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!

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!

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!

 

Pareidolia in Abstract Art

Pareidolia in Abstract Art

Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon in which the mind responds to a stimulus, usually an image or a sound, by perceiving a familiar pattern where none exists.  Classic examples might be seeing a face in the full moon, or imagining that cloud shapes represent a dragon or dolphin.

Cloud-gazing sounds so good today!

Cloud-gazing sounds so good today!

I think that we are hard-wired by our survival instincts to identify subject matter in abstract shapes. Who hasn’t imagined a shadow in the woods to be a bear or some other predator? This subject came up in two of my recent workshops about abstract art. Viewers often ‘find’ subject matter that the artist did not intend. Once an image is identified, it is hard to ‘un-see’ it.

It Happens to Us All

Pareidolia is natural, but a sophisticated art-viewer knows that it is more acceptable to ask questions than to volunteer what their imagination has come up with. For example, a viewer might ask the artist “Am I meant to see a figure implied here?” If the artist says yes, great! You can discuss what you see, what it means etc. If the artist says no, an appropriate response is to keep your perception to yourself and discuss the artist’s intentions further. Viewers can follow up with another general question such as “What was your intention for the work?”

Interpreting art is a delicate balance between the artist’s intention and the viewer’s response. Both are important, and sharing our viewpoints can be mutually satisfying. In fact, artists love it when viewers are interested enough to ask about the work.  Share your experience: does pareidolia inspire or frustrate you?

The internet has many good articles about understanding abstract art. The Collector’s Corner of Art Mine summarizes it this way:

The most important thing to understand about abstract art is that it does NOT have to have a meaning, narrative or even a singular explanation.

The main purpose of abstraction is not to tell a story, but to encourage involvement and imagination. This art form is mostly about providing its viewers with an intangible and emotional experience – more often than not, the experience is completely different for every individual depending on their personality and state of mind.

Therefore, it is really up to the viewer to decide whether the painting in front of them has any meaning or provokes any emotion. As we mentioned, abstract art is all about freedom.

That’s a fitting subject for Independence Day!

Further Reading:

Click here to read the whole article from Art Mine. You’ll also find a list of Do’s & Don’ts for discussing abstraction. I’ll have another vocabulary post coming up soon. Watch this space! New workshop listings coming soon too! I’m always interested in your reaction to new work. Leave me a comment, and don’t forget to share with friends.

"Sediment" ©Ruth Armitage, Acrylic on Paper 15x22"

“Sediment” ©Ruth Armitage, Acrylic on Paper 15×22″

“It is not that the meaning cannot be explained. But there are certain meanings that ar lost forever the moment they are explained in words.”                -Haruki Murakami

Avoiding Fear: Painting with Digital Exploration

Avoiding Fear: Painting with Digital Exploration

Fear can derail our creativity.

One way I work at avoiding fear is using digital exploration in my painting process. Using my IPad to try out changes before I make them in paint removes the fear of failure that I see many students encounter. If you’re reading this post on email, you might want to hop on over to the blog and view this Ted Talk about failure by Ken Robinson:

One reason that many of my demonstration paintings are successful is my habit of putting on a ‘brave face’ when I’m demonstrating. I want to be an example of a painter who will try anything that pops into my head. I’m not painting by rote habit: I’m exploring. I know that I may fail and I continue experimenting anyway. This leads to exciting breakthroughs in front of my students.

I’ve written about dealing with fear before (see a few examples here & here.) So have some of my favorite authors: David Bayles – Art & Fear and Steven Pressfield – The War of Art.

Avoiding Fear

I help students learn how painting without fear leads to more creative work. Digital exploration with works in process helps students avoid fear by allowing them to experiment in a ‘sandbox’ using the Apple Pencil, IPad and Procreate app. Below, I have a painting that I feel could have gone a bit farther in creativity if I hadn’t ‘played it safe.’ (The painting is sold, so it is an easy one to experiment with – I know I won’t have to take it out of the frame and change it!)

Golden Shore ©Ruth Armitage, 2016 15x11" Acrylic on Paper

Golden Shore ©Ruth Armitage, 2016 15×11″ Acrylic on Paper (sold)

Finishing an abstract work can be particularly challenging. The artist often risks taking something good to a state that’s over-worked. That’s when digital experimentation can be extremely valuable. Without changing the actual work, the artist can try out different ideas. For instance, below I’ve added a blue with more temperature contrast, to see if I like the work better.

Digital experimentation with color temperature and direction

Digital experimentation with cropping, color temperature and direction

You can learn how to be more fearless in your painting. Join us for Painting with Digital Exploration at Creative Arts Community at Menucha: 

August 12-18, 2018

at Menucha Retreat Center, Corbett, Oregon

This special place is the ultimate art retreat. Small class sizes and up to 7 workshops filled with creative people fill the camp with energy. Delicious meals are provided, so all you have to do is paint and enjoy each others’ company and the inspiring setting.

See what I mean in the photos on Menucha’s site, and sign up before it’s too late! Many of my workshops fill quickly.

The View from Menucha

The View of the Columbia River from Menucha

Inside Historic Wright Hall

Inside Historic Wright Hall

Happy Artists

Happy Artists Return Year after Year

pool at menucha

Relaxing Outdoors

"Menucha" means Tranquility

“Menucha” means Tranquility

Communal Meals

Communal Meals

FAQ’s

  1. If I already have an IPad, will it work with ProCreate? – Yes. You will need the newest version or an IPad Pro to use the Apple Pencil, but a regular stylus and an older IPad will also work.
  2. Is there a program that will work with my Windows based tablet or computer? You may find a similar app or program, but this workshop will focus on using ProCreate for ios. I think it is one of the best out there!
  3. Will we be printing our finished digital creations? No. We’ll be learning to use the tool as a way to sketch out ideas and applying these ideas to works in progress. The class will divide its time between learning the tool and painting on paper or canvas in water based media.
  4. Is this class suitable for artists working in landscape, portrait, still life, abstraction, etc? Yes! Whatever you’re interested in painting, this process will help you to make braver, more creative decisions.

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