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Posted by: Jacqueline Sullivan on January 7th, 2011

WHEW! I have just redone my studio and, of course, it was a much bigger job than anticipated! Do you know how much stuff one has to move to paint a studio floor?

I have now had my hands on every single item in my studio. It was no small task, given that my studio is about 1000 sq. ft FILLED with stuff.

But I have reached a stage in my life where clutter is no longer acceptable to me. I’ve been de-cluttering the house for a couple of years but the studio was another whole story!

So how did I go about it?

I decided that I should approach designing the studio, very much like I would approach designing my kitchen (which I also did last year).

When I buy something for the kitchen it has a place to be stored. If I don’t have a place to store it away, I don’t buy it. So why do I tolerate stuff being out all over the surfaces in my studio?

Good question. I spent some time ruminating on that question. We use our kitchens for nurturing our family and friends. It is the center of our home life.

I am a full time artist. The studio is the center of my work life. Why should it not nurture me?

And that was the start of allowing myself to spend some money( and time) on some new shelves, paint and furniture. Nothing expensive. I already had some white laminate stuff from several years ago and I cleaned it up and bought some similar stuff at IKEA. I hired a plumber to put in a small bar sink in a 90″ stretch of kitchen cabinetry from IKEA. This cabinet unit holds all sorts of stuff. It has things like tea and coffee and sponges for cleaning. But it also houses trash bags, buckets, styro plates for palettes, rags and paper towels – just like the kitchen.

I purchased an electric kettle at
Costco and a coffee press. I can now fix myself a beverage without running upstairs.

The counter on the kitchen area is birch plywood that I “tissue papered” and then put a resin coating on. It’s awesome! And I put fun knobs on the white cabinetry.

The rest of my house is sort of a cross between contemporary and traditional furnishings. I like to think of it as quietly elegant. It is earthy and artsy but not “quirky”.

But I wanted “quirky” in the studio. I wanted it to be a bright expressive place.

I made it brighter by changing the beige walls to yellow. It had all been carpeted and I tore out the carpet. The floor is now lime green! Talk about bright. Oh, did I mention the fact that I rescued our old small refrigerator from the garage and painted it lime green?

It still need something, as does the floor, but the room, like all art is a work in progress.

Today was my first full work day in the new space. Space changed always sort of sap my creativity. But I made myself work in the new environment and I am going to like it, once I am fully used to where I have put everything!

And watch my website for class announcements – the new space includes a classroom! Classes should start in the Spring.

And, yes,I will post photos – just as soon as I figure out where I put the camera 😉

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Painted Woven Wonders in Colorado!

Posted by: Jacqueline Sullivan on March 9th, 2010

I love teaching experimental techniques! It seems to me that if you know how to “push” the materials, you can be more creative. My classes are FILLED with techniques, some say, a few too many, but I like a full and stimulating class! The question always comes up, what to do with these techniques? So, in most classes I try to have a fairly quick project, so that my students can go home with at least one piece of mostly finished art. Of course, they also end up with lots of papers for future art works as well! In the Painted Woven Wonders class, a quick way to make a collage is to cut the paintings in strips and weave them back together. I taught this a few years ago At Art Unraveled http://artunraveled.com/ARTU10/AUindex.htm in Phoenix . I will be teaching it again at The Artist’s Nook, http://www.theartistsnook.net/ in Colorado at the end of this month! Here are some photos of the student’s work from Art Unraveled. My apologies that I don’t have the names of the people who did these wonderful pieces. If they are yours and you are reading this, please leave a comment and tell us who you are!

Aren't the colors wonderful?!? We poured the paint onto the paper and then added various media to it!

Layaers and angles add lots of dimension!

Layaers and angles add lots of dimension!

The colors can be light or bright. Here you can see some lace papers added in the background!

"Doo-Dads" and Molding Paste add interest here! The background paper is made from something that you buy at the super market. Can you guess what it is?

"Doo-Dads" and Molding Paste add interest here! The background paper is made from something that you buy at the super market. Can you guess what it is?

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Puttin’ on the Glitz

Posted by: Jacqueline Sullivan on March 4th, 2010

This collage is made with techniques from the Puttin on the Glitz class. It was featured in Somerset Studio back in May of 2004, It is Aluminum Foil and Molding paste and other things, I don;t quite remember!

My class, “Puttin” on the Glitz” is near and dear to my heart. It is the class that got me started teaching at Art Retreats. It is the class that was written up in Somerset Studio Magazine in 2004.  It is my favorite class to teach! And I will be teaching it this month in Colorado at The Artist’s Nook! http://www.theartistsnook.net This is the class that has most of the techniques that are shown on my DVD. But we won’t be working on a painting like I did on the DVD. We’ll be working on small pieces of paper, learning all sorts of textural techniques. Then we’ll paint these papers and build a small collage from them – mounted on a textured canvas background!  Students make a BUNCH of beautiful papers in this class that will give them lots of great collage elements for future use. Plus, they’ll learn a lot about acrylic textural stuff. It will be my favorite kind of day, messing with paints and shiny foils!!! The techniques that I teach in this class, I use on almost every piece of artwork that I do in some way.  There are still a few opening s in the class if you want to come and join us!!! There are reasonable hotels in the area! Hope to see you there!!!!

