Sketchbook Sunday: Gel pen flowers

My wonderful art buddy gave me a gaint pack of gel pens as a birthday gift. Feels just as exciting as receiving diamonds. I love art supplies! So I played with them this morning, getting ready for my Painting Flowers in Mixed Media class that starts this week at the Attleboro Arts Museum. Feeling happy and blessed.

Art workshop projects

What a weekend!

It was filled with art-brainstorming and art making. On Saturday, my art buddy and I went into Boston to a salvage store that has great items and inspiration for art projects. I’m blessed to have a friend who gets just as excited as I do imagining what we can do with the most mundane objects. No scrape of cloth, paper or metal is safe from our imaginations.

I spent today in the studio whipping through ideas for art projects. I’ve been given the opportunity to facilitate art workshops–for the first time ever. This is all new to me and came out of the blue, but it feels like I’ve been waiting for exactly this for a long time. I have always wanted the opportunity to do something truly meaningful with art.

I don’t have it all worked out yet, but I’m leaping and trusting that just the right ideas will come to me. I’m trying to design workshops for adults who don’t consider themselves “artist” (of course, we are all artists, aren’t we, in one way or another?). The projects need to be crafty, easy to do but not childish, interesting to both men and women.

These are challenging guidelines, but I feel so alive just thinking about all of this.  I love the rush of trying out these new projects! Can’t wait to share them with others.

I’m open to ideas. Please feel free to share anytime. And I’d be happy to share how I did the projects you see here. Speaking of sharing, a big thank you to a fellow artist who donated her fabric scraps to me. I used them to create the flowers on mat board that you see here.  Thanks, Molly. She’s a very talented fabric artist. Check out her blog.

Welcome, fall

As I took an afternoon walk this weekend in the cooler air, it was such a pleasure to see the beautiful changing leaves of fall. And as I thought about fall, my mind began to wander, and I began to think about trees (the theme for October’s Creative Every Day Challenge) and how they let go of their leaves as the seasons change. That led me to think about how we all need to let go of things and let things that hold us back from change fall away. This image came to mind, so I created this in my sketchbook. It’s called “Falling.”

Constant change

The theme for September’s Creative Every Day Challenge is “time.” This piece,  “Constant/Change” (colored pencil on paper),  was inspired by the theme. I created it as I thought about the change of seasons as time goes by.

Living, drawing, honoring

Weekends slip by so quickly. And this one was no different. I saw “The Amazing Spiderman” with my 13-year-old son–13, still hard to say that. I like going to the movies with him. It’s the only time he allows me within his protective-bubble-personal space for long periods of time, now that he’s a teenager (of which he reminds me often).

I worked on some projects that I’ve long procrastinated over—finally created the necklaces that my friend has been waiting for. Hope she likes them. And I shortened a necklace for a client. It’s so nice to cross promised projects off my list.

I found time to do a quick pencil sketch (above). I may totally change this with some collage work. I haven’t decided yet. Well, I know the hands–my weakness–still need work. So I’ll have to revisit this one again.

I also made another necklace (below). The necklace is in honor of an in-law who died far too soon–although I think that could be said of any age when someone dies. I only spent time with her on two occasions because she lived in Africa. She only spoke the native language and French, and I only speak English, but each time she communicated well–though she was very shy–in smiles and laughter.

As I created this necklace, which is made from beads (stones) sent as a gift to me from her mother  directly from Africa, I thought of her and tried to reflect my vision of her as I designed—her earthiness, the beauty of her nature, the lasting impression she made with a will as strong as stone and a personality imbued with soft shades of loveliness that always managed to radiate the brightest joy.  The last two beads at the end of the necklace are two black beads–a reminder that everything comes to an end, fades to black. The toggle that closes the necklace is a flower–a reminder that more beauty awaits us in the afterlife. Rest, Dear One.

My artist statement in the making

This week I took another major step forward in creating and revising my artist statement, with the help of other artists at Part 2 of the Artistic Cartel Meetup sponsored by the Artful Phoenix in North Attleboro, Mass.

Recently, it became even more clear how important a good artist statement is. I applied to get into a juried show and was rejected. When I got the general generic email about why my artwork didn’t make it, I emailed back asking for specifics. The exhibit’s coordinator told me that in addition to looking at the quality of the work and how well all the entries come together as a cohesive exhibit, jurors rely on the artist statement to truly comprehend what an artist is doing. The statement can make or break you when it comes to getting into a show, the person said.

Wow. Scary, huh?

I don’t know whether I’m done with my statement, but at least I feel that it is in better shape than the one I had before and better than the one I sent with my entry form for the show that rejected my work.

