Friday, January 30, 2015

Gotta tell you the story...

Put yourself in my shoes.

My intention for working in my studio today was to "create something different".  I wanted to venture out from realistic looks.  So got out my paper and taped it to the board on my easel.  I started off by scribbling with water color crayons and blending them with gesso.  I kept some squiggly lines on each side to maybe use for hair later on,  Then I drew the outline of the features of her face using Paynes Gray acrylic paint and my palette knife.
I got out my little palette knife and worked for several hours on the details.  It is a very tedious endeavor because the palette knives aren't really conducive for fine work.  So it's a matter of making a mark and reworking that mark several times.  I happen to enjoy the process.  She was looking pretty good I thought.  Don't you?
I started to receive little nudges from my creative muse.  There were two messages I received.   #1. Although the piece I was working on was looking good it wasn't what my intention was for the day.  To "create something different" was my intention.  #2.  Out of the corner of my eyes I spotted, sitting on my inspiration shelf, my I Wanna See You Be Brave piece that I did a while back.  That was all it took to push me onward.  It's about stepping forward.
With little thought as what to do next I grabbed Carbon Black acrylic paint and Permanent Violet Dark acrylic paint and started smearing them on.  After those dried I added Micaceous Iron Oxide, which is one of my favorites.  I tried to stay clear of the features on her face.  This is the results.
I could feel my inner critic wanting to chime in but I shut her down quickly.   My muse had urged me and I was without doubt that the story wasn't going to end this way.  I couldn't deny the truth, tho, I thought she looked like a pretty werewolf.   I looked at her intently and thought what can I do?    So I laid the board flat and started dropping rubbing alcohol on her and wiping it off.  I then took my charcoal pencil and drew her a chin and one side of her neck.
"Beneath it All"

I am liking her so I titled her.   I don't think she is done but I will stop for now and look at her for a while to decide what to do.  My husband, John, will be surprised when he sees it.

Thanks for your encouragement and support.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lady who needs a name

This morning I woke up with the yearning to draw/paint another piece of art using only palette knives.  This would mark my 2nd  piece where I only used a palette knife.  The chatter in my head was trying to plant the seed of doubt.  And to be honest,  for a brief moment I was a little leery, but I quickly flipped the switch on that thought.  What the heck ~ let's do it.  I just began at the beginning.  I am still tickled to see this body of work comes from me.  Makes me want to keep reaching to see how far I can go.

I used 4 different sizes of palette knives and my fingers.  Those were my only tools.

Here is ......... (she has no name yet)
Any ideas?
 Thank You for your support and encouragement.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

two hours later, she arrived

My creative journey consists of ebbs and flows, each serves a purpose and there is always something to be learned.  There is one thing that I know for sure... I receive abundantly no matter what my circumstance is.  It is my duty to keep my attitude about being brave in check (click here to read the story) I have a  renewed sense of confidence that I am on the right path, creatively speaking.   I have received compounded messages that have propelled me to step REAL BIG out of my existing boundaries.  Tonight was a splendid example.  See this blank piece of artist paper taped to the board.  I declared openly on FaceBook that I was going to draw/paint a face using only a palette knife. I had never done anything like this before yet I firmly felt see that I had the capability.  I set forth with joy in my heart.   I put on loud music  (I normally create in silence), I was dancing (sometimes rather erratically),  and I had a blast.  I had no clue what I was doing but I just kept going.
             Two hours later, she arrived.

I had a fantastic group of women who were cherring me on, with their virtual pom-poms.  Success is never accomplished alone.  I am grateful to everyone who believes in me and who delivers encouragement and support.  YOU believing in me helps me believe more in myself.
Thank You very much.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I wanna see you be brave

Remember my previous post The Story Behind the Art. (click the link to read the post to understand this the rest of the story) It is a story about me creating, what I thought would  be, my signature piece.   Here is a photo just before I did the final steps to glue her down.  I was so very excited about this piece being my signature piece, the one who would identify me as an artist.  I had worked on her for about 2 days and on the 3rd day after drying all night I discovered she was ruined.  She had big bubbles all over her face and it looked like she had multiple hard cysts. Needless to heart was broken.  It took me a little while, using centering techniques,  before I was able to accept it, learn some lessons and moved on.   I was able to salvage her head, not sure what to do with it.  Last night as I sat in my studio, I held her head in my hand and a little feeling of being deflated crept in.  After all, I had high hopes for her.

