Mask Magic 2

Mask Magic 2

At a building owned by the Community Corporation of Santa Monica (CCSM), I conducted a two-part mask making workshop! Families who rented units in the building attended, with children, spouses, and neighbors.

webcThe work created is breathtaking, and was shown last Friday November 4th at an exhibition entitled,
The Artists Among Us“.

Here is this chapter of their story.

webiDuring the first workshop, participants learned to pound out slabs of air-dry clay, create an “armature” with newspaper to give their masks depth, and form their clay slabs over the armature.

weblThe following week, participants used acrylic paints to add color, visual texture, design and pattern to their masks and other clay items, and also enjoyed painting on thick watercolor paper. As acrylic paints dry quickly, and are no longer water-soluble once dry, the artists were able to continue to add paint, details and layers.

web1Reveling in color and brush work, this young artist filled her surface with exploration.

webaI did not see this couple enter the room, and suddenly there they were, painting with complete concentration.

webbParticipant interaction makes the whole experience the more rich.

webdEach got their own palette of colors on a Styrofoam plate, with empty plates available for mixing and discovering colors.

webeGreen grass with delicate characters above.  She must love purple. Maybe she will add it later to her painting!

webfFocused artist and craftswoman.

webgAdding detail.  Every brush I brought seemed to have been used!

webhShe seems to know exactly what she wants to paint, as if the vision was already inside her head.

webnEnergetic color, imagery, brush strokes and composition create movement in this piece.

webvA lion happened on this plate!  Painting? Mask? Both?!

webzHe said it was his first time painting…he must be a natural. What talent!

Many thanks to the marvelous and devoted  Rene Melara, programmer extraordinaire, for the opportunity to work with these wonderful participants, and see their artwork blossom.

Bravo!

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To Build a World…Inspired by Louise Nevelson

To Build a World…Inspired by Louise Nevelson

WEB1What a wonderful experience to introduce young artists to the wondrous wood work of the artist Louise Nevelson…and what better way than for them to create their own (mini) wood sculptures!

WEBaWorking on simple cardboard bases, students worked with an assortment of new and repurposed wood objects, in a variety of shapes, thicknesses and sizes.

WEBbPlaying with shape, space, form, pattern, dimension and design, they arranged their chosen pieces into sculptures (“built environments”), and secured them  using “tacky glue“.

WEBcSome used aspects of symmetry to create harmony and balance.

WEBddSome built their pieces up,

WEBfinto elegant and contained structures,

WEBhsome out, into strong, repeating patterns,

WEBeand some built up and out producing a magical sense of movement that is a joy to behold.

WEBgThey used the color, texture and utility of the materials to establish strong compositions, sustain visual interest

WEbiand just plain have fun!

It was beautiful to see them build….their worlds.

Gratis Louise Nevelson.

PaintedPages2: The Painted Book

PaintedPages2: The Painted Book

Painting on denim, reading color, the ties that bind, the vocabulary of color. 

These are themes that come to mind when creating “painted books”.

WEBeA multiple signature book, bound with hemp cord, covers of board covered with painted denim,  pages made of painted denim bifolios.

WEBaOne piece covers front and back covers, and spine piece.  Creating a book with a painting..

WEBdEdges left raw.

WEBlInside front cover is unpainted denim, overlaid with painted piece.

WEBb    The acrylic painting gives the pages a satisfying heft…WEBcThe content is color…

WEBnand texture.

WEBkAnd a river runs through it…when do the elements of shape, texture and color come together to create an image that would be interpreted by the viewer as in generally the same way?

When does a collection of elements become a “thing”?

The Big Draw LA: Drawing for All

The Big Draw LA: Drawing for All!

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of leading a drawing event for The Big Draw LA at the Fairview Branch of the Santa Monica Public Library.

The Library staff set up four large rectangular pieces of white paper on tables, for participants to work on together and create “Big Drawings” that would be hung on panels around the community room, and serve as decor, color, inspiration and fun!

