Art Feed

A year of transition...or why I haven't written a blog post in a year

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Hello once again.  I think I owe you an explanation for the lack of posts this past year.  Late last year we decided we could no longer live so far away from our grandchildren.  We wanted to have an "everyday" relationship with them.  For the last 7 years we had been flying back and forth to Ohio several times a year to see my daughter and her family spending a few days here and there with them.  So we bought a condo on Lake Erie 3 miles from where they live. But before our April departure date arrived I packed and sorted, and sorted and packed for months trying to reduce the load and still be able to have two livable spaces available to us. Just as spring was bursting in full bloom in So Cal, the 2700 mile drive got underway and we were off.  Of course there were moving truck issues (late, damage, etc) but we sorted them out and set up the condo watching spring arrive for the second time as we did so.  Anyhow, that's where I've been for the better part of the last 8 months. Now that we are back in California for the winter I have time to clean up my act!

So you might ask, how did all of this affect my art-making?  Well it did in many ways.  Fortunately the condo allowed a space for setting up the studio and I managed to ship a decent amount of materials to have in Ohio to work with.  I spent more time with the boys in the studio than I expected.  They loved to get the watercolors, markers, and pencils out when they came over at least until it was warm enough to swim.  Their drawing skills got better and better over the summer and we had lots of fun! I was also able to plan and film 4 new DVD's  through Artist Network in Cincinnati.  They are due out soon. I'm excited to see how they turned out.  

Since Ohio is a lot more green in the summer than California, we enjoyed the outdoors a lot. I was inspired to paint flowers as always and found lots of places to take photos.  I use PIXLR a lot to layer photographs and tweak compositions.  Look for an article in Artists Magazine about it in the coming months.

Hopefully now that things are settled I can get back to blogging more often.  I just wanted to share what had been going on with you!  If you are in Southern California this winter and early spring I'll be doing some teaching in nearby Upland.  Give me a shout out and I'll share the details.  I'll even be teaching the process for how the painting in this blog post was made!  Let me hear from you and what changes 2016 brought to your life!

Best wishes for the happiest of holidays to you and yours whatever they might be.  There is room in this world for any happiness that can be enjoyed.

 

 

Artfully yours, Chris

Leaving and returning...work in process

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I make a habit of walking away from things from time to time.  Abandoning overused techniques, retiring favorite stencils and stashing them away.  When I think about it, this is a good thing.  Leaving some things behind but not totally allows us to one day re-discover them in a new light.

I love to paint happy things.  There is nothing like bright clear color splashed on a surface (or a wall).  It just does great things for my brain.  I'm a big fan of transparent pigments but of late have been exploring these colors in a more opaque mixture by adding either Titanium White or my ever-loved Titan Buff.  So although I am not abandoning my transparent colors I am looking at them differently.  So too my stencils.  I found some old floral screens (reverse stencils) and rediscovered how wonderful they are when used with glazes to create sheer pattern over pattern effects.  All of art is about discover, pushing and pulling what we already know and searching for new combinations that resonate in our practice.  There is lot to be said for taking a risk, trying that new technique, or just winging it until something speaks to you.  Don't be afraid to leave and return or stop by somewhere new.  Where have you been in your practice that you would like to revisit?  Stop by and visit me here leave a comment and you might win a copy of my latest DVD: Top 15 Acrylic Painting Starters.  I will let you know on the 25th of July!

Artfully yours, Chris

Cooking up something special...

 

One of the very best things about being an artist today is the opportunity to meet (both in person and through cyberspace) and collaborate with other amazing artists from all over the globe.  I am a big fan of collaborative projects.  Working with other artists to fulfill a dream project is an investment in all of our spirits.  Julie and I have been working collaboratively with each other for years and interact with dozens of other artists every day in our online classes.  Blog hops are another amazing way to connect.  I've been asked to participate as a contributor to a year long art adventure that I think is going to be so much fun.  Here are all the details and I hope you will consider joining us.  It's a bit like an art buffet with all of us throwing in our "favorite" recipe for both food and art.  Sounds delicious, doesn't it?

