Spring flowers

Playing around with flowers for this month’s theme for Creative Every Day Challenge.

The beauty of what is

photoThis weekend was jam-packed with activities, including a wonderful birthday party at a friend’s house. It was such a great gathering outside on a slightly-chilly-but-sunny afternoon—plenty of food (including dishes I had never heard of like coo coo and fish) and lots of relaxation and fun. Good thing that my son, husband and I started the day off by working out at the Y. We collapsed into a pleasant food coma when we got home.

Sunday was another great weather day, so I started the morning by going out and finally, finally (don’t judge me) taking down the Christmas tree lights. Hey, I have a hard time letting go of Christmas. 🙂

I took my time soaking up the sun, loving the view of what remains of the tulips in my yard and just breathing. I didn’t get around to making any art this weekend, unless you count putting flowers into pots for the front steps. But sometimes it is important just to slow down and enjoy the beauty of what is.

This month’s theme for Creative Every Day Challenge is flowers, so this perfectly fits.

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.

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!

April exhibit opening

AZHL Art Open House Postcard 4_13I’m really excited about this exhibit at the Hope Lodge in Boston. Not only is it an opportunity to share my art, but it also is a chance to do what I always hope to do as an artist–lift the spirits of those who most need it.

The Hope Lodge is an inn for out-of-town cancer patients. Rather than having a single gallery space for the art, the entire building is used for display. I toured the inn when I dropped off my pieces (several paintings and two portfolios of works on paper) and was just floored by the tranquility and healing spirit created here.

The funny thing is that I never knew this place existed. The curator of the exhibit found me somehow—she doesn’t even remember where she learned of my work. Funny, huh? Meant to be…maybe. If you are in the Boston area, please come to the opening.2-AZHL Art Open House Postcard 4_13 A percentage of the sales go to the American Cancer Society.

The art of being social

1361828260I had a great day today! I spent the morning and part of the afternoon as a panelist at a workshop on social media for artists at the Dorchester Arts Collaborative.

The internet now offers us so many platforms to share our work and connect with each other–Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, and even LinkedIn, where you can upload a portfolio of your work. However,  sometimes it can become overwhelming to figure out how to effectively use it all (or any of it), while still finding the time to actually make art.

I remember before I joined Facebook I wondered what the hell it was for. It seemed silly. Now, I don’t know what I’d do without it. It is one of the most effective, efficient and inexpensive ways to engage and interact with people (other artists, gallery representatives and potential clients). And, no, Mark Zuckerberg is not paying me to say this. 🙂

So, what an honor to talk about the issue, share what I’ve learned so far, and to hear the great ideas of other artists at the workshop.

My main points for using Facebook as an artist:

  • Dive in and try things out; you will learn as you go.
  • Keep your audience in mind (is this for business? just personal? both?) and post accordingly.
  • Be authentic to make stronger connections; people want to see the real you. (Check your privacy settings; you might not want your mom to see the real you.)
  • Treat social media relationships like any other—be nice, smart, funny, giving.
  • Post often—once a day, if possible–but not too often. (Promote your events; celebrate your victories; share tips as well as your creative process; support other artists; collaborate.)

I would love to hear from you. What’s your favorite form of social media? How do you use it? Any tips on what you have found to be most successful? And I’d be happy to “friend” you.

In the stillness—inspiration

In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.
—Deepak Chopra

Dancer2

Following along

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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.”

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.”

The art of Facebook

Sandy

I’ll admit it; I am guilty of using Facebook for it’s most sacred purpose–to look up old high school friends to see if they have gained as much weight as I have, and for procrastinating. I can get lost for hours viewing pages and looking at the photos of other people I barely know in person but feel intimately involved with from afar.

I do also use Facebook for important reasons like sharing the art and jewelry that I have available for sale on Etsy and RedBubble as well as for inviting people to events that I will be attending. Social media has so much potential for us as artists because it puts audiences (and potential clients) within the reach of a keyboard. We just have to know how to tap into that.

In March, I will be part of a panel discussion about how artists can use social media to their benefit. I would like to invite you to share how you are using social media. Do you use your personal Facebook page or prefer a business/artist page? How often do you post items? What do you post? What’s the most significant thing that has come about because of your use of Facebook? Are there any downsides to using it?

Send me your tips for getting the most out of Facebook  and your Facebook links, too (and I’ll send you mine). I would love to “friend” you. I’ll share your links with my audience during the panel discussion and presentation, and help spread the word about your wonderful work.

Reconnecting with the basics

DSCN0096When I was in college one of my art teachers required us to sketch in our sketchbooks once a day. Being the typical college student, I procrastinated–even with art. I put off sketching in favor of…what? I have no idea. Inevitably the sketchbook would be due and there I would be wide awake the night before–pulling an all-nighter, sketching! So ridiculous when I think about how precious having time to actually sketch is now. Ah, youth is wasted on the young. But I digress.

The habit of sketching every day is such a valuable tool for keeping the creativity going. I’ve lost sight of that in the past several months as I’ve been busy with work and life in general. But with the start of the new year I’m trying to reconnect with that basic. I’m using a lined notebook to try to sketch something, anything, every day, which will also reconnect me to the daily practice that really got my artwork off the ground when I first connected with the Creative Every Day Challenge.

I’m using a lined notebook instead of a traditional sketchbook because the paper is not special, therefore, I’m free to do whatever I want without thinking every drawing is some precious masterpiece. I tend to freeze up when I have a really nice sketchbook (too nice for me to “mess” up, the internal critic (that bitch 🙂 ) always tells me). Above is one of those drawings–just a random pen drawing that came to me as I stared at the blank page with no ideas and began to simply add triangles. Those triangles then turned into a crown, which, of course, begged for a goddess.