Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Outdoor Studio

This week I start Flora Bowley's online workshop and the nature of that experience is that the canvases need to be big. Because I have such space issues at home, I knew this would be the time to set up my outdoor studio at Dulcinea. My hubs erected the backer board for me and I have a removable 'wall board' that I can use for large canvases. He also set up a glass table so that I can pour directly on the glass and pull skins after my acrylics dry. He did this so that I wont stress my back from bending over and that I will have an adaptable reach so I don't stress my shoulder joint. My hubs values what I do so much and tends to look after my spine issues way more than I do, for that I am grateful. 

You can view her video by clicking on  the link below 
her book: 

Here is the view of my table and my canvas. I am currently working on a series of mixed media collages which combine my love of the southern coastline and my fond memories of Dauphin Island, Alabama. We are so blessed to have such a beautiful coast to enjoy here, and much of my younger days was spent in Gulf Shores or Dauphin Island. 

First stages, getting my background papers and landscape glued on. 

The house structure was already part of the painted paper so I embraced that image and began to build in the pilings and definition. You can see the view from my studio underneath this board. This is my smaller backer board and I have a larger one as well for big canvases thank to that sweet many in the background. 

For this series I am showcasing the coastline in an unexpectedly colorful way, yet simplistic, which is how I view our beautiful coast. We had a beach house on pilings like this, and those days were grand. 

This is the finished piece, 8" by 18" gallery wrapped canvas. 
"Reflection of Bright Waters" 

Up close detail images: 

I can't wait to go big with my outdoor studio and begin slinging, and I mean....literally, slinging some paint. It is beyond peaceful at Dulcinea and painting outdoors is one of my favorite ways to create. My challenge for Flora's class will be two fold. I hope to master a few new skills in mark making and incorporate my love of collage into the acrylic, intuitive process. We shall see how it turns out. 

In the meantime, I send you lots and lots of ((((((creative energy))))) especially for those of you in a funk lately!

Just Be

Today I chose to "Just Be." 
I chose to let go of 'must get dones' and embraced no agenda. 
I chose to ignore the clock and watched the clouds fly by. 
I chose to rake leaves BEFORE I painted. 
I chose to sit and watch the world drift by with the hubs. 
I chose to play catch with my dog. 
I chose to eat Doritos and peppermint balls. 
I chose to watch a family of ants enjoy the crumbs. 
I chose to pray for a few friends. 
And....I chose to imagine my life without all of that, which made me ever so grateful to embrace those very moments. 

I used to believe that it all had to get done and if it didn't, the world would end. Today, I know the truth in that wacky judgement. The truth is, we need to learn to "Just Be"....before the world ends, ;)

Turn off the grid, ignore the dishes, grab a loved ones hand and spend 30 minutes just being alive with the moment, and if you are alone, give yourself permission to indulge....go on....I dare you, :)

Happy Sunday folks! 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Breathe, Pray, Paint

In the Land of Ardithian today would be one of those days that you would find me muttering under my breath the words, "Holy Cow Moly this can't be it."  Occasionally I get in this state, this state of being and feeling and moving through a discombobulated world and not feeling grounded or connected to serenity, as if I had lost it under a rock and am frantically turning rocks over to see if it lies beneath one. It is in these moments that I know I am spread too thin, that my self inflicted desire to connect and be all that I can be to myself and others has gotten out of hand and I have lost the most important point of focus that makes all of that beautiful living possible. In this moment, you would see me smack the pause button and take a deep breath. 

Then, you would see me grab a paint brush, turn on some tunes, take another deep breath, and paint/pray my way back to peace. 45 years I have walked this planet and although I have always been enthusiastically optimistic, I have struggled with peace most of those days. Painting, or at the very least creating, is one way I have found that instantly brings me to a balanced state of being and I wish so much I had been aware of its power back in the day. With all that said, I sit here smiling, not just smiling, grinning a big ole cheesy grin because despite all of that rock turning,  at my core I am right where I need to be, right on the path of loving myself and others, and right on the path of allowing my faith to guide my steps, and for that....I am deeply grateful.

