Thursday, February 11, 2016

Jo Reimer's Collage Adventures, classes at Village Gallery

Baby Brother ***


I'm looking forward to upcoming classes at the Village Gallery in Cedar Mill. One-day classes/workdays seem to work out best for most busy people, as do weekends.  Each Saturday class runs from 9:30-3:00 and is $90. To sign up for classes please stop by the gallery which is at the east end of the library building in Cedar Mill, or download a registration form HERE. The classroom is small and classes are limited to 10 students.

Saturday March 12
.... an introductory workshop for beginners to the art of collage.  You’ll learn about supports, papers, adhesives, tools, and simple composition. There will be several demonstrations of the various techniques throughout the day, and you’ll have time to make several experimental collage paintings in your sketchbook.  Classes will be small so there’s plenty of time for one on one attention. 

 Saturday, April 16

Beginning and advanced artists alike will benefit from this hands-on class filled with discussions and demonstrations as we explore basic composition for collage. You’ll receive a prototype of my patent-pending Design Wheel and learn about the elements and principles of design and how to make them work for you as you build interesting collages. We’ll develop a collection of Design Templates and experiment with working with Layers. The skills you learn are applicable both to collage and to painting.


Saturday, April 23
Roll up your sleeves and prepare to get your hands dirty as we dig into creating unique collage papers.  We’ll learn simple printmaking using the Gelli-Plate; we’ll make Magic Paper; create unusual stamps, work with stencils, and more. Prepare for a hard day of fun and take away lots of beautiful papers and collage sketches in your studio journal, prototypes for future collages or paintings.

Baby Brother is a sketch I did as a demo for a BootCamp. I started by building a neutral background, then stacking rectangles, sort of like making a layer cake, on which I added a favorite image of myself as a snotty little 3 year old holding my competition, a new baby brother.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Ending the Day with a Grateful Heart

grateful, thankful, thanks, thank you, 
thank God, appreciate, praise, much obliged, blessed, 
merci, gracias, merci beaucoup.

What's the origin of The Gratitude Journal? An interview on Oprah maybe, but the origin isn't as important as what you and I will do with the idea. Today, January 1, 2016, is a perfect time to commence keeping a gratitude journal.

My plan is to write a list of 5 things for which I'm grateful in a special journal at the end of each day. 

"Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one's voice. Joseph B. Wirthlin

Cards from my Anti-Depression Box
Greeting Card Gratitude Journal
Various ideas have gelled into my plan for the journal itself. Many people use a desk calendar but I'm going to use old greeting cards that I've received and saved for years. I jokingly call my card collection "my anti-depression box", reading them again whenever I feel a bit blue and am in need of comfort. There are 273 cards in my box, not counting Christmas cards. And now I have an even better way to give them new life... as the pages of a colorful, meaningful journal. 

There's plenty of white space on most of the cards where I can add my daily gratitudes, and I can glue a piece of paper into those with no writing space at all.  Each card has space for 2 to 5 lists of my 5 dailies, and the huge bonus is that it will be like having conversations with the family, friends and students who once sent these dear cards. 

I'll include new cards as they arrive, and when the completed cards reach a certain thickness I'll bind the cards chronologically into a book, probably with a coil binding or maybe just a hole punched in the corner, held together with a book ring.

"Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. This regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe." Wayne Dyer

Postcards as Gratitude Journal

Postcards could be bound into a journal. I have lots of blank postcards, some handmade, some from travels, some purchased and never used. I was thinking of tossing them because I rarely send postcards (duh! that's why I have so many in that drawer) but why not make them into a gratitude journal?

"Often people ask how I manage to be happy despite having no arms and no legs. The quick answer is that I have a choice. I can be angry about not having limbs, or I can be thankful that I have a purpose. I chose gratitude."  Nick Vujicic

Index Cards as Gratitude Journal

Buy a stack of index cards, make a simple or on one side and write your list of gratitudes on the reverse.  

"When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in." Kristin Armstrong.

Rolodex as Gratitude Journal

Use your old Rolodex, that one you no longer use because your contacts are on your phone now, or buy a used one at a thrift store. Use it the same way, art on one side, thankfulness list on the other side. 

It's amazing how viewing the world with gratitude lifts one's spirits.