I turned on some music to divert my attention.  A song by Sara Bareilles came on and I literally felt chills come all over me.  I stopped-I listened!!  This song was speaking to me.  I went to the internet to retrieve the lyrics .  Here is the link for the lyrics for you to read.  One step further, I checked YouTube for a music video and found one.  I thought the video was in alignment with the song (please listen/watch the video on the left side) OMGoodness!  I was blown away.  This song was speaking to me in magical ways!!! There are ABSOLUTELY no words to describe the experience I was having.   It was within this time, I knew, for sure, what I was to do with my the salvaged face/head.  

Therefore; I began..........                       she is not perfect and wasn't intended to be.  Her face is warped and disfigured from her experiences. To me she represents the broken places in all of us.  Not just what people see on the outside but what is hidden deep within, most times we are the only ones who know.  All of the fear, insecurities, sadness, rejection, loneliness, judgement, the list could go on forever.  As the song says "kept on the inside and no sunlight~sometimes a shadow wins"

So here she is-being brave.  This message is as much for me as it is for anyone else.  Thank You, Sara Bareilles, for your song and for your message.

I wanna see you be brave. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

the story behind the art

Last week, Thursday, I oozed enthusiasm because I was in the midst off creating what I deemed would be my signature piece.  By Friday, it was hard for me to contain my excitement.  But, I did!  This was my second day working on this project, I felt it was worth every minute of it.  I only showed two people the preliminary photos.  I used some of the mediums that I enjoy creating with the most ~ joint compound and hot glue.  The background began with a layer of joint compound for texture.  After it was dry I gave it a coat of matte medium to seal it then I painted several layers of acyclic paint followed by stenciling and mark making.  The flowers + stems + the hand + her face and neck are all from hot glue. (and yes, I burned my fingers a lot!)  I  painted all of these items with several layers of acrylic paint to get it "just right".   After all the pieces were done I laid it all  out on the canvas to determine the placements.  That's when I snapped the photo.   By this time I was so excited that I could actually feel my heart smiling, too!  I was in artistic heaven!!   Saturday was met with trepidation because it was time to complete the project by gluing it down.  We all know what it's like to do the final stage on a piece of art.  It can be daunting.  I pushed thru fear and glued everything down.  It all seemed like a walk in the park.  I carefully placed it in another room to dry overnight. When I checked it this morning the first words from my mouth was "Holy Shit!  What the f**k happened?" The rest I will not repeat!  She was a BIG  mess!!! All over her face and neck were bubbles.  It looked like she had cysts all over her.  My heart sunk!  Most of my day has been devoted to trying to resurrect my would-have-been signature piece.  Nothing I did was flattening the bubbles.   Later this afternoon I succumbed to the fact that it was useless to try any further.  So you may wonder if I was disappointed?  The answer is YES, I was.  Altho... I didn't cry.  After a short while I did what I know best, I got out my journal and started writing.  I wrote about how much and what this piece meant to me,  I relived the pure joy from several days ago when she looked awesome (to me), I wrote about my sadness that all the work seemed to be a waste of my time.  I evaluated what I can do technically different the next time.  Last, but not at all least, I wrote about what I was to learn from this experience.  So many personal and spiritual thoughts rose to the surface.  From the very depth of my heart I can say that I am grateful for this experience.  My signature piece still lives within me and one day will be exposed.  I will continue to show up and inspiration will find me working.

I was able to salvage her head.  Not sure what to do with it.
As the Terminator says:  "I'll be back!"

Saturday, January 17, 2015

what I've been up to

Since my last post I have been very busy.  I have been keeping regular posts on my facebook fan page.  You can go there to "LIKE" my page and see my regular posts.  I joined The Documented Life 2015  to provide me with weekly inspirations and help me move further from my comfort zone.  Each Saturday they post the Art Challenge and Jorunal Entry for the upcoming week.  You take it from there.   Here are my first 2 entries into my journal.
People often say to me that they wished they could create art.  We all the capability and if you truly want to create art then JUST BEGIN.  This program is free.  You choose whether or not to include yourself on the favebook group, etc.  If you have any questions about The Documented Life Project 2015 just let me know and I will try to answer for you.

I bought some new chalk pastels.  I sat down one day and drew this young lady.  She looks so prim and proper.
I have taken several days to clean my studio.  Getting rid of things that no longer serve me.  I feel this incredible shift happening and one day it will come to the surface.  In the meantime, I am just following my intuition as much as I can.  It's scary yet exciting all rolled into one.

