Author Archives: Claudia McGill

About Claudia McGill

A person who does art and writes poetry. That's me!

Chapter Seven: Abstract to “Gathering In, Letting Go”

In the fall of 2022 I participated in studio painting sessions at Woodmere Museum of Art. The class was called Exploring Abstraction and was led by Val Rossman. If any of this information sounds familiar it is because I have done previous sessions in the studio with this group. And that’s because I like being there!

You might remember that I said in my last post on these paintings that I thought there were a couple that were finished. I took them to class for another opinion. One was fine as it was. Done.

The other, just a little tweak… Val saw the same adjustments I had identified, so I took my brush in hand and, then as you know, sometimes things take an unexpected turn. By the end of the session, I had gone in a whole other direction. *

That was ok. I took the painting home and finished it.

Why did this happen? I have an idea.

In the studio we had been talking about memories of fall, and I mentioned one involving my grandmother and me as a very little girl. My grandmother’s yard had many trees, and our house, set in the middle of a former farm field, had none. In the fall, I felt it very keenly that we had no mounds of fallen leaves surrounding it as my grandparents’ house did.

My way to fix that was to take some home from their house and scatter them in our yard. My grandmother helped me gather up a bagful and I went home fully confident that I’d be covering the lawn with them. Imagine my shock (and I still remember this moment, how it felt) when I emptied out the bag and realized my offerings made not a dent in the empty space of our yard.

What kept me from being utterly downcast at this sight, and what I remember now, is how patiently my grandmother helped me, letting me know she appreciated my initiative and desire to solve a problem. Because of that I knew it was a good idea, I gave it a try, it was just a bigger job than I had thought!

So I think the painting became what it is because of this memory. It’s called “Gathering In, Letting Go”.

“Gathering In, Letting Go” acrylics and acrylic marker, 20″ x 16″, 11/22.

*the painting I started off with is the one in the middle.

Chapter Six: Abstract to “Clever”

In the fall of 2022 I participated in studio painting sessions at Woodmere Museum of Art. The class was called Exploring Abstraction and was led by Val Rossman. If any of this information sounds familiar it is because I have done previous sessions in the studio with this group. And that’s because I like being there!

Well, here we go again. I’ve thoroughly bought into the idea of multiples. As I said earlier, that’s how I work most of the time anyway, so…no decision. Multiples.

By now in the studio I’ve hit my stride after a slow start, and I feel happy and in the flow of painting. In each session, I settle in quickly and get to work. I have finished up those earlier paintings and I’m ready to start on a new set.

I decided to begin in a way that works well for me: paint and draw and do whatever I feel like, just fill up the canvas. Then I have something to work with, rather than a blank expanse of white canvas glaring at me.

Here is what I had at the end of a session. You can see that I photographed them on my table – my legs and feet are peeking in at the bottom of the pictures!

I went home and did a little more scrawling on them. There were a couple of them that I thought looked pretty good at that point. Could they be finished? I took them to class and asked Val what she thought. Yes, she agreed, there was one that was all done.

Kind of a departure for me, this one. But I like it.

“Clever”, 20″ x 16″, acrylics and acrylic markers, 11/22.

Chapter Five: Abstract to Two Fully-Constructed Homes

In the fall of 2022 I participated in studio painting sessions at Woodmere Museum of Art. The class was called Exploring Abstraction and was led by Val Rossman. If any of this information sounds familiar it is because I have done previous sessions in the studio with this group. And that’s because I like being there!

In a recent post in this series I showed you a painting of my house and I told you that I did another one, simultaneously, on the same subject. I guess I was fulfilling both the idea of “multiples” and “landscape” that Val had mentioned as themes, in one fell swoop.

I worked on them side by side, painting first on the one and then the other. They are not twins; more like cousins, I guess. Here they are together:

My house is a mid-century modern split level with a lot of trees and bushes in front. The driveway comes right to the garage on the right side of the house, and there is a big picture window to the left. Another feature of the house is a large chimney in the middle of the roof.

In the first picture, I’ve parked my little car in the driveway and my living room is on view through the window. In the second one, I’ve depicted me bringing in a letter from the mailbox, and I’ve shown the details of the stepping stones in the yard. In both pictures I have included a large three-trunk birch tree on the left front.

I like the way these turned out. I love my house and I feel my area is a great place to live.

Here are the two paintings each on its own. Each is 20″ x 16″ on canvas.

At Home

Here You Find Me At Home

Chapter Four: Abstract to Transformations

In the fall of 2022 I participated in studio painting sessions at Woodmere Museum of Art. The class was called Exploring Abstraction and was led by Val Rossman. If any of this information sounds familiar it is because I have done previous sessions in the studio with this group. And that’s because I like being there!

Here is a gallery of the three abstract paintings I used as starting points along with their finished versions.

Small Artist Sketchbook 2022 – Pages 28 and 29

We are on a journey through another one of my small artist sketchbooks. As with all my books of this type, I take a sketchbook and fill it with whatever I feel like doing at the time. No planning, just enjoyment.

This book was done between August 2020 and February 2022, more or less (I date each page as I do it).

I don’t go through the book page by page in order, though in general the earlier images are at the front and the later ones following – but sometimes I skip pages and come back later, or do some other thing. No reason, that is just how I do it.

