Monday, September 29, 2008

That Mitchell and Webb Look

I love British comedy. It's always been a weakness of mine. From Monty Python, to Black Adder, the Young Ones and the Office. Now, comes That Mitchell and Webb Look.

This is one of my favorite skits of all time (or at least of the moment). Lesson to be learned? It's all about your perspective. Enjoy!

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Series – Music and Memory

I'm focusing on loosening up. It's refreshing to get back to how I used to go about painting. It's a process of being aware of my surroundings, listening and responding to music, making marks and letting the piece grow organically from there. Marks and thoughts create associations allowing images, symbols and layers (both figuratively and literally) to develop.

For each new piece I'm listing a series of influences that led to the final image. It's a tremendously exciting way to paint for me, because each time I sit down to create a piece I have no idea where I'm headed. Like each piece is an adventure. Instead of a scary blank white canvas, it's like setting off on a journey.

Here are the first two pieces I've made available.

Lovely Moments

So yesterday I had the joy of taking two hikes in the woods near my home. First, in the early morning when the sun was filtering through the trees and all the chipmunks were about. Second, in the late afternoon. Both were gorgeous journeys and had their own unique qualities. Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera with me. In lieu of that, here are some photos taken by my husband in the spring.

And... the other artist that shares my studio. He's a slacker.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Archival Prints on Etsy

After much (and I mean months) of deliberation I've decided to make some archival prints of my favorite pieces available on Etsy. Does this mean that I won't offer as many originals? Heck No! I plan to keep producing more lovely originals. The prints will provide more affordable options for folks seeking to bring some colorful funky art happiness into their home.

And now a longtime favorite of mine... Eggs! (so cute and twisted on Youtube)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Challenges and Inspiration

So far I am finding a few interesting challenges in my day-to-day life as a stay at home artist.

1. Knowing when to take a break, relax, and NOT work.
2. Keeping things in perspective.
3. Reminding myself not to devalue my work. It's very very difficult to put a price on one's own work. Especially art. Design, not so much. It's a simple equation there. Not so easy on a painting. Somehow the "per-hour" rate doesn't feel right. A very tricky thing and any input from folks who've figured it out would be appreciated!

So those are the challenges. What is the inspiration of the moment?
Chateau de Mayragues

2. The audiobook version of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.

And new stuff!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Supply Shopping Wonderland and my Studio

Today I went shopping for art supplies. I caved in, succumbed and spent (probably too much!) on a bunch of new acrylics and canvases and all sorts of goodies. I love Pat Catan's! Just walking through the isles and isles of supplies (both art and craft) inspire me to think beyond my normal boundaries and way of working. Here are some photos of what I got and how my studio space/office is becoming more and more my home:

MINI CANVASES! So unbelievably adorable. I can't wait to experiment with these.

This wall has my Gorey print (thank you mommy!) as well as my favorite little Feltidermy by GirlSavage, and a mirror from Mexico (thank you mommy-in-law).

Yay Liquitex! This is the same case I've used since OU. Wow. I found some funky stuff at the bottom.

My desk and table.


And most importantly, my fuzzy Maxi Muse.

Oh... and a couple of new birdie paintings are available on Etsy!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Web site is LIVE

Yay! After some deliberation and rumination, is finally live! I invite you to check it out and let me know what you think.

And hey, if you need any design work done and if you mention my blog, I'll give you a 25% discount on your first graphics project. Everyone loves a deal!

New Pieces and a Sunday Showcase

I've added a few new pieces to my store and hope to add at least another 4 by Sunday. I'm trying out the Etsy showcase to see if I can increase traffic. Ah, marketing, you necessary evil, you!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

African Art Gallery Talk at the College of Wooster

Today I had the pleasure of attending a free gallery talk at the College of Wooster Art Museum. It was such a treat. I miss being immersed in that environment. It's funny how differently I look at things now than how I did when I was studying art history for a minor. Then it was pure knowledge, critical, and academic. I have a gut reaction now, responding in such a personal way. Something like African Art, (most of the objects were from the 20th century) can be just as inspiring to me now as Basquiat, or Kandinsky. I think I have a more open mind.