My struggle has been trying to nail down what I’m doing as an artist. If I had my choice I would just say something like–“I do what I want, when I want, depending on how I feel that day—kind of like a chef walking into a market, seeing what looks good that day and then deciding what she will cook.” But I don’t think that would do. So, here is what I have now as a statement. I would love your thoughts and feedback. What do you think?

ARTIST STATEMENT

I am driven by an unrelenting curiosity and a desire to play with a variety of mark-making materials and concepts revolving around the spirit of women. These givers of life are beautiful, powerful and mysterious beings, who deserve to be honored and explored in every medium possible.

As I create art, I leave open my journey, allowing myself to receive what comes to head, heart and hand. My aim is to immerse myself in the process of creating, to explore the colors, subjects and materials that most excite me in the moment. Opening myself often leads me to create acrylic-based mixed media collage pieces that showcase women.

The openness of being present also leads me to create artwork that reflects my fascination with the rejuvenative nature of circles as well as the unspoken language of patterns—from the Kente cloth of my unknown African ancestors to the patchwork quilts created by my Alabama grandmother.

Most of my pieces are imbued with a texture that invites viewers to come closer to see the work and possibly touch it, thus creating a connection between viewers and me.

(Above is a drawing from my sketchbook, Sharpie marker on paper, “Three Divided.” Click on the image to see it large.)

Making a statement: Why?

“Why do I do what I do?”

I’m pondering this question this week, thanks to an upcoming workshop on writing an artist statement at The Artful Phoenix in North Attleboro, Mass. To prepare for the workshop artists are asked to do homework by thinking about a series of questions. The first one is a big one for me. In fact, writing an official artist statement has been something I haven’t quite pulled off yet. I think my work varies too much and my desire to play in any way that I want has kept me from nailing down exactly what I’m doing as an artist and why, which an artist statement seems to demand. I’ve come up with an UNstatement in the past, but I’m not sure it cuts it as a real statement:

I don’t always understand where I’m going when I sit down to create art. And I’m not sure I want to, for fear of chasing off or interrupting the Muse. I prefer to let things happen. I’ve been painting and drawing since childhood and consider art play. My goal is to explore and follow where the Muse leads as I respond to my own artistic voice. Often I create acrylic-based mixed media pieces that incorporate collage and showcase the beauty, power and mystery of women. But I also create works that reflect my fascination with pattern and bold color. Most pieces are imbued with a texture that invites viewers to want to move closer to see, and makes them wish to touch, thus creating a connection between artist and viewer.

Hopefully this workshop will help me develop this. So…why do I do what I do? The guide provided in the homework assignment suggests spending five minutes on this. Yeah, right, five minutes.

The why: I do this because I have to, whether I want to or not. I’m driven by some inner, inexplicable push to create things, to put pen to paper, paint to canvas, bead to string. I do this because I need to–to remain sane, to feel like I can breathe, to feel like I’m in touch with something beyond me, bigger than me (God), to feel like I have something to give, something someone else wants, something someone else needs. I do this because ideas flood my brain every second of the day and I have to pour them out somewhere or go crazier than I already am. I do this because I feel like I have been given something that I’m not supposed to keep to myself. I do this because I think one day I will express something so deep and so profound that it will move someone in a way that they desperately need. I do this for the surprise, for the adventure of not knowing what the hell I’m doing, where the hell I’m going, and never knowing whether I am there yet and realizing that I never will be there because its all about the journey. I do this because I want to create beautiful things. I want to touch color, play in its exuberance, wallow in its energy. I want to relax and rest in the quiet of that place where art allows time to disappear. I want to connect with people on a level that needs no words.

Wow. Why is a doozy.

Yummy art

Food and art. Two of my favorite things. I indulged both today at the Rhode Island Food Fights cupcake competition. Bakers from all Rhode Island competed to present the most delicious cupcake. And artists displayed cupcake related art for sale in a silent auction. My creation was this Sharpie marker work on paper, “Cupcake Goddess.” It didn’t sell, but I got to eat all the cupcakes I wanted for free. Sweet!

Sharpie art

I love Sharpie markers. Surprisingly, they make a great little tool to create art. I’ve been using them for a while in my sketchbook drawings. They are so vibrant and juicy in color. I happened upon a large variety pack of Caribbean colors when I was in Staples trying to resist my addiction to buying school supplies (even though I’m not in school). Hmm….I’ll stop now. I sound like an ad. This is my latest little drawing, “Speak.”

New work

Threshold

Pencil on 9 x 12, 140-pound watercolor paper. Very busy. Managed this one at my son’s basketball practice this evening.

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