Today’s act for Art Every Day Month was putting up the Christmas trees and lights. This one is in my art studio, which is all glass—floor to ceiling. It is the most beautiful place in the world to create art because I have a view. It also means I AM the view for my neighbors who get to see me in my pajamas—a lot. Oh, well. As I put up the lights on the deck railing, I focused on being mindful and deliberate in enjoying the fact that my life is really peaceful right now and full of good things. I enjoyed the sensation of the wind whipping through my hair, the sound of children playing in the distance, the barking dogs, the setting sun tinging everything in tangerine, my large backyard reminding me that I live in great home—a home that runs amok as I focus on art–but great, nonetheless. Plenty to be joyful about. As I enter this season in which every TV commercial tries to convince me of all the things I should want, I want to hold onto the fact that I already have all that I need. Ana had a nice posting on her Expressive World blog today about being grateful.
I began reworking this painting at the beginning of the Art Every Day Challenge Month and committed to spending a month working on a painting, which I never do. I finally finished this. Well, I’ve decided to stop working on it. It is difficult to know when to stop sometimes. But I think I have resolved the things that I didn’t like about the original, including the color choices. The figure of the woman that was in the original and the circular motion of the the original are still here, but there is more energy to this version and more confidence in the presentation. I am pleased with the result. I am also pleased with the process of making this. I learned a lot by waiting, watching and wondering as I worked on this, not rushing through it. Part of making art is knowing when to NOT do anything and let the work speak to you and lead you in the right direction. I still need a title. Suggestions are welcomed. Tell me what you see. Here is the work from beginning to end:
I’m taking a moment from cooking Thanksgiving dinner to reflect on some of the things that I’m thankful for. I am thankful for: my family, a husband who loves me and tells me that I’m beautiful even when I’m wearing the comfy stretchy pants that have passed their prime, a 10-year-old son who brings me joy and is a constant reminder of how life is supposed to be lived, for the talent that has been given to me, for an amazingly wonderful job that allows me to use all of my skills and to be myself, for an unbelievably great boss, for all the things I take for granted like sight, hearing, a healthy body, food, a safe home, freedom. There is so much more. But that’s good for now.
This is a very relaxing Thanksgiving because it is just me, my son and husband, which allows me to not go crazy trying for the perfection I feel I need to achieve when guests are involved. I’m just staying present, enjoying the moments and adding special touches like flowers just for us. Normally, I don’t buy flowers when it is just the three of us. But why not? Why shouldn’t we treat ourselves as special as we treat guests? Setting and artsy table is my art for today’s Art Every Day Month entry. Having no pressure has made it so much fun to cook the traditional dishes that remind me of my Alabama upbringing—collard greens (minus the hamhock, using turkey bacon instead), cornbread stuffing with smoked oysters and potato salad (it’s a Southern thang, yal). I’ve even gotten smart about making the potato salad. I make the best potato salad in the universe, but I have learned that the local supermarket makes it just as well, and it tastes even more delicious because I didn’t have to make it.
Happy Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for?
I was sorry to hear about the recent passing of Leah’s grandmother. Leah is the creator of Art Every Day Month. Even in grief she allowed her Muse to speak and lead her to make a beautiful piece of art honoring her grandmother. I admire her ability to keep herself open and pour her emotions onto the page. So I was inspired to create this piece in honor of Leah. Condolences on your loss. Thank you for giving artists a place to express themselves.
I’ve had a busy weekend so I fit art in where I could for the Art Every Day Month Challenge. I mostly took my sketchbook with me and did drawings at my son’s basketball practice and basketball game. It’s funny how hard it is to concentrate with the sound of a bouncing ball constantly going. I let it be my soundtrack as I emptied my thoughts and tried to let images come to me. These are two of the sketches. The first one began as scribbles on the page as I just moved the pencil around waiting for ideas to come. What finally showed up was this figure bending over backwards and the words “overwhelmed but hanging on.” Likely that’s what I was feeling that day. The second one is the result of focusing on some doubts about certain things and then imaging what “doubt” would look like if I drew it. The concept showed up as a question mark, which ended up in a circle of patterns rippling out. Looks like doubt to me. In the spirit of artistic play, I fooled around with my scanner to see what particular buttons would do to these sketches. That’s why these look the way they do. I think I used a sketch/crayon button or something. I have a lot to learn about using this scanner for artistic purposes. But this is a start.
