Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Pace of Beautiful Work

Beautiful work takes time. That doesn't mean what we create isn't beautiful, it simply means that our most powerful creative voices evolve over time in layers of knowing, of trusting, of exploration, and of purpose. I just wrapped up a four day workshop in Oklahoma City at the North Gallery and Studio and what a wonderful experience it was to paint with them and chat about this.

As we discussed how we chose our subject matter,  we chatted about is why it is so important to seek out the marks and ideas that we each find fascinating as opposed to painting what is trending. There is deep resonance in a subject matter that connects to our core, even while we are developing what our own version of beautiful is.  That beautiful takes time. I was late to the party, as a self taught artist, and began painting in my 30's. For years I painted anything and everything that made me happy and with every stroke it brought me closer to what my version of pretty, or beautiful, or compelling was.

Today, I have a strong understanding of how I view  the world and what fascinates me. Much of this feeds my creativity and finds a home in what and who I paint. If you look closely you get a sense of fracturedness, oddity, costumery, and a love of the unexpected as well as an intense love of color. These combine in a perfect storm of eclectic lushness....or what I like to call, "eclushtic." Teaching other artists to seek out these types of ideas is a pleasure because in my heart I get that it helps them move closer to their beautiful as well. 

Painting strong takes a lot of practice and time for our visual languages to develop.
and day by day your beautiful will emerge.

This painting, "Let Us Go Then, You And I" is the piece I began during the workshop as an abstract and flipped to figurative using the elements I love and adore. The balance between abstraction and figure as well as narrative is delicious here and I adore so much how the final piece turned out.

Now that my traveling schedule is wrapped up for the year I will be going live from my studio more often to chat about creativity, how to find deep inspiration from our surroundings, and offer a Q/A time as well. Below is the schedule for the coming month. This live feed will be hosted on my FB Page, 

Go Live Schedule for October (all times are 1230 Central)

October 7  -Tips On Constructing Movement With Brush Work
October 12 -The Balance Of Painting What I Love vs. What Is Trending
October 21 - Product Talk - What Am I Digging In The Studio These Days
October 28 - One Strategy That Helps Me Generate Unique Ideas

Set your calendars and message me if you have questions prior that you would like me to answer live! 

As always, I so love connecting with you beautiful humans who support and encourage working artists. We all have such important gifts to offer and our creative hearts combined are a powerful force in the world.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

A Creative Shift Is Brewing

There Will Be A Time For Gathering Green 18" by 24" mixed media on paper

Energy is palpable to me. The way it moves, the sources it comes from, and the impact it has on our minds, hearts, and spirits. I paint that flow of energy in my work and I sense it in quiet ways and huge ways. In the past year there has been a lot of energy percolating below the surface for where I am headed creatively and professionally in the coming year and I am excited to begin constructing the concepts of what that looks like in my painting and teaching worlds. 

If you follow me on Instagram or FB you might have noticed I have committed to getting in a daily 40 min quick study portrait to keep my creativity flowing and skills sharp. Some mornings I have to get up at 6, others, like today, have me painting in a hotel room in Denver just to stay committed. though and the more I show up and move the line the more I stay tapped in to that energy of what moves me creatively and what I want to express as a painter.  

For the next few days I will be in an out of galleries, taking notes, studying trends, and paying close attention to the energy of the art world in Denver and what fascinates me beyond measure. There is a lot to take in here, a lot to consider, but it is exciting to me to tap in to different geographical areas artistically through the lenses of color, pattern, line, and light. 

Teaching is also front and center on my heart this week so as I move through the city with visual interest I will also be unfolding a creative shift in what and how I offer for 2020. Creativity has given me the delivery mechanism to achieve amazing things in my personal and professional life and I want to shed a bit more light on how that process can help others as well. 

Everyone struggles. When you see an artist share their journey through the lenses on social media it is easy to get a false sense that their lives are beautiful and packaged with matching color families and soft experiences of joy and light. Although that is part of the journey for many, the daily walk of a creative entrepreneur is one of long hours, hard work, and many times....crickets. You know what I mean when you have had a month of crickets after those long hours. Today I am holding space for everyone who is devoted to bringing creativity and their version of light into the world, especially if crickets seem to be singing loudly. Hang in there, keep going, I am standing over here in my new apron cheering you on and shooing the crickets away for all of us....

