Workshop & Retreat Guide: Which One is Best for You?

I used to see the two descriptives, ‘workshop’ and ‘retreat’ as interchangeable, but over the years have noticed a distinct increase in the use of the word retreat. As I have started to organize my own workshops and retreats, it became more apparent to define the difference for myself and prospective participants.

I hadn’t really given this question much thought until it was posed to me during my interview with Alyson Stanfield for her wonderfully informative Art Biz Podcast. I used to see the two descriptives, ‘workshop’ and ‘retreat’ as interchangeable, but over the years have noticed a distinct increase in the use of the word retreat. As I have started to organize my own workshops and retreats, it became more apparent to define the difference for myself and prospective participants. To my knowledge, no one has formally defined these two things so I’d like to add a bit of a disclaimer that the following guide is based on my own experience and are the guidelines I personally use when promoting and organizing my classes.

Artist Workshops are:

  • A gathering of like-minded individuals for a week or less for the purpose of learning, completing a project, exchanging ideas and/or discussion.
  • Usually takes place at a facility/house/room/building equipped specifically for the workshop, but may also be used for other purposes at other times.
  • Taught by a 1-2 professional instructors.
  • Although some may travel a distance to participate in a workshop, many may be also be local. Accommodations and meals may be, but are not always included as part of the workshop.
  • Offered multiple times a year.

Artist Retreats are:

  • The same as workshops in concept (see point one above), but are scheduled for a longer period of time-at least a week or more.
  • The location is important, is most often a destination locale and is often explored as a significant part of inspiration for the retreat.
  • There are side/field trips scheduled as part of the workshop inspiration.
  • Food, yoga, meditation, spa, and other body pampering activities are scheduled or available to the retreat participant.
  • Participants likely travel to the destination and are encouraged to stay at the location for the duration of the retreat in order to totally immerse themselves in the experience. Accommodations and meals are usually included as part of the retreat.
  • A unique experience and may be offered as a once in a lifetime or as a rarity.

I hope you’ve found this post helpful and informative. Please see this post for a comprehensive listing of my 2020 Artist Workshops & Retreats.

My 2020 Workshop & Retreat Schedule

Is there someone on your holiday gift list who has everything? Instead of more STUFF, give them the experience of a creative Workshop or Retreat! Buy one for someone you love, buy one for yourself or both!

Is there someone on your holiday gift list who has everything? Instead of more STUFF, give them the experience of a creative Workshop or Retreat! Creative experiences make great gifts because they keep on giving for a lifetime. Buy one for someone you love, buy one for yourself or both!
Before choosing a Retreat or Workshop, please be sure to read my Workshop & Retreat Guide to find out if a Workshop or a Retreat experience (or both!) is the best choice for you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions about any of these Retreats or Workshops.

2020 Retreats

WILD RICE RETREAT: EXPLORING LANDSCAPE THROUGH ENCAUSTIC & THE MARK
Wild Rice Retreats combines food, wine, body self-care and gorgeous inspiring landscape to round out their creative expression retreats. Please visit the workshop link below to read more about Wild Rice, view their lovely photo gallery and to find out more about my class.
**SIGN UP FOR THIS RETREAT DURING THE MONTH OF DECEMBER AND RECEIVE $100 OFF PLUS A BOTTLE OF WINE!**
July 12-16
Wild Rice Retreat, Bayfield, WI
WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION, INFORMATION & REGISTRATION
See this post and this post for Retreat Highlights and Student work made in Retreats similar to this one.

IRELAND ARTIST RETREAT: MIXED MEDIA ENCAUSTIC
Created by and for encaustic artists, the Essence of Mulranny Retreats offer state of the art facilities, sweeping coastal and mountain views and miles of inspiring Irish landscape make this retreat a once in a lifetime experience you will draw inspiration from for years. Please visit the links below for Retreat details and photo gallery.
August 1-8
Essence of Muranny, Mulranny, Ireland
WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION, INFORMATION & REGISTRATION
See this post and this gallery for Retreat Highlights and Student work made in Retreats similar to this one.

