|lunch break at Artists' Workshop|
I've been 'shopping around' for a group for about a year now. I wasn't sure at first what I wanted, I just knew I wanted more of something in my practice. So I started asking around. Some groups have studio space to rent full time. I knew that wasn't what I wanted. I have a studio and wasn't sure about relocating all this fibre and machines. Some art groups rented individual studio space with not much else in terms of community. Most groups have public exhibitions or sales events. That's icing on the cake, but didn't make or break my decisions. Some groups didn't meet together to work on art at all.
So, I put it on the back burner for months while I trotted along, busy with my work.
As I began to really see great value in drawing and sketching, the more I wanted that as a regular, disciplined practice. It felt like a hugely creative outlet to do something artistic that had nothing to do with income. It had everything to do with exploration and self expression. The more I began to enjoy the practice of bind contour and sketching, as well as oil pastels and paint, the more I found my textile work to become easier to approach - specifically by realistic landscapes. You can't help it. Drawing more makes you see more. The more i work in a series, the more that i see, and the more I discover... resulting in more to create and more to express. When I came to this understanding, I asked myself, 'now what? What is it that I need in my life to keep the art flowing and developing and improving?'
I wondered about classes. I still do.. but most were at times I couldn't commit to. There was also the factor of fees, and that they are short term. Some day I will, but now doesn't seem to be the time. I thought, 'maybe I need a retreat? I could benefit from a get-away or sabbatical to create and explore'.
The more I work with oil pastels (which I hated at one time), the more I embrace their usefulness. I can easily whip down some colour and do loose mark making and that turn into an embroidery I love and am proud of. I want to keep this up, but there just seems to be a big problem with oil paint or oil pastel in my sewing / embroidery studio. When a smudge or crumb of that stuff gets on a piece of fabric or framing mats, they are stained and ruined. It became clear that I require a place to work on my sketches, but still maintain my home studio if I want to keep this up. And I do.
Then I knew. One of the groups I had checked out meet together to work on their art in a community space for one full day per week.
P E R F E C T
That was it: an entire art retreat day every week. That's what I've been looking for! So I applied to be juried in, and got a YES the following week! : ) So... here I am! I'm member number 13 of Artists' Workshop. They've been in existence for twenty seven years I read, cycling through different members over time. A couple of the women are original members. It's a good mix. There are women who paint, do watercolour, draw/illustrate, there's a Zentangle artist and a batik painter as well. (I have a link to their profile features at the end of the post.) They do different challenges on occasion, like a still life day, a plein air day, and have group show and sales a couple times per year. Yesterday was my first day! Want to see what I worked on? : )
This first set of sketches I did in the morning. This middle picture is a photo I took of Tobacco Flowers in the Healing Garden behind the Allen Sapp Gallery a year and a half ago. I sketched and sketched and sketched it again - trying different styles, levels of detail, and colour of backgrounds. It was a very useful exercise.
Then it was lunch time. They meet in the middle of the room to eat and then hold a short meeting after. (I'm still saying they, but this will change soon. lol).
In the afternoon, I selected a different photo, and did the same thing all over again. This time I worked on Campanula from the same garden / photo shoot.
|similar work on different backgrounds|
I was really happy with these as well! I had fully expected to get stuck, nervous, and really create nothing useful on my first day. That entirely did not happen. (WHEW!) I ended up just loving this one in particular because of the sunshine and shaded areas... I'll have to stitch it up this week with my yarns. xoxoxoxo I'm just so happy with all the colours and marks. : )
|won't this be a gorgeous embroidery ! ? : ) !!|
That's my news. : ) You can read more about the group and the artists involved at their blog here:
Today I'll enjoy another sun-shiny day and packing up my teaching supplies for tomorrow's embroidery class at the Refinery. See you soon! : )