Virginia, United States
I guess you could say I was born an artist! My intrinsic artistic abilities appeared around the age of 1½ years old when I began scribbling colorful imagery on my bedroom walls, later carving designs and cryptic messages on my parent’s fine furniture. Over the years, I have continued my artistic endeavors working as a monotype printmaker, painter, mixed media artist, and jewelry maker.

Follow Me by Email

Sunday, October 4, 2020

​"The Lay of the Land” Wabi Sabi Mixed Media Class ©


ONLINE CLASSES:
​"The Lay of the Land” Wabi Sabi Mixed Media "©

Mondays October 12 and 19, 2020 (plus the ongoing private fb page for critiques, etc.)
7 - 9 pm $90.00


Wabi-sabi is a concept that lies at the heart of Japanese culture—an idea that places great value on incompleteness and imperfection.
In this mini class we will explore a very intuitive and unpredictable approach to exploring and re-creating the landscape in a new and fresh way.
Two classes, plus a private facebook group where we can share our outcomes and continue to meet for questions and ongoing sharing. 



Email me at lougael@cox.net for more information.



Materials needed:(Most of these you may have.)
Decorative Papers
Resources
The ART BOX
Spray Acrylic and INKS:
Made by Tsukineko, Maribu, Dylusions, or you can make your own
· The Art Box
· Fine Art Store.com
· Most art supply stores
• liquid matte gel medium (not gloss)
• Substrates- you can use wooden panels, (cradled or not), 140 lb hot press watercolor paper, or other similar papers (I like cutting min in long strips about 4.5” x 32” in case I decide to make it into a book or a long rolling landscape.)
• Black fine-tip pigment pens (IMO, Staples has the best, called Duramark permanent)
• White gesso
• White gel pens
• Sponge brushes and regular old brushes to apply gel medium, inks(paint) and gesso
• Flat palette knife or old credit card
• Rags or paper towels (for cleaning)
• A sheet of plastic to work on (This is messy)
• An aluminum baking sheet, sink, or plastic lined box (about the size of the top of a copy paper box)
• Collage papers in natural tones (natural papers, vintage printed, ephemera, pattern paper, handwritten paper… your choice!)
a cup for water
Optional materials:
• Stabilo All black pencil
• Pan Pastels or Soft /Oil Pastels
• acrylic ink (or colors of your choice)
• Acrylic paint (Titanium white, colors of your choice)
• Photocopied images
• You may decide on other materials that you have on hand.