VERMONT ARTIST RETREAT: EXPLORING LANDSCAPE & THE FIGURE THROUGH PHOTO ENCAUSTIC
I have teamed up with photo encaustic artist, Leah MacDonald to teach this once in a lifetime Retreat in rural Vermont. Lareau Farm Retreat offers comfortable country accommodations, farm to table meals, miles of hiking through meadow, forest, mountain and swimming in the Mad River. Leah and I have planned a wonderful five days photographing the figure and expressing the landscape as well as a few fun local excursions. Please visit the link below for photo galleries and a detailed Retreat description and itinerary.
August 17-28
Lareau Farm Retreat, Waitsfield, VT
WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION, INFORMATION & REGISTRATION

NOLA ARTIST RETREAT: A HISTORIC CEMETERY EXPLORATION THROUGH MIXED MEDIA ENCAUSTIC
A truly unique experience not to be duplicated, I have teamed up with New Orleans based artist and historian, Heather Veneziano to offer an immersive creative exploration of New Orleans extraordinary cemeteries. In addition to cemetery excursions and ample studio time, Heather and I have planned several fun food and creative excursions to New Orleans lesser known inspiring spaces and resources. Please visit the link below for a detailed Retreat description, itinerary and photo gallery.
November 9-13
Paper Machine Studio, New Orleans, LA
WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION, INFORMATION & REGISTRATION

2020 Workshops

MIXED MEDIA ENCAUSTIC COLLAGE
April 18-19
Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton, NJ
WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION, INFORMATION & REGISTRATION
See this post for workshop highlights and student work of past workshops similar to this one.

MIXED MEDIA ENCAUSTIC: FIBER EXPLORATIONS
May 1-3
Schweinfurth Art Center, Auburn, NY
WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION, INFORMATION & REGISTRATION
See this post and this post for workshop highlights and student work of past workshops similar to this one.

MIXED MEDIA ENCAUSTIC: FIBER & STRUCTURE
June 28-July 2
Cullowhee Mountain Arts, Cullowhee, NC
WORKSHOP WEB SITE COMING SOON!
See this post and this post for workshop highlights and student work of past workshops similar to this one.

APPROACHES ON PAPER: ENCAUSTIC & PRINTMAKING
September 17-19
Elise Wagner Studio, Portland, OR
WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION, INFORMATION & REGISTRATION
See this post for workshop highlights and student work of past workshops similar to this one.

MIXED MEDIA ENCAUSTIC: TEXTURE & LAYERS
October 14-16
R&F Paints, Kingston, NY
WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION, INFORMATION & REGISTRATION
See this post and this post for workshop highlights and student work of past workshops similar to this one.

NOLA Artist Retreat: A Historic Cemetery Exploration Through Mixed Media Encaustic

The first thing you notice about New Orleans are the burying grounds – the cemeteries – and they’re a cold proposition, one of the best things there are here. Going by, you try to be as quiet as possible, better to let them sleep. Greek, Roman, sepulchres- palatial mausoleums made to order, phantomesque, signs and symbols of hidden decay – ghosts of women and men who have sinned and who’ve died and are now living in tombs. The past doesn’t pass away so quickly here.
― Bob Dylan

When November 9-13, 2020

Limited to 12 participants!
Level: Beginner to Advanced
$900 includes workshop and most workshop materials (see supply list below)

For Registration, Please Contact: Lorraine Glessner, lorraineglessnerstudio@gmail.com

Payment Payment of 50% of the workshop fee + materials ($450) is due at the time of registration with the remaining 50% ($450) due approximately 6 weeks before the workshop date. Please contact Lorraine for payment details. For Registration, Please Contact: Lorraine Glessner, lorraineglessnerstudio@gmail.com

Where  Paper Machine, NOLA (Approximately a 10 minute drive from the French Quarter)

Who  A collaborative teaching venture with Heather Veneziano & Lorraine Glessner (Scroll down for more about Heather and Lorraine.

Workshop Description
Rebecca Solnit writes, ‘A city always contains more than any inhabitant can know, and a great city always makes the unknown and the possible spurs to the imagination.’
Utilizing the natural luminosity, textural and layering possibilities of encaustic, participants will experiment with mixed media collage, imagery and marks to depict the spirit and essence of the history, stories and craft associated with New Orleans’ unique ‘Cities of the Dead.’ Excursions to New Orleans ethereal cemeteries and field trips to lesser known venues throughout the city are led by historian and artist, Heather Veneziano. Photo recording, journaling, sketching and in situ lectures provide the inspiration from which to develop ideas and areas of focus toward developing your personal artistic voice. Optional individual critiques with both Lorraine and Heather are offered to all participants.
**Please note that participants should be prepared to spend time outside as well as in the studio. In the event that participants are unable to participate in the workshop walks, participants are welcome to opt out and alternative outdoor creative exercises will be provided.

