Anyone that has been in my studio or my classes, knows that I have been practicing art journaling for several years now. It has gotten me through times when I just didn’t have any fresh new paintings in me. Since I was in elementary school, I have loved collage. I used to make calendars for my mom for Christmas, creating a different theme for each month and hand-drawing the calendar (this was way before Microsoft Word. No PCs in my house). I loved collecting images and then putting them together thematically, and the cutting and pasting is still as thrilling to me as it was in my childhood.
I have a growing collection of vintage magazines, including McCall’s, Good Housekeeping Life, Newsweek and National Geographic. I am interested in the stories as well as the advertising. I honestly don’t know how women made it in the 40’s – 70’s (although many of those same ideals and expectations are still around for us today). But I find the glamour mesmerizing, as well as the rationale that the softness of your hands after washing dishes will positively affect your husband’s desire for you.
In my new Retro Art Journaling class, I’m sharing my vintage magazines with you as we create some fun journals. The base of these journals will be booklet cookbooks, so many of your backgrounds will already be in place. We’ll use collage, paint, markers, gel pens and more to create one-of-a-kind art books. I personally have created a couple of these retro-themed books and have loved it. I know you will, too.
Find out more about this new class by clicking HERE.
Last Friday I went to the opening of the Art in the Metroplex show at the Ft. Worth Creative Arts Center, where my piece “Anomaly” was included in the exhibit.
A tradition in the area since 1983, the show was founded by a group of artists including Beth Lea Clardy, in collaboration with Texas Christian University Art Department faculty and staff. In 2014, the show was moved to the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. This year, over 200 artists entered the competition and Juror Peter Doroshenko of the Dallas Contemporary selected 34 pieces of the 600 submitted. (source: fwcac.com).
The show is up through October 29, so stop by and see it if you’re near downtown Ft. Worth. There are some fantastic exhibits in the nearby museums (including Kahinde Wiley at the Modern), so make a day of it!
Productivity is never pretty around here. Making art is like childbirth to me. I start out hopeful and full of promise. At some point it makes me sick (I call it the “ugly phase”), but I keep going, knowing it’s worth the struggle. And toward the end, I will do anything – endure any torture – to get this thing finished and out of my space.
I have been finishing three new comissioned pieces – I just returned from installing one, and two more are awaiting delivery this week.
Meanwhile, my studio is ashambles. Unlike childbirth, there is no nesting going on here, just complete violent, creative chaos.
As I came back into the studio this afternoon, the amount of stuff I have strewn everywhere is insane. Paint, dirty brushes, bits of cut paper all over the table and floor, awaiting placement on some collage or journal.
Project ideas, notes scribbled on lined paper that was torn out of some book. Scissors, glazing medium, screwdrivers, nails, art supply catalogs, plastic bags, ideas for teaching art projects…
But it means I have been making art, and that is good.
The A/C went out last week, just in time for summer’s last stand. Fortunately, I am married to quite a handy man. He’s helping me out by installing a fan today. Come on, cool weather, I need you.
And, athough I’m exhausted, I’m really thankful for this hot mess of a studio.
If you’ve read many of my posts or been to my place, you’ll see that my garden is an extension of my studio, and a huge source of inspiration and reprieve for me. The studio structure is a converted two-car garage, and when we moved in, there was no garden to speak of. So when we designed the interior space and added a window, the view wasn’t as big of a concern as it should have been. (Hindsight). Fortunately, the garage also had a screened-in porch attached, and that has become one of my favorite places to think.
This weekend, my hubby helped me out by making a little writing desk out of an old wooden palette. It works perfectly in the space, allowing me to overlook the garden and stay mosquito-free at the same time (a huge task around here). He lovingly named it “The Raven” a testament to his sense of humor, and a nod to his inner Mad Hatter.
For some, rainy days and Mondays are big downers, but I happen to love both (However, I currently don’t report to “work” on most Mondays, so that most likely determines my affection). This morning brought spring rains, and I was able to clear my head while enjoying the vibrant beauty of the garden. The birds sang happily. I even made a quirky little poem to memorialize the moment:
And as I’m wrapping up this post, guess who perched outside my back door?
The raven’s unglamorous Texas cousin, the grackle (as seen through the screen, from my new desk).
Seems spring only lasts a couple of weeks here in north Texas. Soon the heat will be sweltering and the humidity high. So on perfect spring days like today, I have the windows and doors open, the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming and the paint is flowing.
Here are some photos of my current solo exhibit, “Look Around,” which opened on Friday, January 9 at thegallery8680. It was a bitterly cold night (by Texas standards), but we still had a great turnout.
Robyn always has the most beautiful reception table — a work of art in itself.
There will be a closing reception this Sunday, January 25 from 2-4pm.
I’ll be sad to take it down – I liked each piece in my studio, but hanging my art in the gallery really transformed the work into a cohesive unit. Here are some pieces that will have a new home after the show.
A change of scenery is good. It stimulates the senses to be in unfamiliar surroundings. I had the privilege this summer to get out of town and take a few small trips, so I thought I’d finally get around to sharing it with you.
My first trip this summer was to see friends in Kansas City. My dear friend Terrin had been telling me for a while about the First Friday art walk in KC, and she had a good feeling it would be something I’d be into. So, I finally made it happen –it was even better than I expected!
It was more like a block party than a gallery walk. But this block party went for blocks and blocks and blocks. The galleries and streets were so crowded, many times we had to make a single-file line just to get through to the next place. I’m not kidding, I’ve never seen so many people out for an art event. They have a lot of good galleries there, all within walking distance, and the atmosphere was fun and casual, not like many of the pretentious gallery walks in Dallas.
For hours, we walked from one street to the next, popping into galleries and seeing a new band performing around every corner. There was the first group of middle-aged performers, happily playing in the corner of a parking lot, while a range of admirers danced to “you can be my bodyguard, and I can be your long lost pal…” Later we were greeted by a slick rock band blaring from a more official-looking stage set up. But probably my favorite was a group of spontaneous break dancers in the middle of the street. Traffic was at a complete stop, and the dancers and the surrounding crowd could have cared less. I was instantly in love with this eclectic mix of people, music and art.
One of my favorite exhibits was by Judy Onofrio at Sherry Leedy Contemporary. My attraction to the sculptural work made up of bleached cow bones was a surprise to myself (and the friends that were with me). Her ability to take jawbones, vertebrae and ribs and turn them into fascinating works of art was pretty exceptional. Most of them were wall-hangings, but there were also some large vase-like structures that were very impressive.
I only snapped a couple of photos, but you can see more of her work at http://www.judyonofrio.com. And — lucky for me– the artist was actually there during the show! I got to meet her and ask her about her process. She told me she has a neighbor that raises cattle and allows her to collect old bones from his fields.
