Sunday, July 25, 2010

Teaching, Painting Animals, Bebe the Wonder Dog, The Central Valley

Returned from the Central Valley where I taught classes in kid's books and graphic novels for teens in the afternoon and adults at night. Had a wonderful time and met some delightful talented people. Was pretty pooped afterwards and stayed at a friend's who lives in a fabulous house but in a suburban area with no community. Lovely houses on a lovely street and no-one walking or talking on the street, no nearby cafes or bookstores. Made me think about suburban versus urban alientation and the importance of community. The land was full of golden siennas, ochres, and beiges. A surreal beauty with the occassional swath of green produce in abstract shapes. Came back late Friday and Saturday morning taught the first class of my Transformational Arts Practice course which was about self-portraits, self-knowlede, self-care, and portraits in general. Not many students but the ones that were there were very happy. It was so magical teaching things that they've never done before and watching the beauty and magic of creativity and self-care.
Next week's class is teaching students how to draw and paint realistic and/or stylized animals that are personally significant. I have a whole pantheon of totemic animals that I call upon for different occassions - bears for strength, alligators when I need a thick skin, hummingbirds when I feel like a small miracle and want to give thanks and so on. Because the classes stand alone am making them 3 for $75, 2 for $60 and single classes $35. Kind of an incentive plan. If you know anyone within a 2 hr radius of Sacramento - please let them know. I have a flyer a few postings below with contact info etc.

And now I'd like to introduce Bebe the Wonder Dog. Bebe is a wonder dog because he is so wondrously loving. Up for a cuddle, a belly rub, a walk, anytime. He also loves to kiss, but I draw the line at tongue kissing. I'm housesitting a beautiful house and getting some exquisite solitude just me and Bebe. We love gazing into each other's eyes and plumbing the depths of each other's souls. The only other time I get to do this is when I'm doing portraits and can really look at someone without having to self-consciously avert my gaze. Reminds me of how much I love doing portraits. I had a wonderful time doing my self-portrait sample for class. My old publisher, Harriet Rohmer, used to say that I liked to "reinvent the wheel" by experimenting with different materials and techniques so this one I used charcoal and an acrylic burnt umber glaze, then introduced different subtle glazes on my dolphin, hummingbird, and blossoming flower. It's not finished yet but am loving the process. Am thinking of using this technique in one of the books I'm working on. It has a really nice loose quality, but because the white is the white of the paper (like watercolors) it's not very forgiving. No idea how it's going to end up but will show you when it does.

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