Last Sunday I was in a quandary over what to do with my son, Aidan. I didn’t want him sitting around all day like he did the day before, and so I searched online to see if there was anything going on in our area that we could go to. Boy did I find something!
Art in Nature Festival was happening in one of our favorite parks! And best of all it was free, with free parking, too. So we headed out there. It was in one of the Regional Parks, surrounded with beautiful redwood trees. There was singing, dancing, musicians, painting. Lots of crafty stuff for kids to do, but Aidan’s not so much into crafts. He did find a plastic bottle sculpture to pose with though!
What I liked was that this art festival wasn’t totally kid-centric, either. All of the performers and artists were adults, and of the attendees, there were just as many who came without children as those who came with. I like that mix because real life is about interacting with both adults AND children.
It had a real hippie vibe to it, as well. I mean, art in nature. It sort of lends to tree-huggers! LOL! People came dressed in their colorful finery, like what you might see out at Burning Man.
A short while later was one of the highlights of the day. We got to see live sculpting to music! Upon further research, I discovered that the sculptor is named Bar Shacterman, a Northern California ceramics artist.
He came out with a group of musicians who played live improv while he created a new piece on the spot. He would even get up on the pedestal to pound into the clay – he was very dynamic and the music was earthy and tribal. Sometimes the vocalist would make guttural sounds with her voice that sounded funny to Aidan, and he would snicker softly, but when he saw that nobody else was laughing and that it was supposed to sound that way, it made him think. I like it when my kid thinks! It was just such a cool experience for a child to have, and for me too! I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I pointed out to him the woman in the white shirt playing the drum and how she would shape her hands to get different sounds. Since Aidan also plays drums, he was fascinated watching. It turns out that the drum player is named Laura Inserra, the producer and art director for this festival. She also plays the Hang (pronounced more like hung) a flying saucer-shaped instrument out of Switzerland. Learn about this cool instrument in this news interview with Laura:
How the festival affected my own art right away
Before we had this experience of art and sculpture, I had seen another visual artist’s paintings on canvas just like I use – the gallery wrapped, but these paintings were much bigger than my 30×40 maximum. He uses 36×48 and I would love to do some paintings that size. This artist uses mixed media and acrylic paint for abstract paintings. I didn’t get any good shots of the paintings, by a local journalist and photographer James Martin got a great photo of the paintings:
I had asked the artist, Richard K. Bacon, what he used to get his textures and he said he used tissue paper and other fibers to create texture (like me!) and that he uses drops of rubbing alcohol, glue guns, rock salt, and other methods to get texture into his paint and onto the canvas. All these different methods, during our brief exchange, brought me back to a book I use called The New Acrylics, that goes over different effects you can achieve with acrylic paints.
I also remembered my Namaste with Compassion painting, where I used the dripping water method to reveal the layer underneath in drops. I had contemplated how my painting I’m working on now felt unsatisfactory, especially the background, even though it had interesting, colorful undertones.
Richard Bacon’s mention of his techniques made me think of the techniques I had tried in earlier paintings but did not return to. I thought, why haven’t I come back to some of these methods? They are wonderful! So the next day, I mixed up some darker paint and worked over my background, adding drops of water to later pull out, revealing the subtle colors beneath. This photo shows what the majority of the background looks like now:
As you can see, it’s quite subtle, and of course, the photo from my tablet simply does not convey the colors in their true form. With the light just right on it, the spots go from light purple on the left to green more toward the right. I made it splochy all over the background and the result is a background that looks far more interesting.
What this art festival taught me
Get out and look at more art! Talk to artists! Learn about what they do and how they do it. If it inspires me in my own creativity, then awesome! Funny the timing of this lesson. It is my intention to attend an art show at least once a month, aside from my local hometown events. This further illustrates the importance of getting out and talking to others. I loved that!