She said that she enjoys all the parts of collecting, cleaning, and bleaching the bones before assembling them into sculptures. Somehow, she has devised a method to conceal all of the joints where the bones are connected, and she told me that’s also a fun process for her. (Thanks to Terrin for snapping a pic of me talking with Ms. Onofrio).
What a fantastic way to start the summer. I’m eager to go back up to KC and do it again soon.
“To have a sacred place is an absolute necessity… You must have a room or a certain hour of the day or so, where you do not know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody or what they owe you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be.”
I set a challenge for myself this month to post on my blog daily, and this, my friends, is the final post for the month of April 2014. I did it!
There were days that were a lot more inspiring than others, some very exciting with good news to share, and others that I just didn’t feel so motivated about. But I’ve found that this has been a really good exercise for me — it has kept me focused each day, because I knew I would need to share something interesting each day with you.
Just like my journals, my blog posts are a good resource for me to see what was going on in my life at a particular time.
An overview of this month’s posts:
I have gotten to share some of my visual journals with you, which until this month I hadn’t published online. Posting on my blog daily has encouraged me to finish some of those journal pages that I had started but had been dragging my feet on finishing. See awesome april posts # 1822, 23, 25 and 27 for new journal entries, and I have a new visual journals page that I’ve been adding to all month.
I shared things that inspire me along the way(days # 5, 6, 7, 14, 20, 28) and the advice I would give to my artist self 20 years ago (#16).
My trip to Europe is officially on the books, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. It’s been 10 years since I traveled overseas, so I’m happy to have something fantastic to look forward to next year.
You got a few glimpses into my studio (day # 10, 15, 26, 28), and the studio of my friend Jennifer Cowley (day #2). I also shared a few of my art friends (day #11 and # 24), as well as some of my students’ work in progress (day #3).
I’ve had a great month getting my work out there. I revealed the news that I was selected to complete a public art mural for McKinney this spring. ( I’m still waiting on a start date, and I’ll keep you all posted on the latest developments with that project). Meanwhile, I’ve also sold a few paintings this month, and been selected for a juried show.
Thanks to all of you who have been reading my blog this month, and to my new ‘followers.’ As always, I’d love to have comments from you on any of the posts.
I have been layering found images into my paintings for the last several years, but sometimes I wanted the paint to have more surface texture. There are many additives you can put into acrylic paint, but most of them either take a lot of layers to build up a thick surface, or they are opaque. I wanted the texture, but still with transparency. Enter encaustics!
I have admired encaustic work for some time – it has a very deep, luminous quality — but wasn’t quite sure how the process worked. So, I took a couple of classes over at The Encaustic Center in Richardson and immediately knew this was a medium that I could continue to experiment with.
What is encaustic? It is painting with heated beeswax! It’s an old method that has been around at least 2500 years, and was used by the Greeks and Egyptians for painting everything from boats to portraits. Find out more about the history of encaustic painting HERE.
Probably one of the most notable artists from the past 50 years that employed encaustic painting in his work is Jasper Johns, famous for his paintings of maps and the American flag.
I make my encaustic medium (beeswax + damar resin) in a large electric skillet. I then use oil paints to add the color (pigment) to the clear medium. I have a separate griddle for this, with 16 oz. ink tins lined up with the colors I want to use. This is the same setup used at the Encaustic Center, and in most books and articles I’ve read on encaustic painting. Some artists buy their encaustic paint already made (R & F has some really good paints), but they are very expensive.
What I love about encaustic is it’s a very fast, spontaneous medium. It dries quickly (think of how fast candle wax hardens), and can be used for both additive and subtractive techniques. You can also layer paper into your work easily — including drawings, photographs, collage, ephemera, etc. Imagine how exciting this was for me, as I love to glue all kinds of things into my paintings! To have a true “encaustic” painting, you have to fuse each layer together, slightly re-melting each layer to make sure it adheres to the one below it. I use a heat gun most of the time, but have just started enjoying using a torch as well. (However, when I add paper, I try to keep the torch far away).
In my newest series, I drew with charcoal or pastel onto tissue paper, then layered those drawings into my paintings using clear encaustic medium (clear paint, with no pigment added). The tissue paper became so transparent, that you can hardly detect the edges in the painting. It allowed me to “float” my drawings on top of previous layers of collage and paint. And the drips are now in 3D!
I just added a few more encaustic pieces to my web site, which you can find HERE.
And I’m happy to announce that two of my larger encaustic paintings were accepted into the 125 Juried Art Show, which opened yesterday. The show is at The ARTS Gallery at Collin College, 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano, TX 75074. The show runs April 28 – May 17, with a reception on Thursday, May 8 from 5:30 – 7:30pm.
There’s nothing like new art materials to make me excited. I just got some new paint sticks last week, and have been looking forward to this week – lots of studio time. Tomorrow is the day!
I’ve been using these a lot with my encaustic work, but also love to draw with them in my oil and acrylic paintings.
I also use oil sticks for many of my drawings on paper.
I finally made some new cradled panels this weekend, too. Thanks to my hubby for his help with these (or for letting me help him — he’s so much better at mitred corners than I am).
I made these underpaintings a few months ago, but now that I have the cradles on the back, they are ready for me to layer paint and color. Who knows how much of my original painting will even be visible when I’m done (probably not much). I can’t wait!
While some of my art journal entries use images of people and things, many of them are simple, stream-of-conscious designs . I tend to use a lot of circles.
This is from my first visual journal (an altered book). The background is made by tearing out phone book pages and layering them over the existing book. I then glued on patches of pink tissue paper. I used transparent green glazes to add a contrasting color, then opaque white to balance the black charcoal.
Although this isn’t an image of a real “thing”, to me it reminds me of a totem, a pair of eyes, or even an abstracted female figure.
Like this? You can see more of my art journals HERE — updated frequently.
Sometimes in life I get very focused on the goal, the outcome and the purpose. I forget that the point of all of this is the journey — our little experiences that make up life.
The same is true for my life in the studio. Sometimes I spend too much time thinking about the finished product, rather than clearing my mind and thinking only of the materials before me. When I do get to that point of clarity, my work is better, more creative and a purer reflection of my intent.
I made this prompt for myself a while back. It hangs on my screened porch at the entry of my studio, reminding me that the true point of my art is the process itself.
Today I thought I’d share a blog about some of my art friends. These are all artists that I appreciate not only for the quality of their work, but also their work ethic. And they happen to be really cool people, too. Click on any of the images to find out more about that artist.
This is from my first visual journal, which is actually an altered book. I gessoed out the pages before adding acrylic, collaged photocopied images, collaged wallpaper, watercolor and permanent marker. See more of my visual journals HERE.
