What a wonderful day it was Sunday afternoon at the Willoughby Wallace Memorial Library in Stony Creek, CT. There were 7 of us all together at the workshop. Some familiar faces, others I met just recently and a few brand new friends.
We gathered the tables in a circular formation and I talked - which I always feel I talk too much when I teach - even though that's what I'm suppose to do.:) -
We shared our reason for participating with is always fun to hear why.
We went over a variety of art materials that are often used for sketchbook journaling. I love when students bring their own supplies in because we all end up learning more about the wide array of art supplies available to create with... and that makes me excited! ..... planning my next trip to the art store!
I shared with the class one of my favorite books by Danny Gregory - The Creative License -
I"ve had this book for over 12 years and I so often pull it off the shelf when I need both encouragement and a kick in the pants! Note to self -in future classes - read few short passages to give the class a flavor of Danny's insights and writing style.
I passed around my journals so that everyone could glance through -not that I was really hesitated about sharing but afterwards, after flipping through a book quickly, I noticed.... "yikes that's a terrible drawing - why would I want to show them that!" -
That's when the lightbulb moment went on for me. I realized that is exactly what they needed to see - they needed me to honest and transparent. To show them exactly what my sketchbook looks like. Not a polished version. I could almost sense everyone's shoulders relaxed and I could hear a big sigh around the room.
If I showed them a beautiful sketchbook with page after page of perfect drawings then I would be faking it. Instead they got to see all - the good the bad and the ugly! Which leads me into my first lesson I learned from teaching a Sketchbook Journaling Class.
1. Totally Unique yet So Similar. Even though our backgrounds and experiences are so unique and different from one another, we all seemed to struggle with what should our sketchbook look like? Is it ok to have grocery lists? or a to-do list scribbled inside? and random notes or should every page be filled with a perfectly composed and exquisitely rendered illustration?
Phew - what a relief it was to know we are all on this same journey together and we don't have to have a perfect looking sketchbooks - this is where we can let mistakes happen. Ugly drawings happen. Even non- art stuff happen. Giving ourselves permission to not look perfect all the time.
The goal of sketchbook journaling is about recording and embracing everyday life. It's about discovering and enjoying your life as a whole where your everyday is woven into you art and your art is woven into your everyday.
2. Getting Started or Sticking to It -We all seemed to struggle with how to either start or how to stick to it. I had a hunch that this topic was going to come up so I copied a few 30 Day Drawing Challenges from one of my favorite websites - Sketchbook Skool - here's the link - they're a great resource for online sketchbook classes, blog tips and a friendly supportive community. I saved these challenges as a pdf so if you want to download them - click here.
The topic of a 30 day challenge came up several times and I think most of us, including me, were feeling the same way. Excited to try this Challenge but also a little apprehensive.
Before I dive in.... what am I getting myself into???
3.Create art in community is a necessity. At the end we shared contact information and from what I could gather the group was interested in getting together again.
Speaking from a personal point of view, often times artists are required to work for long hours independently on their art and developing their skills. And I don't mind, I enjoy my quiet studio where I can fully concentrate.
However, there are times when I need to be around other artists or creative types. It's in that community that I fill my creative well, gain new ideas, listen to others share their stories or process. Its funny because I feel like when one creative person meets another that common thread connects so quickly it creates an unexplainable synergy.
I think it's good for our health that we learn from each other about each others life, about new techniques, materials... we even shared cooking tips and recipes! Of course it was wonderful to have my husband Dean there to talk about cooking, food and all things kitchen-ee -
and at the end we enjoyed his homemade carrot cake. I think I'm going to illustrate his recipe !
All in all it was a fabulous day! Lot's of ideas whirling around about future classes and definitely looking forward to our next gathering! So I'll leave you with a recipe that I illustrated for Dean's Chicken Soup Recipe - feel free to download it and even follow along - and if you do try it, please leave a comment below and let us know if you like it!
Creating Art in a Community is like Chicken Soup for the Soul
Cheers! and happy drawing and painting!
Linda and Dean
I'm very excited about teaching this upcoming FREE workshop at the Willoughby Wallace Library on Sunday March, 25th from 1-3pm.
It's a hand-on, introduction to sketchbook journaling workshop. We will start with the basics - materials, mark making and color mixing. I will guide you step by step on basic observation drawings and then adding color to our sketches.
