Where Have You Been?

Where Have You Been?

Where Have You Been?

I’d like to know: where have you been? As I’m planning my workshop in the Dordogne Valley next June, I’m thinking of extending my trip before or after to a nearby country or two. While I’ve spent time in Paris and loved every minute of it, I’d like to broaden my horizons.

If you’ve enjoyed some side trips in Europe, I’d love to hear your experiences! Please share in the comments or via the survey below, what you’d recommend. If you’ve considered traveling for a workshop, there are some great offerings listed below!

 

I’d love to see you soon at one of these upcoming events… it’s been too long!

Nefelibata: Cloudwalker

The word Nefelibata has drawn my attention recently. The word originates in Portugese, derived from ‘nephele’ (cloud) and ‘batha’ (a place to walk.) It refers to one who lives in their own imagination or dreams, or one who does not abide by the precepts of society, literature or art; an unconventional, unorthodox person.

 

One of the things I often repeat in my workshops is that I’m ‘not encumbered by reality.’ I am inspired by reality, but I don’t feel obligated to try to reproduce it. In fact, when I come too close to reality in my artwork, I’m often unsatisfied. I feel that the interpretation of that reality is more interesting than accuracy. I’m drawn to work that ‘riffs’ on reality. It is the individual’s response to reality that I find interesting in art, writing and music.

In looking for a painting to embody this concept, I chose one that recently returned from the Portland Art Museum’s Rental Sales Gallery. I found I’d never posted it on my site before! I often send pieces out into the world before I have a chance to promote them… and this piece is one of those. I’ve always loved the activity and detail of this piece. The texture and line work are so evocative of memories of ‘major’ (in my memory) thunderstorms.

Summer Storm, ©Ruth Armitage, Watercolor on Paper, 22"x30" $1950

Summer Storm, ©Ruth Armitage, Watercolor on Paper, 22″x30″ $1950

Thinking about Meaning in Art

This spring I was privileged to receive a critique of my work from an artist I respect. The artist giving the critique works in a realistic manner. One word they used to describe my abstract work was ‘facile.’ This has been bothering me for a while now… and I think I’m almost over it.

One reason it bothered me, is that I don’t find abstraction easy to do. Not at all! I think abstraction is more difficult than realism. I also feel that these particular paintings embody (for me) more personal meaning than many of my more realistic paintings.

Another reason this comment disturbed me might be more subconscious. With abstraction, I feel that I’ve found a way of working that feels natural. Not easy, mind you, but natural – suited to my skills, my aesthetics and my content. Maybe this is why the critiquing artist thought the work looks ‘facile.’

The definition of facile:

(especially of a theory or argument) appearing neat and comprehensive only by ignoring the true complexities of an issue; superficial, simplistic, oversimplified.
I feel there is a fine line between capitalizing on our strengths and challenging ourselves to fit others’ expectations. However, I do want my work to suggest a mystery, a deeper meaning and a personal response to the world. I don’t want it to appear simplistic or superficial.
What are your thoughts? Do you find abstraction (particularly mine) to be less meaningful than realism? Don’t worry about hurting my feelings! I can take it… Thanks for joining the discussion.
Don’t miss these new workshop offerings: New Workshop Listings
Colors of France – A Dream Come True

Colors of France – A Dream Come True

How does a painter capture the colors of France? 13 lucky artists will have a chance to find out when they travel with me next June to the Dordogne and Lot Valley and Domaine du Haut Baran. It will be a dream come true- painting the colors of France together!

Domaine du Haut Baran

Domaine du Haut Baran

When?

We’ll have a 7 day workshop – June 15-21, 2019 leaving on the 22nd.

Where?

Domaine du Haut Baran is ideally situated in the region of France called the Perigord, Dordogne, Quercy.  The area is known for small villages, prehistoric art, wine, wonderful food and antiques. You’ll find links to some of the many nearby attractions here. Our hosts, William and Rosalie will take care of everything. They will pick up our group in Toulouse, and transport us to the chateau, about 90 minutes north. Haut Baran offers modern accommodations in historical surroundings. 

You’ll enjoy continental breakfast on the terrace, evenings by the pool and jacuzzzi, an air-conditioned studio complete with french easels, dinners featuring regional cuisine and personalized tours to surrounding attractions. 

