Jacqueline Sullivan's Studio Letter
The Moving Into the New Year Edition
February 2014
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The Cincinnati Art Museum in Winter
I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.
J. B. Priestly
author, 1894-1984

The Moving Into The New Year Edition
February 2014
Jacqueline Sullivan's Studio Letter

Dear Fellow Artists & Friends.......
Moving – an extraordinary, stressful, joyful, exciting, annoying adventure. What can I say? There are so many emotions around changing my house, my city, my total environment, including giving up my very nice, very large studio working area.

Mostly, I am trying hard to treat it as an adventure. I chose to leave the Metro Detroit area for many reasons, the biggest being, to be closer to my family. So, I have moved back to my hometown ~ Cincinnati, Ohio. I have down sized because it’s just me now. It’s a lovely town home with a garden area, a deck, some trees. It has an extra bedroom with a private bath for visiting artists and out of town family. And, of course, it has a studio.
With help from my brother and other family members, the studio is now mostly together. I like to treat my studio like a kitchen ~ everything must have a place. And those places should have some logic to them. So there are places for metal stuff, fiber stuff, paints and lettering tools. When I buy something, I choose a place for it, make a label and that is where it goes. This level of organization has evolved with my teaching career. I really hate taking time to hunt for stuff. And if I have to hunt for something that I need for a class, it takes me that much longer to pack for a class, which is that much more time away from my personal creative practice.
Any change in my creative environment has almost always resulted in a creative dry spell. I’m trying to avoid that this time. Once the boxes were unpacked I sat down and “played” with deli paper and acrylics. My plan is to get down there (it’s a basement studio) every day and minimally do some work in my art journals. The journal is one of what I call my “transitional practices”. These are things I do to invite the creative muse to come and play. Another practice is my card making. Just collaging these small pieces of paper together will start the ideas flowing and soon I will be grabbing a larger canvas and getting to work.
I also practice “smudging”.  This is the Native American practice of burning sage to bless a space. The sense of smell is a powerful one and by making this a repeated ritual in my creative practice transports me to a creative mindset.
I will keep you posted on how the new space is developing. I am still working on getting good lighting and a water source within the space, but for now, I am grateful to have the boxes unpacked and the surfaces on which to work!
~ Jacqueline

In This Issue.......
  • Jacqueline's Golden Artist adventure in NOLA
  • On waking up a painting
  • 2014 complete workshop calendar
  • Using reference photos for painting
  • Spring Retreat Events: Art is.... You & Artiscape
  • A Valentine to make
  • Something new on the web: The Getty Virtual Library
  • Jacqueline's DVDs

Reach out to Jacqueline for Studio Letter comments + suggestions, query on studio practices and techniques or to arrange a workshop booking @

Looking for past Studio Letters ? Link to our archive of Letters
Last year, I was one of 18 artists chosen by Golden Paints to become a Golden Certified Artist Educator. The Certified Artist Educator Program is a new program with Golden and is different from their ongoing Working Artist Program. The certification means that we have been trained by Golden to use their products. We will also receive updates on new products and Golden will provide us with some product to use in our workshops. It also means that my workshops can be listed on Golden’s website under artist's workshops and gives me access to a private facebook page where both certified educators and working artists from around the world share their work and techniques.
In October,  I went to New Orleans and spent a week with my fellow 18 educators where we studied with teacher extraordinaire, Patti Brady [Patti's website] The room was filled with Golden Product ~ we were in heaven! And we tried everything! My favorites were using the Golden Open Acrylics on the new Gelli Plates and making monoprints. I also LOVED lettering with the new High Flow Acrylics. I am designing classes around both of these products. I learned several new ways to use Micaceous Iron Oxide and Fiber Paste. I knew about these products but had not played with them much. I have some exciting ideas and now that my studio is complete I can go try them out!
We were treated like royalty by Golden, staying in the beautiful Hotel Mazaron in the French Quarter and having dinner in some of the finest restaurants. There was much camaraderie with my classmates and the exchange of ideas and info over lunch, dinner and drinks was almost as valuable as the info we learned from Golden.
What an experience ! Thank you, Patti Brady, Pat Pirrone and all of the Golden Company. And I cannot wait to share all that I learned with my students in our classes and workshops this year!

image: New Orleans French Quarter building
On Waking Up a Painting
This image illustrates one of my color points, which is, when you are creating a focal point, you can cross the color wheel, to accent a small area. This literally  "wakes up” the painting.

