Drawing and Painting Workshop

The focus of my most recent drawing workshop was about how to draw and paint more accurately.

We warmed up with right brain exercises which helps the mind let go of the thinking side and move toward the intuitive side. I had my students get get their paper and pencil ready to draw, but and then asked them to turn their heads to look away at their other hand. They were then asked to draw blind contour drawings of their hands. They could not look at their drawings until they were done.

Then we shifted to drawing using direct observation to study some beautiful orchids I had just gotten at the orchid show in Hilo last week.  I had the students start with pencil line and do drawings of the flowers as accurately as possible. Afterward they could add watercolor wash over the pencil drawing to augment the drawings with color. My students created some beautiful studious artwork that I’m very happy to share. 

Kahilu Theater Juried Show

Abbie with Fissure 8 painting
Waimea, Hawaii
On March 14th, I was present at the art opening for the Kahilu Theater’s 4th annual juried exhibition. I was honored to have my painting “Transmutation” selected to be part of this fabulous juried show and hung in a beautiful venue.

I was inspired by the daily view from the street where I lived in Hawaii, just 3 miles from the flow. The view was the gigantic plume from Fissure 8 that towered upward and filled the night sky each day with it’s fiery glow. It flowed for several months while I was on island.

Amazing heartfelt artwork was on display by artists who shared artistic interpretations of transformative destruction/creation experiences in their lives, many who were displaced by the volcanic eruption and many who lost their homes.

The show is free and open to the public Mon-Fri 9am-1pm and during all performances. It will be on display at the Kahilu Theater until April 27th.

Alcohol Inks – An exercise in Surrender

I finally did it. I took the plunge and decided to explore alcohol ink.
Since joining instagram two years ago I discovered and started following my favorite artists using alcohol inks. The fluidity, globular, diaphanous, featherlike, dripping, vibrant, and windblown qualities of alcohol inks were just too compelling. So I spent the last few weeks weeks studying Youtube how-to videos, learned some techniques and decided to offer a workshop using them.
The class was well attended and luckily for my students and myself, we found there’s almost no way to go wrong.
That is to say, you can go WRONG if you try to CONTROL them. Believe me… I have tried! 
Using alcohol inks offers the ultimate opportunity of letting go and remaining non-attached to outcome. One really has to stop trying to control the outcome and allow the medium to express itself. Results are beautiful, unexpected and best when we just let alcohol ink do what it does without forcing it. One has to let it flow, expand, bloom, merge, drip, dry and do what the medium does, without fussing or trying to make it do something specific. It’s harder to control than watercolor at the level of experience I have now, but I suspect it will always lend itself to the truly unpredictable.
That’s why it’s so fun. The vibrancy of the colors are also exciting. I am challenged to explore alcohol ink further and perhaps take it beyond making just another pretty abstract painting.

Intuitive Watercolor Painting using the Circle

Mary love circleThis week marks the first 2019 art workshop I led in Intuitive Painting using Watercolor. My commitment for this year is to offer a monthly art workshop in my studio in Hawaii. Sharing the creative process and encouraging others in their artistic pursuits is as important to me as an artist as it is to do my own artwork.

This week we worked with the circle as a format. I have found that the circle lends itself to abstraction more than the rectangle.  The rectangle is ubiquitous, the shape that we so often choose in making art that we don’t even question it form. Most paintings are done on rectangular shaped canvases or rectangular pieces of paper. Even the shape of our computer screens, tablets and phones are all rectangular. Our eyes are saturated by seeing and reading in rectangle format.

The circle is less commonly used in art and therefore offers a bit more of a surprise. There is less to associate in the circle with previous forms of art.  The circle is a wonderful choice in formats because it lends itself to abstraction. There is no implied vertical or horizontal and it can be tilted and seen at any angle. I was pleased to see the beautiful paintings and creative exploration in this Sunday’s workshop. Stay posted as I will be offering first Sundays each month as dates for my painting workshops for 2019. See Workshops

Hawaii Contemporary Art Show

Hawaii Contemporary Art Show
I’m very pleased to be showing this month in the juried exhibition at the East Hawaii Cultural Center. I created a triptych of three new abstract watercolors to submit to this show. I had been focusing on my representational work for a number of years but returned to my abstract work for consideration to this exhibit. It was refreshing to let my intuition be my guide and create purely abstract forms, colors and shapes.
The show represents contemporary artwork by Hawaiian artists and is juried by Henry Bianchini, a talented and well established Big Island sculptor and painter. The show opened September 7th in Hilo for First Fridays art walk. It’s exciting to be a part of the community of many talented artists who have made Hawaii their home and developed their art here. The show was well attended and will stay open for the month of September.
Available to purchase

Lava Flow

Kilauea Lava Eruption

I haven’t posted in nearly two months. Right after my return from teaching in Maui in early May, the volcanic eruption of Kilauea began on the east rift zone in lower Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii. Molten lava started to flow from fissures just four miles from my home. I left the island to visit my family home in Connecticut just days after the eruption began. My trip had been planned months earlier and I was grateful to be 6000 miles away in a safe place where I took refuge with my family during the following weeks.