Children from the ages of two to twelve showed up with parents, and jumped into the activity with gusto! Moms and Dads followed suite….

WEB3They used a myriad of colored pencils…

WEB7and markers..large and small.

WEB6Artist moms got the opportunity to play with color, shape, line and pattern…

WEB9and some young artist chose to work on their own drawings, separate from the group projects,

WEB93c0mplete with lots of detail.

WEB91Toy horses were outlined,

WEB92and rainbows were born.

WEB95The result was magnificent…the result of many artistic voices.. An enterprising eleven-year-old started this piece off by drawing in the horizon line, and adding a few mountains rising up above it, to show distance. The composition grew from there, as each participating artist added their “thing”. Slowly the land and sky developed into a wonder world.

WEB99 Rowan volunteered to be outlined on  another sheet,

WEB94and so did Ellie on yet another.

WEB96It took the devoted efforts of several drawers coloring to make this piece complete. Are his hands purple, or is he wearing purple gloves?

WEB97Two young artists with a  love of green created the border around the edge of this drawing, then Ellie was outlined inside. parents and children worked together to make the dress as green as the one she was wearing. What a happy face!

WEB98As patrons came into the community room, they were invited to outline their hand along the edges of the fourth piece of paper, then design, develop and decorate it, adding their name if they wanted to.

WEB990The community room is now alive with the work of the community.

WEB991Line, shape, color, space, composition, perspective, proportion, scale…who knew learning about these could be so fun! Learning by doing, making art in community, and having a blast at The Big Draw LA, at The Fairview Branch Library

Many thanks to The Fairview Branch Library Manager, Erica Cuyugan, for the vision and commitment to make this event possible.  Thank  you Erica!!!

!

The Big Draw: Exploring Elements of Drawing

The Big Draw: Exploring Elements of Drawing

This coming Saturday I will be leading a drawing program at The Fairview Library in Santa Monica, as part of The Big Draw LA.  I am hoping to get some photos of participants creating big murals on white butcher paper with drawing tools and techniques that The Library and I provide!  Here I share the information, concepts, terms and techniques I plan to share with them tomorrow in a handout, and through our drawing projects, which will then grace the library’s walls.

I invite you to learn, study, play, enjoy…and DRAW!

Composition is the placement, arrangement, combination or organization of visual or pictorial elements such as line and shape in a work of art. Composition is not the subject or theme of a work. It is the arrangement of everything we see within the borders of a drawing or other work.

space3

The foreground, middle ground, and background are three parts of a composition that can help to create the illusion, or sense of depth in a flat or two-dimensional artwork such as a drawing or painting. The foreground is what appears closest to the viewer, while the background looks furthest from the viewer. The middle ground is located between both the foreground and background.space2

Line is the most basic element of the drawing. Lines span a distance between two points. Lines are what separate one area of the drawing from the other. A single line will divide your drawing into two areas. The more lines that are added, the more complex and detailed your drawing becomes. A line has a width, direction, and length. A line’s width is sometimes called its “thickness”. Lines can be all the same width or a single line can vary in width. A line can start out thin, get thicker, and then get thin again, depending on your drawing tool, and how you use it. Lines of varying widths can add interest to your drawing!

lin2

Shape is another important element of visual art. Shapes are flat spaces enclosed by lines. The boundaries of shapes are, or create, lines. Shapes are limited to two dimensions: length and width.

shape5

Shapes can be geometric, such as squares, circles, or triangles, or organic, such as the natural shape of a puddle, cloud or leaf.

shape6

Geometric shapes have clear edge, are precise, and related to mathematical principles. They can require a guiding tool to draw such as a ruler. Geometric shapes usually look organized, and have names such as circle, square or rectangle. Most geometric shapes are made by humans, and don’t often appear in nature though crystals, which appear in nature, are considered to be geometric.

