Thursday, February 24, 2011

Landscape Class at Linda Van Alstyne's

My class at Linda's went really well. I love teaching at her home studio. The atmosphere is so relaxed, the view out the sliding doors is beautiful, and we are surrounded by Linda's wonderful felt. I also have her as a ready assistant. All of this is in addition to my getting to take a mini vacation from home. I sleep so well in her guest room with the big old bed that needs a stool to climb up into, and I get fed gourmet food by her loving husband. I am just a tad jealous of all that. But the best part is that I get to spend a lot of time with my one of my good friends!
The students were all such nice women and the pieces that they made were wonderful. Here is the group with their pieces.

I was happy to have two of the women from the last class that I taught there come back with their unfinished pieces on the second day to get more advice on how to proceed with the needle felting.
Here is Nan's piece after the last class...
 and at the end of this weekends class.
And here is Betty's.

The changes to Betty's piece were very subtle and are more apparent than can be seen here.
Here is a photo of the ladies working on their layouts on the first day.
And in no particular order, here are photos of their pieces at the end of day one and then day two.
Here is Joann's.  Inspired by a photo from her honeymoon in I think Aruba.

Here is Eileen's. Her picture so reminded me of our place up in New Hampshire.

Her is Rita's. Poor Rita had a hard time letting go of her desire for precision; much like my sister Beth. But she worked through that and a serious lack of confidence to produce a nice piece that her family could tell was of the cliffs on Martha's Vineyard.

Connie did a photo of her home and yard. I don't like to have student's do buildings because the organic nature of the felt is more conducive to depicting natural objects, but Connie had a strong art background so I felt she would be successful...and she certainly was. 

 And here is Donna's piece.

 I find that one of the most challenging things about teaching art is when the student has a style that is very different from my own. It can be hard to figure out how to guide a student who sees things in such a different way. I want the pieces to be truly the students work not mine. I feel that my job is to act as a guide to get the piece to what the student envisions. Donna is a graphic artist who uses a very different palette than I do. I hope I did not stifle her vision with my suggestions.
Linda also tackled a new piece when she was not helping me out. I was so happy to see that she struggled less, and was not so critical of what she was doing. I didn't get a shot of hers before she did the needling.

Linda had Monday off and invited me to stay over another night so we could play and I could pack up at my leisure.  We made some small samples of collage felt...and did lots of talking and sharing of ideas. It was a fantastic weekend! Thank you Linda!

Lost time.

It is hard to believe that it has been three weeks since my last post. I have been busy but I also lost a few days to illness. I have not been really sick physically in many years so it was really strange to me. It was a stomach thing and I slept for two days and was not up to snuff for about four days after that. Trying to get caught up and back on schedule is really hard for me. Now I think Dad has the same thing, poor man. I am trying to take care of him but he doesn't accept much help generally and no babying when he is sick (unlike most males when they are ill :). I also have been dealing with an injured chicken. My Miss Lucy had a head injury, possibly caused by Fred in his overzealous mating. I had to bring her in the house and I don't know if I will be able to have her join the group again. I bring her out to a separate cage in the tractor during the day but she needs to come in at night for the warmth since she won't get on the roost with the others anymore.  I really don't want a house chicken, she is lucky she is so sweet.
I am really happy that I started this blog since it really is serving its purpose in helping me to remember things. Since I am taking more pictures and they have dates I can see what I have been spending my time on. It helps me to feel less confused and lost...maybe more in control. I see from the photos that the first week since the last post was when I started dyeing some things to bring to Linda Van Alstyne's for the landscape class I was to teach there. When I teach at places that do not sell wool I bring all the fibers that I use to create my own landscapes. It can be hard to find just the right colors when using commercially dyed fibers. I dye my things so that the colors are uneven and muted just for landscapes.

These locks are from a Border Leicester fleece that I bought this fall, dyed in the grease. I was so happy with the results.
I also dyed some silk fabric for some future underwater images that I plan on making. 

My sister Beth wanted to start another landscape and wanted to do it here so she could ask advice if she needed it. I can't wait to see it after she does the needle felting. 

On my way up to teach at Linda's I stopped in Albany to see our exhibit at the Davey Jones gallery. I took lots of photos. Here are a few.

Since this post is long I think I will write the post about the landscape class at Linda's later. I hate playing catch up!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Teaching another wonderful landscape class

The class I taught this weekend went really well. Saturday was a good day for me as far as my memory and word retrieval goes, and I felt pretty put together. I spent a lot of time last week preparing for the class when I was not doing more snow removal.
I don't remember ever having weather events disrupting normal life for such a long stretch of time. So many roofs have been collapsing around here it is scary. We got most of the snow off the lower roofs but the high ones still have massive amounts. I jump at every creak the house makes. This week was somewhat warmer so people started having problems with roofs leaking. Having a roof over one's head is taking on a whole new aspect. Driving is also still messed up by all the snow. The lanes are so narrow and the banks are so high that sight lines are terrible. My Dad got the first dent in his new van by cutting a corner on a driveway too tight. The compacted snow is like concrete. And more snow is on its way...sigh.
I did do just a bit of felting. I finished fulling my fish dish. He still needs eyes and some tweaking but I kind of like the way the colors blended. I am thinking that the fish might look nice with some beading.

The fish that I put in the Huyck exhibit is displayed by being hung on the wall. It looks cool like that and kind of reminds me of the 'trophy' fish. I didn't get to go to the opening on Friday since I knew I would be too tired to teach the next day but here is are a couple of photos that were posted on facebook. I hope to get there soon.

See the red dot next to my underwater painting? 'Seeing red' is developing a new meaning for me. :)
I also took time to wet felt another landscape. I find it helps to get me ready to teach the landscape class if I have made one just a few days before. It is not done (that is becoming a theme) but I can see some potential if I fix some things and as usual I learned some things. I think that learning is one of the driving forces in my life.

One of the things I am learning is how rewarding teaching can be. I get to meet some fantastic women, talk art and felt, and feel like I have something to give. I heard some wonderful things during my class. Things like "this is so much fun" and "I can't believe I made that!" or 'I am very happy with it" make me feel good. I also love to hear the students figure out for themselves what might improve a painting. But the best is when they come in on the second day saying that they saw things in the world around them that they never noticed before. If I can get students to really 'see' I feel like I have given them something that goes way beyond the ability to create a nice picture. I also felt honored to have the very talented fellow teacher and feltmaker Jean Gauger take my class. She took some great shots of the class, some of which I am sharing here.








Barbara decided not to do a landscape. She created an illustration for a story instead.

We were all pretty tired by the end of the weekend but I think every one was happy.