Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Inaugural Santa Fe retreat

Our inaugural Santa Fe retreat commenced on October 25, 2009, with the paricipants arriving to a light snow at the beautiful Don Gaspar Inn.

Monday the 26th was the start of our week long session. Six work spaces for six students studying four different subjects were set up at the Studio/Gallery.

Canvas techniques, the Foundational hand, 15th cent. Bastarda, and layout and composition were the starting points for our week. Above, Yolande Adriaanse studies the Bastarda hand, and below Cecelia Watts Harris experiments with textures on canvas.

These rows of letters were quickly transitioned into alphabetic sentences to help talk about rhythm and spacing.

The demos ranges from specific letterforms, to canvas techniques, to a discussion on lettering in circles and spirals, as well as techniques to letter in perspective in space...

and of course, for the inagural group, we had to have a real Barbeque night for the participants and their spouses.

Fare above is Smoked Baby Back Ribs with spicy rub and homemade cherry chipotle bbq sauce, Smoked Turkey, Cilantro Lime Pinto beans, Cauliflower/Broccoli Grauten, rolls, and a couple of tangy sauces.

Thank you to all participants, it was a rewarding and pleasantly exhausting week!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Journal Series: C.S. Lewis thoughts

One of the things I have come to love about the journaling process is the visual form of thinking that it takes. And yet it is not necessarily "refined" thinking, but rather an artistically articulated version of brainstorming.
My friend, poet and artist/calligrapher Laurie Doctor, wrote a poem called "This Work" that describes this process:
This Work *
My friend, the poet,
asked me
what I was doing.
I said, you know,
the visual form
of mumbling, the verbal
version of stumbling.
Leaving my hands
to their own devices,
closing my eyes,
transforming vices
into color and verse.
Saying this work is my prayer.

-Laurie Doctor

During the period in which I was involved in the C.S. Lewis painting, I was working with the quotes and text that I was considering for the final canvas. The pages below reflect some of that "thinking process.
(Click on the images below to enlarge)
I love Lewis for his profound thinking and verbal imagery... in the middle of the first page spread above, kind of hard to read, is the statement that "the world is crowded with Him"... of course I couldn't have that statement be standing on it's own without "crowding" it a bit by writing something across it...

... and the word "awake" really has to reflect having your eyes open, does it not?

As always, some of the text made it onto the painting, some didn't... but the journey to find out what fits is always a rewarding process.

The pages above were written spontaneously with a "Pentel Color Brush" for the gray lettering, and "Pitt marker pens" for the other text on the first page.

A note about Laurie Doctor: Laurie is someone that I would consider a "visual Mystic". Her paintings are infused with a sense of spirituality and discovery. I would highly recommend exploring her work at