Every painting, design, composition should have a “focal point”.  To find the sweet spots on your composition for the focal point, divide your picture plane into thirds in both directions. The spots where the lines cross are the “sweet spots”. This is based on the rule of thirds. The Golden Mean rule is so prevalent in nature and even in our own bodies that makes us used to seeing it and things “feel right" when they follow that rule.
The focal point is the area where the viewer’s eye is first drawn ~ it is generally the area of the highest contrast. This contrast can be in color, in tone, or in texture.
In the case of this little piece, the contrast is in color. I have “crossed over” the center of the color wheel, from green to red, to create the focal point. One must be careful when using color this way. If you blend it, you will get mud. These are complementary colors because they complete each other and make gray, or in painting terms – they make mud.

To be safe, I often recommend to students that they use a dry media, such as PanPastels to add the complementary accent.  Also, as in the small piece above, I like to add “hints” of the color in other areas. This adds unity to the painting ~ another design principle.
Jacqueline's 2014 current workshop schedule
posted @
Reference Photos ........
In my online class “Discovering the Magic of Acrylics” students work from reference photos. In the old days I had files and files of reference photos from which to paint. People saved their old calendars for me and I hunted for old issues of National Geographic at library and garage sales. It is so much easier now. A simple search of Google images will bring up almost anything that you can imagine. Better yet, to ensure that the painting is entirely your own, just shoot something with your digital camera.

 Here are some hints for using reference photos:
  1. Be sure that your photo is a good composition. There should be a focal point and some suggestion of movement ~  to move the viewer’s eye through the composition.
  2. Be aware of the background and foreground. They need to be interesting as well. You can always make it up but it is helpful to have some information as a starting point.
  3. Make sure that your photo has tonality.. You need dark, light, and medium tones to make your painting interesting.
  4. Consider putting your reference photo into a photo program and increase the contrast. This helps to see edges and can assist in seeing light, dark and medium tones.
  5. Also in a photo program, you can change the photo to a black and white photo. Studying this photo can help to understand where the dark, light and medium tones are located.
  6. Do not “work the painting” by starting with the focal point and then painting the background and foreground. It is important to work the entire painting at the same time so that the finished work has a unified feeling.
A sample of a good reference photo is my shot of the "red hot pokers" in one of the lovely campus gardens at Pacific University in Oregon. It has a well-defined light source and the largest orange flower can easily be placed in the "sweet spot" of the composition. The background can be handled with a few textural strokes There are very strong darks and lights. 

image: Jacqueline's photo shot June 2013 on campus of Pacific University, Forest Grove Oregon during workshop; flowers are Kniphofia "red hot pokers"
Spring Retreat Events I am so happy to have been chosen as a teaching artist for these two outstanding events this Spring. I have taught at many retreat events over the years but these two are a bit different.
At Artiscape, March 6 – 9, I will be teaching 4 classes and will also be doing a demo on Friday evening. Artiscape is smaller than other artist events you may have attended and that makes it all the more special. Your weekend pass buys admission to several events as well. Lisa Ohmer, the owner or European Papers and retreat director always makes sure that there is scrumptious food at every event. Friday evening is a fun shopping event and at Artiscape, it isn’t just about shopping. There are several of us who will be sharing our newest techniques at the free artist demos.
On Saturday night there is a dinner and Irish Ball and on Sunday, a tea, where people share their art! Every event is very well planned and great fun. It is all this and Art and creativity as well! I am so happy to be returning to Dublin, Ohio for this event.
Art is You ~ Dixie is held in Olive Branch, Mississippi April 27 – May 4. This is my first time teaching here and I will have two classes. Olive Branch is an old southern town right on the border of Tennessee and just 30 minutes south of Memphis.
The warmth of this event just oozes through in all that they do. It starts with the invite on their website to “Join our family”. There are lots of classes and events in this all-inclusive event. The website says "It doesn’t matter if you come for one day or seven, everyone receives a bag, tag and daily treats. We receive wonderful donations and gifts from faculty, vendors and suppliers. It is a joy to share them with all our attendees.”  Doesn’t this sound great?
And then there is their generosity!  Art is.... You created The Generosity Project in 2006 and their retreats have aided many charitable organizations. These include A Coloring Book designed by participants. Proceeds from the sale of these wondrous books go to several children’s charities. There is also the “Journal for Heroes” project. You can design or make a journal and donate it. Donated journals will be sent to members of our military deploying or currently on a mission. And there is a scholarship program to help people attend the event!
See why I am excited to be part of the Art is.... You family ?  I have not even mentioned the great line up of artists who are teaching at these events. Be sure to check both out. I hope to see you there!
Happy Valentine's Day
make heart art to send to your valentines !

