Showing posts with label workshop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label workshop. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Silkscreen and Encaustic Workshop with Jeff Hirst

I recently attended a Silkscreen and Encaustic workshop with artist Jeff Hirst at the LaGrange Art League.  This has been my summer of workshops.  Earlier this year I attended an Encaustic and Wax Resist workshop given by artist Kim Bernard and I plan on taking Linda Womack’s on-line workshop Surface Design with Pastels, Inks and Mixed Media, later this fall.  Jeff’s workshop explored the unique process of screen printing oil paint and pigment sticks into and onto encaustic surfaces.  It was my hope that by learning this innovative technique, I could print on the encaustic-coated fibers used in my 3D sculptures adding an additional level of interest to their textural surfaces.  This workshop was funded in entirety through a Chicago Community Arts Assistance Program (CAAP) Grant.  Many thanks to the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and to the following panelists who approved my grant application: Barry Tinsley, Paul Hopkin, Peggy Wright, Vivian Garcia and Ben Foch.

Altered image of Window no. 34

Chicago River Reflections

Now, I had a vague sense of the screen printing process but before this weekend, I had never undertaken this method of printmaking.  I was told to bring a number of jpeg images that were linear in nature, to produce the transparencies which would be used to create the printing image. I chose a decidedly abstract, yet unaltered, black and white photograph Chicago River Reflections and an altered image of a painting from my Urban Windows series. 

 Jeff took us through the processes of preparing the screen with photosensitive emulsion to exposing the transparency image onto that screen.  These steps involved spending a significant amount of time in a dark room, lit only with a safe light.  It took me back to my time spent in the darkroom at the now closed Triangle
                                              Camera in Chicago’s East Lakeview

So now that our screens were ready Jeff explained the printing process including carefully flooding the screen with paint/ink and the importance that the squeegee be held at a 45 degree angle and quickly and firmly pulled across the screen.  Oddly, that simple combination of steps took a while to master. 

 We printed with a number of materials. R&F pigment sticks combined with a blending stick resulting in a thick paint.  R&F Gesso blended with universal dye tints and Speedball screenprinting inks which made a thinner paint. Many of us used R&F Gesso on its own when a white image was needed.

Combining this printing technique with layers of clear encaustic medium resulted in some wonderful dimension to our paintings.  Often encaustic paint was applied by brush onto layers of medium adding even more interest and depth.  Everyone made truly engaging and interesting works utilizing all of these steps.   

Printed cheesecloth strip coated with encaustic medium
My primary interest was printing on encaustic medium coated fiber.  Working with Jeff, I was able to print onto some of the sample pieces that I had brought with me. This workshop definitely provided me with the fundamentals of printscreening and Jeff was instrumental in assisting me in achieving my goal of using this technique in my own unique way.  The hands-on approach of this workshop, in addition to the extensive technical information, sufficiently prepared me to take this process into my own studio.  Now to write another grant to cover all the printmaking equipment and materials!

Thank you April Nomellini for remembering your camera and sharing your photos of the workshop!

Jeff's website:
River Reflections photograph available at
Urban Windows paintings available at

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Infinite Benefits
Taking an Art Workshop

My top three reasons for taking an art workshop

#1 - The Instructor
Each instructor brings their unique vision and expertise to the experience. They can help you look at things in a whole new way, help you to see things that would have previously gone unnoticed and learn new techniques that you can bring into your own studio and adapt to your own work.

#2 – Your Fellow Attendees
Working in close proximity of other artists can really be a beneficial component to the way you learn. Seeing what everyone else is doing and allowing them to see what you are creating can be wonderfully inspiring. The resulting interaction can really be valuable to your art-making process.

#3 – The Workshop Topic
I am a firm believer that learning something new, no matter how inconsequential it may be, is always a good thing! When considering an art workshop, you never know what you will end up taking back to your studio. A new technique may not seem a logical fit with your work but it is likely that this new knowledge will rattle around in the back of your mind, perhaps materializing in some form or another sometime in the future.

This weekend I was fortunate to attend the workshop Encaustic & Wax Resist given by Maine artist Kim Bernard. I have long been of fan of her 2D encaustic work as well as her remarkable sculpture and installation work and was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with her. An Illinois Arts Council grant allowed me to attend at no cost to me.

My fellow workshop attendees were also fellow members of FUSEDChicago, a group of artists in the Midwest that work in the medium of encaustic. It was an excellent opportunity to get to know these artists through, not only just through socializing during the two days, but also by seeing them at work and seeing how they work and how they think. Additionally, for me, it was nice to work with other artists as I work in a studio by myself. I found that this creative interaction inspired me to create work that was out of my comfort zone.

I plan on taking two more workshops this summer; Jeff Hirst’s Silkscreen & Encaustic Workshop and Linda Womack’s online workshop Surface Work with Pastels, Inks and Mixed Media. It will be interesting to see how the knowledge I gain through these workshops will make its way into my art!

Kim Bernard
Jeff Hirst
Linda Womack

Friday, April 13, 2012

Building a Strong Online Presence

On March 23rd and 24th, the Chicago Cultural Center hosted the 9th annual Creative Chicago Expo.  This event featured workshops, vendor information and resources for creatives in all disciplines.  I attended the workshops “Build a Strong Online Presence” given by Jennifer Rapp Peterson of Indiemade and “Maximizing the Potential of Your Website in Cyberspace” given by Brad Lichtenstein of Creative Capital.

Ms. Peterson’s advice begins with the need to define your goals. Why do you want to be online and what do you want to communicate?  She urged everyone to not only discover yourself, the who, what, where, how and why of your personality and the personality of your art, but to also identify your audience and speak to them directly by searching for what they want. 

Both workshops stressed the importance of participation in social media.  It is important to listen to the social conversation as well as sharing and engaging on social platforms.  Mr. Lichtenstein proposed creating a special page on Facebook to follow the stages of a unique project.

Both workshops also emphasized the importance of having a professional website as it is your online home.  Ms. Peterson identified well-designed navigation and page layouts, a site map and a blog as website must-haves.  Mr. Lichtenstein suggested posting process pictures of you making your art as this inside knowledge creates a stronger connection between the art buyer and the art.  Additionally he recommended including images of your art in client’s homes.

He also advised that we think about things and events narratively resulting in a story telling way of disseminating information about ourselves and our art.  He contends that people not only enjoy stories but remember them better, adding that this is the ideal way to design your “elevator speech”.

Indiemade and Creative Capital both have pages on Facebook.

Jennifer Rapp Peterson has included her notes from this workshop on the Indiemade site.

This post appeared on April 12, 2012.

Photograph: Doug Boehm