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!

 

Sunfire doll and the desert

My sister Beth invited me to Tucson to take a doll workshop with Gretchen Lima, her favorite doll creator, who happens to live nearby in the desert.

It was delightful to learn from taking another artist’s workshop, relax into her instructions, and see her fabulous studio setup. Here is a rare picture of my sister sewing (on the right).

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And here is my doll creation, called Sunfire, inspired by my sunshiney red-headed daughter Amber.

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Can you see the resemblance?

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Ha, that’s a funny picture of Amber a few years ago, but it looks closer to the doll than most!

Here is some desert beauty from our hike: a field of prickly pear; ocotillo flowers in the deep blue sky; palo verde branches with a bird’s nest; and…a little prickly pear love!

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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.

 

Dear deer: Creating through desire and allowing

For the Sedona Arts Center 36th Annual Juried Members Show, March 4-28, 2016, I entered two paintings; both got selected. One of them was an odd painting that came out of me after I had moved to Arizona, yet didn’t feel settled yet.

I had been looking at a pink and yellow canvas for quite awhile. The rectangular pink form on the lower half had begun to take on a life of its own.

That’s when my friend Scott, forever passionate about deer, commissioned me to paint a deer portrait.

Quiet, detail, acrylic on canvas, 20"Hx24"W, 2014. Private collection

Quiet, detail, Julie Bernstein Engelmann, acrylic on canvas, 20″Hx24″W, 2014. Private collection

In the course of looking at deer faces and deer paintings I got onto the wavelength. Suddenly it became clear what the vision was on my pink and yellow canvas:

Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Creating Through Desire and Allowing, acrylic on canvas, 25"Hx25"W

Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Creating Through Desire and Allowing, acrylic on canvas, 25″Hx25″W

The force of those antlers was very masculine compared to my usual flowy forms. I may have to return to such imagery one day! The eye needed to remain in transition – an abstraction transition…

The title, “Creating Through Desire and Allowing,” was a subject on my mind. How do you manifest something in your life? The object coming into view between the antlers represents to me the oscillation between desire and allowing that occurs in the process of bringing a creation into being, into reality.

 

Let it be easy

To watch a good artist on a roll is to see ease in motion. Like a trickling brook, the artist cascades from one brushstroke to the next, allowing the gravity of ease to carry them. 

Less experienced artists may struggle. Overthinking and under-observing make it hard to hear the natural voice of ease and flow.

Let it be easy!

For example, does the motion of your brushstroke seem to expand your joy, intrigue, and relief? Or does it contract, like your mind is taking control because it doesn’t trust the muse? Expand or contract: that distinction makes it easy!

Listen richly to life.

See if you have room, right now, to loosen up and let it be easy. Allow the light and sound around you to help you — you are in an ocean of Source!  Each moment is a chance to open to expansion and ease.

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Let It Be Easy, by Julie Bernstein Engelmann, acrylic and latex on partially primed canvas, 24″H x 30″W

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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Dreamtime show at Sedona City Hall and Mayor’s office

I was invited to show at one of the Sedona City Hall buildings, Oct.-Dec. 2015.

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I called the exhibition Dreamtime,” an aboriginal term for the eternal place where the uncreated spiritual essence of form exists. 

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My daughter Amber at my Dreamtime show

Two of my paintings were hung in the Mayor’s office. Do they look gorgeous or what on those purple walls with the arch window! Check out the beautiful sculpture on the left, too.

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Here I am with Mayor Sandy Moriarty at the Artist Meet and Greet closing reception on January 6, 2016.

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