Join me....

I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many positive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleasure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Friday, July 31, 2015

An Invitation or "Accepting the Challenge"

Be Careful What You Wish For...Sometimes You Get It!!

About a year ago the manager of the Crossnore Fine Arts Gallery approached me about doing a solo exhibition.  "Yes!" I shouted, before responding firmly,"No."  "I'd love to,"I amended quickly, and then stuttered, "but...but...but."  "But what?" Heidi asked.  "You'll do great."  Deal closed.

What a loving show of confidence this woman displayed.  I have cherished every minute of preparation: research, painting, experimenting; and if for some reason the exhibit were never to take place I have still had the most adventurous year of work from which I have learned an enormous amount.  (Like never turn down a challenge.)

Here is my official invite to you:

If you are in this neck of the woods, please join us.  I think you will find the exhibit a little different from some because, well, you know: I like words almost as much as I love color. So I have created some narratives to accompany the journey towards sanctuary and a few interactive, non-2D pieces.
You may find an expression that mirrors your own definition of sanctuary.  And if not, at least you'll have an excuse to go out to dinner after a glass of wine with me and my friends.  

Thanks for your continuing support,
Appreciatively yours,

Friday, July 24, 2015

Exploring Sanctuary

Peace in the Valley
oil, 16 x 20, $425.00

You know how it seems that when you learn a new word you "suddenly" see it many times a day?  Something like that happens when you begin to study a subject seriously...suddenly you see references or inputs everywhere you look.

In preparing for "Seeking Sanctuary: places & spaces that restore the soul" I have begun to see potential sanctuaries in myriad places.  Somehow the potential of finding one is on the front of my brain...while others see a wooden and barbed wire fence while hiking, I see a valley of restoration and renewal.

This was fun to paint and I believe the reason is because I had already drawn the line at having "enough" ready for a show; so this would be a bonus IF it fell together nicely.  With no pressure I felt the freedom of experimentation and exploration.

Perhaps we should explore and experiment more often?  What do you think?

Experimentally yours,

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Painting a Personality

I have complained, and whined and worried over the fact that I seem to bounce around a lot in the methods I employ while painting.  "I have no style," I moan to mentors or anyone who will listen.  "No one can ever tell if a painting is mine, I am not consistent."

After a few years of just accepting that fact and riding the train where ever it took me, I suddenly realized that there are some repetitive traits about my work, there is a fingerprint if you will, to what I do.

Fer instance.....I just finished this (for me) gigantic (24" x 48") piece:

I Lift Up My Eyes
oil on gallery wrap canvas, 24 x 48

I tend to drag these pieces around the house as I approach finish so I can judge them in different lights.  My husband saw it and did a "hmmm."  "Hmmm: what?" I asked, "is something wrong?"  "It's just so dark," he explained, "so, so bold."  I 'hmmed' him back and sat down to think about it.  Yes, it is dark, and bingo: bold.  But that is the way I saw this yummy long view of the mountains.  Gentle hills with bold color statements.  

I wandered back in memory to the first adult art lesson I had: the proverbial apple still life.  I finished and the teacher gave it a serious look.  "Have you always been this bold and colorful?" she asked.  I explained that I had not painted in many years.  "No, I mean in life," she clarified, "your personality."

"A Ha" ah ha, I do not think of myself as bold but I do admit to loving color.  Maybe, that's my style?!  More pondering is needed, however...

...think about this story when you next view a body of work by one artist.  WHAT is consistent among the pieces?  What trait or line or technique or.... is repeatedly seen, however obscured, in each thing she or he produces.  Maybe that is the "style", or at least a clue to the personality, of the artist. Styles morph and develop (as do personalities) but hidden on the canvas, or in the clay or on the fabric, is a clue to the creator, how he or she views the world, what they pick out as important, what they emphasize or downplay.  

I guess I have to own it: no soft gentle florals for me, no wispy pastels fading in and out of view, every time I try to emulate that gorgeous misty technique I end up with a dash of hot pink or a streak of violet ruining the effect.  Its inauthentic for me.  I buy it, I hang it, but I cannot paint it.  

So play psychologist the next time you enter an artists' booth.  Ask yourself what they deem important, how do they consistently use a particular technique to portray it and what does that tell you about the rest of the person and their demeanor.  It's just one more way to enjoy art.

Boldly Yours,

Friday, July 10, 2015

But Is It ART?

Yikes. I am closing in on the deadline for a solo show which opens on August 6.  When I selected the theme of "Seeking Sanctuary: places & spaces that renew the soul" I was full of imaginative possibilities and creative thinking.  I was brave and determined to be bold in my interpretation of the theme.  The delightful gallery manager gave her blessing and said "Go for it, go all over the map, have fun."

