Friday, June 22, 2012

Night Paintings

For as long as I can remember I have struggled with taming the creative mind, especially at night. Not sure what it is, but it's as if the night beings come and kiss the forehead spreading wild imagination babies all over the place and they begin to hatch in ones head. Being a creative, I think we have all been there haven't we? I have learned not to fight this though, and rather trust that on these nights, it is wise to get up and create. 

I call these "Night Paintings." It isn't really about creating a piece to sell or wow the socks off anyone, rather, it is about being true to those creative juices and letting them flow, as there is always something to be learned by them. Some times....more than others, I paint total crap and am totally cool with that. It releases space in the heart and mind I think for more sound, conceptual paintings to see the light of day. Other times, I totally love what I create and am grateful to have listened to the impetus to get up...and dream out loud. 

I started my first painting by simply placing random watercolors on the wet paper. I had no color palette in mind, just let my instincts go where they needed. I added graphite, watercolor pencil, and had a riot of a time placing paint to flow. Now, to be honest, there are times when these paintings can get totally overdone and turn to mud. It is so easy to do, especially of I rush through them, so, I went slowly. 

I did end up changing the page up at least 3 times, and then, when there was nothing but the 4am birds cackling, I looked at the piece and knew it had to be two paintings rather than one. With the aid of a mat, I knew exactly which section to cut out and keep, and which to throw in my collage pile, These two paints, "Night Flowers" and "Little Beach House" are what came of my first go of painting through the sleep.

"Night Flowers" 11'' by 12" acrylic on paper

"Little Beach House" 4 " by 12" acrylic on paper

My next instinct was to go to bed, at this point it was 5am...and then I thought to myself, I always wake about 6:15, so what's the point of going to bed now, so I kept on. I didn't photograph the steps in this piece, it is totally bizarre and wish I had. He is an unexpected delight that seemed to come out of the shadows and show himself. Maybe this is what the night beings look like...maybe he is a dream master, I haven't a clue. What I do know is that "I Live In Your Head" is one hoot of a painting! It is odd enough that I love it but then again I sit and shake my head that it is just too odd...if there is such a thing. 

"I Live In Your Head" 12" by 16" acrylic on paper

Living life as a creative means choosing to listen to the spirit when it calls, to get up and create even in the middle of the night, and trust that path to be the one to follow. I live this way with my faith, my creativity, and my writing, and for me, I can't imagine counting sheep any other way. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Freedom of Bike Riding Painting

Do you remember the first day you learned to ride a bike without training wheels as a child? Mine was a Saturday afternoon during the summer when we lived in Florida. Banana seated bicycles were all the rage and I had a raspberry blue one, which sparkled like diamonds in the sunlight. I can remember the feeling of pure bliss and freedom when my feet, ever so gently pushed one after the other and I managed to keep the wheel and handle bars straight, and it felt as if I was flying! I have never forgotten that day, that feeling, and my need to feel free with reckless abandon. 

These days I can no longer safely ride a bike without some type of training wheel to keep me steady because I have had many spine surgeries and a fall would be life altering. There are days, when I feel the wind in my hair, and hear it whisper to ride, but I know I have to remain still...and steady. That feeling is difficult because with the loss of being active that comes with 25+ surgeries one has to mourn the exciting, playful acts such as riding a bike that cannot be accomplished anymore. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about bike riding, the freedom it gives, the joy and jubilation, so I have decided to spend some time through a series of paintings working through this. 

I first chose a color palette. 

I then took some time to think through my feelings and intuitively began to place color and paper on paper. 

I then began to tinker with color and pattern, but not in a forced way, a more playful way and revisited the lesson of Juliette Crane in my Lifebook class for a bit of inspiration as well.  

My first painting, "The Freedom of Bike Riding", is strictly an intuitive piece based on my love of a playful color palette with collage. The abstraction comes from all the myriad of feelings one experiences while soaring on a bike, and the image is a reflection of the freedom one gains by being upright on wheels. Many times, through a painting, I will think through an emotion that has lingered, and mine would be the sadness over the loss of riding bikes. I hope through the process I can gain some joy of the experience once again, albeit in paint, and  have it take me back to a place and time that gave me much joy. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Art Abandonment Project

Got Art?

