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.paperjewelsart.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!

Happy Hummingbird

My mixed media teacher, Melanie, had suggested, as an exercise, that we all try to paint a hummingbird into our work. Hummingbirds are fascinating birds, so tiny and jewel like.  Once in a while, a hummingbird visits our deck, attracted to our red and pink begonias. What a treat to peak out from the kitchen window and find a tiny bird, fluttering its wings at the pace of a butterfly. It’s emerald and blue body, a visual charm for the lucky observer.Humming Bird

Hummingbirds are the smallest birds of their species-usually measuring between 3 to 5 inches. They are called hummingbirds because of the sound that their wings make with their rapid flapping. Hummingbirds mostly reside in the tropics, however, there are 17 species in the United States. As with a lot of wildlife, these birds are threatened by the loss of habitat that comes with urban growth. We can make small changes to our own gardens to help sustain the life of the hummingbird. Our tiny bird friends will know that they are welcome when they find plants like honeysuckle, bee balm, sage and tubular flowers to feast on. By adding hummingbird feeders to our yards, we can help them survive the migration. If you are interested in learning more about hummingbirds, the following sites are very informative:

www.defenders.org

www.audubon.org

www.nationalzoo.si.edu

“Happy Hummingbird,” is a sweet reminder of how much happiness we receive from maintaining a vibrant garden. Not only do we have the visual pleasure of the flowers and their nature friends, but we are actively helping our environment by giving back and providing food for precious birds and insects. I look forward to my next hummingbird spotting and in the meantime will continue to incorporate more hummingbirds into my art.

My original art and copies of all my art work in various formats (prints, canvas, gifts) can be purchased at julia-malakoff.pixels.com

If you would like custom work, please email me at juliatova@gmail.com

Moon Flowers

Artists who venture into their gardens on a warm summer evening may find new inspiration. That is exactly what happened when I decided to take my camera out after the sun had set and the moon was shining over the pond, casting its shimmering rays on the drowsy blooms. Daisies, lilies and hydrangeas seem to smile in their sleep and with my camera set for night, the flower images twinkled in the lens. Moon Flowers

“Moon Flowers,” is a 14 ¼ “ x 5 ½” watercolor paper, mixed media acrylic on cradle board. The tree glistens under the moonlight and the flowers glow as their petals cool from the stifling heat.

My original art and copies of all my art work in various formats (prints, canvas, gifts) can be purchased at julia-malakoff.pixels.com

If you would like custom work, please email me at juliatova@gmail.com

Little Gems

Little Gems was originally inspired by a photo of multi colored glass wind chimes that I photographed at an arts and crafts market in Israel. The glass tiles glistened with jewel tones; sapphire blues, emerald greens, ruby reds and golden ambers.Little Gems

The first layer consists of handmade tissue papers and acrylics. It was originally in my mind to recreate the feeling of the glass tiles gently swaying. As the transparent glass tiles overlapped, they created brilliant colored layers and patterns. So, as I continued to add my paint and collage, I realized that the piece was looking a bit flat and could use more texture. After inking in lines and dripping more acrylics I let the piece rest for a long period of time. Most of my pieces seem to go through a resting stage where I set them on a shelf and contemplate whether they are finished or need extra attention. Since this piece is on the smaller side, the rich tones were a bit overwhelming and there was too much similarity with both the medium and the overall tone. In the end, it needed an extra layer which is when I introduced the color twine which loosely connects the dried paint chunks creating a flying bouquet. The colors, lines, shapes and textures all come together in a harmonic mixed media collage.

My original art and copies of all my art work in various formats (prints, canvas, gifts) can be purchased at julia-malakoff.pixels.com

If you would like custom work, please email me at juliatova@gmail.com

Thistles

The summer of 2015 our family traveled to Israel. And by family, I mean the whole mish-pa-CHa, (that’s family in Hebrew…make sure to accent the “cha” with a gargly gurgle sound.) We were 13 in total including my parents, my husband and four kids, my brother and sister in law with their two kids and my sister.Thistles Too

13 in Judaism is actually a good luck number for it’s when a child becomes a Bar Mitzvah or an adult in the Jewish community. In a way, our family experienced a Bar Mitzvah traveling to Israel together. It was politically awakening, culturally exhilarating and most of all spiritual. We became educated on Israel’s modern technology, their innovative approaches to agriculture and their secrets to surviving in the middle east.  Learning how to farm fruits and vegetables in over 100 degree weather where water resources are miles away was truly mind blowing.

