Archives for posts with tag: teaching

Now offered in Fleurbain… painting workshops that are tailored to you. Whether you want to try painting just once, or would like to paint over several days, we can accommodate you.

Private or semi-private painting lessons for any level, in oil or acrylic, for any number of people from one to eight… let’s paint together! Instructor Natasha Henderson has years of experience with painting in acrylic and oil. She has exhibited her works widely across Canada. Her workshops provide a supportive and creative environment, where the needs and wishes of the participants come first.

One suggestion: The perfect activity for a corporate retreat; painting together on a canvas is a team-building activity that provides a tangible result! At the end of the day, take the painting back to the office as an artifact of your team’s creative journey. Natasha will guide you through this creative process, to ensure your painting is not only uniquely your own, but retains its innate creative beauty.

Another suggestion: during a family reunion, some of the family would like to participate in an activity together. Why not all work on paintings? We can delve into imagery that is important to the family, imagery based on communal memories and events… or just simply paint and have fun.

Rates for private lessons are based on the number of students:

1 person, 2 hours: $70 including all materials
2-4 people, 2 hours: $50 each, including all materials
5-8 people, 2 hours: $45 each, including all materials.
+ GST

Various times are available during the day and on weekends. Just ask.

Tea is on…

Ready, set, paint!

Contact Natasha either through Fleurbain’s email: fleurbain@gmail.com or her email: nhen@videotron.ca

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Sunday is here again! And, as with every Sunday, it is time to paint.

Each Sunday, artist Natasha Henderson will guide you through some simple “How To” tips for painting. Having been (honestly) inspired at a young age by the oft-spoofed televised artist Bob Ross, Natasha would like to offer some simple tips on How To Paint Stuff.

This week, I would like to try painting from observation, rather than from memory. One thing that is usually available for observation, is a hand. As with all the paintings in this series, I started by rubbing a bit of white acrylic paint onto my paper in order to seal it.

model is comfortable

Now, I want my model to be comfortable. So it is important to not only be happy with the shape that your hand is making in space in regards to the painting, but it should be a pose that is not tiring. Tense poses are interesting, and you can try that later, but to start I’d suggest a relaxed pose.

something of the shape I saw in the middle of my palm

Start with the centre of the palm. Try to find a shape within the palm. This will act as a sort of map, a guide on which to gauge distances and markings of reference points later.

markings, points of reference...

Next, look closely at the distance of the fingertips from the palm. Try to mark the outer edge of each finger.

more painting in the reference points

Next mark where the little lines where the joints in the finger are, and paint around the edges of the fingers and hand.

working in some lights, darks again... thinking about the shape of the hand before me

After this, it is all a series of “back and forth”, similar to when we painted an egg. White, black, grey, wipe, mark, white overtop… all based on observation. If you find that one of the fingers maybe is too short or too long-looking, paint it as it should be, and “erase” any paint that is too dark with some white.

a bit more work...

When you think the hand looks pretty good, you can fill in the background. This situates the hand in space, and is also an opportunity to fix any weird bits and straggly edges to the hand. 

painted around the edges... I will probably let it dry, then touch up the edges again with a dark grey, then the purple.

Paint on! Paint on.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal
 

"Beyond" (copyright Natasha Henderson) There are eggs in this...

Perhaps this is a little late for Easter. Perhaps you don’t really want to paint an egg right now. That’s cool. However, if you paint an (uncracked, uncooked) egg, you will practice observation and the creative manipulation of representing form.

An egg has volume. An egg has a gentle gradation of shadow. An egg can be reflective (depending on the type of egg it is, and what sort of environment in which it is depicted). In any event, if you just read this and don’t paint, that’s fine too. You’ll learn about all these things, through observing the following images.

Each Sunday, artist Natasha Henderson will guide you through some simple “How To” tips for painting. Having been (honestly) inspired at a young age by the oft-spoofed televised artist Bob Ross, Natasha would like to offer some simple tips on How To Paint Stuff.

I am opting to paint from memory. I actually do not have any eggs in the house right now; it would be better to have one for a real observation. However, the basic egg-shape is a simple one, and all eggs are slightly different from one another anyhow. Therefore, whatever egg I paint could exist. That is an important question to reflect upon, when trying to be convincing in painting… Could This Exist?

just a simple shape, not perfect at all

To start, I painted my paper with a layer of white acrylic to seal it. This is like in all the exercises, as my paper is quite thin. Next, I simply painted a black oval, almost an egg shape. I just wanted to get some outside, rough darkness, leaving the inside white.

smudging with finger while paint is still wet

Then, while the paint was still wet, I smudged down the centre of the egg. I needed to blend in a bit of the darkness to the middle, too. After this, it is mostly all adding white, a bit of black… just tinkering.

