My Focus on the Language and Vocabulary of Art and Design……….Guest Blogger – Christina Fairley Erickson
Summer Exhibition Blog #5 Level 3 Studies in Art and Design – Lantana
Years ago, I studied marine biology and oceanography. As an avid scuba diver, some of my favorite places were Monterrey Bay’s kelp forests and the vast varieties of beautiful seaweeds swaying in the underwater current around the San Juan Islands. Revisiting this passion inspired my theme. I’ve explored a broad range of techniques to depict seaweeds and kelp, including painting, collage, handmade paper casting, block printing, machine embroidery and more. Through the processes we learned – making multiple design prospects before choosing your composition, as well as testing out colors, techniques and materials- Iwas able to explore my pieces more deeply and achieve a higher standard in my artwork. Rather than just accepting the way I expected to make something, I questioned, looked, and reworked pieces throughout the whole time I was making them. The critical thinking skills used in making design decisions helped me move my pieces beyond a point where I previously would have stopped my work, giving me a finished piece which expresses my artistic vision more completely.
Learning how to study other artists’ work opened a door to new appreciation for different genres and helped me see both master artists and contemporary art with an affinity I hadn’t felt before. Perhaps my favorite exercise in the class, I know I will continue looking at artwork with a more critical and appreciative eye, increasing my enjoyment and understanding.
Through the last two years, I’ve focused on learning the language and vocabulary of art and design. I appreciate all that I’ve learned and know that my new understanding has opened up a vast wealth of ways to continue my artistic expression and way of seeing the world as a whole.
Summer Exhibition Blog 4 Level 3 Studies in Art and Design – Lantana
As a scientist by inclination and education, everything in this course was new to me. Not fully understanding what was required of me has been frustrating, I have tried to approach much of the work as “play.” The media sampling processes, the relationship of color and shape and the creation of pleasing compositions have been challenging and satisfying.
I have loved pansies all my life. So spending more time with them was enjoyable. As each new technique or concept was presented, I applied it to pansies. My husband and I have vacationed in the Hawaiian Islands and each time I am inspired by the many shapes and colors of the lush foliage.
Cutting paper into various shapes and weaving strips of paper into colorful creations satisfy my need for tactile experience. Block printing is the most exciting process for me. The design and cutting of the block brings together the mental and tactile process. Once created the block is a tool that can be used again and again, producing a different result each time by changing the material to which it is applied.
Fabric is my first love and I plan to take every technique that I have learned here and use it on fabric. The design concepts and documentation process will support me in these efforts.
Summer Exhibition Blog 3 Level 3 Art and Design – Lantana
I was probably the only kid in my high school who actually really liked doing term papers, which turned out to be a very good thing not only through college and graduate school, but also in my life as an artist. It is research that generally leads to my choice of topic. I am fascinated by the work of others, and when I see something that intrigues me, a study follows. Where did the artist get the idea for that piece? Was he or she influenced by the work of other artists? If so, who? What techniques and materials did he or she use? How can I use what I’ve learned about that artist in my own work? My study of crows has been very inspiring. I have been able to study them up close and personal right in my neighborhood. They also fascinate all kinds of learned scientists, so there has been much to read about why crows do what they do. Thanks to my physicist husband, I have also had many dinner time conversations about Isaac Newton, Daniel Bernoulli and how crows fly. My artist study in this session of paper artist, Nikki McClure inspired me to get out the scissors and black paper. And I was, of course, greatly inspired by Gail and the work of my fellow classmates. Gee, I could probably write a term paper about all this now! Marilyn Olsen
Summer Exhibition Blog 2 – Level 3 Studies in Art and Design – Lantana
It has been a week since the Lantana group exhibited artwork at the center. I have managed to find a little time between classes this week to sort student exhibition photos for upcoming blogs. I discovered these friends of the center photos in addition to photos of past and present students. They cheerfully helped us with numerous tasks before and during the exhibition. I ask you – who in their right mind volunteers to iron 30 display tablecloths? Judy Medema and Nan Cerini – Lopis did. Linda Ingham, Jane Clark, Patti Olds, Nancy Hanson, Bobbie Herrick and Nancy Drake welcomed guests. Husbands also got into the act as well. Joseph Tiernan,Tom Olsen and Ken Shelton stood outside in a record breaking heat wave to assist with car parking for the exhibition. Don Harker spoke at the Convocation Exercise to the graduates. He explained how our center evolved – from Great Britain to Washington State over 20 years ago. Susan Lenarz made a number of magical flower arrangements for us. Thank you all! The next blog will feature one of our exhibition students. Gail Harker
Level 3 Studies in Art and Design – Lantana
Preparation has been in full swing for the past 2 weeks, getting the studios and garden cleaned up and ready for an exhibition. Transforming the studio from a working space, whisking away over 30 tables and chairs, cleaning sinks, windows and finding homes for endless supplies is quite a task. All to hang an exhibition and invite the public in to enjoy art and design. We thank Jane Clark and her crew for enthusiastic efforts to beautify the grounds. After the preparation was complete, a group of 7 graduating students from the Level 3 Studies in Art and Design group – Lantana arrived for their last session #8 of design work. The last session is all about display and exhibiting their own art work from the entire course.
