Category Archives: Teaching

CASA and Marva’s Heart

Marva came up from Tucson for my Luscious Abstractions class last April. She enjoyed the critique so much that afterwards she asked if I would do something similar for her art group. Marva is the program coordinator for the Contemporary Artists of Southern Arizona (CASA). So we came up with a plan, and in October I drove to Tucson with slides, demo, and critique supplies in hand.

My morning presentation was called “Honoring the Paint: Layers and Pouring in Abstract Painting.”

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The program included a pouring demo, but on seeing a CASA show the evening before, I realized that the canvas I had brought was not suitable. The group would benefit more if I used a regular store-bought canvas instead of my hand-stretched one where the paint runs at a much slower speed. So Marva offered a canvas of her own.

This gesture, and Marva’s whole nature, was so generous that when it came time to pour the demo and I needed a title, the first one that popped to mind was “Marva’s Amazing Heart.” Here is the way the painting evolved:

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This was the initial pour during the demo. Look at that yummy yellow! Pours are luscious when wet.

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I added a second pour when I got back to my studio. The painting needed more action in the corners, and I wanted a soft, neutral gray to offset the active red.

Marva's Amazing Heart, by Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Latex and acrylic on canvas, 24"H x 20"W

The finished painting: “Marva’s Amazing Heart,” by Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Latex and acrylic on canvas, 24″H x 20″W.  I turned the canvas vertically and completed it in acrylic. First, I seated the diamond shape on the beautiful base. Then, I integrated the corners by modifying the colors and activity. Finally, the center suggested a “story,” which also served to give it definition.

A group of artists stayed for the afternoon Mini-workshop, “Revitalize your abandoned artwork! In-process critique with Julie Bernstein Engelmann.”  Each attendee brought a piece she was stuck on or hadn’t finished in a previous workshop. Using acrylic on glass over the painting, I demonstrated the thought process for enhancing the magic you do see in the paint, rather than letting frustration blind you to it.

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The next day, heading home my daughter and I stopped at the studio of a friend who wanted a private art class. It was a special and sacred time.

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Maryanne Maldonado and her magical mystery painting. Photo by Paul Maldonado

My favorite kind of trip: as an art emissary!

 

The Art of Summer

Summer in the Southwest: hot, dry, timeless freedom. Here is how mine went.

Luscious Abstractions students painted enthusiastically at the Sedona Arts Center, May 2016.

Tracy, Gioia, Stephanie, Brenda

Tracy, Gioia, Stephanie, Brenda

In June a gentle free spirit, Marj Leininger, came from New Mexico for a private workshop. Here she is with our paintings-in-progress (hers on the left, mine at right).

Marj Leininger

The Sedona Summer Colony cast a charmed spell over six weeks of the summer. A new collaborative venture of the Sedona Arts Center, over 100 artists came from all across the USA to the beautiful red rocks of Sedona for inspiration and creation. My daughter was an intern for the Colony, so I led a number of hikes.

Devil’s Bridge Trail wound up through jutting rocks to a spectacular landscape:

Devil's Bridge, Sedona

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That last shot is quite abstract! Here is my daughter Amber on Dead Man’s Pass Trail:

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We also climbed the heart-stopping Cathedral Rock Trail:

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My hat tried to blow away in the gusty wind on those heights. Photo by Wanda Holmes

Summer in Arizona means hummingbirds! I make a practice of trying to photograph them in the sunset.

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Meanwhile, my painting “Saved by Flaw” was in the show Of the Earth at the Sedona Arts Center in July (biggest one in photo).

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“Promontory” was in the Sedona Arts Center’s August show, Blowin’ in the Wind.

Photo by Beth Bernstein

Photo by Beth Bernstein

Local newspaper The Cottonwood Journal gave a cute caption to a photo of my painting. It says, “Gallery 527 artist Julie Bernstein Engelmann will show her work, ‘I May Be All That Exists.’ That is something to think about and discuss at First Saturday Art Walk on July 2 in Jerome.”

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In August my Luscious Abstractions class at the Sedona Arts Center included a joyful and loving combination of deeply spiritual people of different faiths.

Rabbi Alicia and Marj

Flo, Rabbi Alicia, Marj

Here are their fabulous paintings!

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L to R: Paintings by Marj Leininger, Linda Hogsett, Florence Johns, Alicia Magal

Marj, like summer, stayed for an extra day of pouring.