I "drew" the negative space around the egg better with some white... and used the white in the egg too

To make the oval shape more egg-like, I worked some white paint around the edges, to sort of erase the black paint that didn’t contribute to its egginess. I then used a sweep of this white along the bottom of the egg, to create some mystery and subtlety in the shadow on the egg. Next up, I painted a great deal of white along the top part of the egg.

more white added... a little smudging with a finger, more white...

Honestly, I went back and forth a couple of times, adding white and then swiping with my finger, until I was happy enough with the result. After this, I painted in a bit of a shadow under the egg.

just mixed a medium grey to start...

I decided that I wanted to have a gradation or two in the shadow, as well as a bit more in the egg… so I added in some lighter and darker greys where it made sense.

a bit more grey

I finalised what I did today by painting in more white. If I’d wanted to colour the egg I would wait ’til it is dry, then glaze a colour onto it and dab a little bit of white “reflection” on the lightest part. (See last week for tips on glazing, and how this idea works!)

our friend, the egg.

You can see that I got rid of a great deal of the shadow under the egg, this is just what felt “right” to me about the image. It’s up to you how much light and shadow are in your image, and what sort of environment your egg exists within.

Paint on! Paint on.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

I use painted, imagined strands of lights as a sort of drawing tool in my paintings

Sunday! Sunday! If you can, and are so inclined, it is a great day to relax with a dash of painting. Last week we saw How To Paint a little light. This week we will add a bit of colour to it.

Each Sunday, artist Natasha Henderson will guide you through some simple “How To” tips for painting. Having been (honestly) inspired at a young age by the oft-spoofed televised artist Bob Ross, Natasha would like to offer some simple tips on How To Paint Stuff.

The very first thing to do is to choose your colour. In this case I selected red. If you have painted a strand of lights, you could opt to do them all in different colours using this same technique. Find the black and white painting that you made last week…

I chose red for this one...

 Next, paint the red onto the light.

just plain red

You might take note that I didn’t paint this red so thickly… it has a little water in it. This is so that the black paint from last week will show through. However, black and white will always have an effect on the colourful paint placed on top of it. I encourage you to just experiment with your paints.

Next, paint a little bit of the colour onto the cords.

the cords will be lit a bit by the red light

Now, water down the red paint in your palette a bit more. Use this watered-down paint to brush around the light-source. Leave a poetic amount of white space just around the bulb.

let this dry for a bit...

Once the paint is a bit dried, add a little blob of solid white into the middle of the light. You will see that I put two little blobs; it is more convincing as an electrical light source that way.

you could also add a little it of the white brushed around, close to the light source if you dont like the edge of your colour

Done! So next week we will try something that I mentioned in another article: we will paint an egg.

Paint on! Paint on.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal
 

An early show, after I'd recovered from school.

This morning I found myself reminiscing a little about things that art instructors have said to me that stuck in my memory. I was probably doing this for a few reasons:

I taught a class last night in which a student (who is also a teacher) mentioned “you are a good teacher”.

there was a lot of strong light pouring in through my closed blinds.

I was thinking about character and strength of it.

I recall a drawing instructor who went over the idea of Chiaroscuro. This method of modelling, using dark and light to create form, was invented or at least defined as we know it during the Italian Renaissance. My instructor truly “went over it” in that we didn’t practice or learn anything about this technique. Well, he did make this (paraphrased) statement: “This was important for artists in Italy to learn, but it’s not important for us. We have different light. It’s not as harsh, it is a soft light.” Then we went back to drawing leaves and stuff.

At least he mentioned that Chiaroscuro existed, so that I could read about it later. One thing I gleaned from the thirty-second lesson on Chiaroscuro, is to pay attention to different kinds of light. I’d not really thought about it before, only simply accepted while observing. It was true that where I lived then had a hazy, blue light that meandered over objects and made them sort of softly glow from within. Beyond artificial light, there were normally no harsh shadows or light effects.

However, when learning the fundamental basics of drawing, one should learn all that one can. It is unrealistic to expect one’s college-aged students to stay in their small city for their entire lives, painting outdoor landscapes and nothing else. At least not all of them.

I got an A+ in that class.

Chiaroscuro actually works well in any type of lighting, in that you can form the object, and simultaneously (or after the fact) paint the shadows and light effects too. So, for example, say you have a sphere. It is round. The middle comes towards you, and the edges recede. By this theory, the edges are darker than the middle. However, if there is any sort of light source, that would have a highlight/shadow effect on the sphere. Ambient and atmospheric lighting play a part, as do reflections on the sphere. Try painting an egg. You’ll see what I mean. Actually, an egg will be one of the things we will paint in the “How To Paint: Stuff” series.

