Saturday, October 30, 2010

Revisiting Goldilocks


This experimental sample is rice paper and light modeling paste applied to stretched canvas and painted with diluted acrylic washes. Still in progress…

It occurs to me that Goldilocks and I have a lot in common. Her testing  of chairs, porridge and beds and exclaiming, “This one is too hot, too big,  too hard, this one is too cold, too small, too soft  -- and THIS one is JUST RIGHT”,  are pretty well how I grow as an artist.

How DO we find our own “just right” ?

There are creative people who produce lines of products and sell their work for a living. They have Etsy stores and exhibit in arts and crafts fairs and hold studio sales.

There are other artists who seek out galleries to represent them and sell their work.

There are artists who spend years fleshing out a single work and others who can produce a competent, saleable piece in a few hours.

Some artists disdain the whole idea of sales and make work that is ephemeral. It can’t be bought or sold because it will eventually cease to exist.

Since there are multiple types of art and artists, it follows that no one set of  standards  for success suits us all.  We have to try a variety of ideas on and just like Goldilocks, reject some and embrace others and get the heck out of the cottage when the bears arrive back home. What is right is only about what is right for each one of us.


 More work on this sample to explore what makes surfaces look aged.  Still working on this one as well!…

What’s “just right” for me at present is grazing space; the absolutely delicious act of chewing on ideas just for the pleasure of it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Another sample week, energy brimming, ideas flowing, senses finely tuned and humming.

A week of sampling leads to discoveries – both to express and resolve ideas and anchor them in physical form AND to see aspects of our creative selves revealed in them.

Are we what we create? No, but we do infuse what we make with our energy and perspectives. The act of taking a thought and giving it form captures where we are at a specific time in relation to our ability to express pure ideas. Our works become snapshots, images of a moment in time. Our time.


Expressive language marks on painted paper. The experimental watermedia techniques I love on textiles work a bit differently on paper and canvas, but I am enjoying the experimentation.

So what did my studio time reveal to me this week? That I have two distinct and strong sides expressing themselves currently. One is gestural and expressive, the other more mechanical and structured. Do you have similar pulls from one type of work to another?

I am giving both these polar opposites time and permission to go for it. I’m also (gasp) working on paper and canvas with acrylics. This gives my expressive, gestural mark-making side new options.


You’ll see this piece evolve as I continue to learn from painting directly on canvas. The right and left edges are working for me but not the center portion.


Note how the same piece looks like a landscape with this horizontal  orientation.  The size of this is 12” x 12 and I hope to resolve and complete this.  It would be my  first actual “painting” on canvas.

My “pages” pieces have also been calling me and I’m also working on a new construction with the working title, “Clean Slate, New Chapter.” In this piece the shapes are geometric rather than fluid, the process more mechanical  than about direct mark-making.  The surface is also more three- dimensional, so casting light on it from different directions will create the shadows that I envision as part of the work. You’ll see the finished piece (I hope) soon.

That’s the update this Full Moon Morning about where my studio time has taken me this week. Do you suppose the moon was created to remind us about the ebb and flow of life, the rhythms and cycles of quiet and activity? I’d like to think of it as my own  rather large Timex! Thank you, full moon, for cranking up the heat on my creative burners and fueling a new flow of ideas and variations.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Where is your artistic work leading you?

When you live in the Northeast US, there’s a definite shift as autumn arrives and the explosive reproductive energies of summer cease. The cooling temperatures signal a drawing down of life energies into root systems. Green grasses begin to bleach, dry out and turn skeletal; pods form, bursting with seeds for the next season’s growth.

As the days grow shorter and colder, Nikki and I have been sharing about ourselves via e-mail. She combines textiles and organic porcelain sculptural works to create pieces that have a wonderful presence.

She wrote that my blog shares a lot about my physical processes, and she greatly enjoys reading about those, but she wonders about my inner self. What is it you want from your art, she asks -- where would you like to see your work going?

Such powerful focus questions. And they deserve to be considered by each artist.

Yesterday, I wrote her back a long response. Now that I’ve had a day to think more, I want to try again.

