For ten years I have been creating what I call STORY PAINTINGS. These original and commissioned paintings incorporate prints of old photographs and tell a visual story that honors the person being remembered. Many of these paintings are destined to become family heirlooms, allowing one small story of someone we love to be carried forward through the generations.
Now I want to teach others how to make their own paintings. Both the process and the results can be healing. Art has always helped me move through my own grief. I have found it very powerful to express myself through art, and to create something tangible to honor whomever it is I am missing. This includes my father, my brother, and even beloved cats.
I am launching the first of my HEART ART WORKSHOPS in 2013 here in my home/studio in Easthampton, MA. I am especially interested in guiding non-painters through this process, with complete confidence that they can create art that will amaze them. At the end of the class sessions, each participant will walk out the door with a completed painting, and all the knowledge (and some of the materials) they will need to make more should they choose to do so.
Please contact me at dawnsiebel.com with any questions, or call me at 413.203.1172. I am also open to customizing the class curriculum to work with a pre-organized group, such as a bereavement support group, or a small club. There is a limit to class size so that I have time to give personal attention to everyone.
I would be honored to have you join me.
Day One, Friday: Meeting, Sharing & Discussing the Process
We will meet first on a Friday evening, share a simple pizza and salad dinner and discuss the process. Each participant will share the photographs they have brought and tell a few stories about the person they wish to paint. During this process I will help each student begin to visualize their painting. Some students will come with a clear idea of what they want to paint; others won’t have it defined yet. Either way is fine.
Day Two, Saturday: Composing Your Painting
The first Saturday we will focus on how to put together the composition of your painting to tell the story you want to tell about your beloved. With my help you will determine the setting. It may be the exact setting of the background of your photo – or it might be something completely different. Are there other people you wish to include in the painting? Do we need to find other reference images to help you with your painting? What is the story you want to tell? I will scan and print your photo onto archival paper after you have determined the overall composition and we know the actual size that is needed.
Day Three, Sunday: Beginning Your Painting
By the end of the first Sunday your photos will be glued and sealed to your canvas board, and you may have already begun painting. You may take your painting home with you to work on through the next week, but that is not necessary and I would prefer to be able to guide you through the process, especially if you are a novice painter.
Until we meet again, your homework is to begin writing your story. We will have discussed your story during the first weekend so you will have a place to start. Remember, it should be short – definitely no longer than one page. Please email me a draft of your story before the next weekend so I can give you feedback.
Day Four, Saturday: Painting
This second Saturday will be spent painting. We will also share the drafts of our stories with each other and make any final edits if they are needed.
Day Five, Sunday: Finishing
On this final Sunday you will finish your painting. Your story will be printed out and attached to the back. All the supplies are yours to take home and keep.
FUTURE DREAMS FOR HEART ART RETREATS
My longer term dream is to create a 5-dayworkshop class that I can teach at retreat centers around the country over the years to come. My partner in this would be my friend Vanessa whom I have known since we waited tables together in Greenwich Village in our 20s. (A long long time ago.) Vanessa found her calling years ago when she got her MSW and began working with cancer patients and their families. Our Heart Art retreat would be a 5-day bereavement art workshop where I can lead participants through making their own Heart Art and Vanessa can complement the art-making with other therapeutic tools.