Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cave of Pages Project and Class Review

About a week ago, I took a wonderful class with Michael DeMeng called "Cave of Pages." My completed project is called "Immigrant Wishes" and features my maternal grandparents' wedding portrait and some other family heritage photos.  The base is a cigar box, which I covered in acrylic caulking and painted.  I took off the cover of the cigar box and created two layers within the box with paper covered mat board, with openings cut in their centers. Added a variety of found objects and embellishments (a wish bone I've been saving forever, a wooden heart, quilled flowers, burlap, wire, charms on the side, etc) mounted in front and behind the various surfaces to create a finished project that has about ten different levels of depth. I'm very happy with it! The color scheme fits the current Gingersnap Creations challenge for neutrals with a pop of color.
As for the class review, I really enjoyed it, but students should realize it's not one for the faint of heart! Michael's classes are mostly intermediate to advanced, in that you are not given any kind of a kit and told what to do. Instead, he has a variety of samples and he suggests ways to create a project similar to one of the samples.  He explains a bit and then says, "okay, go."  He is VERY available throughout class to help you problem solve and to give advice, but he's not going to tell you exactly what to do step-by-step.  He also intersperses demonstrations on things such as color washes, working with power tools, finding and using the right adhesives, detail painting and other painterly tricks.  The amount of information given out in these demonstrations is enormous - more than I could absorb in a single class.  Luckily, this is the third Michael DeMeng class that I have taken, so I knew what to expect. (You can read more about the other DeMeng classes and his style by clicking on the de meng label at the end of this post.) 
I came prepared with a variety of things to use and a commitment to myself to be brave and jump into the project.  The demos on power tools and color washes were reviews for me, so I kept working on my project and only eavesdropped on  those.  I skipped the adhesive demo entirely because I feel like I've fully absorbed that information.  The detail painting and painterly trick demos were totally new to me (or if I saw them before, I couldn't really absorb them because my brain was already too full).  I learned the "burnt paper trick" which I used on this piece (yes, that's paint, not actual burning!) and also a technique for highlighting certain people in photos by ghosting out the others.  Tried that one on this piece, too. He ends each class with a 30-45 minute critique in which he discusses each and every piece.  All his feedback is positive, and he really helps you see what works for each piece.  This really facilitates learning and understanding and improving for the next project.
Finally, a word about Michael himself.  He's classically trained in art and so really knows painting technique and art theory. This makes him different from someone like Tim Holtz who is fantastic but self-taught. More importantly, Michael is a hilarious and generous man.  He takes time to get to know each and every student and works with them at their level (without making them feel stupid). He has great taste in music and comes equipped with a wonderful mix on his ipod. At the end of a class with him, I always feel like he has given a piece of himself to me and that I have grown as an artist.

10 comments:

Amy said...

That sounds like a wonderful class and he sounds like a wonderful teacher! Thank you for another thorough class review, this is one of my favourite features on your blog Rinda :-)

Margi said...

Oh Rinda, this is absolutely stunning and from the look as well as the sound of your review it was a great but challenging class. Love it.

scrappyjacky said...

It sounds like an amazing class,Rinda....and you have ended up with a truly wonderful piece.
P.S. I think details of Shimelle's new class should be going on her site at the end of this week...unless I'm completely imagining it!!!

Karen said...

As soon as I clicked on your blog, I said, "Oh, wow!" I love this project, and like Amy, your class reviews are one of my favorite features here.

Artyjen said...

Wonderful project...looks gorgeous...sounds like you had a fabulous time....I did ponder for a while taking the class he did at Ginnys Small Studio...but on second thought....for someone in the UK it would have been far too expensive when you include the travel etc :(
xoxo Sioux

Sian said...

This sounds like an absolutely amazing class - I am more than a little envious. These kind of opportunities just aren't available here. Your piece is stunning - again, it's another one I would love to see in real life.

Tammy Lee Bradley said...

Wow. I gasped when the page opened. Love the colors, textures. Everything.

humel said...

Fabulous review, wow, sounds like an amazing opportunity! And oh, I *love* your page - I keep scrolling back to look at it again - it's stunning :-)

Ali Manning said...

This is an amazing piece of work and thank you for the thoughtful and thorough review of the class!

stampdiva said...

Hi. I am visiting from GSC, my first visit and what a treat. This piece of art is incredible and inspirational. I want to sit and study all the detail. Lynne M