 

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                                                    Click here to join us on this adventure!!


Artfully yours, Chris

Reaching across...Cyber Colleagues

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Altered Perception by Holly Dean

I have to admit that I am a very hands-on kind of person.  Becoming fluent with blogging and Facebook has not been an easy task for me.  When Julie Prichard and I first started working together I wanted to just be the "idea" person, not onscreen and especially not looking at the camera! I am really good with being in front of an actual audience or class full of students, but cyber people was just plain weird to me.  How would I be able to read their eyes or see their questions in their body movements?  Anyhow, Julie eased me into it and I got over that.  Then she pushed me to blog more and make FB pages.  Once the classes we do on The Land of Lost Luggage got up and running I found that the interactions within our forums were like private tutelage.  We got to "know" our students work, their hesitations, their strengths.  Pretty soon it was clear that some of these students were our colleagues and we were learning from each other.  The questions asked within an online class gave us pause, created new ideas, and helped us to solve and resolve issues for others.

I want to give a shout out to all of you who have been taking classes with us and tell you that you have made me grow and learn as an instructor.  You have helped me move pass my own limitations and find new avenues to explore.  Best of all I count a number of you as friends and colleagues and I celebrate your contributions to the world of mixed media.  The interactions you provide keep me focused on my own growth while I work to foster the growth of others.  You keep me reaching for new techniques, new ways of seeing things.  I applaud you today.

 

Artfully yours, Chris

Spilling over...

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Can you find all the stencil designs on this piece?

What a year this has been so far!  It started off with the release of my DVD series on Acrylic Solutions which were produced  through ArtistsNetwork.tv , then at the end of March came our book Acrylic Solutions: Exploring Mixed Media Layer by Layer!  That should have been enough you say?  Well I wanted something playful to do so I asked Lisa and Michael at Artistcellar.com if they would be interested in some stencil designs.  If you know my work you can already guess they are Pods.  There is going to be a fabulous Blog Hop with some really terrific people participating and some fabulous give aways including the stencils (of course!) and some other pretty special stuff courtesy of North Light.
You'll want to stop in at Artistcellar this morning (www.artistcellar.com/wp) to see what you have to do to get in on the fun and games.
 
Then we HOP to:
Monday May 13         Seth Apter (http://thealteredpage.blogspot.com/)

Tuesday May 14        MaryBeth Shaw  (http://mbshaw.blogspot.com/)

Wednesday May 15    Maryjo McGraw  (http://maryjomcgraw.blogspot.com/)

Thursday May 16        Jane LaFazio  (http://janeville.blogspot.com/)

Friday May 17             Pam Carriker  (http://pamcarriker.com/blog/)

Saturday May 18        Jeanette House  (http://www.jeanettehouse.co.uk/blog/)

and finally back to me on

Sunday May 19           Chris Cozen  (http://chriscozenartist.typepad.com/my-blog/)
You'll want to leave comments on all the blogs and let them know I sent you!  A special thank you to all these amazing artists/friends that have agreed to share in the fun.
PS: Did I mention there was going to be FREE stuff?  Oh, and lots of it?  


Artfully yours, Chris

Looking beyond the obvious...

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I had to share this latest art adventure with you before I burst!  I LOVE how this turned out.  But you should see how it began...hold on, let me find that image.

 

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Yes, this is what it started like.  Then more paint and then more pattern and pretty soon, you get the picture.  Well, I'm loving this process right now.  It is completely intuitive and you just keep working at it until something completely wonderful shows up.  Most of the time it does and that is what keeps you coming back for more.  I'm working on Canson Watercolor Board and it is 16x20 in size.  Fabulous surface and takes a lot of abuse.  Fluid Acrylics, OPEN acrylics, stencils, papers, pastel pencil and lots of imagination.  Enjoy!

By the way, time is counting down and if anyone is looking for art for gifts please get in touch!

Artfully yours, Chris

Facing my fears...