This painting is on a stretched canvas. But, as you can see, I have added a bit of textured metallica to it as well. This type of thing will be very possible for you to do if you have taken the class!


The Muse Returns

Posted by: Jacqueline Sullivan on February 24th, 2010

The creative muse has been absent from my studio for quite some time now. People ask me all of the time, “How do you stay motivated?”. I reply about creativity being a practice, about having “transition” things to do in the studio that will lead to other creative ventures, etc. But for the past few months NOTHING was working for me! Finally, a good friend said “Arriving is half the battle”. And so, I went to my studio and just sat.  Nothing. No urge to look at my “stuff”. No urge to straighten, no energy at all. Now, some of this is physical because I have been dealing with a B-12 deficiency and lots of low energy days. But still, I always want to make art!?!? I was beginning to feel more than a little panic! After 2 days of just sitting, I started reading some poetry.  The book “Prayers of Comfort and Hope” has great poems in it if you need comfort and motivation! And that got me going a bit. I started out by just painting some pieces of textured stuff that was left from class demos. I still didn’t feel ready to tackle a plain canvas or sheet of paper.  After painting scraps for a day, I started browsing around for something else that needed attention. I found a couple of canvasses that were also class demos and needed finishing. I began “poking” at them with the paint brush and finally, finally, I WAS PAINTING!!! I did 3 canvasses and the start of a 4th one. I am picturing here one that I like the way that it turned out. I don’t usually use a lot of imagery in my work. It is a LOT of work to integrate imagery in with your painting and have it have a cohesive and unified look. I think I actually made it work rather well in this collage. It is hard to tell where the figure ends and the painting begins. I will post some of the other things that I accomplished last week in the next couple of days.

I managed to have the figure feel unified with the painting!

The figure emerges from the painting and texture.

Texture detail. The texture is Golden Light Molding Paste that has been stencilled as well as some coffee and sawdust. The half circles are the pattern in some Japanese Lace Paper that was put down with Gloss Polymer Medium.


Student Works

Posted by: Jacqueline Sullivan on January 16th, 2010

What I love about teaching is seeing the students take my techniques and apply them in their own unique way to their own Artwork.


This is a Gesso Technique on Muslin with Thread Calligraphy added. Artist: Nancy Kazlauckas

I taught last summer at Calligraphy Connection International Calligraphy Conference at St. John’s College in Minnesota. One of my students, Nancy Kazlauckas is a fabric artist. She does “Thread Calligraphy”. lettering with her Bernina sewing machine. She took the techniques from my “Glorious Papers” class and used them on canvas and muslin. Then she took them home and did her magic with “Thread Calligraphy”. Here is a photo of one of the pages of a book that she made. To see more go to: http://www.berninausablog.com/insp. Scroll to the December 30 entry by Nancy Kaziauckas – “Thread Callligraphy”. Thanks, Nancy for posting this!!!


Sandblasting Again!

Posted by: Jacqueline Sullivan on January 15th, 2010

In October, my friend, Wendy C. invited a group of us to once again come to her sign shop and do some sand blasting. Without much available time to prepare, I went shopping at HomeGoods for something to blast. I found this beautiful vase there. Then I went to the studio and wrote the word “Inspire” several times with a Parallel Pen. I chose the one that I liked the best.

When I got to Wendy’s sign shop, she scanned the word into her computer and sent it to the “printer” that cut out the masking film. Then I applied the film to the vase and masked out the rest of the vase with other film. We put it in the booth of the sandblaster and blasted away.  Wendy cut two masks out so I was able to do both sides! I was surprised at how well it turned out!

I was pleased to win an award for it in the November exhibit for Michigan Association of Calligraphers!  It was great fun to do and I am looking forward to the next time Wnedy asks us back. I am planning a calligraphic fixture for over my dining room table!!! Close up of "Inspire" Full view of vase.



Posted by: Jacqueline Sullivan on January 10th, 2010

Boy, I’ve really neglected this blog! I think about it a lot, but never quite get to it…. So, It’s a New Year, and here’s hoping I get a little better at it!

I recently wrote out some of my favorite ways Yahoo Group for Calligraphers. I thought that since I had taken the time to write it out, I might as well take advantage and post it here.

My design quotes for students.

When explaining to people about how to choose colors to START painting with, I tell them: “If you wouldn’t put it on your body together, don’t put it on your canvas together”.

START painting with somewhat analogous colors. Try to stay with colors that are within one quadrant of the color wheel. DO NOT cross
the color wheel until you are ready to define a focal point”.

When building a collage: Start with your 3 main pieces. small medium
and large. Get them placed and then build around them.

I define “Ephemera, strings, beads, metal pieces, even small gilded
areas as jewelry”. When outfitting ourselves for a special occasion,
the jewelry is usually the last thing we buy. So, I tell students, get
the dress first , the dress being the largest piece of the collage.
Then add the shoes, scarf, etc. The jewelry is the last thing we do.
Add the Ephemera (jewelry) last, and keep it small and focused.

