Monday, May 3, 2010

Artist Spotlight part 3: Canvas Remix GIVEAWAY!

Do you remember way back at the beginning of the month when I promised you more about the wonderful artists Alisa Burke? I hope you have been following her adventures on her blog - she is fresh and creative and her photography and whimsical nature lifts my soul.

Today I'd like to introduce you to two of her wonderful creations - a book titled Canvas Remix and her on-line classes.

Canvas Remix is a delightful primer on how to create a number of projects with Alisa's signature layered graffiti and messy paint on canvas style. I absolutely love the way she uses canvas with abandon as a beginning for her art, rather than the end in itself. She begins the book with a great cheerleading "you can do it!" essay then digs right into the nitty gritty of how to apply the paint to the canvas. The pictures are easy to follow for those of us who seem unable to pay attention long enough to follow written instructions. The written instructions are also well done and clearly explained.

But that is just the beginning! With Alisa, a painted canvas is not a sacred thing. She's not afraid to rip, layer, encrust, sew, and restructure her paintings into many a delightful object d'Art! She shows you how to create magnets, cards, monsters, and memoirs. She'll lead you through the construction of art to wear jewelry, totes, and show you how to create boxes, pillows and tapestries.

My two favorites are the MESSY MONSTERS and the BITS and PIECES ORNAMENTS.

From now until Friday, if you leave a comment on this post or the first Artist Spotlight I wrote to introduce you to Alisa, you will have a chance to WIN a copy of this deliciously charming book. 

Now, I had the great pleasure of taking a couple of Alisa's on-line workshops. I'm always curious about how other people run their on-line courses in comparison to how things work over at where I teach. There things are structured and follow a simple format that hasn't changed in a long time. It's easy to follow and use. (Can you tell I like it?)

Guess what? I LOVED the way Alisa has things set up. She has great introductions to her work on her website so that you can clearly see what you will be learning in class. You can register any time and then have access to the course materials for pretty much as long as you need it. Unless it is a brand new course, in which she gives you one set of lessons per week, you have access to the entire course immediately through a password protected blog. You cannot download the videos or material but there is no need to - you can see it any time.

boards are collaged and paint is applied

This is the part I love - the lessons are written out, but the main teaching method is a long, long, list of video clips where you can SEE exactly how she does what she does. The prices are reasonable and I feel you get a plethora of information for what you pay. I took a class called Graffiti Chic. It did cover some of the same basics as her book but because of the video format I felt it was able to delve more deeply into the subject matter. It teaches you some of the same basics of applying paint to canvas. And knowing me, who chooses not to follow instructions too closely, I immediately pulled out artists boards instead.

words are written

Yes I'm a textile artist but there are times when I long for the almost instant gratification of applying paint to a surface and seeing a thing bloom into being in a fast and furious fraction of the time it takes to meditatively hand stitch my usual work. (boy am I into run-on sentences this morning or what!?) Anyway - Alisa gives you the feeling of permissive freedom to experiment with absolutely anything.

hand carved stamps and drippy paint were my next layer of choice

Alisa is so enthusiastic in her videos that it encourages you to simply play and experiment. My favorite thing to do. With paint, the fun thing is that you can just cover it up with yet another layer of paint if you don't like exactly how things are turning out.

a toothbrush adds a splattering of black paint

So the fun thing about this project is - that this is just the background. You can keep going as far as you'd like to go. Alisa teaches you how to adhere embellishments to your painting, how to write graffiti letters, how to add photographs, etc. I've set this project aside for the moment as I ruminate on where to go next. I'm thinking of adding photographs of my ancestors and some vintage lace bits I have laying about. You can see that compared to Alisa's work mine is monochromatic and practically subdued - but that's one of the fun things. I don't have to make my work look just like hers to learn these techniques. You can keep your own voice and learn from other artists. 

So - I encourage you to head over to Alisa Burke's site to check out the classes she has to offer. Perhaps stop by her blog to follow her many creative adventures. Be sure to leave a comment here for a chance to win a copy of Canvas Remixa. Please do check back on Friday to see if you've won - or make sure that I have a way to contact you.