Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Glue In My Hair...

Forgive the bad photography... The only way to get a picture of all my hair is in the mirror, which means zero flash and also shaky-blurry pictures.
I have alot of it--hair that is. It's very long and has-over the years-gotten thicker and wavier as it grows, which I guess isn't usually what happens. When I was younger my hair was thin and super straight and my mother cut it for me in her own version of a 'shag' haircut. It wasn't the best look. So, for most of my adult life I've had my hair varying lengths of long... I've cut it a few times but I always grow it right back. I love long hair and I know for a fact that I would never be one of those ambush makeovers who gets convinced to cut off all their hair for a new look. Nope. No way. However, long hair plus messy art is not a comfortable mix. I've accidentally dipped my hair in paint more times than I can count. I think I know why Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keefe pinned their hair up.
Yesterday, while gluing together dollar-store cardboard coasters to prep for painted ornaments I managed to glue a few into my hair.

I managed to get them out and rinsed the glue out of the ends of my hair. Then , a short while later, I accidentally dipped my hair in the glue and that has not been so easy to get out. I should mention that ponytails and braids don't always help this problem.

In the eighties, I had one of those wonderful asymetrical hairdos with enough spray or mousse or whatever in it to hold it through anything. Glue shouldn't be a problem for me...except for how nearly impossible it is to try to comb or brush it out. From now on I'm wearing a shower cap in the studio!
On another note: I'm hoping to have some ornaments and a new painting to post by this weekend or early next week. Provided I can keep my hair out of it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Unexpected Angel

I'm not completely sure where she came from. This painting...begun kind of vaguely with old book pages and smears of acrylic paint...didn't seem to have a defined personality. I really didn't know why I needed to paint it or what it was I needed to paint. It wasn't until I took out a piece of charcoal and started sketching that I even could see a face in the canvas. A layer of gesso and then paint and last night she began to take shape.
I still wasn't sure I liked the look of her. This morning I sat with her, just staring at her...getting to know her a little better. This afternoon, I picked up the brushes again and now...I think she is done. I will sit with her for a little while to be sure...
I don't even have a name for her. She was that much of a surprise. She feels like peacefulness and early thoughts of Spring to me...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Eclectic Creative Chaos

Credit where credit is due: I 'cribbed' this phrase from Milliande. In one of her lovely videos, she made mention of her "eclectic creative chaos" and I swear a lightbulb came on in my brain...That's it!!! That's the perfect name for my studio! In it's current is the absolute personification of eclectic creative just can't help it. It has me as a caretaker, resident messmaker/artist. I have tried--so fruitlessly--to organize,label,winnow out the junk, but all that ever comes of these efforts is that I seem to lose track of my muse. I get so swallowed up in the cleaning that the creating just doesn't happen.
I work best in a mess. I should put this on a sign and hang it on my door. I should take a jumbo Sharpie and write it on the wall as a reminder. I should stop wasting my time fighting with my messes and I should just let it go. Within reason, of course.

So long as there is seat surface enough for my rear and table surface enough for my supplies...the rest can stay as is. I get more inspired "shopping" (rooting really...) in the bins and piles, looking for one thing and then finding three or four alternatives I hadn't even considered. I have finally made my husband realize that his occasional vacuming forays into my studio are unneccessary; whatever (paper,yarn,beads,what-have-you) is on the floor is still a potential supply. Vacuming it up just creates stress.

I am happy in my disarray. If I had one of those uber-clean and perfect studios that are often shown in the magazines...I would just have to mess it up before I could create.
Here's to a Perfect Mess!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Staunch Character: A Self Portrait In An Art Journal

I made only one resolution this year. I made it in my head at first and didn't speak it out loud for a few days. That resolution is to make or work on art every day. In the days since I finally made the resolution real by speaking it, writing it, enacting it... I also realized that this year I need to explore who/what I am. I need to reconnect with myself in a way I haven't truly done for quite some time. I used to almost exclusively paint and draw self portraits. I recreated my face and form on paper over and over again. I made myself a gargoylesque she-creature, a vengeful goddess protecting her planet, a mystical woman who stares the viewer down, a primordial creatrix, and even a blinded version of Lilith feeling her way through thorny woods. Some day perhaps, when I'm feeling a little braver in my blog I will show you these pictures/ paintings and reveal these faces/aspects of me.
The picture I use as my blog profile photo--called Grandfather--is from that period of my art. I think it's one of the tamer paintings I did at that time.
I have started up an art journal in the last week or so.
I'd kept one or two before, during my self-portrait period...but never kept them up for very long. I think, in my head, it was hard to see them as truly being art because I was already receiving alot of flak about my paintings being "nothing more than coloured pencil on paper" and "why don't you try's more painterly" blah,blah,blah....