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The summer wasn’t complete without a trip to Santa Fe, but that’s another post!

 

Cheerful painters

I think I am enjoying teaching more and more as I relax into the flow of a class and let the magic unfold. After my March class, cleaning up the brushes, I realized I was so energized I could have taught another one then and there.

Here are some of the bright faces and paintings that brought me so much joy.

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Jane, Sharon, Marva, Wayne, Sue, Judee

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Sharon, Jane, Julie, Wayne, Marva, Sue. Photo by Christi Slivinski.

Marva invited me to give a presentation and mini-workshop for the Contemporary Artists of Southern Arizona (CASA) in Tucson! So I’m scheduled for Oct. 7, 2016. My presentation will be titled, “Honoring the Paint: Layers and Pouring in Abstract Painting.”

The mini-workshop (3 hours) will be called “In-process critique to revitalize your abandoned abstracts!” Marva had mentioned that the CASA members learn many techniques in their workshops, but often the instructors leave them to finish their paintings on their own. Whereas, my joy is in helping students see their paintings to the end, when they get to witness everything coming together!

 

Heart-filled group

What a lovely class I had in March, three heart-filled, outflowing artists from the Phoenix area and one from Sedona. Too bad I didn’t take a picture of them, but here are their fascinating artworks.

Acrylic on paper paintings by Julie Chrismer, Perri Skolnick, Mary Ann Turney, Ellen Shell

A kind of self-report card I use for my teaching is, how different are the artworks that my students create in class? The more different they are, the more successful I feel I have been in bringing out the uniqueness of the artist.

 

One-day Luscious Abstraction

In February I tried teaching a one-day Luscious Abstraction class at the Sedona Arts Center, curious whether that would attract students who didn’t have time for a longer class. Indeed it did!

Nickie, BJ, and Jennifer painting

Nickie, BJ, and Jennifer painting

It was a dear group, and we had a wonderful time.

The funny thing was, it turned out lucky I had scheduled only one day! Just before lunch I realized I had caught my husband’s cold/flu, and by the end of they day I was practically in an altered state. I hope to goodness I didn’t pass along anything but earnestly helpful art insights. 

 

Luscious Dream Abstraction

The Sedona Arts Center hosted a Sedona Art Retreat in February. As part of the Personal Imagery Path, I taught a spiritual/art workshop called Luscious Dream Abstraction. We took a personal dream and made art out of it, in a layering process.

This one was my demo.

This one was my demo.

The paintings serve as a kind of dream board, embodying each artist’s goals. I was surprised to discover that by using such a personal process, the artists ended up creating pieces that hardly needed any discussion about composition.

I loved how each of the paintings came out. We were having so much fun gushing over them, I forgot to take photos!

 

Wonderful Beautiful Mess class

What a wonderful From Beautiful Mess to Strong Composition class! It was a full house at Sedona Arts Center at the end of January, with many artists traveling from a distance.

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Midpoint critique. Photo by Sandy Duckett

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Laura Pennington

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Jeanette Cassin and Michelle Erickson

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Kimall Christensen, Stacey Aikins, and GloriaRothrock

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Gail Dishman and Diana Grady. Diana came from Alaska!

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Sandy Duckett

My longtime mentoring client, Sandy Duckett from Phoenix, inspired everyone with her warm heart.

Trash-to-Treasure workshops

As part of a community-wide Earthflows event in January 2016, the Sedona Arts Center held a juried exhibition called The Art of Recycling – Turning Trash into Treasure. “It is art that makes materials valuable, not the other way around,” said their School of the Arts director, Vince Fazio.

In conjunction with the show, he asked me to do two 2-hour Trash-to-Treasure workshops using recycled materials for assemblage. Like paint, found materials inspire through color and texture. Unlike paint, they also inspire through association, stories, and form.

The workshops were filled with lively people juicing it up with their creativity!

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El Valle demo and workshop

The El Valle Artists Association in Cottonwood, AZ, invited me to do a demo and workshop in November 2015. Here is a picture from the demo.

Photo by Elaine Bomkamp

Photo by Elaine Bomkamp

It is always refreshing to gather with fellow artists! The workshop was held in a school, so during our break we had fun swinging on the swingset. A couple of the older artists hadn’t swung for 7 decades!