Pool & Spa at Haut Baran

Pool & Spa at Haut Baran

The Colors of France

We’ll combine painting In watercolor on location with time in the studio. Our focus for the week will be color – glorious color…. from the buff and russets of time-worn stone and tile roofs to the brilliantly blooming lavender and vivid greens of the lush hills and valleys, you’ll explore it all.

Beautiful Studio Space at Haut Baran

Beautiful Studio Space at Haut Baran

You deserve to explore with a group of like-minded artists, guided by a jovial host and expert instructor. You’ll find yourself immersed in color. The rhythm of the days will be both stimulating to artistic growth, and enjoyable. 

What’s Included?

$3200 USD Artist / $3000 USD Non-Artist

  • Instruction and Demonstrations with Ruth Armitage, NWS
  • 7 nights at Domaine du Haut Baran
  • Transportation from and return to Toulouse Blagnac Airport
  • Transportation to/from all painting sites, tours and restaurants
  • Daily continental breakfast
  • 3 dinners at Haut Baran including wine
  • 2 lunches
  • Use of the spacious studio, including full French easels, tables and chairs
  • Free Wifi
  • All applicable taxes

What’s not Included?

  • Airfare
  • Some meals, personal items, tips, phone calls, and alcohol other than wine with dinner.
  • Travel Insurance – Highly Recommended!
Fine Dining in Local Restaurants

Fine Dining in Local Restaurants

Sample Itinerary – This will be customized to weather & group interests!

Day 1: Arrival – Meet our group at Toulouse Blagnac Airport in front of the Information desk on the ground floor at 2:30 pm for our transfer to Haut Baran. Settle into your accomodations and relax, then enjoy a welcoming dinner at Haut Baran.

Day 2: Breakfast 9:00 a.m. Orientation and settle in to the studio. Lunch at Haut Baran. Afternoon painting at Montcabriere.  Dinner organized at a local restaurant.

Day 3: Breakfast 8:00 a.m. Leave at 9:00 a.m. for our painting site at pont Valentre. Lunch in Cahors. Dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 4: Breakfast 7:30 a.m. Leave at 8:00 a.m. for Saint Cirq LaPopie and Pech Merle (about 1 hour drive) Saint Cirq LaPopie is voted most beautiful village in France! Lunch in Saint Cirq. Afternoon tour of Pech Merle cave and 29,000 yr old prehistoric art. Evening dinner at Haut Baran

Day 5: Breakfast 8:00 a.m. 9:00 a.m. travel to painting site at Caillau (a 17th centry farm clos.) At 1 pm, we lunch at the Caillau. Afternoon in the studio and evening dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 6: Breakfast 8:00 a.m. Drive to Monpazier, a beautiful bastide town built by English King Edward the 1st. Lunch in Monpazier. After lunch work in the studio. Dinner is Pizza night.

Day 7: Breakfast 8:00 a.m., travel to Domme for our morning painting site. A pique nique lunch is provided. Afternoon in the studio and review of the week’s painting. Evening farewell dinner with champagne.

Day 8: Depart Haut Baran at 6:00 a.m., arriving at Toulouse Blagnac Airport at 8:00 a.m, in time to check in for flights departing at 10:00 a.m.

There has never been a better time to immerse yourself in the colors of France! Don’t be disappointed, space is limited for this trip.

Register Here Click here to register now! I can’t wait to explore this beautiful region with YOU!

Top 12 Titles for Creatives

Top 12 Titles for Creatives

My Top 12 Titles for Creatives – Thought Provoking work on Creativity

I find myself sharing many of the gems of wisdom found within these books with students, and thought that having a reading list resource for creatives would be a good addition to my blog. I hope you enjoy! The links are affiliate links: If you order, I receive a tiny credit from Amazon. I have listed them in no particular order….

But first: new work from my week at Menucha:

"Night by the Sea" ©Ruth Armitage, Watercolor on paper 15x22"

“Night by the Sea” ©Ruth Armitage, Watercolor on paper 15×22″

Some of my Favorite Reads:

First: A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech – This is a look at some of the psychological processes that happen during creativity. If I had to pick just one of these books for students to read, this might be the one!

 A Kick in the Seat of the Pants by Roger von Oech – More wisdom and creativity exercises from the author of A Whack on the Side of the Head. 

Another Great:

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield – This is a quick read, and a very motivational look at what holds us back from creating. I would probably rate this book as the 2nd most important on the list!

The Art Spirit by Robert Henri – a true classic.

Robert Genn Letters Vol. 1 & 2 – Short essays on creativity, painting, art, galleries and life. Genn attracted a cult following by writing ‘letters’ to his blog followers each week.

