Friday, 22 August 2014

Art is You Mixed Media Retreats Down Under

Big title but even bigger experience! For the first time Art is You is holding workshops in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. Right now it's on in Vic but last week was NSW's turn. Four fabulous days of workshops, special events and Art Trunk at Mercure Rafferty's Resort, situated on the shores of the Central Coast's beautiful Lake Macquarie, which is four times the size of Sydney Harbour.
With experience of running 11 years of Art is You in the US with Ellen Legare, Australian Sallianne McClelland, definitely a local girl, has introduced this amazing art retreat to Australia. Sal has brought four North American artists - Seth Apter, Andrea Matus deMeng, Michael deMeng and Kecia Deveny. Brilliant people. Also there's a bunch of Australian artists, some going to the three states, others teaching at their local events. In NSW we met Keith Lo Bue, Jen Crossley, Lovely Linda Lucas, Holly Eva and Jane Davenport. My classes were with Andrea, Seth, Michael and Keith. All fabulous and eye opening. The only disappointment was that enrolments were a bit low, but on the upside, we got fantastic classes and didn't have to share our teachers with too many other people.  Here's a little commentary and quite a lot of photos.
My first day was spent with Andrea Metus deMeng from Vancouver, beautiful, gentle and oh, so talented. Here is Andrea, Kaye Bicknell and Anne Squire. We are Collaging the Translucent, using transparent items to build up a picture. I used a photo of my father, Bruce, an artist and flower grower, and made this object, not quite finished yet.
My second day was with Seth Apter, from New York, and an artist I have been following and emailing for years. A great treat to finally meet him! The class was the Mixed Media Dossier and as I had never done much in the way of painting I was slightly apprehensive about using my wonderful Golden acrylics in a variety of mixed media techniques for creating layers, texture, and dimension. It turned out to be an exhilarating experience and Seth was a joy to be with. As I had expected, of course.
These are the metamorphosis of my pages, starting top left as virginal, and going clockwise until they were gleaming and quite amazingly transformed. Here we are with our finished Mixed Media Dossiers - Meg, Kaye, Carol, Seth, Linda and Annette. I took all the pics on my iPad, so they are fuzzy. Should have used the iPhone...
 Day three was with Michael deMeng, Vancouverite, and another person I've been following for years. I wasn't surprised to find that Michael in the flesh is just as wonderful and crazy as Michael online. And like the others, generous and inspiring and encouraging. The class was to make a Patron Saint of Discarded Objects, a subject I found daunting but impossible to ignore. I took a bunch of bits and pieces and with Michael's encouragement I've started my Patron Saint. It happens to be an elephant I've painted purple so I'm not sure where it's going next but it will evolve. The elephant may not stay purple. Who knows? The purple is not traditionally deMengian but it has a long way to go.
There was an evening class on day three and I've pinched the description - "Let found-object jeweler Keith Lo Bue take you into the world of submerging organic materials into pools of epoxy and polyester resins, learning the tips and tricks to get fascinating and beautiful one-of-a-kind imagery." This was great fun, and the three hour class just flew by. It was so good that I didn't remember to take photos but next morning found this spoon that I'd embedded with some tiny keys. I think I'm in love with resin... The pliers are keeping the spoon level.
Day four was spent with Keith again, Forging, which I'd done before but wanted to get better at whacking wire with a hammer.  I actually finished something completely in this class and I came away very pleased with myself. Thanks Keith, for a wonderful day.
I think the rest of my photos are of The Tribe. It was sad to leave them, though I was so tired that I may not have survived another day. Absolutely so worth it though!
This is my personal tribe: Hope Nesmith and Meg Mitsuhasi Nakagawa, Meg my housemate and Hope our very generous driver. Hope is a Central Coast weaver and jewellery maker and Meg is a weaver from Nelson, NZ. Such wonderful friends...
The Welcoming Committee: Jen Crossley, Lovely Linda Lucas, and Sallianne McClelland, without whom nothing would happen. Ready to welcome, hand out the hand made name tags and other fabulous gifts. A lovable lot!
The Crew: Max in front with Sal, (second row) Keith, Kecia, Jen, Michael, (back row) Jane, Andrea, Seth and Linda.
You can see what a serious event this was. Jane, Michael and Linda about to savage Seth!
Smiling but really sad to say goodby. Jen Crossley, Meg and Lovely Linda.
And this is where it all happened. On the shores of Lake Macquarie, with pelicans and kookaburras keeping watch and really, being a great advertisment for the beautiful NSW Central Coast. Where I'm lucky enough to live.

Right now Art is You is on in Melbourne and next week will move to Brisbane. Not too late to go to Brisbane if you think you'd like to. Thank you Sallianne for having the courage to bring this roadshow to Australia and many thanks to all the teachers.