Sunday, April 12, 2020

Creativity in the Face of COVID 19



IMy Thoughts on Creativity in the Face of COVID 19
Ideas to Fuel Creativity For Everyone (C) by gls 
1. Definition Of Creativity
What is creativity, exactly? The use of imagination or original ideas to create something.
AND
The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.
So at its most basic, creativity is simply the act of creating something that didn't exist before.
Where and how and with what materials you apply creativity is up to you.
It could be anything. There are no limits to the areas where creativity can be used.
2. Follow Your Natural Talents
You can obviously apply your creativity in whatever area or areas you choose, but you'll get the biggest joy if you follow your naturalfnstincts and talents. Having talent in a particular area simply means that it's easier for you to learn the necessary skills than it is for someone whose talents lie in a different area. Start where you feel comfortable!
3. Go With the Grit!
Natural talent will give you a boost, but talent alone won't cut it. Creative endeavors often come with challenges.
You might be intimidated by needing to learn new skills. You might struggle with perfectionism and fear of failure. You might be battling the real-world demands of work and family when trying to find time to pursue your craft. You might get frustrated when your painting doesn't materialize exactly the way you imagined. You might be terrified of releasing your creation out into the world and making yourself vulnerable to rejection.
To overcome these kinds of challenges, you need grit. Grit is a combination of passion and perseverance that enables you to persist in the face of obstacles.
Simply put, you need to love what you do and be too stubborn to quit. This is a big part of being successful. Never give up!
For more on this topic, check out Angela Duckworth's wonderful book
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance .
(This also is reflected in # 5 )
4. Try, Try, Try, and Try Again
One way in which grit will help you is by pushing you to enhance your skills in your area of interest. Regardless of how much innate talent you may or may not have, getting over the beginner anxiety and acquiring new skills and techniques is key. The more skilled you are, the more freedom you have to explore.
Think about someone who has writing talent but never learned the basics of spelling and grammar. Or someone who has artistic talent but never learned how to mix colors.
Everyone has to start somewhere.
Let yourself be a beginner.
Learn from others who went before you. And never let the learning stop.
5. Carry On Through Fear and Failure
Grit will also push you to overcome fear of failure. Fear of failure is a giant obstacle to creativity. It can completely paralyze you and prevent you from creating altogether.
Fear of failure is perpetuated by the fact that we usually only see other people's successes.
We usually only see their final product. We don't see all the years they spent honing their skills. We don't see all the rough sketches and first tries and abandoned starts that happened along the way.
And we usually only see the successful creations. We don?t see the failures. All the painted over canvasses or gessoed over sketch book pages. Even if it's mostly invisible, failure happens to all of us. In order to have a chance of success, you must be willing to risk failure and find ways to work through it.
I always tell my students, "Artist are problem Solvers." Once you embrace failure, there are no limits to what you will dare to try. At that point, what do you really have to loose?Some of my best works have been created from failures. When a problem arises, it forces you to find a solution and ask questions. This is when artistic growth occurs.
My favorite book on this subject is Art And Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. (A must read, actually.)
6. Begin Again, and Again, If Needed
Sometimes you might get an inkling that you are pouring your heart and soul into a project that is headed Nowhere and Fast. But it can be really hard to admit this fact to yourself when you've put countless precious hours into your work of a lifetime.
However, there are times when moving on and letting yourself start over truly is the best thing to do. The more you accept failure as an expected part of the process, the easier it becomes to admit that you have landed on a no-go and the easier it becomes to start fresh.
7. Try Many Things
And while we are on the topic of starting over, let me point out that creativity is not monogamy. You don't need to find the ONE. You don't need to settle on any one given idea or solution or project and stay painfully focused.
As a matter of fact, one of the best ways to boost creativity is to challenge yourself to come up with MANY possible ideas and ways to fix the problems. Challenge yourself to come up with a range of new ways of working. If you typically use a lot of blue, hide it! Challenge yourself to try new color schemes. If you don't draw, do daily contour drawings in a sketchbook, etc. For instance, create the same image in watercolor, collage, and a drawing.
8. Expose Yourself To New Work In Your Medium or Subject Matter, Or Not
