Because 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.
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.)
For 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!
Each 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.
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.
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.
Very busy lately with everything, including my latest love, Zumba, so art hasn’t been given its proper attention. Hope to find the right balance to fit everything into life soon. For now, here are some umbrellas that I hand painted for an art council fundraiser in Boston. It was a fun assignment and I love how they turned out. However, I do need to fight the impulsive side of myself that keeps taking on “assignments” that don’t include pay or enough publicity for the artists involved. I tend to get excited by these “calls for arts.” They do encourage me to create and complete things because of deadlines, but they also take me away from what I should be focusing on——my own work. Although I consider anything and everything creative “my own work.” See what I mean? Note to self: Stop it!
Playing around with flowers for this month’s theme for Creative Every Day Challenge.
This 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.
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.
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!