Thursday, April 29, 2010

Art for Change, Through the Church

I think that cultural change often happens first through ritual. And that art can address what is yet unspoken, before we have words for what is. Ritual and art can work on an intuitional, preverbal level, and together they can birth a new idea onto a more conscious plane, even into a physical reality.  Art in the church can birth new ways of living. 

In the next two weeks I'll be speaking in 3 different cities about the power of art to change the world. The locations are all in churches and one seminary.

The first workshop is April 31-May 1 at 1st United Methodist, Tacoma WA, with keynote speaker Jenny Phillips. Jenny is the founder of  Creation Change, and has been trained by Al Gore to teach from
An Inconvenient Truth to faith-based organizations.

The second event, May 8, 1-4, at St. Marks Episcopal Cathedral, Seattle,  is with several other Grunewald Guild faculty. The workshop is entitled "Greening Hearts and Minds with Art", and we each will be doing sessions on how we use our art to enhance and support change in the church. Here's who's speaking:
  • Ron Skylstad, eco-theological speaker "Connecting Micro & Macro in our Living Spaces as Points of Meditation"
  • enamel artist Jean Tudor,"Endangered Species Project: The Bestiary"
  • Artist Laurie Clark "Caught Green-Handed: Using Discarded Items for the Creation of Art for the Church" 
  • and myself, "Art, Community and the Word: Living Art in our Sacred Spaces" 
The third event is also with Grunewald Guild, at  Regent College, Vancouver BC.  Several of us will participate as visiting artists in a week-long seminary class entitled "Heart, Hands and Head: Crafts, Creativity and the Spiritual Art of Making Things." I'll be speaking again about how art can be used as a powerful tool to help a community shape itself.

Things are happening for the "greening" mindset in our culture.  Often unseen and unnoticed, often on the edge of things, people who have never met each other are working in concert.  Should we be surprised? Isn't this how nature works?



Thursday, April 22, 2010

Making some Connections: Credit where Credit is Due

You may have noticed that the look of my blog has changed. I am taking an online blogging class this month called Blog Triage: Maintaining a Healthy Artist's Blog so you will notice lots more changes, hopefully positive ones. Let me know what you think.

Guess what today's class is on? LINKING! I will gladly link you up with teachers Alyson and Cynthia.

Alyson Stanfield's ArtBizBlog is a mainstay of my art business life. Every Monday like clockwork her posts appear, with something relevant and useful each time. Her partner in crime is Cynthia Morris, who has two intriguing blogs, Journey JuJu: Adventures of a Creative Nomad, and Original Impulse. Cynthia is a writing coach and a life coach. The two teachers make a good combo.

I found ArtBizBlog through Fine Print Imaging, who specialize in making fine art prints. I started with Fine Print Imaging while selling prints at Holden Village where I was Artist in Residence. Their quality is impeccable. I would hold one of my original watercolors up to a new Giclee print and it was hard even for me to tell the difference. Making prints from originals was a way of keeping art at Holden, a not-for-profit organization, affordable for everyone. The prints are also good advertising for Holden.

Fine Print sends out an e-newsletter full of wonderful stuff. Besides ArtBizBlog I found Working Artist: The Artist's Business Tool through Fine Print. I use Working Artist software for storing all the data about my artwork, show history, addresses and mailings.

OK I learned a lot about how to make links just now. And I hope you found one or two good connections!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What Shall We Talk About?

I am thinking about you people who signed up to follow this blog, and wondering what I can do for you! What would you like to hear about? What would you like to see? What can we do together as a community for each other? I've come up with a list of ideas, and had a hard time stopping at 30. What ideas do you have? Leave me a comment.

1. How did I choose my current medium?
2. What other mediums do I use and how they relate
3. Pros and cons of having many interests
4. Power of art to transform a culture
5. Interview with Michele on Mexican Indian protest art
6. Picasso’s Guernica
7. Diego Rivera
8. Environmentalism and art
9. Series on The life of a work of art
A. Artist asks questions of the art during creation
B. Audience asks questions of the work of art
C. Death of the work of art
10. What is the Sacred in a work of art?
11. Why work with churches?
12. Why work with galleries
13. Why show in local cafes?
14. Why make landscapes?
15. Why make portraits?
16. Why experiment with new subjects and media?
17. What is style?
18. Why limit yourself to one style?
19. Why liberate yourself from one style?
20. What is my studio like?
21. What is it like to move to a new studio?
22. What is your ideal studio?
23. What is your studio like?
24. Series on how silk painting is done.
A. Tools and supplies
B. Transfering watercolor techniques to silk
C. Steaming
D. Displaying
25. Series on Watercolor painting
26. Series on Oils
27. Series on Acrylics
28. Class descriptions and announcements
29. Show announcements
30. Speaking engagement anouncements

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Plymouth Design: In Its New Home!

Got the banners all finished and ready to deliver a few days before my Easter deadline. Plymouth Congregational Church UCC is right downtown in Seattle,
and the building itself is a cathedral-sized affair. I think the ceiling is about 50 feet high. That's why the silk paintings had to be so big. In fact, I took my proportional cues from the panels in between the glass windows, which are 30 feet by 6 feet.

I like the way the columns of windows frame the banners, just as they frame the solid panels. Apparently this church was originally designed for stained glass where all the panels are! What a jewel box this would be. The silk will give just a taste of what the stained glass could be. Maybe in the future?

Here is the inside of the church, and the banners hanging in front. Hopefully now the banners will do their work, reminding people of the sacred nature of our local creation, and the story of transformation and metamorphosis that the butterfly teaches us.

The butterflies that inspired these designs are all local to our Northwest area. Here are their names in the order from top to bottom of the banners:

Banner 1
Western Tiger Swallowtail
California Sister
Western Swallowtail (again)
West Coast Lady
Melissa's Blue

Banner 2
California Sister
Painted Lady
Anise Swallowtail
American Lady
Lorquin's Admiral
Great Spangled Fritillary

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Plymouth Design: Making Some Changes

When I was done painting the second 30-foot piece of silk I took both long banners to the Ferry Terminal to see how they looked together. Again, I could only see two-thirds of them at a time, so had to imagine them fully in view.

After seeing the second banner from a distance I decided to follow my instincts and add some darker values in the background.

I added some purples on top of the greens in the background behind the top two butterflies ("California Sister" and "Painted Lady")

And at the bottom I put a dark red on top of the greens. I like the earthy background for the chrysalis. Looks like the ground from which it all arises.

I had wanted to make these changes before I had seen it all from a distance, but leaving it with the same colors as the first banner was the "safest" route. Once I got it back on the frame it felt great to follow my instincts instead. And I am much more pleased with the whole piece because of it.

Plymouth Design: Second Banner in Progress

Now the second long piece of silk is being painted. This one goes a bit faster since I know how the first one went and which colors worked well.