To keep trying out new possibilities, your brain needs stimulation. One way to incite creativity is to expose yourself to ideas and work by other artists. I often have my students choose a famous artist's painting and copy it. This doesn't mean that you'll become a copycat. Instead, you can collect ideas from multiple sources and then put them together in a way that's unique to you. Look at how they handled their subject, what mediums, and also take time to look at the Elements and Principles of Art to see how they handled them.
Other artists work can serve as a spark that ignites you to think of a new way in handling your own creative vision. 
9. Expose Yourself To New Environments
There's also something about exposing yourself to a new environment that entices your brain to make new connections.
I've noticed that whenever I go on a trip (short or long), I come back with a plethora of visual images, and photographs to work from. It's pretty much a given that as I make my daily trip to work (about 45 minutes) I will leave early and go down the back roads. I often photograph the early morning landscape with my iPhone.
10. Surround Yourself With Other Creative People (@6feet....with a mask)
And then there are the people who inhabit your environment. You know that cliche about being the average of the five people you spend the most time with?
Enough said. Embrace new discussions, meet new people, join new groups, take a class out of your comfort zone , and try new resources.
11. Take Pause, Relax!
So we have established that your creative brain needs stimulation. This comes from learning new skills and techniques, exposure to other people?s work, and exposure to new environments.
You also need a chance to marinate these ideas. Your brain needs a chance to process and put two and two together. It does this when you are sleeping and when you are relaxing. I often have inspiration come to me when I dream, or when I am driving long distances.
12. Keep Idea Lists
Whenever ideas do come to you, be prepared to capture them.
Ideas have a tendency to show up at random moments when you are busy doing something completely unrelated. You might think you'll remember them later, but you won't. STOP and write them down. Sometimes I even record longer versions of ideas on my cell phone.
I keep lists of random shared websites, artist names, and ideas on my notes section of my iPhone. Sometimes I look at the list and I don't even remember seeing some of the ideas before. But there they are ready and waiting whenever I need them.
A small notebook on your desk, in your car, or by your bedside is another good way to go. I employ all of these! 
1 3 . St e p A w a y
Regardless of where and how you apply creativity, there will be times when you get stuck. When you don't know what to do next.
Sometimes all you need is to create distance between yourself and your work and you will be able to look at it a moment later with fresh eyes from a different perspective.
When I find myself asking questions about What? Where? How? 
One rule my dad taught me always sticks in my head. He said, "If in doubt, DON'T!"
14. Movement
There are times when I literally just need to step away from my studio or easel for 5 minutes. But when that doesn't work, the answer will most often come to me the next morning when I'm gardening, on the elliptical, or when I take a morning walk.
Human beings evolved to be on the move and exercise literally makes our brains work better. 
15. Take Long Showers (or Swim)If the answer doesn't come to me when I distance myself, it will come in the shower when I'm all relaxed and away from distractions.
16. Listen To Music
Try listening to music, all kinds of music. Typically, I try something out of my itunes collection. Sometimes, for me, I get inspiration from a lyric. Just one line from a song can spur a whole series! The songs can also trigger past memories of people, places, and moments, which could easily increase your visual appetite. 
17. Let Your Mind Wander 
(I call this monkey mind.)
Sometimes ideas come to me when I'm letting my mind wander while doing something mindless, like vacuuming, dusting, or cleaning windows.
18. Look At A Different Point Of View
If just stopping when in doubt, you can look for a different perspective by pretending to be someone else. What would the person you admire the most do? What would one of your fellow artists do? How did a famous artist handle the problem? Have you ever seen works similar to you idea?
19. Ask For A Critique
Just ask someone. A friend, an art teacher, another artist,etc. Sometimes another person's fresh perspective is all you need to get inspired again. Sometimes I ask an unknown observer for a different approach.
20. When Is Your Most Creative Time Of Day?
One other way to boost your creativity is to time your creative pursuits so that they match your chronotype.
Are you a morning-person or a night-owl?
I'm a morning person all the way and I noticed my creativity soared when I managed to change my schedule so that I was creating in the mornings as opposed to afternoons or evenings.
So if you can, it really pays to take advantage of the time of day when you are at your most productive and have the least distractions.
2 1 . Ju s t D o I t !
With that being said, optimizing the conditions conducive to creativity is a luxury not a necessity. If you wait for inspiration and the perfect time, you might be waiting forever. The best way to start is to begin right where you are and then keep going!
Simply START creating.
Stay W e l l , St a y Sa f e . 
I hope to see you soon!





