I had a great time as a presenter at Mennonite Arts Weekend in Cincinnati. I met a lot of wonderful people who shared their experiences as artists, writers, actors, and musicians. I enjoyed the presentations and performances I attended, among them by painter Freiman Stolzfus, jewelry maker Kat Luginbuhl, poet Julie Swarstad Johnson, artists Brooke and Justin Rothshank, the DeCapo Chamber Choir, and hammered dulcimer musician Ted Yoder. I wish I could have attended every panel — I know I missed some great ones. I also appreciated the opportunity to share my slide talk about my art over the last six years, and my new work, “Sound the Climate Alarm.”
Imaginative Drawing is a beginning-level drawing class. It is one of my favorite classes to teach, and I’ll teach it again this winter at the Lawrence Arts Center. This class begins on Wednesday, January 8, 2020, and meets each Wednesday evening for eight weeks, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
The class is based on drawing prompts and exercises that we do together each week in our own sketchbook-journals. By the end of the eight-week session, we’ll use what we’ve learned to create a drawing-related work of art in any medium we choose, as a finished piece.
For the first few weeks of class, we’ll explore drawing as making expressive marks on a page using all kinds of pens, pencils, and other mark-makers. We’ll make comic-style “timed” drawings as a way to doodle, and we’ll also doodle by building up a series of spontaneous lines that eventually turn into pictures and patterns. We’ll “noodle” our doodles, using a controlled hand to create a finished look by adding color, texture, and shading. We’ll make drawings that are based on observation, drawing the objects and people that we see, as we see them. We’ll consider how observational-drawing informs imaginative-drawing, and vice-versa. Sometimes we’ll draw at drawing “stations” where we choose from a menu of exercise options, staying for as little or as long as we want to at a station. These sorts of exercises will focus on stretching, distorting, or abstracting images that we’ll draw from observation. On a different station-day we’ll explore the use of “randomness” as the basis for making something new: random squiggles on a page, random cracks in the sidewalk, or random shapes of clouds can provide the building blocks for making faces, creatures, or monsters. Each week we learn something new about the creative process. Along the way we’ll ask the question, Where do creative ideas come from? We’ll engage exercises that seem to get to the heart of creativity, bringing disparate ideas together in ways that are new. We’ll also learn about how to keep a sketchbook-journal, using artist Corita Kent’s focus on the journal as a “sense diary,” and cartoonist Lynda Barry’s “daily diary” formats to bring words and images together. Towards the end of the eight-week session, we’ll discuss composition, that is, how to arrange the elements in our drawings with attention to the drawing as a whole. We’ll then imagine a drawing that we would like to make, plan it, and make it.
A writer-friend who took Imaginative Drawing several years ago recently said about this class on Facebook: “Take this class! About two hours ago, I pulled out my sketchbook from the class. It is part brain health, part creativity, part stress relief.” And I would contend that the class is also a way for students to build confidence in their drawing abilities and to learn imaginative drawing skills to be used in art forms as different as comics and quilting.
I strive to create a warm atmosphere where students will feel encouraged and comfortable drawing in ways that are new. While I encourage students to share their work with others in class, because there is so much to learn from each other’s experiments, I also make it clear that no one is ever required to share; “passing” is always an option. And homework is optional, too.
Winter classes begin during the first full week in January. Registration now for Winter session. Senior discounts and financial aid are available. Register either on-line or at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St., Lawrence, KS, phone 785.843.2787. To register for “Imaginative Drawing” on-line, visit http://enroll.lawrenceartscenter.org/browse-classes/event/2941?fbclid=IwAR1tS5t8oXpsnJfo_AlpjN-yTufrYNYN78CARP9OOr3taLmbexoLf96S9To.
Four years ago I was one of three artists, each invited by Lawrence Magazine to illustrate a different poem written by three individuals who had
participated in the Douglas County Corrections Facility’s writing program. I illustrated a poem by Anthony Sanchez, titled, Taking on Life. Fast forward to today — Anthony asked if he could use that illustration for the cover of his new poetry collection. Here it is.