Let’s take a look.

Here’s today’s page spread. First, my stove top; the other, something abstract.

Here are individual views of the pages.

If you have any questions as to the materials or techniques I used, let me know. I love to answer questions!

Chapter Three: Abstract to “At Home”

In the fall of 2022 I participated in studio painting sessions at Woodmere Museum of Art. The class was called Exploring Abstraction and was led by Val Rossman. If any of this information sounds familiar it is because I have done previous sessions in the studio with this group. And that’s because I like being there!

Well, some time passed, and I did some other projects, and then Val gave us another suggestion: landscapes.

I’m not much on landscapes in the traditional sense ( I tend to drift off into Trees Trees Trees Sky Green Stuff Brown Stuff Trees …), but in this case, the idea was to take some element of landscape, macro to micro view, and see what we could do with it.

For some reason, I was interested in painting my front yard and my house. I have no idea where that thought came from, but I decided to go with it.

You know which painting I pulled out to work with: Example #3.

I worked on this painting simultaneously with another painting of the same subject. Again, I don’t know why I did that; in fact, I don’t think I have ever painted two versions of the same thing at the same time.

I’ll show you both paintings together in another post. For now, here is what I finished up with. I did most of it in the studio and the rest at home over the next few days.

“At Home”. Acrylics and acrylic marker, 20″ x 16″.

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Here is a gallery of the before and afters, just for fun.

Chapter Two: Abstract to “In the Eleventh Month”

In the fall of 2022 I participated in studio painting sessions at Woodmere Museum of Art. The class was called Exploring Abstraction and was led by Val Rossman. If any of this information sounds familiar it is because I have done previous sessions in the studio with this group. And that’s because I like being there!

Now I started to work on the second of the three multiples. Here are the original three, as a reminder. Take a good look and see if you can see which one of these I started with*.

I worked on this one at home, too. It took some time for me to get the shapes just as I wanted them. Here is what I ended up with.

I named it for November, the month in which it was painted, and my birthday month!

“In the Eleventh Month”. Acrylics and acrylic marker, 20″ x 16″.

*The painting I started with is the one in the middle.

Chapter One: Abstract to “Coming Home in the Snow”

In the fall of 2022 I participated in studio painting sessions at Woodmere Museum of Art. The class was called Exploring Abstraction and was led by Val Rossman. If any of this information sounds familiar it is because I have done previous sessions in the studio with this group. And that’s because I like being there!

But moving on. In our first session back in the studio, Val suggested a theme for working under, if we didn’t have ongoing projects already in mind. I had not done any painting since the spring, having focused on other art forms, and so I was ready to try it.

“Multiples,” she said. “Do multiples.”

OK. It fit with my usual way of working on more than one painting at a time, so I was all set.

After all this time away, I could not settle down. So, I decided to just get out 3 canvases, 20″ x 16″, and slap down some color. Here they are.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I thought. Colors, bla bla. Now what? But I was ok with where I was. I knew these paintings were not going to last in these forms. They were just getting me ready to paint.

Over the next week, I worked on one of these paintings from above. I wonder if you can tell which one? and here is the painting that resulted. Now I’m happy.

“Coming Home in the Snow”, 10/22, 20″ x 16″.

Shhh! the painting I worked on is the one on the left.

Small Artist Sketchbook 2022 – Pages 26 and 27

We are on a journey through another one of my small artist sketchbooks. As with all my books of this type, I take a sketchbook and fill it with whatever I feel like doing at the time. No planning, just enjoyment.

This book was done between August 2020 and February 2022, more or less (I date each page as I do it).

I don’t go through the book page by page in order, though in general the earlier images are at the front and the later ones following – but sometimes I skip pages and come back later, or do some other thing. No reason, that is just how I do it.

Let’s take a look.

Here’s today’s page spread. Portraits of two imaginary people.

Here are individual views of the pages.

If you have any questions as to the materials or techniques I used, let me know. I love to answer questions!

Fabric memories 2

I’ll continue with recounting a few memories associated with photos I found in my archives a little while ago.

These pictures show me at the Lansdale Festival of the Arts in 1998.

This festival is one that I have done since 1996. I attended 2022’s version this past August (below).

A lot of things are the same in these pictures. I am still using the same racks today, but I have replaced the rack covers since 1998, and I have a different tent, though in the same style.

And I still set up the racks in the same configuration, a U-shape – I’ve tried others over the years but in the end, I always come back to this one, because it allows a nice open view of the work.

The park in which this fair is held looks very much the same now as it did 25 years ago, and that many of the same people who organized the show back then are still doing it today.

I love this show and it has a special place in my heart. I won my very first prize ever here in 1996 (I broke down in tears when they brought me the ribbon). And without fail I have always had a wonderful welcome from organizers and patrons alike.

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All right, here is another picture from the same show, Lansdale, but a different year, 1999. This piece, “Along the Beach Road”, was done in raw edge applique with machine free-motion stitching and it won Best of Show.

Well, thank you for going along with me on this little trip back into the past. These photos have reminded me of how much I have enjoyed doing shows and how much the art world has given to me – not just the artwork and awards/recognition, but the friends and interesting times along the way. Thank you to everyone who has been with me on this road.