The mother and child image is universal to all cultures, and is always one that is close to my heart.
What are some of your favorite topics for your visual journals? I’d love to hear your comments!
Today I’m sharing some of my most recent Artist Trading Cards. I still have some of the Joie de Vivre images left over from some wallpaper sample books (see my post on Domestics for more). They’re just the right size for my mini works of art. Pair the “joy of life” images with interesting text, and you have a recipe for fun. Click on any image to open a slide show of this series.
Personally, I Drink Coffee, ATC via freshpaints.com
What do you mean?
All ATCs are 3.5 x 2.5.” See my ATCs page for more of my trading cards.
I’ve never really considered myself a gardener. My mom had a nice vegetable garden and pretty plants around the house, but I didn’t ever want to help out with that growing up (teenagers). On my own, I can’t seem to keep house plants alive. I tried a vegetable garden a couple of years ago, and was very unsuccessful. Last year I limited my vegetable gardening to three tomato plants, which yielded two tomatoes total all summer. Although that was a 100% increase from the prior year – if I kept it up, I might have enough for a couple of nice salads in a few years — I think I’ll just stick to the farmer’s market.
I have a lovely location between my house and my studio that was calling for vegetation, so I decided to try a perennial garden last year. I tried to plant a lot of things that were hardy for this weird north Texas weather, using my friends at Shades of Green as an expert resource. The area is shady at high noon, but gets good morning sun, and the north end gets afternoon sun as well.
After a particularly cold, harsh winter, the garden is growing back!
I’ve also added a few new friends.
Fall used to be my favorite season, with the cool breezes coming after a harsh Texas summer. But now, I think Spring has taken the top spot. I love going through the garden each day, seeing what is sprouting or blooming. It’s usually the first thing I do in the morning. I also use the garden as a place to reflect, notice the details and colors of nature, listen to the birds, and give my mind a rest if I’ve been working on a difficult project.
I also think it makes a nice entrance to my studio.
As I was making pies tonight, I thought I’d share with you an awesome story.
I had the privilege of growing up right next door to one of the greatest women I’ve ever met – my Granny. She was the hardest working person I’ve known, too, and had such a positive influence on everyone around her.
Growing up, I knew she was special – people would drive for miles to get one of her pies. She would make anywhere from 10 to 20 a day, and sell them from her house or over at my uncle Tommy’s store. She would get up while it was still dark outside, and have her kitchen clean by the time most of us were getting out of bed. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, she made dozens of pies for weeks, covering her whole house with boxes of special orders. She wanted to make sure that anyone who asked would have the perfect dessert for family gatherings. She averaged up to 3000 pies a year, and kept this up well into her 80s. She was absolutely amazing.
Almost 10 years ago, I was asked if I would be interested in illustrating a cookbook. I hadn’t done anything quite like that before, but I thought I’d go ahead and try. I ended up illustrating two book covers for Cookbook Resources. The first that was published was for the Illinois Farm Bureau (above). But I actually finished one called Simple Old-Fashioned Baking first. It just took a couple of years before the book was published.
Meanwhile, I got to meet the company’s owner, Sharon Jones, at her office in Highland Village. After chatting for a while we realized we were from nearby towns in Fannin County. I told her that the inspiration for my cookbook cover for Simple Old-Fashioned Baking was my grandmother, who was an excellent cook, and notorious for her baking. I spoke of my grandmother’s hand-written recipe cards that I used for the cover, and how people would drive for hours to get her pies. Then a light bulb went off, and she said, “Your grandmother was the PIE LADY!?” She was very familiar with my grandmother’s work, and decided right then to dedicate Simple Old-Fashioned Baking to her!
I couldn’t have planned that any better, if I’d tried — a cookbook that I illustrated that ended up being dedicated to my Granny. Sharon also went and interviewed my grandmother, and there’s a short biography along with some of her recipes inside the book. I was so proud to get to be a part of this project, and then to have my grandmother celebrated was more than I could have imagined.
Tonight I made three pies using her recipes. It took me about 3 hours, and I (along with my kitchen) was covered with flour when I was done. I don’t know how she accomplished what she did, but I realize now what an artist she was. Every pie she made was delicious and also beautiful. She never used a recipe or really measured anything exactly. She make all of her crusts by hand, and could tell if they were right by “feel.” (Family members had to convince her to write things down for us, so we would have a chance at getting it remotely right).
Well, my pies might not win any beauty contests, but man, they smell good! And they taste almost as good as hers.
So in yesterdays post, I spoke of how journaling has helped keep me sane through the years. About twelve years or more ago, I heard about the concept of “art journals.” I had been doing something similar, but not the the degree of the artist’s I found online – and I was so inspired! I have always liked collage and text, and this was a great way for me to combine both of them.
I began working in an oversized altered book — using gesso to block out a lot of the images and text on the pages. In it, I collaged photographs of Greek and Roman sculptures, stained glass windows, and any type of image that I found interesting. Then I painted, drew and collaged more until the images looked the way I wanted them to. That book, started in 2004, is still a work in progress. Some of the pages are complete, and have come out of the book. But many are still in tact. Some have just the background started, and others are almost finished — just waiting for that final je ne sais quoi.
A couple of years ago, I discovered spiral-bound sketchbooks that have thick mixed media paper, and are marketed as “visual journals”. My first one is filled primarily with just doodling.
As I’ve progressed, and I’ve seen my pages get a lot more colorful and painterly, and I’ve collaged a lot more.
I have four volumes in progress right now, with volume 1 almost complete, and volume 4 in it’s infancy. I’ve just added an ART JOURNAL page to the blog, with galleries from each volume. Stay tuned for more!
A big part of my creative process is journaling — both the longhand-written text kind of journaling, and also visual journaling. I’ll share about the writing part today, and visual journals in tomorrow’s post.
I started keeping a diary as a kid, but didn’t really get into daily journaling until my Junior year in high school. Our teacher made us write journal entries (you know, for a grade), and it soon became my top creative outlet. I not only wrote in my journal, but also cut out magazine articles and newspaper clippings, and made collages and illustrations. I have tons of poems I wrote — a few good ones, and many really sad, desperate teenage girl kind of poems — as well as long, descriptive narratives of my summer days working, dating, getting into trouble and being completely bored.
I kept writing in that journal through my Senior year, and it’s a priceless artifact now, in all it’s 2″ three-ring binder glory. I pulled it out to take photos for this blog post, and have now stayed up most of the night reading it. Fascinating stuff.
It has been interesting to see the world through my own teenage eyes. Some things are much different from an adult’s point of view (Note to past self: “He’s just not that into you”). And then, some things never change. Even then, I had so much I wanted “to accomplish, so many things to do, places to go, people to see…” And I still have a hard time being patient, because I “want to go out and do it all.”
