Art & Teaching: Keeping the balance

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I have probably shared this before, but it bears saying again.  I am a teaching artist.  My formal training is in Education and for more than 30 years it was my profession.  Art was my escape and was woven in and out of my years in so many ways.  I cannot separate my educator self from my creative self at all anymore.  Every so often I get a request from someone to teach them how to paint like I paint.  I know they want the step by step so it can look like mine.  I can't do what they want as it goes so against what I feel teaching is all about.  Let me teach you process, share with you how to think through a problem, assist you in refining your technique.  That's what I want to give back.  I am self-taught through and through.  With the exception of one Design 101 class back in 1967, what I know about art has come through reading and doing.  My technical training with Golden Artist Colors, Inc. has been invaluable to me these past 8 years and I am ever so greatful to have been a part of the Working Artist Team.  It pushed me to try things and to experiment.  Experimentation and out of the box thinking are two things I cannot say enough about.  Take risks with your process, play and discover.  

My own personal artistic style is a reflection of who I am and as I grow and change so does my art.  I look back at my first book for Design Originals, Altered Surfaces and can't believe how much my work has changed.  But the essential part, the teaching part, has not.  It is still sound information that I can be proud of.  This summer I released 4 new DVD's through Artist Network/North Light and I am very proud of the content. Putting the techniques to work is your job!  Use them to expand your own repetoire of techniques and learn something new.  As a teacher I feel honored to hear from so many of you who write about what they have learned from one of my books or from watching a download of a DVD.  To hear someone say "I have been painting along with you!" is music to my ears.

I want for all of you what I have.  The joy of making art, good materials and sound information. I wish for you that you are experimental, that you occasionally get frustrated, and that you make a lot of mistakes!  Those are the keys to growth.  Whether you paint alone, in a group, or take an online class, learn to be critical of your own work.  Step back and examine what is working and what is not.  Ask yourself the hard questions.  

I would love for you to share a lesson you have learned about art fom someone who taught you.  Let me hear from you.

 

 

Artfully yours, Chris

Playing loosely, looking closely...

IMG_8734Whenever I teach I am always asked if I have a plan or if I know what I am going to paint.  The answer is generally no to both of those questions.  My plan if there is one is first to play with paint.  Play with the properties of paint by applying it on the surface dry or with mediums, play with it on a wet surface, or wet it after I apply it.  The magic starts to happen when I introduce a second color and watch the paint interact, mingle and fuse with the color I applied before.  This process continues as I move the paint about using various tools or techniques.  I can stop or continue at any point.  That is the joy in the process.  When I do stop I wait for things to dry.  I take photos of the surface and look at them on my monitor close up.  What is there awaiting discovery.  It takes me back to sitting outside as a child looking at clouds searching for what could be seen.  It takes relinquishing control and handing it over to your intuitive self.  Learn to look closely and from every direction.  Turn it left, right, upside down.  Something is there waiting.  I'm posting different views from this piece I am working on.  It is Fluid acrylics and High Flow acrylics on Watercolor paper, mostly wet into wet after the first lines which were dry.  It's strong and bold, but there is magic here.  Tell me will you?  What do you see?

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and what about here??

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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

Pushing the process...

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I've been too comfortable in my process for awhile now.  In fact, I got to the point where I automatically started approaching every canvas in exactly the same way.  I always ask myself the same question: Should I continue with developing a particular genre of painting associated with myself or should I keep trying to be uncomfortable?  I am choosing to stay uncomfortable because it makes me push the process more.  Breaking out of habits means experimenting with new color combinations, new application techniques and making change.  I am not saying goodbye to my favorite flowers, but I will be trying to approach them from a new point of view.  I will be experimenting with more abstracts as I have discovered a love for broken color (look it up and let me know what you find!) and want to play with that more.  This will be a challenge for my students as well, so I must always think about how to challenge them to break out of the mold they have come to see me inhabit.  How are you pushing the process?  I'd love to hear from you.