New Orleans is one of the most magical cities in the world. There is something about this city that has a tendency to take hold of you and won’t let go….For many people who move away they are drawn back by something intangible. There is a spirit and deep sense of belonging that the city seems to invoke.
-Richard Bienvenu

All images by Heather Veneziano. Visit her Instagram for more.

Workshop Itinerary

Sunday 5-7pm Orientation
Informal Meet & Greet with Wine, Cheese and Beignets.

Monday 9:30-4:30 Workshop
Heather will lead us on an excursion to St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans, next to the French Quarter. While there, Heather will discuss interesting and inspiring history, stories and lore associated with the cemetery itself and with those buried there. Lorraine will introduce writing and mark making exercises designed to inspire creative expression, participants are invited to respond in situ. Back at the studio in the afternoon, we will recap and expand on the writings and drawings generated from the morning excursion.

Tuesday 9:30-4:30 Workshop, 7:00-9:30pm Optional Field Trip TBA
Heather will lead us on a slightly longer excursion to visit cemeteries at the end of Canal Street and Holt Cemetery, which contains unique grave markers. Plan to stop for lunch, writing, sketching, mark making and stories and head back to the studio when everyone is ready. Back at the studio, both Lorraine and Heather will present slide talks designed to inspire the studio work for the following days.

Wednesday, 9:30-4:30 Workshop, 7:00-9:30pm Optional Field Trip TBA
Lorraine will present encaustic and mixed media demonstrations throughout the day. We will continue with uninterrupted work time for refining drawings and painting, working toward a series and individual discussions with Lorraine and Heather.

Thursday 9:30-4:30 Workshop, 7:00-9:30pm Optional Field Trip TBA
Lorraine will continue with collage, texture, surface manipulation and mark making demos and exercises, encouraging students to develop a personal artistic voice. Personalized individual mentoring sessions with Lorraine and Heather continue throughout the day.

Friday 9:30-4:30 Workshop
Morning work time to complete projects and individual mentoring with Lorraine and Heather. Afternoon project show and tell with the group, clean up and good-byes.

What Else?

  • Color relationships, composition, application, content, proportion, scale as an effective foundation for other painterly information.
  • Learn how to use encaustic’s strengths (layering, transparency, luminosity) to tell your story.
  • Mark making exercises geared toward making simple or complex marks to generate a personal language.
  • The option of an Individual Consultation/Critique discussion with each instructor. Bring a piece of work, a question, a concern, a problem and discuss it with Heather and Lorraine.
  • Guided meditation and planned excursions will relax and open your mind and body to the city’s spirit and essence, helping to support and nurture your unique creative voice.
  • A slide talk with examples of contemporary artists whose work applies the ideas and concepts discussed in the workshop is offered for inspiration.
  • Lots of open studio time to explore and interpret the inspiration gained from the meditations and excursions.

All images by Heather Veneziano. Visit her Instagram for more.

SCROLL DOWN TO SEE images of student work and fun scenes from retreats, hosted and taught by Lorraine and Heather’s preservation, art work and workshops. For more images of past Artist Retreats co-taught by Lorraine visit here, here and here and Lorraine’s Workshop Web Site. Additional blog posts related to artist retreats co-taught by Lorraine are here, here and here.

For Registration, Please Contact: Lorraine Glessner, lorraineglessnerstudio@gmail.com