Probably my favorite find was in an entry written at the end of the summer between Junior and Senior year. I had worked all summer at Braum’s Ice Cream Store, and was desperately wishing for school to start back. I’d had enough of sticky sweet customer service, and was convinced that when I grew up “I’m gonna get myself a career that I like.” Amen!
Even now I practice journaling on a regular basis. After reading Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way,” I became re-convinced of the value of writing a few pages of prose every morning, to clear my mind and help me to focus when I’m ready to work. I use it to write goals, hopes, prayers, meditations, frustrations, ideas and grocery lists. It’s also a great way of documenting my life at the moment – you forget so much of the everyday details.
And I find it interesting to see what changes over time and what stays the same.
“It’s one of my theories that when people give you advice, they’re really just talking to themselves in the past.” -Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist
Dear twenty year old self:
Hi, hope you’re having a good day. Looks like your classes are going pretty well. (Don’t worry, sculpture isn’t my thing, either). I will say you need to go to bed earlier, so you aren’t so tired in the mornings. Those early classes are kicking your butt.
I just wanted to tell you that I think overall you’ve done some nice work. Something to keep in mind during critiques: It’s just their opinion. The other kids in class are at the same level as you. And most of them are probably going to end up working in education or some kind of sales job anyway. Do your thing. Keep working hard. Don’t worry so much.
While you’re at it, get to know your teachers. Ask some questions. Go to some art openings. Get involved in the art scene. Those other things you’re into can wait. SHOW YOUR WORK. Keep learning, stay humble, but own it. Stop caring what they think.
Switching from Art Ed to Art History was a pretty good call, I guess, but I know you really wanted to do Drawing and Painting. Well, we know that’s not justifiable to you-know-who, but you’ll get there eventually. It’s going to be an interesting journey for you. You’re going to have to go through a lot of stuff to get there. Don’t give up. And by the time you figure it out, you’ll actually have something meaningful to say.
So keep up the good work. When you’re in the Art Building, take a deep breath and remember that smell — oil paint and potential. And thank that janitor that lets you paint all night there when you’ve got the painting due tomorrow.
Some days are more glamorous than others. There are those days where I announce a big event, get into a show, sell some work, or get to go somewhere exciting. Those are glamorous. Today, not so much. I did get my taxes finished last night (a whole day early), and then spent most of today doing catch up work on emails, filling out online forms, following up with clients, and making a couple of to-do lists. Which led to another to-do list or two.
I think I checked off 3 of the 13 tasks. But they were the three most important things.
One thing I’ve learned about being an artist, is that it takes some planning and patience. And some discipline. It’s definitely not as glamorous as the movies would have you think. Yes, I’m occasionally inspired. Yes, I’m even sometimes tortured (all mental self-infliction). But mostly I have to be self-motivated and wise with how I spend my time. I don’t have the luxury of going crazy (although some say I’ve already arrived at that destination). And I’m not only responsible for myself – I’m also trying to be a decent wife, mom and person in addition to an artist. But that doesn’t make for very interesting movies, does it?
Just for fun, I searched for “tortured artist” and found the wikipedia entry, which has a whole list of examples of tortured artists – including writers, musicians, actors, directors and visual artists – very few of which are women. We ladies have too much to do to stand around being “tortured”. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Technology can be a blessing and a curse, but I think the smartphone has radically altered the way we see the world, or at least the way we record and present our point of view.
Although I don’t consider myself a photographer, snapping photos is a part of my everyday practice of finding inspiration, making connections, and exploring concepts. Here are a few Instagram photos I’ve taken over the past several weeks that interested me for their use of pattern, light, texture, and/or juxtaposition of meaningful objects.
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” – Edgar Degas /blockquote>
I am happy to announce that I have been selected as the artist for McKinney’s first public mural project. Today I was honored to be a part of the official unveiling of my design, during the Arts in Bloom event on the square.
Here you see me with the design, along with some of the Arts Commission members. Left to right is Matthew Bado, myself, Hamilton Doak, vice-chair of the McKinney Arts Commission and owner of Orison’s Art and Framing, and Mayor Pro Tem Travis Ussery. Also in attendance, but not shown: Linda Spina. (A big thanks to Allegra & Helen Minkes for their support and awesome photography skills!)
In addition to the City’s funding, there have been private donors that have also made the mural project in McKinney a reality, so a big “Thank You” is due to everyone who had the vision of bringing a public mural to their city. I’m grateful to have been chosen for the task, and know it will be a fantastic addition to downtown.
I’ve been working on this project for a few months now. After submitting my application in December, I worked on a couple of rounds of designs in January and February. I was notified in March that my design was selected, and I’m waiting to get the go-ahead, once all the details gets cleared through City Council.
For my concept, I went with an Art Nouveau-esque design, inspired by artists like Alphonse Mucha. The design includes cotton fields (a huge part of McKinney’s history), and native wildflowers that have each special symbolism that relate to the downtown area (paintbrush, trumpet vine, wine cup, blanket flower). The actual mural will be even more vibrant and full of detail.
So where will this mural go? Glad you asked! The mural will be on an exterior wall of a downtown building (currently slated to go on the south wall of the Cadillac Pizza building). The finished painting will be 40 feet wide, and about 9 – 10 feet tall, and I estimate it will take 4-6 weeks. I plan on posting pics of my progress along the way, so stay tuned!
While I was there, I enjoyed seeing the other artists working live out on the square. I was excited to meet Lynne Hubner, a very talented and skilled printmaker. I had seen and admired her work before, and she currently has a great exhibit of her prints at the front of Orison’s gallery. She was super nice, and I was even able to pick her brain about some of her printmaking techniques. I’ve got my eye on a couple of her prints……. you can see her work at lynnehubnerprints.com.
And I also had to stop and meet this artist, as I had watched his painting progress over a couple of hours. Being a fan of color, I was impressed with his use of complementary colors (green/red is a difficult combo to make look good, but he’s doing it!), and his expressive use of line. He told me he has a Facebook page of his art, so I’ll need to check that out.
Tonight I got to meet up with some of my fun artist friends at a local hangout here in Frisco, Eight11 Place. They have a great back yard, and it was a perfect evening to sit and sip wine, have a little flatbread and do some art talk.
Eight11 Place opened up in September, and has become one of my favorite places to meet up with friends. It’s in a little historic house on Main Street, and the proprietors, Lance and Ursula Clayton, are fantastically fun people. They are super supportive of local artists, and host new art shows there every couple of months. (I got to show my work there a few months ago). I didn’t know this at first, but Lance and I are both from Fannin County – me from Windom, and he from Bonham – and we know a lot of the same people. And Ursula brings the Austin vibe of casual sophistication into the mix.
