Looking Back, Looking Ahead, and Looking Around

It’s hard to believe that our Art in the Parks Series is halfway through (!) We have had SO much fun meeting and making with our Creative Explorers. We thought that you might like a little look at what you have missed, so far…

There is plenty more discovery in store, as we prepare to welcome more folks to the March and April events. This series was designed to make including creative exploration a little easier, for new explorers and seasoned hands. Virtually all of our offerings can be carried along and applied to your other artistic endeavors. Make plans now to join in the fun! You can register for the March and April happenings on the Our Events page, here on the web-site.

Art in the Parks in March will feature Michelle’s magnificent mark-making mastery — you won’t want to miss it!

Art in the Parks in March will feature Michelle’s magnificent mark-making mastery — you won’t want to miss it!

In seeking ways to encourage community building, we have established a virtual gathering place on Facebook — we call it The Virtual Circle, and it’s a great way to take part in the creative discussion (even if you are too far away to join us for our monthly events)! Join us! We are stoking the creative fires there with regular weekly content, such as: Wondering Wednesday, Thinking Thursday, and Seven for Saturday. This weeks Wondering Wednesday included a poll wherein we wondered what folks considered the biggest road block to creativity in their day-to-day. This conversation is ongoing, so come visit us in The Virtual Circle — take a look around, and visit with your fellow Creative Explorers. We’ll see you there!

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Until next time,
~PLA



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Thankful Thursday - Creating Bridges

"True teachers use themselves as bridges over which they their invite students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own."  ~Nikos Kazantzakis

This quote resonates with me, and reflects many of my experiences as a teacher.  As I've written about before, I present art classes to children and to adults with disabilities.  I do consider myself a bridge, showing my students the way to explore new things, or to use familiar things in new ways.  I encourage them to make their own creative choices, which often lead to wonderful discoveries and exclamations of "I didn't know I could do that!"  One recent example:

Note the red paper "blood drips".  The artist explained that they came from the T-Rex having eaten a Stegosaurus.  This detail was added once the artist saw how "cool" the mouth and teeth were.

Note the red paper "blood drips".  The artist explained that they came from the T-Rex having eaten a Stegosaurus.  This detail was added once the artist saw how "cool" the mouth and teeth were.

On the first day of art camp, a 6-year old drew his ideas for a dinosaur to be created out of a wine bottle.  The drawing included a wide mouth with many jagged teeth, a scaly body, and beady eyes.  Of course, being 6, he knew everything there was to know about the T-Rex (which I did know too at one point, when my son was that age), but thought he "couldn't make it look like what I drew."  I assured him we could get close.  He was doubtful, but eager to try.  Unfortunately, the original drawing was discarded, but here is the result of several hours of foiling, taping, tissue papering, marking with pen, and hot gluing.  When he presented his creation to the class, he proudly said:  "I didn't think I could make it, but I DID," which was music to my ears. 

Penny, Jeanne, and I will be the bridges our Creative Explorers will use to explore and express their individual artful voices during our unique mixed media experience.  And while we can't promise you'll be making wine bottle dinosaurs, because we are creative women, we know there will be much sharing of talents, techniques, and expertise among us all (developing even more bridges--how wonderful!) 
Time is running out, so if you've been thinking of joining us, but haven't registered yet, now's the time.  

Wishing you an astoundingly artful day. 

Until next time,

MDP

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Friday Feature: Spotlight on Penny L. Arrowood

Wrapping up our month of Friday Features, I am here to share some sneak peeks at my Studio Session as well as some additional information on a couple of the more unique features we have built in to the Your Creative Connection experience.  As Michelle so beautifully stated yesterday, the guiding principle behind all that we do at Your Creative Connection is to offer like-minded women a safe and nurturing space to “learn, discover, experiment, and create beautiful things.  What could be better than that?”  What could be better than that, indeed?  One of the many ways that we are providing such an experience is by offering creative opportunities that are just as accessible and illuminating to new-comers to mixed media art as to long-time denizens of the mixed media community.

My Studio Session will open with some colorful, creative exploration.  We will take a look at surface design by way of Seven Surefire Ways to Banish the Blank Page.  Often the most daunting part of new project is the getting started!  Facing a blank surface (be it journal, canvas, paper, or fabric) can intimidate even the most seasoned artist.  Regardless your primary approach to mixed media art, the morning session will provide multiple ways to loosen up and establish a direction for future creative endeavors.  Additionally, these techniques will work in tandem with the knowledge that our Creative Explorers have gleaned in their two previous Studio Sessions; the resulting papers will provide more material for inventive compositions as we move into the remainder of the day.

After a brief review of the work that has been produced in the past three days.  We will select work from each of the earlier Studio Sessions to include in the exhibit on Monday morning.  With the papers that remain, we will construct what I like to call The Vessel of Containment – Bespoke Bookbinding  to house your very own Your Creative Connection experience.  We will create a perfectly personalized record of all that you have learned throughout the event.  There will be room for personal reflection, notes, thoughts from your new creative cohorts, and more – however you choose to populate its pages it will be exquisitely your own:  chronicling your creative exploration and discovery during our time together.  I designed this project specifically for Your Creative Connection, and this is the only venue at which I will teach it this year.  I’m SO excited to share it.  Michelle, Jeanne, and I have already created one, and we've added to its pages as we developed the content for this exceptional event!  Each of our vessels will be on hand at our Opening Night Creative Social to entice and inspire as we begin our artful adventures.