About Heather & Lorraine

About Heather Veneziano
www.instagram.com/thirdclassrelic
Heather Veneziano is an architectural historian and cultural heritage advisor with the preservation-consulting firm of Gambrel & Peak, a role she has held since June of 2014, as well as the Director of Public Engagement and Development for New Orleans Catholic Cemeteries. In addition, she is also an award winning author and an accomplished editor and contributor to a number of published works focused on cemetery studies and the architecture of the Gulf South. She is also the owner and operator of Arcadia Weaving, a luxury textile company that produces handwoven and environmentally responsible home goods. She has taught studio-based textile courses at the collegiate level, and has exhibited and lectured nationally as well as internationally on her studio practice.
Heather’s expertise is in cultural heritage sites, vernacular architecture, deathscapes, and cemetery studies with a focus on historic preservation and placemaking. She is well versed and experienced in hands-on masonry conservation, digital archiving, project management, and a wide variety of craft-based processes. 
She holds an advanced degree in studio-based craft from the University of the Arts, a Master of Fine Art from the University of Edinburgh, in addition to a Master of Preservation Studies from Tulane University. In 2017, she co-founded the state chapter of the Association of Gravestone Studies and currently serves as co-chair.

Visit Heather’s Instagram for more images of New Orleans and Heather’s art and preservation work.

Yes, it’s the customs, traditions, the music, the food, the architecture, the history, all the different ethnic groups who’ve put their indelible mark on [New Orleans]. And it’s something more. It’s this something that is in the air, that bubbles up from the streets, that silently sings to you in a sultry evening. It’s this indescribable otherness that some have tried to put into words over the decades but somehow manages to escape description.
-Richard Bienvenu

About Lorraine Glessner
lorraineglessner.net
Lorraine Glessner’s love of surface, pattern, markmaking, image and landscape has led her to combine disparate materials and processes such as silk, wood, wax, pyrography, rust, paper and more in her work. Lorraine is a former Assistant Professor at Tyler School of Art, Temple University, a workshop instructor and an award-winning artist. She holds an MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, a BS from Philadelphia University, and an AAS in Computer Graphics from Moore College of Art & Design. She has a diverse art background with skills that include painting, sculpture, graphic design, interior design, textile design, photography, digital imaging and much more. Among her most recent professional achievements is a Second Place award in Sculpture from Art of the State at the State Museum in Harrisburg, PA, a recently completed artist residency at Jentel Foundation and an acquisition by Kelsey-Seybold Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Lorraine’s work is included in the recently released Encaustic Art in the 21st Century by Ashley Rooney and Nuance, a curated book by artist, Michelle Stuart. Lorraine frequently lectures and participates on academic panels at various Conferences including The International Encaustic Conference, SECAC and The College Art Association Annual Conference. Her work is exhibited locally and nationally in galleries, museums, craft centers, schools, libraries, universities, and more. Like her work, Lorraine brings to her teaching a strong interdisciplinary approach, mixed with a balance of concept, process, history, experimentation, problem solving and discovery.

Visit Lorraine’s Web Site for more images of her mixed media encaustic work.

Materials Included: the following list of materials is provided for the student

  • All encaustic paints, encaustic medium, tools and equipment
  • A variety of pigment sticks
  • Sumi ink & other misc. drawing media
  • Misc. drawing papers
  • Paper towels/rags
  • Extra encaustic brushes
  • Stencils and other textures
  • Misc. collage materials

What to bring: the following is a list of materials for the student to bring to the workshop

  • Sketchbook/notebook, pencil or pen for note taking
  • 1-2 drawing media of your choice (pencil, pastel, conte charcoal, oil pastel, Crayon, graphite, felt pen, etc.)
  • Closed toe shoes for safety in the studio and excursions
  • 6-8 wooden painting panels (your preference of 8×8 or 10×10, but no larger or smaller, please) Other suggested substrates are: masonite (coated with encaustic gesso), Ampersand Encausticbord, MultiMedia Art Board. If you decide to bring something other than what is suggested here, it must be rigid and not coated in acrylic or acrylic gesso!!
  • 2-4 actual OR images of your work, digital prints or phone/iPad sharing is fine
  • 5-7 hake or hog’s bristle natural hair brushes in 1-2 inch sizes for encaustic painting (1 brush will be designated your medium brush, so it must be free of color if you are bringing used brushes)
  • Materials for collage (fabric, papers, magazine images, photos, etc.)
  • Digital Camera or smart phone or point and shoot camera or DSLR

Optional Materials Smock, any encaustic paint color or pigment stick color you favor, Iwatani torch with extra butane, any tool or material for any technique that you normally employ while working with encaustic, textured objects and/or sharp ended tool for pressing into/incising/writing/drawing into wax, 1-2 inspiring books to share with the class.

