I have been really struggling to paint the last few months. Moving and then the holidays just really took the wind out of whatever sails were still around.

So, when a Margaret Godfrey workshop was advertised at the Brownsville Art Center (now juts 45 minutes away from me,) I knew I had to sign up. In addition to being a great artist and a really nice person, Margaret is one of the people on Facebook who regularly “get me in trouble.” She posts interesting things that give me ideas and make me wonder about stuff.

The title of Margaret’s workshop is “Bridge Between Abstract and Realism”; the workshop centers around ideas and techniques to get you out of your comfort zone and trying new things.

The workshop really began last evening (Thursday) with a lecture by Margaret about her art. Unfortunately, I chose to miss her lecture to go to my critique group. It was a good trade-off, but I would have enjoyed hearing more about Margaret’s history and techniques.

We started off the morning learning how to make stamps to use in our work. Margaret feels that stamp are a way to embed personal identity into work, even when they are used in layers. We make stamps two ways: carved into Moo Carve with a lino-cutter, and cut out of craft foam and attached to foam core.

I had a lot of fun with this.

Next we used watercolors to “stain” rice paper (a thin paper typically associated with tradition Chinese and Japanese painting.) It’s nearly transparent, so even when color is added to it (or in my case, the paper came with a bit of extra texture) it allows for some really beautiful combinations.

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I also liked the piece of paper I put under the rice paper to catch the dribbles.

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After lunch, Margaret demoed using unstained rice paper as a “start” by using white gesso to attach it to her watercolor paper. When this dries, it will give her (or other artists) an interesting texture with which to start a painting.

Then she encouraged us to work on some ideas, either reworking old paintings or starting new with some of the day’s tools.

I had a very hard time getting started, but Margaret encouraged me and once I got going, I did well. I started a rework on an old, failed painting.

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I used my new “wind” stamp to add texture in back of the horse. I tore up some old paintings and collaged them along the bottom, then gessoed rice paper below that. Finally, I used some extra “mud” (paints mixed on the palette that no longer have any pure color” to stain the gesso before it dried.

We’ll see what happens. It really can’t get any worse.

I also reworked another painting, but I didn’t catch a photo of it.

It can be hard in a workshop to keep everyone occupied fully at all times. In the downtimes, I worked on a value sketch of an idea for a series.

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Margaret has done a lot of work in series, and I wanted to get her opinion on whether this idea of a series focusing on the feet of racehorses, specifically when their horseshoes catch the light (like in Shoes & Shadows) was worth following up on. I got her at the end of the day and she was very encouraging. Her advice was not to get too focused on repeating the same drawing (what I thought a series had to be) but to focus repeats of the feet and shoes idea. She also suggested that I look at color; she noted I love color, but that this might be a series to explore going in more neutral direction with just pops of color.

Lots to think about there.

Totally looking forward to tomorrow!

One thought on “Margaret Godfrey workshop, day 1”
  1. Thank you for the nice write up, Tara. I hope you really get going with the horses feet and hubs and legs. I think it’ll be a great series.

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