Bird by Bird by Anne LaMott – This book is about writing, but everything LaMott describes about creative writing also applies to painting and other creative pursuits. I love her sense of humor and self-deprecating wit. I can honestly say, this book helped me solidify my identity as an artist.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – Gilbert somehow gets the nitty gritty of the mystical parts of the creative process. A very enjoyable read, and a new way to think about the ego.

Strictly for inspiration

Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver – Mary Oliver always inspires. She is a true creative genius.

Art and Fear by David Bayles & Ted Orland – a great read about the psychology of creativity.

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp – Though Tharp describes her creative process as a choreographer and dancer, there are pearls of wisdom for all creatives in this fascinating peek into her world.

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon – A quick read with lots of food for thought.

For the Practical Minded:

I’d Rather Be in the Studio by Alyson B. Stanfield – This is a classic manual for how to create a business from your art. Artists don’t always think of themselves as business people. Alyson helps turn that thinking around with practical guidance to take you from hobbyist to professional.

Finally, The Creative Curve by Allen Gannett – I’ll admit, I haven’t read this one yet, but it will be next on my list. Gannett, founder and CEO of the marketing analytics firm TrackMaven examines the science behind whether ideas sink or swim in this fast-paced environment.

Do you have any favorite books on creativity or art? If I’ve missed your favorite, please share in the comments below!

Painting and Golf – 3 Similarities – New Workshop Announcements

Painting and Golf – 3 Similarities – New Workshop Announcements

In last week’s plein air workshop I kept thinking about the similarities between Painting and Golf. I like to make analogies when I teach, to help students keep perspective on the creative process. By comparing painting to other activities like music or golf, the students can step back from their frustrations a bit, and see things in perspective.

“Achievement is largely the product of steadily raising one’s level of aspiration and expectation.”  – Jack Nicklaus

3 Similarities:

  1. Both Painting and Golf are extremely challenging. In both painting and golf, the success rate is low, even for professionals. Tiger Woods does not expect to hit a hole in one on every hole, or even every game. Similarly, professional artists do not expect every painting to succeed the first time. Artists make preliminary sketches and studies, just as golfers take practice swings and practice putting and driving. Both Golf and Painting attract hobbyists and professionals alike.
  2. Practice is required for both Golf and Painting. Driving and putting are not the same as playing the game of golf against opponents. By the same token, class exercises and sketches are not the same as making a painting. Practice must be focused on improvement, not repeating the same mistakes over and over. Directed practice in golf might focus on correcting a swing. Similarly, directed practice in painting might focus on improving a value pattern or color scheme.
  3. Golfers and Painters must both focus on a good Mental Game. Keeping a positive mental outlook boosts confidence in both fields. Focus and attention are important to help overcome the difficulties of each pursuit. Success in golf or painting can often breed a kind of obsession, too. Both Golfers and Painters become passionate about their pursuit. The variety of golf courses, just like the variety of painting subjects, can entertain enthusiasts for a lifetime.

What other similarities can you think of between Painting and Golf?

***A quick reminder, for former students, I’m celebrating 10 years of Art is Truth the Blog by creating a new forum for interaction: Art is Truth Cadets Facebook Group!

If you’re a former student and you’d like to join – click the link above and request to join. We share work, opportunities and feedback here. I hope you’ll participate… it won’t be the same without YOU!

Here are a few select snapshots from my plein air workshop with Vistas and Vineyards! Click the thumbnails for the full image.

New Workshop Announcements

ABC’s of Abstraction – International Society of Experimental Artists: September 24 – 28, 2018 – Newport Oregon

We will cover both the elements of design and the ‘mental game’ in art-making.

Using acrylic and collage, students will explore shape, line, color and texture to craft vibrant paintings that stir the emotions.

You will learn organizing principles, painting tips and techniques for overcoming self-doubt and indecision. Still a few spots left – Register Here


ABC’s of Abstraction – All Media Santa Clarita Artist’s Association: November 9 – 11, 2018

Contact Jeanne Iler for more information.


ABC’s of Abstraction – Acrylic: Tubac School of Fine Art, Tubac, AZ: January 11, 12 & 13, 2019.

More information Click here  

I hope you can join me!

