Wednesday, September 27, 2017

I Was an Amuse-Bouche (aka a Weekend of Wild Creativity, Vulnerability, and Madcap Connectivity)

Mary Beth Shaw's class

So,  eleven months ago I committed on pure instinct to attending an inaugural event.  I didn't know the name, but I knew it would sell out well before I had time to ruminate on going or not.  Let me namedrop a few names to help you understand why I knew the clock was ticking:  Seth Apter, Traci Bautista, Pam Carriker, and Mary Beth Shaw. Yep, under one roof I thought, but actually it was two.  The participants took over not only our host store space, Ephemera Paducah, but also Paducah School of Art and Design for the  event.  Kristin Williams and her able staff worked with Mary Beth to create an amazing weekend.  Those EP gals must have hit the ground running because every i was dotted and t was crossed to make this a seamless weekend for all of us.  I cannot express how much that attention to detail means to a retreat participant.  Although it is a wonderful weekend full of wild creativity and human connectivity, it also can be draining as you leave your comfort zone for parts unknown.  Having the details handled is one less distraction and frustration. Kudos to all who made StencilGirl & Friends: An Art Journal Affair happen. 

To my delight I was also happy to make this a working event as I was one of four "amuse-bouche" class offerings (my term straight from my unadvertised  Food Network obsession) on Friday for those who were coming in early for the weekend.  Seth, Carolyn Dube, and Kristin also treated the participants to some early creative flow, while I taught my Citrasolv art class, Transformation.  My students quickly adapted to this unusual process and substrate and some fabulous pieces. My video compilation of student work is on Nancy Curry Art on fbk or Instagram. It's glorious.


An opening reception set the tone of abundance, commonality and camaraderie.  Introductions were made, aprons personalized, and oh.....the trades.  People put together the most beautiful packets of ephemera and/or handmade art.  Swag it was, all the way.  Add to that the swag we received from our hosts, and abundance was felt by all.  I am grateful to the companies that helped support this event.

I have only a couple of "out and about" pictures, but I'm so happy to say that the cohesion in this large group was amazing.  I loved being able to meet and socialize with  "virtual" friends.  They rocked my world and I hope we get to return and be together again and again. 


I don't have many working pictures from classes, but the media was in abundance, the demos were great, and I was in full focused art mode. Oh, and chatty mode as new "live" friends, Sherry Canino and Chris Wozniak would attest to. 

Pam Carriker's class

Traci Bautista's class

Seth Apter's class

The classes were challenging and perfect not only for art journaling but also for other destinations. The A squad brought their A game and we learned a lot of insider tips as well as how they approached pages.  That is info that is great to take back to our studios.  They were generous, patient, and so in the moment. Thank you all for choosing the perfect classes to represent who you are as an artist. 

But that's not all........ The dessert to the whole shebang were pop up demos thoughout the evening.  We were treated to demos by Sherry Canino, Glenda Miles, Mary Nasser, Debi Adams and Kiala Givehand.  All came with their unique point of view and personal "go to" techniques. If you haven't been to their sites, do that over some coffee....several cups.


I've never closed down a creative workspace before.
I've never had pepperoni chips before.
I've never botched so many one way streets before.
I never shopped for leggings in a hotel room before. (addendum: and bought)
I've never felt almost instant kinship before. 

I am ever grateful for the reminder that we don't have to give up our artistic voice while exploring new territory.  We all have our own brand of creativity and together our creative voice is so much clearer.  I celebrate all those who were able to make this trip. You left a mark on my heart and also left me wanting more. It is my hope everyone will have this opportunity at least once during his/her artistic journey. 

For more art and sometimes a spotted poodle, you can find links to all my social media here.  

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Play all the Time

Alcohol Ink

My book, Texture Effects for Rubber Stamping, is now thirteen years old this week.  In the art/craft word it would be considered a dinosaur.  We'll take that one step farther and say that I am a dinosaur, too.  I've been traveling, teaching and reinventing myself for over twenty years.  It's hard to believe it's been that long, but it becomes easier when you are contacted by the teen-age daughter of one of your early students.  Molly  found the book in her mother's craft room and proceeded to work through it, but had some questions.  Some of the inks used in it are now gone, but she had scavenged the net to find some. My favorite King James glossy paper was what brought her to me.  I answered her question about what could be substituted and she asked about ten more.  She was totally enthralled with cardmaking and was a little miffed when I said I didn't do it as regularly as I used to.  I enjoyed the back and forth, but especially liked her probing questions because they got me thinking.  She'd mentioned her favorite techniques in the book and what a variety of effects she found she could get and some other interesting discoveries. She said she thought it was still very relevant.  Well, she actually said "on trend,"but I paraphrased that because I've never thought of my art as being trendy.  