shapes2

Organic shapes have less well-defined edges, a natural look, and are usually outlined in curvy lines. They are typically irregular and asymmetrical (not exactly the same on both sides). Organic shapes usually do not have a name. They aren’t circles or squares. People, trees, flowers and other things that have been alive or are alive are usually made up of organic shapes.

shape4

Space is the distance or area around, between, above, below or within what is put into the composition. Space includes the background, foreground and middle ground of a composition. There are two kinds of space: Positive and Negative Space.

space9

Positive space is best described as the areas in a work of art that are the subjects or actual things being shown. The area around the positive space is called the negative space. Negative space is area around and between the subjects or things being shown in a work of art. Which is the negative space, and which is the positive space in the image below?

space1Is the negative space the black shapes around the white goblet, or is it the white space between the two faces? Is the positive space the white goblet, or the black faces?

Texture, another element of art, is the way a three-dimensional surface feels to the touch, or how the surface of a two-dimensional or flat work looks like it might feel if touched, I.E., its “visual feel”.

texture1Visual Textures created through Drawing

Objects appear smaller and closer together as they recede in the distance. This is how we see. Things aren’t actually smaller and closer together when they are farther away, they just look that way, and how our eyes perceive distance. This is called perspective.

perspective7

Perspective is the illusion the further away things are, the smaller they appear. Perspective drawing is a system of representing the way that objects appear to get smaller and closer together, the further away they are.  To make something appear to be farther away from the viewer than the picture plane, draw it smaller than the object that is closer to the picture plane.

perspective2

Perspective is the technique used to represent a three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional/flat surface, such as a piece of paper, in a way that looks realistic and accurate, as we would see it in real life. Perspective is used to make a flat image look as though it has space and depth.

perspective3

The horizon (or skyline) is the line that we perceive as separating earth (which includes bodies of water on earth) from sky. The horizon line is also known as eye level. In real life, the horizon is where the land (or sea) and sky meet. In creating a flat/two-dimensional work of visual art, it is the level your eyes are at, an imaginary line to which things recede.

perspective1Horizon line…at the horizon

As things get further away, from us, they seem smaller and closer together. When they get far enough away, distances become ever tinier and so form a single point, called the vanishing point.

perspective8

In perspective drawing, the vanishing point is the spot on the horizon line where receding parallel lines appear to come together, or converge. It is the point where buildings, rails, roads and anything in the background of a drawing or other flat work of art seem to converge into one single point on the horizon, where objects seem to disappear.

perspective4

Foreshortening is a technique used in perspective to create the illusion of an object receding strongly into the distance or background. .Foreshortening is used in drawing to create a sense of depth and make objects look like they are going back in space. Of course they aren’t…they are drawn on a flat piece of paper or other two-dimensional surface.

foreshort1

An example of actual foreshortening is when you look down a long straight road lined with trees and the two edges of the road appear to move towards each other, while the trees look smaller the further away from you they are…until they seem to disappear altogether, at the vanishing point.

perspective5

Proportion is a principle of visual art that refers the size of one picture element in relation to the size of another, such as the size of the head in relation to the rest of the body.

proportion2

Proportion can give a sense of balance and harmony to a drawing, or other piece of visual art. It is similar to scale, which is how one object relates or compares to another one in size, such as how a dog relates to a cat, or a cat to a rabbit, as regards to size.

proportion1

If you happen to be around the Los Angeles Area tomorrow, October 25th, and want to drop into the Fairview library between 12 and 3PM and join in the creative fun, please do! Until then, maybe this post can illuminate and inform your approach to drawing, and broaden your knowledge and even your skill!

  Practice makes, well, there is no perfection, but practice certainly does help, so, draw on! 

Straight is the Gate: NOT!

Straight is the Gate: NOT!

The Venice Canals are a fantasy-land of visual whimsey.  Art and architecture, design and details, color, form, texture and landscaping intersect with the natural world of earth and water, mingling in a magical way.  Here, the lines between privacy and the public are both diffused and defined.  Visitors stroll past homes that buttress right up to the sidewalk, but often are shaded by trees, and hidden behind hedges, walls and gates, or a combination of all three.