Last night I went with an artist friend, Laura, to the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago.  Lots and lots of art to behold.  At first I thought I would feel intimidated but surprisingly, I wasn't.  In fact, I left there with a sense of knowing that I am on the right track.  Between the art that left me spellbound & inspired, the aroma of incense from Peru, and a friend to share it with I had a great night.  

I feel things stirring within.  I'll tell you more about these on a later date.

Thanks for your support & encouragement as I travel my creative path.

Monday, January 5, 2015

creating art touches my soul

A couple days ago I began drawing a face then I decided to go over the face with acrylic paint.  I'm not familiar with painting faces with acrylic paint and soon that became very apparent to me.  I tried the best I knew how but the whole piece kept going south.  At this point I may be headed for disaster so I started my usual chant "there's no mistakes in art there's no mistakes in art".  I busily applied more layers of paint in hopes to make it right.  OMGoodness...she just got worse.  After some thoughtful consideration I decided to cover the page entirely with gesso.   I had never done that before.  Then a spooky thing happened!  She began peering at me beneath the gesso.  Creepy, huh? It was then I  decided to stop for the night and would reassess it in the morning.

The next morning delivered a fresh new outlook and optimism.  Full of energy and my graphite pencil in hand I outlined her face that was lurking beneath the layer of gesso.  I thought it turned out good but decided that I would wait until the mood struck me to continue.

So today would be the day to finish what I started.  I will admit that I wasn't real enthusiastic to work on her.  I dreaded the idea of using acrylic paints because that brought back memories from the beginning.  Yet I knew that the way to get better at something is to keep trying.  So acrylic paints it would be.  I had gained wisdom from the experience of the original piece several days ago so I mixed retarder with the paint.   The retarder slows the drying time and allows time to manipulate the paint.  That was a wise choice and it made all the difference in the world.  My enthusiasm returned!  Below is where you will see the finished piece.  She appears to be a more mature woman with a peaceful/serene look on her face.  It's funny because most of the time I worked on her I was anything but peaceful and serene.  The whole situation reminds me of the title of a book I just read, "Trust the Process".   I am just scratching the surface of the lessons I am learning from creating her.  The prominent lesson that comes to my mind is to NEVER QUIT ~ there is always a way.  My mind is overflowing with thoughts of what I take away from this creating experience.  I know I could easily fill at least 4-5 pages in my journal.

Creating art touches my soul in ways nothing else does.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Mrs. Linke had an impact

It's interesting to look back in your life and realize that some things that happened and their significance doesn't become truly realized until later in life.  That's what I have been doing lately.  Reflecting backwards and paying tribute to those events.  I'd like to share this one with you.

Let me tell you a brief story:
I grew up in a family of 8 and for most of my childhood we were very (financially) poor.  My parents were hard working but just couldn't bring in enough money to support our family. Because we were poor the public health nurse would visit our house frequently to make sure all was OK.  She, also, would assess the children prior to being enrolled in school.  I was extremely introverted as a child, and my communication skills were extremely limited.   I preferred to be by myself.   As I neared the age for going to kindergarten the public health nurse came to visit and determined that I was mentally retarded (now called challenged) and her recommendation was for me to be put in a home for retarded children. (back in the 50's this was a common practice)  Mrs Linke, who was the Principal of Garfield Elementary, was to do her evaluation, as well.  My mother told me that after Mrs Linke met with me she convinced her that I was not mentally retarded,  That I was just special.  Mrs Linke said that she saw a "twinkle in my eyes" and I was just a little girl that has held herself within.  She encouraged my mom to let the school work with me for one year before sending me anywhere.  My mom agreed.  They had to teach me to literally talk.  The process was to teach me to speak French in order for me to learn English.  There is only one sentence I remember in French.  I recently asked someone what it meant.  I was told it was "what is your name?"  I was assigned to a Speech Therapist named Mr. Lovejoy and he worked with me daily during that first school year (and until my senior year of school) and I improved.

Mrs Linke saw something in me that no one else did.  She called it a "twinkle in my eyes".  I now believe that was my soul's light coming thru all the darkness.  I am so grateful for Mrs Linke and her foresight and compassion to look deeper, not just settle for what she saw on the surface.  I have kept a picture of her near so last night I decided to draw her.  This is Mrs Linke from the school year of 1956-57.
THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

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