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It has taken me a long time to master the simple idea of layers in Photoshop.  When I work in real layers I have no issues.  I totally understand the concept of layers in a physical sense, but for some reason my mind just could NOT grasp the concept when it was not tangible.  Recently I decided that I had run out of excuses and I needed to try again without bringing in my past defeats.  Sometimes we let the things we didn't understand from before influence our decisions about what we can do today.  I hated math because I wasn't good at memorizing things, but I learned that I think very mathematically about many things.  I am a pretty non-traditional learner and teacher.  I rely on my intuitive brain a tremendous amount.  It sometimes takes a number of trials for me to learn what a more organized brain might learn quickly.  Yet, sometimes I see things in a flash that no one else can figure out.  Brains are amazing and adaptable.  Creative endeavors fuel our brains to keep growing and changing.  I'm convinced that all these years of doing art have made my brain more flexible because now I understand layers in Photoshop!  I'm going to keep working at growing my brain, how about you? 

Julie Prichard and I have an amazing assortment of online art classes that are perfect for growing your brain, especially the creative side.  Why don't you check out our Online classes here.  They are so much more fun than the gym!

Artfully yours, Chris

Potential...

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I'm forever collecting seed pods.  What ever started me on this journey I cannot say.   An implied "possibility" is there when you look at the pods in their various states.  In the beginning they are just forming, tiny, tight and holding on to their potential.  As they begin to break open it is as if they are filled with anticipation, anxious to greet what may be ahead.  When they open and the seeds are still within, full and round and heady with life, the ripeness of it all is intoxicating.  So much potential and so many opportunities.  Even when the pod lies spent, empty of its contents, I am fascinated.  Just the pod alone speaks to a job well done, a beautiful vessel for the potential it carried.

As you begin each composition, think of it in terms of the life cycle of the seed pod.  An idea forms tight and unformed.  With nurturing it will ripen and reveal itself to you.  Keep developing it and it will burst forth and complete itself.  The pod that remains is your emblem of completion.  A job well done.

What inspires you?

Artfully yours, Chris

Experimentation: Unlocking the key to your artistic self

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When I first finished my training with Golden Artist Colors I was so overwhelmed by the number of products and the amount of information that I had to absorb.  I knew if I was ever going to be able to share things with others I really had to know what I was talking about.  The boxes of product arrived and I began to play and experiment.  I quickly learned that I had to lose the fear of making a mistake and go ahead and try whatever came to mind.  Not long after I had the opportunity to write my first book, ALTERED SURFACES which was the result of putting  all that experimentation and fancy technical information through the seive of my mind and sharing it on paper.  I found that people responded to technical information if you could translate it into useful language.  Since that time there have been two more books, my online partnership with Julie Prichard and another book in the works, along with hundreds of students in workshops. I love teaching and am always looking for the opportunity to share what I know with others, especially the part about experimenting.  Never be afraid to try something different it may lead you to your true artistic self!

Artfully yours, Chris

Plein Air in the sunshine with Golden's OPEN Acrylics

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I spent the morning yesterday at a Plein Air event at the Riverside Art Museum.  The artists were gearing up for their annual "paint-out" and I manned a table demonstrating Golden's OPEN acrylics.  This was a true test of the extended working time in outdoor conditions  as the table was set up in the brilliant morning sunlight and there was a brisk breeze all day. We started out cool but by early afternoon it was distinctly warm!   For 3 1/2 hours we painted and explored how versatile and workable the paint is.  The artists were amazed and created little landscape gems right in front of me.  I love spontaneous painting so I played for a bit myself while chatting with the other artists.  My landscapes are a bit more creative than the traditional type but the colors are fabulous!  If you haven't jumped onto the OPEN Acrylics bandwagon, you should give it a try! Layer Love V.2.0 is an online Class that I teach with Julie Prichard on her network.  It will give you a great intro to OPEN and its many possibilities.  You'll just need to take your laptop outside if you want to learn it plein air!

Artfully yours, Chris