This blog is an introduction to the art work of each of the participants and is the first in a series of blogs from these students about their course work. If you would like to see more about past exhibitors artwork in paper and textiles, scroll down under Categories on the right of the screen until you reach L for Level 1, 2, 3 or 4.
The old masters were on to something good when they arranged objects in interesting compositions in order to paint them. Talk about controlling your environment for art. Lighting, shapes, colors, spaces and textures can be arranged at will. Things can be made to look like something that they aren’t. Fruits and vegetables, flowers and all manner of things can star in a still life. A group of our Level 4 Research for Art and Advanced Design students (Coral) had a go at creating their own still life for photography. Each student has an ongoing art theme and their still life reflected that theme. They are taking these photos to create new inspiration and designs from entire or partial crops. The photo is only a by product, on the way to an exciting new medium – maybe acrylic, colored pencil or fabric and threads. Here is a flavor of just a few still life close ups from a few of our group. I managed to snap them while they were arranging and photographing. Gail
I’ve been trying to understand design for over forty years, beginning in my later twenties when I got interested in creative stitchery in the “pretty-much-anything-goes” 1970s, a time when one could get away with not knowing very much about good design and still have a fair degree of commercial success. I learned a thing or two, here and there, but never felt as if I had found quite the answers I sought. I seemed, in my creative work, that I was trying to build a house, but in the absence of a firm foundation. There was a significant empty space in my store of knowledge, something I couldn’t identify or name, but clearly an important missing piece. The carrot that led me onward was the prospect, in retirement, of being able to devote as much time as I chose in creative pursuits, applying what I had learned over the years in hopes that I would discover I had learned what it was I had been seeking.
A few years into retirement, a dear friend encouraged me to take a five-day experimental machine stitchery class from Gail Harker, which has led to four hugely enriching years of study. Gail’s extraordinary ability to recognize where a student is in an individual continuum of creative development, and help each of us develop our own pathway to fulfillment, has resulted in me, finally, not only identifying and naming what I sought in terms of understanding design, but also to practice it. Under her tutelage, I realized that the missing tool in my toolbox was not any of the formal rules, elements, and principles of design, but the nature of the process of transforming inspiration into an object. I learned that good design can come from anywhere – the colors of cloud reflections on the water at sunset, the pattern of cracks in dried mud, the shape and paths of water droplets on a window, the unexpected contours of the shadow of measuring spoons resting on a cutting board, the balance of the spaces between the letters on a license plate. I finally understand that good design is not just creating or reproducing a realistic representation of my source of inspiration. I can take selected details from what caught my eye, put those details together into a satisfying composition using the basic design concepts we’ve explored, and come up with something totally my own that contains but doesn’t need to copy my inspirational source. It’s like letting the air out of a balloon. All that creative energy that has been so tightly contained for so long by uncertainty, wanting to do it “right,” and not understanding that there is no ONE right way, is released to expand infinitely.
Finally, I can LIVE “What if. . .?” Mary Martin
Click on the link Level 3 Studies in Art and Design Exhibit: to read about the upcoming exhibit on Aug. 13th and 14th. Mary and the rest of her group – the Lantana will be displaying their design work.
Level 3 Studies in Art and Design Exhibit: Click on the link to read about the upcoming exhibit on Aug. 13th and 14th. Mary and the rest of her group – the Lantana will be showing their design work.