It’s the simplest of exercises — we all did it as kids. Make a squiggly doodle mark, and then turn it into something else! Thanks to cartoonist Lynda Barry for reminding us in her books Syllabus and Making Comics, how to draw as playfully as we did as kids!
I’m prepping for the class I’ll be teaching at the Lawrence Arts Center this winter called, “Imaginative Drawing.” It’s an 8-week class that begins in January. Enrollment is now open; click this link for on-line enrollment.
I made the mosaic leaf ornament for the Climate and Energy Project’s silent auction, part of their 2019 Annual Fundraiser & Awards Celebration on Sept. 30. You can learn more about the event at the Climate and Energy Project’s website.
I made the star ornament to be included in a window display at Weaver’s Department Store in downtown Lawrence, Kansas, in December. The stars are being made by local artists, and the display is by artist Cyn Lester.
I made the whimsical rainbow mosaic, below, for the Lawrence Percolator‘s “Art Not Bombs” show. Art at the exhibit was freely given to interested community members. The exhibit was meant to express that art is a human right and experiencing and enjoying art should be free and accessible to all. Organizers suggested the artwork could be made with recycled materials. I made this piece with repurposed dishes and a piece of an old wooden handrail.
I am excited to offer a new drawing class this Fall called Drawing in Black and White — a class that I hope will be both interesting and fun. This introductory-level class is intended to introduce students to drawing techniques using ballpoint pen, ink pens, cut paper, and scratchboard. We’ll draw from observation and imagination, build confidence in our skills, and discover the expressive power of making art in black and white.
During class we’ll doodle and practice with all manner of pens. We’ll draw from observation and “map” areas of light and dark on the page to create the illusion of space. We’ll consider the unique qualities of our various media by practicing techniques specific to each. We’ll practice shading using a ballpoint pen, similar to sketching with a pencil. We’ll create areas of dark and light in a
different way using pen and ink, layering lines and strokes to create different tones. We’ll cut black and white paper into shapes to explore the interaction between positive and negative space, exploring the black-white design principle called Notan. We’ll discover how different it feels to draw with a white pen on a black background, and we’ll use that knowledge to “cut” a drawing using an old illustrator’s media called scratchboard. All the while we’ll summon the creative process to help us investigate our world through drawing.
The arts center will provide each student with a sketchbook to use in and outside of class and a variety of pens and paper to use during class. I strive to create a supportive environment each session, and this class is appropriate for beginners and anyone else who wants to try something new. Contact the Arts Center front desk with questions about senior discounts and financial aid.
Fall registration is going on now. This class will meet on Wednesday evenings for 12 weeks, beginning on September 11, 6:30-8:30pm. Register in person at the Lawrence Arts Center (940 New Hampshire St., Lawrence, KS) or on-line at this link. I’m looking forward to this new class, an introduction to techniques for making expressive drawings in black and white.–Lora Jost
I am excited to have an exhibit of mosaics, scratchboard, and drawings at the Carriage Factory Gallery in Newton, Kansas! The exhibit runs July 27 – September 20, and is located at 128 E. 6th St., near downtown Newton. Gallery hours: T-F 12-5pm, Sa 10am-5pm.
I am exhibiting my art along with two others, Rachel Epp Buller and Emily Willis Schroeder. The title for our collective exhibit is, Our Lives. Past. Present. Future. My portion of the exhibit is called, “Sound the Climate Alarm,” and my artist statement follows:
Sound the Climate Alarm
In my exhibit of drawings and mosaics, cardinals honk and chickadees sing razor wire. Death chases a prairie chicken with a blaring saxophone. Animals, drawn from memory, reveal the loss we find when we are without them. Origami cranes, an international symbol for peace, fly over walls and meander through chain link fences. And yet, archways that imply the presence of barriers also show a way to pass through them. The cardinal’s song is visually amplified as a message of hope and renewal. A car with loudspeakers on top blasts an unusual wish for the world. With a sense of beauty and compassion, through images that visualize sounds that are both real and imagined, my work “sounds the alarm” on climate change, animal extinction, and other urgent concerns, encouraging the viewer to “listen” with an open heart towards creating a future where there is enough to share and compassion for all.