Painting is what I love to do best.

Another memorable moment during my time as an Art College Attendee was when a painting instructor (who I admired greatly) reduced me to tears when I dared to critique an exhibition of paintings. A famous artist was showing in a major gallery, and I was finally able to see her work in the flesh. My instructor and I talked briefly about it. Paraphrasing:

She: “Did you see the So-And-So exhibition?”

Moi: “Yes I did. I found her brushwork to be too careful. It looked un-natural and laboured over.”

She: “You and I have VERY DIFFERENT IDEAS about painting… ”

Conversation stopped. Closed door.

What did I learn from this experience? Students will take what a teacher says seriously, and students sometimes don’t express themselves as clearly as they would like. If you are a teacher, and one of your students says something you disagree with, or even find offensive, ask them a question about it rather than making a statement and closing the door to communication. Also, sometimes people we look up to have bad days and say nasty things too. Don’t always take them to heart, if you can help it.

I managed to get a B+ in that class.

Cast Over, a painting from way back in '99.

An Art History instructor told me (in front of his equally well-known and somewhat famed friend) that I would “need to learn and memorize names and dates of paintings so that I would be impressive and knowledgable at parties”. Paraphrased. He nailed directly on the head one of my biggest combo-insecurities.

I am terrible with names and dates, and I don’t like looking dumb at parties. I learned from this that I should not care so much what others think.

I got a C- in that class. 

2157 Trees. In 1999 I painted an imagined tree pattern on the imagined drapery and then used a rough calculation to describe how many trees there would be here. I also counted the ones depicted "outside".

I’ll finish with a really good thing that my Book Arts instructor told me. Paraphrasing: “Be ready for success. Don’t get stuck and depressed. People will simultaneously want you to produce what you’re well-known for, and be disappointed that your work isn’t developing.” She thought I would be famous, knew some people who were famous, and famous famous famous.  Famous etc famous. Basically, I had to stay true and genuine to what I needed to make, to my forms of expression. My muse is a changing thing.

Should I stumble upon a super-successful trick, I shan’t remain a one-trick pony! Oh, and I got an A+ in that class.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

nesting bowls in felt are cozy, homey, and cute

Felt bowls are cute, no doubt about it. Little fuzzy display bowls that can fit into one another, that’s even cuter! I decided to make some nesting bowls today, and documented the process to share with you.

If you know how to make felt already, and are looking for a craft that will provide you with two or three hours of crafting and will be suitable for an Easter display or gift, look no further. If you haven’t made felt at all yet, I would advise you to first try making a piece or two of flat felt, to get an idea of how felting works.

some of the basic supplies

To start, I gathered my basic felting supplies. I used bubble wrap, soap, a kettle of water, loose wool (roving), scissors, and a measuring tape. You might also like to have a towel on hand, a bowl, and perhaps some paper and a pen.

a trick to cut your templates: fold them in half to ensure each side is even

I thought that I’d like to make three little nesting-bowls. I choose three colours of wool roving that coordinated well together. I decided to blend colours for two of the bowls, and wanted to add dashes of all the colours on all the bowls. I had intended to just make single-colour bowls, but I couldn’t help myself! Obviously, you can use whatever mix of colours you would like.

The basic procedure for making the bowls, no matter what size they are, is relatively simple. The challenge was to make bowls that would “fit into” one another… to account for sizing and so forth. I decided to make a simple bowl shape, then add 1 inch on every side for the next size up. I added about an inch or so to THAT one for the largest bowl. I cut all these templates out of bubble wrap. In retrospect, I’d have preferred to have made some smaller bowls, too. However, as I had saved my templates, I can make smaller ones at a later date.

three layers of roving, and the template on top

To begin any sort of resist felting, lay out three layers of wool roving at right angles to each other, so that they extend about 2 inches past the template-size. In this case, I made sure that the top of the bowl didn’t have this extension, because it would be left open in the end. If I’d wanted to make a more spherical object, I could have extended the top end too. I like to lay my template under my piece of bubble wrap as a guide for the first overlapping layers. However if you find that is too hard to see through the bubble wrap you are working on, you can trace the template shape onto a piece of paper and place this under the bubble wrap to guide you. Remember it is important to extend up to about 2 inches PAST the template-shape, in order to create a meshing of wool.