Artfully yours, Chris

Directionality...Blog hop and give away time once again

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I have been hopping about a lot lately both figuratively and physically!  Over the last few weeks I have been dealing with knee issues due to my arthritis being out of control and truly have been hopping about or hobbling from place to place.  No fun at all.  So I'm always happy when someone throws me a great new stencil to play with, or better yet and entire set!  Jill K. Berry master of maps and lettering has designed some terrific new stencils with Artistcellar.com which are fashioned after cartographers' symbols for directions, NSEW. They are called the MAP ART Series and you can find them here.

When I considered how to use these stencils I immediately thought of moments when life shifts your direction in subtle ways away from some things you have been doing and towards others.  I'm pondering that a lot now and am making plans with those shifts in mind.  More about that in a later post.  For now I want you to go blog-hopping to see how these stencils have been used by other artists.  You know what to do.  Leave me a message on the blog and I will pick a winner on May20th and you will be notified by Artistcellar when you win.  Don't worry if your post doesn't show up right away because I moderate them first and will be sure to get them posted.

May 9th - Artistcellar  www.artistcellar.com/wp
May 11th - Jane Davenport  http://janedavenport.com/
May 12th - Orly Avineri http://oneartistjournal.com/
May 13th - Rachel Peterson Urista http://rachelurista.wordpress.com
May 14th - Jill K Berry - http.jillberrydesign.com
 
Thanks for stopping by the blog!  I'm always happy to "see" you!
Artfully yours, Chris

Directionality...Blog hop and give away time once again

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I have been hopping about a lot lately both figuratively and physically!  Over the last few weeks I have been dealing with knee issues due to my arthritis being out of control and truly have been hopping about or hobbling from place to place.  No fun at all.  So I'm always happy when someone throws me a great new stencil to play with, or better yet and entire set!  Jill K. Berry master of maps and lettering has designed some terrific new stencils with Artistcellar.com which are fashioned after cartographers' symbols for directions, NSEW. They are called the MAP ART Series and you can find them here.

When I considered how to use these stencils I immediately thought of moments when life shifts your direction in subtle ways away from some things you have been doing and towards others.  I'm pondering that a lot now and am making plans with those shifts in mind.  More about that in a later post.  For now I want you to go blog-hopping to see how these stencils have been used by other artists.  You know what to do.  Leave me a message on the blog and I will pick a winner on May20th and you will be notified by Artistcellar when you win.  Don't worry if your post doesn't show up right away because I moderate them first and will be sure to get them posted.

May 9th - Artistcellar  www.artistcellar.com/wp
May 11th - Jane Davenport  http://janedavenport.com/
May 12th - Orly Avineri http://oneartistjournal.com/
May 13th - Rachel Peterson Urista http://rachelurista.wordpress.com
May 14th - Jill K Berry - http.jillberrydesign.com
 
Thanks for stopping by the blog!  I'm always happy to "see" you!
Artfully yours, Chris

Another birthday...goodness me and goodies for you!

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April always brings my beautiful garden and my birthday!  Julie and I decided that we would have an amazing Online Workshop sale to celebrate our birthdays (her's is in two weeks!).  So from April 25 through May 13 all of the workshops that we teach together are on sale for the incredible price of $58.99!  That means you can buy any of these classes:  Color, Beyond the Basics,  Complex CollageTexture town, Chaos & Calm, Pixels and Paint, Mixed Media Melange, or Layer Love 2.0 for that low price.  Just go to Julie's website and select the class you want, pay your money and you are good to go forever!  Yes, that's right, forever.  Our classes are open to you for as long as you need or want them.  We are both here to support you.  

And, just one more thing...Since it is my birthday I want to give someone a gift.  Visit Julie's website and tell me what the color of the banner is at the top of her page and you could win a set of my stencils. Leave a comment here on the blog to let me know.  If you sign up for a class, you will be eligible to win a painting of mine. And don't try to fool me because I will check Julie before I send anything off in the mail! And don't forget to say Happy Birthday!

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Artfully yours, Chris

Playing with color...