Thursday, February 27, 2020

New Classes update! Cold Wax, Mixed Media and More! 2020 All Classes will be rescheduled due to COVID 19

These are the classes I have scheduled for now. I plan on adding more soon. If there is something you would like to take and you do not see it here, let me know!


Adult Classes at The Studio School, Roanoke, VA
Upper Level Towers Mall

Spring 2020
  • Printmaking - Geli-Print 
2 classes, Mondays, March 9, 16, 2019 • 5:30–7:30 p.m. • Geli plates, brayers, card stock, and deli paper provided for use). 

Come learn the basics of Printmaking! Enjoy demos, use the Elements and Principals of Art to create prints, and explore making your own colorful designed monoprints, papers, and more using various provided papers and tools. Gina will show you a variety of ways, and discuss how to display them. Bring your stamps, stencils, etc, for texturing, acrylic paints, and imagination! ALL levels welcome! Contact Gina at Lougael@cox.net if you have questions. 


  • Open Studio Class in Mixed Media and Collage 
4 classes: Mondays, March 23 and 30, April 6 and 13• 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. •(includes some materials)

This Open Studio Class in Mixed Media and Collage is ideal for cultivation your creative side! We will experiment with mixed media collage and a variety of ways and with a variety of materials (Gina will have some to share). Using the subject matter of your choice we will discuss processes, materials, and mediums. We will also look at composition and the Principals and Elements of Art.  The focus is to begin each class with a few demos or exercises to stimulate the creative process, then to continue working to develop your own visual language. Gina is available to give individual input as needed.  ALL levels are welcome! Contact Gina for a short materials list. lougael@cox.net
Summer 2020
  • Cold Wax Alchemy and Open Studio Workshop                                                                                                                           2 Days, Saturday August 8 and Sunday August 9, 2020                                                                                                                                         10:00 a.m. to 4:00 P.M.  Explore the endless possibilities of painting with cold wax and oil! Take an intuitive approach into the many uses of luminous cold wax with oil paint, pastel, mark-making tools, brushes, scrapers and more. Composition, color and contrast will be addressed, along with an exploration of visual elements such as line, shape, pattern, texture, form and depth. We will create original pieces and explore effects possible  with the oil and cold wax medium by using it as a surface treatment to create completed paintings, collages (including copied photos), and incorporate mixed media by adding oil and cold wax with various 'found' tools. All skill levels would benefit from this class, especially beginners. For previous cold wax participants, Gina will offer critiques, and be there to assist in developing your visual journey. *Bring your oil paints,  Arches oil paper, Multimedia board, or recommended 8” x 8”  birch board, gesso board, or clayboard  panels, an old used gift card,  palette paper, wax paper, Wet Ones, and a 12” palette knife or icing spreader. Gina will bring tools to share and several materials for you to try, plus furnish one jar of cold wax. Lunch breaks included. (Needs 4 to make) Email Gina with questions, lougael@gmail.com
Workshops At 310 Art Gallery, Asheville, N.C.
Coming in 2020: Registration open at 
  • CONTEMPORARY SHRINES, IMAGE TRANSFERS AND MIXED MEDIA 
Will Be Rescheduled

No experience necessary. 

Most people immediately connect the word “shrine’ with something either religious or contemplative. For this class, a shrine is a self-contained expression of a single thought or theme. (Family, pet, or even a thought or idea {nature}.)
That’s a pretty broad definition that leaves the door open for a variety of interpretations.
Choose an image of a favorite family member, pet or animal, theme or object and lift them to a place of honor using mixed media and collage. Participants will create a ‘Personal or Contemporary Shrine’ by the end of class. We will first create a textured base using a Wabi-Sabi technique with natural fibered papers and ephemera, adding inks and mediums, and then focus on three types of image transfers of your chosen subject/theme and you will learn methods of placing the image-transferred subject on the panel(s) in a place of honor. Once transferred, you can create an interesting surface and visual frame. Bring your own good contrast laser (toner, not inkjet) copies of your choice of images no larger than 4” x 6’ for the project and some that are no more than 2” wide for practice. You may want to bring two copies of the same image.
Gina will provide the wooden base (6” x 6”), a house and arch shape, some natural fiber papers, acrylic paints, Walnut ink, brushes, Pan Pastels, texturing materials, glue, transfer materials, assorted stencils and stamps and more. 
Optional, but highly recommended: Personalize your work using your own stencils, stamps, milagros, small beads, mosaic pieces, small nails or brads, and collage materials, or small personal objects you may choose to bring. Also bring scissors, paper towels and Wet Ones. 

  • Encaustic Pendants                                                                                                                                                                                            July 14, 2020                                                                                                                                                                                                              10-4 pm
No experience needed.
Fee includes all wax, solder, soldering irons and soldering setups, one chain included, and other items needed!
Participants will create up to four soldered pendants, with the largest being 1” wide and up to 3” long. We will use wax, metal and small inclusions. For a more personal pendant, you may wish to bring such items as dried flowers, small inspirational words, bits of collage/decorative papers, lace, beads, or small flat charms. If you would like, you can enhance small 1” x 1 ½” to 1” x 3” images from your color or B&W laser printer by placing them in with the wax. Learn fantastic skills and have fun in this exciting new class at 310 ART. (Extra materials will be available for purchase should you wish to create more.) Be sure to bring a drink and lunch! 



  • Soul Totem and Shield Making-Taking Encaustic to 3-D 
July 11 and July 12, 2020                                                                                                                                                                                           10-4  pm
Beginners welcome or even if you have prior experience with Encaustic you can enhance your skills. Gina will cover safety and basics of Encaustics as needed. 
A totem is considered something such as and animal or plant that s the symbol for a family, tribe, etc. especially among the Native Americans. In America today, a totem can be a carved or painted form, person; it could be a realistic or abstract idea. 

