Spring 2019 Classes - a few spots left!

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Blockprinting in SALEM - I am teaching my Intro to Blockprinting class at Circle of Stitches in Salem, MA May 1, 7-9pm. This is a great location with plenty of parking and would be a fun activity to break up your week. Register at Circle of Stitches site today!.

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Visual Journaling in NEWBURYPORT - We have been having some fuunnn over in Newburyport on Saturday mornings. There are two more classes left this spring - Saturday mornings 9-11am.

Two more classes to choose from:

  • May 18 - Self Portrait Vision Board

  • June 15 - Intro to Visual Journaling

NAA has set the price very low for these fun classes so there is not going to be a better time to try a class! Sign up over at the NAA Education page on their site.

I hope you can join me this Spring for some creativity!

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Upcoming classes - Join Me!

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I am excited to be teaching this spring in a few new locations as well as some familiar spots. Have a look and sign up!

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Art Classes in Newburyport - I am teaching a four class series on Saturday mornings 9-11am once a month between March and June. These four classes are offered as a bundle together to build up to creating your own collage materials in order to get started (or more deeply involved with) visual journaling! NAA has set the price very low for these fun classes. The details:

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  • March 23 - Gelli Printing - class almost full

  • April 20 - Intro to Bookbinding

  • May 18 - Self Portrait Vision Board

  • June 15 - Intro to Visual Journaling

Blockprinting in Amesbury - I am teaching my Intro to Blockprinting class at Melissa Partridge’s studio at The Artists Muse in Amesbury April 6, 4-6pm. We will have music, snacks, time to create and lots of fun! Bring a group of friends and grab dinner at one of the great restaurants nearby after! Register at Melissa’s site.

Gelli Printing in Lawrence - April 25, May 2, and May 9, I am teaching a three-session Thursday morning Gelli Printing class at Essex Art Center in Lawrence. This center is very easy to access from the highway and has wonderful energy. Each meeting is 2.5 hours and will allow students to work in depth with their gelli plates. Register with EAC here.

I hope you can join me this Spring for some creativity!

2019 Word of the Year - plus upcoming classes and exhibits!

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Do you choose a word of the year? I did for the first time in 2018 - Flow. I loved the opportunity to set goals for the year ahead and use this word throughout the year in my art.

My 2019 word? FOCUS … I want to:

  • Focus my attention on art and projects that give me joy (and less on distractions)

  • Focus on my health and nurturing my family

  • Focus on going deeper with how spirituality plays a role in my life

  • Focus on connections

Coming up for 2019 I have a few things scheduled already - exhibits, workshops, and more!

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Join me and yogi Elizabeth Brown for a weekend yoga retreat to prepare for the new year. As a part of this retreat, I am teaching a bookbinding class for us to make a journal to prepare for and reflect in throughout 2019. We will use special papers that I have collected (and you can bring meaningful papers from home) to build this special book. I’ll provide the lesson and some time for reflection after one of Elizabeth’s amazing classes. Four yoga classes, chef on site for all meals provided, amazing connections to be made.

Want to come? Email me or Elizabeth@steepedingrace.com directly… it will really be an awesome way to kick off the year!

Plus, I have scheduled four classes in Newburyport at Newburyport Art Association. You can find more about those on my workshop page. Registration is open and I’ve heard people are signing up already, so now is the time to plan this into your schedule! Link to sign up here.

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I will be scheduling other classes this year soon. Join my mailing list to be informed of new class announcements as they come up throughout the year!

I’m also in four planned exhibits and I am working on adding a few more. The details:

Crows, Group Show at Essex Art Center, Lawrence, MA. RECEPTION 1/11 5-7pm

New Members Show 2019 at Newburyport Art Association, Newburyport, MA RECEPTION 1/12 7-9pm

Printmaking Group Show 2019 at Newburyport Art Association, Newburyport, MA June 25 - July 7, 2019.

Three Women, Small Group Show (with my mom and sister!) at Tannery Pond Gallery, North Creek, NY July 27 - August 29, 2019. 

What are your plans for this coming year? I’d love to hear your word of the year! Send me a note!

At the Waters Edge, Cold Wax and Oil Painting

At the Waters Edge, Cold Wax and Oil Painting

Space Zine - Free Online Tutorial

I decided to film a quick tutorial about how I made my Space Zine as a way to share the news that I have an “online tutorials” page new on my website here.

