So I thought today I’d share a couple recent pieces that I finished and show a bit of the stages it went through along the way. Both these pieces are currently hanging in the gallery at the Blackford County Art Center in Hartford City, Indiana in my show titled “”Cairns & Other Repurposed Treasures” – along with another 26 pieces that are part of my “Wood | Stone | Metal” series. The beginning inspirations were a set of rocks that I painted last month:
In addition to those larger, detailed pieces I also had painted several batches of smaller, colorful, messy, drippy, watercolored stones:
Deciding on the composition is a trial and error process for me, first one layout, then another, tweeking the arrangement and inclusion of stones and material as I progress. This shows an early layout vs. the final version for each of the two pieces.
The third rock in the set is still in the studio, waiting for inspiration to lead me to it’s final destination, who knows where it will end up!
So the last month or so I’ve been yearning to get back to being creative on a much more consistent basis. You know, like daily. 🙂 A friend of mine found this wonderful challenge page that just seems to fit the bill. One, it’s low-pressure and (most importantly) it’s not just a single media but ALL creativity. You know that fits well with my meandering bend! Here is a link to the page if you are interested in signing up as well:
I recently found out about an awesome art challenge that I plan on participating in this summer. “Index Card A Day” (ICAD) is a 61 day challenge that gets you to exercise your creative muscles each day during the months of June & July! Just a note – this is NOT my brain child (I wish!) it’s all part of the Daisy Yellow blog and it’s creator. You’ll find details, inspiration and prompts for creativity on that site. They’re also on Instagram and have a Facebook page for this challenge if you want to follow along there.
What I’d like to do is encourage you to play along and will help get you ready for this challenge by providing a set of index cards and some fun marking tools. I’ll include blank index cards for you to do your own thing plus some that have gelli printed backgrounds on them to get you started when you need some inspiration. Here are some of the cards I printed in the studio yesterday:
Along with sending you the cards I plan on adding in a dual-tip black Sharpie (how could I not?), a mechanical pencil and my favorite gel pen – a black “glaze” by Sakura, as well as a clear glaze pen so you can add some shiny “pops” of highlight to your creations.
As you can see, I’ve got two sets to give away – one set to someone who leaves a comment on this blog post and one set for a commenter on my Facebook page. No strings attached! And, yes, you can comment both places to double your chances! Of course I’ve got a couple “strings attached” ways for extra entries too. 🙂 If you’ve not subscribed to this blog yet, that can earn you two additional entries (click on the “sign me up” button at the top/right of this page) and if you’ve not signed up for my newsletter that will get you another two entries.
SO? Wanna play? I hope so! I’ll be selecting the random winners on Tuesday morning, May 19th so I’ll have time to get the packages shipped to you before the challenge begins (yes, it’s even free shipping!). Good luck!
For more info about this challenge click this image to visit the FAQ page at Daisy Yellow:
Getting back to sharing the process images of the artwork I created for last November’s show at ArtSplash Gallery in Carmel, Indiana.
All the pieces had materials and inspiration drawn from nature, this particular piece started as a fallen branch that my grandson found for me while he was playing back in our woods. I was given instructions to “make some art” with it, so that’s what I did.
Most of the bark had fallen off, whatever hadn’t I striped and then smoothed off any rough spots. The very bottom of the branch was split so I ended up cutting that portion off. I still ended up being four foot in length! After it was cleaned up I began adding designs to it in black.
Once the entire piece was covered then it was time to fill in the designs. Much of it was done using Pitt Artist markers, which lay a nice layer of India ink into tiny places. The black & white areas were painted with F&W artist acrylic inks with designs added on top of the white sections with Gelli glaze pens.
After the painting was done it was looking pretty good but I just felt like it was too tall & skinny and needed a little variety to it, width wise. Out came the drill and I (carefully!!) drilled holes in it, gradually using larger bits until I could fit this aluminum wire through, bending and curling it in different directions until I was happy with it.
Ta-da! This is one of several “branch” pieces in the body of work. I’ll be posting more down the line.