Our focus will be on creating drawings from simple things found in the kitchen - using mostly colorful fruits and veggies, dishes and cups.
This workshop will help you build your drawing confidence while having a whole lot of fun. I absolute love drawing and creating in my sketchbook and I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to share my passion with others.
Designed for beginners in mind, however all levels are welcome and encourage to join in.
Creating art in a supportive community refreshes the soul.
You will need to bring your own watercolor sketchbook and a few supplies - pencil, fine Sharpee marker and small watercolor paint box. Some supplies will be included.
Date and Time: Sunday March 25, 1-3pm
Location: Willoughby Wallace Library
146 Thimbe Island Road, Branford, CT
Class size is limited: please call the Library to register-
Warning: work in progress.... please be patient
I've been promising my hubby for over a year, maybe two... yikes... maybe even THREE that I would start creating art instructional videos. He would so sweetly say things like "I think your students would love to see how you create _____ " or "people who buy and collect your work should see the process. I think they would appreciate it even more." but lately... that sweet whisper has turned into a loud voice inside me... one that's saying "Linda, it's time.... what are you really waiting for?"
Oh sure... I've created several videos for his cooking classes and my paint night events, but instructional videos... or behind the scenes... "a painting in the making". Well first of all that would require me talking. Don't get me wrong I love to talk... it's actually the listening of my voice that drives me crazy. Ok, excuses, excuses... away with excuses!
Well.... I did it!
And you are the first to see this video - I even set up a YouTube account. Don't go looking for me just yet on You Tube because I'm pretty confident the setting is still on unlisted. I'm hoping to get 7 or 8 videos uploaded before going "live" or open to the public. So I'm experimenting on you first, my blog readers. Leave a comment below or send me a message - for tips, advice or even a gentle rejection like ... "Linda, I think you should stick to painting, videos just might not be your thing." I can handle it... this in fact would be a welcome rejection. Then I can say to my hubby and myself " see, I tried it and it's not for me". Just kidding.
Like anything it takes time and practice. And more practice. Maybe at some point I'm sure I will even enjoy the whole process. You see, I do absolutely love teaching and I think art instructional videos will be tremendously helpful and beneficial for my students, I just have to take a deep breath in and say "I can do THIS" -
One of the absolute best learning tools for me to improve my artistic skills have been watching art instructional videos. Some I would find on You Tube and others I would pay for and download them. Whether I'm looking for a specific technique or if I admire an artist and I want to see their processes, Art Instructional Videos are invaluable.
A few years ago I so wanted to learn a specific technique - loose and confident brushwork. So I found a time-lapse video on You Tube and watched frame by frame how she created the painting. I even followed along, one brushstroke at a time. This fast paced video of a painting from start to finish was less than 5 minutes long but by the time I watched each frame and painted along it took me 3 hours to complete !
... but I have to say it was one of the best learning experiences for me.
I'm gathering a list of tips, techniques and instructions that I think would be informative and useful to turn into short video clips, Like:
Thanks for your patience - I appreciate your feedback -
Before we turn the page on the calendar from January to February 2018 I can't let another moment go by without reflecting on last year - and what a year 2017 was!
I'm first of all thankful for the wonderful opportunities to teach art in three locations - Artsplace in Cheshire, Arts Escape in Southbury and at Coachman Square a retirement community in Woodbridge. I have had the privilege of teaching students of all different ages with different backgrounds, some who have been creating art for years others who are just starting out on their journey. I'm grateful for each student in my classes.
As for unexpected surprises in 2017, it started with a phone call the first weekend in January when I received a message that my piece "Beachbound" won 2nd prize in the "Favorite Places/Favorite Things" show at the Firehouse Gallery in Milford.
Then in February my piece "Summer Day in the City" received honorable mention at the SOCCA Juried show in Southington.
In March, "Painters in Paradise" won "Best in Show" at the 25th Anniversary Cheshire Art League Visual Arts Exhibition.
And in October, at the Wethersfield Academy for the Arts 2017 Biennial Fine Arts Juried Competition two awards. Pictured at the top of this post is "On the Corner of Colorful and Creative" a summer scene of downtown New Haven won "Best Landscape" and "Tomatoes on the Vine- Kitchen Prep" won honorable mention!! Wow- 5 awards in one year!