Excursion Equipment Recommendations

  • Comfortable closed toe shoes
  • Butt pack or small backpack
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Light rainwear or disposable ponchos
  • Hat
  • Large water bottle
  • Bug repellant
  • Sun block
  • For portable art supply ideas, visit Lorraine’s Amazon Store

Accommodations
The French Quarter/Marigny/Bywater are the closest neighborhoods to the studio. The following is a list of recommended accommodations in those areas.

French Quarter: There are dozens of hotels and bed and breakfasts within the French Quarter and so we recommend searching through Trip Advisor or a similar website for a property that best suits your taste and budget. A few of our favorites across various price points are:
Hotel Monteleone https://hotelmonteleone.com
Place d’Armes Hotel  https://www.placedarmes.com
Hotel Provincial https://www.hotelprovincial.com

Marigny Neighborhood:
Royal Frenchmen Hotel and Bar
http://www.royalfrenchmenhotel.com/
Lamonthe House Hotel https://www.frenchquarterguesthouses.com

Bywater Neighborhood:
Macarty House https://macartyhouse.com
The Mazant https://www.mazant.com

Cancellation In the event that you need to cancel your workshop, please notify Lorraine at least 30 days prior to the start of the workshop and your deposit will be refunded. No refunds will be available for cancellations occurring less than 30 days from the start of the workshop.

Food There will be water and coffee available in the studio, however, you may want to bring other preferred beverages. Other than granola bars, there will be no food served during the workshop, you will have to bring lunch and other preferred snacks. There is a kitchen at the studio, equipped with a mini fridge for food storage.

For Registration, Please Contact: Lorraine Glessner, lorraineglessnerstudio@gmail.com

There are certain cities and certain areas of certain cities
where the official language is dreams.
Venice is one. And Paris.
And New Orleans, the city that dreams stories.

Andrei Codrescu

Images of student work and fun scenes from retreats, hosted and taught by Lorraine and Heather’s preservation, art work and workshops. For more images of past Artist Retreats co-taught by Lorraine visit here, here and here and Lorraine’s Workshop Web Site. Additional blog posts related to artist retreats co-taught by Lorraine are here, here and here.

5 More Essential Portable Art Materials

Because of my busy workshop schedule and love of hiking, I’m totally into the portability and versatility of my art materials. In this article, I share with you 5 of my favorites.

Summer is upon us, vacation plans have been laid and new memories to be journaled, drafted, sketched and painted are all in the near future. Because of my busy workshop schedule and love of hiking, I’m totally into the portability and versatility of my favorite art materials. I also like to keep things very simple while traveling so as to not add a lot of weight to my pack as well as limit myself to only a few art materials- I’m a firm believer that restrictions breed creativity.

Even if you aren’t a traveler, but perhaps an artist short on time, having portable, lightweight, inexpensive and versatile art materials on hand will offer you more opportunities to make art, even if it’s just while in the waiting room at the dentist’s office. Also, be sure to read 7 Essential Portable Art Materials, for additional add-ons to your travel bag.

To purchase these materials, click on the title link, which will take you directly to the product in my Portable Art Supplies Amazon shop. I have also included some pics of things I’ve made using each material. Most are sketches on the road or on the trail- they’re not masterpieces, but give you a good idea of what each product can do. Also, because of the portability and convenience factor, I focus on water media only in this article.

  • MISULOVE Watercolor Paint Set This folding, fairly lightweight paint set is made to be portable and does not disappoint. I have many portable watercolor sets that were expensive and run out of color too quickly. I’ve been using this one heavily for about 6 months and I’m nowhere near running out of color. With those expensive sets, I was limited on color and always seemed to be wanting a color not included in the set. As you can see, this set offers many colors to choose from and they paint very bright and very rich with an excellent range of translucency depending on how much water is used. The folding aspect of the set allows me to hold it in one hand while painting in the other for those times where there is just no room to spread out. Last, my water brush fits snugly in the slot so that I’m never scrambling to find it in the black hole of my back pack. I have the 42 set of colors, but it also comes in 18, 25 and 33 color sets, which are available through sellers other than Amazon. The mini paintings pictured below were all made en plein air with this set.
  • Meeden Watercolor Tin I love working with gouache-especially the white, which I add to everything. The tubes can be heavy to carry around, so I squirt a little color into the half pans in this tin and away I go. The paint does eventually dry, but gouache can be revived with a little water so it’s ok. These tin boxes are lightweight, include a mixing tray and the half pans are removable for easy cleaning. The paintings below were all made with dried gouache in my portable tin on watercolor block.