How to decide if something belongs on a collage or not: Put it where
you think you want it. Study it for a moment. Take it away and study
the piece without it. IF you feel a “sense of loss” when the piece is not there, it should be there”. If you don’t “feel” like something is missing, it should not have been there to begin with.”

These thoughts may not apply in all aspects of art, but I find them
helpful to speak to students in trying to teach design. People are often
more visual than they often realize and these phrases, I hope, help
people to “tap into” their own visual sense. When I start talking
about principles and elements of design, people start yawning, so I
try to tell them in a way that is, perhaps a bit more humorous but
helps people realize that they are designing everyday in many ways.

My other phrase, when talking about “direction” which I feel is VERY
important in calligraphic works is “Draw a roadmap for the eye of the
viewer”, send them where you want them to go (focal point, next page
in a book, etc.) Lines of written words, flourishes, ascenders,
descenders, etc, are all very directional. When you are making
decisions about extending ascenders, descenders,etc. or making a
flourish at the end of a paragraph, etc, they can become arrows for
your viewer and it is important to be aware of how they are placed in
a work.

So, those are my favorite design “Quotes”, hopefully they will help others to make good design decisions.

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Cultivating Creativity

Posted by: Jacqueline Sullivan on March 29th, 2009

Gosh! I just spent an amazing couple of hours in my studio! I was painting papers in “layers”. I would then scrape through the layers and expose some of the marks and colors from a previous layer, which I had let dry! I had my Ipod on – playing Aaron Copeland and I was dancing and brushing away – working hard at trying to get rhythmic strokes that will be repeated later with a line or two of calligraphy written over these layers of paint. Hope it works out to look something like what is in my head 😉

As I was working and having such a great time, I was wondering, why on earth am I not doing this more often? It took me most of the day to decide what I was going to do and to get myself actually into the studio! Why am I so resistant to getting started?

While cleaning up I found these words, I think that I need them emblazoned on my brain somehow – or maybe I can project them very large somewhere where I can see them constantly!

How You Can Cultivate Creativity

by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Try to be inspired by something every day.

Try to inspire at least one person every day.

Write down each day what surprised you and how you surprised others.

When something strikes a spark of interest, follow it.

Wake up in the morning with a specific goal to look forward to.

If you do anything well, it becomes enjoyable.

To keep enjoying something, you need to increase its complexity.

Take charge of your schedule.

Make time for reflection and relaxation.

Shape your space.

Find out what you like and what you hate about life.

Start doing more of what you love, less of what you hate.

Develop what you lack.

Shift often from openness to closure.

Find a way to express what moves you.

Look at problems from as many viewpoints as possible.

Figure out the implications of the problem.

Implement the solution.

Produce as many ideas as possible.

Try to produce unlikely ideas.

This is the type of papers I was creating. I worked on sheets that are 40" long. The plan is to make it into an accordion book.
This is the type of papers I was creating. I worked on sheets that are 40″ long. The plan is to make it into an accordion book.


Technology at Work

Posted by: Jacqueline Sullivan on March 10th, 2009

I gave a presentation on brush lettering last night for the Michigan Association of Calligraphers. This was the Spring meeting for this association, my “home” guild. We only meet four times per year. It was fun to be the presenter, even though I was well aware that there were many people in the room who were probably better at brush lettering than I was! But the absolute coolest thing was the system that our prez, Diane Stum Fekete and programs chair , Gail McGuire came up with to project my demo onto the big screen.

They used a Video camera plugged into a digital projector. The camera took the picture and the projector projected it. Everyone in the room (approx. 40 people) could follow along with what I was doing at my table! It was pretty amazing as well as exciting for us as an organization. This means that we can have more lettering demos at meetings, because now everyone in the room can see what the person upfront is doing! I was “wowed” by the whole idea! Here is a pic of me lettering with Diane looking over my shoulder – making sure that I kept everything in “view” of the camera!

MAC Meeting March 2009


Layers on Layers

Posted by: Jacqueline Sullivan on February 18th, 2009

Also in Portland at Collage was my Layers upon Layers class. In this class students built a collage on a stretched canvas. The canvas was covered with aluminum foil which was then painted to look something like “old metal”. Then molding paste was layer over the aluminum. Some students put images on the first layer coming out from under the pieces of aluminum foil. After the molding paste was applied, images were mounted onto binders board. Designs were stenciled in molding paste around the images. All of the molding paste was then painted. Some of the images were “antiqued” with a glaze made from fluid acrylics. The binders board with the images on were then glued to foam core and then glued to the canvas. In some cases, beads were hung from these dimensional layers. The collages done in the class were really striking and here are a few photos of them.

I will be teaching this same class in March at The Artist’s Nook in Northern Colorado. Hope to see you there!

Suzie collageChris K. Collage with Paris theme

Jacqueline Sullivan is a teacher and mixed-media artist, with experience in graphic design, advertising and publications.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

— Leonardo Da Vinci