Jul 28, 2015

Visual Thinking

One of my last entries as I prepare for a visual journey. One of the tricks I do to stimulate my brain and creativity is to randomly pick up books and, with closed eyes, let them fall open to a page that requires my full attention. This is where visual thinking begins for me. Seeds of imagination and different thought patterns provide stimulation and thus growth. Books are such a visual treat. You can smell, feel and see with such clarity. 
The book that landed in my hands this morning was Artforms. Knowing that the wilderness would reveal many artforms in the coming weeks, I picked this large educational book up and there was the sparkling knowledge that my brain required to jump start into this adventure. 
To visualize is to imagine or as this book points out visual memory provides a mental picture. What is of interest to me is how our experiences influence our inner visualization and outer seeing. This book goes on to discuss perception and human awareness...daily occurrences for all of us. Just think of images, conversations, and thoughts that enter our mind each day....ooftah as my Norwegian grandmother would say. 
Don Fabun wrote"Of all our planet's resources, the most precious is human awareness."
The book points out that to be aware is to be conscious and to perceive is to be aware through the senses (to understand through the awareness). What was of interest to me, is the statement, "Much of our sensory awareness is learned. The eyes are blind to what the mind cannot see."
Watching my 18 month old granddaughter touch a blade of grass with wonder reminds me of the clean slate that allows every object to be one of wonder. This week provided me an opportunity to have my older grand kids. What a treat and what remarkable learning's. While walking in the woods my grandson and I were visited by a large pileated woodpecker, tap, tap, tapping. I am always in awe of the sounds, colors, movement and form that hits every sense when viewing living forms. My grandson looked up and then continued chopping at grass next to him. I caught his eye and said " shhhhh, look up and breath quietly." We smiled at one another. We must clear our minds, allow ourselves to see everything new and fresh. This is how magic occurs, this is how the arts flourish. 
Young minds should be encouraged to experience every moment as a moment of fresh new wonder, a moment to learn and educate others. 
Artforms points out, in varying degrees we are guided (or limited) in the growth of our awareness by our parents, teachers, and others who influence us. Looking at objects and labeling them can limit our perception of them. We can miss the nuances and subtle beauty of the object. 
Robert Irwin, "Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees". 
What if we were allowed to develop our visualization patterns, encouraged to perceive life as an individual... where would this awareness take us??
Random thoughts that allow fresh art to occur. By the way this is not a wet great horned owl, it is whatever you would like it to be. 

Jul 26, 2015

Here is our art project for the Women's Mtn. Art Retreat in October!!

Lesson plan: Our Center… The Tree of Life 
Discussion of the importance of trees in our lives and throughout history. Several readings will be discussed including Annie Dillard “For the Time Being”, R.J. Stewart “The Miracle Tree” & Sharlyn Hidalgo “Healing Power of Trees”.   
Students (ladies) will bring pictures, photos and ideas for their personal tree of life. What is our center, the core of our existence? Compare the root system, the base, the trunk, the branches, and the leaves and buds with our physical and mental selves.  
The first layer will be the bones of the project. We will use textural sand and gels to build layers of surface to the canvas. I will demonstrate the use of the medium (sand) and the use of tools (such as palette knife). How does the trees surface resemble our own? Is our exterior rough, perhaps guarded or smooth and translucent? The textures will need time to dry. We will begin to pick out our collage layers of natural fibers, papers, & other such material.  
We will use acrylics for our second layer. The use of color is important as it represents you as an individual. There is no right or wrong at this point. I will demonstrate the use of color and discuss emotional color values. Each tree will be created as an individual expression.  
We will use batik and watercolors for our third layer. I will demonstrate the placement of fibers and collage materials upon the surface of the painting. After we are satisfied with our placement we can begin to pour dyes upon sections of our painting. What textures speak to our souls? Would the roots differ from the branches of your tree? Let your life, your individual story reveal itself through the tree. This layer will need to dry overnight.  
We will reveal the painting under the collage. A moment of wonder, perhaps joy or sorrow? The painting can be worked on at your leisure. The dyed fibers can be used in your personal journal for created.  
There is an example below. Blessings Annie  

Jul 15, 2015

The Gathering of Women

Oh the gentle gathering of women spirits, the circle of love and harmony. As I prepare for the Women's Mountain Art Retreat I am lifted to a higher realm of love and excitement. 
This crazy, hectic ride we call life does not leave much time for circles to be formed. Brief gatherings at the water hole, in the backyard, or on the street sustain our spirits for a week, a couple of days or an hour. Human contact physically and verbally are craved for. Sharing our stories, listening with an open heart, and looking into each others spirits with compassion is needed. 
The first Women's Mountain Art Retreat provided this circle of love and hope. The retreat has continued to provide a complete circle for many of us (including me). 
The picture above was one of our last gatherings of love and creativity. Each retreat provides something instrumental for each participant. This year the retreat will be held at the Pineview Lodge in Hamilton Montana. The retreat will be October 9-12. I am able to provide a scholarship for a sister that is in need. I am collecting names and contact information from any and all for this lady. We will draw a name from these suggestions and she will be gifted a retreat from all of us. 
There will be a life coach, a yoga master and artists aboard for this retreat. 
As always there will be great food, wonderful drinks and a gift as you arrive (including the gift of spirit). 
Contact me at the following information whether you would like to jump aboard or whether you know of a young lady that could use a circle of love and creativity. The retreat will be $650 for four days and three nights. all supplies and food included. There will be more information by the first week of August. 
Annie Allen

Jul 1, 2015

Women Classes and Gatherings

 Birds, Feathers, Foliage… Women 
We will be using procion dyes, watercolor dyes, fibers, watercolor paper, and yupo paper (polypropylene). All supplies will be included. These two classes are about experimentation and discovery. My belief is that we all have a creative center which needs to be expressed.  
You will need to bring a poem, letter, or some written matter that reminds you of the important women in your life. Also try to bring some foliage from the summer, perhaps some feathers and ( if you would like ) some photos of your favorite birds. If you do not have these supplies no worries for I will have some to share.
  I will guide you through the magic of colors and mixing along with the interaction of colors on the different types of surface. There is alchemy involved and patience is needed. There will be times when the dyes dry slowly and you will have to wait for the next step, there will be times when the dye spills over into an area that you didn’t plan for (letting go of control can be good) , and there will be times when happy accidents occur and we will cheer you on!  
I will provide sheets of information about color mixing and suggestions about the fibers and papers with the class. 
 Terry Tempest Williams wrote “We can change, evolve, and transform our own conditioning…. Empty pages become possibilities.” 

Dates: July 9- cost $45 July 10- cost $45 (if both classes are taken cost is $80) All supplies included, snacks and refreshments provided. Time zone- 5-7:30 pm 

I will be sending out information for the 4th Annual Women's Art Retreat through my website, facebook, and blog. The retreat is a three day, two night event featuring several artists in different disciplines such as visual art, sculpture, body movement, etc. Please feel free to request to be on the mailing list for this event. We are considering late fall and possibly landing at either Sleeping Child Hot Springs or Boulder Hot Springs. 
Annie Allen