Artist’s conversations are so robust and colorful! I enjoyed hearing stories about childhood, travels, jobs, families, art shows, life challenges, and even getting to hear secrets about certain attendees’ former lives of dancing on tables and singing “Moon River.”
I was having so much fun, I only got a few poor snapshots — but here are some of the artists who were there – click their name to see their artwork.
When I took my first painting class at UNT, the TA had us do two black and white paintings – one in acrylics and one in oils. That way we could test out the properties of each before buying a whole set of paints. I picked acrylics, mainly because I’m impatient and messy. And I like the fact that they clean up with water. That whole semester, several of the other students would pass by my easel and say “You look like you’re having fun.” I wasn’t quite sure what they meant, but looking back, I realize that it’s probably because I had paint all over me, as well as my canvases. I’m still like that.
Today I’m sorting through my acrylics to see what needs to be re-ordered. I’ve got several students, and right now they are all painting in acrylics. Funny thing is, now that I’m using encaustics more, I have to use oils because they are compatible with the wax. But I still use the acrylics in my mixed media journals and ATCs. And there are so many additives you can add in to play with the texture, dry time, consistency and transparency, that acrylics are still hard to beat. I used acrylics on the Emotional Landscapes and Domestics series on my web site, and as underpaintings on some of the art in my New Work Gallery.
I guess I’ve mainly stuck with the Liquitex brand, because that’s what I could get my hands on at a decent price at HMS Art Supply store there across from the art building. I like the Heavy Body line – they have good coverage and opacity. A lot of artists swear by Golden acrylics — I have some of theirs, too and really like the quality. And they have a ton of great mediums and additives. I use their glazing mediums to create deep layers of transparent color. I also keep a lot of Basics paint for my classes, as it’s more economical. (See my current classes at freshpaints.com/classes)
So, how about you? Do you use acrylics? Which ones are your favorites?
I found this on Amazon recently, just published this year. I think it was one of their suggestions, based on what I’ve purchased (effective marketing on their part). I had heard of the “Steal Like an Artist” book, yet never read it, but thought I’d take a chance on this one. It was a quick and easy read, and full of helpful things to encourage artists and creative types to promote themselves in this digital world. Many of the things I have been doing and suggesting to others myself, but there were also some chapters that pointed me in new directions. For example, one of the ideas I had been thinking of was to find a month where i would publish my blog daily, and this book helped me to go ahead and commit. Here we are on day 9, and I’m still going strong!
Another book that’s been on my nightstand for over a year is “Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty” by Phoebe Hoban. I read the first third of it pretty quickly, but somewhere in the middle, I’ve lost my mojo. Neel has been one of my favorite painters for a long time, and it’s interesting to see how she got her start, and the obstacles that she overcame to keep making her art.
I have to say, at this point in the book, I am kind of angry with her over her poor choices as a mother (her kids were in terrible health as babies, and her older son was habitually emotionally and physically abused by one of her lovers, with her knowledge). I feel this, while also knowing there is a huge double-standard for female artists in comparison to their male counterparts. (These kids had fathers, too, that didn’t do much to help out). And there are plenty of male artists that are almost never criticized for their parenting abilities — that seems to be irrelevant when speaking of their work as artists. But, nevertheless, I find it interesting how much of her biography is centered upon her responsibilities to her children, and perhaps rightly so. Most of her choices were based on the fact that she had mouths to feed, as well as art to make. Perhaps she did both the best way she knew how.
Just writing about it makes me want to pick it up again and she how she manages to “not sit pretty.” Go girl!
When I was a kid, I used to make calendars for my mom each year for Mothers’ Day. I would hand-draw each month’s dates (there was no Microsoft Office then to help me out), and then collage images at the top, making a theme for each month. There’s no telling how many hours I spent making those, but I really always liked cutting out the pictures and categorizing them, finding connections between the images.
A few years back, I was given an old wallpaper sample book, filled with a French motif called “Joie de Vivre,” (literally “joy of life”) used in English to express a cheerful enjoyment of life; an exultation of spirit.” Much of my art was already contemplating the roles of women, specifically in relation to men, children and the household. As a wife and mother, much of my time is spent taking care of others’ needs and figuring out how to capture this joie de vivre in daily life. As an artist and a female, I find myself questioning the traditional roles of women, constantly assessing my own beliefs versus the values of the community in which I was raised, and those that are commonly accepted in my part of the world. The Joie de Vivre imagery was a perfect fit for a mixed media series I call “Domestics.”
I’m typically a joyful person. I think I’m generally an optimist, and I know I’m definitely an idealist. But I have to say I found some of the images in the joie de vivre wallpaper book to be quite comical, with their corseted milkmaids, singing shepherds and dutiful women going about their chores with cherub-like children dancing around their feet. Is this truly the joy of life? (I personally have not been able to enjoy the task of getting work done whilst tending to my children. Maybe some people are able to find pleasure in that, but it just makes me frustrated).
I’m also intensely interested in the preconceptions our culture has about the male/female relationship, as well as the natural differences in modes of communication and disposition between couples. It looks so simple, when pasted to the bathroom wall, but we all know that it’s much more complicated.
What, then, is the key to a successful relationship? Can we complement each other as equals, or will one always seek to have an advantage over the other? Can we ever truly know another person? Are we ever completely honest, without holding back? If so, is that wise? Can you have a successful career and still maintain closeness with your family? What in daily life can be a source of joy?
Perhaps there are more questions than answers.
“I cannot expect even my own art to provide all of the answers – only to hope it keeps asking the right questions.” – Grace Hartigan
Part 3 of 3 – “keeping your sense of wonder” – the ridiculous
As I explored the fields of antiques, collections and plain-ol’ junk this weekend at the Antiques Weekend in Round Top and Warrenton, I found a lot of things that bordered on the ridiculous.
I found this watercolor on a table of a tent that had been really picked over. I can’t imagine why this gem hadn’t been scooped up yet. But I have to say, it made me laugh. Kudos to the artist for making whatever the heck they wanted to. Looks like a painting done from a photograph of a heavily mulleted and moustached guy, clad in plaid in front of a sculpture of Jesus, which is itself in front of two other paintings, one of a western landscape and one of The King himself. (I imagine the challenge was to see how many clichés one could put into one small work of art). So now I have provided you with a iPhone photograph of a painting of a photograph of a sculpture, two paintings and a guy. And since you can see the reflection of my hands, I guess you could also call it a selfie.
There was a particular tent that gave me a lot of material for the topic of “ridiculousness”. The proprietor was quite a work of art herself. She seemed to have a strange obsession with doll parts, and tended to put doll heads on any vertical type of post she could find.
Although some of my friends on Instagram found this pretty disturbing, I was fascinated. I didn’t find it too scary, but I also didn’t look any of the dolls in the eye and just kept moving.
