Finding my way

Map1Each year for Christmas, I like to “surprise” myself with art books as gifts. I order the books way ahead of time, wrap them and put them under the tree. I then forget what I ordered and when I open the gift with my name on it on Christmas morning–surprise!

One of my “surprises” this year was Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Mapmaking. I have always loved maps–the lines, the swirls, the shapes, the open invitation to imagine other places. So I love the idea of using the components of maps to make personal art.

The book has exercises in it to get you going on creating these maps. But when I sat down to work on this big piece of paper, using some squeeze bottle craft paints, I had no intention of making a map. However, the notion must have already seeped into my brain because this sure does look like a map.

I don’t think I’m finished with it, so it might not look anything like this when I’m done. I may even tear it up and use it in collages. I just find it fascinating what the brain takes in and what the Muse does with that information.

Showing up to do the work

T-2Happy New Year! Happy new opportunity to create and to tap into the gifts that we have all been given–be it the gift to create art, to dance, to make someone smile, to love.

Coming to the end of a nice winter break, I finally, finally dragged/pushed myself into the studio to try to get done the work I had promised myself that I would be doing every single day of winter break because I would finally have the “time.”

Well, so funny, this “time” business. I seem to have much more of it than I fool myself into thinking that I don’t have. During break I had plenty of time to watch the “Twilight Zone” marathon; plenty of time to watch back-to-back episodes of “Will & Grace” and “Roseanne” reruns; plenty of time to eat too many portions of the potato salad I will spend the rest of winter working off;  but strangely, the “time” to get into the studio was not made.

Procrastination is a bitch. Luckily, I did make time enough to read a great book that showed me this very clearly: The War of Art. I highly recommend this book to any artist. The main point of the book is that we allow so much resistance (in many forms) to stop us from creating and using the talents that we have been given.

The best way to stop it is to just show up and do the work. So, today, that’s what I did. I just showed up at the crafting table, got out a piece of paper, poured some paint on it, and started swirling the paint around. It took great effort to fight off the resistance, the voice saying, “What the hell is this you are painting? It looks like crap!” But I did it. I just worked. No judgement. Just brushes and fingers, painting to the quiet music of the wind blown snow. The result is what you see here above, “Transcending.”

A new year. A new day of just showing up to do the work and letting what happens happen. And then tomorrow.

A playful Saturday

Oh, I’m loving today. I’ve spent the day focusing on being creative–finally. Didn’t have any major errands to run for once in a long time. So I filled the day with sushi making (not too pretty, but delicious), art making (love these papers, but not sure what I will do with them yet, and learning a new routine for Zumba. Now, that’s what I call a Saturday!

New “Hope”

320986_10151192671876650_461804106_nI had a very busy weekend–doing real full-time-job “work” that can’t seem to fit within the regular work day; cooking for the week so that I don’t go insane (well, more insane than I already am) trying to get everything done when I come home from the full-time job; and finally, finally playing with paint in the studio. I always forget how happy that makes me feel. I began with my brushes on paper, but soon tossed them aside and used my fingers to paint a new mixed media piece that I call “The Goddess of Hope.”

Dorchester Open Studios Oct. 20-21

Golden Goddess

I  will be exhibiting my artwork (including this one), handcrafted cards and beaded jewelry at First Parish Church, 10 Parish St., Dorchester, Mass.,  during Dorchester Open Studios, which features more than 140 visual artists at 20 locations throughout Dorchester, Mass.

The event is Sat., Oct. 20, and Sun., Oct 21, noon to 5 p.m. Please come by if you are in the area.

August exhibit

I will be a guest artist at Hope Gallery in Bristol, R.I., for the “Summer in the City” exhibition. The exhibit takes place from August 7 through August 31, 2012. If you live in the area, please stop in and see me at the opening reception on Sunday, August 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. The gallery is located at 435/437 Hope Street in Bristol. (This 8 x 8 mixed media collage on a wood panel with gallery sides is called “Joy.”) Find out more about the gallery here: http://www.hopegalleryfineartfinecraft.com/


			

Painted paper weekend

I was in heaven this weekend because I got to spend hours working in my studio painting paper with acrylics. Here are some of the results. (I owe my friend two new necklaces. I hope she will forgive my creative procrastination.)

CED: Mixed media

The theme for this month’s Creative Every Day Challenge is “mixed media.” Perfect. I love working in mixed media. I enjoy layering mediums and materials in ways  that add complexity and dimension to my artwork. Mixing materials fuels that element of play that inspires me in my art making. I want people who look at my art to feel a need to touch it, to connect with it.

This piece, which I have yet to come up with a title for, is 8 x 10 on canvas. I used acrylic paint and folk art liquid paints over collaged paper rectangles to create it. The key was dropping the brush and using my fingers to play in the paint. That helped to add the texture. This scan doesn’t truly capture the painting, which sparkles in the daylight. I’ll have to take a photo of it to do it justice. Click on the image to get larger view.

Summertime

Can’t help fantasizing about summer already, considering that we really haven’t had much of a New England winter. This mixed media painting, “Summertime,” features acrylic paint and paper collage on a canvas that has an under-painting of something that didn’t work out so well. I’m getting more and more brave in my decisions to painting over paintings that aren’t working. Starting over each time I have to trust that the outcome will be a good one. That’s good practice for life, too.

A month of art

Well, Art Every Day Month is coming to an end. I admit that I’m running out of stem. But it has been great trying to create something each day. I spent most of the month working on my version of Zentangles, which I have enjoyed. The best thing about Art Every Day Month is that is has kept me in the process of creating–whether I was actually making something or not. Staying in that state keeps the ideas flowing. And I’ve been writing them down in my sketchbook for when I have more time to do them. Getting ideas is half the battle, right? So here is a little sample of my month (created using the mosaic maker at bighugelab.com). I’m now taking a little break before my next challenge for Spark, where artists respond to written pieces and writers respond to art.

Thank you, Leah Piken Kolidas for another month of fun and challenge.

Art play date

My art buddy and I enjoyed an art play date this weekend. We attended a two-hour free demo workshop sponsored by Golden paints at the New Art Center in Newton. Artist Adria Arch showed us a large variety of the mediums, gels and paints that the company makes. She opened up a whole new playground to explore. I never knew there were so many possibilities with paints, gels and mediums. I plan to try out many of them to see which ones I like best. One of the best things about the workshop is that we got free samples! I love free! So I rushed home and used all of the items in my little bag on this 9 x 12 mixed media piece that features collage work, glass bead gel, fabric paste and molding paste. I just wanted to see how each one worked. Great play date!

You can find out more about the free demo workshops and locations here. The artist does talk about the company’s products a lot, but there is no hard sell, which would have sent me running screaming from the room. Check it out.