Friday, September 16, 2016

Alla Prima, meaning wet-on-wet.  A painting technique used mostly in oil painting, in which layers of wet paint are applied to previously administered layers of wet paint.

I just returned from a three day Alla Prima workshop, creating and learning with Kelly Berkley at her studio just outside Kansas City.  This was the second workshop I have attended in her lovely country studio.  The drive is a little less than three hours.  That is unless you are with a good friend and the two of you miss the turn off because you are engaged in stimulating conversation.

We went up a day early to take advantage of the spa amenities at the historic Elms hotel where we stayed.  It is the largest spa of it's kind in the state of Missouri.  The experience was like none other!

We had a smaller group this year and it was so good to see familiar faces and to meet new friends. 

                  Here we are with our completed pieces, missing Lisa, who had to leave early.

We had time to relax and sit out by the creek, walk on her land and enjoy the gourmet coffee and treats that were served each morning.

Just being around other creatives is a learning experience in itself.  Having a community (tribe) to help and support you, throw ideas out, share their journey, all make for a great time of learning and fun.

The evenings were always entertaining and Tryphena even played the piano for us inside the restaurant.  The weather was so mild that we were able to eat outside in the garden surrounded by flowers, urns and statues.

This was my favorite piece that I created.  Learning to use the oils and mediums was a bit of a challenge for me.  Even though I have been using the water soluble oils at home, I had to think a little differently.  We all chose various Malcolm Liepke images.  It was most fun to see everyone's choices and the finished paintings.

Lauri's grandson was just born a few days prior to the workshop and she chose the technique on her own photo of this precious boy.  She did a remarkable job!

                                       This was my final piece, full of challenge and learning.

                            Here is a table full of completed paintings, joy and inspiration.

I hope you enjoyed this brief journey of my weekend workshop/retreat.  It was worth every penny and I will remember, the fun and laughter (lots of laughter) the three days produced.

The final evening was spent out on the large deck, overlooking the woods and creek.  Enjoying music, food and home made wine.  Priceless!

I hope to return next year for our guest artist, Stanka Kordic.   Same time, same place........................

Until next time!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

I went to look for a new spiral notebook and found the perfect one at TJ Maxx.  It was the only one of it's kind, and the words seemed to jump right out at me.
So perfect and has become my mantra over the past year.  Working more diligently towards my goals.

My friend and I are headed to Excelsior Springs (up near Kansas City) this weekend. We will be staying at the historic Elms Hotel and spa.  Pampering ourselves for a spa day before heading to Kelly Berkey's studio for three days of painting.  It will be like a homecoming, as we were there for a workshop last year.  It will be so fun working in her free standing studio and seeing familiar faces once again.

Painting in oils is rather a new medium for me. Exploring it this past year.  I am enjoying working with the water soluble oils.  Easy clean up, no odor and can even do washes with it. The workshop is mainly oil, an Alla Prima Portrait Workshop, capturing expression.  I will take tons of pictures and share our three days of painting and exploring the local restaurants and activities of this quaint town.

This is a painting I have started in oils this week.  I will post progress and or finished still life in my next blog post.

                                                                 A nice beginning. (even snuck some acrylic in there)

And speaking of flowers, my latest project just went live on the DecoArt media blog.  This however is not in oils.  All you need to paint your own is a vintage book cover, ribbon, torn watercolor paper, fluid acrylics and gesso.

Hope you try and enjoy!

Looking forward to sharing the workshop journey with you on the next post.  
Plus, something new is on it's way!  Stay tuned.

Ursula xo

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Let Your Imagination Soar....

                                 and allow yourself to play!

I have been listening to Kelly Hoering's Periscope segment each night.  She will broadcast again tonight and through the rest of the month.   We need to hear things over and over again.  Each time we hear them, they resonate with us in a different way.  Or sometimes don't even hear the message the first time.

Her advice last night was to take time to play with things in your studio.  Things that have been sitting on a shelf for some time.  I get so use to grabbing the same supplies each time and forget what I actually own.

So, after stressing and painting for a new class project over the weekend, I had time to explore and play.  What fun it was.!  I used some texture tools I received from DecoArt.  Applying them to this mini oil canvas.

                                          Loved dragging it through the paint and the effect it gave.

I got out my crackle medium and added it to the background of another canvas that I had already started and scraped off.
It was so fun creating and moving away from the usual.  Playing with what I had on my shelf.

The first painting was one that I started a while ago.  I did not like the direction it was going, so I put it aside.  Another tip, finish something that you have started!

  So, I began to play with the shapes I had first put onto the swan painting.  Added more color, collage and began to enjoy and like what was happening on the page.  This is a 12 x 12 sheet of 140lb cold pressed watercolor paper.  

I began to feel the freedom of the running paint and actually enjoyed what was happening on the page.

I added the words, "Let Your Imagination Soar"

Have some fun today.  We don't always have to create a masterpiece, but you never know what will happen when you just take the time to PLAY!!

See you soon.

Monday, July 25, 2016

"Every Flower is a Soul Blossoming in Nature"

This collage piece was inspired by an open painting day at the studio where I will begin teaching in August.

Many of the students have been working with collage so I decided to create a fun piece on  a sheet of 9x12 watercolor paper.  

My little box of mixed media collage pieces is brimming full of images and torn pieces of my own art.  I like saving little snippets of past work as well as vintage book and journal pages.  Even making colored copies of some to use and tear at a later date.

Simply begin by sketching out  your design.

Cut, tear and apply pieces of collage to some, not all of
the design.  Leaving some blank and some raised with the collage image.  Giving the piece texture and interest.  

