Category Archives: Work in progress

New year, new work

10487560_10152450805296650_2623399408784844612_nI’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.)

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Filed under Creative process, mixed media, Uncategorized, Work in progress

Finding my way

Map1Each 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.

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Filed under acrylic painting, Inspiration, Uncategorized, Work in progress

A playful Saturday

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!

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Filed under acrylic painting, Creative Every Day, Uncategorized, Work in progress

Following along

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There’s an old saying that goes something like, “If you want to make God laugh, make plans.” I have to admit that I never really liked that saying. I think God is a lot nicer than that and more accommodating of our dreams. But, that’s another story.

The saying came to mind this weekend as I worked on a new mixed media painting that I had definite plans for. I knew exactly where I wanted it to go, spent all morning Saturday trying to drive it there. However, it laughed at me and went its own direction. So, I just had to follow along.

Here is where things are right now. I don’t know if this is where things will be next weekend when I revisit this “unplanned” painting. The repeated symbol is the Adinkra symbol for love, harmony and fidelity. I placed a circle between the two symbols to connect them. I may go back in and broaden the circle until it covers the entire painting, which is about 18 x 24.

So, here’s a new saying, “If you want to make the Muse laugh, plan your art.”

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Filed under Creative Every Day, Creative process, mixed media, Uncategorized, Work in progress

My artist statement in the making

This week I took another major step forward in creating and revising my artist statement, with the help of other artists at Part 2 of the Artistic Cartel Meetup sponsored by the Artful Phoenix in North Attleboro, Mass.

Recently, it became even more clear how important a good artist statement is. I applied to get into a juried show and was rejected. When I got the general generic email about why my artwork didn’t make it, I emailed back asking for specifics. The exhibit’s coordinator told me that in addition to looking at the quality of the work and how well all the entries come together as a cohesive exhibit, jurors rely on the artist statement to truly comprehend what an artist is doing. The statement can make or break you when it comes to getting into a show, the person said.

Wow. Scary, huh?

I don’t know whether I’m done with my statement, but at least I feel that it is in better shape than the one I had before and better than the one I sent with my entry form for the show that rejected my work.

My struggle has been trying to nail down what I’m doing as an artist. If I had my choice I would just say something like–“I do what I want, when I want, depending on how I feel that day—kind of like a chef walking into a market, seeing what looks good that day and then deciding what she will cook.” But I don’t think that would do. So, here is what I have now as a statement. I would love your thoughts and feedback. What do you think?

ARTIST STATEMENT

I am driven by an unrelenting curiosity and a desire to play with a variety of mark-making materials and concepts revolving around the spirit of women. These givers of life are beautiful, powerful and mysterious beings, who deserve to be honored and explored in every medium possible.

As I create art, I leave open my journey, allowing myself to receive what comes to head, heart and hand. My aim is to immerse myself in the process of creating, to explore the colors, subjects and materials that most excite me in the moment. Opening myself often leads me to create acrylic-based mixed media collage pieces that showcase women.

The openness of being present also leads me to create artwork that reflects my fascination with the rejuvenative nature of circles as well as the unspoken language of patterns—from the Kente cloth of my unknown African ancestors to the patchwork quilts created by my Alabama grandmother.

Most of my pieces are imbued with a texture that invites viewers to come closer to see the work and possibly touch it, thus creating a connection between viewers and me.

(Above is a drawing from my sketchbook, Sharpie marker on paper, “Three Divided.” Click on the image to see it large.)

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Filed under Artist statement, Creative Every Day, Creative process, Drawing and sketching, Uncategorized, Work in progress

“Serenity”

I’ve been working on this mixed media piece for several weeks, first by playing with lines that turned into trees. I collaged the trees on canvas, then added the lady in red because I find it difficult to NOT include the spirit of women in my artwork. I let it sit, looking at it off and on, waiting to see what it wanted. This weekend I felt that it wanted silver circles that shimmer in the daylight and seem to disappear at night. I may or may not be finished with this. I’ll wait a bit and see.

Do you do that, too? Wait for your art to tell you what it needs and wants? Or am I the only crazy person?

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Filed under collage, Creative Every Day, mixed media, Work in progress

AEDM (12 and 13): How to ruin a painting

This weekend I’ve learned how to ruin a painting:

1. Start with a simple drawing on canvas that you like.

2. Add color and love it even more.

3. Add black outlines, have the paint spit black paint out of the lines.

4. Try to clean up some of the black.

5. Decide that the black lines were a complete mistake and try to paint over them, but not completely get rid of them.

6. Keep working paint over the vibrant colors originally laid down until yo suck the life out of it.

7. Start to panic and collage over the paint.

8. Keep working in horror as you dig your self deeper and deeper into a painting you now hate.

9. Complain to your husband that you have ruined your painting, hear him say, “no, it’s not ruin, it’s just part of the process,” nod, know that he is right, but still feel crappy.

10. Go to bed thinking about how you will fix the monstrosity, awake convinced you know what to do, do it and make it worse. Give up for the day with what you see here for Art Every Day Month.

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Filed under Art Every Day Month, Creative Every Day, Work in progress