Once the first three layers of roving have been placed, gently spray some lukewarm water onto them. Be gentle, allowing the water to just fall onto the wool. Next, place your template on top of this. Make sure that the top aligns with the top of the wool. Remember there should be almost 2 inches of extra wool all around the rest of the shape. Take this extra wool and fold onto the template.

encased, with soap on it... ready for boiling water!

The final step before really felting is to lay three more layers of wool roving, at right angles to one another, on top of this. Try to fill the entire “template” area, even though much of it is covered around the edges. This will ensure that there are no holes or awkward seam parts to your bowl.

Spray the wooly work again, being gentle. Then drizzle  pure dish-soap overtop. Pour some boiling (or very hot) water on it, and then lay another piece of bubble wrap on top. Pat it (if it’s not too hot to do so!) and rub it. Pay special attention to rub the seam area… we really want the wool there to mesh quickly. After a minute or so of patting, flip the work over, and pat the other side.

pay special attention to the edges, to ensure the wool meshes

Try opening the bubble-wrap up to rub the wool directly. Within a minute or so of patting and rubbing, you should be able to gently lift the object. Pry open the top part, and gently rub the edges. If it’s fused, force it open. It’s ok at this point; you can do almost anything to this malleable mass.

this doesn't look much like a bowl... but it will!!

Lift the object, turn it in your hands. Rub the inside and outside of the seam area. If there are sparse patches or holes, try adding a little more wool roving on top. Put some more soap, a dash of water, and gently rub it in your hands. Work on the seam area, and rub the entire object.

Turn it inside out, and rub the inside on your bubble wrap. turn it back outside-out, and rub the whole object on the bubble wrap. Keep it open, don’t allow it to lay flat again.

After a few minutes, you can gently drop the object onto the table. Do this a few times, trying to hit a different part of the bowl each time. Start to hit it harder; and focus on any bumps or strange parts. It is almost magical, how the wool will tighten into felt as you do this. It will shrink quite a great deal, too! If you have a bathtub nearby, try hurling the wooly mass into it several times. Start more gentle, then hurl with all your might.

while hurling, rubbing, getting the bowl felted and fulled and shrunk. ten seconds later, the seam had disappeared. Like magic.

If the bowl is cold, pour some more boiling or hot water on it. Friction, compression, and heat all conspire to turn wool into felt. So, more heat can’t hurt!

Finally, when your bowl is looking like a bowl, set it. You can set it “rim-side-up” on a table, or you can stuff it with bubble wrap (like I’ve done in the examples) and turn upside down. Like a sweater that you lay flat to dry, wool felt will have a memory. It likes to maintain the shape that it is left to dry in.

after being felted, fulled, and rinsed, I formed my bowls by cramming bubblewrap into them, and leaving overnight on my table.

If you are in the Montreal area and would like to take a felt-making class, please be in contact with me. I will be teaching this technique (and more!) in workshops of varying lengths. Happy felting!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

creation during a previous workshop

The brains behind Fleurbain, Tammy Schmidt CHT and Natasha Henderson BFA, are pleased to announce an exciting new service: Customised Workshops.

Combine these two women’s talents for an inventive and innovative experience that is tailored to meet your needs. For groups, clubs, corporate teams, or just a gathering of friends, Tammy and Natasha will craft a unique workshop with the greatest of expertise and care.

Tammy is a Clinical Herbal Therapist with an extensive knowledge of herbal remedies. Outside of her clinical practice, she excels in creative Green ideas for the home, bath, and beauty. Let’s not forget that she is brilliant in herbal/cooking fusion! Tammy will encourage you to grow and create while you learn.

Natasha is a graduate from the Emily Carr Institute of Art in Vancouver, with experience in teaching painting, felt-making, crafting, and general creativity to groups of adults and children alike. Natasha is an empowering instructor who invites the potential in every student.

Fleurbain will come to your location for workshops, or we can meet in our central studio location. It’s up to you.

in the midst of cooking/herbal infusion

A very few ideas for your workshops: Herbal bath treatments and notebook making; Team-building mural painting with a herbal tea session; Puppet-making workshop for kids or adults; Painting with herbal pigments; Informative nature walk while drawing from nature; City-scape walks, seeking nature in an urban environment; Crafting workshops with groups. Check out the two-day experience we hosted recently, in which we steeped herbalism and crafting together to create a unique Spa Weekend.

creative learning through activity

The sky is not even the limit… Give us an email at fleurbain@gmail.com to see what we can do together. Please provide dates and location desired for the workshop, as well as a rough idea of number of participants, their ages, and the purpose or reason for the workshop (eg team-building, fun event, educational, etc).  We will put together a package customized for you and your group.

Please note that we are in the Montreal area.

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