I am planning to share lots of resources and tutorials here this coming year. Plus, you can always subscribe to my You Tube Channel to be notified of the latest video releases. I made 13 videos this year (!) and hope to make at least that many again in 2019.

If you try the zine idea let me know what you think. I’d love to see what you make, please tag me over on Instagram!

Who likes to make holiday cards (and gift tags)? December classes at two locations!

I know Thanksgiving is looming for most of us, but I wanted to share some upcoming classes with you this week!

I made up the samples for these two classes and was reminded that making cards is fun! When I was younger, and my card list a lot shorter, I used to make my own cards every year. Then I got into the trend for a few (10+) years of sending photo cards. Last year I got back into handmade cards and sent handmade postcards for the holidays. I loved making and sending those out; something a little different for the mailbox, right?

Blockprinting Cards 12/5

Blockprinting Cards 12/5

Well this year you have the chance to make two types of cards (or gift tags if you already have your cards made…) with me!

The first class is 12/5 7-9pm at Circle of Stitches in Salem, MA. In this class we will be focused on blockprinting with the end result to make a few stamps to use on cards and tags. Having your own stamps means you can cover cards, tags, gift wrap, and other items with your own design in any color you choose! For this class, wee will stamp onto plain paper and then attach that to a card or tag base. I will bring all the materials (note: there is a $10 materials fee for this class). Sign up over at the Circle of Stitches website.

Collage Cards 12/7

Collage Cards 12/7

The second class is 12/7 1-3pm (yes, in the afternoon) at Newburyport Art Association. In this class we will be collage-ing our way into the holidays. Newburyport Art Association will provide lots of fun papers and ideas to get you started as well as the card/tag bases. I will bring a few store bought stamps to share as well. Note that the class I am leading is for adults only, but there is one for families on 12/8 led by Sue Spellman if you are interested. Choose the right time for you at check-out over at the Newburyport Art Association website.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season friends!!

Celebrating Halloween - Phases of the Moon Blockprinting Class

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This coming Friday I am going to be teaching a new blockprinting class in Salem, MA. Salem is a hub for Halloween festivities throughout the month of October and there are many super fun things to do there. My friend Ana Campos, owner of Circle of Stitches, asked if I would teach a class that might fit with the Halloween theme at her shop this month. We came up with the idea of a class where students will make stamps to capture 5 phases of the moon.

In this class, students will make three stamps with an option for a fourth. I will demo a choice for a new moon or a full moon-or both. You can see the difference in the photo to the right.

I will offer printing in silver or white on black paper or black onto white paper. We will get to use a gelli plate as a large stamp pad for the white and silver paints-fun! The finished print will be something suitable for framing. Plus, students will bring the stamps home and can make more prints as they wish. These can be printed on dishtowels and light cotton fabric (using fabric paint for wash-ability) as well as many types of papers.

Should be a fun night! If you are interested register at Circle of Stitches directly.

Sample with the new moon in the center, silver on black mixed media paper

Sample with the new moon in the center, silver on black mixed media paper

Upcoming class Aug 11 - Sign up today!

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I am going to be teaching my popular blockprinting class at the Newburyport Art Association on August 11 9:30-11:30. In this class, students will make at least two stamps: one using my provided sample images and one with a design of their own creation. 

The way I structure this class is to start with some sample designs to help students get comfortable with the tools, but not overwhelmed with a design that is too intricate. Then, once students are familiar with the tools, we work together to design a larger stamp. I have resource materials that students can use to sketch out a few ideas. We can discuss the intricacies of each student's design and learn from one another. Everyone who has attended this class leaves feeling excited about what they have made and happy to have learned a new skill! 

I provide all materials for students, but if you are interested in buying your own tools to use at home, I do have an Amazon Idea List set up with my recommended tools. 

A note, if you or a friend has ever wanted to try a class like this, Newburyport Art Association is offering this class at a great price, so this is a really great time to give it a try! Please sign up for the class today!

Getting outside and making art

Scene from 4th class at Pettengill Farm, Salisbury, MA

Scene from 4th class at Pettengill Farm, Salisbury, MA

I recently completed a 5 week class painting with oils outside (Plein Air Alla Prima). It is kind of funny...at each class I wondered why I was there. Oils are not really my preferred medium to use and I have zero experience with realistic landscape painting other than some quick watercolor sketches at the beach. But I wanted to take an in person class and I wanted to be outside enjoying the weather. I also have a series of cold wax oil paintings that are stalled and I thought some instruction and time working with oils in a different way with a focus on the landscape might help.  I am happy to report that I did find some connection!