Love to give art away?

Love to give art away in public for random folks to find JUST FOR THE SAKE OF SHARING ART?

Then you just might want to check out Michael DeMeng's FB group, The Art Abandonment Project. Thousands of artists from around the world are joining forces to leave art in public for people to find, as a gift from us, for no other reason than to share original works of art with the world. Now, there are a lot of projects thrown at artists all the time, but this one, this one is my kind of project because giving for the simple act of making someone's day just makes me feel excited to be alive. 

I really spent some time thinking about this today, and the lesson I gained from it all is this: 

"Sharing one's art is not simply the act of sharing an image. Rather, it is a glimpse into the artist's spirit, where colors dance, line forms, and passion thrives. Sharing, to an artist, is our way of touching the world creatively and leaving our very own, beautiful mark for others to find. AG

Here is what I made after thanking God for my own gift of creativity. 

And here is where I place it, on a telephone pole close to my house. So many folks walk their dogs and kids in the afternoon and I just can't wait to see it gone from that pole. It is one thing to spend our careers as artists trying to pay the bills. It is a totally different thing to choose to give back just because we can. I can think of no greater blessing than that. 

If you are an artist and would like to join our project, visit this link and click, "Ask to Join!" Hope to see some of your faces there soon! 

Here is a video of Michael talking about the project and his amazement of how quickly it has grown! 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

In Love With Color Lovin!

There are so many online art classes these days, wooohooo! Color Love 101, by artist Joanne Sharpe, is one I am taking for the next five weeks, and you are thinking....Ardith....with more color? Yep, I am in HOG FREAKIN HEAVEN with this group because it is simply a perfect way for me to play and dabble with a few new techniques while meeting some totally over the moon type of friends! 

Here is Joanne's painting, full of life, color, and love! My kind of painting gal! You can find out about COLOR LOVIN 101 HERE! and did I mention this 5 week course is only $35?
Some of you come join me, we will have more fun than we should, but it will be grand!

Joanne has been featured in umpteen mixed media magazines and here is a snippet of bio from here blog! Although, I have just met her, by the quality of videos and classes she offers and the great feedback she gives, she is by far a "Don't Wanna Miss Her Class" kind of artist. 
“Whimsical art maker” Joanne Sharpe is a colorful mixed media artist and enthusiastic teacher with a passion for art journaling, lettering, doodling and illustration. Joanne’s playful art has been featured in the popular publications Cloth Paper Scissors, Studios, Somerset Studio, Somerset Art Journaling and Somerset Apprentice magazines.

If you are at home and are thinking of taking an online art class I wholeheartedly suggest to start here. This fall I will be teaching two online classes that I am really excited about, "Write, Pray, Praint" and "Mixed Media Basics." Stay tuned for details this coming week if you are even the slightest bit interested! 

Here are two pieces I have done for the class so far, can you tell we are focusing in on color? Oh, the eye candy....Hope your day is filled with beauty as well friends! 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mixed Media and Visual Artist List on Facebook

Are you like me and get frustrated when you want to find a great group of artists to follow and you have to weed through them one a time. Google+ has circle sharing which makes this simple and now, Facebook has create list sharing and I am totally excited about it! While it poured outside, I spent a good bit of today gathering artists, galleries, and entities that I follow on FB who share publicly through pages or subscribers for the most part in the mixed media and visual arts field. You can subscribe to this list if you are a FB user and follow these folks in a separate stream. I do hope with the creation of this list, many of you will find artists that suit your tastes and who share great insight into the mixed media, visual arts world!

Here is the link to the public Facebook list!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Never Buy Another Card Ever!

Do you have kids? Are you a painter that loves making a mess like a kid? I say....embrace the messy. Choosing to be a creative means we tend to bend the rules a bit when it comes to mess, and the messier one gets as a creative, the more potential there will be to 'see' the beauty in our world that we might would have missed otherwise. 

Take this 'painting' for example. At first glance some might thing that it was intentional. If you didn't know the story behind it you would pretty much guess that it is a painting from an abstract painter. In reality, it is simply the background of craft paper I use to paint on to save my kitchen table from getting ruined. When my brush needs cleaning, I head for the craft paper and wipe away. This gives me the freedom to not worry about the mess and when all is said and done my 'work paper' turn out to be some of my best works of art. 

