In May I flew to Connecticut to take the Far Away Places workshop with Michelle Ward and Lynne Perrella . These two amazing women have been my mixed media heroes for years. It's hard to believe that in a very short span of time I got to take workshops with the artists whose work I most admire. Far Away Places was about imagining some distant exotic locale that spoke to your heart. Some people chose Russia, Morocco, or a fairy garden. I wanted to play with elements of Gothic European architecture and Indian opulence. Michelle was our instructor on the first day and we worked on these accordion books. Let me just say that Michelle is a stenciling wizard! She also designs amazing stencils and she brought a huge pile of them and let us use them. Another wonderful artist, Margaret Applin , was also taking the class and she let me use some of her great stencil designs as well. Michelle's demonstrations and instructions were like a light bulb going off in my head. Until I got to work, at which point the light promptly blew out. Sigh. I get in my own way so badly. However, I was by no means the only person who did not get their project anywhere near finished. I love the colors and shapes I've got going here, but I'm kind of stuck on what to do next. Here are some better views of the front and back panels:
On Saturday Lynne took over teaching and we worked on these long banners. I ended up working vertically, so maybe mine is more of a panel. Lynne showed us how she uses Portfolio Oil Pastels to color faces and other elements in her work. Both Lynne and Michelle make great use of stencils and masks. It was so fascinating to watch Lynne demonstrate. Here is my banner as it looked at the end of the day:
Getting this home in a suitcase without getting is creased was a challenge! One of the things I love about Lynne's work is the rich color and busy-ness. There is so much going on in her work. Endless small details to peruse. After taking this class I can look at her work and understand better how some of it was accomplished.
On Sunday Michelle and Lynne taught together. We started by making a grid, either by collaging pager or painting, and then added other collage elements on top.
The grid part was easy. I excel at creating backgrounds. I just get stuck after that, LOL! At some point I will add a headdress to the woman and details in their clothing. Below is a photo of my work space at the workshop:
As with the Sue Benner workshop, one of the best parts of this experience was meeting the other participants. I had so many lovely conversations with total strangers. I dug deep down into myself and dragged my inner extrovert out into the light and it was so worth it. This was my first time going to the east coast and most of the other women there were from nearby areas. A couple of lovely ladies came from Toronto. Something about taking a workshop draws a connection between everyone for a few days. Its a wonderful feeling.