Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Spending the Week With Julie

Julie Ford Oliver
teaching at Tessera Fine Art Gallery
Wichita, Kansas

What an amazing week it was spent with my dear friend and artist Julie Ford Oliver.  She arrived safely in Wichita last Monday, and a whirlwind of fun, laughter and learning started the second she stepped off the plane.  We did so much during the week and I will try to just highlight our week for you.

Julie Ford Oliver teaching her fracturing technique
Tessera Fine Art Gallery in Wichita, KS
 The fracturing workshop was a big hit with all the artists that attended.  Many were there with the hopes to loosen up on their technique and Julie's fracturing helps do just that.  Most were working with oil paints, but there were two artists that worked in acrylic.  We were mesmerized watching Julie paint her demos and truly in awe of her natural knack for color.  She made it all look so easy, but it really isn't.  I was glad we had three days to work at it.  

Julie making the rounds with each artist
Tessera Fine Art Gallery in Wichita, KS
 We spent time at our easels and Julie made the rounds to help us along.  She limits the number of attendees in her workshops for this very reason.  It's important to her to give individual attention so that everyone can walk away feeling they have really learned something.  Her teaching spirit was such a gift to all of us.

Lunch break
 The class went from 9 am to 4 pm for three days...though we went later every single day.  We took much-needed lunch breaks each day.  It is exhausting to engage your mind in such a way for so long.

Our class minus two
There were eight students one day and seven the other days of the student could not attend all three days.  We had a blast together and of course everyone adored Julie like I do.  

oil on canvas
about 5 x 7
 We all painted an imaginary cup using the fracturing technique.  I lost my fracturing lines in this one, but I was happy with the colors.

oil on canvas panel
9 x 12 inch
 We each also brought an old painting that we wanted to fix.  My backyard painting was the first painting I ever did in oil.  I worked on it for a while, but it still is not finished.

oil on panel
6 x 6 inch
   Julie advised all of us to "stop right there!"  at one point or another on our paintings...some listened...some didn't.  There was a point when this rose looked better and Julie advised me to stop.  But being the poor listener that I am, I just kept on painting and almost ruined it completely. 

vase of flowers
oil on panel
6 x 8 inch
 I listened on my vase of flowers.  :)

river scene
oil on panel
 The above painting was done on a panel primed with bright pink.  Julie gave us all pink panels to paint on and the exercise was to allow some of the pink to show through.    It's a pretty neat effect.  Who would have thought?

 living room
oil on panel
6 x 8 inch

My living room painting was my favorite of all the paintings I did during the workshop.  I love that you can see the fracturing in it and the light in the windows turned out well.  Values are something I am working on right now, and Julie is big on values.  It is very evident in her work.  

Flint Hills
photo taken by Julie Ford Oliver
 The workshop filled the bulk of Julie's visit, but there was time to play also.  One afternoon we took the 1 1/2 hour drive on highway 177 to the Flint Hills.  Julie said it looked a lot like parts of England, which is where she is from.  We saw the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve which is the only national park in Kansas.  On the way we stopped near Matfield Green (population 47!) and looked at all the wildflowers blooming.  We saw beautiful farms, barns, bridges, buildings and even saw a cowboy rounding up cattle.  It was a real day in Kansas for sure...filled with green grass and big blue skies.  Then we finished the day with dinner at the Grand Central Hotel in Cottonwood Falls.

Wichita Wagonmaster tour boat on the Arkansas River
  Julie's visit was during Wichita's annual Riverfest so we saw the tour boat going back and forth one evening as we walked.  We watched a couple of movies too...About a Boy and Miss Potter.

sunset near the Arkansas River
For those of you that already know Julie, it won't surprise you that a sunset like this one makes her pretty happy.

Me and Julie
on our last evening
 We really had such a beautiful week, and I don't feel like I've done it justice in my writings here.  Julie has an abundance of energy like me, so we click together very well.  I loved learning from her and listening to her stories about art and life during the week.   She has a wealth of information and knowledge tucked into her pretty head.    My only complaint about the week is that it went way too fast!

I am so grateful for Julie coming to visit us, and for teaching her workshop here in Wichita.  It was a gift to have her here and I know I speak on behalf of everyone else in the class.  They are already talking about her coming back.

I hope you all are well.  I will probably take a break from blogging.  There are paintings dancing in my head and I need to focus for a while.  I will still try to pay some visits as I am long overdue to see what you have been up to.

Happiness to all of you!

♥ Lisa

Monday, June 1, 2015

Guess Who's Coming to Wichita

watercolor on yupo

Last year you may remember that I took a trip to visit Julie Ford Oliver in her hometown of Las Cruces, New Mexico.  It was a very special time spent with her...a time of friendship, art and healing for me as I had just lost my mother.  During my visit, I invited her to Kansas any time she could make the trip and today she arrives here in Wichita!  I have been so excited about her visit, I just cannot express how much!!  During her stay, she will also be teaching her amazing and sought after fracturing technique at a three day workshop located in the classroom at Tessera Fine Art Gallery.  The class filled up right away of course and everyone is really looking forward to it.  

I cannot wait to see this beautiful person again...her arrival is literally hours away so I had better sign off and do some tidying up around the house.  I will post about our week after she leaves on Saturday.  Have a great week everyone!  

Julie Ford Oliver