to have John tell me in a private conversation at the end of the class that I am a very good artist and to keep going.