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There is such exuberance in this piece done on Yupo using both High Flow Acrylics and Fluid acrylics from Golden Artist Colors, Inc.  When I go to the studio and I need to unwind these are the products I reach for these days.  The Yupo surface is smooth and non-absorbent and the paints go from wet to wetter.  The only other things I need are a pot of water and a few brushes and tools.  I love guiding the paint from one spot to the next, or dragging a fan brush through a puddle.  Dropping the High Flow colors from high above the surface into a pool of water on the Yupo will give me a great  "splat" of color that flings droplets here and there and spreads into the wet areas like silk.  Add another drop and watch the colors co-mingle creating a third color like magic.  This process is like meditation for me.  It is as if the colors flowing across the surface fill me with a sense of calm and relaxation.  Just thought I would share!  Tell me, what do you do when you need to unwind?

Artfully yours, Chris

More stellar stencils! Blog Hop and giveaway fun...

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It's been a banner year for stencils and I'm enjoying the opportunity to play with the new designs coming my way from Artistcellar.com.  Lisa and Michael are releasing more wonderful designs this month named Quasicrystals in a set of four individual stencils: Penrose, Fibo,Infra, & Quasi. Naturally you can purchase them separately.  Click here  for details and images. I used a combination of them on my pieces and found that they played really well together allowing me to make a tonal background for the piece above very easily.  I varied the colors of my night sky with Iridescent silver, Iridescent Pearl, and Titantium white Fluid Acrylics by Golden.  

IMG_4486In this piece I did an abstracted playful design, once again layering colors and stencil patterns from the Quasicrystals set.  I even mixed some blue glitter into my regular gel gloss to create a textured glitter surface when I pushed it through the stencil.  Loved that effect!

Here is the blog hop schedule!  You know the drill.  Visit the blogs, leave a message and you'll up your chances to win a set of stencils.  I'll be drawing my winner on Monday April 21st.  Looking forward to hearing from you!

April 12 – Lisa Cousineau http://www.artistcellar.com/wp

April 13 – Chris Cozen

http://chriscozenartist.typepad.com/my-blog/

April 14 – Lynn Krawczyk  http://smudgedtextilesstudio.com/blog/

April 15 – Effy Wild www.effywild.com

April 16 – Jill K Berry http://jillberrydesign.com/blog

April 17 – Carmen Whitehead  www.serendipitystudiobycw.blogspot.com

April 18 - Lea Cioci www.leacioci.blogspot.com

April 19 – Guadalupe Brizuela Cabal http://guadasartplace.blogspot.com.ar

 

Artfully yours, Chris

Happy to share my heart with you...blog hop and giveaway fun!

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I've had so much fun playing with some new stencils from Artistcellar.com over the last couple of weeks.   This new stencil set is called "Sacred Hearts" and typically would not be something I might pick up to work with in my usual style. As you already know,  I'm usually into pattern stencils.  But I was challenged to get into the groove by the arrival of the stencils (there are 4 in the set, but each can be purchased separately).  I happily played with all of the stencils (I sent some of the pieces right on to Lisa and Michael to post) but really bonded with this one with the roses.  My garden is just about ready to burst into rose amazement any day now.   What is always the most fun is seeing what a wide range of effects can be achieved with just one stencil.  This piece resulted from the happy accident of flipping over the stencil after I had just squeegeed light molding paste through it.  I decided to save the remaining molding paste onto a new board by taking my palette knife and scraping the extra through the flipped over stencil.  Wow, when I lifted it I had the reverse of the stencil in a soft shallow layer.  Once it was dry I took to it with lightly tinted bleeds of fluid acrylics.  I love the aged almost papier mache look of it!  Don't forget to leave a comment so you can have a chance to win your own set!  You know the drill. No comment, no chance!  Enjoy.

Be sure to check out the entire blog hop for more chances to win your own set of "Sacred Hearts!"

March 29th – AC kickoff  www.artistcellar.com/wp

March 30th – Jill K Berry www.jillberrydesign.com/2014/03/30/sacred-hearts-fiery-love/

March 31st – Chris Cozen http://chriscozenartist.typepad.com/my-blog/

April 1st – Effy Wild www.effywild.com

April 2nd – Tamara Laporte - www.willowing.org/blog

April 3rd – Guadalupe Brizuela Cabal  http://guadasartplace.blogspot.com.ar

I'll be picking a winner on April 10th!

Artfully yours, Chris