The same person also had a nice collection of random (mannequin) body parts, carelessly piled on the ground like an open grave.
So what does all of this mean?
As artists, we are often expected to visually make sense of this world. We make a lot of things that make sense only to us. Sometimes there are things that we can’t verbalize, but are still important to our art making process.
Sometimes things just don’t have to make sense. They just make us wonder!
Day 2 of 3 of “keeping a sense of wonder” — the nostalgic
As I mentioned on my previous post, I sometimes have to take myself out of my everyday habitat in order to find that sense of wonder. I headed south for the weekend to Round Top, Texas, famous for their Antiques Week every spring and fall. Ever since high school, I have liked to go to antique shops and flea markets. I remember heading out by myself to the quirky antiques shop on the square in Honey Grove, or the trades day in Bonham. I would wander around, not looking for anything in particular, but would always find weird old things that spoke to me. Of course, these were just gateway junking experiences, grooming me for my first dumpster-diving high during my freshman year of college.
In Round Top & Warrenton, there is always so much to look at. But as a DIY kind of girl, I prefer the fields of random junk over booths of prettied-up crafty things. We found a little treasure amongst the piles of rust — a momento to remind my husband of good times at his Grandma Ginny’s house. He remembers sitting on a similar stool in her kitchen when he was a kid. It’s still really sturdy – they don’t make ’em like they used to. Now, if I can just figure out how she made her fudge so magical.
My main shopping mission this time was to find a set of lockers for my bathroom. After scouring the grounds, I had found three possibilities — but there really was only one that I wanted. So I stalked. I approached. I bargained. I walked away. I came back the next day when they were packing up. I won.
These lockers remind me of the ones I had during junior high. I love the click the latch makes when you pull it up to open the door and the clanking metal when you close them. All I need is a photo montage of Ricky Schroder, Kirk Cameron, Max Headroom, Molly Ringwald, Lisa Bonet and Cyndi Lauper on the inside door and it will be like time stood still. (Hmmmm. Maybe that’s exactly what I’ll do…..)
I didn’t really have a sense of nostalgia when I first started exploring those flea markets and antique stores as a teen, because I’d only been around a handful of years myself. But I did have a fascination with how previous generations used different objects, and I’ve always loved things made of wood and metal. Maybe because I grew up in a generation made of plastic. I didn’t realize at the time that those outings were my early “artist dates,” a time to let my inner artist daydream, imagine and play. And looking at discarded treasures is still a source of inspiration for me. And of wonder……
Part of staying inspired and motivated as an artist is to keep your sense of wonder. I have been working pretty hard in the studio for a while and needed to plan a time to get out and see something (re)new. So here I am in Round Top, Texas today, exploring and being intrigued by the beautiful, the nostalgic and the ridiculous. There is so much to share, it will take me a few days to cover it all…..
First: The Beautiful.
April in Texas is probably my favorite time (I really like late October, too). Things are lush and green, and the wildflowers are profuse, especially in this part of the state. I grew up in a rural area, where there were tons of wildflowers along the roads and highways. I don’t see them as much in suburbia (with the exception of a few yards that have enthusiastic owners who spread seeds each spring), so it’s good to get out and see them in their natural habitat. Bluebonnets in Texas never get old (just don’t ask me to paint them).
We had a fast and furious time of looking at more ‘junk’ than the law allows (more on that next time). After most of the vendors started packing up, we headed over to the square in Round Top and took an early evening stroll. It is the most picturesque little square — if Hans Christian Andersen had been a Texan, I’m sure he would have chosen this for the setting of his fairy tales.
And the Live Oaks are gorgeous!
We have a live oak next to our house, which I love (I can see it right out my studio window), but it’s really nice when they have room to spread like they do here. They are gnarly and majestic. Sublime.
We finally made it over to our rental cottage for the evening, and we had another warm welcome from this guy. His owner, Joi told me he’s a Gypsy Vanner and Shire mix. He kind of reminded us of a Clydesdale, with his size and the long hair around his horse-ankles. There are actually several gorgeous horses here, and sprawling green fields as far as the eye can see.
I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch in the morning with a cup of coffee, while I watch the horses have their breakfast, and wonder…..
“Just do your work. And if the world needs your work it will come and get you. And if it doesn’t, do your work anyway. You can have fantasies about having control over the world, but I know I can barely control my kitchen sink. That is the grace I’m given. Because when one can control things, one is limited to one’s own vision.”
One of the strangest dichotomies of being an artist is the constant need to “express yourself” and the constant fear of “putting it out there.”
I’ve been making art for a long time, and I still struggle with this. Sometimes when I enter a new juried show, or approach a gallery about showing my work, I get a little knot in my stomach about how I’m going to be perceived, and wonder if I’ll be accepted or rejected. (Just keeping it real). I do something similar when I’m making art sometimes, too, especially if it’s outside of the box. I’ll have this great idea, and then talk myself out of it before I even start (my “censor” gets the best of me). But I have also learned that when I have that feeling, it means I’m stepping out of my comfort zone, and that’s a good thing. I’ve just got to push through the fear and cross into the unknown.
On Thursdays, I have three adult students that come to the studio to paint. They’re all at different experience levels and backgrounds, all with different interests. One common thread we’ve all found is that sometimes it’s just hard to get started. The potential that a blank canvas holds can be exhilarating and daunting. The drawing is on the canvas, but there is no color yet. And then you jump in.
Michelle has been working on a gorgeous painting, using the palette knife to apply her paint. She was telling me today how she once took a class, and admired how one of the other students seemed to effortlessly apply the paint with a palette knife, and how she felt like she would never be able to do that. But now, after giving it a shot, (and some practicing), she can, too. And she does it well! This is still a work in progress, but she is doing an outstanding job of layering the colors with her palette knife, finding that balance of creating a realistic image while keeping the expressive scrapes of the knife.
It was also fun to watch Jo and Tatiana today, as they got started on new paintings. At first, the blankness of the canvas was a bit intimidating, but once they started, they were so happy with what they had done.
And I was very impressed with them, too — look at those colors and expressive lines!
A good start. (Thanks, ladies for letting me share your works in progress – for letting me put it out here!)
So now I’m going to log off and submit work for a new show – one that pushes me into the unknown. Wish me luck.
Today I took a quick trip across town to visit my friend Jennifer Cowley’s studio. I met Jennifer last year, when she joined the ArtSeen Studio tour here in Frisco. She came by and visited with me in the fall and I instantly felt like this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Her studio is in the front of her home, and is a work of art in itself. She has the best furniture in there! I wish I’d taken more photos, but I’ll share some of the highlights.
