Friday, April 4, 2014

March Art Journal Entry: Inspired By Books

With my recent involvement in promoting art workshops and fundraisers that are coming up, I forgot completely to post the March art journal entry from the year long art journal exchange I am participating in. 

The March art journal prompt came from a fellow art teacher who is making her art journal out of a book of fiction. She gave many suggestions for how to add to the book and my page was inspired by the text itself. Here is the entry for March, "Tales of Creatures That Flew". I think I was envisioning gargoyles.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Danvers Dog Park Fundraiser: Learn to Make A Charcoal Dog Portrait

You may remember about a year ago I donated a pair of oil painting for an art auction to benefit the Danvers Dog Park. Well, the park is still raising funds -- it costs a lot to build after all. This time I am donating my time and talents in a different way. For starters, I will be offering two workshops during the April Vacation Week (one for kids and one for teens/adults). In these workshops I will teach participants how to work from a photograph of their pet to make a portrait using charcoal.

The date: Thursday, April 24th
The time: 3 - 5pm for ages 8 - 12 and 6 - 8pm for teens & adults
The place: Hosted by the Salem School of Music, 3 Pleasant Street, Salem, MA 01970

All proceeds go to the park fund. I am taking no fee as an instructor and the Salem School of Music is donating the use of their space.

Here is the flyer with all the info on that...

And in tandem with the upcoming workshops, I will be making lots of charcoal dog portraits. Its been a while since I took commissions, so I wanted to revive the muscle memory through practice, practice, practice. To get my source material I had to ask my friends and they came through with lots of photos of their doggies. For each portrait I make, if the owner wants to purchase it, I will donate all of the sale price to the dog park. Stay tuned, for posts of the results.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wool Felting Workshop at the Wenham Museum

I will be offering a workshop for crafters age 8 to 100+ at the Wenham Museum on Good Friday. And what better project to make than a little felted bunny, just in time for Easter. So check out:

 "Wool Felting Fun"
Friday, April 18; 1:00 – 3:30 pm
Members: $20, Non – Members: $25
Register by: Sunday, April 6
Learn to craft a palm–sized felted animal to take home, along with some tools and instructions so you can continue to craft with confidence. Art instructor Margaurita Spear will teach you how to work with unspun wool roving and a few other easy to find materials.  
Ages 8+ 
978-468-2377 | Info@wenhammuseum.Org 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

February Art Journal Exchange: Post Three of Three

And my final entry for February kept up the metallic paint passion. This mixed media painting incorporates simple white glue to create an faux-embossed border. The birds and plum blossoms are inspired by Chinese brush painting themes.

"A Flighty Conversation" Copyright Margaurita Spear, Feb. 2014, Mixed media on paper, Private collection of Gail Boyle

February Art Journal Exchange: Post Two of Three

My second entry for February continued to be inspired by the Art Deco era. However, I love using metallic paints for fun. Its something I never do when I'm painting in oils, but with acrylics it is one of my favorite things.

"Star Child" Copyright Margaurita Spear, Feb. 2014, Acrylic on paper, Private collection of Gail Boyle

February Art Journal Exchange: Post One of Three

The great Art Journal Exchange continues with a journal from an art teacher in Alma, AR .

For the month of February I received an art journal that had a little list of inspirational ideas paperclipped to the first page. The inspirational ideas were "optional", but I decided to run with a few of them.

Here was my first entry inspired by Art Deco Poster Designs:

"Creator of Dreams" Copyright Margaurita Spear, Feb. 2014, Graphite and Marker, private collection of Gail Boyle.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A New Addition to the Felted Friend Menagerie: Tuxedo Kitty

In about a month or so I'm running a needle felting workshop. So, to gear up and get some samples for the class, I've started some new felted projects.

This Felted Friend is modeled after my four-legged child Giuseppe. Giuseppe as you may guess is a hefty boy!

"Tuxedo Kitty" Copyright Margaurita Spear Feb. 2014 (this is one my own Giuseppe's favorite hang-outs)
"Tuxedo Kitty: (close-up) Copyright Margaurita Spear, Feb. 2014

Thursday, February 6, 2014

New February Vacation Week Workshop -- A Union of Art & Music!

During February vacation week I am excited to be offering a workshop in drawing at the Salem School of Music in Salem, MA.

