Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Photography Show and Commissioned Artwork

Back in 2008, I had the privilege of participating in a photography show in downtown Rochester. It was held at Image City Gallery and I was thrilled to receive a sweet review by Peter Marr. Some images from the show can be found here on my Photography page, along with a few other art photos created during that time. The page holds just a sampling of work I've done since learning how to manipulate images with the use of Photoshop, an Adobe product that has proven so useful for layering, texturing, etc... There are many photo manipulation tools out on the market today but this is the one I'm most familiar with since studying graphic design in 2004. 

I often take portrait shots for friends and family and have created special art pieces from what we sometimes consider ordinary pictures, like the one of the Dandelion Kiss above. If you are ever interested in having a special art piece created, please feel free to ask. Last year I took on a cd cover project for a storyteller. His wife had passed away from cancer when his children were still very young and he wanted a special angelic-type image made to feature the story about his wife's life and death. He provided me with the images and I used my skills in photoshop to create this cover. It took a combination of layering techniques, painting and image enhancement to produce these results.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Upcoming Mosaic Workshop for Adults

 Landscape mosaic before it was fired...

Mosaic after firing in the kiln with the addition of a patina finish applied with glass paints.

Here's a sample of what we'll be making at the February 2 workshop. If you are interested in attending, please contact me at elsak.studios@gmail.com. Also, check the Workshops tab above for specific information on times and class fees.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Oil Pastels and Grid Drawing

Oil pastel drawing by Julianna (age 9)

I'm so proud of Julianna! She has a natural gift for looking and seeing color and she's a terrific student, eager to learn and willing to take suggestions. The photograph she worked from was about 2"x3" in size. We gridded it out into 9 sections and she carefully drew the whole piece with attention to correct proportions. Then came the fun part of adding color with pastels. The finished 8"x11" piece is beautiful. It always amazes me how much a person grows when encouraged to push beyond the boundaries of what they think their limitations are. I wish I had taken a photo of the original picture to compare the results.

I believe gridding is a great way to learn to draw proportions. Eventually experienced art students will learn to look and draw without these aids but when you're first learning it's a terrific help.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Multi-Media For Kids

Tonight my Drawing class met which has now become a mixed or multi-media class for the month of January. I have some very talented young artists attending and can hardly wait to see what they'll create in the coming weeks. We did a little color theory tonight. Learning to mix the colors on the color wheel is a great way to introduce kids to really looking at what they're painting. I'll be posting some pictures as soon as I get my camera back up and running! (The battery recharger is currently in hideout mode, somewhere in my house, I hope!).

This tutorial is terrific for learning color theory: Color Mixing

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lessons in Transparency

When my family and I were visiting my parents in Kentucky over Christmas break, I found this painting sitting on a dresser in their home. My sister said "Oh yeah, I found that in storage the other day and brought it out so we could look at it again." I'd forgotten completely about it. Painted while I was taking my first oil class, I recall how much I struggled with the reflections and the transparent nature of the bottles. However, when it was complete, I was so thankful that we'd had the exercise. My professor, Cliff Davis, encouraged me to continue the study of transparent glass when I took an independant study the following semester. I recall being so eager to begin again but was very disappointed when summer was over and my inspiration had completely evaporated. I would go and sit in my studio space and stare at the blank canvases. It's hard for me to remember now just what the personal struggle was at that time but honestly I felt paralyzed to move forward. Prof Davis would say "Just paint what you see. Stop trying to make all of your art about something. You don't have to be inspired." I wish I had believed him at the time. The brush in my hands felt so heavy. Everything felt heavy as I sat, trying to look through glass as clear as day but clouded by the tempest within my heart and mind.

I'm so very thankful to have this painting safely preserved almost 18 years later. I gave all of the other paintings away or threw them out. Perhaps there are actually a few more left somewhere in my parent's attic. Quite truthfully and sadly, I disposed of much of the work I did in college. Please make sure you tell students you know to keep their work for future reference. Even if you're sick of it then and feel like you need a fresh outlook on creativity, go hide it all in your parents' or siblings' closets. Some day you'll value what you find and maybe even discover that what you learned during those days was worth the unpaid college debt of today. Maybe. Regardless, it makes me want to try my hand at oil painting again. It's been too long... Thank you, Professor Davis. Wherever you are, you were right.


Hi. I've had other blogs before but after breaking from it for a couple of years now, I'm heading into similar yet new territory. This blog will hopefully serve as a place for me to share the goings on of my life, mostly the creative side (which invariably means just about every side). Honestly though, don't be surprised to find plenty of notes about what I am teaching or creating as way of trying to make a living. It's exciting to be up to new things and I'm looking forward to sharing those things with others.

If you find yourself here, please feel free to comment and offer suggestions. I love to dialogue and if I'm not busy elsewhere being a mom, wife, teacher, babysitter or artist, I will happily join the conversation. Thanks for the visit!