More about what I found interesting and inspiring:

Masks. Lots and lots of masks. Their complexity as functional/audio-visual/spiritual/cultural objects in African society. Unlike any Western material good. Amazing. They are beautiful simply from an aesthetic standpoint (I particularly was drawn to the geometric/abstract ones), but they hold so much more symbolism, representing life, death, gender duality, on and on... Here are some images from the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art:

"'If you pick a good tree, you get a push.' – This Akan proverb describes how making good choices attracts the support of others." (from the College of Wooster Art Museum Web site.) That really struck home for me, right now in my life, after making such a life-changing decision and continually worrying that I made a bad decision. What hit me, rather like a ton of bricks, was that I believe I did pick a good tree because I've been getting that push from so many people and circumstances. What a nice moment.

Comparative Images

Wow. What a difference between my camera and my scanner! Check out this comparison. The scanner can't even come close to representing the true range of values and tones in the watercolor paint, particular on the light end.
I suggest clicking to enlarge in order to see the detail:
I think it's the most evident in the last example. The pieces show soooooo much more depth. even the color is so much more accurate. I would like to try some high end scanners some time to compare, but for now I'll stick to the camera. If anyone knows any high quality scanners, I would love to know about them!

Anyway, listings on etsy are updated with the new images! Enjoy...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pandemonium and Inspiration

This weekend I attended an artistically amazing and enjoyable event at Cleveland Public Theatre. Pandemonium 2008. An apt name for an evening of being fully immersed in performance art, live music, theater, poetry and amazing people watching (not to mention fabulous food from local restaurants and an open bar). If you want to know more about it, check out the Spangle Magazine article by Tim Marshall. Observant readers will find me in the photo gallery. (Hint, I'm holding a Magic Hat beer, but who isn't?)

It was a blast of a party, but I wanted to mention the event because of how inspiring it was. To be around so many creative, artistic people and supporters of the arts was invigorating. It was the injection of passion that I needed this weekend. It's so difficult to be an artist in a vacuum. Working from home, doing freelance design and art in a small community (though I must admit that Wooster is positively thriving culturally for a small town in Ohio), is challenging. Aside from missing the constructive critique dialog that artists need to grow, I miss the camaraderie of being surrounded daily by other creatives.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Creative Block and Breaking Through

There is nothing more paralyzing and distressing than sitting down to create and having absolutely no inspiration, no idea of where to start, nothing. It's terrifying. Sometimes it is best to just walk away. "Step away from the canvas, ma'am. There's nothing to see here." At other times it is better to slog through and force yourself to do something, anything, just to keep going.

Here's an example of forcefully pushing through... and crashing and burning. Over-thinking, over-doing, trying too hard and ending up with something that is just too much. Although, I have to admit that the day after, it's nearly as bad as I originally thought.

And, conversely, here is an example of pushing through while
letting go. It's amazing the difference it makes. Letting go isn't always easy. In fact, it's often quite challenging. But, I'm happy with the results and I hope to pursue this direction. It isn't deep, conceptual or particularly ground breaking. But, it's pretty, and gosh darn-it I felt good doing it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Link Love and Inspiration

As I stated in an earlier post, I've been blessed my whole life with creative people surrounding me. You all know who you are! I hope to give a little link love to those with a web presence in the near future.

First, Connie. What can I say? I'll let her words and works speak for themselves. She is an inspiration and a role model of creative diligence and passion. Dirty Footprints. Check out her Blog and Etsy Shop. She rocks. If you ever need a little nudge to keep moving forward with your dreams, read some of her wise posts. Here are some of my favorite images:

And if you are in need of some seriously spunky social and political wit and cutting commentary, Cause for Concern is the place to be. My dear friend Ricky Shambles has a way with words. Here's a taste of his creative writing.
Always good for a laugh, always good for gettin' the old blood a boilin', I'm an avid reader.

And if you are not already familiar, I present a partner in creativity, io. Enjoy his insanity on myspace. It's difficult to put into words how I feel about it, so just listen and read.