I have been watching news from afar as the lava continued to flow over much of lower Puna, destroying hundreds of houses and leaving many people homeless in its wake. I gazed hopelessly as I watched gorgeous coastal areas, tide pools and roadways get covered by 40 foot thick walls of black lava. This has been a heart wrenching time for myself and to so many who lost their homes and dreams in Hawaii. I’m fortunate that my house and subdivision has been spared destruction. There is no immediate threat to my neighborhood at the moment and I will return to my home in Hawaii in just a few days.

Only recently have I felt drawn to pick up my brushes and begin to capture in paint some of the images and videos posted online of the billowing laze, fumes and smoke as the lava enters the ocean. I am curious to see how my art will reflect this changed landscape when I am back on the island.

Earlier paintings I have done of Hawaii and the scenes of the Red Road are even more precious to me now than before. Without doubt this experience has been a lesson in the impermanence of life and a strong reminder to not take any moment for granted.

Art Workshops on Maui

The last two weeks went by so fast teaching at Hui No’Eau on Maui. Both the watercolor and the abstract painting workshops were full, and the students that attended were an amazing group of creatively inspired adults who sought to expand and explore their creative potential. I feel so grateful and honored to have been invited to Maui to teach at the Hui. I look forward to return visits. After all I’m just an island away.

Visiting island artist at Hui No’eau, Maui

To be able to travel, paint and teach art has been a goal of mine for quite some time.
So being invited to teach art in Maui at the Hui No’Eau is truly a dream come true.

Just a few months after moving to the Big Island of Hawaii last year, I was contacted by Hui No’Eau to come teach my workshops there as a visiting island artist. The school is a nonprofit, community art school in Maui, situated on one of the historic Baldwin estates. It has a view of Haleakala to one side and the distant coast to the other side. It’s upcountry, surrounded by rolling hills, lush vegetation and meadows. The school itself is set on 22 acres with a variety of buildings for arts and craft disciplines. The main gallery shows work by contemporary artists and the classes are well attended.
Yes.. it’s real. I taught my first workshop this weekend at Hui No’Eau called Tropical Expressions using Watercolor and Collage. It was a full class and so much fun to teach. Sharing my knowledge and inspiring others to tap into their creativity is truly my ultimate dream. Next weekend I teach abstract painting using acrylics on paper.
During the week my plan is to reconnect with island friends and paint, paint and paint. Maui is first island of the Hawaiian islands that I visited and first island I loved. The Big Island is where my soul lives now but Maui is still one fabulous place to visit.

Hui No'Eau photo

 

Abstract Expressionism Workshop

Everyone had an exciting time exploring paint and the world of abstraction this past weekend in the Abstract Expressionism workshop. I prepared the studio the day before by covering the walls and floors with tarps so my students would be able to splash and drip paint freely. I also salvaged several boards from a construction site to use as support for the larger size art. I had purchased a couple of large rolls of paper from the art store in Kona that we cut into 3-4′ lengths and stapled to the walls. I wanted people to paint big with a variety of larger brushes than they normally used for painting. The experience of painting in a large scale lends itself to both abstraction and personal expression. The class was well attended and I was able to offer the class again the next day to several students who missed Sunday’s workshop. I believe even for representational painters, changing up the scale and painting abstractly is important as it ‘informs’ their other artwork. Plus… it’s just plain fun!

Watercolor Workshop on the Big Island

Aloha! I was so happy to teach watercolor again here on the Big Island. It was the first workshop I gave since I moved to Hawaii. I welcomed new students and was thrilled to have returning students as well. Some had experience painting with watercolor and others were painting for the very first time. Everyone enjoyed trying some new techniques that I demonstrated and discovered how fun it is to play with this colorful and fluid medium. Students created lovely images during a very rainy afternoon. Fortunately we had use of a large, light-filled studio so that we could spread out and stay dry despite the afternoon deluge. I’ll be offering continued workshops so please check my Workshop schedule for art classes I will be teaching here on the island.