Monday, June 13, 2016

Tracy Verdugo

Hi there! I hope your week is off to a great start! 

Recently I attended a two day art class with the talented Australian artist, Tracy Verdugo, at Donna Downey Studio's in Huntersville, North Carolina. It was my second visit to Donna's Studio, last July I attended Finnabair's two day collage class and loved it. Donna and Bill are wonderful hosts and this time there was a new addition to the studio, a full service coffee bar with a comfy lounge. Bill Downey makes a mean iced coffee latte. :)

The photo above is what we saw when we walked in our classroom. Every student was given two 24" x 24" canvases to create their masterpieces, a set or art brushes and a sketchbook.

Tracy arrived pulling a rolling suitcase packed with art supplies and began setting up.  

We began our class the morning of Tuesday, May 31st. She started setting up her supplies as we all browsed Donna's gift / art shop and grabbed a quick bite. Donna provides breakfast and lunch plus there's the "Wall of  Candy" in candy store jars that just make my heart sing. Tootsie Rolls are my fave and the jar was full. :)  

Do you see those art supplies below in the corner and along the wall?

Every student has full access to them and Donna doesn't cut corners on art products. :)

After Donna went over some housekeeping issues she turned the class over to Tracy and we began. This photo was taken after we started our first canvas and she was about to do a demo.

For me, one of the main attractions to Tracy's art is her use of color and how she fearlessly works on any substrate. Her approach to large canvases make them feel less intimidating. When you stare at a 24" x 24" canvas it can be daunting. She teaches you how to break it down so you don't feel overwhelmed.

She shared how she has times where she doubts her ability as an artist and that floored me. I like to create art and love mixed media but I often have this ticker tape that runs through my head saying "you're not a real artist" and it shuts my creativity down. Tracy spoke to us about this feeling and how we can overcome it and go on to create beautiful art, with or without an art degree. It was an epiphany for me! I'll take her instruction and sage advice with me forever, thank you Tracy. 

One of our exercises was to sketch some items that inspired us. Tracy found the butterfly on this bag in Donna's gift shop inspiring. There are so many things to inspire and make you chuckle!

There's Donna on the far left and the lady with her back to the camera was sitting next to me in class. Her name is Edie and she's a true sweetheart. She uses a purple and pink wash on her hair and I love it!!! I hope I'm brave enough to do something like that when my hair turns gray or white. :)

This is one of the canvases Tracy worked on during class. She creates art to illustrate and teach techniques leaving her with two finished canvases after class that are for sale. 

In this photo you can see Tracy working on it at an earlier stage. The composition begins to emerge after several layers are applied.

This is my second canvas with the first layer of paint / ink applied. I love the colors but as she says don't get too attached because it's going to change and it does. 

This is the base layer of my first's filled with symbols and drawings in a random fashion that inspired me. She told us not to worry about how everything looks at this point because it will change with additional layers. 

Class Day One (not all of the students are pictured)

Feel free to skip this paragraph if you want but I gotta get something off my chest...
There were two women who totally disrespected Tracy, as a teacher and artist, in our class. It got so bad that Tracy stopped class instruction and began working with us individually on the second day as she'd obviously reached her limit. I was seriously frustrated and downright mad at these inconsiderate women. You would think they would've had enough sense to realize what they were doing. Apparently they were too self absorbed to notice their effect on anyone. One of the Nancy's (yep, same name) started the first day, first 15 min of class, when introductions were being made by stating that she refused to work on the canvases provided. Okay, fine no problem but then she continues and said that she'd be using techniques she learned in another artist's class and might incorporate some of Tracy's. Seriously!!! For one thing she paid for those canvases and this was not an inexpensive class, secondly why bother lady even coming to this class if you're obviously not there to learn from this artist?!? I got the last seat when I was at Finn's class last year and what's infuriating is that I know people who wanted to attend her class but couldn't because it was sold out. Then these two "Nancy's" show up with NON STOP complaints, talking out loud in a disruptive manner, whining and so much more that I'll spare you from. They sat next to each other and definitely fed off one another. I can't tell you how bad I, as well as the rest of the class, felt for Tracy! I continued to work on my first canvas but mentally I'd shut down and several of the ladies left early the second day. It was all I could do to keep my mouth shut. People who know me in real life know what I'm talkin' about. I'm over rude people, period! Shame on both of you!!!
(Disclaimer: Bill (Donna's hubby) wasn't aware of what was happening in the class bc he was training new coffee shop employees and setting up for our breakfast and lunch times while Donna was out most of the time with real life mom stuff like her daughters athletic banquet one night and other stuff that a mom of 3 has to attend to. She allows the artist to hold their own class using her facility and pretty much stays out of the way. She did pop in once and overheard an episode by one of the "Nancy's" and she shut it down. That was interesting to say the least, all I gotta say is don't mess with a Jersey girl lol. Wish she'd been there the whole time!). Okay, I'm going to take a deep breathe and move along...

This is as far as I got on my second canvas...didn't even touch it the second day. There are two layers of paint/acrylic ink and I added a few symbols and words. Not sure where it's going from here but as Tracy said...just step back, look at your art and see what you can see emerging from it. I learned helpful techniques in this class which will be with me always. :)

A bit reluctant to show you my first canvas tho...I went with the suggestion of a monkey but honestly I wasn't "feeling it" and clearly I didn't commit to it. Partly because I don't know how to draw monkeys and it was a struggle trying to make him appear. Poor fella and that bird on the bottom right has a really long neck lol. Good gravy!

Early layer here...

I took a wrong turn adding the coconuts to a tree that clearly isn't a palm tree LOL...I tell ya I was stressed. Couldn't stand all the drama that was going on and when I said I mentally shut down..well now you know I did. Ha Ha

It's okay though because as Tracy's only paint. Right! I can fix this and I will when I get back in July. ;) Easy peasy!!

For now, I plan to totally enjoy my upcoming 30th anniversary trip with my hubby and the baby shower I'm hosting for my son and DIL on July 9th. Luckily I made notes in class and I do have access to Tracy's online workshops. 

Tracy is a wonderful person, a great artist and teacher. It was a pleasure to meet her and I encourage you to take a class from her if you have the opportunity to. Thank you so much for everything Tracy and safe travels home this week. xxx

BTW, see that awesome elephant behind us?

This was her second class project and I absolutely love, love, love it!
Maybe my internal struggle was that subliminally I wanted to do an elephant (bc I love hers so much) but I boxed myself in with one of my layers....hmmm...I'll be pondering that and how to fix it.

Have a great week everyone, wherever you are. :) 
Thanks for hanging in there with this long post and I hope you'll check back on Wednesday when I share my May Outgoing Pocket Letters. There will be scheduled posts throughout my bloggie break so hopefully you'll find some inspiration along the way and I may pop in and share some photos of my adventure. Also if there are any spelling errors please overlook, spell check was on the fritz with Blogger today. 

Big Hugs,


Caroline D. said...

I truly enjoyed reading your post, yes, all of it. Shame of those 2 crabby, rude women! Despite them, it sounds like you enjoyed your time with Tracy (she's on my wish list and I was one of the people wanting to get in the class but couldn't due to it being sold out) and that you learned some great art techniques. Your canvases are looking gorgeous! They will wait on you until you have more available 'free' time. That is the beauty of paint, you can add more at any time. {wink} Thanks for sharing all the great photos! Happy Anniversary too!

Micki said...

I wish I would have been there.....I know I would have said something. Your layers looked awesome and I loved seeing your canvases evolve. Xoxoxo

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