Workshops

Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts

 JILL EHLERT - 12" X 12" - Mineral pigments, oyster shell white, oxidized Japanese silver leaf , pumice ground on cradle board.

JILL EHLERT - 12" X 12" - Mineral pigments, oyster shell white, oxidized Japanese silver leaf , pumice ground on cradle board.

I attended a 5-day workshop July 3-7, 2017 with instructor Judith Kruger at the Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts (MISSA). I had a fabulous experience. The workshop was exciting, challenging, filled with new materials, tools and techniques. Judith has boundless energy, a knowledgeable teacher who is dedicated to Nihonga - "traditional Japanese mineral pigment painting".  Judith amalgamates this ancient form of painting with her contemporary art practice, "exploring the formal and conceptual junctures between historic process and modernity as an ongoing project".

Everything in this workshop was new to me. We made our own paint and ink from organic and inorganic matter like cured oyster shells, minerals, natural ores, pine soot, mica and silica. We made a natural glue from cow cartilage to act as the binder. The materials are ecological, non-toxic and water-based. We worked with Japanese silver leaf and learned methods to oxidize it.  Judith demonstrated how to  mount Washi and stretch watercolour paper onto a cradle board. It was an action-packed week.

THE LOCATION

The Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts has been providing high caliber specialized workshops for artists, teachers and serious adult students since 1984. MISSA has a reputation for hosting  local, national and international instructors who engage with students in an intense multidisciplinary environment. MISSA welcomes students from around the world to participate in an artistic emersion for two weeks every summer. 

Artists from near and far have come together each summer to the Pearson College campus to share in spirited creative exchange. The school is positioned on the sheltered shores of Pedder Bay and looks out to the Straits of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains beyond. The campus setting provides a stimulating natural environment for artistic development and exploration. It’s easy to understand why so many return year after year to be part of the ‘MISSA Magic’!

MISSA takes place every summer on the campus of Pearson College, while the students are away. Participants at MISSA can stay in college style dorms where internationals students have spent their school year. The college campus is designed in a West Coast Modern style and takes the from of a seaside village with buildings of native cedar clustered on 75 acres of old growth rainforest. The simple, low-slung structures are linked by footpaths and stand in harmony with the surrounding landscape.

THE WORKSHOP SPACE - THE FLOATING STUDIO

I was fortunate to attend a 5-day workshop July 3-7 which was held in the "Floating Studio", also known as the marine lab during the regular school year at Pearson College. The Pearson campus is in a fabulous location on Pedder Bay -  truly a magical place. I stayed in residence for the duration of the week. Resident students arrive the day before, on Sunday night and also stay the night of the final day of class, for a total of six nights and leaving on the seventh day. The food is fabulous and all one has to do is art all day with all meals and snacks provided. Students can go back to the studio in the evenings.

Photos by Jill Ehlert unless otherwise stated.

The Floating Studio - aka the Marine Lab.

The Floating Studio

  The Floating Studio in the evening.

The Floating Studio in the evening.

REFLECTIONS AROUND THE FLOATING STUDIO 

THE FLOATING STUDIO/THE MARINE LAB - A view from our workshop space and one of the critters we shared the space with.

THE WORKSHOP -  "ABSTRACT ALCHEMY: BLACK, WHITE AND WARM METALLICS"

A Description of the workshop from the MISSA catalogue "In this course, students will reinterpret nature’s deep imagery and essence with a limited palette using matter from nature itself. Participants will make paint, ink and home-made gesso from inorganic and organic sources including pine soot, shells, and minerals. Natural metallics will be introduced for warmth. These arcane processes have been employed for thousands of years on ancient Asian screens and scrolls. Collage can be added and embedded for depth. A variety of drawing and painting techniques will be introduced to yield meaningful, process-driven, ecological work on varied supports, embedded with individualized expression, heart and spirit."

THE INSTRUCTOR - JUDITH KRUGER

Judith Kruger, is an American visual artist whose paintings, prints and mixed media works address Human-Environment connectivity and their shared vulnerabilities. She is recognized internationally for her advocacy of natural painting materials and historic, ecological processes.

Judith currently resides in Northwest, CT. Her studio is located in an old hosiery mill, 125 miles north of New York City, at the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains. Click here to read Judith's artist statement.

SOME OF THE TOOLS AND MATERIALS IN THE WORKSHOP

DRAWING/PAINTING WITH SUMI-E INK

The Sumi-E ink drawings above were incorporated into the mineral pigment painting below.

Jill Ehlert  ©- 24" x 18" - Sumi-E Ink, Mineral pigments, Japanese silver leaf, antique Japanese pharmacy paper, punched holes on Washi paper mounted on cradle board.

Shadows as inspiration. Photos and work (12" x 12") by Jill Ehlert 

My WORK IN PROGRESS AT MISSA

 Working on a Sumi-E mat - made of wool and polyester felt.