Here’s the infamous pink stove that she uses for storage. When she moved here from Oak Cliff, she couldn’t bear to part with some of her vintage fixtures, so she just brought them with her and has found creative uses for them. I wish I’d gotten a pic of her awesome orange metal sink!
She has a great desktop that is also a light box, which was a hand-me-down from a fellow artist. We had a fun conversation about how most things we have were not purchased new, and many of them were free. It’s all about seeing the beauty in uncommon objects and using things for alternate purposes (and knowing others who have really cool junk they’re willing to give away).
And then there are beautiful vignettes like this, that honestly I don’t even know what to say. Perfection.
Most artists I know have really interesting stories about how they got to where they are now, and she’s no exception. I enjoyed getting to know her backstory a bit, how she began her college education in the dental field, went into architecture, and then truly found herself in art. Out of college, she worked in an art gallery for a while, then a serendipitous encounter with the very successful artist Frank Frazier changed her path entirely. She got to travel and work with Frank for a couple of years, and he has become her mentor as an artist. I can see his influence in her work, although she definitely has a strong aesthetic of her own. See her online portfolio at www.jenmonet.com.
One of the best things about having other artists as friends is that they “get” you in a way that most other people don’t. There’s a drive in you that’s both a blessing and a curse, and it makes you quite different than a lot of your other friends and acquaintances. You see and experience the world differently. Your ideals are different. And as an artist in a suburban town, it’s even harder to find others that think like you. Glad I’ve found a few.
So, no joke, I’ve challenged myself to post on my blog every day this month. I thought it would be fun to show the day-to-day things that go on with my art life, from the creating, the marketing, the networking, etc.
Here’s what I’ve been up to the past few days.
Over the weekend, I was a part of the Arts in the Square here in Frisco. The weather was gorgeous, and there were tons of people that came out (thanks to all of my friends that stopped by). I got to meet a lot of new people, too, which is always fun. Here’s a shot of my booth – I had such a sweet setup on Saturday.
I did learn, however, that even though it was only 70 degrees, it’s not a good idea to put your encaustic art in direct Texas sun. Don’t worry, nothing was damaged, but I had to shuffle those pieces to the shady areas after lunch.
Sunday morning greeted us with crazy strong winds, so we had to adjust the booth layout a bit (we didn’t really have a choice). At one point that morning, all the walls were down, and there were about 5 volunteers helping us hold things down so it didn’t blow away. Not fun. But, thanks to my logistically gifted husband, we got it back together and had a good Sunday, too. I went to bed Sunday night feeling like I was still swaying in the wind.
Tonight I went to hang out with some friends at the Visual Arts Guild of Frisco. I took my youngest daughter and we had fun doing some printmaking. Thanks to Deborah Gallatin for her great demo. Here are some works in progress by a couple of artist friends of mine, Kelly Bartlett and Linda Brooks Alred. Looking good, gals.
One of the things I enjoy most is sharing my love of mixed media with others, and hearing them say, “This is so much fun!” I got that chance this past weekend in my studio, during my Mixed Media workshops. We partied into the night on Friday, and part of the day on Saturday, and I was impressed with the variety of art that was made.
Artist Cheryl White attended the workshop and got the fever — not much of her journal was untouched before she left. She has written a blog post that features one of her gorgeous creations from the weekend. Check it out HERE. (Note: that’s her in the photo above [bottom left], working on the journal page that is featured in her blog).
The goal for my classes is always to inspire, but I find that I come out of them motivated and encouraged by the creativity of others. It’s good to make art, simply for the sake of having fun.
Misty’s Public Service Announcement in support of artists, women and everyone who works hard and is misunderstood.
I am an artist. Most people really don’t understand what I do or what that means. I realize that “art” is an extremely complicated concept, and I don’t expect people to get it. I am an artist, went to art school and surround myself with artsy things every day, and even I don’t get it some of the time. And I really think those that act like they get it all of the time are just trying to impress someone. (After all, A BFA really is just a degree in BS).
I am an artist. I make things. I create things. I conceptualize things. Out of nothing. I think all of the time, even when my hands are idle or I’m supposed to be sleeping. I feel like I could never live long enough to create all of the things in my head. I make things to see. I make things to feel. I make things to share. I make things to express. I make things and then hide them under other things, behind layers of paint, paper and wax. All of my insides are out, at once exposed and hidden.
Yes. I do sell my art (the Art Gods gasp at the blasphemy!). On the outset it is made from within, but in the end, many pieces are sold. You, too, can own a piece of my soul.
I began working as a teen to make money – babysitter, short-order cook, server, ice cream dipper, video renter, snowcone maker. I’m glad I learned how to work hard at an early age. I am blessed that I had help from my parents to go to college. I know that.
I made art in college. I worked in college. I graduated. I got a job. I got married. I made some art on the side. I learned to be a teacher. I taught art. I learned to be a better artist. I practiced. I showed my work. I made more art. I showed more art. I made art for others. I made art for me. I made art I hated. I made art I loved. I made more art.
And I worked. Hard.
I started a business. I learned a lot. I created a lot. I crammed a warehouse full of supplies and equipment into a 9 x 10’ bedroom, and I went to work! Every day, even on the weekends sometimes. I’ve loaded down my van to the roof and dragged so much crap all over this state (and several others). It’s hard, dirty, unglamorous work. But I don’t give up.
I keep making art. I keep showing my art. I keep growing as an artist. I keep trying. I keep working.
I am fortunate to have a studio in my back yard, and I go there almost every single day. Yes, I’m fortunate, but I’ve also worked very, very hard to attain the studio. No one bought it for me. I earned it myself. I pay for it and its contents myself. So don’t look at my studio and ask me “What does your husband do?” That’s irrelevant.
I have children. I work hard to be there when they need me. Sometimes I’m more available than others. Sometimes I take extra jobs to help get us by. Sometimes I make good money. Sometimes I don’t make as much. But I work hard. Every minute of the day.
And, to answer one man’s question, no, I don’t “get bored being at home all day.”
It’s hard to get bored when you’re the CEO, COO, Owner, President, Creative Director, Marketing Director, Quality Control, Web Designer, Social Media Coordinator, and Production Manager of your own company.
No one taught me how to work as an artist. They don’t teach that in college (that’s a whole other rant). I figured it out. I’m still figuring it out. It’s probably the most ridiculously impossible thing to do in the world. But I’m doing it. Every day.
So here’s the PSA: If you meet a woman that says she is an artist, do NOT assume that she is a kept woman. Do NOT assume that it’s just a hobby for her. Do NOT assume that her husband is the “breadwinner” or that she relies upon him to support her work. Assume that she is the hardest working person you’ve met, and you’ll probably be right. And one day, when you see her work recognized by others, you will know that she wasn’t just an overnight success.
