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.
“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.”
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!
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.
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.
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.
It has finally cooled off here– no more 100 degree heat. The mornings are a little chilly, and the afternoons are warm with a cool breeze. Amazing what that can do for your outlook. Perfect weather to make some art!
Within the past few weeks, I’ve completed about two dozen new works of art, from tiny 4 x 4″ works, to larger paintings and mixed media pieces. Some of them I started several months ago, and others I started and finished within a couple of days. I wanted to share a couple of the “before” and “after” pics with you.
Here’s a photo of some ‘works-in-progress’ that I posted on my Facebook page back in July. I had been having fun layering paint, spraying the wet paint and watching it run. I didn’t really know where I was going with these paintings, but I like to work on top of a layered background anyway, so at least I had a starting point.
And here’s how they ended up–
This painting, “Home” started out as the painting on the far left (above). As you can see, not much of the original underpainting is left, and the canvas was turned horizontally rather than vertically. The layered underpainting did help create a jumping off point. I started scraping layers of paint on top of it, and added layers of glazes for depth. I was encouraged by my friend Robyn to do a larger version of ‘Home,’ as the first one was just 6 x 12.” So this canvas seemed to be a good fit.I changed up the colors a bit, but I’m really pleased with how it came out.
This one started out as the painting in the center (top photo). Again, not much of the original layers are showing. I absolutely love the deep turquoise blue. I don’t think the photo shows the colors very well — I may have to get one of my professional photo friends to help me out with a better shot. It’s got a nice, glossy varnish on top that brings out the juicy colors. I did a little writing in charcoal between the layers of paint, and that’s where this painting gets it’s title, “Give Yourself Freedom.” I think I was listening to a Tivo’d episode of Oprah late one night, and got inspired by that phrase, which struck a chord with me, because I think much of what holds me back is not restrictions given by anyone else but myself. Just in case you can’t tell, the white spot on the canvas is actually a keyboard piece that says ‘enter.’
As far as the third painting from the studio shot (the one with the figure in the top photo), it’s still a work in progress. I think I’ve almost worked it to death. We’ll see if it survives or gets reincarnated.
(Update: The third painting did, in fact, get reincarnated – only the bird survived. It is now “The Progression of Things.”