Working on a Sumi-E mat - made of wool and polyester felt.

Water reflections as inspiration. Experimentation with Sumi-E ink, wax relief, Japanese silver leaf and mineral pigments on illustration board - 12" x 9"

I learned so many new techniques and had a good introduction to mineral pigments. This was an excellent workshop that I would recommend. Click here to see Judith Kruger's workshop page for 2018.

Natural History Illustration

From October to Decemebr 2016 - I participated in this six-week online course through edX and the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia. Here is a video describing the course.

The course covered: 
- Core scientific observational skills
- Field drawing and sketching techniques
- Concept sketch development
- Composition for natural history illustration
- Form, proportion and structure essentials
- Drawing and rendering techniques

This was an excellent course, I really learned a lot. I would recommend this course to anyone. I am not sure when they will run it again. The website was easy to navigate and to figure out. We learned about self-assessment and peer-assessment which was really valuable. We uploaded our homework for peer review from 5 other students. We could also upload our work to a general area for all to see and comment on. There was some fantastic work being done from students all over the world. There were many short videos to view, lots to read along with images and each module had a list of resources. I came away with new skills and an excitement to get out into field to collect specimens, so some field sketching and finished drawings back in the studio. The course was free - I am not sure why...the University of Newcastle is one of five universities to offer a Masters in Natural History Illustration - perhaps this is there way of gaining interest in the program. I decided to pay for a verifiable certificate that shows I completed and got a passing grade in a course of study offered by NewcastleX.

Below are images of the pencil work that I did for the course. The photographs are field studies showing location and the ecology of the area. The ruler gives scale to the seaweed and surrounding area. The field notes show detail, colour notation, form, structure and descriptive records. Click on an image to view larger images and a slide show.

Drawing workshops at VISA over the summer

Vancouver Island School of Art

MAKING A MARK - June 25, 26, 27 2012 taught by Danielle Hogan.

This workshop focuses on the most basic element of drawing: the linear mark. It explores the variety of ways a mark can be used as a form of expression with a focus on developing a personal mark in drawing. Artists include: Jasper Johns, Brice Marden, Terry Winters, Sol Lewitt, Raymond Pettibone and Dominic McGill. Fionna Banner, Robert Smithson, Louise Bourgeois, Brice Marden, Sol Lewitt .

NATURE & SCIENCE - August 30, 31, September 1 2012 taught by Wendy Welch

Nature has long been a subject of drawing from scientific diagrams to a range of purely observational sketches. Focus in this workshop is on integrating the scientific with the expressive approach towards a natural phenomenon or object. Workshop is comprised of hands-on exercises, critiques and visual presentations of artists doing related work. Artists discussed include: Russell Crotty, Vija Celmins, Ellen Gallagher, Sandra Cinto and Robyn O’Neil.

Inventing a fantastical flower using magazine collage, combining mechanical parts and organic. 

 Fantastical Botanical Collage - Jill Ehlert

Fantastical Botanical Collage - Jill Ehlert

 Fantastical Botanical Watercolour  based on the collage - Jill Ehlert

Fantastical Botanical Watercolour  based on the collage - Jill Ehlert

Reinveneting & Rearranging the Landscape

 Fragmented Landscape Drawing - Jill Ehlert

Fragmented Landscape Drawing - Jill Ehlert

 

 DIAGRAMS

Invented Nature Cycle Diagram

 Invented Life Cycle Diagram

Invented Life Cycle Diagram

Invented Process Diagram

 Spattering tea on the paper, create a process.

Spattering tea on the paper, create a process.

On the drawing board today

I started these two drawings in the summer in the "Pattern and Ornamentation" workshop at the Vancouver Island School of Art. I have been working on it over the past couple of days.

Drawing classes at the Vancouver Island School of Art

I was very lucky to participate in 3 different 5-day drawing classes July/August at the Vancouver Island School of Art (VISA) with Wendy Welch. Wendy is the director of the school as well as a gifted teacher who gives so much. She has the most creative ideas for the classes that she teaches.

Ornament and Decoration:

"Often more associated with design and craft, ornament and decoration is increasingly part of the vocabulary used by many contemporary artists and illustrators. This workshop focuses on how the decorative can be both surface and content. A range of imaginative approaches to creating designs from doodles, making patterns based on geometry as well as free-form organic designs are covered. Materials used include pencils, ink, watercolours and gouache". (VISA)

These are the artists work we looked at during the slideshow.

William Morris, Gustav Klimt, Terence LaNoue, Dijanne Cevaal, Dtienne Zack, Gene Davis, Joyce Kozloff, Judy Pfaff, Robert Kushner, Robert Zakanitch, Dan Bennett, Sandra Cinto, Laura Ownes, Sigmar Polke, Lecia Dole-Recio, Valerie Jaudon, Agnes Martin, Eva Hesse, Jennifer Bartlett, Terry Winters, Random graph paper art, Lorenzo Duran.

