Monday, July 22, 2013

Sketching and Watercolor with Jane LaFazio

I'm back from the CREATE Mixed-Media Art Retreat in Somerset, New Jersey, and ready to tell you all about it!  I arrived on Friday in the late afternoon, giving me time to attend the Artists' Faire, where various artists and businesses sold supplies and original works of art.  I will share my experiences (and my purchases!) in my next post, but for now, I want to focus on my first workshop--a six-hour class on Saturday with Jane LaFazio, entitled "Sketching and Watercolor:  10 Objects 10 Ways."
Jane LaFazio, sharing one of the ten techniques we learned in her workshop.
We were a large group, but the room's big tables gave us lots of space to spread out our supplies and work.  Jane opened the workshop by introducing herself, and sharing the story of how she came to discover her talent and enjoyment for drawing and painting with watercolor.  She gave us each an opportunity to introduce ourselves and explain why we were taking this class, which I thought helped to build camaraderie that stayed with us throughout the day.  It also helped me make contact with two creative women who live very close to me!
Here I am at my worktable in Jane's workshop.
For the rest of the day, we would alternate between clustering around a table at the front to watch Jane demonstrate one of the 10 techniques she was teaching us, and us heading back to our work spaces to try out the technique for ourselves.  We drew with regular pencils and water-soluble pencils, regular pens and water-soluble pens, and watercolors.  We drew true to our observations and also created silhouettes.  We drew on watercolor paper, on text paper, and on tissue paper.

Jane made herself available throughout, offering encouragement and constructive advice.  I felt perfectly comfortable calling out, "Jane, help me fix this!" and she would come right to my aid.
A fellow student at work.  I enjoyed seeing the work spaces each artist carved out for herself.
Another fellow student at work.  Don't we all look content?
This was much more of a process/instructive workshop than a product workshop.  We didn't necessarily walk out with a finished piece of art, but we came away with ten different techniques for representing objects in our art journals or art pieces.
My page from my work in the workshop.
A pencil sketch from a piece of nature.
I love how Jane divides her page up into quadrants for each of the representations, using any remaining open space for a title or some other graphic element.  I look forward to trying out this approach in my own sketchbook.
A sample page from Jane's sketchbook.
I also love how she numbers the sections in different ways, using rubber stamps or stencils or some other interesting method.
A sample spread from Jane's sketchbook.
At the end of class, we all spread our pages out on the floor so we could look at, admire, and take photos of each other's work.
Student work spread out on the floor.
A little bit closer look and you can see the talent displayed over the course of the workshop.
When I was explaining why I chose to take this class, I mentioned that my art journal usually makes use of collage elements and a rather abstract use of paint.  I would love to be able to represent the things I see, that are relevant to my day or the subject matter of my spreads, using drawings that I have created myself, rather than "borrowed images."  This workshop has equipped me with ten different techniques for doing just that!  And best of all, the supplies are so simple and portable:  paper, pencil, pen, waterbrush, and small watercolor set.  Nothing expensive, nothing complex.

Jane is such an encouraging instructor, and an interesting person to talk to.  One of the greatest pleasures of my weekend was having a chance to chat with her over coffee on Sunday morning as we awaited the start of our morning workshops.  We talked about life and art, and she introduced me to her friend and roommate Helen Shafer Garcia, who was also teaching at CREATE.  (Her workshop "Negative is Positively Painterly" was on my short list when I was making my selections; hopefully, I'll have a chance to learn from her at a future retreat!)

I have so much more to share with you:  the Artists' Faire, my purchases and freebies, my other two workshops, and A GIVEAWAY!  So be sure to come back by soon to hear the rest of the CREATE retreat story.


Tina said...

I love the idea of dividing the page into quadrants - so simple but visually stunning. I'm so impressed by the work, you are all so talented!

Adriann said...

Jane LaFazio is one of my favorite artist! I bought a DVD workshop she made and it opened the door for me to say I am an artist. She is an awesome teacher. I love the seashell you painted. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to hearing more. Adriann

froebelsternchen said...

wonderful work !

Debderoz said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful weekend! So fascinating! Look forward to next instalment xx

alarmcat said...

sounds like a wonderful workshop!!

Jane LaFazio said...

Wow, thanks for the lovely review and great description of the class. Loved getting to know you a bit better too! Xoxox

Naomi said...

This looks like such a great class! I'm also excited to hear more about the other classes and the vendor fair, of course!

betsy said...

Thanks for your wonderful blog entry. I heard wonderful things about Jane at the CREATE Artists' Faire so plan to take one of her workshops one day. Looks like you were very happy - great photo!

Breesmimi said...

HI Just came over from Jane's blog and I am now your newest follower! I see you are also doing ICAD. Come over and check out my ICAD too! Look forward to your next post!

Seth said...

Your journal, Jane's journals, and the spread of journals on the floor are all really spectacular. Sounds like a wonderful workshop.

Parabolic Muse said...

Thanks for these photos, Andria. That looks like a great class. I think I'd love that class! Your photo is great!

Hope you continue to meet people near you, and maybe you could even have an art group at your home for creative evenings or something! I don't have many people near me, oddly enough.

Or maybe I've just alienated all of them... HA!

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