        Using American Decou-Page, Antique Medium to apply.

             Add washes to the background with fluid acrylics and allow drips and colors to run.  *Keep a spray bottle of water near by to help.

Begin adding color to the design.  Stipple in centers of flowers with golden tones.  Add pinks, white, yellow and purples to the flowers.  Love how the various shapes bring on more of an abstract appearance.  Keep layering colors until you are satisfied.  Working wet on wet. You can even see my signature in one of the  flower pedals.

                                         Spatter, define and brighten. 

A fun and easy project to enjoy on a hot or rainy summer day.  This could even be done with your kids or have a floral painting party.  Each blossoming in their own way.

Have fun creating your own collage and garden of flowers.

See you soon!


Monday, July 11, 2016

Unexpected things await us this week.

Just like the unexpected flower that seems to pop up over night.  This is the first year that my Rose of Sharon is in full bloom.  We have had our share of rain and unlike some to the other flowers in my yard and garden, it flourished.  Others wilted and  have decided not to bloom for a while.

Taking advantage of my property and the beautiful landscape this morning.  It was a perfect morning for a little walk in the woods.  Being present in the moment, enjoying the gentle sounds of nature.

Something I need to do more often.  It is so easy to just start the day and get busy with things.  

I so enjoy the daily message from Ann Voskamp that I receive on Facebook.  Her thoughts for today were to look for the new things as the new week begins.  Unexpected things!  "We need to be present to the grace of this moment."  What beautiful words to live by, not just today, but every day.

      I love how the sunlight peaks through the trees and the beautiful melody of the birds I heard.  A peaceful and beautiful start to a new week.  

See you soon.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sometimes we just need to step out of our comfort zone, believe and move forward.  Take some chances along the way or we will never know what could have been.  Because, in the end, we only regret the chances we didn't take.

I find this so true in my own life and am ready for the next chapter.  Not sure what it is, but I am stepping out and trusting God's timing.  "It takes courage to listen with our whole heart to the tick of God's timing rather than march to the loud beat of our fears."  Ann Voskamp

As I began this journal page, these words kept resonating with me.  Going back to my journal pages and enjoying the process of an image transfer.  These are always fun and the outcome is never the same and sometimes it doesn't go as planned. The paper isn't dry enough, the ink wasn't right, not enough transferred, the paper tore and so on.  As is in life at times.

I began with gesso and a couple of images that I printed out.  The leaves were from a botanical book I own and the portrait image was from one of my own paintings.  Adding the copied image onto the page with DecoArt media matte medium.  Allowing it to dry and hoping for a successful outcome.  Sometimes it is best to wait and let it dry overnight and hope for the best. We can take it into our own hands and take a heat dryer to speed the process along, but the results are not always as successful.

I trusted the process, followed the rules and satisfied with the outcome.  Drawing in the details, adding color and defining the features.

Adding collage pieces to the background and to her dress.  Moving along and trusting the process with hopes of a finished painting that I would be happy with.  It was only a journal page, but still wanted something I liked.

Adding washes of paint to the background and to her dress, over the collage pieces that I chose.  A small dot stencil was used to add subtle touches of white to the background. Topping it off with a lace collar and a small bird to the leaves.

                                    When she was dry, I added the word "Believe" to the dress.  

I was happy with the outcome and glad I trusted  and believed in the process.  Even though at times during, I wasn't sure I liked what was happening on the page.  I kept going step by step and trusted the process as I moved along.

Thanks for coming along this journey with me.
Prints are available.  If interested in one, please comment below.  

Talk soon.
Ursula xo


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Painting flowers and enjoying a summer afternoon in my studio.  Love the Psalms and the messages they send to us. I thought I would share one that has been sitting on my desk along with a tutorial of a floral painting inspired by a photo.

Yellow flowers bring happiness and sunshine into our fields, gardens and into our homes.  But after the color fades and the flowers die out, we are only left with a memory.  By painting one of your own, the memory can last through all the seasons.

This is painted on a 8 x 10 wrapped canvas.  Using fluid acrylics and Extender.  The extender gives more freedom and softness to the flowers.  So, begin by washing colors into a wet background, moistened with retarder.  Then add a lacy stencil onto the foreground with light modeling paste and a palette knife.  

                               Begin blocking in the design using abstract shapes with Raw Sienna. 

Begin adding color and white highlights into the design and work loosely, while retarder is still moist.  Wipe brush off between colors and careful not to use too much water with the retarder!  

You can see that I used a reference photo in this image.  This is where to begin shaping the flowers and adding more contrast.  The more you add to a painting and remove, the more life your drawing will have.  So, I work back and forth between dark and light as I develop the painting.  

                                                         Building and Re-Building

As the retarder begins to dry, I use a little more water onto the brush.  At this stage, I like to let some of the colors run and slant my canvas to allow the paint to flow.  Some of it gets into the texture and creates more texture and interest.  I started to add pearls to this but removed them.  You can still see remnants of the area.  Not a bad thing!
I then went over some of the white and darkest ares of the flowers with pastels, just to brighten a little more.  The last thing is to add spray varnish when all is completely dry.  I used DecoArt media paints for this, but you can use any acrylic paint.  

Paint colors used are:  Primary Yellow, Naples Yellow Hue, Raw Sienna, Titan Buff, Sap Green and Titanium White.  DecoArt Media antiquing cream; Patina Green, Medium Grey and English Red Oxide.  Using them just like the other paints, but they have a creamier texture.  

                                       I do hope you enjoyed this quick little tutorial.  

Happy Painting!!
Ursula xo