Friday, September 11, 2009

Adventure Fridays

I met Betsy Hoefen at our first building-wide open house in March. After retiring from teaching art, Betsy rented a two-room studio on the other end of my floor. We've been talking about getting together for a while and today we launched our first "Explorations Friday," sharing our respective techniques with each other. What fun it is to work with another artist! I shared some foiling and gold leafing techniques with her in my studio and then we shifted to hers, where she introduced me to watercolor. Painting with watercolors is something I have NEVER studied or felt at all comfortable doing -- my own efforts have been horrible. However, once she showed me how to do it correctly, I truly relaxed and enjoyed it. It has a soothing, quieting effect on me.

This is the larger of Betsy's two rooms. She works in many mediums, from three dimensional sculptural pieces and watercolor to bookmaking and furniture painting. Evidence of all types of works in process can be seen here.

It's in this second, smaller space that Betsy displays and sells her completed works. She has also set up several tables here that are perfect for working together with watercolor.

Here's a closeup of the under-painting and several additional layers that Betsy has started applying to the surface. She is very detail oriented and is working on loosening up a bit.

I'm at the other end of the spectrum and am working to slow down and pay more attention to detail and planning, so we complement each other quite nicely. We also are both drawn to organic shapes, although she loves cool colors and I'm drawn to warmer ones.

You can tell by my grin that I'm enjoying myself and not at all as awkward as I thought that I might be. Betsy suggested I try a small piece of her 300 lb cold pressed Arches watercolor paper because my 140 lb hot pressed paper was buckling, and would need to be soaked and then taped to a a wooden board before starting. It made a huge difference.

Voila, my very first layers at beginning a watercolor painting. Excellent teacher that Betsy is, she made me feel good about what I did but also corrected my brush work initially because I wasn't getting the "water" part of water color and wasn't loading my brush enough. Once I understood what she was talking about, I enjoyed it greatly. I'm excited about getting together again. We hope to meet and do this again in two weeks and have even chosen our experiment for the day in addition to more watercolor painting-- collaging and painting with aluminum foil!!

Meanwhile, back in my studio, the first layer of dye and flour paste resist have been steamed and washed and yielded a piece that I believe I can develop further with additional layers of dye, paint and lettering. But for today, it's resting.

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