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.

Make Your Mark – a mixed media art class

This spring I was selected to teach a class that I created called, “Make your Mark”, at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia. Julia in class I have been inspired by a variety of mixed media and painting instructors, but quite often the courses targeted a more advanced student and I noticed that students who were interested in learning new techniques were feeling overwhelmed. During the winter I dedicated myself to researching and learning methods on how to teach painting and mixed media art. My daily exercise routine of watching Netflix movies while on my stationary bike switched to binging on YouTube, viewing art instruction videos and paint demonstrations. As I pedaled my Schwinn, I took notes in a giant sketchbook with a giant Sharpie marker. From these notes,  I created lesson plans which evolved into an eight-week class based on how to tell a visual story with your own unique voice.

virigina art classWhat does it mean to visually tell a story in a painting? How can our own personal marks help illustrate emotion, character, texture etc.

Make your Mark started on April 2nd, 2018 and ran through May 21st. The students had eight classes to learn how to create their own artistic voice. Our first class started with an icebreaker. We painted a collaborativeShenell and students painting on craft paper and used a small palette of paint.  With brushes dipped we walked around to each table and made a mark. Some brushed, some splattered, some dripped. It was fun to see how each of us chose to mark the paper. Shenell and abstract artWe were not creating a masterpiece; just warming up to each other and getting into our painting mode.

As we progressed through the weeks, we learned how to let our lines speak-giving them a true artistic voice. We learned how build character into our work through texture and collage and we created conflict through contrast, value and tone. DeeThere were seven students in all and half way through the session we began to really bond, feeling more comfortable sharing our work and our stories.

Patty with finished tulips

I owe a giant thank you to my friends who signed up for my class and supported my new endeavor. And another thank you to the new students and now friends that I have made during this new adventure. Myrta with abstract artThey worked hard to learn the new techniques and were super supportive of their newbie teacher.  Teaching at the Workhouse was a new challenge that was a bit out of my comfort zone. Dorothy and abstract artEight weeks later, I am feeling proud of myself for not only creating the class but also successfully teaching structured lessons. The feedback from my students has been encouraging and I look forward to planning another 8-week session for my next class. Stay tuned!

Learn more about the Workhouse Art Center by clicking http://www.workhousearts.org/

Remember to visit my website at www.juliamalakoffart.com to buy originals or copies of my art in almost any format.  Canvas, prints, art cards, pillows, art cards, tote bags, coffee mugs, phone cases……we have it all!