Now look at this painting. What do you notice? Did you take it for an intentional work of art or not? This is actually a small section of my art shirt. I will be buried in this shirt one day, as a final work of art I hope. Kids, artists, creatives all love to embrace the messy. As parents, if we help them embrace that, we just might begin to train our eyes to see the unexpected works of art that they leave as little creative crumb trails all over the place. 

Here is a challenge for you whether you are an artist learning to create or one who has kids that love messy play. Get yourself a roll of craft paper in brown or white. Cover a table, a board for an easel, a lap desk, or whatever play space you choose where crayons, markers, paints, or crafts can be done. Encourage the act of using the table as 'wipe space' along with the paint smock. Eventually, in a few days depending on how much creativity is born there, the wipe space will begin to take on a life of its own. 

To go one step further, draw, write, express yourself by sharing your favorite words there. When all is said and done, without really any intent, your creative eye will land on a spot and be drawn to it like ants on a trash can. You will stop and realize how beautiful youR or your children's marks are, and they will then be a marker for that point in time when creativity ruled the day and beauty was embraced. 

I tend to cut mine up to use in all types of things....not the shirt, but the wipe paper. I mat and frame it, I use it in collage, I make homemade cards with it. In fact, I will never buy another birthday card again because my friends simply LOVE receiving these instead. Your kids messy art can save you tons of money.....sorry Hallmark, lol! See the steps below to see how easy it is. 

Cut a small piece of the wipe paper in the shape you desire.

I chose a square.

Glue it onto a background piece...this step is optional.

Glue that onto a blank card. 

Title and Sign it. If your child does this, have them name and date it. 


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sydney's Prayer Painting

To me, art can be so much more than a pretty picture. Words carry power with them just as much as an image and on certain occasions I choose to combine both to create a gift that is much more than an object. Rather, it is a combination of time I spent in celebration of a life, in celebration of a goal met, in celebration of the spirit receiving the gift. 

The painting, "Sydney's Party Dress" is one of those, and I call them "Prayer Paintings" because rather than include a card with the gift, I actually spend time praying for this person and write the prayer on the paper before I begin painting. 

Including the prayer, or a poem, or a written verse is my way of sending with them the words within the painting so that when they look at it, they see it as a much deeper gift, a message of love per se. Sydney was one of the gifted beloveds I was fortunate to home school teach in creative writing and it has been a joy watching her grow into a beautiful young lady. She is a bright light in this world, with a passion for the needy, and a humongous heart for others. These qualities I admire in her and wish to celebrate. 

Here, the prayer I said for her is written along with a generous layer of intense color because that is how I see her, full of color, full of life, full of joy. 

The completed painting had to include the color green because I know it is one of her favorites and the image of the girl in this piece represents the whimsical life of a child, carefree, full of wonder, full of desire. Celebrating Sydney's accomplishment for me, is a meaningful opportunity to use my talent in a way to give back. It shows her how proud I am of a job well done, and how much I value her as a person. ((((((Big Hugs)))) to you Sydney, may you always embrace the life that God intends for you! 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Negative Acrylic Painting

Hey Ya'll! Lately, it seems on Pinterest I am seeing a ton, and I mean a ton, of negative acrylic paintings floating by in my stream and I decided I would try my hand out at it. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this type of technique, you basically pull an object or image out from the background by covering the background colors to 'reveal' the image in the foreground. Lots of mixed media pieces are using this technique on canvas and in art journals too! 

Because time was an issue with me, isn't it always?, I decided to give myself two parameters before trying this out. 1. I chose to paint small....really small, 4" by 4" on canvas board. 2. I only allowed myself 20 minutes from start to finish (after the background was dry.)

With that in mind I went at it, slinging paint on my little canvas in hues that appealed to me being careful not to 'mix' the paint but rather fill in with it. Once I was happy, which was didn't take long, I let the background dry. Once it was dry, I set the timer and began covering the background with layers to reveal the vase and table. I did use a Derwent Watercolor Pencil just to add some contrast but I simply painted quickly and loose. Once the dinger went off I stopped. 