It never gets old hearing thank you and I am sure one to be grateful for all of you who have invested and engaged in my art journey for the past years. Thank you deeply for the trust and uplifting. September brings a packed month with two abstract workshops in Mobile and Oklahoma City and round that bend comes my online workshop in October, Aquamedia for Abstraction. In the meantime, my new assistant, Christopher Hill and I will be putting shiny bows on some new opportunities and creative offerings coming down the pike. 

Happy Creating Friends, 

Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Impact of Ireland Part 2 - The Rocks Are Steadfast

I was in the hospital many moons ago, having one of my umpteenth surgeries, and a nurse shared with me of her belief that God was in a rock. At the time I was completely puzzled but she was attempting to explain to me that she believed he was in everything, even that moment to help alleviate my anxious heart. All I could do though was lock on to her words: God was in a rock. When I stepped on the shores of Ireland, and got past my jet lag, two things became crystal clear to me:

1. Rocks would be part of this journey for me as much as green.
2. And a tiny voice spoke from a deep place that said I would understand what she meant by that.

Now, I know some of my genealogy but not a lot. I know that I have ancestors which originated from this part of the world and I chose to embrace the idea that if they had, they could have walked these rocks before. It was an interesting concept to carry with me during my week here. From the train ride from Dublin, green was undeniable but it was the rocks of slate and quartz lining the walkways and those fence lines, the cobblestones my feet touched, and the glorious Payne's grey blue of the rocks touching the skyline that kept my eye.

EOM Studios is in a small town called Mulranny in Mayo County. It overlooks the shores of Clew Bay which are lined with rocks, amazingly colorful, varied rocks. I woke the first morning early and walked down to the shores in the wet of the morning in solitude. As I walked out on to the beach I was enveloped with the beauty of rocks that looked a bit like candy. Red ones, blue ones, speckled ones, striped ones. Rocks glistening with metallic luster and black rocks as dense as night. If I could have asked to be in rock heaven I was, and I knew immediately my husband would have been out of his mind in love with them.

This was when they were wet.

My sweet William loves rocks more than I do, he builds with them, honors them, gathers and collects them. When we travel we gather rocks and when home, label them and use them to build the walls of our home with the written record of where they came from. It is one of the things I love the most about him and our life together, the fact that we share story and a love of rocks. Ireland did not disappoint in how it offered the connection of rocks and story to us both.

As the week with my group of artists evolved, we encountered different places and experiences with rocks that struck deep chords for me. The stone of ancient castles still stood, echoing a past I had little understanding of. The remnants of abbeys and graveyards were quiet and haunting, yet had a beauty to them I could not put in to words. It was the solitary stones though that caught me off guard.

Our guide Lora, an amazing encaustic painter, shared with us the significance of those solitary stones in that they marked the graves of those who were not fortunate enough for a marker. There were so many and I realized that those stones dotted a landscape different than any I had experienced.

The solitary stones here are markers for many.

A labryinth next to the shore near Achill Island was encased in walls of giant stone which buffeted the sound in an eerie lyrical wind. It was also a powerfully moving experience for those who walked it. The rocks along that shore vibrated with a different energy and made home to bones from animal and history.There were man made monuments and markers, and giant boulders larger than life. When you consider how rocks are steadfast, even in light of the shoreline, it is humbling in regard to the short time we share on this spinning rock. 

Back in the studio we had much discussion about the power of rocks, their colors and different varieties, and shared a little about what they meant to us. There was great humor in the conversation of how I would get my heavy pirate treasure back to the states, but the last thing I did in Dublin was secure travel for my bounty. Yesterday, I arrived home and there sat my box on our own stone stoop. It was beat to death as boxes who cross the pond would be, but it was intact and held my most precious connections to Ireland besides my memories. 

As a painter I gather visual information from my life experiences to help me paint relevant messages without words. As a human, who has a vivid curiosity about the energy in all things, I collect markers of time through my rocks and stones. They will last long past any painting on canvas and give me great solace in knowing that these particular ones were part of my own journey to the Emerald Isle. 

Rocks are steadfast, they stand witness, especially to the stories of peoples that shaped Ireland and to
my own country and life. I look forward to connecting the impact of the history from my visit, added to my love of the rocks and green, but for now am so content to hold a bit of Ireland in my hand a while and forever in my heart. I can say with deep conviction that for me, God is in the rocks. 

