And the sometimes surreal mental exercise which painting can be (6th dimension anyone?) and clouds. Just sitting in a cloud, oh wow. So if you'd like to tap your feet and groove a little to this upbeat and odd little number, click on the link below.
The piece finally came together in a big, wonderful way. Whew! A little rest is in order.
Note: no bears were harmed in the making of this piece of art. Unless you count mental bears. Several of those are now hog-tied in the studio. :)
Which means the seascapes have overflowed onto the life drawings, and further confirms my belief that life is like a Family Circus cartoon, where one glance in another direction leads us on a meandering, adventure-filled trail leading exactly where we need to be.
"Petunia" and "Peter"- mixed media on board, each 11" x 11". Can be framed or leaned against a wall upon a shelf. Available here and at Artfinder.
Fiona and I scored some amazing boards at a reclaimed materials shop last month. These little gems are porous even after a coat of gesso, so I experimented with a ton of layers leading to this patchwork effect.
Unlike all the other creatures in the studio, rabbits are fairly silent by nature, so these two have been playing quietly while the monkeys swing from the lights and make paint footprints on the walls in a cacophony of shrieks and hoots. Remind me to only paint quiet critters in the future. :)
This month I am LEAPING into an online course with Irish painter Pauline Agnew. This course runs through the month of February, and is already making me stretch after just two days! Don't let the lilting Irish accent lull you into thinking Pauline is an easy instructor....oh no! But she does provide excellent tutorials and understands that most of don't want to buy an entire art store of materials to take a class.
First up we learned to capture the energy and emotion of the sea with loose charcoal (and chalk, in my case) sketches on large sheets of paper. Next up was mastering an app (NOTAN) which allows you to slide the grey scale around on your photos and sketches to create a blueprint for value in your work. Then small watercolor scenes, trying not to lose the looseness.
Already my brain is humming and the monkeys are running amok with ideas. No time to type! Back to the paint I go!
Easier said than done, I know
But there is a creative freedom in not giving a rat's bottom what others say. You are free to follow your muse, wherever she goes. And sometimes, that trail leads to something spectacular, and the road less traveled was the ONLY way to get there.
The author of the blog post leaves us with three important points to remember:
Different can be good.
The work of your heart is the work only you can bring into the world.
Respect your process.
Now go out there and let your wild heart play any way it wants to. Because M. Night Shyamalan says so. :)
It is both comforting and funny how many people I bumped into in that sandy heap on the shore. So many stunned surfers in the world. Trying to make sense of things. A mini crash tribe was formed, and I think each of us became a little less confused when we processed our experiences together.
This wearing away, eroding, shaking up and sifting out - it is a theme oft repeated in my life, and one I hear in the stories shared by others. We're becoming polished, smooth and silky, like tumbled stones (I had a rock tumbler years ago, and I can tell you, not only do they make a racket, but it takes a LOT of tumbling to make things smooth).
Maybe this is what it takes to make us both "more resilient and tender" (Nepo again) simultaneously.
This piece developed from a gesture during a recent life drawing session. To me, she depicts perfectly a woman recovering on the shore after a few rows with the currents of life.
Huge thanks to all the participants in Sunday's storytelling challenge! Your comments, emails, texts and phone calls were so very welcome. And your stories are magnificent. My amazing intern, Fiona, selected a winner from all the entries (thank goodness I didn't have to pick!) Congratulations, Dana, your story was the winner! Pongo is preparing your art print for shipping now.
Last week, my super intern worked on telling her story, which is a key part of marketing as an artist. It's a simple formula that takes all the messy complication out of figuring out your tale. A Mad Lib of sorts, from the ever inspiring Austin Kleon in his book, Show Your Work. It goes like this:
Once upon a time, there was (fill in the blank)
Every day (fill in the blank)
One day (fill in the blank)
Because of that (fill it in)
Because of that (you know what to do here)
Until finally (finish it with gusto!)
My story, for example, might be this:
"Once upon a time, there was a girl who was banned from art forever by her very own mom. Every day she went to work as a banker, one of the least creative jobs on earth. One day, a friend dragged her to an art class. Because of that, she discovered an incredible new world where no one could be banned and playtime and work time were all mixed into one sandbox. And because of that, she tackled art instructors to the ground, insisted on extreme lessons and practiced and doggedly pursued her craft until finally she became a real, live artist and lived happily ever after in a wild state of play."
It is a super simplified way to figure out the answer to the question "what's your story?" and can be used for pretty much any field you happen to pursue. Give it a try! My intern, Fiona, insists I reward one lucky Mad Libber for their efforts. So post your story in the comments below, and one inventive storyteller will be selected by Fiona to win a whimsical art print to be packaged by Pongo and delivered by pigeon (or postman) to their door. Ready? GO!
For some groovy reprinted whatnots which require no story writing whatsoever, check out my newly revamped store at Redbubble.
There comes a point along the path where you just have to go it alone.
And by "alone" I do not mean by yourself, without support, without friends, without the comfort of being with someone. By "alone" I mean without the many experiences that may have wounded you and continue to haunt you. The experiences which give you pause, make you hesitate, send you running for that thing you do to make yourself feel better, whatever that is.
What would you do if you could leave all that baggage behind? Oh sure, keep your wisdom and strength and compassion and all the positive things which that stone of sadness seeded inside you. But if you could leave the weight of it - that coil of fear and insecurity and mistrust - what would you do?
We lost Mary Oliver this week. A woman whose words touched as hands cannot. I think of her now soaring in the ever-after, a stream of unfettered words and wisdom swirling in galactic vapors, freed from gravity. I am grateful for these weighty gifts she left behind.
Jen Walls and her imaJENation