Friday, August 16, 2013

Sue Benner, Expressive Painting

A look back at a class I took two years ago. 
My summer dye-work has been interrupted by a bad knee (all the supplies are in the basement, two floors down. And the water is in the kitchen, two floors up. Good knees required.) But the t-shirt blanks are waiting for me. Meanwhile, I sort my thermofax screens, collect color swatches, and remember this inspiring class. 
Just coming back into my body after a 5-day workshop at Pro Chemical and Dye in Fall River, with Sue Benner.  Speechless with delight. Five days in a huge workshop, with fourteen talented people, plus all of Pro Chem's power behind us.

The week filled us with energy, ideas, images. Officially, the class  ran from 9 til 4, but they opened the building at 8AM and let us stay until 6. My roommate and I got there when the doors opened and closed the place each day. Such intense joy, to work all day, in an optimized studio, with room, tools, supplies, and good company.  I haven't got any photos yet of my work, but here are some images of other students.

repeat-like freehand design
Students came from around the US and from Canada.  The room was full of energy and curiosity, with Sue a marvelous, generous teacher to lead us.
Sue Benner

 After a half-day of set-up, we began with straight monoprints. The second morning we worked just with black on white. Here is one such piece, with a second layer of painting and a fine mist of color:

I love the sense of depth here

 The range of vision was wonderful to see, from abstract to literal, and from carefully considered to the wildly improvisational.
Flowers! layered print by my wonderful roommate

Wednesday the Pro Chem people set up a big print table for us on the loading dock. Everyone got at least two chances over two days to work large. I snapped up extra hours, even squeezed in a last hour before final cleanup on Friday.
Silk scarf and smiles.
If they'd offered the option, I'd still be there. Instead I'm home, setting up a dye station in each of my work places, rationalizing my supplies, and calling the plumber about a sink in the basement.
sunset on last day.
Here's a piece from this weekend, painted on half a vintage table cloth:
dye painting, vintage linen
Heaps of ideas and energy.