We've just completed our weekend workshop on "The Art of Seeing and Painting Color". The workshop was sponsored by the Billings Arts Association (BAA) and held here in Billings, MT. All 10 participants worked hard and hopefully went home with a good feeling of accomplishment.
We used new tools and old tools in new ways. Spot screens and value cards, they found to be essential to color discovery. It's not an easy thing, to change methods and thinking in determining and painting correct color.
Here are just some highlights about the workshop and a few snapshots of the attendees hard at work.
The setups were simple and designed to get the artist to think about how the environment influences the color of the object and how the object influences the color of the environment. Ten different set ups were positioned around the room. One for each artist. But they couldn't get too comfortable in one spot, as we moved them to new stations to change things up and make them think.
Based on a book written by Arthur Stern, "How to See Color and Paint It", the setups and lighting were specific for each station to solve a series of color challenges.
Stern states that ""The mind stands in the way of the eye". He means that we proceed to paint on previous assumptions or prejudices and don't trust our eye in assessing color..
We found out that an orange is not necessarily orange and that the subtle color shift of value and temperature are what defines the shape and an objects position in the environment.
It looked deceivingly easy, but that wasn't the case. This way of seeing took careful thought and decision making.
It wasn't all serious and intense, there was a lot of fun and camaraderie, banana bread, chocolate and pizza.
I hope all went home armed with new knowledge,and a deeper understanding of this thing called art. There is always more to learn.
"The mind stands in the way of the eye. That's why most beginning painters don't paint what the eye sees, but what the mind lets the eye see. They paint what they expect to see." Arthur Stern
Art is meant to be shared, and as an artist, I feel it is important to support my community and various charitable causes as I can. It is my way of paying it forward and being a good steward of my talents. I often hear complaints from artists about the endless stream of requests for work to be donated for fundraisers. While we can't contribute to every request, we can certainly make choices for venues we care to support.
One such opportunity that I will be supporting is the Christian Benefit Auction coming up on Sunday, April 24, 2016. This event will be held at the Billings Depot, 2310 Montana Avenue, Billings, MT from 4-7pm. If you attend you will find my artwork, quilts, gift packages, trips and lots more to bid on, along with food and great company. The money raised goes to scholarships for campers and operations for the camp. Though this camp is supported by the Lutheran churches in the region, it is open for anyone who wishes to attend and kids from all over the country come here. All four of my kids attended from their 5th grade year to high school graduation and loved it. Many campers come back as counselors after they have graduated.
Christikon is a Bible Camp located in the Rocky Mountains just north of Yellowstone National Park, near the heart of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area, in some of the loveliest country in the world, about 47 miles southwest of Big Timber, Montana.
LCGS houses the offices for Christikon, a Lutheran Bible Camp for youth and family. Christikon staff may be contacted at 406-932-6300 in summer, or 406-656-1969 during the off-season. More information is available at their website Christikon.org
It may resemble a tortilla, but while lefse, a traditional Scandinavian flat bread, is round and fried on a hot griddle, that's where the similarity ends. While it is a simple food with few ingredients, the art of making lefse, good lefse, is a practiced technique. Generally the recipe and instructional practice is handed down, generation to generation, as families gather to prepare food for holidays.
I learned from my Mother, Grandmother, Great Aunt, and Great Grandmother at a time when families lived close and celebrated holidays together. Now, our families are often scattered to the wind and don't have the luxury of spending the days of preparation time before a holiday celebration. A couple of days during the holidays is often all that is afforded.
I want the traditions that I grew up with to be passed along to my Grandchildren. Since we are three thousand miles apart, I am resorting to technology to bridge the gap and keep the traditions alive. See the video here and the recipe below.
Here is a good and simple recipe for LEFSE and a video to share for making this wonderful tradition.
2 2/3 cup water
4 T butter
3 T sugar
1 tsp salt
Put these ingredients together in a microwaveable container on high, for 2 minutes or more as needed to melt butter.
