I recently took a workshop, The Healing Power of Painting at The Creative Center in New York City with a real creative force, the artist Eva Deutsch Costabel. She has been painting for over 50 years and early on was a student of Franz Kline.
One thing that makes the Creative Center Classes unique is that they are free to people who are living with or have been previously diagnosed with a major illness. I find an the honesty, fearlessness and openness and creativity what I have never experienced anywhere else. There is no holding back, there is so much courage. It's like the kind of energy you might feel in a group meditation.
Often people in the classes are going through some very serious health challenges and come here for the healing power of creativity, which can take many forms. It can be a wonderful distraction to learn something new and relaxing like knitting or it can be a powerful release to express your emotions using paint.
The first works I created were really really raw and intense with a street art/graffiti vibe. Working in a group, rather than alone in my studio made me feel like I was in a safer space to really let it all out! It felt really freeing to paint out the feelings of frustration and anger and in a sense get them out of my head and out of my body. After I did a few of these large bright acrylic paintings I started a new series in the same class, which I'll share in my next blog post "Healing Power of Paint Pt. 2"
I've hit a bit of a roadblock when it comes to collage so I decided to try something completely different. I signed up for an online class "Grit and Grace, The Heart of Co-Creative Painting" with Katie Kendrick. The first assignment, shown here, was a mark making exploration. I tried a new product, Liquitex Clear Gesso to build up layers, and its already one of my favorites. I think it will be great to prep vintage books for mixed media as well.
My primary medium is collage and mixed media. Creating this piece was a very interesting journey territory because I only used drawing tools and paint.
This is probably the last Friday I'm going to celebrate "Drink & Dunk". Its a traditional activity that takes place at/in the bay, at night, accompanied by a good friend, live music and some alcohol. Bathing suits are optional because there is no one else in the water. Safety first! Its only about 3 feet of water and we always get a ride home.
The amount of alcohol depends on the temperature of the water and the air. At the beginning or the end of the season (late May to late September), or on rainy nights, a shot to tequila is sometimes required. Most Fridays its just optional.
One of my very favorite things in life is swimming at night in the bay. Its a truly transcendent experience where I feel like am part of the water and the sky, in a place I grew up on and have a strong connection to. Someday soon I will take the last dunk of 2015 and I will look forward to the first dunk of 2016 nearly every day.
When I decided to create a collage a day on September 1st I was not expecting that I would be making a big leap into painting and mixed media. My collage work has been imaged based so its been a surprise detour to work abstractly.
My comfort zone in terms of a color palette is neutral/green/blue. That's why I decided to choose red for the theme. To my surprise this piece practically created itself! It was so much fun to create all the different red textures with magazine images, acrylic paint, fabric and oil pastels. Although I'm not especially knowledgeable about the Chakra centers I definitely felt energized during the process and have fallen love with red. .
Its been literally decades since I've worked on a painting. It wasn't just those negative art school critiques that made me put it aside ... it was the fact that I agreed with them. I just wasn't a very good painter. I experimented quite a bit with painting last week and I think I found a secret weapon: paper!
Because I'm in my comfort zone as a collage artist, I decided to bring collage into my paintings to add some structure and familiarity. I'm definitely been having more fun painting than I did in art school, and I think that is a big part of it too.