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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’m thrilled to announce that the wait is over, and I finally have a new art studio! I’ve had my sights set on this space for the last six months, and we were finally able to seal the deal this past week, purchasing our new home and studio-to-be.
The studio is still a diamond in the rough, but it has so much potential to be a wonderful work space. Formerly used as a detached 2-car garage, it also has a screened-in porch and a 10×10′ storage area. As you can see from the photo, there are lots of mature trees on the property, and a meandering path to the studio from our kitchen. The interior needs quite a lot of TLC to become a functioning studio, but it does have electricity and running water, so that’s a great start.
Keep checking back — I will post my studio renovation progress here on the Fresh Paint blog.
Welcome to my new blog! After much deliberation, I’ve decided to start a new blog- new title and everything- to contain my latest news, updates, artwork, and ideas. My old blog was ok, but due to the fact that it was linked thru my yahoo account, I was having a hard time updating and posting as easily as I wanted to. Blogs really shouldn’t be that difficult! So I decided to start fresh.
With this blog I hope to post more often, add more photos, and let you know a little bit more about myself. I also have a lot of new ideas and artwork to show you. So, check back often!
My next big adventure is the artseen studio tour, coming this October 15 & 16. I will open my studio for visitors, and I hope you can stop by. In addition to participating in the tour, I’m also coordinating it. It’s quite a lot of work, but I’m very excited to start an art tour here in Frisco. There are so many really talented artists here. Hope to see you at the studio tour!
“One of the hardest things in the world is to see yourself objectively. I’m not sure it’s even possible.”
I recently (last week) decided to start doing at least one self-portrait every year. I’ve only really done a few “official” self-portraits in the past. Of course, each work of art has my heart and soul in it, but there are some that are more personally reflective than others. Let me share them with you.
Here’s the earliest self-portrait I can find, made in August of 1988, when I was fifteen. I hadn’t had a lot of artistic training up to that point, but I think I got a pretty good likeness. At least that’s how I remember myself looking. (Check out those bangs!)
I’ll continue by skipping the horrible self-portrait I did in college, the result of a class assignment. A family member owns it now and will not let me take it back and destroy it. Or atleast paint over it. If I have anything to do with it, that painting will NOT make it into the art history books. It’s humiliating on so many levels.
Here’s a charcoal self-portrait I did several years back when I was teaching and my students were working on self-portraits. I didn’t put a date on this drawing, but I’m pretty sure it was made in the fall of 2001, right after 9/11. I was expecting my second child and had lots on my mind. Maybe that explains the serious look.
Here’s something that started out as a self-portrait, but ended up not as an image of me, but a reflection of how I felt at the time…
This was begun in 2006 (top), when I was going through a very difficult time in my life. The title was always the same, “Ou est la joie de vivre?” Translated from French to English, it means “Where is the Joy of Life?” It’s also a play on words, because the collaged images that I used were taken from a wallpaper pattern called ‘Joie de Vivre,’ which shows families happily working and frolicking, just happy to be alive, I guess. No worries in this ideal world. I worked on this painting over the next three years, keeping the collaged elements, but at some point I took out my likeness and replaced it with a woman who is turned away from the viewer. Possibly the journey in this painting is more valuable than the end product. But I think that’s true for all of my work.
Last year I made this 4×4 inch collage entitled “36” that I consider my self portrait for 2009. It’s definitely more lighthearted than some in previous years, thank goodness!
This painting, although I wouldn’t consider it a self-portrait, has a lot of personal connections. Also completed last year, “She Comes from Texas” uses the image of the Venus de Milo as the main subject. The title comes from a collaged passage, located below her feet. It is a quote Ernest Hemmingway, which I found in another book, written in the 1950s. It says, “With us, if a girl is really beautiful, she comes from Texas and maybe, with luck, she can tell you what month it is. They can all count good, though. They teach them how to count, and keep their legs together, and how to put their hair up in pin curls.”
