I’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.)
Each 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.
Happy New Year! Happy new opportunity to create and to tap into the gifts that we have all been given–be it the gift to create art, to dance, to make someone smile, to love.
Coming to the end of a nice winter break, I finally, finally dragged/pushed myself into the studio to try to get done the work I had promised myself that I would be doing every single day of winter break because I would finally have the “time.”
Well, so funny, this “time” business. I seem to have much more of it than I fool myself into thinking that I don’t have. During break I had plenty of time to watch the “Twilight Zone” marathon; plenty of time to watch back-to-back episodes of “Will & Grace” and “Roseanne” reruns; plenty of time to eat too many portions of the potato salad I will spend the rest of winter working off; but strangely, the “time” to get into the studio was not made.
Procrastination is a bitch. Luckily, I did make time enough to read a great book that showed me this very clearly: The War of Art. I highly recommend this book to any artist. The main point of the book is that we allow so much resistance (in many forms) to stop us from creating and using the talents that we have been given.
The best way to stop it is to just show up and do the work. So, today, that’s what I did. I just showed up at the crafting table, got out a piece of paper, poured some paint on it, and started swirling the paint around. It took great effort to fight off the resistance, the voice saying, “What the hell is this you are painting? It looks like crap!” But I did it. I just worked. No judgement. Just brushes and fingers, painting to the quiet music of the wind blown snow. The result is what you see here above, “Transcending.”
A new year. A new day of just showing up to do the work and letting what happens happen. And then tomorrow.
I’m really excited about this exhibit at the Hope Lodge in Boston. Not only is it an opportunity to share my art, but it also is a chance to do what I always hope to do as an artist–lift the spirits of those who most need it.
The Hope Lodge is an inn for out-of-town cancer patients. Rather than having a single gallery space for the art, the entire building is used for display. I toured the inn when I dropped off my pieces (several paintings and two portfolios of works on paper) and was just floored by the tranquility and healing spirit created here.
The funny thing is that I never knew this place existed. The curator of the exhibit found me somehow—she doesn’t even remember where she learned of my work. Funny, huh? Meant to be…maybe. If you are in the Boston area, please come to the opening. A percentage of the sales go to the American Cancer Society.
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.”
I had a very busy weekend–doing real full-time-job “work” that can’t seem to fit within the regular work day; cooking for the week so that I don’t go insane (well, more insane than I already am) trying to get everything done when I come home from the full-time job; and finally, finally playing with paint in the studio. I always forget how happy that makes me feel. I began with my brushes on paper, but soon tossed them aside and used my fingers to paint a new mixed media piece that I call “The Goddess of Hope.”
I will be exhibiting my artwork (including this one), handcrafted cards and beaded jewelry at First Parish Church, 10 Parish St., Dorchester, Mass., during Dorchester Open Studios, which features more than 140 visual artists at 20 locations throughout Dorchester, Mass.
The event is Sat., Oct. 20, and Sun., Oct 21, noon to 5 p.m. Please come by if you are in the area.