Tag Archives: Creative process

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

Showing up to do the work

T-2Happy 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.

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Filed under acrylic painting, Creative process, Inspiration, Time, Uncategorized

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

Child’s play, artist’s work

Leave it to a child to remind me that art is all about play. A co-worker’s young daughter was in the office recently. I noticed a cute little necklace she was wearing. It was a little plastic flower-shaped pendant with stripes. It turns out that she made it herself using something I had never heard of: Shrinky Dink. I asked her all about it.  She gave me all of the details and even help me find it in the local art store (accompanied by her mom). I tried it this weekend and OMG! I’m hooked! I created these earrings using this material, which is basically some kind of magic plastic that you can draw on, bake and turn into a hardened object of any shape that can be used  in many imaginative ways. You’ve got to try it at least once. Thanks so much, Co-worker’s Daughter.

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Filed under Creative Every Day, Creative process, Jewelry making, Uncategorized

Spark: Day 1

I’m participating in Spark: art from writing, writing from art. It’s an event in which artists and writers respond to each other’s works over a 10-day period from today through May 27. Participants sign up and the organizer e-mails the inspiration piece for the works that will be created. Each person gets a different piece. Artists get words, writers get art for inspiration. I’m planning to chronicle my creative process and reveal the final piece on May 27.

I was so excited to wake up this morning to receive the inspiration piece. I never loved homework while in school, but I so love assignments as an artist. They get my heart going. And this one certainly has. The poem below by Annmarie Lockhart is so very, very lovely. Line by line, it speaks to me on a deep level and to the work that I’ve been doing for so long–that lady in the flowing gown who constantly shows up in my work, the lady I’m trying to figure out, trying not to paint so much so that I might grow as an artist, but can’t seem to leave behind. Her. Can’t wait to translate this on canvas. So many images are flying through my head already: stars, mystery, revelation, darkness, light. May my lady will show up, maybe not. Here is the piece that will inspire my creation:

Waxing and Waning

By Annmarie Lockhart
Inspiration Piece

crescent moon
on a clear-sky night
she shines center stage
in front of a deep dark
velvet curtain with
a handful of stars
scattered like glitter
across midnight

a silvery sliver of
her full brazen self
she emanates light
weak and pale

she glows
but does not grab
she is beautiful
but subdued
she shows
but does not tell
she is eyecatching
but definitely not
breathtaking

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Filed under Creative Every Day, Creative process, Inspiration, Uncategorized

NOT a lady in a flowing gown

This is NOT a lady in a flowing gown. OK, OK, yes, her dress is gown-like, but it is not flowing. I say this because I’m trying to work on some art creations that don’t involve the lady in the flowing gown to which I’m naturally drawn. I’m trying to challenge myself to explore other subject matter that might be lurking beneath my creative surface. It is always hard to know whether I’m doing the same subject over and over again because there is something about that subject I need to express or whether I go to the same subject because it is the first thing that comes to mind, is easy, safe. So…I explore…and I give you “Lady in Lavender” (mixed media collage with acrylic paint on canvas).

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Filed under acrylic painting, collage, Creative process, mixed media, Uncategorized

Why I blog

At the end of April I will be conducting a workshop titled “So You Want to Start a Blog?” sponsored by the Dorchester Arts Collaborative. It will be a basic workshop for those who are new to blogging. I’m happy to help other artists any way that I can, because so many artists in the blogsphere have helped and inspired me by offering support, sharing their talent and revealing vulnerabilities that remind me that we all have so much in common.

In preparation for the workshop, I’m thinking back to when and why I started this blog. I can’t remember exactly why I started a blog. It could be that I discovered WordPress and wanted to try out a new tool. That’s pretty much how I am as an artist. I find some new toy that I’m not familiar with and I want to play.

My very first post was in March 2009. I laugh now when I look at it. It was not so much a post, but rather more of a headline: “Getting inspired.” I can remember that uncomfortable-what-am-I-doing feeling and not really knowing what to say–or to whom. I apparently got over that by just doing it My next entry was in October 2009, and I was off and running at that point.

I have artist Leah Piken Kolidas, the creator of the Creative Every Day Challenge blog, to thank for that. She challenges us to keep the creative process flowing as she poses themes each month for artists. We can choose to follow the theme as we make artwork, or not, and then check in for others to see, thus broadening the interactive experience that blogging provides.

The push to create something every day and post the results inspired me as an artist and as a blogger. Connecting with other artists in a virtual community is irresistible. So far, I have explored territory that I would not have explored on my own. I’ve met, corresponded and exchanged art with artists from across the world whom I’ve never met in person and likely never would have even known about without my blog.

Art is all about exchange. As an artist I offer those who view my artwork my imagination, observations, fears, hopes and dreams. In exchange, I seek their interpretation, analysis, wonderment and excitement. This exchange brings the creative cycle full circle. And with each new look at my artwork, the cycle is renewed.

Usually this exchange takes place undetected. However, blogging brings everything to light so that the full benefit of it is clearly realized for both sides.

As I create artwork each week, I post images and write about the inspirations behind the work, as well as the challenges that I faced in creating it. Blog readers comment and tell me what they think of the work, ask questions, and share information about their lives and what inspires them. Sometimes the comments even give me ideas about what I want to create next, or helps me figure out in which direction I should go on a current piece.

Since that first post in 2009, there were more than 7,000 views of this blog and looked at my artwork. That is amazing to me. I would never had been able to reach that many viewers with my work in any other way. 7,000 views?! I’m truly honored.

What about you? Why do you blog?

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Filed under Creative Every Day, Creative process, Inspiration, Uncategorized