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This month I am participating in an online course centered around abstract drawing and painting with Tara Leaver called Abstractify. Abstract has always appealed to me as more fun to play around with colors and shapes than to labor over the details of an exact replica of a picture. Tara has a positive attitude towards promoting creativity and encourages experimentation and having fun in the creation of art. The course lessons so far have been a mixture of drawing with pencils, charcoal and various pastel markers, and painting with watercolor or acrylics. There are about 20 of us from around the world and at various levels and stages of art creation. We share pictures of each days assignment and everyone provides support and encouragement.

Through the daily lessons, I have learned a lot and learning about artists that I did not pay much attention to before such as Helen Frankenthaler and Wassily Kandinsky. The course has me really working on intuitive drawing skills and adding new elements to my work.

On the local front, the current exhibition at the  Lee County Alliance For The Arts is "Printmaking". Printmaking is not something I practice, or even know very much about. I was not sure about entering this show. However, I need to have courage to face potential failure and rejection. If I had to pick a show to be rejected from, it would be this one.

Last October, my wife Debby and I went to Iowa and spent a week with Stan and Diane Greenwood, her sister and husband, thus my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Stan has been experimenting with printmaking in his shared studio in downtown Des Moines. One of the fellow studio artists has a printing machine. We spent a Tuesday afternoon experimenting with the printing press there. A few weeks before the Printmaking show submittal deadline, Stan and Diane were visiting here and Stan suggested that I could make a sort of monotype with paint, a two page "sandwich" of sketch paper, and a rolling pin. I experimented with paint transfers and reused some prior collage pieces.

One idea I experimented with was to spell the words "play", "write", "paint", and "flow", named after sections of my book-in-progress, with paint each on single sheets of paper. Experimented with wetter, water, length of time and pressure. The one that I liked the best had started with the word "paint" in yellow and blue lines and the mechanism used for pressure was to stand or even stomp on the "sandwich". I called that one "Paint Stompotype", a sort of play on words. There were two other collage pieces I liked better, one with an accidental guitar shape, and one over an unfinished experiment in acrylic painting on large sketchpad paper. Those three seemed to be the best of the dozens of experiments in paint transfer. "Paint Stompotype" was selected for the show and is currently hanging in the exhibition.       

I am grateful to be one of 39 artists selected for the Printmaking exhibition and even more surprised that my submittal is one of fifteen artist mentions in the juror's statement.

If I had let fear of failure keep me from entering then I would be sitting here wondering. The next local themed juried shows are an All-Florida artist show at the Alliance, and "Art of the Heart" at the Sidney Berne Center. Both shows are in June. I have no idea what I am going to submit, yet. 




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