Obviously, the point here is the irony, but I think the quote hit a nerve with me. Growing up in rural Texas, I often felt that I was viewed this way by the men and boys I grew up with. In our small-town culture, the main way I saw males communicate with females was through teasing. Most of it was light-hearted, but I tended to take things very personally, and really never felt very good about it. I learned to smile, though. As a matter of fact, one of my nicknames given to me from male coaches as a teenager was “smiley,” (in addition to “stubby” and “air head deluxe”). I thought that most men thought I was pretty dumb. Wonder why?
So here is my latest “self-portrait.” I’ve been working on it for a few months, but just completed it yesterday. There’s a lot going on here, but I think that is the perfect reflection of who I am right now. There is charcoal, paint, furniture molding, computer keyboard parts, a playing card, and collaged wallpaper. The central figure doesn’t look anything like me, but I think she reflects confidence. I’ve been growing in that this year. Probably my favorite part of this is the blue square behind the girl’s head — it’s a Post-It Note. Any mother or ambitious woman can relate to needing constant reminders, all over the place, all the time. It’s definitely been one of those years for me.
It will be interesting to see how my life, my style and my self-perception changes over the years. I’ll keep you posted.
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.
Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
I like my work best when I let myself be free and loose, and not getting too attached to what’s on the canvas at any given moment. Sounds fun, but it really isn’t that easy to do. I have to keep reminding myself “Don’t be afraid to mess up. It’s just paint.” To really make progress, I have to get into this certain frame of mind, where I’m immersed in the paint, and not really thinking about the outcome. It’s a place of subconscious that I haven’t been able to explain…..until today.
When I found this quote yesterday, I didn’t know who Scott Adams was, so I did a little research on him today. Turns out, he’s the creator of the “Dilbert” cartoon. I checked out his blog (www.dilbert.com), and guess what he posted about today? He talks about his theory that artists get “Crazy Eyes” when they’re in the creative ‘zone.’ You can read about it here. http://www.dilbert.com/blog/entry/crazy_eyes/ Really funny stuff.
Yep, that’s a good way of explaining it — crazy eyes! That “sort of glassy, unblinking, dreamy, scary look” when someone is lost in their own imagination. I’ve never checked out my eyes in the mirror when I’m in that zone, but I can only imagine that they must look crazy. I think my husband has noticed it. He’ll say something like, “I can see your wheels turning.” Usually, in a matter of minutes, I’m in my studio, with paint on my feet and in my hair. Fortunately, some of the paint lands on the canvases I’m working on as well.
That makes me think about this painting that I finished this last month. It’s inspired by a Crazymaker that I know (a term coined by Julia Cameron in “The Artist’s Way,” and not at all the same as Crazy Eyes). This Crazymaker had been making quite a bit of crazy for me over the past several months, so this painting was my therapy to work through some frustrations. I scraped on a background layer of color, then added some personal thoughts with charcoal. The next part is kind of a blur, because I let myself just let go and not worry about how it came out. I had nothing to lose. This painting came together quickly and I couldn’t have created it if I had been trying. I just let myself make some mistakes, and artfully chose the ones to keep.
Some trivia: Scott Adams grew up in Windham, NY, and I grew up in Windom, TX. Quite a serendipitous day.
I had a lot of fun playing around with a new media today. Since I’ve noticed a lot of pears showing up in my work, I bought a bunch of fresh pears at the grocery store last night. I thought it might inspire me. Add the pears with several brand new bottles of brightly colored ink that have been awaiting the right day, and the inspiration was born!
Here’s one of the first sketches I made with charcoal. I added color with the ink, diluting it like watercolor. Once it was dry, I used oil pastels, and later chalk pastels to outline, highlight, shade and add definition.
After doing a few of these, I started to loosen up a bit. I kept the washes pretty light and loose, adding salt for texture. Here are some of the looser ones.
I have to include these two (below) because they made me laugh. Some of the ink took quite a long time to dry, and when I moved the paper, the ink ran. I knew that would happen, but I just wanted to play around and see what came of it. The pears grew appendages.
