Playing around

During my holiday break, I have been deeply engaged in creative play.

One inspiration was a friend of mine, who, as we were discussing ideas for creating work for a spring exhibition, she told me that my idea sounded “safe.”

My initial reaction was to immediately reject her words, but I also realized that she was right. I tend to fall back on a particular subject matter because I’m comfortable with it and can predict the successful results of creating that subject matter. (Although sometimes it is hard to know whether it is comfort or a calling that leads me there.)

So, to get me out of the comfort zone, I’m playing with ideas that are not necessarily connected to what I traditionally do. I’ve chosen to play with materials and techniques (pictured is a watercolor piece on card stock) that are unfamiliar to me.

So far it has been exciting and my mind is racing with possibility.

It’s good to be pushed–sometimes. 🙂

 

Sketchbook Sunday: Faces

I’m working on some ideas for creating my next art class.  I did this face using a Sharpie marker and colored pencils. It’s not perfect, which is OK because I’m trying to get over striving for perfection. Instead I’m focusing on the process and learning.

What are you working on today? Leave a comment and share a link. I’d love to see.

Sketchbook Sunday: Coffee filter mandalas

Sketchbook Sunday: Coffee filter mandalas

I love coffee. So why not play with the accessories? I’m trying out art on coffee filters creating very “imperfect” mandalas. I love the way the thin filter paper soaks up markers. So far, I’ve been using colored pencil to fill in the spaces but I’ll try some watercolors next to see what happens.

What are you working on today? Leave a comment and a link to your blog. I’d love to see.

Something pretty

IMG_3343Because I live in New England and it may never stop snowing, here is something pretty to look at to lift your spirits. It certainly lifted mine. A friend gave me this plant as a bulb for a Christmas gift. This weekend, during a four-day snow storm, it decided to bloom. Perfect timing for offering some winter cheer. Inspiration: bloom, no matter what.

New year, new work

10487560_10152450805296650_2623399408784844612_nI’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.)

Calendar art

CalendarFor artists looking for an easy way to create a calendar featuring your artwork, redbubble.com is a great resource. You can upload art and the company will print it on cards, framed works, calendars and even on iPad covers that customers can order. The site is also easy to edit and manage.  Here is the calendar I created for 2015. Click on the image and you will be linked to the site to see the full calendar and there are lots of other examples by other artists. I’ve been using  redbubble.com for years. Happy New Year–almost!

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.

Tree topper

It has been too long since I’ve checked in here on my blog. I have been busy with several craft fairs–’tis the season. Now I’m trying to get back into spending more time in the studio and sharing what I’m working on.

This weekend, I had the challenge of trying to make a tree topper for a Christmas tree at the place where I co-facilitate an art workshop. The clients there have painted wooden ornaments of various shapes for the tree, so I tried to design something that would go along with that theme.

This is my version of a star, made with Popsicle sticks, a Styrofoam circle, blank CD and plastic jewels. I didn’t finish it on purpose, so that the clients can add their own hand decorated Popsicle sticks to this. It was fun to try to do this from scratch. Not bad for my first tree topper. It will be interesting to see if they like the concept. Either way, it was great creative exercise.

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