Feeling a little Kandinsky inspired, in between working on commissioned pieces. Fell behind on preparing for art shows this summer because of the creative block I experienced this spring, I hope never to be that cut off from creative outlet again!
24x48" in process
Got to tell you about a wonderful new product I've begun using for the final varnish finish on my acrylic pieces. Dorland's Wax Medium. Used by oil painters as a cold wax medium it makes an amazing final coat over acrylics too. For me it's a perfect fit for many of my pieces that I want to have that old world look, which is most of them. I love the old masters/old world colours and depth and this product gives my work the kind of lustre I've been trying to achieve. I use it like a paste wax, smoothing on a light coat with a soft cloth, letting it dry and then buffing it with a clean soft cloth. A word of caution, because it's wax based it would be difficult to come in after and add more acrylics to it, so it needs to be a piece that you know is 'done.'
I'm giving a Nikon DX a go. I borrowed one of my daughter's SLR cameras to try out and take some shots of my art. I must say I like this camera, better clarity and detail and I love my detail macro shots!
The world outside my loft has its own rhythm that pays no mind to me or the relentless drone of traffic scurrying to gosh knows where. If I listen intently I hear the wind as it exchanges words with the leaves or makes the corn stalks chuckle. I breath in and try to adjust my rhythm to match theirs.
Got one of a two part commissioned piece done. It's not photographing well, my camera has a problem with the teal and blues, but here is a snippet.
And for those interested here is a little of what I did with the shells and driftwood.
"We seldom know where our dreams will take us, but we follow them because we must--they have wings and we take flight." Bren Thebeau
It's one beautiful Spring day outside my loft, cool breezes and warm sunshine, what a day to be outside! Unfortunately I'm not! Over the last few weeks my loft has become so clogged up I simply had to get it cleared away, especially as I've got canvas and other supplies coming and no place to store then.
Up until I began painting 4 years ago, my loft had been my library/computer room. It has always been an oases for me, a place to get quite and reflect, curl up and read a good book or two. As I realized the place art was going to have in my life I began to purge the room, giving away 3/4 of my library and filling the shelves with journals, paints and all the other things that come from working in abstract and mixed media.
Preparing for art fairs requires a lot of stock, so finding space to safely store finished paintings of various sizes along with everything that's needed to create them, well the loft quickly became a disaster! It didn't help that I had to replace a coloured laser printer recently, leaving me to figure out what to do with 3 printers!
One corner of the room is the computer area (that's where I'm taking the photo from) I did what I could for now, simply don't have the time to purge as deeply as I intend to, but at least now I can get back to painting! I keep the loft empty of things of value, the last thing I need is to feel restricted and worried about splattering paint on some cherished item. It's funny, when it comes to cooking or doing other things, I keep the mess down, cleaning up as I go, but with the art it's no holds barred! I give myself permission to splatter at will, so there is paint on walls, windows, shelves, floors, drapes. If these things mattered I'd need to move to the unfinished part of the basement to paint!
And no, the floor is not vacuumed or scrubbed yet :-)
To see the computer area and where I'm storing some of my finished art aside from what's hiding under the grey sheet, see this post.
You might have noticed I decided to go streamline with my blog as well. I'm hoping the blog will load more quickly without all the background graphics as well as be easy on the eyes and now it coordinates with my website!
"When intuition stops moving, there is always a controlling thought behind it. It is important to find the root judgment the one that closed the door to your inspiration." Point Zero, M. Cassou
It's quite a statement from Michele Cassou, and when dealing with my recent extended creative block, I found it to be true. I had personal work to do to clear the sludge that had blocked the way into my creative process and I am making progress. Yeah!
Completed works are accumulating in the loft these days in preparation for the art fairs I plan to participate in this summer. The nooks and crannies are filling up!
A few studio shots of things completed or resting, some are boxed or tucked away in the portfolios. Not to mention the larger stash leaning against a wall covered with a drop cloth. I'm trying to keep them well away from where I paint, things get pretty messing when I'm working.
And a little creative inspiration for a commissioned piece that I'm currently working on. Shells and driftwood that I or my sisters have gathered for me on their travels and adventures. Love having sisters who look out for me!
I like to take photos of my work as they progress, it gives me a sharper perspective and often either confirms what I suspected needed work or shows me what isn't working. There's lots of refining work to do with this one. Then, sometimes you just have to give it time before you are certain of what needs to happen next. I seem to be doing a lot of that these days, waiting. I've been blasting away at a creative block that has me struggling to enter freely into the process which is what it's all about for me, the process. "The quest into creativity is a journey into the heart and soul..." M. Cassou
Maybe it's because I work in abstract, I have no reference to look at and guide me into a piece, though I expect creative blocks challenge those who work in realism in taking what they see before them and finding a way to interpret in their own style.
I've received so much great advice and words of encouragement as I am struggling with this creative block. I show up each day and keep hacking away at it, not just with paint, but in doing the inner work of processing what life throws at us. Things can become stagnant too darn quickly if we don't keep pressing in and doing the work, interior and exterior.
My art journal is the place I go to work out colour combos, ideas and techniques for pieces I want to create on canvas. I wind up with a journal full of backgrounds and random stencil clean ups that I then try to use to write out or further explore my inner world. The right hand page is where I determined the colours I would use for the above unfinished piece.