Hahnemühle Watercolor Book Anyone who has worked with Hahnemühle papers knows they are quality. I had always worked on a watercolor block, which I still do, but the A6 size of this book and the landscape orientation of it is just perfection for me. The paper is smooth and just lovingly accepts any water or drawing media I put in contact with it. While hiking, I often paint and then quickly run off to the next painting spot with damp pages. The band closure keeps the book closed and allows the pages to dry flat. This book also comes in an A5 landscape size, which is just slightly too large and heavy for me, but may be a more suitable size for others.

Tombow Dual Brush Pen in Black A recent workshop student of mine introduced me to these pens and I’m totally hooked! Its watercolor in a pen with a fine and broad sized brush and water-based ink that will dilute and blend with water. I love this pen for its versatility and if I’m really limited for space in my pack, it’s all I really need. These pens come in many colors and I’ve ordered a few and found that the blacks and darker colors tend to blend a bit better than the lighter ones. Also good to note is I’ve been told that the inks will eventually fade, which is just heartbreaking. Drawings made with these pens should be kept locked away in your sketchbook away from light.

  • Therm-a-Rest Z Seat Cushion It’s not an art material, but it’s definitely an essential, especially for aging bodies. I’m still in ok shape, but I can no longer sit on a rock for an hour and paint without feeling a bit cramped. This cushion folds to a neat bundle and is so lightweight you barely feel it in your pack. It’s also thermal and will protect your bottom from cold and moisture. I love it so much, I also got one for my car!

Workshop Highlight: Encaustic Collagraph & Line

This is an experimental, fun, why-not-try-it workshop exploring printmaking, line and encaustic.

When

August 1-3, 2019, 10am-4pm each day

Where

Elise Wagner’s Studio in Portland, OR

WHERE CAN I SIGN UP!

Please visit this link to sign up for the workshop. I look forward to working with you!

Basic Description

This is an experimental, fun, why-not-try-it workshop exploring printmaking, line and encaustic. Utilizing the natural luminosity, textural and layering possibilities of encaustic in combination with creating collagraphs utilizing found linear materials on fabric, Encaustiflex and paper, participants will experiment with a wide variety of innovative materials and exercises to inspire expressive marks while also developing a personal artistic voice. The application of thin layers of encaustic for collage, covering a board with fabric, drawing with horse hair, branding (creating marks with heated metal and wood burning tools), the use of stitch as a mark as well as the conceptual use of transparency and layers is also discussed. A bonus in this workshop is the opportunity to create your own grids, laces and lace like forms using free motion sewing machine embroidery on water soluble stabilizer-these sewn grids may also be basis for creating a collagraph. Optional individual critiques with Lorraine will be offered to all participants.

Who should take this workshop?

  • You are a semi-beginner to advanced painter (encaustic or other) who loves experimenting with materials, mixed media, alternative processes and line.
  • You are interested in what the grid can do for your work, but don’t want to make gridded paintings. NOTE: You won’t make a gridded painting in this workshop unless you want to do so, but understanding the concept of the grid as a foundational structure will make your paintings stronger. Guaranteed.
  • You want to express yourself in a more meaningful way with your work.
  • You want to create consistency, a personal voice, your own mark, in your paintings and body of work as a whole.
  • Your creative process is stagnating and you need to learn a new process, idea or technique.
  • You love materials and innovative ways to use them.
  • You dislike drawing and/or you’re afraid of it.

What happens in this workshop? What will I learn?

  • Marking, drawing, making marks with fun exercises involving music, text, folding/cutting paper, collage, fire, found materials are sure to relax you so that you don’t even know you’re drawing and are designed for you to generate ideas, content and a personal mark.
  • Experimenting with the new, fun material, Encaustiflex.
  • Utilizing a printing press to experiment with the magic of the collagraph utilizing found and alternative materials, etc.
  • Experiment with line ideas using innovative techniques and materials such as horsehair, pyrography (making marks with heated metal and tools), stitching by hand or machine, Solvy (water soluble embroidery stabilizer) in combination with encaustic.
  • In depth discussion, brainstorming and slide talk about line and the grid-what it means in art, what it does, how to generate it, how to use it.
  • What the concepts of good design are and how to apply these ideas to fine art.
  • Effective and productive doodling.
  • Experiment with encaustic tools such as a tjanting, incising into the wax, creating grids and lines using masks, paintsticks and encaustic friendly drawing media.
  • How you can create your own process to make a cohesive body of work and how that process can relate to and enhance content in that work.
  • Learn what found drawings are and how you can use them as a tool for inspiration and content generation.