I had people (mostly men, but also some women) ask me why I didn't paint "nice" things like flowers or landscapes. I was young--in my 20s--and it was hard to keep hearing this kind of commentary over and over. When I'd been in school, I'd felt like the short end of the stick seemed that my art teacher just couldn't see me as I saw myself (an artist) and he tried his best to make me see that my art wasn't enough for the world. Good enough, bold enough, innovative enough...whatever.

My father was always my loudest cheerleader. He would boldly tell people at his own art shows that he thought I was more talented than he was. I never felt like that was true. I still don't. I like to believe that, in truth, we were equals in art. We both had visions. We both had obstacles. And we always tried to keep working over and around those so we could keep creating our visions.
I also sometimes felt that...well, he was my dad. Of course he thought I was talented. He was supposed to, right?

This year, as I begin a new year, a new decade without either of my parents here on earth... I am drawn to re-exploring who I am and what I am. In the years since I'd last done my self portrait work, so much has happened. My children have grown and are learning to fly the nest. I have grown and am reaching beyond my nest as well. My personal icon list has grown: Frida Kahlo, Georgia OKeefe, Little Edie Beale,Louise Bourguois.......etc.
My personal universe is very different.

Expanding into the internet and the blogosphere and meeting/seeing all these other like-minded artists has helped me to stop hearing only the voices of the naysayers..."You can't be an artist. You're good but I don't see you as an artist." I'm tired of hearing that voice.
I AM AN ARTIST. period.

I have tried to be creative everywhere in my life that I possibly can... No. Wait. That's not right. I haven't actually ever had to try. It just came out of me like that. No matter what I did. That's the way I did it. I can't NOT be creative.
That makes me an artist.
I live breathe eat sleep work dream drink art in some way every day.

So... I am beginning this year...this decade...this art journal with the declaration.
No more second guessing or doubts or questioning if what I do is truly art. IT IS. AND I AM...
My word for the year is : MANIFEST... does that make this my 2010 manifesto? I don't know. I do know I am going to manifest these dreams this year and for the rest of my life. No more waiting for the perfect moment or to receive some sort of permission from some 'expert' somewhere. I am doing this. I can do this.
I hope you will all join me in knowing that you are all artists...wonderful and creative and you bring a multitude of gifts to the world through your creativity.
Art is a neccessity of life.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Feeling My Way Into The New Year

It's been about a month since I last posted here. Christmas has passed. New Years too. I had a lovely holiday...but also a very melancholy one too. Missing my mother so much this year. My sister and I tried to soldier through in our own respective ways. We went through all the family ornaments that had been collected and hung with love each year on moms' tree. It was bittersweet. So much of the way we felt this year could be summed up with that word; which is ironic and sad. The name my parents' gave to their boat was Bittersweet; they said that it was a perfect summation of life: which is both bitter at times and also sweet. Seeing some of those treasured ornaments on my own tree was comforting; so many memories...
But this holiday season was also sad and heartbreaking for us. My little dog, Shelby, went into kidney failure and had to be put to sleep. Our hearts were truly broken. She was our sweet little girl; she and her 'brother' Bailey were adopted into our home 3 years ago from a local Humane Society. At 7 and 8 they were considered senior dogs. Shelby was actually quite sick when we got her. She had a history of bladder stones and, in the time we had her, had to have two surgeries to have them removed. After the first surgery--shortly after we adopted her--it was as if she was having a second puppyhood. Her personality came out; her spark and joy at being a little dog in a loving home. She loved to be contrary and stubborn. She loved to gambol about our huge yard, with Bailey...and sometimes my husband, at her heels. She loved to give the squirrels endless grief. She loved dinnertime and petite carrot treats. She loved to meet other people and dogs. She was a gem. I'm glad we took the chance and got to know this amazing little dog. But I have to admit, I might think twice about taking another dog with an unknown health history. It seems Shelby also had a history of kidney stones and had had a kidney removed some time in her past. We didn't know until she became so sick.
We are considering getting another little dog. Bailey is so melancholy. He lived his entire life with her; he seems kind of lost without her. We are looking into a Shih Tsu rescue organization and the possibility of a younger female. I've been going through pictures and profiles online on Petfinder. Of course they all tug my heartstrings, but I want to make a considered choice and not just an impulsive one. No more heartbreak...if possible. Post Christmas...I have been sick myself. What seemed to start as a typical cold; took root and has had me pretty well laid up for the last week or so. I am only just starting to feel like myself a little bit. These pen and ink drawings were done last week-- Thursday, Friday, Saturday--as a way to distract myself from how bad I was feeling. And as a way to make good on my personal New Years resolution to make or work on some kind of art every matter what.

They are loosely based on the idea of a zentangle, but not really a true zentangle... I think they are very stream of consciousness though. I tried not to think too much about what I was drawing as I was doing them. I love the black and white; the starkness of them.
I am really trying to keep to my resolution.
I should also resolve to be more dutiful in my blog entries.