When my daughter got home from school, she saw my “models” (to use her terminology) on the table. She, too, thought they looked a lot like people. She had an acorn and put it on the stem of one of the pears, telling me to make it look like a head. So here’s the result of our creative collaboration.
These are all relatively small, done on 9 x 12″ watercolor paper.
I am interested in taking art historical depictions of women (typically created by male artists) and keeping the overall composition, but changing the meaning entirely. These women are no longer in the background; they are no longer simply seen as allegories of beauty and desire. They are now active participants in their own life, everyday women with interesting stories to tell.
Stylistically, I prefer looser lines and more abstracted forms than used in traditional paintings. I am influenced by the modernists: Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, Valadon, and Toulouse-Lautrec, to name a few. I feel a connection to their liberated use of color and simplification of forms. In this particular work, I first layered paper onto the canvas. The underlying image (a photograph of a sculpture that I took while in Boston) shows through only near the bottom of the composition — the dark areas in the female’s dress, and under the red garment of the child.
Another influece on my art is stained glass windows. I believe this comes from my background in Art History, and eventual travels in Europe. Each panel of stained glass tells a story through simple lines and bold colors. Likewise, each canvas or panel of my work captures a simple moment in time (a conversation, an exchange between mother and child), and elevates it to a moment of the sublime. Although I use the “aura” or halo in some of my work, it not meant to be religious, but rather to bring to light the sacred acts of everyday life. Using these female subjects, much of my art work deals with my interpretation of my own life: my role as mother, daughter, and wife.
Pablo Picasso said, ” Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” For me, at least, this is true.
So, I’ve been working in my studio. Earlier in the month I spent a great deal of effort fretting about what to make. That’s really a bad state to be in. Wanting to make art, but not knowing what to make. Fortunately, I got myself together, and gave myself a reminder to just enjoy the act of making art. Quit worrying about the outcome. Then I let myself play.
Before I knew it, I was brushing, scraping, spraying, glazing, running, layering, and gluing. I made myself conscious of how the paint moved on the canvas. I stuck my fingers in it, and it felt good! I watched it run as I sprayed water into the wet paint. I saw the color change as I glazed over the yellow paint with a dull purple. I set it aside and begin again on a new surface. The monster had been unleashed.
Right now, I have four new large canvases and twelve new small ones in the works. While I wait for the inspiration for a new image to hit, I continue to play. Laying the foundation. Painting layer after layer. Building up texture. Building up layers of meaning. Maybe the image I create when I am playing will be the end result, or maybe it won’t even be visible by the time I am done. Who knows? I have to trust my instincts and know that my subconscious is a better artist than I’ll ever be.
“To live a creative life, we must lose the fear of being wrong. “ – Joseph Chilton Pearce
Over the past couple of years, this has become my creative motto. It speaks to me very personally. I am by nature a perfectionist of sorts, terribly afraid of being wrong. Mostly not wanting to look stupid.
I’m not sure how this became such a part of who I am (I have an educated guess), but it’s been there a long time.
When it comes to art, don’t we all feel like we’re wrong at some point? I have sat through many, many art history classes, all of which held up artists as geniuses of their time. And I agree that many were indeed geniuses. I’ve critiqued their work. I’ve stood in awe. But some of them really just knew how to work the system. And sometimes I thought, “What? This is art?” Because, as we all know, art these days is so subjective that it’s hard to say what art is anymore. I like some of it. I hate some of it. Most of it I can at least appreciate. But you have to admit it, most of what is considered “modern” and “it” in the art world now really isn’t very pleasant to look at.
Yes, I know that’s the point, ok. But it still doesn’t make me want to look at it. So there. It is visual art, for crying out loud.
And so what if I’m wrong? I’m not afraid of being wrong anymore, remember (she reminds herself).
So this leads me back to my own creativity….. over and over again as I’m working in my studio, I have to remind myself to enjoy my creativity. Stop thinking so hard and have some fun at it. Play. Experiment.
I’m still working on losing my fear, I guess. But I’m a lot closer than I was this time last year. And the year before….