REJUVENATE!

“Moments in Time #5 Mixed Media 4″x4” (1/9)

Here in Virginia, January has brought us gray skies, low temps and we have entered what some call, the “winter blues,” as we continue to deal with Covid. What can we do to rejuvenate our spirits? We can consider ways to warm up our creative soul, for if we can’t change the chilly weather, we can at least paint away the gray skies and add heat to our palette! We can light up our world with markers, crayons, colored papers and more! For me, I have found that by staying creative, I am refueling and preserving my own inner spark. Just like daily exercise, it’s important to stay in routine keeping your creative spirit flexible, relaxed and open to learning new ideas.

There is something about stepping into a playful mode that allows your mind to relax. Your senses become awakened with the possibilities of color, texture, and even a quiet rhythm. By giving yourself the gift of time to explore, you will find yourself on a new and private adventure taking you to places that only you can build.  

This reminds me of the children’s book, “Howard and the Purple Crayon,” by Crickett Johnson, where Howard draws his imagined world. Howard doesn’t take time to think about his process. He just picks up his purple crayon and goes! This winter, let’s learn how to play again. Just pick your favorite colors and warm up your creative soul!

Connect with your creative self and let yourself play again! To help you with this, I have three recorded mixed media classes available as self-paced studies. These classes are really fun, no matter what level of artist you are. You can register for those courses HERE. Use coupon code “GIFT” to get 20% off through the end of January 2021.

The Workhouse in Lorton Virginia has asked me to teach this winter via Zoom. The class is called, “Introduction to Mixed Media”. It starts next Wednesday evening and runs four weeks (January 13 through February 3 on Wednesdays, 6pm-8pm). Please register by clicking HERE.

I am also starting my drop-in classes again called Make Your Mark, Monday! This class is ongoing, and you can pay as you go. Make Your Mark, Monday! offers motivational exercises to help ignite your creative practice. This class is livestream through Zoom where I demo an exercise or two. You will then have time to continue to take the exercise further or work on your own art. We take time to share and discuss our work and I want to stress that this class is for ALL levels of artists. It is a positive and encouraging environment and I hope that you will consider joining us. Register HERE.

In other news, I have just completed a commission for a client who has a home in DC.

“City Stripes” Mixed Media 30″x30″

The idea was to create a piece of work that captured the essence of Mid-century Modern but also conveyed a sense of urban culture. Hence, “City Stripes” was born and is the first in my new Urban Pop collection. I was inspired by my personal photo collection where I have hundreds of images capturing both DC and NYC. Two summers ago, I focused on collecting graffiti and urban art found on concrete walls, telephone poles and boarded up buildings. “City Stripes” contains layer upon layer of hand painted papers including old books, magazines, deli and water color papers and marks using hand crafted stamps.

Please consider joining our Make Your Mark community to explore the mixed media process. All levels of artists are welcome. Let’s begin to color our year one layer at a time! And don’t forget to check out my webstore for great art prints and gifts by clicking this link: ART STORE.

Lights, Camera, Art! – Make Time for Art Classes

At the beginning of Covid I created a library of recorded art classes. I have been teaching a mixed media art class for a few years now and have stacks of lesson plans, so content was not a problem. But recording art videos requires some equipment. Luckily, I have a small collection of cameras that could be used to make the videos. My art studio doubled as a video production studio with lighting cans that had been gathering dust in the basement. I had to learn more about different kinds of lighting for video and build a rig to hold the lighting.  Finally I had to figure out the best way to capture the sound using a lavalier microphone.

The first attempt at filming was a bit nerve wracking. I had written a script which I tried to read off my computer screen as a pseudo teleprompter. It was a good idea at the time, but it was too hard to read the screen and focus on the camera lens. Thankfully after reading the script half a dozen times I had most of my content memorized. After many takes, I finally figured out what I wanted to say, and I became more relaxed in front of the camera.

In my home video / art studio

My videos start with the camera focused on me for an introduction to the lesson and then we switch to an overhead camera that captures a Birdseye view of the art process.  It helps to have a handy art assistant who is very mechanical, thank you to my partner Gregg! This project required a team effort. I must also mention that I needed to purchase video editing software called movavi.com to edit the visual content as well as add music and graphics. One of us needed to spend many hours learning how to use it and let’s just say it wasn’t me. I also learned that I needed to subscribe to a platform called TEACHABLE that stores and markets the classes over the web. Each video begins with a stop motion animation that was created using the STOP MOTION STUDIO app on my phone. I must admit that I really enjoy seeing my art come to life through the animation process.

The first class had nine students and ran over a four-week period. Students had access to all the video content and were invited to join in on a live Zoom call for an hour each Friday. We were all craving human connection and these four Fridays served as way for us to share our work and report on our process. As a bonus I had asked another mixed media artist to join us for our Featured Friday Artist. Our first interview was with Sandi Schimmel Gold, based out of Richmond. She creates art using a mosaic technique with fine bits of upcycled papers. Her work can be seen at www.eclecticaartgallery.com

My website, www.juliamalakoffartclasses.com now has three different art classes: each with almost four hours of content. Make Your Mark, Grid & Go Big!, Make Your Mark, Picture This, and Make your Mark: Monoprinting & More! And, now that I am feeling much more comfortable with Zoom, I am offering a live “drop in” class each Monday for 90 minutes from 2pm to 3:30pm. I want to encourage people to make time for themselves, make art and join us on Mondays. We make art together and you have time to work on your own art with me there as your guide. Each class leaves time for a show and tell where we share our process. Please sign up at: www.juliamalakoffartclasses.com and have fun learning how to make your mark! And then join us for live drop-in classes each Monday at 2:00pm. Sign up at https://juliamalakoff.com/1397-2/