It's not too late to make a few valentines for those special people in your life ~ here are step-by-step directions to a pretty heart card and a diagram to help you make the pop up card.

The Getty Virtual Library link
The Getty Virtual Library is a free virtual library of over 250 items for reading on-line or download as a  pdf; books, documents, research reports all available covering art, antiquities, architecture and conservation.
Materials are made available form the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Conservation Institute and the Getty Research Institute. Search function available or just browse thru the thumbnails of the beautiful cover images and graphics to pique your interest on a cold winter afternoon.


Jacqueline's Video Art Workshops

Go For The Gesso - Jacqueline's 4th and newest video workshop is a 1 hour DVD providing instruction in a variety of gesso techniques incorporating acrylic paints, pan pastels and stamping techniques to create beautiful color - layers and texture. The DVD is $27 and includes S+H for US addresses [international mailing quoted by country]. See Jacqueline's blog for ordering information, supplementary materials which accompany the DVD and a special offer for the holidays ! Or contact Jacqueline directly to order now.

Simple Metal Etching -  Jacqueline's 3rd video art workshop teaches 3 different methods for creating a resist on copper and brass. The DVD is $20 and includes supplementary materials which are emailed to you. S+H is FREE for US addresses. International addresses quoted by country. Additional information on Jacqueline's blog. DVD may also be ordered by email.

Mixed Media Textural Collage - See Jacqueline's blog post [Nov 13, 2012] for complete details on the DVD's content and ordering. $20 includes supplementary materials. S+H FREE for US addresses.
International addresses quoted by country.  DVD may also be ordered by email.

Acrylics, Textures, Layers, Metalics -Jacqueline's very popular class continues to be available from CCP - see Jacqueline's web page for a link to CCP for ordering and to view a preview of the video workshop

Ordering is easiest via PayPal for both US and international addresses - new to PayPal ?? see Jacqueline's blog post for step by step how-to or email us and we'll send the info directly to you.

image: Jacqueline Sullivan, brass metal etching with rubber stamp, 2008

Small Custom Workshops for 2014…...   have you ever thought about arranging a personal art workshop with Jacqueline ? Do you have 4-5 [or more] friends who would be interested in a workshop experience with a professional artist and sought after teacher ? Jacqueline would be delighted to help you organize such a gathering in your own studio, a local community room or even your dining room table ! Contact Jacqueline to chat up your ideas and discuss logistics. Who knows what muse this might let loose in the new year ?
The Cincinnati Art Museum
is one of the oldest art museums in the US and was founded in 1881. It is located in Eden Park in a beautiful old Romanesque Revival building. There are 80,000 pieces of art in its permanent collection spanning 6000 years of human history. The CAM hosts many national and international exhibits ~ learn more about this national treasure here.

image: interior exhibit hall ~ The Great Hall. Genius of Water bronze statue from Cincinnati's Tyler Davidson Fountain in Fountain Square

Jacqueline Sullivan, 2013, Acrylic Mixed Media. 24" x 24" piece textures added with  stenciled and stamped light molding paste, aluminum foil, cheesecloth and tissue paper. Some pan pastels used in final colors
Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.
Gilda Radner, actor, author, comedian, 1946-1989
in It's Always Something

Jacqueline Designs, Inc

A Studio Letter  February 2014
Vol. 2  #9
Written & Published By:
Jacqueline Sullivan  &  Chris Wachsmuth
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