Mix the hot water mixture in a large bowl with:
6.4 oz pkg of instant mashed potatoes
1 cup evaporated milk
Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
Mix 3 cups of the mashed potatoes with
1 cup flour
Mix well to form a sticky dough
Form into a ball about 2 1/2 inches round, roll out on a well founder pastry board, fry on hot griddle (about 460*)
Lay on clean cloth to cool
This recipe makes about 1 dozen rounds
In an attempt to excuse, justify or catch up a bit, I will venture an explanation as to my tardy blog posting.
Fun and relaxation ... often the last on our list of to-do's. I was raised in a farming family and work always took precedence, but when the work was done we managed to find time for fun. On the high line in North Dakota, the summers are short ( and fraught with mosquitos) and the winters are long, so you have to adapt your "fun time" to the demands of weather. We did alright!
Summers were spent carving out as much time as possible at Brush Lake ( just over the MT/ND line near Dagmar, MT) (an alkali lake - so no fish), swimming, boating, water skiing. Winters found us ice skating, snowmobiling, sledding, ice fishing and just generally out in the snow. But, fishing reigned supreme as a whole family pursuit. Mid-summer, after the hay was up and before harvest started, we (the folks and four kids) would pack the camper (small over-the-cab pickup camper) and boat to drive as far north into Canada as was feasible to get some good fishing and home again in ten days (generally the duration of time anyone could stand living with my three younger brothers in a small camper).
So, it stands to reason (well it could have gone either way considering my brothers - but that is fodder for future blogs) that in my adult years I would gravitate toward wild spaces that have great fishing opportunity. Though I grew up fishing on big Canadian lakes, I have taken quite a shine to fly fishing as any good Montana fisherwoman should.
So, back to my blog absence ... I will admit to fishing, painting, reading, photographing and wandering on the weekends for the last month, perhaps to the neglect of my blog and some housework. But, here it is with no regrets and I hope you enjoy the slideshow of my time high in the Beartooths as much as I enjoyed my R&R. Surrounded by beauty we saw wolves, owls, beaver, deer. mice, black bear, beautiful wild flowers, breathtaking scenery, bison, wild trout (yum), and grizzly tracks near our campsite. It was time well spent in this place that I love.
Though I've been remiss on the blogs, I feel the rest from the fray is a priceless commodity. After all, as a creative spirit I must fill the well with new thoughts and possibilities. And, I think I have some great material for paintings yet to come.
So, enjoy the pictures, live vicariously in this moment, but take some time for yourself and go play!
We are students for life, no matter what our vocation. To hone our skills many professions require regular continued education and even without a mandate a conscientious professional will seek out opportunities as a matter of growth. For artists that continued education often takes the form of workshops where we select from a field of other professional artists whose technique we admire and/or who are renowned instructors.
I had just such an opportunity in June of this year to study with Aaron Schuerr in the Paradise Valley of Montana. He promised plenty of personal time, demonstrations, great scenery and a supper meal that he would cook. Boy did he deliver. For five days we met in the morning, at one of the spots he had picked, and painted, broke for lunch, and painted, broke for a couple hours in the afternoon, and painted into the evening. I was absolutely thrilled with our instruction and the intensive week of painting.
The twelve students were a great bunch of artists and, I think, equally appreciative of Aaron's teaching. Aaron put the miles on getting around to each of us as we were spread out in different locations over a few acres! He really should have been wearing a pedometer. Demonstrations were held daily (and sometimes twice daily) in both oil and pastel. On the last evening, Aaron and his family served a wonderful supper for all of the participants - delicious spaghetti with venison meatballs and homemade marinara. He will host this workshop again at the end of June 2016 and I would highly recommend attending.
Aaron is a talented, hard working, and dedicated artist with a warm personality and a heart of gold. Check out his work and get the workshop schedule here www.aaronschuerr.com .
Now go paint.
Creativity has been my life and I would like to share some of my thoughts, learning and fun facts with you.