Taos Work


Here I am working on a little book from one of my paper paintings. Marcy is in the background working diligently on something as well. Our studio was full and this year we shared tables, which I found to be challenging. I LOVE my own space and I had to be very tidy and zen like in my approach. No room for stuff and working. My table mate Chris and I drew a friendly line down the table, but it didn't really help. We kept spilling over. All part of the journey.



On Friday we cleaned up the studio and made little gallery spaces for our work which we "showed" and talked about on Saturday morning. I really liked this part of the week – a time when it all seemed to come together and a chance to hear others interpretations of their work. We practiced respectful listening, with no commenting, until all of us had had a chance to speak. It was very powerful. I initially thought I really didn't have anything to show, as much of the week had been about experimenting. But as I gathered all the work of the week together I saw the connections and it all came together.



One of the class exercises was working on a wall drawing with charcoal. I had a little wooden hand I had brought from my studio to use as a reference. I just let my eye follow the lines (almost blind contour) and just drew. No planning. No laying out ahead of time. A stretch. We then painted some of the lines with gel medium and went in with some amber shellac. It was very satisfying. Painterly.



I folded mine into a book. What is really great is how the pages become abstractions of the original. You can see parts of the whole, but the pages become something else altogether. Some people took their books farther, adding text, painting in them or collaging. Mine just got folded. Also showing is my writing/poetry journal for the week and another little book I made.



Some other class work. Beautiful.



Renee's lovely study in amber and black.



I liked the freedom and scary aspect (challenge?) of the black construction paper and scissors assignment and I (with Sas's kind encouragement) decided to take this idea further. Working with some topo maps that Sas just happened to have, I used a reference picture, took a deep breath and began looking and cutting. Kind of like blind contour cutting.



I did three of these in the same manner, using the Taos topo maps.



The essence of these for me was the experience of stepping out from my usual way of working more carefully, with more planning. It was freeing to work larger and more abstractly. I think the most successful one is the first one. Using the maps reflects the veins and energy of hands, but in an abstract way. I chose to leave them as is and let the shapes, both positive and negative, define the space. Energy and flow. I burnished the edges with a mix of tea and walnut ink. There is a kind of resonance where the shape meets the paper.


We did a pencil meditation exercise where you gesso a piece of newspaper and then sit quietly with your pencil and for 10 minutes or so, draw lines across your page. It's very centering. I taped mine up one day and did a painting from my black cutouts. Experimenting and looking.



I decided to fold it into a book with a poem we worked with during the week.


We had the chance to work on altered postcards – one for ourselves and one for someone in the group. This is the one I did for Dorothy.

I painted (copied) the famous Georgia O'keefe cottonwood, whose poster hung in my room, with lines from one of the poems that Dorothy wrote during the week.



This is one I did for myself. They got mailed on Thursday, to arrive after we got home. How wonderful to get mail art during the week after our great week together. A reminder to let go and surrender.



This is Marcy's lovely table of work.



Bill did a lot of wonderful drawing during the week.



Claudia's work combined to form a shrine at week's end.



The lovely Wendy, who teaches elementary school art, was gleeful in making a mask, her drawings and a wonderful paper mache crab who opens to reveal a poem. Fantastic!



Amy's drawings and earthy compositions speak to the land we were on and in. Abstract and deep.



As we were cleaning the studio Friday night, Amy whipped up these little figures. This little boat reminds me of Joseph Campbell and his discussions of masks. Animated and alive with energy. They want to tell a



 Kneeling in offering. Wow! 


Diane's graphic and powerful cross, a reminder of our week in Taos.

Next time I'll share my piece from our conceptual art day.

Until then, Via con Dios!

5 Responses to Taos Work

  1. Donna says:

    Love the hands (all of them) and the map idea! It looks like fun to work so freely, something I never do but should. I look forward to hearing more about the one with the pix taped on. I think it is neat that you make books out of the larger pieces. Very cool. 🙂

  2. Gwen Delmore says:

    All of your pieces are wonderful, and thanks for sharing so many of your classmates pieces, too. I love the postcards, and the blind contour cutting, and the gessoed newspaper. I am clearing off my studio table and doing that today. I love the idea of the meditation of drawing the lines, the books from larger works are beautiful.

    I would love to take a class from Sas, I tried at AF this year, but couldn’t get in… A whole week would be divine!

    Thanks so much for sharing all of this!

  3. I have just discovered your blog and am intrigued, I love your art, your discoveries and your writing! Thank you for sharing…Roxanne

  4. stephanie says:

    I love seeing all the work from the week, how diverse each persons is. I so enjoyed seeing your work up close and personal!

    It really shows how each person takes this in their own direction…each so wonderful in their own right.

    great experience!!


  5. Seth says:

    Such a creative and eclectic group of creations. Looks like it was a wonderful workshop. I have to hand it to you…all your artwork with hands is wonderful. Your newspaper piece really appeals to me as well, with its beautiful combination of colors. And anytime you fold a piece of art and make a book, you definitely have my attention.

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