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!