Monday, February 21, 2011

Full Moon, Why Didst Thee So Unsettle Me?!



From anxiety to insight and frustration to experimentation and ah-hah discoveries, this past week has been packed with irritations (I backed my car out of the garage on Friday, full moon day, whacked my driver’s side mirror hard enough to break the glass), fresh perspectives on self-trust and inner guidance (thanks to Leslie Avon Miller’s skillful coaching in the Finding Your Authentic Voice class, still in progress), erratic highs and lows (my work is exciting, my work is worm food) – not at all the typical pre-full moon week I love. Usually I’m yahooing and yee-hawing like a cowgirl riding at full gallop on strong currents of creative energy.

Not THIS full moon. Donna Watson from the wonderful blog Layers  recommended checking out Eric Maisel’s class on creative anxiety. Resources for handling the creative process gracefully are a must for artists, so I signed up for it.


Pages 11: Crumpled, 48” x 48”, mixed media on stretched canvas.

Meanwhile, studio work continued with some worthwhile sample making, experimentation for new works and doing some editing on  Pages 11: Crumpled, which is nearly complete.  

Acknowledging that I have strong and yet objective internal voice that can help evaluate works-in-progress is a major step for me and one that has been strengthened in great part by participating in Leslie Avon Miller’s “Finding Your Authentic Voice” class, which is generating many deep insights.

The full moon seemed to spur questions about new directions in my work, whether to deconstruct language imagery more, down to the gestural shapes and forms of letters, or to give the viewer something more tangible – perhaps take writings that inspire me, like Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, and imbue my surfaces with those lofty, inspiring ideas, not fully legible but able to be discerned in part.

I seem to be swaying back and forth, back and forth about whether to explore language imagery as a conveyor of ideas and meaning in a visual way or to pursue it as a series of beautiful gestural marks in their own right that don’t need to convey meaning to be appreciated. Or whether the two directions can juxtapose and work together.

Maybe this is the crux of the question that has been chafing inside me and heated up by intensity of full moon energy.

Are these two directions a dialogue, one that my work wants to investigate together,  a crossroads at which I need to make a choice or a new-way path, leading me  into something altogether unexpected and new?

Unsettling moon, yes, but one that is propelling me towards new realizations and new growth. By the time the full moon returns, may I have made great strides in developing these ideas into new works.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sweet, Sweet Harmony

Yesterday and today I got to spend full, uninterrupted days in my studio. I can’t remember how long it’s been since I’ve had that luxury.

The energy in the space has felt “off” for at least a month. I was so excited to paint the charcoal wall and add the storage area, but suddenly the space didn’t generate the flow of creative energy that I have become accustomed to as soon as I walked in the door. The “gallery” feeling still hung in the air. Something was indeed amiss.

So first, I took down all the work in the room still hanging, except for my one “gallery corner”, and got it ready for storage.



Every  surface in the entire space was piled with “stuff” – sure doesn’t look inviting, does it?

So I put on calming, meditative music, took some deep, cleansing breaths and decided to slowly restore harmony to my kingdom. Gradually I could feel a shift inside, could seem to focus on where I want to store various items, what’s important to keep close at hand and what can be stored away in a container in the back. My mental confusion cleared and suddenly my studio felt the way it always has, a pleasure and delight to be in, a place of quiet focus, satisfying experimentation and making.

I’m revising and mounting several Pages pieces at the moment for my May exhibition, which now has a name: “Off the Page: Reinventing Alphabets”


The idea for this work is a crumpled page mounted on a stretched canvas frame.  The first view gives you a clearer view of the dimensionality. Yesterday I tacked it down to consider whether it needs any further adjusting. I’m letting it rest as it is for a few days and then will return and decide whether it will stay this way or get revised.


Here’s the front view of Pages 9: Crumpled, 48” x48”.


A third work is ready to be mounted on the frame that I applied composition gold leaf to yesterday and then aged today with acrylic paint.


The third piece is an ochre ground that will be rippled and attached to the canvas, so it too will be dimensional.


By the time I left today, the studio felt much more ordered and harmonious. It will be a pleasure to return and continue working there on Tuesday.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Insights and Ideas

Last year around this time I participated in  one of Leslie Avon Miller’s online coaching classes, called “Refresh Your Creative Practice” and amazing insights sprang from these sessions about my creative purpose and direction. A week ago I started this new year’s offering, “Finding Your Authentic Voice”,  already aware of how stimulating Leslie’s classes are and how they inspire my growth as an artist. This statement and image are from her blog:


Our first assignment  was to develop a metaphor for our authentic creative self through a partnered visualization with another member of the group. My metaphor is already inspiring  new ideas:

I am the alchemist who transforms life experience into artistic gold.

I am slowly easing back into studio work and productivity again after lots of organizational work and am revisiting some of the work that was in my exhibition last summer and revising its presentation.


Here is a 48” x 48” substrate with composition gold leaf applied and then worked back into to age with various acrylic paints. It’s absolutely lovely as it is and I may choose to create several more of these and complete them as mixed media/paintings.


I created the gold-leafed stretched canvas substrate with the idea of mounting this dimensional piece to it. I think it will work – won’t know until I finish hand tacking this to the canvas surface, which is a  time consuming task that I haven’t yet started. I’m also working on a third piece like this one but on an ochre ground with white and variegated gray letterforms and some hand stitching.


I meet tomorrow with three jurors and the director of Rochester Contemporary Art Center to coordinate the jurying for the Northeast Regional Juried Contemporary Fiber Exhibition, an idea that I initiated and have worked very hard to make happen for Surface Design Association members. With 100 entries and nearly 300 works to consider, the response has been gratifying and exciting.

By next week the organizational side of my life will quiet down for a bit and I’ll be able to work at least three full days in my studio again – looking forward to it.