Thank you to all my creative friends and I hope to share more with everyone soon!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Breathe Some Life Into It

A fun new surreal piece. I'm planning to add new photos of the current pieces to my shop when my digital camera returns. It provides slightly more accurate tonal ranges and color than my quickie scanner. Stay tuned...

New ACEO and my pick for president

Here's a quickie for your enjoyment at Etsy:

And, don't forget to get out and vote. Brad Esposito, baby! If you've not seen this yet, laugh and enjoy:

Also, what the people on the street are saying about the candidates:

Andy and Scott! rock.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Spine, Monkey Torture and How I've Come Full-Circle

Wow. I just came across a serious blast from my cheesy past. I dug up a bunch of old sketches and issues of a collaborative zine I put together with my friend Jazmine in high school (hopefully she won't mind me posting this! I'll keep it to my contributions to be fair). Here are a few tasty tidbits of teenage angst, social outrage, geeky romantic notions of art and being (ahem) an uber-goth. We're talking '94-'95. Awesome funny. But first, Monkey Torture! (probably the coolest radio show ever on the East Green at OU... wink wink to the Deb!)
And now I bring you Spine. The cover of issue #2 and a few selections from issues 2-4. (click for a better view)

Now, the interesting thing about what I rediscovered in these issues of youthful exuberance, is how full-circle my attitude has come. This was all done with a pre-college, thus, pre-art school mentality. 4 years of official BFA painting education kind of sucks the life out of creation and replaces it with notions of "concept," "relevence," and (gag) "is painting dead?" Before college I felt like the act of creation was art, no matter how important or relevent to the "art world." Post-college I had been brain-f'd so many times by concept/material/technique/form/function/post-modern/deconsctruction/Art Forum/finding my voice and place in the art history continuum (argh, my head hurts just writing about it!) that I became virtually paralyzed in my desire to make art. What was I doing? Was I relevent? Was I even talented? These questions and the need to make something "important" kept me from creating AT ALL.*

Essentially, when I left OU and had to make a choice whether to continue down the MFA painting/struggle for a meaningful gallery show in New York route or find something else to do, I opted for that something else, and thankfully so. Graphic design brought my creativity back into focus. I applied it to a goal. Communicating a message, then, in my career, communicating my client's message. And then I started to miss the pure act of creation. Which puts me here, back where I started before all that nonsense and overthinking. I'm painting and drawing whatever I damn well please and couldn't care less whether it's relevent, marketable, important or ground-breaking. I'm making things that make me happy, and hopefully, some others find happiness in exploring them too.

Lessons learned? It's good to laugh at yourself, sarcasm isn't always understood, and I've always been lucky to be surrounded by so many passionate, creative people. Oh, and yeah, we did look silly in the 90's.


*rare moments of letting go and creating did exist
and should I find them I will share them with you.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

An old sketch, a new drawing and high school time capsules

I love going back through old sketchbooks and drawing pads and finding doodles done years ago. It's always interesting to see how one evolves (or doesn't evolve) artistically. Similar to journals or diaries, sketchbooks provide a little glimpse into our past selves. Not as cool as the personal time capsules my high school senior composition teacher had us put together. She actually followed through and mailed them to us five years later. At 17/22, 5 years seemed like forever, and indeed, a lot transpires in those years. Great idea. Kudos!

Here are are two little sketches I found this afternoon while assessing my paper stash. Both are from 2005. The latter was has a bit of history:

Today's new piece is an obsessive drawing. 100 Books. I would love to continue this as a series of drawings... 100 X (x being an object or concept), but I don't know if my wrist will hold out. I debated the addition of color prior to adding this to my shop, but opted for black and white. Opinions?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Enemy of the State

The final piece, now available in my Etsy shop. This was a blast to work on today. And yes, I would love a high end scanner, you just can't get the subtle light tones on this one. Very difficult to capture digitally.

First Day of a New Job

Today is technically the first day of my new job as a self-employed personage of artistic focus. I was late for work.

So far I've discovered, with little surprise, that the biggest challenge for me is to not become distracted by things that need done around the house. Not as easy as it sounds. It's amazing how something like cleaning the bathroom can pull one away from their office/studio.

Here is a sketch for a new painting you might enjoy. Title of the piece will be "Enemy of the State."