I participated in 18 different shows from Litchfield to Cheshire, Branford to Southbury and a few in-between. And sold 26 of my paintings this year - some really small, some very large pieces, a few pet portraits and a bridal bouquet commission shipped to Ontario Canada, at local shows, from my online gallery, in retail locations and at Branford Art Center. Yes - a busy and very productive year it was!
Sprinkled through out the year - Dean and I organized several "Cook and Paint Together" Events - and had a blast doing it.
I am immensely grateful for my husband, kids, family, friends, students, collectors, colleagues in my life -for their support and encouragement and most of all their friendship.
I am thankful for the gifts God had given me and I so enjoy sharing my passion for the arts, creating and teaching.
I'm not sure what 2018 holds but I'm looking forward to develop new lesson plans for my students, put in plenty of hours at my easel, travel around to local art fairs and out on location painting en plein air ... and quite possibly a trip overseas could be in the works!
Thank you again for being apart of my world
with much love and gratitude -
"Mercy by the Sea, The Mercy Center, Madison, CT - 11 x 14" oil,
One of my favorite magazines is Plein Air Magazine and the publisher states that plein air painting is one of the largest movements in Art History. A movement that has become a lifestyle ... "it's the new golf." .... "whether amateurs, hobbyists or professionals, thousands of artists are living the lifestyle of outdoor painting."
I have to agree... plein air or outdoor painting is truly a lifestyle for me. I enjoy meeting up with my fellow artists, looking for new places to paint and just spending a few hours in the fresh air.... and it truly lets you forget everything else for a while.
This painting " Mercy by the Sea" was painted in two sessions approximately 3 weeks apart from each other. The first session I walked around the beautiful grounds, drew a few sketches and settled in a spot under a big oak tree. I was able to draw in the basic shapes and block in with color during the first session. On return, I set up in the same spot, filled my palette with plenty of colors and enjoyed every moment of seeing this painting come to fruition through brushwork and color play.
Background info from Website: www.mercybythesea.org/campus/grounds-and-gardens/Mercy by the Sea is located on 33 acres on the shores of Long Island Sound in Madison CT. It has a small yet diverse ecology, ranging from wetlands and woodlands to landscaped grounds and gardens. Mercy by the Sea is a retreat and conference center. Daytime guests are welcome to visit as long as they check in at the front desk. There is a superb gallery space that showcase both local and long distance artists. They offer programs for spiritual and self-discovery along with overnight accommodations.
This is truly one of my favorite places to paint along the Connecticut Coast.
I will be entering this piece into the Madison Art Society's 43rd Annual Member Exhibition and Sale.
Date of Show: Feb 4 - March 2, 2018
Reception: Sunday February 11, 2018 1:30-3:30pm
Location: E. C. Scranton Memorial Library, 801 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT
Freezing New England Temps doesn't Stop this Painter from Creating Balmy Local Summer Scene for Upcoming Show
Golden Radiance over Stony Creek Harbor Branford, CT ,
36" x 48" acrylics on gallery wrapped canvas -
Ok, so it's January here in Connecticut, the temps are bouncing around the teens, the snow fall comes and goes... the trees are bare and if you take a quick scan of the surroundings, the color palette is veering toward the bland, the bleak and the muted. So I ask, what is this painter suppose to do when bright colors are truly her love language?
Well, I'll tell you.. first I close my eyes and begin scanning through the visual image bank in my mind. Recalling the warm weather scenes that stopped me in my tracks... you know the ones that make your heart glow from the inside out. Tell me I'm not along on this one.?. you must have experienced this before? Whether it's a tropical shore, a mountain vista, a European village... or where ever, you're walking along, doing your thing and all of a sudden you lift your head (probably from looking at your phone... I'm so guilty of that one) and wham - it hits you - your breath is taken away! Even an audible gasp.... or just a WOW!
I usually laugh at myself when this happens... because my knee-jerk reaction is ..... "I've GOT to PAINT THIS!" And here you have it... that's my introduction to "Golden Radiance over Stony Creek Harbor". My latest work.... that I'm so thrilled to share with you!