I haven't heard from Molly lately, but our conversations got me thinking about how many of those old techniques I'm still using today with different media and different substrates.Whether it's ink or paint application oddities, substrate choice oddities,  or my infatuation with exploiting negative space, I still use over seventy-five per cent of the book's techniques day in and day out.  And yes, I've added quite a few more in the last seventeen years.  I dole them out liberally when I teach, which is not as often as before because of the whole dinosaur thing mentioned above.

CitraSolv & India Ink

What has changed is that I am finally taking my own advice.  During the heyday of my book, I signed quite a few copies.  I signed "Play all the time" on every one of them because I felt the most freedom when I just sat down and played, rather than looking for that "second coming" outcome.  That's how I approached my art for a long time until deadlines started dictating my pace and other commitments came my way.  My studio time became more purposeful and less about the journey.  Beginning last fall I made a concerted effort to leave time to explore new techniques/mediums, immerse in past favorites, and to just "be" in my studio and I'm a lot happier with my output.  I don't blog as frequently but I do a ton of social media uploading, especially on Instagram @nancycurryart.  It's a great world to step into if you haven't.  No politics, opinions, hoopla....just a moment in time photos or videos.  I do use the My Story a lot to show techniques in real time.  I cross post some to both my Facebook accounts so don't think you won't see the art there, too, but I'm consistent with Instagram.  It also take me a while to get my new art on my gallery.  I am doing so many pieces that are color or media studies that I get backlogged really fast.

Alcohol Ink & Oil Marbling
White latex & acrylic pour

I don't know what the next twelve months will hold for me, but I'm sure it will be a combination of new and old.  I'm still fascinated by the unpredictability of acrylic pouring and all the different ways to do it.  It does take a lot of space and time so I doubt I will do it day in and day out, but it will be interspersed with my other offerings. 

I am hoping soon to add resin coatings to my repertoire. That involves a learning curve for technique and safety so we'll see how long it takes this dino. 

I'll continue to work with CitraSolv and varying my choice of media. I love the intuitive challenge that these paper provide.  It's also been my most popular class for the last four years running.  I've got to keep my skill set up.  The piece below I did this summer for a blog entry for Rubbermoon.  I had a blast melding old and new techniques on the one piece.  And yes, the whimsy.  I'm all about the whimsy. 

I hope this catches everyone up on what's going on in my world.  If you're new to my art and want to see where everything is, go here.  All my links are there to social media, Etsy, StencilGirl and Rubbermoon.  Thanks for stopping by. 


CitraSolv & White Ink

Monday, June 05, 2017

Where in the World is Nancy Curry?

I may look like I haven't been too creative of late, but fear not, I'm a visiting blogger on the StencilGirl Talk blog today.  Come and see who I'm crushing on and what I was able to do with just one of her debut stencils.  Here's a sample to whet your whistle:

So what have I been up to since I last posted, you ask?   Pouring, pouring and more pouring. I've immersed in the fluid art process for the last couple of months with a few days off to teach and exhibit in Columbus at another great Artiscape event. Oh, and a trip to Virginia for Easter.  And then there was that longer trip to Bermuda and the East Coast in May.  After each trip I've come back to renew my excitement with something new.  I'm working hard to find my artistic voice and learn the ins and outs of densities, what additives play nicely with each other, etc, but it's mostly my voice that is important to me.  Each pour is an adventure and I'm happy to go along for the ride. Here are a few of my favorites so far: 

Stay tuned for more.  There are many more on all my social media sites (videos, too) that can be reached at or search for  Nancy Curry Art on fbk, IG and YouTube.  My teaching schedule is there as well.  There are a couple of TBDs that aren't on the calendar yet.  Check back for that info later. 