What kind of work will I make?

Please enjoy the work example pics below from participants who have previously taken this workshop as well as images from Elise’s fabulous studio. Please visit additional blog posts here and here and here and here for more information related to this workshop.

WHERE CAN I SIGN UP!

Please visit this link to sign up for the workshop. I look forward to working with you!

The Evolution Of A Mark, Part Two

Drawing is not what one sees but what one can make others see.
-Edgar Degas

Just about this time last year, I wrote The Evolution Of A Mark, in which I trace back to how and why I make the marks I make today…specifically speaking to the gouache paintings I’ve been developing on and off for many years and just recently got back into working again. Not just contemplating my navel, I’m hoping that by retracing how I got from there to here, I can help other artists look at their own work histories and trace back to what it is that sets their work apart. Once that thing is recognized, it can be developed.

My first post left off at gracefully closing the door on my textile design career and   blessedly opening a window into my fine art career at about my mid-20’s. I wanted a career in fine art, but I wasn’t a painter yet so I started by going back to my roots in textiles. I began by making art quilts that combined all of my loves at the time-photography, hand/machine sewing, found objects, beading, drawing, painting-pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. My modest success making and showing them got me into graduate school with a fellowship no less! I included some detail shots below…be kind, these quilts are OLD and so are the images.

Celebration detail, Portrait, Flower detail, Portrait detail, Flower detail, All: Hand and machine embroidered, quilted, beaded, fabric paints, found objects, photo transfers, fabric/paper collage, found fabrics

My work in grad school was (and still is) rooted in drawing connections between the earth and body. How I make these connections changed many times over the years with various explorations, but back then I was interested in making those connections through visual patterns. I started with art quilts but quickly dove into line work and using the sewing machine as a drawing tool. I was captivated by the sewn line as well as by the thread itself. There was something so simple and lovely in the pile of cut thread scraps on my sewing table that I started to use them in the quilts and as inspiration for drawings. So enthralled was I by the thread, I eventually abandoned the fabric base and just focused on making quilts out of the thread alone. My explorations led me to discover the magic of Solvy, a water-soluble embroidery stabilizer and I was hooked. My process was to cut threads from many spools and place them in a pile, then sew them together by following the flow of the clumps as I arranged them. I was so excited that this process developed from the basic process of sewing and this is where my interest in process as a form of art making was born. The sewn thread pieces resemble pelts, grass, hair, skin, which to me, spoke visually of both earth and body…another exciting thing that told me I was on the right track to combining process, materials and content.

Purity detail, Eleuthera, 12×12 inches, Purity, 6×4 feet each panel, Purity detail, White, 9×12 inches, Beginning, 2×3 feet, Rise, 4×5 feet, Beginning detail, Rise detail. All: Rust and Eco Stained fabrics, paint, machine quilted, embroidered, silk and cotton fabric, rayon thread.

From here, I made three 4×6 foot quilted ‘paintings’ for my thesis show that were comprised of the thread pieces, stained and painted fabrics, drawing and painting (pictured above). At the same time, I was also working on a series of drawings that started by manipulating and photocopying the threads, then using graphite paper to transcribe the photocopied images to another paper. The photocopy was placed on top, and the graphite paper underneath, I would then trace the photocopied image over and over without seeing the drawing I was creating underneath. The drawing created resembled a dense tangle of clumpy swirls, which referenced roots, veins, water systems and various other underlying channels integral to life.

Thread drawing photocopy detail, Clump 1, graphite on print paper, 22×30, Thread drawing photocopy, Thread drawing photocopy detail, Clump 2, graphite on print paper, 22×30

The repetitive act of tracing and sewing the threads embedded in my psyche and I found myself instinctively using it whenever I was drawing. I’ve created many series using this mark and it has varied over the years as you can see in the gallery below. Even with its variations, I’m pretty much stuck with it…or it’s stuck with me. See more of these paintings on my web site here and paintings on plexiglass here.