The Israeli’s are known for creating underground mazes of irrigation systems, channeling water for crops from the Sea of Galilee. What a surreal sight it was to see lush orchards of pomegranate, clementine, fig and date trees. Imagine dessert sand and rock and then fields of yellow, where sunflowers grew to be farmed for flour. The Thistles picture was inspired from a photo that I took in the Golan Heights. I had a personal date to wake at sunrise and photograph the northern terrain as the sun burst pink rays across the fields. The thistles glowed with lush hues-indigo, violet and gold. I returned to the states with not only amazing memories, but over 2,000 photographic gems that continue to inspire my art.

My original art and copies of all my art work in various formats (prints, canvas, gifts) can be purchased at julia-malakoff.pixels.com

If you would like custom work, please email me at juliatova@gmail.com

Laila the Lab

Laila the Lab mixed media collage

I don’t think that I was ever really a dog person. Growing up in Iowa, everyone seemed to have a dog and apparently I was quite timid around most furry friends. That is until I had one for my own. My husband is a cat person and even though I really wanted to add a puppy to our already full household, we started with a one year old tabby called Ginger. (More on that later.) Meanwhile, now that we have two teenagers, a tweeny and one tween wannabe, I figured our kids could use a little Lab love.

Most of the responsibility of being a dog owner lies in my hands. However, each child has been involved with walking, feeding and grooming whenever I ask for help. Child number two is greeted with a lip smacking Laila as soon as he walks in the door from school. Laila  eagerly waits her turn as #2 feeds Ginger the cat first and then proceeds downstairs to take care of the pup. Each child has their own relationship with our pets who in return show so much love and affection to our family.

Surprisingly, Laila seems to have figured out how to transcend canine status, making herself a very credible fifth child. She craves attention, expects extra snacks, in between meals and doesn’t always listen when called. She does however, accept her regular, daily feedings without the usual familiar family whine, “What are we having for dinner?” “Ugh…not that again!”  Thank goodness she doesn’t have the human “back talk” feature.

My original art and copies of all my art work in various formats (prints, canvas, gifts) can be purchased at julia-malakoff.pixels.com

If you would like custom work, please email me at juliatova@gmail.com

 

Courage Art Show – “Fiery Birch”

On Sunday October 8, 2016 from 2 to 4pm, I will be at the Jo-Ann Rose Gallery – Lake Anne Community Center in Reston exhibiting one of my favorite original pieces, “Fiery Birch” as part of the “Courage” art show.  The show will run from October 1 to October 31.Firey Birch

I specifically chose this piece since it is one of the first mixed media collages that I experimented with the notion of “pushing through my comfort zone.” Most of my paintings have been inspired by my photography and usually have a very illustrative or representational nature. “Fiery Birch,” a tree located in my neighborhood, is a bold and older tree that I say hello to when Laila, my lab and I pass under its twisting limbs on our daily walk. The tree’s bark looks like fat braids with knots twisting around its trunk. There is a path that is now bumpy from giant roots lifting from the ground that curves around the base of the tree. The path dweller can feel the strength of the roots, pushing through the cracked pavement. And like the artist who fights the contented voice whispering to stay within the conventional limits, the tree cries out, “just try and stop me!”

Please come and meet this inspirational tree and me at the “Courage,” Art Show reception, Sunday October 8 from 2pm to 4pm. Address below:

Jo-Ann Rose Gallery – Lake Anne Community Center
1609-A Washington Plaza
Reston VA 20190

This image is available for purchase.  Click on the picture and it will take you to my Smugmug site where you can by a print or a product.  Paperjewels.smugmug.com

A limited selection of my original art is also available for purchase at www.paperjewelsart.etsy.com