And now...I am experiencing cold feet, self-doubts and a profound lack of that bold bravado I spouted just months ago.
The little devil of fear keeps hinting that perhaps I have ventured too far off the map, too far out in left field.  He states that folks will show up, smile and then turn and whisper "but is THAT art?!"

"...even I could do that...."

Is it ART? oh my, who knows?  If scholars far wiser than I can't define what is and is not art, how can I?  And you can talk about 'art for arts sake' or 'art that is metaphoric' or even 'art that provokes.'  (Just don't say out loud that dread phrase: "My grandchild could do THAT.")

So I write to request that when looking at art, (any art, not just mine) to ask yourself what the artist might have been thinking.  Was there something he wanted to say or something he wanted you to ponder?  I will kiss your feet and hands if you bring that attitude along when you view pieces of mine that are a little bit odd or different.

Just how odd does it get?  Can you imagine someone finding 'sanctuary' in the peace and quiet of a hotel room?  I can.  And how would you present that short of painting a hotel?  Hmmm, is there a way to suggest  the portal to a hotel room?  Not sure, but I tried.

No, this is not the final piece, just parts of it.  And to be honest my number one supporter looked at the piece and announced "I don't get it; I don't believe you need a key to a sanctuary."  And that is OK, a legitimate response because he gave it some thought ... thank you very much.

And how could I express my belief that most of us so often hold our sanctuary in our own hand and don't even realize it?  I had to make a hand....I had to have something symbolic in it,...maybe a variety of things the viewer could try out.  And perhaps they still won't understand that a feather represents the sanctuary of an empty nest or that a seed reminds me of all the sanctuaries we have 'planted.'  Maybe they won't like it at all but maybe....someone will.  And then it will be fun to know that an off base idea of mine touched a chord in someone else.  But I will never know that unless I try.

I will be sharing more about the gallery and show dates in another blog soon...I hope if you are in western North Carolina you can come.  And yes, there will be plenty of lovely pieces representing the gorgeous sanctuaries that man and nature have provided us, so please come and enjoy those.  But I ask you to give an equal chance to the pieces you may not "get",  Who knows?  Something may click!  But at least you will have given the artist an opportunity to share a thought with you... that is, if you can break the code.

Mysteriously yours,

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A COLORFULL Celebration

Fourth of July stirs up many memories of wonderful, crazy celebrations...traditions, foods, locations, friends and family.  However you celebrate it this year do something you will remember, tweak it, add to it or start a new tradition.  Make it colorful and make it safe.  We are so fortunate to live in this country...take a day to put aside political differences and just marvel at all we as a nation have.

(I was planning to paint up some fireworks to illustrate this with and got so involved in another project that the day got away from me...). Happy 4th to you and yours.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Road Trippin' in Art

My husband and I went road tripping last weekend, we knew where we wanted to end up but not exactly how we planned to get there.  Everything for the last month had been so rushed and precisely planned that we decided to defy our default mode and just take a slow jaunt.

We pulled out a map, a book of trails and settled back to see the sights.  I was amazed at what I had forgotten a map offered: byways, points of interest, parks and historical markers.  Who knew?

 Of course we had lots of decisions to make and sometimes I was positive we should stay straight and he was adamant that our exit was upon us.  But that is part of the adventure: unexpected surprises.  I got to thinking that a lot of my art is exactly the same amble through new territory with no expectation of the outcome.

This is NOT to suggest we throw our GPS away (as a directionaly-challenged person I would never be seen again!)  When time is of the essence it pays to take a direct, fail-safe route with no second guessing.  And many times I approach a painting the same way:  I know exactly where it should go, I map out the way to get there, I practice the color combos and I paint with full attention AND intention.

But other times I get in the driver's seat, or in front of the easel, and I really want to take my time, smell the roses, try a new path and look for the sights along the way.  This is when happy accidents (as they are called) take place, it is when you discover a new technique or a different way of doing things.  If I had to approach every canvas in exactly the same way, I think I would pack my crayons and find a new outlet.  We need to have enough faith to allow ourselves to get lost and enough bravery to think we can find a way out.  (Ever watch someone in a class or workshop absolutely refuse to try the teachers approach?  They are in a rut in their comfort zone, gps on a loop.)

I'm easing back into the studio and was hunting a photo of the tree house I took in Italy.  As the frustration was mounting I just decided to "wing it."  Simply work from my imagination and see if I could plot a new route.  It was really quite relaxing, after all, there was no photograph showing me that I was off course ("recalculating, recalculating").  And sorta looks like a tree house.

I'm not good at stopping, one more sight to see, one more dab of color to try.  I have ruined as many pieces as I have improved with that one "last addition."  Is this calling for a side trip of pink? or shall I leave it be?  I honestly don't know where it is going or if it will ever surface again.  But I do know that I have plans to engage in many more wandering ventures...both in the car and on the canvas.

Artistically yours,