Saturday, September 3, 2016

A Playful Interlude

Our haul from the Open Yourself to Play Art Workshop
In my last blog I wrote about building Redbud--the Kentucky Colors Harp. For five weeks I took over David's woodworking space, so I was delighted when the tables could be turned and David would invade 'my' territory: he said that he would be interested in attending an art workshop! Mind you, the actual 'terre' has significant David connections as the location of the workshop was St. Mary's Sewanee and David graduated from Sewanee a few years ago. The Ayres Center for Spiritual Development offers programs and retreats that refresh the soul. I was attracted to Lendon Noe's Open Yourself to Play Art Workshop. We were invited to return to art making for pure pleasure, playing and recreating ourselves. After a very serious gathering of art materials (the only thing I forgot was the pencils!) we set off for Sewanee and our renewal.

Lendon Noe inspires us with the art of Helen Frankenthaler
The first night, we practiced productivity with abandon, creating 3 or 4 (or 5?!) backdrops for the next day's work. I discovered that I really like to paint with my fingers and David particularly took to blowing ink around. All this activity, though in the evening and Central Time was invigorating. Could the work ethic for play carry over upon my return to the studio?
     We got up in the morning, took walks and had a fine breakfast (we were well-fed) and then got to work. We commenced to layer, mask and scrape; cut and glue. We outlined our hands. We wrote our names. We put tiny symbols all the way around and remembered about the sheer joy of making marks and cutting things up. In fact, I am getting a bit itchy right now, wanting to slam shut the laptop and start slapping around some paint!
After the afternoon session and before a wonderful Italian supper, I headed for the woods. This sylvan setting was conveniently located just below the bluffs where we playfully labored. The sun was slanting into the side of the mountain in a rosy fashion. I could imagine the scene in a month's time turning rustic with the autumn leaves. How could this be recreated on paper with my new favorite media combination: Pelikan opaque watercolors and Neocolor II crayons?

Lendon Noe finds the Blobimals and shows us how to find ours in our under-blob paintings
One playful idea lead to intriguing imagery. Lendon Noe introduced us to Carla Sonheim's Blobimals. We prepared our papers by putting down several watercolor blobs with tangents radiating out from them (not knowing that they would become blobimals! David discovered a shape that he particularly liked--and it was not an inverted donut. Very impressively, he began repeating this shape over and over, like a motif.

Can you see David's recurring motif?

My blobs were part of the same story. A carnivorous story, apparently, since there are meatball swans in the mix.

Cat Dreams
Sunday opened with a walk through the woods with my Beloved (David) an excellent breakfast which included hash brown potatoes with kale and quinoa. After that supreme nourishment, we had just enough time to make little gifts for each other. Tiny art is definitely something to take forward in my art making.
     Lendon gave each participant a parting challenge. David's was to: 1) Draw your favorite number 2) and fill it with imaginative detail 3) while listening to Rap music 4) Adding dark and light.  Mine was to: 1)Draw or paint what's up in the sky (look up!) 2. with your friend's favorite medium (that would be numbers, wouldn't it?) 3) while listening to nature music (or Adele) 4. Making red the dominant color. I know folks that have taken my workshops or classes will get a little laugh out of no. 4!
     David and I drove home with refreshed souls ready for what might meet us ahead. That turned out to be a couple of traffic jellies on the way. Still, a week later, there is invigoration and inspiration for new paths! Thank you, Lendon Noe and St. Mary's Sewanee!