This is my youngest Granddaughter, Lyvia's journal. She keeps it here so Nanny can clean her brushes and used stencils in her pages giving her something fun and different for her to then add images and captions. She has always been fascinated with my journals and would take several of them home with her if Nanny were ready to part with them :-) I love to encourage my girls to explore and discover their unique voice, I tell Lyvia she is a 'Colour Layerist' a term she loves to mull over and think about how it applies to her creative bent.
"The quest into creativity is a journey into the heart and soul...When you step into the Creative Quest, you enter the unlived ground of your life, the wilderness of your soul." Point Zero by Michele Cassou
From my previous post you know I've been doing some of the marketing challenges, Leslie Saeta is suggesting in her 30 Marketing Ideas in 30 Days. Some of them I've been doing others I'm developing, a fancy word for I'm trying! On day 9 she challenged us to take more progression photos of our work, so this is my efforts to develop this one painting. It's one of those times I wish I had just left it alone!
Well, as you also know if you follow my blog, I've found myself dealing with some head and heart issues that have cut me off from my ability to enter into my own creative process. I'm working hard to get to that place again, doing the inner work and then coming to the studio and attempting to paint.
Blocks are funny things, and because I've not been painting for long, my experience with them are minimal. There's the usual January hump that I've found myself in these last few years, but I know they exist because my body (and the fibromyalgia) shuts down after the demands of the holidays and I simply need to rest, rebuild, and the flow returns. But blocks that come from emotional pain and heartache, well that's new to me and the complete inability to even enjoy picking up a brush is, well, shocking! Not that there has not been heartbreak and difficulties in the past, there have been, but I was able to use my art to express my pain and reach for the healing I found in the expression.
I guess in life one can never assume anything, nor should we expect that what got us past one hurdle will work exactly the same with the next. We are wonderfully complex beings, and I can only hope at the end of this journey into greater venerability it will lead to a deeper expression with my art and life. Many of you have left wonderfully encouraging words, they let me know that we are never alone and always there is a common bond that makes us human and part of a greater community. Thank You...
"The Dragon of Control...The lack of inspiration is a cover-up; actually, you are full of feelings dying to express themselves. But they are not what you expect them to be and may shock you. The feelings that need to be felt are outside your familiar way of sensing yourself." Michele Cassou
Life has a way...of catching you off guard, leaving you floundering to manage. Having one of those life moments and I'm afraid my art has taken a hit. I can only trust the urge and ability to enter into the process of painting will return to me when I'm in a better head and heart space.
In the meantime, here's a piece that was a redo, I like it's long slender length and off course teal and golden crackle (it is golden not the orange showing here) always appeals to me. It has a name now, 'Celestial'.
One down and others on the go. The antique car photo is a gel transfer, I wanted that aged and battered look that you get from the imperfections of doing a Gel transfer. (Notice the nicks and scares and areas where the photo was lifted) So if your interested in giving the imperfect a try...
-spread a thin but even layer of the medium on the canvas where you want the transfer to be.
-Carefully place the laser print photo face down into the gel and gently but firmly press the photo into the gel being careful not to get the gel onto the back of the photo. Wipe the gel off if you do get some on the back as I usually do!
-allow the gel to completely dry (I let it dry over night, drying time depends on how thick the gel is and heat/humidity of your work space)
-Once the gel is dry, spray the back of the photo completely with water, then using your finger tips begin to rub and roll off the back layers of the paper. This is quite a process, continuing to spritz with water and getting all the backing off so that the imbedded gel photo shows through. Once I've gotten the most of the white paper off and my image is showing up nicely, I then use a Mr. Clean Eraser to carefully scrub off the fine white paper residue left on the image.
From 'Do The Work' by Steven Pressfield
"When you and I set out to create anything--art, commerce, science, love--or to advance in the direction of a higher, nobler version of ourselves, we uncork from the universe, ineluctably, an equal and opposite reaction. That reaction is Resistance. Resistance is an active, intelligent, protean, malign force--tireless, relentless, and inextinguishable--whose sole object is to stop us from becoming our best selves and from achieving our higher goals...
We can never eliminate Resistance. It will never go away. But we can outsmart it, and we can enlist allies that are a powerful as it is."
Been battling some resistance these days myself, how about you? Here's to outsmarting 'Resistance' in our lives!
This new piece, "Unlocking Wisdom," is now hanging on my wall, so I can enjoy it for a time. After posting a picture or two on Facebook, I was asked what its story was, so I'll try to explain it the best I can.
In truth there is always mystery involved in understanding completely the intuitive pull that has me adding certain elements. This piece is about the search for wisdom. Decisions are made every day, our need for insight, guidance and wisdom is a constant. At the top of the canvas I created the effect of tree branches for trees represent 'Wisdom' to me. Behind the branches I collaged in a blueprint that you will catch glimpses of as you look deeper into the piece, for wisdom often hides and it takes more than a quick glance to 'See.'
The doorway to Wisdom is often locked and you will need a key to enter its presence, is there just one key or are their more? The graphics at the bottom of the piece, lets me know I need to pay attention to the signs that surround me, speaking an ancient language for a modern time. I used both collaged pictures of Hebrew writings as well as stencil work of the Hebrew language over top. I love the visual effect of Hebrew as well as the fact that it is an ancient language so it served me well for depicting what I needed to about our search for Wisdom as we live our lives...
"Unlocking Wisdom" (24x36") is available for purchase, I'll be adding it to my website soon, or email me if interested.
"Where do our real thoughts come from? How can we access them? From what source does our true, authentic self speak? Do The Work by Steven Pressfield