Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Art is You Day Two : Laurie Mika

 I had the pleasure of spending the second day at Art is You Petaluma taking a class with Laurie Mika, the brilliant polymer clay artist and instructor.
 This is a sample from the instructor that was our inspiration for the class.
Here was a second piece by Laurie.  So richly detailed.  How does she do it...?
 We started with 4 packages of clay, rolled out with a 10" piece of pvc pipe.  I mixed two blues together (they look really grey here - but they were blue!  Laurie had a plethora of rubber stamps and molds for us to use and play with.  This is just for the back - so it didn't need to be perfect.
 Next we used gold leaf, but not ordinary gold leaf - this was EASY gold leaf - and it was!  each sheet is backed with paper - so you can place it without it flying around and sticking to your fingers.
 We had templates to choose from for the size and shape of our triptych.
 This is how FREAKIN AWESOME the gold leaf looks after being stamped into with a plastic mold.  it cracks and looks all vein-y and vintage.
 I centered the template and cut it out with a straight edge and a scalpel for the curves.
 I trimmed away the excess and rolled it up again.  Sure  - the gold leaf will add flecks to the remnants - but so what?  they look really cool.
 I used all my scraps to make other shapes with stamps and molds.
 Then we added colour.  just a dab here and there using fingers.  to create a shimmery stained glass effect.
Here is my finished triptych with the central medallion and face.  We added gems and seed beads before baking.
 This was a second piece i made with some additional clay.  The lions were earrings.  The crown just cut from a stamp.  I just love the gold leaf crackle on the deep blue clay.

Here are some of the other students' work.  I asked Laurie if we were the best class she ever taught?  And she replied that we were the best Triptych class she ever taught, since it was her first time teaching it!  I think the results are pretty darn impressive.

Art is You Day One : Andrea Matus DeMeng

I attended two days at the annual Art is You art retreat in Petaluma, CA.  Just 15 minutes up the road from my house - so pretty darn convenient!  The first day was a class with Andrea Matus deMeng (wife of Michael deMeng, the famous assemblage artist) called Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves.  Here you can see her work featured on the cover of Somerset Studio magazine.
 Here are some shots of Andrea's work, and our inspiration.
Andrea does amazingly richly detailed collage and painting - featuring a female face and elaborate headdress.  But not, as she explained, the typical Carmen Miranda fruit and flowers.  She encouraged us to think a little outside the box and try new things.
 I started with a blank cradled wood panel, 10" by 20".  She asked us to do a quick coat of matte medium on the board before we started.  Then we did a casual collage of background papers in a random fashion.  Being careful to tear the paper TOWARDS us - to avoid the white lines in the torn paper from standing out in the collage.
 Next we applied some liquid glaze or paint to the canvas to add some colour and unify the piece.
 I started very light then added more depth with teals and blues.
 Then it was time to "audition" our collage.  To play around with faces and other elements until we were happy with the results.
 Just for fun, i flipped everything around just to try it.
 But finally settled on using the snakes to create movement above and below the face.  Butterflies with cut in half.  and flowers created a corsage effect.  the base or "torso" was a clipping of a Gothic architecture building with lavish tile work.
To complete the piece i added a beaded headdress and used paint to bring out the highlights and low-lights of the snakes. and some portfolio pastels to add shading.  
I am pretty pleased with how it turned out!

Here are all the other students' work arranged at the end of class for the teacher's critique.  She was so wonderful to come around to each of us as we worked, and took the time to compliment features in every piece.  Please note - not all of these are completed by the students in the class.  But you can marvel at the array of talent i had the pleasure to share the day with.

Thank you Andrea and the Art is You group for a wonderful day!