January in the Rockies 5, 9×12 inches, One Dark Cloud, 20×16 inches, January in the Rockies 3, 9×12 inches, Rain Over the Hill With Lake, 20×16 inches, Frost Fog, 16×20 inches

I hope you enjoyed this article and it’s helped you in some way. I always love hearing from you, so please feel free to comment (comment section is located in the upper left sidebar of this article). If you’re intrigued by line, want to find your personal mark or are just searching for some cool ways to add line to your encaustic paintings, my workshop at the encaustic conference is just for you! Read about it here and please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Stay tuned for my April blog posts-a two part series on the self-made residency I completed in January-February. I’ve gotten loads of questions about how to start one, where to stay, what to take, etc. and I’ll explain it all. I look forward to sharing this information with you and also sharing the work I produced during my residency. If you can’t wait, visit my Instagram for a sneak peak. See you in April, Happy Spring!

Workshop Highlight: Fiber and Structure

Since 2001 I have been combining encaustic and fiber or fiber related techniques in my work. In fact, I actually initiated the practice of combining these two highly compatible and versatile mediums. With an emphasis on mixed-media, this workshop is specially created to address the interests of artists working in fiber and fiber related techniques.

Where Do I Sign Up?

Jeff Hirst Studio
Chicago, IL
Workshop Web Site and Registration

Since 2001 I have been combining encaustic and fiber or fiber related techniques in my work. In fact, I actually initiated the practice of combining these two highly compatible and versatile mediums. The techniques I used in my work at that time and continue to use are all self taught and/or innovated by me. I continue to experiment, mix it all up and encourage exploration and a ‘just go for it’ attitude in all of my workshops. For more about my early work and other blog posts in which I reference my early explorations see (in order of relevance) this post, this post, this post and this post ..or just scroll down for more information and to see some of my paintings employing the techniques and material explorations covered in this workshop. See this post for student work from this and other encaustic and fiber related workshops.

Updated Workshop Description: With an emphasis on mixed-media, this workshop is specially created to address the interests of artists working in fiber and fiber related techniques such as quilting, weaving and surface design. This workshop will cover the basics of working in encaustic as well as encaustic application techniques to enhance or create structure and texture, color mixing, layers, surface manipulation, and the creation of pattern using stencils, candy molds and tjaps. Participants will also be introduced to alternative materials such as drawing with horse hair and water soluble embroidery film combined with machine and hand stitching. Innovative surface design techniques such as deconstructed screen printing (without harmful dyes), rust printing and indigo will also be introduced. Working two or three dimensionally, participants are encouraged to develop a personal vocabulary and explore current content interests by combining the infinite possibilities of encaustic in combination with fiber structures, surfaces and stitch.

What You Will Learn

See this post and read both workshop descriptions in the post as well as see lots of additional eye candy of the techniques covered in this workshop.

Additionally…

  • Because Jeff has generously offered the use of his printing tables, we will explore the innovative technique, Deconstructed Screenprinting..a very loose, super fun printing method that creates multi-layered, multi-colored textures on fabric. I have practiced this technique and have adapted a way to do it without using harsh textile dyes and chemicals. These fabrics are works of art in and of themselves, but can also be used as a wonderfully inspired basis for your encaustic paintings. Scroll down for images of my paintings utilizing these fabrics as a base.
  • Covering a board with fabric or paper..not just applying to the front of a board, but wrapping all the way around..activating the sides of a cradled board and utilizing book corners so that your painting becomes an all around beautiful object.
  • We will create 3 dimensional sewn drawings using the amazing water soluble embroidery stabilizer, Solvy. These sewn constructions can be used to collage into paintings, stiffened with wax for sculptural possibilities and much more.
  • The application of thin layers of encaustic for collage and a discussion of the conceptual use of layers, pattern and repetition.
  • Much more…if you haven’t done so yet, be sure to visit this blog post for more of what will be covered in this workshop. I look forward to working with you!

Where Do I Sign Up?

Jeff Hirst Studio
Chicago, IL
Workshop Web Site and Registration

Images of My Encaustic Work and Additional Student Work