But really, dear reader, the structure of the journal doesn't matter as much as ending the day with a grateful heart.
  1. My bird wind chime reminds me to be thankful that I had a loving mother who once owned it. 
  2. I'm glad I hung onto all those greeting cards and for those who sent them.
  3. Thanks for the idea of setting Bright Lines like my new one: Eat no sugar, ever.
  4. I'm grateful that I can use the Blogger platform free where I can post my ramblings.
  5. I'm thankful for all the people who read my blog.   Jo Reimer, 1/1/16
If you want to send me a card:   Jo Reimer, PO Box 91340, Portland, OR 97291.

Monday, November 16, 2015

What to do when the well runs dry, or how to deal with the blank page...

The well runs dry occasionally for each of us.

This week I’ve commenced working again after a fallow period that followed Open Studios. For whatever reason, I felt no passion for art-making for four long weeks. I got out my sewing machine and made half a dozen new tops, did some mending, read a lot, snacked too much, puttered around the house taking time to put my home back in order. A friend suggested that I needed to reclaim my home after giving it over to so many visitors, but that’s not it. Not at all. A couple of my spiritual gifts are hospitality and encouragement and I got to use those gifts freely during the open days. I absolutely loved that part of it, so much so that I’m now offering classes, some in my home.

Then yesterday I awakened to a desire to move on. I took out a bunch of heavyweight papers to use as substrates for new collages. Some were starts, some were old paintings that didn’t work, and some were virgins… pure white and ready to be sullied with whatever comes.

Having several different pieces going at the same time is nothing new, nor is working in series. That's what I'm doing now.
I laid 22 supports on my work table, got out a huge box of papers and set to work, choosing papers from the compost* in response to what was already on the supports. I set the timer and worked for an hour, pulling papers one by one and choosing additions to the starts according to color and to whim.

This morning I started again, but this time I chose a bit more carefully, adding from another box, thinking about pattern, color combinations, even a bit about content, though that comes much later. I’m still working intuitively.  After about 45 minutes I decided it was time for neutrals, so yet another box came out and for half an hour I added neutrals to each set of papers… browns, creams and beige, black, mixed no-name neutrals of painted papers. And then it was done. 

I ended with 20 sets of papers sitting on their supports, waiting for me to more carefully work them into finished collages. At this point I'll bundle and bag each start and set to work on just a few at once, still working in series and concentrating on a manageable number of individual pieces.  Some won’t make the grade. Most will bear no resemblance to their beginnings. 

Two of the white originals didn’t get going at all and that tells me something about how I work. My natural way to work is to respond to what’s already there. I need a starting point. It isn’t the fear of the white page; it’s simply not knowing what to do with the white paper unless I have a plan. 



Maybe you’ve been there, too. If you’re looking at a white piece of paper or a page in your sketchbook wondering what to do with it.  I have some ideas for you.

Work intuitively and claim the paper.  
·         Choose a piece of paper that you really like and glue it down somewhere on the page.
·         Load a big brush with a beautiful color and swipe it across the paper.
·         With a pen start drawing a convoluted line from one edge of the paper to the opposite edge.
·         Respond to whatever mark you made. Add something else: another paper or color or line.

Make a plan.
·         Sit down with your studio journal/sketchbook and draw. Work from something that’s in front of you or from a photo and make several thumbnail sketches for composition and value. 
·         Fill a page with thumbnail designs based on shape, line, form, pattern, etc..
·         Cut a viewfinder (a square or rectangle cut from the center of a piece of paper) and run it over magazine pages to isolate possible designs. Draw these as thumbnails.

Now get to work.  I’d love to see what you do and have you inspire me with your creations.

*Compost. A box of assorted papers, scraps, trimmings, photos, images that I paw through whenever I need something for a collage. The jumble of color and pattern works together to inspire new combinations.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Collage Adventures Workshops

Collage Adventures Workshops with Jo Reimer

During the Open Studios Tours so many people expressed an interest in collage classes that I've decided to give some time to teaching again. I've been a teacher most of my adult life and I'm excited at the prospect of sharing what I know with others.

I'm offering two workshops that I'm calling BootCamp, a day-long class for beginners to the discipline. December 29 or January 7 are the dates. You'll find a description and registration form by clicking on the Workshop tab at the top of this page.   

I hope to see some of you then. Class size is limited so sign up soon to reserve your place.

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