Golden Radiance over Stony Creek Harbor is truly how I see this quaint little seaside village along the Connecticut Shore. I have painted there many times for several years now. Especially during the summer months. I think the rose quartz stones that are found along the harbor wall radiates and reflects the pink and gold tones which bath everything in this very hard to describe glow. Somewhere between a peach orange to a warm magenta I mix a few piles of each. Then on the other side of my palette are the blues -ultramarine, phthalo blue and cerulean blue. Before I can even lift the brush I can sense the colors vibrating in front of me. Not in a frenzy or distressful way.... more like.. the ease of a rhythmic sway. You know like that soft rippling sound the water makes when lapping up against the side of a boat.
This painting was so exhilarating to paint, yet posed several challenges. First of all where do you start? Harbor scenes with numbers boats, reflections, water, and architecture can seem... well a bit overwhelming to say the least. But I was up for the quest.
First starting with a small color study in oils, I really just wanted to play with the paints that morning and experiment with the reflections in the water.
In my acrylics class this week I was teaching my students how to paint reflections in water so the lesson was fresh in my mind. Even though I enjoyed creating the color study, more pieces to this mystery needed to be discovered. This led me to printing out the image in black and white, checking my values and onto a watercolor sketch in my sketchbook.
Why so many steps? Well as I was telling one of my students Debbie in our Friday morning Acrylics class, each time I do these small studies I uncover a little bit more. I guess you could call it your practice swings before stepping up to the tee or dress rehearsal before the big day! There's so much to learn and discover each and every time you create... and that's why creating art is so exciting and rewarding.
This painting along with about 18 more of my pieces will be in an upcoming 2 person show in March. Last spring I entered 3 pieces for a "Call for Artists" for the 2017/2018 Exhibition Schedule at The Willoughby Wallace Memorial Library in Stony Creek, CT. The jury committee chose my work and a fellow artist, Maura Galante's work to show together.
Show Date: March 4-27, 2018
Location: Willoughby Wallace Library, 146 Thimble Island Road, Branford, (Stony Creek) CT
Reception Date: Sunday March 11, 4-6pm -
I'll fill you in on more details in upcoming posts. If you're in the area I hope you can stop in to see the show. It will definitely fill your heart and vision with lots of bright and bold color.
Like always, thank you for viewing my work -
"Into the Flow"- Stony Creek/Washburn Preserve, Branford Land Trust Property, Branford, CT acrylics, 16 x 36" on gallery wrapped canvas, available at Branford Art Center
"Cattails at the Creek" Stony Creek/Washburn Preserve, Branford Land Trust Property, Branford, CT acrylics 8 x 10" framed
"End of an Autumn Day" Stony Creek/Washburn Preserve, Branford Land Trust Property, Branford, CT , acrylics 12 x 24" framed in black frame with gold inset
All three of these paintings were based on a recent Sunday afternoon trip to the Stony Creek Partnership and Washburn Preserve, one of the Branford Land Trust Properties in Branford, CT.
A hidden gem of the Connecticut Coast, it's a bit challenging to find but definitely worth the search. Our GPS bought us close to the intersection of Thimble Island Road and Wallace Road. You'd never know there's a Land Trust Property there unless you read the map detail on their website. There are no signs. No clues. Just by faith walk about 100 yards up a private drive. There you'll find a single post with a Branford Land Trust sign nailed to it.
Upon entering the property climb up a narrow incline to a bed of rocks and then down a slope leads you to this vast open area of rocks, marshes and the rushing water of the river pouring into the Long Island Sound. It's really beautiful and peaceful there and some how we seem to just let the rumble of the rushing train not interfere with our afternoon hike. In fact the sight of the tracks in the distance and occasional clickety clack of the train over the trestle bridge reminded us of where we were..... so close to home.
All three of these paintings are available in my online store and or at Branford Art Center.
Be apart of the painted journey... comment below on your favorite Connecticut or New England scenes....and maybe that will be my next painting excursion.
Currently in my hands is a book titled “Called to Create” by Jordan Raynor. Raynor quotes painter/photographer Kristin Joy Taylor who said, “ Creativity is not a fringe thing but is central and of infinite worth, because we are made in the image of God.”
This. Deeply resonates with my soul.
When one feels called to create, called to use the gifts they have been given, you are definitely put in a vulnerable place. It’s so much easier to hide your gifts, not share them or make up excuses. But when you take that leap of faith and you put your work out there knowing that this is exactly what you are suppose to do… it still feels risky….. in fact, it is risky. Risk of rejection, risk of being misunderstood, risk of feeling foolish…. the “risk list”, even as I type them is stirring up tension in my finger tips.