                                 (second painting)

This process was a ton of fun. I could see working like this in large format with reckless abandon! After my little 'mini-shot' was done, I went ahead and did some research about negative acrylic painting and found several videos by Robert Burridge using this technique. Below is one showing his method of making a vase with flowers. He paints much bigger and looser than I do, but viewing the video showed me how I could change my approach, especially when I move up to a larger paper. I am really intrigued by him, his teaching style, and plan to spend some time tinkering with some ideas he shares. 

I do hope you consider trying out negative acrylic painting for yourself! Of all the processes I have learned to date, it is was one of the most fun and rewarding! I also am planning on sharing this in a Google+ hangout soon! 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Abstract Insomnia

It isn't often that I am not asleep when my head hits the pillow but tonight was one of those nights where the wheels were turning so fast one thought couldn't catch up before another had passed it by. Creative angst is common among artists, at least most I know, and I pretty much believe it is a byproduct of how we are wired. With that said, it drives me nuts sometimes so rather than lay there and moan with visions of conquering the world I decided I would paint it 1am! 

Restless Slumber I

I actually don't mind the one above. 

The only rules I decided to give myself was one small brush and the torn cover of a Somerset Studio magazine to act as a scraper. I may cut these up in the morning, but believe you me, if they work and I can fall asleep when I head that way I just might save them for a background in my art journal or something. Sweet dreams to all of you....hopefully in a deep, deep slumber by now, :)

Restless Slumber II

Friday, June 1, 2012

HandMade Watercolor Art Journal and the Perfect View

Somewhere between the dream of a perfect studio and the frustration of not exactly having one right about now gave me some new insight today in just how good I have it. Yep, there are artists who paint in about 4 square feet, some only have a milk crate with supplies, and some simply have to paint outside with their belongings in a bag....but they do it, and they do it well. Then there are those who have million dollar studios and ones where every wall, nook, and cranny matches as if a fashion designer whipped it out. Then...there is me, somewhere in between all of that my kitchen table has become my Nirvana. 

As I sat editing some work for a bit the sunlight began to peer in ever so gently and it illuminated my paints as if it wanted to try its own hand at a masterpiece. Over to my left, the sun ray caught a glass diamond which sits in testament to the magnificent iridescent moth perched in perfect form inside a glass case. The wall of windows showcases the myriad hues of green and the occasional Bluebird flits by, always followed by the Mockingbird in haste.  In essence, I have a gorgeous 'spot' to create in and I am blessed beyond measure. Cleaning it up each day is simply a no brainer, so I won't whine. This was the second part of the lesson I was to learn today. It wasn't about moaning over what I wish or don't have, it was claiming the POTENTIAL of the day and being content in this very moment. 

Days like this are important for me. They make me pause, look at where I am and realize, I could have it no better and I say a prayer of gratitude to the big guy upstairs for giving me a life I don't deserve. My art journal page was a celebration of the word POTENTIAL today. I spent some time enjoying knowing that I am surrounded by it, every day. The potential to create, to breathe, to love, to wonder, to discover, to give, to share, to experience....all of these make for viewing this day in a perfect light. 

Yesterday I joined Tamara Laporte's Lifebook Online Mixed Media Class! It is a year long celebration of all things mixed media and since I am joining a few months late I knew I would have a lot of catching up to do. I also knew the perfect journal I would use, an over sized Handmade watercolor journal. 

I use a small one of these for my weekly journal, but for this project, and those to come, I wanted a larger canvas to work with and this book is about as yummy to me as butter is to Paula Deen. It's an 11" by 15" book of pure POTENTIAL and I can't wait to begin filling that baby up. 

(You can get this at Hobby Lobby. It runs $30 but if you use the coupon you can get it for 40% off, and for a huge handmade watercolor journal, you can't beat that price. This paper is also extremely porous, so if you plan to use it just for watercolor, you might want to coat the pages with gesso or ground first. If you are a sketcher/doodler/drawer, then it is perfect.)


Tomorrow I will be down at Art(ology) and am tinkering with the idea of hosting a public Google+ hangout for a painting demonstration. That has tons of POTENTIAL as well. I do hope your evening is blessed, that you were able to create in some capacity, or at least dream of it. Peace friends!