Metal, wood, and foliage flow together  to create both art and utility.  We are are so caught up in observing the material mix, we forget to peer beyond the gate.  Mission accomplished.

Creative cutouts provide contrast to the wood and metal geometry below, and make of this gate a work of art, both two and three dimensional.

No-one is getting past this gate, unless the owner wants you to.  So arrested by its beauty, we forget how formidable it is. Flanked by bamboo, the strength of its materials, shape and detailing stops us in our tracks.

The simplicity of repeated squares which form a pattern is further softened by curving grasses, and enlivened by the use of stones on the ground in front.

A similar repeated shape creates a grid, reflecting the larger tile-like stones before it, creating a starker, and more stream-lined feeling.

What magnificent and magical gates have been in YOUR purview lately?

If you feel so inclined, please share about them with us here.

We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all traversing this thing we call Life, together.

Cheers!

Santa Monica’s Magical Style: Convex, Concave and Curvilinear

Santa Monica’s Magical Style: Convex, Concave and Curvilinear

By turns magical, moving, and magnificent, Santa Monica exemplifies the outsized and over the top sensibility Los Angeles is known for. However, this beach town also holds quiet gems often discovered by happenstance.  Join me for a magical, mufti-faceted look at the ebb and flow of this “home of the California beach lifestyle”.

Organic meets geometric, creating magic in concrete forms.

A magical curvilinear wall of stones stands in front of Santa Monica’s Yahoo Center.

An over-sized exterior sculpture bubbles out from the side of a building, adding a bit of magic to the urban landscape.

A flowing window grate creates artful protection, as well as magical  beauty.

The Zebra car plugs in…stay tuned for another post devoted to this magical car.

Madame Chou Chou  bistro and patisserie on Main Street, offers spiral magic with its cutlery, as if the delightful patisseries weren’t enough!

What magical convex, concave and curvilinear sights have You seen lately?

If You feel so inclined, please share them with us here.

We love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all in the ebb and flow of this magical thing called Life, together.

Wishing You a magical holiday filled with a heightened awareness of the extraordinary all around us.

Cheers!

The Art of Stenciling, I Presume?

The Art of Stenciling, I Presume?

Once upon a time, after the New Year of 2011 had begun, and before 2010 taxes were due, I had the opportunity to collaborate with an esteemed Client and associate, to add that “finishing touch” (actually, the window treatments came afterwards) to a very special Guest Bath.

This Bath was in the process of being transformed, from a place of day to day use by his son, now gone off  to college, to a fresh and fun “new” space for his fiance, who tended towards a minimalist, Mid-Century,  New York sensibility.

My awesome Client, himself a long-time Berkeley, CA resident, has an eclectic design sense, informed by extensive travels around the globe,

art collected at home and abroad,

and a love of bright color,

rug patterns,


and funky furniture.

Indeed, he has done much of the interior painting in his home himself.

We discussed that bathroom in question, and I took a look…

It was freshly painted, with colorful artwork, of course,

and the green tile had to be taken into consideration.

I chose three repeating stencil designs, and made Samples for my Client and his Intended to look at on site, in the room. Taking my cue from the tile, the artwork, the colors in the adjacent hallway and throughout the home, I used cerulean blue and deep forest green, nature colors that would contrast beautifully with the base coat,  Benjamin Moore OC57, “White Heron”,  give a clean fresh feel to the room, and support its function.

I also wanted the design to reflect both a feminine and masculine sensibility, and be able to marry both eclectic-world beat-funky tastes with minimalist-Mid-Century-streamlined preferences. Or, try, anyway.

I was thrilled that the Client chose a custom stencil that I had created from an existing source years ago, for a master bath suite  in another and very different East Bay city.  Happily, the design contained both geometric and organic elements, that created both a sense of movement and stability.

