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Friday, January 29, 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

.Visual brainstorming, and pushing through artists block.

The past few years have been big ones for me on a personal level, and professionally. Two of my three kids got married,,all three moved out of state, and my parents moved out of their home and into an independent living apartment. Transitions and changes seem to be the only constant in my world. Professionally, I got some paintings published in books on mixed media, had an opportunity to participate in 8 Visions at The Attleboro Museum, and joined Fountain Street Fine Art  Gallery as an associate member.. I also started working with kids again, which is full circle for me since it's something I did in my 20s. I love making art with kids. It's so cool watching them discover a new technique without inhibition. I draw a lot of inspiration from them. I continue to work with adults at Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, and privately in my studio.  The main difference between the kids and adults is that the adults are more apprehensive and inhibited then the kids., and working at both ends of the spectrum helps me be a better teacher.  I also have learned that teaching makes me strive to be a better artist. I have to walk the walk, and  work even harder on my own stuff. 
Each of these changes has motivated me to focus on , and invest in making solid work that I can be proud of. One thing I've been doing is that I've been trying to draw as much as possible, some days for three hours. Now, I carry a sketchbook everywhere I go If I find myself with time to fill between lessons, or waiting at a doctors office, I'll just draw. it takes a while, but if I keep at it, keep drawing, eventually the ideas start to flow. A merging of old ideas and subjects and new inspirations seem to be evolving. It took two sketchbooks full of doodles before  things started to click. 
 I experimented with new materials, painted on gessoed pieces of wood in unusual shapes ( a challenge to myself  in figuring out composition). Each change and step I've taken has led to some interesting ideas, and hopefully, exciting new work.  Always moving forward takes commitment and hard work, and taking leaps that make me uncomfortable and unsure. If I'm too comfortable, then the work gets stale.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Wandering Mind Studio: In-between and OK with it.

Wandering Mind Studio: In-between and OK with it.: The longest winter of my life is finally over, and life seems busier then ever. The one gift of that long winter was extra studio time. Now ...

In-between and OK with it.

The longest winter of my life is finally over, and life seems busier then ever. The one gift of that long winter was extra studio time. Now that it's green and sunny outside, and the world is buzzing with activity, I'm longing to be back in my studio with nothing else to do.

 In order to challenge myself creatively, I've been experimenting with painting on odd shapes, and materials. Most of these are from wood scraps from my daughters studio floor. I've gessoed and sanded and prepped them to take watercolor, which is a long tedious process. The challenge is that I cannot alter the shape of the piece of wood/ plywood, and must find a design or composition within those limitations.

 I don't know if I'll ever exhibit any of these pieces, or if they're just a method of making myself uncomfortable enough that I'll learn something. It's a transitional phase in my work, and I'm OK with that. I just have to trust that in the end I'll come out of it with something fresh and rewarding.

 In a recent conversation with my daughter, we discussed the need for artists to experiment with  ideas, and the danger of exhibiting so frequently that we don't allow ourselves the luxury of time to explore these new ideas, or inspirations.

For me, I can't force it, it must come to me through exploration and serendipity. Hopefully, when I get to the next stage, it'll all be worth it. In the meantime, I plan on enjoying my garden, watching my daughter get married ( and all that that involves), celebrating my parents 60th anniversary, teaching, and sneaking into my studio every chance I get!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Labeled. Pigeonholed. Bah Humbug

Mixed Media. Labeled. Pigeonholed. Bah Humbug.
Playing with materials seems to be my go to method of avoiding artists block. I’m currently exploring all the alternative surfaces for watercolor that I can find. Aquabord,canvas,wood panels with a special ground, postcards treated with ground and mounted on panels. This brings me into the challenges of mixed media, and whether or not it makes me a mixed media artist ( does it really matter what my medium is? Do I need to categorize it?). Because I varnish these works with clear acrylic, it makes it more then watercolor, a ” mixed media”. 
How is it that oil painters can paint on multiple surfaces and use varnish (or not), pastelists can spray their work with a fixative ( yet it’s still considered a pastel, and not mixed media). I give up.
I’m not going to limit myself with labels that I do not really understand. I’ll just paint, and use any means necessary to get my desired results. Call it what you will. Limiting myself is not what it’s about anyway, it’s about pushing the limits, and then pushing them a little further.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Optimist Creed (a lesson from my grandfather)

My Grandfather taught this to his children, and I carry a little card with it as a reminder to try and live as my grandparents did, with dignity, and integrity. So here it is:

The Optimist Creed

To be strong that nothing can disturb your piece of mind.

to talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all of your friends feel that there is something in them.

to look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best and expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievement of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, and too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the persistence of trouble.