Time crunch again tonight. I only managed to make three new greeting cards for Art Every Day Month. I’ll take them with me to the holiday craft fair I have coming up in December. I haven’t worked on my “Lady-In-Waiting” painting because I feel that I need more time to spend on it than a few minutes. Either that or I’m scared that I’ll screw it up so I’m avoiding it again. Hope not. No, no. It’s the time crunch. I’m pretty sure.
Tonight the Muse is in control. I sat down with some paper to quickly play with paint because I didn’t feel that I had much time to do any art. I needed to fit so much into my evening–the usual cooking, homework, dishes, blah, blah. But I’m finding that quick bursts of inspiration are working in my favor. The lack of time eliminates time to think, so I just “do.” This painted paper has been in my art cabinet for a year. I used part of it last year for my greeting cards. I took it out to see whether it would be a good backdrop for the small work (see below), featuring my ladies that I created last night. And suddenly I began to see the swirls of color in a new way. I began to see figures floating and flying around so I decided to bring them out. This is what I ended up with (I had to scan it in two pieces, but it is on one piece of paper). It is really different from my tightly controlled work. I think this piece is about angels fighting off death. Not sure. It likely is not resolved yet, but it feels good to do something that is a little freer.
Tonight I was too tired to spend too much time on art. I’m trying to fit exercise into my already busy evening. So I did my Zumba dance DVD. Perhaps that is what inspired the accidental dancer that I ended up creating on this little piece of scrap paper (5 1/2 inches by 6 3/4 inches). First I spread blue and green tones on the paper then added orange and ended up with a muddy color, oops. I kept going, sweeping and layering colors until this dancer emerged on the very edge of the paper. The sweep of her arms inspired sweeps of yellow. And I added the swirly pattern because I love pattern. When I look at her now she looks like a wave in the ocean that has reached up to play in the sunset. Cool. I’m loving Art Every Day Month and the surprises I’m encountering.
This has been a very busy weekend. I had the holiday fair in which I sold cards and jewelry. There were lots of people there, but they seemed to be looking more than buying. At one point after a couple of hours had gone by with no sales I actually wondered whether this would be the first time that I had absolutely no sales. I would have been very sad. As always it was not about the money but about the fact that when people choose my work I feel validated as an artist. Call me crazy. Thank goodness one of my good friends showed up and bought several necklaces. She has always been so supportive, and I really appreciate it. That seemed to get the ball rolling. I sold several greeting cards after that and got lots of compliments about my work. Mission accomplished.
I also spent today driving for three hours round-trip to pick up a painting that I had entered into an exhibition. I hated what I entered because I tried to fit my work into a category that really wasn’t me. The work doesn’t look anything like anything I’ve ever done. It definitely shows when I’m not being genuine as an artist. I learned that while working on this piece. I was so anxious to get it back because I can’t wait to paint completely over it and give it new life. I’ll share the results once I start.
And finally after cleaning up the house a bit I settled down to work on the angels piece again. I deepened some of the shadows to distinguish the ladies more and added some of the colors that I love–orange, red, yellow. I’m loving it now. I think I’ll leave it alone. Done.
Tonight I would continued to experiment with the painted paper I made and cut up for handmade cards. With the remaining piece I decided to work on a painting of a sketch I’ve had for a couple of weeks. The drawing is of ladies in long gowns holding hands. I tend to dress my ladies in long gowns in my artwork. There is an elegance and otherworldliness about the garb that appeals to me. It’s the influence of visiting Senegal and loving the colorful, flowing African fabric. The paint was hard to control on the paper so I ended up pouring paint over everything and smearing it around just to see what would happen. I don’t think I like the result. But we will see. I’ll wait a bit and come back to it. (The photo was taken at night on my craft table. The quality isn’t really that great, but you can get a sense of it.)
I did make two more cards that I love. They will be added to the boxes and boxes of cards I’ll take with me to sell at the Holiday Fair on Saturday in Dorchester, Mass. Wish me luck. I always get nervous about these fairs. Will my work sell this time? Will people like it? Will it be a waste of time?