Carey Institute is on the campus of the University of British Columbia. It’s a beautiful location, on a peninsula surrounded by woods, hiking trails and beaches. I found this out AFTER our class….we were all too busy painting to do much exploring. Although our hosts introduced us to authentic Chinese food and bubble tea.
We had a group of 16 students, some from Vancouver BC and surrounding area, but also some that traveled from Alberta for the workshop.
We had so much fun and made such good work. Here are 50 pictures for you to see!
Click on one image to make it bigger, then follow the arrows for the next picture. When you are done with the first batch, then go to the next. There are 3 batches!
Preparations for this 4-day workshop are getting me excited! September is my favorite month to be in the mountains here. The weather is cooler but more predictably sunny, the bugs are fewer, and every plant and animal is putting for a last burst of beauty and wholeness before the early mountain snows and cold winds push them back beneath the surface. High mountain summers are brief and beautiful.
We”ll be brushing up on drawing and watercolor skills in the morning, and using those skills to record our high mountain excursions in the afternoon, the easy way: we’ll be shuttled by van to places our resident naturalists choose for us. When it’s time for dinner we’ll be driven back to the Learning Center for a good meal and a warm bed.
Recently I’ve re-discovered my love of figure drawing. July 6th I was invited to draw portraits of visitors to the Whatcom Museum here in Bellingham, in conjunction with the Ray Turner show “Population.” I brought my easel, a 6B pencil, sketch book and kneaded eraser, and drew 10 quick portraits in 2 hours. I was exhausted but satisfied.
I’ve also been attending 2-1/2 hour life drawing sessions at a local art school, Bellingham Art. Here is one drawing:
Here’s a new banner to hang over the sanctuary exit of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Manasquan NJ.
The symbol is of a butterfly, resurrected from the dark of the cocoon into a thing of great beauty. Maybe the sanctuary is like a cocoon, resurrecting us into things of beauty, ready to be servants in the world.
Commissioned by Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia’s senior class of 2012, these red banners will complement and add to the set commissioned last year. I just got back from photographing them, in the same place as last year, an office building with lots of tall open spaces with convenient balconies. In my photos the colors never come out exactly like the real colors of the silk, but this gives a fair idea. I see the colors as less orangey, a deeper scarlet, and more nuanced. You’ll just have to wait and see them yourselves!
I’m honored to be making another set of banners for Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia this year. The graduating class of 2012, LTSP, has chosen to commission a pair of banners to continue the set ordered last year by the class of 2011.
Last year’s banners were also in pairs: Green, purple, and gold/white. You can see two of them in the picture below.
Here’s a peek into the process:
I start with white silk pinned to a wooden frame the size of the banner, which my husband has made. This frame is 16 feet long and 45 inches wide. We set it up in the living room and adjacent shop area, after moving all the furniture away.
First I experiment with the colors I’d like to use, see how they mix together. Then I mix up a batch big enough to cover all the silk.
I use techniques similar to watercolor painting when I do these nice loose silk paintings. The silk is made damp first, so that the dyes will move and blend into each other softly. Then I apply the dye with sponge brushes.
After the silk is completely dry, usually over night, I remove it from the frame, lay it over newsprint paper, and roll it up in the paper.
Here you can see the whole first red banner, with paper underneath, extending from the living room into our shop.
Next I roll the silk and paper up together, drill a hole into the top of the roll (avoiding the silk of course), and stick it into a piece of stove pipe.
The silk roll then hangs vertically down in the center of the stove pipe. I top the pipe off with newspaper and a towel as a lid.
I carry the stove pipe outside and put it into a big pot full of water, with a propane burner underneath. After sealing the pot to the stove pipe with aluminum foil and masking tape I light the fire. The water boils, making steam. The moist heat chemically bonds the dyes to the silk.
The silk steams for 4 hours. After letting it cool for a while I bring the pipe back into the house and unroll the silk. Usually the colors are brighter after they are steamed, so it’s always a pleasure to see what’s inside. Very much like opening a potter’s kiln, to see what the new pots look like!
For these banners, I cut the bottoms into an inverted arch, to match the arches in their new home. Then the hems are hand-stitched, so I can control the tension of the thread. This way they hang better.
All that’s left now is to finish the hemming, pack them into cardboard tubes, and send them off!
Here is a mural I completed for the entryway of Trinity Lutheran Church, Coeur d’Alene Id. in 2008. The four arched panels are 5.5 feet tall by 3.5 feet wide each. The three panels above depict a small quiet pool with a waterfall that I used to frequent in the Cascade Mountains, at Holden Village. I considered it a sacred place.
The first panel, seen here, is an image of Lake Coeur d’Alene, and is closest to the main door of the church.
I designed this panel to have an outward, rather than inward, view. If I were to title this panel alone it would be”All Water Carries the Sacred” or “Go out with Good Courage.” But all four panels together are called “Come to the Water.”
Someone at the church took a couple of pictures of all the panels together, and spliced them. It was the only way to get an image of all four panels together after they were installed.
WELL. You may be wondering how big a STUDIO I have, in order to make such big paintings? At the time we were renting a house from a friend who had an attic studio. It was good to have a space, and I could stand straight up right in the middle of the room.