From the school website

Drawing Is Instrumental: A Workshop of Grand Proportion


Wednesday, February 19th from 10am – 1pm at the Salem School of Music

Please join us for “Drawing Is Instrumental” — an exciting large-scale drawing class led by instructor Margaurita Spear.
This one day workshop is open to everyone ages 9 and up who wants spend a day creating art in a BIG way. A gigantic still life filled with musical instruments and other objects will be arranged in the center of the room from which students will be able to choose their favorite vantage point.
Participants will:
  • Learn about cropping and composition
  • Explore shape, color, and line
  • Discover the work of famous inspirational artists
  • Receive tailored one-on-one instruction, in addition to whole group instruction
  • Create an 18 x 24” original full-color work of art
  • Participate in a group feedback session
Please bring along:
  • Bottled water
  • Snack (peanut free please)
  • Your own instrument/object to include in the still life (optional), or use one of ours.
This workshop is limited to 12 students. Register by February 14th.
Cost: $55 (includes $10 materials fee)
Please download and print the registration form here or contact us at
 Drawing Class Registration Form

Rotational Motif # 9

2014 will be a year dedicated to creativity (and a few other things). To encourage that I joined an online group of art teachers in doing an Art Journal Exchange. What is this, you ask. Well, each of us acquired a sketchbook of some sort and made a first entry (maybe with a theme) then sent it on to the next person to add to. In the end we will each have our original sketchbook back with contributions from twelve other artists. Pretty cool, right?

Well, the sketchbook I was sent had a theme for mandala-like designs. Perfect for my paper quilled series. How exciting!

Rotational Motif #9, January 2014, Copyright Margaurita Spear, private collection of Julia Schickel

I worked on the 4" square design for weeks, a little at a time. Probably for about twenty or so hours total. The color scheme was inspired by the sketchbook owner who sectioned off pages with green marker. I chose a green section.

I haven't done much quilling in months and this is just what I needed to remind me how much I enjoy it and how zen it can be.

This particular design fits into my rotational series. The colors are bright and remind me of spring even though we just had a heap of snow here in MA. The shapes and patterns, almost hint at a Celtic cross to me, but you may see something else (others have).

Hopefully, there will be a return to quilling in the months to come.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Rotational Motif # 8

I've recently begun paper quilling again and upon looking back at some of my posted pieces I realized that there was one piece that I had never gotten around to posting because I had been waiting to post it with the announcing of its inclusion in a show. That show never happened and I just forgot about posting the image. But now here it is.

Rotational Motif # 8, Copyright Margaurita Spear, April 2012

This piece was a giant leap from my former pieces in the series because of a few key elements. For starters its foundation was on black paper (all others were on white). In fact there is no white paper used in this entire piece of work. There is still a sense of symmetry but it is less circular. The colors are bolder and patterns created are more linear (within the piece the black designs create vertical stripes and along the corners the stripe impression is repeated in pinkish coral and aqua).

The change in my approach was inspiring as well as challenging as I recall. And because of this the piece took much longer with frequent bouts of inactivity as I had to resolve design issues in my head before attempting them with the materials.

Overall I am quite satisfied with the outcome and find that the design reminds me a bit of Native American tribal art and bead work. This is an unintentional (although possibly subliminal) result.

Monday, December 30, 2013

New Painting: "Kellie Girl" -- A Gift for a Very Special Person

"Kellie Girl" 10 x 10 oil on canvas, Copyright Margaurita Spear, Dec. 2013
I am lucky to know a very wonderful, spiritual person who loves animals. She had a cherished dog-baby named Kellie who has crossed the rainbow bridge.

While visiting one day a few months ago I saw a small snapshot that I thought would make a nice portrait painting and asked her for the photo to use as a reference. Then I put the photo aside literally and figuratively along with the many other painting ideas I have accumulated but not started or finished this past year.

But I wanted to make this painting for her as a gift this Christmas, so finally around mid-November I began the process. It took about a month of working on the painting on and off to finish it. The under painting came into being easy enough and the first few layers of light and shadow were fine. Then I began blocking in color, which was a lot more difficult than I planned because the contrast from background to subject was actually quite stark (no subtle transition areas). And painting a white-blonde dog was actually harder than I expected because if I went too dark on the shadow areas the color was all wrong, but too light and the painting was too flat and the subject not fluffy at all.

I painted and painted right up until December 23rd when I finally forced myself to stop re-working for fear that I would ultimately ruin the painting all together. "Kellie Girl" was gifted still wet (oil paint takes forever to dry, especially when worked up in glazed layers) on Christmas day... and the recipient loved this gift to the point of tears. I guess that means I captured the likeness enough to touch her heart... whew!

New Felted Friend: One Of A Kind Owl

Felted Friend: Owl, Copyright Margaurita Spear, Dec. 2013
This little felted fellow was created as a Christmas gift for a very dear friend of mine. A little birdie told me she has a fondness for owls, so I decided an owl themed gift was in order this year. She lives a few states away, so we exchange gifts in the mail and the handmade owl was one component.

You may remember the felted bunnies from last winter, which I made during the snowy blizzard season. This little owl was more complicated, especially because of his feet (which are wire wrapped in embroidery floss) and his teensy details (like his beak and ears). I also wanted him to not be too fluffy in some areas, but also fluffy in others making things a bit more challenging.

But this is a one time only owl because I want it to be special. So even if I make another owl it won't be quite like this one; just like my best friend this owl is unique and irreplaceable.