Monday, May 9, 2016

Rancho Bellota workshop in Baja Mexico

Just returned from Rancho Bellota in Baja, Mexico....the whole experience was incredible and enchanting as always......I've written about the ranch before in an earlier post...and I must say that I'm still on an natural high...this ranch is so special to my heart. Think about joining me next year about the same time for the experience of a lifetime. 

 the road to the ranch

 Guadalupe Valley 

a Trip to a couple of Guadalupe Valley Wineries..this valley has become the number 1 destination for Mexican Tourists. 

 our Plein Air day in La Bellota Canyon

the ranch cabins

Classical Guitarist Gerardo Valderrama played for us after dinner on Saturday night     

 a hike to La Bellota Canyon dry waterfall

 these guinea hens were brought in as guards for the chickens on the ranch...they make crazy noise if they are frightened.....

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"I am the snow", said the bunny

Blue Twig Studio in Colorado Springs was a wonderful place to teach. I flew back home last week to our boring non weather in North San Diego, CA. Just saying...I was born and raised out here so any weather is exciting to me! We had snow almost every day while I was there and hiked with a friend in an awesome place called Garden of the gods while it was lightly snowing...what a thrill!'s a little tutorial for you from one of the workshops....enjoy!

I started out with a drawing in pencil, then outlined the branch with a water soluble Tombow pen. Next I added water the the edge of the Tombow pen lines to spread out the ink. Then I added watercolor using a dropped in watercolor technique.
 The paper is Masa paper which was adhered to a canvas. 

I was inspired by a bunny I saw on our hike through Garden of the gods. 

I added more watercolor glazes and started to outline some shapes with a waterproof pen. The stamp images that I made were stamped with Staz-on inks onto thin rice paper. 
I glued the stamped rice paper images on with gloss medium. 

The edges were painted with two acrylic colors for a interference look. 
The painting was sealed and varnished with this process. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

New Stuff

Happy Spring! 
New workshops have been posted, New spring classes start next week in Escondido, CA...and an amazing thing has happened....

My website has been updated and rebuilt!!! Yahoo! 

Hard to believe and so cool to boot. 
There is a new sign up for email newsletters on the Home sure and add your email for updates! 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Jane's Journaling interview

I was surfing the web and found this lovely article that my buddy Jane LaFazio wrote about me some years ago....I just had to share......thanks again Jane! 

I wrote a few updates in Red

Meet Helen Shafer Garcia

Cabinet of Curiosities sketchbook page by Helen Shafer Garcia
Jane LaFazio here. I'd like to introduce you to my good friend, Helen Shafer Garcia. She is as an artist, illustrator, arts instructor and gardener. As her bio states "Helen’s paintings are emotionally drawn encounter with paint, color and texture that invokes the spirit for a intriguing visual journey. Some of the images recount visuals from Mexico, New Zealand and other lands intertwining legends, flora, fauna and icons. She’s currently working with watercolor, pastel and mixed media creating contemporary images on paper along with a series of Icon folklore triptychs with wood, watermedia and found object construction." You can read the rest of her bio here.
Helen Shafer Garcia

Why do you keep a sketchbook and how often do you work in it I work in my sketchbooks almost every day. 
HSG: I use them to record ideas, make marks, lay down paint, experiment with concepts, and play.

Do you work in just one at a time or do you have several going at once? 
HSG: I keep many journals going at the same time, different sizes and shapes. 

Cabinet of Curiosities sketchbook page by Helen Shafer Garcia
What's your preferred format and preferred medium for using in your sketchbook?
watercolor, pen, pencil, crayon, collage etc? 
 HSG: My idea sketchbooks are larger than my travel journals. I usually use an 11 x 14 inch or a 9 x 12inch. I work on acid free, archival paper that can handle watercolor as well as dry mediums. I usually work with pencil for value studies first, then color compositions with paint or colored pencils. Some are spiral bound, others have traditional binding. Sometimes I start my sketchbooks from back to front. I’m left handed and the spiral bound books get in the way of my hand. My preferred medium is pen and watercolor and I use it in my travel and hiking journals. 

To me, it's very important to use good quality, acid free, archival paper. My sketchbooks are part of my personal bibliotheca and I have not had any issues with yellowing paper for over 40 years. Take the time to choose carefully when buying a sketchbook. 
page from one of Helen Shafer Garcia's hiking journals
How do you use your sketchbook? For example, do you use it to make studies for larger pieces, for experimenting with materials, to practice drawing, or for making beautiful pages as artworks in themselves? 
HSG: The sketchbooks contain my works in progress, my ideas for paintings, small paintings, my notes and thoughts, my poems, and an assortment of ephemera. I also practice my drawing skills all the time and take a small journal traveling and hiking. 

I use handmade paper journals from India (I now use Moleskine or Handbook journals for traveling and hiking and Strathmore mixed media Visual journals for designs, etc.)for my watercolors with pen lines. I take these out to paint and draw on location. I love the texture and thickness of the paper. These little paintings stay in the journals. Sometimes I’ll display them during an exhibit or show snippets on my blog but I never sell them.
Illustration for a magazine, by Helen Shafer Garcia
The magazine was San Diego Home Garden Lifestyles. I Illustrated the veggie, fruit, roots and nuts articles! 
Is your sketchbook different from your art-that-is-not-in- the-sketchbook? Is there anything about working in your sketchbook that is different from working on pieces that are not in your sketchbook? 
HSG: The sketchbooks are where all the concepts are started. Ground to speak. Anything can happen in a sketchbook. I have the freedom to create, then shut the book to view later. I can take it with me where ever I go as opposed to a painting that I’m working on. 
Illustration for a magazine, by Helen Shafer Garcia
What advice do you have for someone who wants to keep a sketchbook but doesn't know how to begin? 

HSG: Just do’s only paper! Consider these pages like a one else needs to see them. Don’t judge your works, just make a new one on the next page! I always date my sketchbooks for my library. I can then refer to my idea books at a later date and I can see the progress of my drawings. By the lines are still not “straight” after all these years! 
Dragon Lily, journal page from Helen Shafer Garcia
Check out Helen's website and Helen's blog.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Back from of rain, art, and great food.....

Just wanted to let you know that more great and wonderful workshops coming soon......

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The parts of a book or two

Been busy with prep for Art and Soul Portland and class projects......there is still time left to sign up for Art and Soul......and have the time of your life...just sayin'........

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Demos and demos

My local classes have all started up again.....Demos are flying off the table so to speak....Enjoy...

 a lesson with 2 hues...ultramarine blue and burnt sienna

 a Pour lesson, using the 3 primaries in acrylic with watercolor glazes

 This is my hubby texting at a restaurant....a long way to go on this demo...many more shapes to glaze...

 A collage demo....just started to glue down collage pieces on his face. We used FW inks to paint the lines and added stencil shapes. His eye looks strange...I know...don't worry...more changes will come....

a Wayne Thiebaud lesson for my Palomar College watercolor class. 

 A lesson on composition....We talked about color choices and shape arrangement. Still need to add the background shapes....

Monotype printing using Akua Inks for my Book Arts class...oh what a fun mess we made! 

 and lastly, the first book we made at Fallbrook School of Arts...a leaf drum bound book with acrylics...the theme was numbers and lines