Step 1, sketch in scene with vine charcoal

Step 1, sketch in scene with vine charcoal

We met for each class at few locations throughout Northeastern MA. This included two class meetings at Maudslay State Park in Newburyport, two meetings at Pettengill Farm in Salisbury, and one class meeting (the first) at Bartlett Mall in Newburyport near Frog Pond. I found it worked best for me to walk around and sketch out some possible scenes in my sketchbook as a first step. When I felt confident with the layout, I would set up the materials and sketch out a scene on my canvas board using soft vine charcoal. This step is the time to measure out the scene with a viewfinder and the paintbrush handle as a ruler. Vine charcoal wipes off easily when you are ready to add paint, but I was heavy handed with the charcoal, so I also found it worthwhile to use a pink eraser to get off as much as possible while still leaving the outline of my sketch behind. The Charcoal would muddy the paint (especially the white!).

After 2.5 hours of painting, ignore left side which is unfinished

After 2.5 hours of painting, ignore left side which is unfinished

I found the focus of the class for me was to "draw what you see." This may seem obvious, but I tend to draw what I see blended with what I assume is there. Every time I would come up against perspective or other measurements being off. This would skew the whole painting and even in an abstract painting, having the perspective and sense of space correctly laid out makes a huge difference. Funny enough, it actually connects quite literally to the figure drawing sessions I have been sitting in on lately. Measuring out what you see and where it goes on the canvas or paper using a view finder or other tool to measure is critical. "That's no fun" you say? Well, I used to think that too. I love the abstract landscape (and there is more on that to come for me I am sure of it), but it really hit home for me that in order to make a successful abstract landscape or figure drawing you have to know how to paint it realistically (-ish) in the first place.

Another challenge was color. Instructor and artist Sue Charles (please, stop now and click on her link... her work is GORGEOUS) recommended a set of colors which did not include black or gray-Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue, Viridian Green, Sap Green. We were reminded that complimentary colors will get you the grays you are looking for with a tint of color that will bring energy into the piece. Each week I wished I had taken the time to make swatches of the colors, but I never did. As a result, I was really challenged to get the colors that I wanted out in the field. There was a lot of green (duh) and I wasn't falling in love with the greens I was mixing. I still need to sit down and swatch out these paints.

Composition also presented some challenges. The first few classes I plopped my pile of stuff (there is lots of 'stuff') right down and focused on the first scene I saw.  By the fourth class I realized a few things; 1) I need to sketch out a few composition options before I set up easel (etc) so I know that is the place I will enjoy painting for 2+ hours and 2) I like a man made focal point in the painting (not all trees).

It was HARD and took a lot of brain cells and I needed a nap after each class to recover. But I felt that I was learning something new and that was exciting. The instructor let me borrow her old french easel. The thing was a beast to carry, but she saved me some $$ and let me borrow it for the summer!. Other materials included oil paints, soft vine charcoal, Gamblin Mineral Spirits, Paint brushes, Palette Knives, Palette, rags/paper towels, snacks, water, bug spray and a hat.

painting from my second class, house in center unfinished

painting from my second class, house in center unfinished

painting from third class ... no man-made focal point, and I found the reflection/water in the foreground very challenging!

painting from third class ... no man-made focal point, and I found the reflection/water in the foreground very challenging!

Painting from the last (5th) class...I can see a big difference in what I learned here. While water in the foreground is dark and reflection a little awkward, overall I am pleased with this one! I love how the shadow and light on the bright green grass came out. And the trees in front really do bring the perspective and depth into the painting. This was also my largest panel!

Painting from the last (5th) class...I can see a big difference in what I learned here. While water in the foreground is dark and reflection a little awkward, overall I am pleased with this one! I love how the shadow and light on the bright green grass came out. And the trees in front really do bring the perspective and depth into the painting. This was also my largest panel!

Intro to Bookbinding Class - Making Books and a Power Outage!

Last week I hosted a small group at my local library for an Introduction to Bookbinding. We made two books: a pamphlet and a three signature long-stitch bound book.