In this workshop we will dive right in exploring the sculptural possibilities of plaster cloth, wax and encaustic making a totem and shield which best represents your personal idea or creative desire.  Rigid and absorbent when dry, plaster cloth makes a wonderful support for dimensional encaustic work. Once the form is created, we will apply Encaustic medium and fuse it to the sculptural composition using a variety of techniques. In the class, we will have a 12” disc and 12” rectangular shape to use as a base for the plaster cloth.  As the structures near completion, you will learn how to add found or small personal objects into the sculptures to create your ‘totem’ and discuss ways to finish and display your totem. As we create, we will contemplate our forms and their meanings to us personally, or you can choose to go abstract. Gina will bring the two forms, plaster cloth, decorative papers, Encaustic Medium and pigments, oil sticks, oil pastels, and tools. 
Bring your own fodder such as decorative papers, ephemera, small rusty nails, thin fabrics, found objects, thin wire, organic matter, buttons, etc. Bring paper towels, Wet Ones, and Scissors. 
​​

AT The Art Box, in Lynchburg
  • Coming Soon:     Contact Gina for more info!                                                                                                                                                       Encaustic Monotype                                                                                                                                                                                              4  5 day Encaustic Emersion for ALL Levels (These new to the medium are welcome as Gina will cover the basics.)
Some of the other classes I teach are:

  • Making Altered and Handmade Books 

  • Cold Wax Alchemy

  • Soldered Silver or Encaustic Pendants

  • Encaustic, Beginning and Advanced, and  Encaustic Printmaking

  • Art Critiques and Individual Study (Private Lessons for adults and children individually or groups.)

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Time Flies Encaustic, Wabi-Sabi Bookmaking, 3-D Encaustic Works, Cold Wax and Oil

What a busy summer...leading right into fall.
I have been astounded by all the wonderful classes, creative visions, and most of all new friendships.
My heart is full, yet I need time now to rejuvenate.

Feeling the need to work in new directions. Hoping the coming winter months provide me with
time to reflect and experiment in new ways. Time to look at developing new classes, and time to take some classes and travel.

It is also a time to purge. Time to evaluate older works and perhaps give them new homes, or a new life by working over them. I am looking forward to fall and winter in preparation for a new spring.

Here are a few highlights of the year.














Thursday, June 20, 2019

Asheville! 310 Art!

I just got back from a week in Asheville. I spent three glorious days teaching at 310 Art.
This year was my seventh year going to 310. I have been very fortunate to have made new friends and met so many creative souls.

This year was the first year for the Contemporary Shrine class with image transfers. WOW, such powerful stories at the end. A special thank you for sharing your story!

Here are a few of the images. I will add more soon.
In the meantime, I am planning a third NEW class.....Stay tuned for Spring 2020!
My heart is full!















Sunday, May 5, 2019

Melting Point: Contemporary Encaustic Works 2019

Melting Point: Contemporary Encaustic Works

SARAH B. SMITH GALLERY

Encaustic, the ancient art that dates back to the Greeks and uses hot pigmented beeswax, has made a resurgence in the art world after a quiet 3,000 year hiatus.  This exhibit is a curated selection of artists from the mid-Atlantic who all use encaustic in their work in dynamic ways.
Even with a shared interest in this unique medium, the work itself has a wide range of approaches: from organic to geometric to the narrative and sculptural.  
Participating Artists:

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Sunday, October 28, 2018

New Works

Ah, I have been teaching and painting and trying to balance life in all areas....So fortunate for studio time....here is one of my latest cold wax pieces. 



This month I have had the pleasure of meeting several new folks in my classes! what a delight to see the creativity flow. when a person comes in and tells me they have never had an art class and then they leave with not one, but several pieces of work they (and I) adore, it makes my day complete. 

In the world today, I feel we just need more outlets for creative expression. All of us...in some form need, art, music, or dance....we need it. It's hearing, it makes the world stop for a while, and we feel refreshed....at least I know I do. 

If you are ready for a class, I am teaching this coming weekend in Lynchburg at the Art Box,
if you are interested, use the contact form above or contact the Art Bx, Lynchburg. Also, you can check out the new winter listings for the Studio School. I have several classes for the beginner and advanced student alike. 

Enjoy the fall.....
Happy creating!