But rewards happen.
Sometimes the reward is in the failure… as long as we can step back and see it as learning lesson.
Other times, Whala! A reward shows up seemingly out of nowhere. But wait a minute, let’s back track and connect the dots. Those seemingly little daily risks, ones that perhaps were recognized, many that were not, now have a spotlight on them.
It was 5 years ago I nervously signed up to share and sell my work on Daily Paint Works. Subscribed to their daily emails list a few months prior, each morning I eagerly awaited the email to arrive in my inbox. Scrolling through the line up of well over 100 pieces of original art was, and still is exhilarating to me. I would even draw small thumbnail sketches of pieces that caught my eye in my sketchbook and jot down notes about the piece. Clicking through the links I could find the artist’s bio, a link to their website or blog and get to know a little more about the artist and the work that I admired.
I wanted to be apart of this art community. I loved the idea of painting small pieces daily. This daily ritual was the catalyst to fuel the start up of a full time art career. Although this career has taken many detours over the past 5 years I can honestly look back and smile. A smile that shows many wrinkles from hours of “squinting” to see better. I can’t say that I’ve stayed faithful to the route of daily painting as I did in the beginning of my career but I would say that this is one of the foundations I have build my career on.
To my surprise a few weeks ago, I received an invitation from Sophie Marine from Daily Paintworks to be a Spotlight Artist.
Each week on the Daily Paint Works blog Sophie conducts an interview of their DPW artists. 4 pieces of work are showcased in the interview and I offer one of my small paintings for a Giveaway. The rules to the giveaway are described in the blog and below is a link to my interview. I hope you get a chance to read it. Feel free to make any comments and enter the drawing.
Looking back: risks that turned into rewards. Looking forward: Rewards are just seeds to an even greater Hope.
Daily Paint Works News Blog
Daily Paint works Website - At the very top of the site click on Artist Spotlight: Win a Painting by Linda Marino
From Bright Sunny Days to Rain Showers - Plein Air Painting holds Adventure and Exploration along the Connecticut Shore
It's always an adventure going outside to paint- from dodging rain drops to dealing with the bugs, sunburn on your ankles to easels blown over by the wind.... but with all that said.. I still .... truly love it! There really isn't anything that compares to being out in the landscape or by the ocean that you're painting. The sounds, smells and feel of an area are somehow absorbed into the artist and onto the canvas. Here are a few pieces and photos from some summertime excursions that I thought I would share with you. .I usually team up with a few other painters from a few different art groups. The Madison Art Society and CT Shoreline Artists - as well as other groups like the Branford Art Alliance and CT Plein Air Painters. So if you see someone along the side of the road ...standing there with easel.... painting... that could be me... so stop and say Hello!
Last Friday we started our first of 4 sessions on Acrylic Painting for Beginners. With 4 students. For 3 hours. We completed 3 color charts. Sounds like a lot of work? Well maybe so... but I have to say my eager students were up for the challenge. Happy to engage, ask questions, roll up their sleeves and jump right it.
First Exercise: Creating a Color Wheel - As simple as this sounds, and what may look like to some as "child's play" is key to building a strong foundation in the principles of art. I do believe painting is a learnable skill accessible to anyone - as long as they have the desire and willingness to "keep at it" and a teachable spirit.
I can already hear a student of my saying " But Linda, why do we have to paint a color wheel when we can just buy one at the store?"
Good question, right? So instead of trying to explain why... I just squeeze out a dab of the three primary colors, red, blue and yellow paint, hand over a palette knife and slip a canvas panel under their hands and... just say "start mixing red and yellow"....
And I've got them at "Hello Orange!" Yup - there's something so wonderful... truly magically when it comes to mixing colors. I could talk about it all day long but when you get to "play"-- to mix them yourself.... it just the beginning of an addiction! A good addiction. Addicted to color. Welcome to my world!
So along with this new discover we incorporated the use of a palette knife instead of a brush. It's takes a little practice to get the hang of it. For one, it's easier to hold like a soup spoon rather than a pencil. And the other trick is to keep the knife perpendicular to the surface like frosting a cake rather than trying to use the tip of the knife like the tip of brush.
That was challenges but I think they started to get the hang of it.
We have a great group and so looking forward to see how each one progress.
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