In the next few weeks there will be several wonderful opportunities that I am part of, including a new mixed media show with my dear friend Mary Elizabeth Kimbrough at Church of the Reedemer, I will be teaching in April at the Art by the Sea Retreat through the Mary C. O'Keefe center in Ocean Springs, and I am starting Flora Bowley's online course this Monday to fine tune my intuitive painting style in acrylic. My mixed media classes have started back at Lavretta Art Center, my online mixed media group on Google+ is growing and thriving, Art(ology) is wonderful and doing well, and my friendships and connections through my art world, my faith world, and my family are beautiful.  What is so incredible about all of this is that so far, my body is allowing me to do it. That is a miracle folks, especially for those of you who know my medical history. 

Through the pain, I will create. Through the funk, I will create. Through the dark days and the light days, the days that are discombobulated and the days that are seamless, I will create. For when I create, I breathe, and when I breathe I pray, and when I pray, I am heard, and when I am heard, miracles and weirdness happen. Those are the moments that make the discombobulated days manageable, and those are the ones I seek. 

Here is a sneak peek of some new miniature collages I am working on. They are 4" by 4" and created using hand painted papers . What I love about these are the subtle landscapes you can see throughout the abstractness. They remind me a bit of the nuance between the line I walk between serenity and chaos, and how when the pieces come together the whole has room to breathe. 

"Reflective Sky" $60

"Take Flight" $60

"Lines of Spring" $60

"The Range" $60 

"Beyond the Hill" SOLD

"Moon Shadow" $60

"Reeds of Discontent" $60

"Ledge to the Sky" $60

Peace to you friends!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Mark Making

Why do we, as a species, find it a need to make marks? What part of our existence, or wiring, or connection with one another makes it necessary to make our own marks of being? I ponder these questions, at length, because I believe it is important, especially as an artist, to understand the pattern of need that existed in those, many moons ago, that is so much akin to our own desire and make marks. 

This week was the kick off of our first Mixed Media Challenge in my Google+ community and the technique was "Adding Graphite with Acrylic." The first of 52, and I thought how perfect to celebrate with mark making as the focus, especially because mark making is at the very core of what artists...and humans...strive for. 

As I reflected back on learning as a child, viewing images of cave paintings and marks made eons ago, I felt a deep connection with how we were created. There must be an innate sense of expression, to reach out and communicate our purpose here, with one another, and as a record of our own existence. This exercise, of combing graphite with acrylic, was one I approached with glee. That was...until I started. 

The minute I started considering what I would create with my pencils and paint I hit a brick wall. The magnitude of making a mark, the birth of an idea onto paper, became daunting and I couldn't do it. I believe it was the intent that stopped me, the notion of wanting it to be significant. But as I thought about it, something stirred in me that said...."just make the marks, the meaning will come." With that sentiment, I grabbed my art journal, rather than a canvas, and turned to the page already painted in two of my favorite acrylic colors, blue and hot pink. 

Without direction, I began to embrace the sheer act of mark making...with lines, with squares, with circles, the very basic structures that we use to draw and communicate. It wasn't about drawing well, it was about the form, the process, the very act of placing graphite in my hand and placing it onto a substrate...and making a mark. 
As this face developed, the colors and the play of contrast filled me with a sense of wonder as to if those who first started out making marks were drawn to color in the same way I am. I thought about the rudimentary tools and minerals they would have used to make marks, and what might have inspired them. It all fascinates me, this connection we have to our predecessors. 

This year, for the next 52 weeks, our community will be trying our hand at various techniques to explore the world of mixed media in art. It will be a time to try something brand new, to think out of the box, and to take risks. I look forward to taking time to consider, ponder, and learn through the process with a group of folks willing to take the journey with me. As a self taught artist, I missed out on the study of art history in college, but the teacher in me, the life long learner that I am, MUST reflect and seek out how it all connects together. 

I will be posting a weekly update as to our groups progress on Google+ in an album and if you are so inclined to join us, we would love to have you. There is no charge for this experience, just a willingness to join, to explore, to share insight, and connection with a community of like minded artists making their mark in this world. You can find us HERE