I am going through and updating, deleting and generally spiffing up my blog. After 800+ posts and seven years, I’m sure this is past due! Thanks to the fabulous Alyson Stanfield and her Art Biz Blog for the prompt! I’m guessing no one needs to see old announcements about upcoming classes and shows that happened years ago so those will be the first things to go. In the meantime I’m revisiting a lot of posts that I’d forgotten about.
When I ran across this one I knew I wanted to share it again and knew exactly what images I wanted to match with it! When I posted this original poem in 2008 I hadn’t yet reach a stage in my blogging adventures to even know how to add images along with the words. Which ended up working perfectly because I hadn’t yet created these digital drawings. I don’t share much of my poetry, this is the only one that made it to the blog and, as perhaps you might notice, I’m not necessarily in my happy place when I write it. I can’t recall ever feeling so happy I just had to write a poem about it! 🙂 During this one I was feeling creatively blocked as well as struggling with some life issues that wanted to overwhelm me. I’m glad I’m not in that place anymore! When I re-read it today I relate it more to the wintertime and all the things laying dormant under the snow waiting to be released into the sunshine to grow and flourish. I’m more than ready for that to happen as I gaze out the window at all the whiteness surrounding us today!
Fragile shoots of creative inspiration creeping from between the cracks
in monotonous everyday life. Some struggle tenaciously for existence
most wither quickly, life choked from them suffocating in the climate
they were born.
Those that endure the harsh beginning required to grow without nourishment,
pushing past smothering layers of daily tedium. Cautiously they proceed,
death waiting, grasping, determined to wedge them under layers
Scarcely any will survive the journey despite their most valiant efforts.
Their route chaotic with sights & smells. The dead, decaying predecessors
strewn recklessly along the way. A frightening path, even for the resolute.
Struggling to outrun the stench of failure the most resilient push forward,
hoping that the next layer, or perhaps the next, will release them from
this nightmare. Slowly, tentatively they surface, grasping their
hard earned freedom.
Fresh air & sun caresses them and, though they are few, they sprout
and blossom a furious riot of brilliant colors. A kaleidoscope
of leaves and blossoms fed from the flesh of dead ancestors
lying beneath the uncaring layers of life.
Tiny seeds drop working their way slowly down below the tiers
of dullness and predictability, dormant. Waiting in dream-laced limbo.
Flashes of life-giving inspiration ignite them,
beginning another perilous journey upward toward the warm, inviting rays.
If you’ve followed my blog for a while you probably know I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. I try my best not to set myself up to fail if I can avoid it, and that’s just what I’d be doing with a resolution! BUT, I do choose a word or two to focus on during the new year. Although they might sound a bit counter-productive they related to different aspects of my work & life and both rang true with me very quickly for a change.
Firstly, in regards to my art, my word is “Experiment”. Of course I had to create an image to keep my word in mind:
I’ve spent several years trying to define myself as an artist, with a style or medium or something easily identifiable but for the life of me once I’ve found something I enjoy I work it for a while and then I’m ready for a new challenge. What once excited me and I was happy creating now brings less joy. I’m very glad that I followed the path but I’m ready to choose a new one! So instead of listening to the “shoulds” of the art world I’m going to embrace what comes naturally to me and experiment with what inspires me without placing any restrictions on it. It’ll be a surprise to both of us what I end up doing!
My second word is aimed more at my art BUSINESS (and to a certain extent, my personal life as well), and it is “Focus”. I am so easily distracted (see above) and always seem to be looking five items down the line instead of completing what needs to be done at the moment. Creatively, that’s probably okay. As far as marketing, promoting, applications, paperwork, blogging, website updates and running a business, well…not so much! Often it seems I’ve lost hours (if not an entire day) without accomplishing the items that I set out to do. Add that to my tendency to procrastinate and I feel like I spend a lot of time putting out fires of my own creation. I distract myself AWAY from creating art on many occasions! So, in order to really fulfill the creative part of my life I’m going to do my best to focus when I’m working on the non-creative so I can get it out of the way and get back to what I was put here to do!
Do you have any goal, focus words or resolutions for 2015? I’d love to hear about them!
It seems like the prep and creativity for the new show in November centered around rocks! I’ve had a blast exploring on the different ways they can be painted, colored and incorporated into artwork. Here are a few images of my explorations, I’ve left a pencil in the photo of several to give you a gauge of the sizes.
