Arousing Biophilia

Arousing Biophilia

After a really inspiring artist research residency this past June I wanted to further explore the idea of art, nature and science and also push myself to do something different and new. So after some brainstorming and talking with great artist friends I decided that I wanted to curate an art exhibition. I am really passionate about these subjects and want to share them with the world.  Although I have done some curation before it never has been on this scale with something so close to my heart.

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Encaustic Workshop & Studio Time

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Encaustic palette

It's been a while since I have offered an encaustic workshop. The last few months I have been concentrating on Open Studios and teaching an 8 week art course to teens at the Palo Alto Art Center.

I thought this summer would be a great time to schedule a new Intro to Encaustic Workshop. If you have ever been curious about encaustic painting or even wondered how you might be able to incorporate it into your current art making practices this workshop is for you.

Introduction to Encaustic Workshop Encaustic is the art of painting with hot bees wax. This hands-on workshop is a great introduction to encaustic painting. Learn the basic techniques of encaustic painting including the history of the media, materials/safety concerns, heating tools and fusing techniques, layering, stenciling and other techniques to create beautiful works of art. All materials will be provided and students will go home with a sample technique board, resource list, instructional handouts and product samples. Class size is limited,  age 13 +

To learn more about and or register for this course head on over to my WORKSHOPS page.

I have also added a few other options for open studio time and private lessons. Maybe you have already taken an encaustic class but don't have the space or tools to play around with it more. Do you have a project or problem you are working on and can use a little extra help or time? I have created an open studio free time option where you can come to my studio and work and I provide all of the materials and tools. You can learn about that on my Workshops page as well.

Is there a specific technique you would like to learn with encaustic, book art or any other of the mediums I teach? Are you busy and can't fit in a 4 hour workshop? Then a private lesson might just be perfect for you. Private lessons offer more flexibility in scheduling and allow us to really focus on the topics that are important for you.

“I took a workshop from Shannon and it was the best experience ever. We spent two hours doing five different techniques with encaustic process with my own photographs. She provided an amazing amount of information. I think the best part was actually working in her studio with her and to see how she does the process as well. She does each step with you. I cannot wait to do another session with her and to use more of the techniques with my artwork” -Marianna Chambard

 

Book Arts Workshop at KALEID Gallery

Blessings for the Living

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I have always been fascinated with ancient Egypt.  When I was a child I wanted to be an Egyptologist. That was until a teacher told me that everything had already been discovered so I couldn’t be one. Looking back I realize what a terrible (and totally untrue) thing that was to tell a child. Despite her discouragement I held onto my curiosity and fascination. The city I live in has one of the best Egyptian museums in the country with beautiful grounds including a walking labyrinth, alchemy and peace gardens and much more. It also houses one of the largest collections of artifacts in the Western US.

I think my love of all things Egyptian is in DNA. My Grandmother was a member of the Rosicrucian order. I have an old box of her study materials from the 50’s & 60’s. My Mother would bring us the museum often when we were growing up. She always told us it was her sanctuary. I feel the same way about the space as well.  There is something very peaceful and calming about it.

They currently have a special alchemy exhibit. It is a really fascinating subject that I am enjoying learning about. Both physical and spiritual alchemy are fascinating to me. Recently I have been exploring some the aspects and symbolism of alchemy and Egyptian mythology in my artwork.

I just finished the piece below. It’s a 24x36 mixed media encaustic piece that includes 18k gold. It is titled “Blessings for the Living “and is inspired by Ra, the Egyptian Sun God.

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A Monk Named Jimmy

Here is the story behind my piece of artwork “Making Obstacles into Opportunities” At times I dabble in jewelry making, it fulfills a more crafty, fun side of creativity for me. I haven't been making much jewelry lately, it has been on the back burner as I am concentrating more on my encaustic and book art work. Several years ago I started making jewelry out of old spent bullet shells. I would take semi-precious gemstones, feathers, bones and other natural and beautiful objects and insert them into the casing. Something about the juxtaposition of an object that causes destruction paired with something that is natural and beautiful. They were very popular for a while and I had them displayed at many places. One of these venues was KALEID Gallery in San Jose.

One day I received a message from the gallery that there was a monk named Jimmy who came in and really loved my amethyst bullet necklace. Jimmy didn’t have any money and wanted to know if I was open to any kind of trade for the necklace. So I went to KALEID to meet and talk to him. He wore the saffron robes of a Buddhist monk and had a large staff/walking stick that was filled with talismans that had been tied to embedded into the staff.  They each represented something important to him and he wanted to add the amethyst bullet necklace to it.  The meaning of it was important to him and resonated with his beliefs. He was a very kind and sweet person and as I talked to him I learned that he had had a very difficult life full of pain and addiction. He didn't really have anything to trade, he had barely enough money to live off of and that was in halfway houses but I could tell he really, really liked the necklace. So I asked him to write for me, write about anything he wanted, his life, dreams, experiences, etc. knowing that it would be interesting and that one day I might use those writings in my artwork.  So we traded, one amethyst bullet necklace for 3 written pages.

The writings were about his life and journey they were wonderful and sad and hopeful. As a child of parents who had many addiction issues I know all about the recovery process and how the disease can devastate. Jimmy and his writings really resonated and touched a sensitive spot in me. I saw him a few more times at the gallery but then he disappeared and I haven't seen him in many years. When I first received the handwritten pages I didn’t really know how I was going to incorporate them into my artwork so I held onto them. As I was working on my new series “In the End We all Return to the Earth” they seemed to fit perfectly. I used one of the pages as the substrate for the piece, making sure to highlight the ripped out binder paper edges and his childlike handwriting. The sewn sections representing healing and mending and the phrase that is highlighted in the piece and the title of it is “Making Obstacles into Opportunities". It is a common phrase used in recovery. I remember my Step Dad saying that to me when I was younger – we have to be grateful for what we have and learn how to turn our obstacles into opportunities.Making Obstacles into Opportunities