We have thoroughly enjoyed sharing more about what we have in store for the Creative Explorers who join us in October (11-15, 2018) for the experience that is  Your Creative Connection.  If possible, we are now even more excited for all that the event holds -- for ourselves as well as each of the women who will join us.  We have worked hard to create an event unlike any other – from the structure of our Studio Sessions, to the inclusion of a show to highlight the work of our guests and Artist Instructors – we are each looking forward to sharing 3 Artists, 3 Days, 1 Surface, and a Show  (and all that comes with it) with YOU!  Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.  Register today by making your deposit, and we look forward to welcoming you into the circle.

Friday Feature: Spotlight on Michelle Davis Petelinz

My Studio Session will focus on a variety of ways to create surface texture and pattern with paint and ink.  In my own mixed media work, many of my texture and pattern discoveries come about from my asking questions:  "What if I combined...?", or "How can I create...?"  Intricate, multi-layered, and multi-hued patterns resonate with me, and I often include them in my paper, paint, and clay work.  I am excited to share what I've discovered with our Creative Explorers, and I can't wait to see what they will create during our time together.  Penny, Jeanne and I have been working on our content for Studio Sessions, and below is a peek at what I've created so far in preparation for mine, including embellished monoprints, tape transfers, hot glue and foam stamped prints, 3-D elements, and painted papers.  

Here's what I've got planned: 
Creating texture and pattern with custom tools:  I've found that to make my work truly my own, I had to create my own, custom-designed stamps and texture tools.  I will show you how to design foam stamps, hot glue stamps, texture plates, paper combs and masks, 3-D elements, and whatever else we can dream up to put your own, unique stamp on your work (pun intended); we'll let our imaginations soar!  

Getting the most from your Gelli prints:  using your new custom tools and a variety of techniques, we'll create fantastic monoprints on our luscious Stonehenge paper.  We'll be layering, transferring, embellishing, and adding natural elements to our prints for use as stand alone works, or as components of larger pieces.  If you've never used a Gelli plate, you're in for a treat (it's truly engrossing), and if you've worked with one before, this Studio Session will offer you new ways to use an old favorite.

Exploring composition:  once we've designed, created, and experimented with our new tools, it'll be time to put them to use in your compositions.  Tips and tricks for effective compositions abound, whether you're looking to enhance your paintings, to create 2-D or 3-D mixed media work, or to complete the pieces you'll display in the Your Creative Connection show.   Oh yes, there's going to be a show...and next Friday, Penny will complete our June "Friday Features" series with a look at her Studio Session content and more details about the show.  Stay tuned.   

If you haven't done so yet, Register now, to be sure you'll be able to join in the fun.  

MDP

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Thankful Thursday - The First of Many

OR:  The Perfect and Pleasant Premier Pop Up Event

The weather may have been less than ideal but the fine fare, dashing décor, and captivating creativity made for a most splendid day indoors!  We welcomed our intrepid Creative Explorers to the tables to explore Notes to Our Future Selves – a trio of mini Studio Sessions featuring:  Kintsugi Hearts, Mindful Mandalas, and Found Poetry in a blending of creative expression, words, and colors capturing ideas and moments both real and imagined…  Each of our Artist Instructors illuminated this theme in a way that highlighted their primary medium. 

Our Special Guest Artist for 2018, Jeanne Faith d’Orleans, incorporated her love of fabric in a textile version of Kintsugi.  Guests released themselves and/or others with the symbolic mending of fissures in the heart with golden thread while using the written word to release past hurts or present misunderstandings.  The results were phenomenal, and the sharing of the messages (or their intent) brought an echoing chorus of “OHs.”

Your Creative Connection Co-Founder Michelle Davis Petelinz brought her love of pattern and color to the fore with her presentation of Mindful Mandalas.  In addition to expanding the use of the humble water-based marker in an amazing way, our guests explored the symmetry of the form as well as building a base for the presentation of words that matter in the now.  This print-making exercise brightened a dreary day with the creation of multiple “stained glass windows” in our work space, punctuated by the murmur of satisfaction in creative discovery. 

To close out the afternoon of creative fun, Co-Founder Penny L. Arrowood guided all present in the construction of a bit of Found Poetry – restructuring and/or redacting existing written words to tell another tale, whisper a different wish, or construct an alternate reality.  The sharing that followed was in turns humorous and touching – leaving us all a tad gob-smacked by the vivid images one can create with nothing        more than words.

Throughout the afternoon, guests enjoyed an assortment of fresh fruits, dipping sauces, pound cake, lightly salted nuts, iced tea, and water.  The perfect fare to fuel our creative engines as we wiled away a rainy afternoon ensconced in the reverie of community, artistic expression, and the sharing of the stories that unite us all.

All of our projects throughout the afternoon were completed on Strathmore Artist Papers Mixed Media Papers (Toned Tan and Gray, Toned Blue, and Heavyweight).  Each of our guests received a trio of sample pads featuring these luscious papers – two of which (Toned Blue and Heavyweight) are not yet available in stores (!) 

Pop Up participants also received the first public viewing of samples for the Studio Sessions on offer at the ‘big event’ in October (11-15, 2018 at the Haw River State Park).  In another unique twist on the art retreat/experience, in addition to three full days of creative instruction Creative Explorers at Your Creative Connection Haw River will incorporate works from each Studio Session into a physical vessel of their experience at this event.  Providing for an incredibly tactile reminder of a magical time, as well as a visual recounting of what was learned and enjoyed on this leg of their Artistic Journey. 

Our special thanks to photographers Alan Christianson and Holly Sullenger for so beautifully capturing the event in images for us to treasure!  Our thanks also to our Creative Explorers for the day!  We enjoyed spending time with each of you, and loved seeing how gloriously different the outcome from each exercise based on the individuality of the maker.  We are already looking forward to next time!

With gratitude and appreciation,
 ~ PLA & MDP

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