Workstations waiting for students

Workstations waiting for students

The pamphlet book was a great first step to get comfortable with the materials and tools. Then the long-stitch book showed students how to use an old hardcover book jacket to make a book with your own unique papers inside. 

At the start of class, the sky opened up and a huge clap of thunder knocked out the power for a minute or so. I was thinking, "can we do this by flashlight?", but the power came back on right away and we were off and running. 

Overall it was a great class and we all had a lot of fun! While this first class was a small group, I could manage larger groups. If you are looking for a unique offering for your local library or community center please email me!

Fun sorting through papers

Fun sorting through papers

everyone learning to do the long-stitch

everyone learning to do the long-stitch

Awl work close-up

Awl work close-up

happy students with their new books!

happy students with their new books!

Get Messy Season of Story-BONUS POST

Getting ready for the Season of Story with Get Messy over here!

I am using a book that I made using the long stitch binding and an old hardcover. I learned this technique from @dansmoncrane through Get Messy. A note...I am teaching this locally (with her permission) later in June. If you are interested in making your own check out my workshops. Also, check out the video of my book at the end of this post to see what you can learn to make and the book I will be using for Season of Story!

BUT, the MAIN point of this bonus post is to share that Get Messy is awesome. I joined last year and it has really ramped up my making and my art community! If you want to see what it is all about for a season (a 2 month period) joining now through my affiliate link costs nothing extra for you and pays me a little.... the deets...

• When you sign up for a Get Messy Season Pass you get access only to the Get Messy Season of Story posts between June 1st - July 31st. 

• Season Pass members have access to the Season of Story posts, the Get Messy private facebook group, the Get Messy forums and the discounted member shop.

• You can pay using Paypal or your debit/credit card. The payment is a one time fee and is not recurring. 

• When you purchase through my link I receive a commission, but you are not charged extra nor does this affect your purchase. 

• You can only purchase the pass between June 1-7

If you decide to join for the season, please use THIS link! Let me know if you have questions!

Back to basics-Figure Drawing

Practice in the Studio - A quick pose

Practice in the Studio - A quick pose

The Newburyport Art Association hosts a weekly drop-in figure drawing session every Wednesday from 7-9:30pm and I recently started going. I really enjoy the dedicated drawing time (no social media interruptions!) and working in a studio with other artists. 

Practice at Home

Practice at Home

The first week I was just happy to be making marks on paper, but after some frustrations during the second week I got a little more serious. 

The group starts with 20, one minute poses. These quick poses are my favorite. I like to draw a full sheet for each pose and loosen up...but I do burn through the paper! After that first set, the poses increase in length to four 10 minute poses, a break, and then three 20 minute poses with a short break in between each 20. At first, that 20 minute pose was too long for my skill level. So, in between the second and third class I spent a little time drawing at home. I researched average body proportions on Pinterest and used some athletic clothing catalogs to get some drawing practice in. Getting the basics of the proportions down makes a huge difference.

The supplies I bring include a large (18"x24") pad of newsprint and some soft charcoal. I also bring some basic drawing paper, sharpened pencils, a kneaded eraser, and colored pastels.

This Figure Drawing group has a week long exhibit at the Newburyport Art Association during the first week of June. The show is hung June 4, with a closing reception June 9. Anyone that draws with the group on Wednesday nights is eligible to participate, so my goal is to have at least ONE drawing I would be proud to include. If you are local you should check in out! There are some really beautiful works of art being created each week among the group and everything will be for sale at super affordable prices! 

New workshop posted - Intro to Bookbinding in May!

I am pleased to share that I will be offering a bookbinding class at the Merrimac Public Library on May 23, 6:30-8:30pm. Join me to make a few unique items for gifts or to use yourself.

I love working in my handmade journals as sketchbooks, for memory keeping, and for visual journals. At this class I will share examples of how I use the journals we will be making. The first is a simple pamphlet single signature booklet where the cover is just slightly heavier material than the inside pages. This will help you to get comfortable with the materials. Our second project will use old book covers and a long stitch method to bind unique papers into the already existing hard cover binding. I learned about this long stitch method from Vanessa Oliver-Lloyd through her Bookbinding class offered by Get Messy, and I think you will love it as much as I do.

No experience is necessary and all materials will be provided- what could be easier! If you are at all interested check it out on my workshop page at my website and register today!

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