Wednesday, January 3, 2018

It's all about process

Still a work in progress...

Some time ago, I sketched with a group at the Naples Preserve.  My sketchbook page was not quite complete so I postponed scanning it because I was concerned about the finished product.  After all, I am teaching a class and helping others with their artistic challenges!  …And then I realized that I wasn’t practicing what I teach, which is all about process, not product.

How did I get caught back up in this thinking?  Partly due to coming down with a bad cold and struggling with flu symptoms, I reverted to old patterns.  We are all a product of our times; our market-based culture values productivity, efficiency, the final and complete end result.  We are taught this at home and in school, and it’s reinforced in the workplace and the media.  Sometimes we buy into this.

I used to work in publishing and then marketing, which is either about meeting deadlines (no matter what!) and perception (how do we best present this to sell?).  Both are invested in final results, and too often the end justified the means, which is one of the reasons I left those fields.   Even as I write this, I’m thinking about the final draft and posting. Yikes! Somewhere along the line, the value of process, craftsmanship, and mindfulness has been shifted to the back of the line. 

So what is process anyway?  And why is it important? 
To me, process encompasses a desire to slow down, investigate, and reflect on deeper levels.  It means paying mindful attention to what you are doing in this moment, and letting the ink, or the paint, or the words lead and teach you.  This is how our ancestors learned, by opening that door to learning and growing.  Mindfulness connects us to many facets of process: sensory discovery, mind and muscle memory, a re-ordering of priorities.  We create best when process is our mentor. 

We have all seen beautiful formal artworks or photos that stir our admiration but not our hearts.  Most of us have experienced an indescribable connection to a quick sketch or candid photo – it has deep meaning for us in some way.  It touches something inside. We see this often when children draw.  
Playing with Yupo!
I worked on a mixed media sketch on toned paper of scrub oak trunks that caught my eye, and while the watercolor dried, I played with a small sheet of Yupo watercolor paper given to me by a friend.  Now this required close attention to process!  I've never worked with this before, although I've read about it and seen examples of things done on it.  Still playing with that one!
After all, it's about process, right?

Mixed media: 
Daniel Smith watercolor
Albrecht Durer watercolor pencil 
Pitt artist pen, Dark Sepia
Strathmore Toned Tan sketch paper 5.5 x 8.5 in. 
Yupo watercolor paper

Monday, September 25, 2017

Watercolor class starting October 2!

My portable watercolor set-up.
Need a little post-Hurricane-Irma art therapy?  We are all recovering, cleaning, pruning, and hauling debris after Hurricane Irma passed over us some time ago.  Some of us more than others, but ALL of us have affected in some way.  Bear with us as we recover our Internet and phone services!  Hopefully, most of us have power and water now.
Join me for a seven-week series of classes starting Monday, October 2nd at the Naples Botanical Garden, for an introduction to the magical world of watercolor painting.  This class is perfect for the beginning painter or as a refresher or practice time for more experienced artists.  A list of suggested materials will be available for those who are new to this media, but feel free to bring your favorite supplies.  I will have materials available for our first class, so no worries if you have no supplies yet.

Each class features an introduction to basic techniques or concepts, then moves into play-time as we explore and practice what we’ve learned.  We’ll embrace the idea of process and experiential learning as we paint indoors from subjects at hand, with the possibility of painting outdoors at some point.  
Here is our class line-up for Mondays 9 am to 12 pm:
10-02-17:  Class 1:  Watercolor basics: materials, color charts, and local color

10-09-17:  Class 2:  Watercolor  building blocks: washes and mixes

10-16-17:  Class 3:   Watercolor control, local color practice, and edges

10-23-17:  Class 4:  Color wheels and a bit of color theory

10-30-17:  Class 5:  Glazing, negative painting, and dimension

11-06-17:  Class 6:  Composition and telling a story

11-13-17:  Class 7:   Special effects playtime!

To register:
Naples Botanical Garden, Kapnick Center, Room 124
4820 Bayshore Drive, Naples, FL 34112
Hope to see you there!
(I have very limited Internet service but can answer non-registration questions, email me at lizardart(at) if needed.)  
Thank you!