Summer is a great time for artistic play.  Try something new.  Find a different medium to learn.  Immerse in one of these fine books that are out.  I've really been enjoying my stash that includes Jodi Ohl's, Natalie Kalbach's and Cathy Nichols'.  It's  5:00 somewhere...make it count. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Anatomy of a Painting 101

It's been a long time since I blogged.  Life got in the way for about seven months last year so I spent this fall catching up with myself again.  Instead, I've used more immediate ways of communication, fbk live and videos to bring you along on my journeys and give glimpses of my process.  I've spread my wings even more on Instagram.  I love to incorporate my art  digitally and infuse it with words that speak to me.  But those platforms don't always illustrate my artistic uncertainties and decision-making midstream.  I've picked a new painting to talk about it, but first a little backstory. 

Thanks to Jodi Ohl's Zenpainting class that I treated myself to this fall, I've really enjoyed the exposure to working with a predominantly neutral palette.  It is alternately challenging and frustrating because you don't have color to set your tone or mood. These are two of my first   

attempts.  The one on the left was made up of four 6" square panels and is all graphite and neutral Golden High Flows.  The one on the right used the same palette but added Titan Buff.  I really enjoyed exploring Jodi's abstract style, but mine kept peeking through and luckily she is very accepting of my walking off the regular path.  I worked in color next and loved that, too (not included here), and then heading back into my interest in high contrast black and saw how it meshed with more neutrals and bronze. 

My own teaching deadlines hit along with the holidays so I didn't return to painting in mid-January. My biggest mistake was not taking photos of this process because it was wild and woolly just hours into it.  I had started with a cruciform composition without any representational intent in my mind, but midway through I saw the iris in front of me.  The rest took care of itself.  (In fact, I'll show the painting both ways so you know I am not pulling your leg.)

Cruciform skewed left.
Last week I continued my explorations and boldly committed to a large arount of black very early.  That go-getter posturing is both a positive and a negative.  On the positive side, it helps you commit in a direction, but on the negative side, that commitment can limit other choices you'd like to make. Here you see in the left picture, I've broken up the gessobord into two parts and I do have a vertical division as well.  That quickly goes by the wayside in picture two.  Here, also, I have committed to the bold, black statement.  Whatever I do now has to balance out that black so I chose to dominate the white background with the palest of neutral florals.  So you ask, where did those marbles or bubbles or pea pod groupings come from?  I don't have a clue.  Well, I drew them.  How did they relate?  They didn't, but I kept leaving them, hoping I would figure out a way to make it work.  Well, the third picture (ignore the cast from the dreary day) Gessobord.  It is the bomb.   No paint except the Golden Carbon Black High Flow.
shows my solution along with the background work I did up top.  I took as much of the circular objects out as I could with a baby wipe.  Luckily the background at this stage was all stabilo and graphite so leftover staining was minimal. 

 Below, I began reworking the center section that I had decimated.  The center became a populated "zebra" area to support the black and break up the areas that showed the remnants of the removal.  Larger flowers were added to link the original smaller flowers to the larger ones near the top.  Areas were darkened with thin layers of graphite and the beginnings of heavily watered down neutral paint.  The high water content allows for a painterly shading that, when dry, works perfectly for this painting.  I drew branch lines to support the original lines that divided out the blackened background areas, plus they broke up the zebra sections.  White was also added to make the centers pop and in places on the petals. 

Pitt pen was added to define the flowers and areas of black were cleaned up and used to further separate the flowers where needed. 

So midstream this painting was going to have one flower tinted with a quote (I'm saving for another piece so mum's the word on it).  I auditioned (with my sister's guidance) both text and tint and rejected it.  It's strong enough to stand on it's own in person.  Who knows what various computer imaging will do to it.  My point is..... you never know where art will end up.  Be loose enough and brave enough to change midstream if you need to.  You never know where it will end up if you do, but each time you are brave, you'll get more confidence to do it again.  

What's up next for me?????  Well, Artiscape for starters in April.  I have three classes on tap there.  I'm really excited for them and to return there.  It's a fab event.  I'll be at Stampaway in August as well with two classes.  Those haven't been published yet.  Who knows what else!!!! To be decided........  Follow me on IG and Facebook at Nancy Curry Art or if you like poodles, find me also on fbk here.  As always, my regular site has links to it all.  PLAY. ALL. THE. TIME.