The ART IS...YOU West Coast Art Retreat was wonderful. It was well organized, offered great classes and really great teachers. This was the first West Coast venue for the retreat
Art is ...Petaluma was held at the Sheraton Sonoma, just off highway 101 and very easy to find. It was close to downtown and to many of the beautiful surrounding historic areas that folks come to California to visit.
This is wine country and the hills are covered with miles of vineyards and wineries.
Petaluma is also known historically for chicken and egg production. I don't think that they know which came first either but it was a big deal in the day. "At one time, Petaluma was known as the "Egg Capital of the World," sparking such nicknames as "Chickaluma". Petaluma hosted the only known Poultry drugstore and is the place where the egg incubator was invented by Lyman Byce in 1879." For more information go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petaluma,_California
The Petaluma River runs through the old part of town and out to the Pacific Ocean.
Downtown is filled with great shops and restaurants.
I always ask permission to take photos before I pull the camera out. This place, called Paperwhite, was so nice about letting me take some photos.
and when I told her that I had a blog, she said that it was like getting some free advertising. It's true. Some folks are really nasty about not wanting photos taken in their shops. Not sure why... but it's their store so I don't argue with them.
I love it! It's such a farming community... still.
Check out Paperwhite if you're ever in Petaluma.
So, on to the first workshop.
It was called TIME TRAVEL DIARY.
The book has to be in fairly good condition. You remove about a quarter of the pages with an Exacto knife or just carefully tear them out. Then you use the remaining pages to add paint, paper and embellishments, gluing pages with mod podge or gel medium.
There should be a theme or idea in mind. We were told ahead of time to create a character or use someone from our past.The book would be their story.
I have a very hard time doing this to a book. when I created my first altered book I couldn't look at it for months. It was a book of William Blake's poetry and I had nightmares of him haunting me because I had defaced his pages of poems.
I found it very difficult to take a book apart and tear it's pages out. I still have the book but I will never do this to a book that means that much to me again.
This time I found an old book that had a wonderful vintage paper cover on it. It was called Valley People and was about people who lived in Pope Valley, CA. My character for this workshop was my grandmother, Johanna, and her life in the Napa Valley from the 1900's to about 1940.
The artist/instructor for this workshop was Serena Barton. She was wonderful.
We were a very small class and we felt like we were getting individual instruction from her. We were!
It turned out there were only two of us that showed up so we had a very private workshop. Very one on one.
Serena lives in Portland, Oregon. She taught herself to paint and even though she loved art as a child, it wasn't until she went on a vacation to Italy that she became inspired to create paintings and mixed media work for a living.
These are Serena's hands..
This is the other student in the class and some of the pages of her book.
Hers was about the divine spirit in women and their beauty and strength. It was beautiful.
(click on the photo to enlarge)
Another in soft pastels and transparent overlays.
Mine on the other hand was a concentrated effort.
I would have taken more photos but my hands were stuck together with glue and paint.
I have decided that whatever I do to change this old book, I must keep the integrity of that original book. I find it painful to pull a book apart.
What I do, has to incorporate itself into the older addition, as if I'm building on a foundation. This, of course, adds another level to the artwork but it's part of how I deal with taking this book apart... Penitence for the sin of defacing someones writing.
I think that once I make these concessions to the original book I can then continue to create my art on these pages and live with myself. If not... then I will find some other object to alter.
One of the artists at the first night's dinner said that you must do 6 or 7 of the same thing before moving on to something else. By the 7th time you will know how to do it and you will know, for sure, that it is what you want to do. I think that is a cure for my habit of hopscotching all over the art world trying to find something that I like.
So, I have five more of these babies to go. I will either become an Altered book artist or die trying.
OR... stick to Felting.
Thanks Serena. You made me think outside the book...
Tomorrow I will do a post on the Nuno Felting class. Um, um.. good.