To read the first part of this blog series and my fascination with the color green go here! 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Impact of Ireland Part 1

Ireland changed me. I suppose that is the truth for every experience but I have come to understand that some moments create much deeper shifts in one's heart than others, and Ireland was one for me. There is a wild stillness there, in the people, on the land, in the sky and bits and pieces of it left a lasting impression in me. It was echoed in the moist breezes, on the shores laced with rocks and wood, and across the pastures where sheep grazed and goats roamed. What I expected Ireland to be turned out to be so much more and yet, there was a small part of me that felt a bit of home there. I believe it was the green. 

What brought me to Ireland was the opportunity to guide a group of artists at EOM Studios in Mulranny, Mayo Co. for a week of fusing the experiences in this beautiful country with the practice of painting in a way that was unique to them. Over the course of those 7 days we explored the west coast between Westport and Achill Island, and the nooks and crannies in between. As we did I shared my love with them of how to experience a place through the lenses of creative wonder. How to seek out specific colors, patterns, textures, and stories and use them to infuse their own work as they painted. From the studio we shared our insight and connection in personal ways, and began to build paintings from a much deeper well. Three things stood out for me, as more significant than others based on my time there: the colors, the rocks, and the wildness of the country which stood witness to the history of a great people. 

The View from EOM Studios in Mulranny

The View From Upstairs at EOM Studios overlooking Clew Bay

I was snagging a pic of some sheep.

I knew green would be undeniable and as soon as my feet landed in the country it began to blanket me whether I wanted it to or not. It reminded me so much of the green from my own home, except in Mobile the green moves upward through the oaks and pines and in Ireland it moved outward with vastness. From the train between Dublin and Westport we had beautiful views through the windows of pastures and livestock, simple homes and farms, and the shifts between the cool greens and greys became vivid when the sun broke through shifting them to green gold. 

Learning to gather visual information seems simple, look for green, choose 5 patterns that interest you. But, it is much deeper than that. As creative humans, we are equipped to move through the world with lenses that help us filter what's in front of us and keep what impresses. For me, I found the hectic schedule and life of daily living made that task a challenge so over the years I have taught myself to slow down, to listen, to see the world through tints, tones, and shades. I have also learned the value of connection and story from people and places, and in this practice my teaching is based. 

EOM Studios in Mulranny was the perfect home to help us cultivate the slower pace of our senses and our guide, Lora Murphy, who lives in Mulranny made the experience rich with history and connection between story and place. I don't think our visit would have been nearly as deep without her insight and wild heart. The flora and fauna were lush, and she was able to share with us the similarities and differences between what we touched in Ireland compared to what we have at home. Although the green was vast here and ever present, it shifted for us based on where we traveled between shore and countryside. The light was amazing, staying lit until well past 11 pm in the evening and never quite getting dark as night. It helped illuminate so much for us during the day and late into the evening. 

Tide coming in from Clew Bay

On the road to Achill Island

Greens were palpable here, but they were sided with the blue greys of a far away range, through the mist after a rain, and in the slate blues of so many rocks and ledges. We noticed these things, and took a wee bit of this pigment to heart when we painted. The narrow roads undulated and curved in ways that were a bit difficult for the stomach at times, but as we passed the resting sheep sitting just next to the road, or caught a glimpse of the turquoise water below the cliffs, we realized the unsettling nature of the ride was worth it. 

In the studio we shared our insight coupled with our own personal exploits brought to this time. We used our own photographs paired with what we remembered and added a side of vivid imagination. EOM gave us unlimited access to the studio so we had plenty of time between trips to move the line and our practice. It is one of the things I loved about this workshop because it gave the painters a true experience of travel and studio time. Each painter approached their subject matter differently, between figurative and landscape, but we all shared a bit of our inspiration with one another and worked as a team to guide and move our paintings forward. 

Everyone travels and takes a workshops for different reasons and it was a joy to witness painters tapping in to their own wellsprings based on our shared time there. Green represents so much to each of us, the color of life, of envy, of money, and for me time. Over time I hope these painters remember the lessons and moments we shared here in Ireland and I hope their painting practices are richer for it. Green and blue are constants in this world, like time, but it is green that remains. It works through the blues and greys of stone and continues to claim the wisdom of belief that the living matter. This week resonated that for me. As painters, we create moments and images of beauty and emotions. The green of this week seeped through our brushes with a deep testament that the voices of Ireland mattered, and ours does as well.