Devaluing the Material - Valuing the Artist by Valerie (Valry) Drake

Have you ever been intimidated by a blank canvas or blank piece of paper? All that pristine whiteness is just looking at you, waiting for the first mark of pencil or brush. Waiting for you to either create beauty or to spoil its pureness.


In most of my beginning classes we have an exercise that I call “devaluing the material – valuing the artist.” We start with construction paper – the kind that children use.  You can get a large package of construction paper for very little cost. And we also have a box of crayons, preferably the mixed up box of broken crayons with the paper gone from some and all jumbled up together.

Each person takes several pieces of paper – maybe a dozen sheets – and moves to the center of the room. Then everyone throws the papers up into the air letting them land on the floor. Then we stomp on them – step and jump and twist and dance and just kick those papers all over the place.

NOW you are ready to start to draw – with your broken crayons. Big, bold lines, soft sweeping arches, delicate shading, energetic sprawls. It is totally up to you. Color in the shoe prints. Or outline the creases and folds and wrinkles. What is important is what you bring to the paper. Make your mark on any paper, with any medium. Be the MASTER of the material. Don’t let it bully you around!





June 4 Update!

Yesterday, I sent follow up letters to the vendors. This gives them information about shipping in skids of art supplies to our Henderson warehouse. This is where we stage all the art supplies that are shipped in by the truck load for the show. The letter also provides information about our merchandise transfer system, hotel information, confirms their space requirements and provides information about advertising in the AOC brochure and Web site. Next on the agenda is firming up the remaining vendors, then sorting out all the artist information that I have been filing on my computer for the past couple of weeks. It’s sort of like doing a Sudoku puzzle. I have a certain number of rooms and times that workshops are taught. I have artists’ wishes as far as time frames and days go. Sometimes I wish I could put all the info into a magic box and the schedule would come out and be perfect! Then I have to think about things like trying to keep the same sort of mediums in each room as well as the same sort of set up, so we can get everything in place between classes, like cleaning up and changing the plastic on the tables and water, etc. So much work and so little time! Just over five months to get it all planned out. Yikes!
Okay, time to get back to planning…
- Sharon DiGiulio



New DVD Release from Wilson Bickford

Wilson Bickford Shallow Falls DVD Cover


I’m happy to announce that Jerry’s has just released my newest Oil Painting Dvd, entitled “SHALLOW FALLS.”

This project utilizes an acrylic basecoat, over which oils are applied. The key to this approach is in letting the dark background show through, which yields a great deal of depth to the rocks and water areas. Tips for rendering foliage are also highlighted.

Wilson Bickford New England Winter DVD Cover

Also, for you budding Watercolorists, be on the look-out for my next instructional DVD, “NEW ENGLAND WINTER,” which will be available in the very near future.  This lesson will focus on many common Watercolor techniques, such as using “paper white,” masking fluid, wet washes and dry-brush texture.

Both videos are presented in a straightforward, step-by-step approach, which is suitable for all skill levels.

Visit www.wilsonbickford.com for more information.



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