"Whistling" Watercolor on paper, 10"x11" ©Ruth Armitage $295 unframed

“Whistling” Watercolor on paper, 10″x11″ ©Ruth Armitage $295 unframed

12 Binge-Worthy Summer Art Films

12 Binge-Worthy Summer Art Films

It’s so easy these days to access top-quality Art Films, and summer is the perfect time to sit back and relax. You’ll beat the heat and absorb inspiration and information at the same time! I’ve started a good list with these titles, but please be sure to add your own suggestions in the comments. If you’ve found this list binge-worthy, be sure to share with an art buddy. If you decide to watch, let me know what you think, too!

People think that the directors direct actors. No. Really, what the director’s doing is directing the audience’s eye through the film.
– Julianne Moore

A Few Favorite Art Films

  1. Cézanne et MoiNetflix– An intimate portrait of the turbulent friendship between Cézanne the painter and Zola the writer.
  2. Eva Hesse – Netflix– Documentary about a rising star in the New York art scene of the 1960’s, her life, style and untimely death
  3. Packed in a Trunk – The Lost Art of Edith Lake WilkinsonNetflix – Decades after this artist was institutionalized, her great niece sets out to understand why.
  4. Hieronymus Bosch: Touched by the Devil – Netflix – Using x-rays and other technology, this documentary explores the secrets behind the artist’s famous religious works.
  5. Without Gorky – Netflix – The filmmaker turns the lens on her own family as she explores the impact her grandfather – Arshile Gorky – had on three generations.
  6. Hilda – Amazon Prime – In the late 1950’s Hilda lived and worked with the greatest painters of the Abstract Expressionist movement. Official Selections of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.
  7. Loving Vincent – Amazon Prime – The first animated film done completely in oil painting, explores the life of Vincent van Gogh.
  8. Mr. Turner – Amazon Prime – Spans the last 25 years in the life of Britain’s most revered painter.
  9. Pollock – Amazon Prime – Explores the turbulent life of Jackson Pollock.
  10. Surviving Picasso – Amazon Prime – Starring Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore – told from the viewpoint of Picasso’s longtime mistress and mother of his children.
  11. Frida – Amazon Prime – Nominated for 6 Academy Awards including Salma Hayek for Best Actress, Frida is a triumphant motion picture about an exceptional woman who lived an unforgettable life.
  12. Modigliani – Amazon Prime – Arriving like a comet, he danced on tables, drunk with passion for life and art and his ending was the tragedy of true genius like Van Gogh and Mozart. He was Modigliani.

Other Recent News

Below you’ll find a couple of demonstration paintings from recent workshops. I have new workshops in the works, and will be announcing my fall/winter schedule on August 1! When you get the notice, don’t delay. Many classes fill quickly. In the meantime, there are still a few spots available in these two workshops:

Creative Arts Community: Painting with Digital Exploration – August 12-18, Corbett, Oregon. Registration ends this Friday, July 20th.

Learn how digital painting can expand your creative process. Students will use the ProCreate app and an iPad to plan and alter works in progress. Learn to use this inexpensive app to try out ideas before you execute them in paint. The workshop will begin with instruction on using the app to draw, paint and use layers to experiment on photos of your painting in process. Students will work on their own projects in their choice of water-based media. Acrylic, watercolor or mixed media are all welcome. Lectures will focus on design and creativity, and Ruth will provide demonstrations and individual guidance on using digital media to explore painting options. Our goal is not to create finished digital art, but to use the digital screen as a sandbox for development of ideas. Take risks digitally before you decide on the real painting. This process encourages growth and exploration. It is an excellent visualization tool.

Click Here to register.

"Sediment" ©Ruth Armitage Acrylic on paper 21"x14"

“Sediment” ©Ruth Armitage Acrylic on paper 21″x14″

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

International Society of Experimental Artists: ABC’s of Abstraction, September 24 – 27th, Newport, Oregon

Using Acrylic and Collage we will explore both the elements of design and the mental game of art-making. Learn new ways to generate ideas, combine methods and evaluate your results. You will learn organizing principles, painting tips and techniques for overcoming self-doubt and indecision.

Click here to register!

"Forest Vineyard" Acrylic on Paper 14"x21" ©Ruth Armitage 2018

“Forest Vineyard” Acrylic on Paper 14″x21″ ©Ruth Armitage 2018

Finally, for former students, I’m celebrating 10 years of Art is Truth the Blog by creating a new forum for interaction: Art is Truth Cadets Facebook Group!

If you’re a former student and you’d like to join – click the link above and request to join. We share work, opportunities and feedback here. I hope you’ll participate… it won’t be the same without YOU!

 

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