It was fun, it was crafty, it was elegant, yet funky, and the Client supported my idea of applying the paint color in a mottled, layered, and textural way.  Best of all, in the words of my Client’s fiance, “It complete(d)  the room!”.  As I was concerned that she be as happy with the result as he, this comment was music to my ears.

The repeated design pulls out colors in the artwork,

and creates a bower for the painted lovers.

The blue and green hues set off the strong red accents prevalent throughout the home.

The stenciled effect is multiplied through reflection.

A spot application of invisible clear varnish protects the stenciled border from the effects of moisture.

With careful planning, enhanced by Client collaboration, even a room already containing strong elements of art and color can be “completed” through the well-placed pattern, whether hand-painted, stenciled, printed or plastered. That extra addition of artful love and care to a space can really “pull it together”, and bring it to the next level of design and artistry.  A stenciled border can contain and express both feminine and masculine elements within its design.  Eclectic-world beat-funky can marry minimalist-Mid-Century-streamlined. My Client/s, and our collaboration have proved that!

Have YOU ever “married” sensibilities, styles and approaches in Your projects?

If you feel so inspired,  please share about it with us here.  We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all collaborating in this thing called Life,  together.   Cheers!



Featured Work: “Mid-Century Retro”: Starburst, Atom or Tinker Toy?

Featured Work: “Mid-Century Retro”:   Starburst, Atom, or Tinkertoy?

When my Clients Ted and Mark expressed interest in a wall treatment for their guest room, they knew that whatever was done had to fit into the eclectic brand of “Mid-Century Retro” style they had developed throughout the rest of their home.

From their TV tables, to the artwork on the walls, to their shower curtain pattern, the colors, patterns, feel and sensibility of the interior design and objects recall the visual aesthetic of the 1950’s.

TV tabletop pattern

Touring their home, I observed earth colors re-imagined in plastic, textiles, dishware and furniture. Browns, yellows, beiges and ivorys were applied to patterns created by combining  repeated elements of line, shape and form.

Unadorned wall, a bit empty

Their sunny guest room needed adornment on the headboard wall , which captures attention upon entering the room. The wall color was already reflected in the pillows and bedding, and enhanced by the use of natural wood, pussywillow branches, and carefully selected artwork. Yet the wall felt bare.

Given the scale and function of the room, Ted and Mark were concerned about overwhelming it visually.  They wanted a treatment that would complement what existed, and add a sense of whimsy, depth, and dimension, without cluttering the space.

Ted, who had worked in graphic design, sketched out an image of  a “starburst”  which brought to mind molecular structure, resonating with their mid-century design sensibility.

TInkertoys? No, Molecular Structure

Or, to get more complicated, Tetrahedral Molecular Geometry.

Jack? No, Tetrahedral Molecular Geometry

I created a modular (molecular?) stencil based on his design, and cut the “line” and “circle” elements in a variety of sizes to mix and match, and create the visual impact we sought.

Ethereal Molecular

Assemblages of repeated parts, (lines and circles), were given depth and form through the addition of highlights and shadows, created with tints (white added) and shades (black added) of the wall color.

Line and circles were “built” into larger shapes and designs, just like some of us once built with tinker toys

The resulting treatment is reminiscent of designs and patterns that emerged with advent of the “Atomic Age”, and became integral to “Mid-Century” style. A nexus of science and design, perhaps so familiar to us now, that we may be barely cognizant of its origins.

Mirror Image Module Multiplies

Mirrors expand the space and subtle visual impact of the treatment. Values of light and dark add dimensionality and a soft “pop” to the shapes, which seem to do an dream-like, molecular dance across the wall.  Although it was not easy to articulate, this is the effect and feeling the Clients were looking for.

“The subtle starburst pattern enlivens our mid-century look. Our houseguests love the playfulness it contributes to the room.” – Ted and Mark, San Francisco, Ca.   August 2010

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