What is it I want from my art? I want to infuse each work with palpable energy, joy and confidence (that is a tall order!).  Being a maker is a compelling process and adventure. Being true to my vision provides a deep connection to a powerful energy inside me and creates a yearning to keep returning to it.

Being a maker also provides the challenge of alchemizing an idea into form. Choosing to birth an idea is an amazing, unpredictable process.  Who wouldn’t want to navigate those hairpin turns again and again when we KNOW the destination is so worth it.

Where would I like to see my work going?  Nikki says her work is more internally driven and feels complete without an audience, even though  she is pleased when others respond to it positively.

In contrast, I feel that my creative work is a form of communication, an invitation to connect. It feels more complete when I put it out into the world, when it stimulates questions or interest in the ideas and creative process that so engage and inspire me. I want to work on ideas that will make my work more interactive, more of a conversation with the viewer.

Do I desire visibility and exposure? Absolutely. My goals are lofty and I believe that whatever we desire we can create if we let go and just allow ourselves to believe it can (releasing and allowing is an ongoing learning process!). I desire my work to be exhibited in museums, art galleries and curated invitationals.  I’d like it to be reviewed positively by art critics and editors and fellow artists. I’d like it to stimulate fascinating collaborations and  be included in private and public collections.

Might we just say that I want it ALL, bejeweled and sparkling in the sunlight, even though I know that if I attained every single item on that list it would just cause me to set new, even loftier goals?

Will I be just as happy if I never achieve any of them? Definitely. The joy in my doing and the resulting growth and experience are expansive, exciting and rewarding in themselves. But why not dare to be bold, think big and believe in our worth and uniqueness and trust that the whole universe will rally to support and attract and open every door for us effortlessly? If it happens for others, it surely can happen for us.

So now you have seen a glimpse of my inner workings, my dreams and hopes and desires. I am ever a work in progress and delighted with all that suggests. Ever growing, ever evolving, ever exploring my inner and outer worlds.

What of yours, then, of your own dreams and desires for yourself as an artist? I hope they are grand and glorious and delight you to contemplate.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bouncing Back

Not feeling well and resting a lot can lead to introspection.  While I’ve been anchored to the couch, there have been disappointments – rejection from Quilt National – and validations – I’ve been juried into the Arena Art Group. 

So there has been a fair share of sorting and self-inventorying – what is really important to me as an artist? -- while I've been waiting for my energy – and my voice -- to return.

But they’re both back! Here comes the sun…both literally and figuratively; we’re having gorgeous golden fall weather again after days upon days of grey skies and rain.

Saturday I also returned to my studio and spent an energetic and productive day clearing remnants of previous projects away and setting up to start new ones. This is one of my best tricks to engage my creativity again, cleaning and setting up my studio so it’s fresh and inviting. The cheese in the mouse trap.

While I’m also in the middle of a total website redesign, launching a new regional juried exhibition and other projects – yes, real life -- the call inside is to metaphorically climb into a sandbox with my inner preschooler and play.

What will that mean? Where will it take me? My creative spirit is sensing the call of adventure – and loving it.

The Not Knowing is Magical; after all, what kind of adventure would it be if the heroine set out already knowing the destination?

Sunday, October 3, 2010


There’s nothing like sitting out “the game” on the bench for a bit for some worthwhile contemplations from the sidelines.

Sometimes we get so focused on outcomes – the winning or losing – that we need a change of perspective. Clearly my body decided the one week vacation in Aruba wasn’t enough rest.

I’ve been laying low for a full week now hacking and blowing from a head and chest infection. Friday my voice disappeared, so I have spent the weekend in silence, whispering when necessary.

latte handwriten note

Not to be deterred from important priorities, as part of my “survival kit”, I am carrying a handwritten note with my latte order written on it so I can still get my Starbucks fix.

However (are there choirs suddenly singing hallelujahs??), today I am Feeling Better. Still can’t talk, however the familiar morning rush of ideas reappeared this morning and I actually feel like creating. I could dance in appreciation!

This energizing African folk dance troupe on YouTube will hopefully inspire you to join me. Can you feel the joy and creativity? I definitely can!

It’s time to get back in the game!