Hello, it’s a great day to write a blog post here as it’s pouring with rain and I’m still suffering from the flu. So I’m sitting here beside the window, listening to the pitter patter of rain on the roof and sipping hot lemon with fresh ginger and manuka honey. I do love snuggling up indoors on a cold, wet winters day, daydreaming out my windows, sipping soothing warm drinks and eating nourishing soups.Last weekend Wini Dougall of Art, Love & Joy and I hosted Tracy Verdugo’s “Paint Mojo” workshop at the Gasworks Art Park in Port Melbourne.
Everyone enjoyed a wonderful weekend of togetherness, free-spirited creativity, and sharing experiences and conversations with others. I was so grateful to actually make it there though. On Saturday morning I really felt as though all I’d be able to do would be to drive there and drop off all the supplies and come back home again to bed. I’m thankful for the fast working Nurofen I took over the weekend and for the lovely warmth, care and enthusiasm of the ladies that attended. Your beautiful spirits most certainly got me though.
After a lovely personal introduction from Tracy she started off the weekend with a creative project that involved some collage work and painting onto timber boards. This was a perfect way to start as many were a little nervous about starting to paint on large white canvases and it also enabled everyone to sit down together and just start chatting among each other. The sharing, listening, caring, and enjoying new creative techniques had begun.
I personally loved this little creative project. It has given me lots of inspiration to use up all my many years of hording pieces of interesting paper clippings from here and there, old cards and pretty invites that I can’t bare to throw away. Yes, you wouldn’t know it but I am a serious paper horder!! It’s also going to be a great way to finally make something of the many mini canvases I have sitting at home that I’ve struggled to work with due to their small size. This process is fun, carefree, creative and can become really beautiful finished pieces. Here is one of Tracy’s finished timber board mixed media pieces below. This was generously gifted to one of our lovely ladies who unfortunately couldn’t attend on the weekend.
Whilst we were all working away on our boards Tracy shared a few techniques that she uses with her students and for herself as methods to ease moments when one feels stuck, or to keep the momentum flowing, or to simply get a piece started. These were fun, mainly non-thinking exercises to free up the mind and simply start the creative process. They involved word games, quick thinking and using the materials you have at hand in quick spontaneous ways. Everyone had a lot of fun with these.
By the Saturday afternoon we were all quite ready to get started on our larger paintings. Tracy had some great techniques to share with us all that many hadn’t experimented with before. Through a combination of mediums including oil pastels, acrylic inks, acrylic fluids, gel medium, paper cutouts, and water spray bottles we played with imagery, poetry, meaningful words, shapes, and pure freedom in allowing the mediums to merge and intertwine how they wanted to.
These photos are a little hard to see all the detail but they’ll give you an idea of my starting point on my canvas. There is also a layer of white oil pastel work behind this imagery that I often use in my work too.
On went some acrylic ink and acrylic fluids and I began to spray it down with water. Here is the beginnings of Tracy’s large canvas pictured below. What a beautiful colourful piece already!
Tracy works with organic shapes and visual imagery that she’s intuitively gathered from her local area and home. One of Tracy’s main techniques is to draw through the fluids and inks and I just loved this process as I could achieve fine lined detail as I do in my pen and ink illustrations. Here you can see my once invisible layer of white oil pastels shining through the inks and fluids.
Here are some photos of the rest of the group beginning work on their large canvases. You’ll also see some of their mini wooden boards in the backgrounds.
Don’t you just love seeing the happy smiling faces, I sure do! Many of us used some of the new techniques we’d learnt just that morning through working on our mini wood panels. There was collaging, stamping, dragging paint along with bamboo sticks, spreading paint with spray bottles, using our fingers to pick up wet paint and move it to other areas of the canvas. Lots of fun and experimentation.
Throughout Sunday we all continued to play with our paintings, so much so, that Tracy was hesitant to interrupt our flow with too many demos. Every now and then she’d say “ok for those of you who want to come and take a look, I’m onto something new to share with you.” She shared how she made decisions throughout the process, took some risks, and used techniques to tie the painting together as a whole.
The rest of Sunday flew by and we soon found ourselves wrapping up and sharing our pieces and experiences with the rest of the group. It was great to see so much variation in the way everyone began, so many different colour combinations, so many different personal symbols and imagery. A very unique bunch of canvases were created.
and Tracy’s finished painting which was purchased by a lucky participant.
I loved hosting this workshop and really enjoyed meeting a lot of people I’d connected with online in person. I’d also like to thank Wini for her wonderful help and support in hosting this workshop with me. It is so special to be able to meet in person, learn from and share with other like-minded people. I was feeling so, so ordinary and could easily have stayed in bed the whole weekend, but I am so glad I dragged myself there each day as the room was filled with creative energy, warmth, enthusiasm and kinship. Very inspiring and very warming to the soul. Thank-you to every one that took part in Paint Mojo and for your lovely contributions to the group.
Above is my painting from the end of the workshop. It isn’t quite finished yet, but I was so amazed that I was even able to produce this feeling so crappy and sick! I love the bright, cheerful colours and layers of finer detail. I also really loved starting my painting with a poem hidden in the background. I found beginning my painting in this way held more meaning and subconscious direction for me. The poem that I wrote on the background is a simple little one that I wrote myself;
“Take a deep breath,
and blow your fears far, far away.
Take another deep breath,
and welcome your dreams deep into your heart.”
– Liza Zeni
Hopefully sharing my experience of this wonderful workshop with you has ingnited some inner creativity that is bursting to come out. Well pop to it. Go pick up that pen or paint brush, crayon or pencil and go for it. Just enjoy and simply have fun!