How I’m incorporating these into my artwork? Aaaah, well, you’ll just have to wait and see. 🙂 In the meantime I can tell you that, after some requests, I’ll be scheduling a couple of workshop in the next month or two so YOU can create your own art on stones. Look for those to be posted soon!
Okay, so I know I’ve been trying to catch up with all the upcycled/recycled artwork from last year but in the meantime I’ve been doing some other fun art so I thought I’d take a little “time out” and share something new with you before we finish up with the last half-dozen or so pieces from last year. My obsession with trees continues, both in my art and at home. Both in the form of bonsai trees! I’ve adopted a little juniper bonsai tree and have two other types I’m trying to grow from seed (as I wait impatiently for sprouts!). I’ve always loved the “personality” of trees, how they branch this way and that, twist, lean and each just seem to have a story to tell us if we listen closely enough. With the way bonsai trees are pruned and trained into such interesting shapes I suppose it would be inevitable that I wouldn’t be able to resist them and, after trying for several years, I gave in. My sketch book is slowly filling up with trees from my imagination and now I am producing some in a more presentable manner. The first three started together with a (very) rough outline of the trucks and limbs.
From there I added some softly blended layers of color to the background areas.
After that dried I began adding the areas where the leaves would fill in the image.
I am always amazed at how much difference adding some shading can make in an image. Suddenly the tree has some dimension and looses that flat feeling!
If you know how I like to make art you might have guessed what happened next. Yes. Doodling, Zentangles, whatever you want to call it…lots of tiny detailed patterns!
After the patterns were all added then came the color! I’ve clumped together the rest of the progression shots, you can click on them to enlarge the images and scroll through at your leisure.
All of which leads us up to the finished image:
Since this is the first one that I finished I took lots of progress shots with my camera. When I share the other two finished pieces there is not near as much to see!
Well I’ve chosen my words for 2014, the first two took a while to nail down and just when I thought I was set a third popped into my brain and just won’t leave. So I guess I’ll have three words to focus on in 2014. In some ways they overlap but each resonates with me in a different way! I’m starting with one that is popular with many people, SIMPLIFY. As the last year entailed uprooting from a home we’d lived in for 32 years there has been a lot of packing, sorting, recycling and discarding going on. But not enough! I still find my closets stuffed with items I don’t care for, boxes full of items waiting to find a place (I’m thinking someone else’s place!) and some re-arranging of the items I did keep needs to be done to make life flow more easily. Not only is there home-type items on the simplify list but also artistic, business, personal items and schedules that need to be pared back as well. I’m getting excited just thinking about it. I keep referring back to last year’s word, Haven, and ready my description of what I think a haven should be. Simplifying will help me get there!
The second word on my horizon is TRANSFORM.
It’s something I’ll be working on in several different areas and levels of my life. I feel like I’ve been stagnant, just in a holding pattern, waiting for the “right time” to change things up. There’s no better time than now! Art-wise the transformation of an old garage space into my studio space began last fall, with the first of four projects being complete. In that it was also the largest of the four projects we are probably more like half-finished at this point. But there is still lots of transforming to be done, even after the construction phase! I also have been in dire need of some physical transforming, so I’ll be tackling that too. I feel better just thinking about it, just think how good I’ll feel once I finally DO something about it! Which leads to my last word, the one that won’t leave me alone. For some it may not have the impact that it does for me but becoming more ASSERTIVE is a huge step in my life.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been a peacemaker, a fixer, a soother, doing whatever it takes to make sure others are happy, no one is ever mad. Any kind of turmoil or confrontation was to be avoided at all cost. To be honest I’m tired of it. Tired enough to think making a change would be easier than continuing! I’ve already practiced a few times this year. 🙂 (Yes I realize it’s only the 3rd of January!) The world did not come to an end and it felt GOOD. It may not always but I’m ready to try. I’ll need to be assertive for the transformations I’ll be undertaking this year so it goes nicely with that word too! As I kept having assertive come up over & over I also ran across this meme, which says it best:
So, there you have it – no settling allowed!
What words speak to you this year? Hold them close and find all the ways to use them.