Instead of setting a long list of “resolutions” this year (because we all know what happens to those), I’ve decided to choose one word that will be my inspiration for the year ahead. My word is “learn.”
I plan to learn as much as I can in as many aspects of my life as I can: new Zumba choreography for my classes; new techniques that will push my art forward and help me provide fresh inspiration in my art classes; new skills that will improve my full-time work as a communications professional.
I’ve already learned something from trying out a new approach in creating the tissue paper artwork that you see here. The lesson is: When something isn’t working the way you thought it would, don’t give up, keep trying, go back, rethink, redo, keep going.
I think this applies to everything I do in the studio and in life in general—and it is a lesson I need to learn over and over.
When I create art, time disappears and I am transported to another place where I float above and beyond my day and relax into joyfulness. As an art instructor I want to share that feeling with students. It has been such a pleasure working with fellow explorers in class on projects in my “Playing with Paper” class at the Attleboro Arts Museum. As they joined me in the euphoria of creating, their ability to let go and dive was so inspiring. I can’t wait for the next one, “Painting Flowers in Mixed Media,” in April.
What happens to you when you engage in art? Please comment and share the feeling and what you do as a creative to tap into that.
I’m looking forward to this new year. I’ve set my business and creative goals so I’ve got a clear vision of where I’m headed. I’m already off to a good start with some new paintings that I’ve been working on during my winter break.
One of my goals as an artist is to create work to enter into juried art exhibitions. This is not so much about getting into a lot of shows. It’s more about facing the possibility of rejection (which happens a lot as an artist) and not caring about that. I’m treating the themes of the shows as homework to guide my creative process.
An upcoming show has “heritage” as its theme, so I’ve enjoyed thinking about what that means to me and how to visually present the idea. Sometimes it helps to have a prompt when facing that blank canvas.
I’m taking my time, focusing on the process, and letting the work sit until it tells me where it wants to go. Hopefully, the process will take me in new directions this year, away from the safety of what I’m comfortable with as an artist.
What are your creative goals for the new year?
(The painting here is a detail of a mixed media work on a gallery-framed panel. It is just a start.)
There’s an old saying that goes something like, “If you want to make God laugh, make plans.” I have to admit that I never really liked that saying. I think God is a lot nicer than that and more accommodating of our dreams. But, that’s another story.
The saying came to mind this weekend as I worked on a new mixed media painting that I had definite plans for. I knew exactly where I wanted it to go, spent all morning Saturday trying to drive it there. However, it laughed at me and went its own direction. So, I just had to follow along.
Here is where things are right now. I don’t know if this is where things will be next weekend when I revisit this “unplanned” painting. The repeated symbol is the Adinkra symbol for love, harmony and fidelity. I placed a circle between the two symbols to connect them. I may go back in and broaden the circle until it covers the entire painting, which is about 18 x 24.
So, here’s a new saying, “If you want to make the Muse laugh, plan your art.”
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.
Emerging from my vacation coma of doing absolutely nothing all week, I finally pulled myself together and created this mixed media collage piece today. It’s on paper, about 18 x 22. I began by pouring one of my favorite colors in liquid acrylic paint on paper. While cleaning up my studio today I found the left over shells from mailing labels so I stuck those to the paper and then ripped them up after pouring the paint, which left some lines where the paper had been covered and also ripped up random sections of the paper. I then played with remnants of other papers I had laying around the studio, and here you have it.
I’ve been working on this mixed media piece for several weeks, first by playing with lines that turned into trees. I collaged the trees on canvas, then added the lady in red because I find it difficult to NOT include the spirit of women in my artwork. I let it sit, looking at it off and on, waiting to see what it wanted. This weekend I felt that it wanted silver circles that shimmer in the daylight and seem to disappear at night. I may or may not be finished with this. I’ll wait a bit and see.
Do you do that, too? Wait for your art to tell you what it needs and wants? Or am I the only crazy person?
I indulged my love of paper this weekend at Paper Connection International in Providence, R.I. The company mainly supplies commercial paper sellers, but opens its doors to the public three times a year. Saturday was one of those times. There were lots of lovely textured and patterned papers, many of them handcrafted. I created a greeting card using the paper I bought as well as a mixed media painting–acrylic paint on handmade bamboo paper with collaged pieces from handwritten letters. This piece was created for the “language” theme for the April Creative Every Day Challenge. Oh, how I love paper!
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.
This is round 15 of SPARK, which was created to inspire art from writing and writing from art. Artists are paired up with writers or work alone to create visual and written works in response to assigned inspiration pieces. This time I collaborated with talented poet Ray Sharp. (He is working on a poem based on one of my paintings.) I created this piece, “Beyond the Horizon,” based on his poem “Birds.”
By Ray Sharp
There must be birds
beyond the horizon. We feel
their wings beating in the wind,
hear their murmured conversations
roll ashore in waves, and it grieves us
who remain rooted to the still earth.
To me, the poem is not really about birds. Instead, I see it as being about looking off into the future, about longing for freedom, admiring those who have the courage to fly and grieving for those who are afraid to try, and, thus, remain “rooted.” This 14 x 18 mixed media collage on canvas is about hope and faith.
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.