It’s Monday night, and I’m sitting in my studio, thinking about how much cleaning up I need to do before the weekend! (The pic above is of last year’s tour — I guarantee it’s not that clean….yet!) But I’m very excited to open the studio again, and I hope you’ll take a minute to stop by this Saturday or Sunday. The tour hours are 10am -5pm on Saturday, and 1-5pm on Sunday.
I’m really excited that two of my artist friends are joining me in the studio this year. Carolyn M. Nelson will be working live – she does terrific portraits and figurative work. You’ll have to congratulate her while you’re here – she just got married a couple of days ago! Find her work at www.carolynmnelson.com (That’s Mrs. Funk to you.)
And you don’t want to miss a HUGE art sale by T. Scott Stromberg. He has 85 paintings for sale — with them all priced at $199 and under! There are some really large paintings, too. I have been a fan of his work for about 7 years, and I am trying to figure out which of these will fit in my house the best. You will want to get here early to get first dibs. You can see his work at www.tscottstromberg.com.
The fun starts Friday night with a Kickoff Party at thegallery8680 from 7-9pm. The folks at Swanky Couch (www.swankycouch.com) are setting up a bohemian-style lounge, and Robyn always treats visitors to a buffet of tasty foods. There will be a free screening of the movie “Moonrise Kingdom,” so bring a friend and enjoy an artsy evening. Located at 8680 W. Main Street in the Crestview Professional Center.
Of course, there are lots of other artists featured in other studios on the tour. You’ll be so impressed with the amazing talent Frisco has! Print out a tour map and visit any and all of them at your own pace. You can find a printable map and details about the tour at www.artseentour.com.
This past weekend my daughter went to auditions for middle school band. She’s a fifth grader, who a month ago, had no interest whatsoever in being in band next year. She was set on taking the ‘exploratory wheel’ course, where she would get to try different elective classes in 6-week intervals. Not a bad choice. But her big sister let her know that if she was interested at all in band, that she would probably want to go ahead and take it as a 6th grader, and not have to be in beginning band as a 7th grader (with all those 6th graders –ew!). So… she took her sister’s advice, and set her heart on being a percussionist.
I’ve always thought she has pretty good rhythm, and as a percussionist she would get to play the xylophone (following in her mom’s footsteps – I was excited about re-living my band memories vicariously through her). We showed up for tryouts on Saturday. The cafeteria was full of tryout stations – woodwinds, brass and the highly esteemed percussion area – to which she made an instant beeline. As we waited for her turn, I could tell she was nervous. We watched as the kids before us tapped out rhythms and answered questions by the director.
Then it was her turn.
She did a pretty good job overall, but I could tell her nerves were getting to her. (She had also stayed up most of the night the night before – much to my chagrin – at a friend’s house, so she wasn’t at her best for her first ‘job interview.’ ) After an involved tryout, the director advised her to go try other instruments, and then come back to chat with him if percussion was still her first choice.
She fortunately went and tried everything else– from the bassoon, to the tuba, to the trumpet and flute. She was exceptionally good at the French horn, and thought for a brief time that was the instrument for her. Until…..she tried the clarinet. Apparently, she did an excellent job getting a good sound from the clarinet. The instructor was very encouraging and expressive about her encouragement. This is exactly the type of reaction that goes a long way with my daughter (apple/tree). So, there we had it……she was going to play the clarinet!
On the way out from the two-hour tryout session, we talked about how interesting it was that she went into the tryouts with her heart set on percussion, and then decided clarinet was the instrument for her….. and how life is like that, too. Often, we think that we know what we want. But it isn’t until the pursuit of that goal, that we find the thing that is really right for us. But the first goal wasn’t a waste of time. On the contrary, if we had never even tried for anything, we would have never known what other possibilities were out there.
As an artist, I’ve found that this has been true in my career. I didn’t always have the future planned, but it wasn’t until I tried making it as an artist, that I discovered other possibilities that were waiting for me.
My daughter mentioned several times this weekend how glad she was that she went to the tryouts and tried all of the instruments. I hope that this is the first of many things that she tries for….and discovers surprises about herself along the way.
I just came across one of my sketchbooks today and wanted to share a couple of quick drawings I made while we were at the beach in 2011. I like to spy on the other people around me and capture them in simple lines, while I sit under my beach umbrella.
ladies at the beach
These sketches took about 30 seconds each, and are about 5 x 7.”
Since I was a kid, I’ve loved collecting images – tearing out pages from magazines or books. Sometimes it’s simply a pattern or color that inspire me. Sometimes it’s another artists’ work from a magazine. I also really love home design, so I’ve got binders full of tear sheets for inspiration. This summer, I wanted an area to put up an oversized pinboard in my studio to display the stack of art images I had collected. I decided the inside of the garage door would be a great place, since it wouldn’t take up valuable work space, and it would help to beautify what was an eyesore. I got a couple of sheets of foam insulation from Home Depot and cut them to fit snugly inside of the garage door. Then, I just pinned up my image collection: magazine pics, postcards, drawings, prints, photos and other sources of inspiration. I’m constantly adding to the pinboard, which is about 70 square feet of awesomeness. Here’s how it turned out.
Ok, now on to my real image collection obsession: Pinterest! Not familiar? Let me explain. No, there is no time….Let me sum up… Pinterest is an online “pinboard” combined with a social media site that allows you to “pin” images from the internet onto virtual pinboards. You can also ‘follow’ any other pinner, and get ideas from others whose style you like.
In layman’s terms, it is visual crack, and I spend way too much time on there. But as a visual artist, I justify it as “research.” It is a fantastic way to find inspiring images (and too many DIY projects to count) without having to search all over Google. What I love is that you can customize who you want to follow, and even which boards, so that you get the types of images that you want to see. Recipes and Workout ideas? No, thank you. Color, Art and Gardening? Bring it on!
Here’s a peek at my personal pinboard. Click the image below to go to my Pinterest page.
By the way, there is a fine line between inspired and distracted. I am happy to dance on both sides of that line. -Misty
In honor of the studio tour this weekend, I thought it would be fun to post a few photos of my studio as it has progressed over the past several months. Originally, I thought I’d post as we went, but life had other ideas. So, better late than never….
We moved in November of last year, but it was after Christmas before we got to start working on the studio. It was so cold!
In the spring, I received some reclaimed cabinets from the house I grew up in from age 12. They’re great oak cabinets that were custom built for that house, but somehow my hubby did his magic to make them fit just right into the studio.
So, now, to make a very long story short, here’s the “after.” Our secret: lots of paint and elbow grease.
Come by this weekend and see it in person, if you’re near Frisco. Details at www.artseenhere.com
Up next: insulating the roof and adding a ceiling. I’m hoping to avoid freezing fingers this winter!