 In progress

In progress

 More progress - detail - Jill Ehlert

More progress - detail - Jill Ehlert

Jill Ehlert

Language of Mapping:

"Maps are a visual representation of specific places. Early maps were made by artists who often had no hands-on experience with the location depicted in the map; they were made through the testimonials of others and the imagination of the artists. This workshop uses the language of mapmaking to explore other terrains such as the imagination, memory and space". (VISA)

Artists work we looked at:

Landon McKenzie, Nancy Graves. Hirokazu Kosaya, Jeff Woodbury, John Hurrell, Kristin Bly, Adolf Wolfi, Clodagh Emoe, Dannielle Tegeder, tilbor kalman, Howard Horowitz, Irwin Morgan, Mark Bradford, Simon Evans, Susan Hiller, Susan STock well, val Britton, Jasper Johns, Guillermo Kuitca, Sara Fanelli, Nina Katchadourian, Kelvin Wilson, Harry Allen, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Paula Scher, Kim Dingle, William Wegman, Chris Kenny, Joyce Kozloff, Julia Ricketts, Quentin Blake, Mark Bennett, Julie Mehretu

 Jill Ehlert

Jill Ehlert

 Jill Ehlert

Jill Ehlert

 Jill Ehlert

Jill Ehlert

 Jill Ehlert

Jill Ehlert

 Jill Ehlert

Jill Ehlert

 Jill Ehlert ©

Jill Ehlert ©

 In progress

In progress

Abstract Drawing

Abstract Painting - Jill Ehlert

This is an abstract painting that I painted in the recent Steven Aimone workshop that was titled:

"The Spiritual Language of Art"

Mary Stewart of "Vancouver Island Workshops" organized this painting workshop and brought Steven all the way from North Carolina. For information on future classes with Steven in Nanaimo you can reach Mary at: marystewart@telus.net  Click here for workshop pictures

This is how Steven described our workshop:

Non objective Composition and Processes of Abstracting From a Reference

The first focus is on the language of non-objective composition. Explore what art can say IN ADDITION TO OR APART FROM its traditional purposes of describing external appearances, telling literary narratives, and expressing specific and pre-determined emotions.  Develop your understanding of what nonobjective compositions mean, and how and why they work. Shared challenges will guide you on your way.

The second focus explores a variety of ways of abstracting from a visual reference. Whenever you work from the visible, you inevitably select, distill, arrange, and alter the visual forces you find at your disposal. Here, you'll look at a broad range of possibilities taken from art history and contemporary art. Then, a series of shared challenges will guide you on your exploration and enable you to find approaches that are satisfying to you.

While the majority of hands-on challenges are executed in painting and drawing media, this workshop is neither media not technique specific, and no technical expertise is required. Features regular interactive discussion and critique.

This workshop was held in Nanaimo, BC Canada May 10-14, 2010. There were 20 participants in the class.

We all worked really big 48" X 48", on paper clipped to our huge back boards on our easels. We were all so excited at the prospect of working this large and I think we were all a little bit hesitant going in wondering how this was going to work out. Each of us had tons of room to work and paint; the room was set up so that we each had our own work station. 

MAGIC PALETTE ™ Color Mixing Guide

The Colour Wheel Company™

Studio Mixing Guide - 841 Colors

The Color Wheel Company describes the  Magic Palette™ Color Mixing Guide as follows:

"A color mixing guide for artists that takes the guesswork out of mixing colors!"

"An indispensable tool for artists and color designers at every experience level. Shows artists how to mix beautiful, luminous colors." they also describe the guide as:

  • 841 colors created from 29 tube paint colors
  • Broader palette and color spectrum
  • Ideal for studio, classroom and art workshops
  • Detailed instructions included
  • UV coated for durability
  • Finest quality printing for color accuracy
  • 24” x 24”

On Monday I received this wonderful mixing guide as a present from my good friend Mary Stewart.                  Thank you Mary!

Mixed Media Workshop with Donna Baspaly

 "Unlocking Jewels"  - Donna Baspaly

"Unlocking Jewels"  - Donna Baspaly

                  

Donna is a Master of mixed media. The unique depth of each piece is achieved by applying many layers of stamping, collage papers, underlying texture, glazing, line work and a lot more. Veils, Translucency, and opaques are tinted or toned gesso creating transparent gossamer veils right up to blocking an area with total opacity to quiet passages of the painting to give the eye a chance to rest.

Donna's work can be seen in Vancouver, BC, Canada at "The Kurbatoff Gallery" or their online gallery: http://www.kurbatoffgallery.com/artists.htm

Donna's upcoming workshop will be held at"TOSH" (The Old School House) in Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada. Dates are: July 23 -27. On Sunday evening July 22, a wine and cheese welcome kick-starts the week. To register and for details email Donna donnbas@shaw.ca