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Friday, June 28, 2013

Watercolor Journaling Workshop at Mispillion Art League

This workshop was held under the auspices of the Mispillion Art League.
It was a 4-session workshop and we were able to hold 3 days as planned
with one day being rained out and held the following week in downtown Milford.
I had left my camera in Richmond at our son's house and retrieved it
this past weekend so here are the photos I should have posted then. Enjoy!

Watercolor Journaling at Abbott's Mill Nature Center

Journaling at The Towers Bed and Breakfast

at Abbott's Mill
Moonrise and detail of The Towers Bed and Breakfast

Mixing colors using the Niji waterbrush and Winsor Newton Field Kit
Mixing greens - another Winsor Newton travel kit

Painting trees

Adding observations

Sitting on the ground to journal

Tim writing observations at Abbott's Mill Nature Center

Gardens at The Towers Bed and Breakfast

Backyard garden at The Towers
Christopher and David, managers of The Towers

Abbott's Mill Nature Center

More leaves and mixed greens

Journal pages at The Towers

The Tools of the Trade!
These photos were taken by Tim O'Brien (workshop participant) on the last day of this 4-day workshop in downtown Milford, Delaware - a HOT day here!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Further Artistic Journey

Thought I'd write a few words about how things are going. The week after the first class with Marcia was a busy one. I only managed to do the one small painting that week. Then we were in Richmond for the past weekend helping our son move into his first house. Exciting! The assignment consisted of using a photograph provided by Marcia and also doing a painting where we chose our own subject matter. She gave us a small canvas and said we could use it for either the photograph she provided or the other. I decided to use the small canvas for her image and bought full sheets of watercolor paper and a long horizontal canvas that looked like fun. By that time I knew what I wanted to paint but hadn't yet decided whether I wanted to work in watercolor or acrylic. The size of the canvas helped me decide. The image I wanted to work on was a shot of a steel mill on the Canadian side of the Sault Ste. Marie canal we visited last year. I had previously done a small study in watercolor with the intention of making a larger painting, never actually haven gotten to doing that.

The next class is tomorrow night. Two weeks have passed since the first class. Yesterday was do or die day. I had to do it. I decided to use the long horizontal and to paint in acrylic. Listening and singing along to my favorite Sting albums, I allowed myself to get lost in the painting. Something about the music and the singing - maybe my left brain was preoccupied with that, which allowed my right brain to go to work. I don't know. Maybe it was the pressure of the deadline that made it happen. But I painted my heart out. I'm happy with how it turned out and excited to share it tomorrow with Marcia and the other 4 members of the class. Not sure where this is leading, but I'm ready to go!


Friday, June 14, 2013

My Artistic Journey

Decided to try to write something here today that doesn't relate to my workshops. I've been spending so much time thinking about teaching others that I decided I needed some instruction myself. I'm taking a workshop - 4 sessions - with someone whose work and career I admire greatly - Marcia Reed, of Gallery 37 here in Milford, Delaware. She has the most stunning gallery with rotating exhibits – elegant, stylish, sophisticated art and artistically created ceramics, and accessories for the home that will knock your socks off. She holds a BFA and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts,  Amherst and taught for 30 years at the Williston Northampton School, Easthampton, Mass. Her list of accomplishments is long and impressive. And she is the most delightful, down to earth person who has won over all of us here in Milford, Delaware!

She offered this intimate workshop - there are only 5 of us - and I am so very happy to have been able to participate in this unique experience. Her intention in teaching us is not to have us learn to paint like she paints, but to find our own voice in our work. To reach higher and delve deeper. To "paint with our eyes closed" and let our own creativity come through. I feel that at this point in my creative life, I need this. I've been feeling a bit dry after all the events of this past year (family-related obligations) that I've not done any painting - with the exception of my journaling and even that has gone through some dry spells. So I'm ready to open myself up to this experience. As I've done so many times now in my life, I'm putting one foot in front of the other and seeing where it takes me.

I'll try to document it here, but I won't promise to do it every day or even to share the whole experience. It's a personal journey and I may have to go it alone.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lavender Fields - Week 6 - Watercolor Journaling Workshop

Tuesday morning the sky looked ominous. The weather report was calling for thunderstorms and some drops fell on my car as I approached Lavender Fields. With plans to show my students a few last things in the classroom for them to try out, I decided they should go out and sketch among the lavender while the weather held and if it started raining we would then go inside and work. Mother Nature smiled on us and the clouds held their moisture - and contrarian that she is, by the time an hour had passed the sun came out! No matter, they had plenty of time to add more sketches to their journals, and it was a very satisfying morning out in the garden.

Inside, I had them experiment with different kinds of watercolor paper and with some of my larger watercolor brushes just to get the feel of it and gave them some handouts I thought they might find useful. MaryAnn served lavender scones and lavender lemonade (yummmm - and both available for purchase in the gift shop!) which we all enjoyed. She invited us upstairs to see all the bunches of lavender hanging from the rafters to dry - what a sight and smell - and told us that by the end of summer it would be full of lavender.

We took my traditional "end of Workshop group photo" with this happy bunch and said our good-byes.  MaryAnn said requests were made for a "reunion" some time in the fall so I expect we'll gather again at this magical place. I'll post dates for anyone else who would like to join in on a day at Lavender Fields that might include lunch or perhaps a Victorian Tea! (offered there on select Saturdays - call 302-947-9436 for information or to make a reservation.)

Looking for things to do in Delaware? Visit the Lavender Fields at Warrington Manor - especially right now while the lavender is at its peak! 18864 Cool Spring Road, Milton, DE 302-947-9436.

Photo essay from our last session:

Not just lavender grows at Lavender Fields!

Carl telling me about taking care of the lavender

Suzanne having fun sketching the plants

Observing and sketching in the lavender fields

Lavender, up close and personal - notice the bees buzzing around!

Reneta pulling weeds while Linda sketches

Reneta always wears purple to work in the gardens

There's Linda, sitting pretty sketching the house and gardens

Lovely lush lavender fields with barn and silo

A wheelbarrow filled with bunches of lavender that Carl harvested

Carl harvesting the lavender

MaryAnn painting (notice the pen in her mouth!)

Linda enjoying journaling at this beautiful place

Linda's silos in her journal

Jessica had a great time drawing the flowers
Suzanne mixing greens 
Kathleen using the waterbrush to add color

Lavender Fields is at its peak! Never knew there was also white lavender!

House of the owners and one of the flower gardens