Sunday, April 16, 2017

thoughts on consistency, why i make art and the creative process

i have had conversations recently with 2 artists that i just happened to meet (always pay attention to those random encounters) about the same subject (pay attention). both talked about the importance of knowing why you make art. the first, in the context of getting her degree and the emphasis put on that question by her teachers. the second artist asked me why i make art. i had an answer because of the first conversation, which is that i do it to communicate. i also love that my art takes on a life of its own once it leaves the nest, and it doesn't matter what i was trying to say- it likely means something different to everyone who sees it. but what i created touched someone- they liked it well enough to put down their hard earned cash and take it home to live with. 

i find it amazing that art i made is out there in the world- in japan, england, germany and scandinavia; that people see my traffic boxes in boise and ketchum and visit the earth node that lynn and i created at the foothills learning center. and every person who sees my art has a different take on it. it can be a long, convoluted path from my brain to completion. i work intuitively. sometimes i look up a number or animal that shows up in a piece and think- oh, hello, that's why you're here. and the art becomes something else when i let it go. 

both conversations also included discussion about how many different art forms i do. each of these artists focuses on one type of media. we know that ain't me. i think that i have a certain "hand" that shows through- color choices, composition, subject matter are fairly consistent. whether i use so many different media because i haven't found my home or because i just like to play my be up for debate. i lean toward the playing part.

the creative process fascinates me. it seems that some artists go deep- they want to learn and master their chosen media, push it as much as possible, understand deeply and truly what their chosen art supply (oil paint, watercolor, pastels, their camera- pick a medium) can do. some go wide- a common theme may run through but the media varies. i know plenty of artists who work in a variety of media- and of themes. some more successfully than others. the real key is probably understanding when a medium doesn't suit the project- or realizing that it just doesn't work for you.

thank you universe for throwing this out to me. i'll keep thinking about it, but so far it feels like i'm on the right path.

or flight..........

speaking of different media- my piece for the shrinky dink auction to benefit surel's place:

  • on the left, pre baking, on the right the end result


i was worried about making something that felt not so much like art, but am happy with the end result. happy accident- the southeast quarter rolled on itself and was not salvageable. made the piece more interesting in the end.

i drew this guy when i wasn't sure what i was going to do for the auction. had to use it-

here's what happened as the result of playing-

masterpiece? no. but someone will see this, it will speak to them and find a home.

the most consistent and constant medium is alive and well- got the camera out this weekend, and have fodder for mixed media art, transfers, paintings- whatever seems the right way to communicate the wonder i feel at moments like this.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


so many things running through my head right now-

bought a compass rose medallion in st augustine and love the idea of it- exploring and finding the way home; finding and keeping true north; intermediate points and protection in rough waters. def more to come on this one. journal page wip-

my friend pam mcknight makes wonderful collage travel journals and i thought i'd try her method rather than feeling like i "should" draw. i'm happy with the pages below reflecting my latest trip-

i meant to draw/paint/journal on this trip, brought everything i might need :)

in the end, it was about being there. watching the gator slide thru the birds in a nwr

catching the gbh in great light at gatorland 

 the rhythm of cormorants perched in blue spring sp

texture (and gator tracks)


and manatees

so inspired by what i saw- bike week in daytona was a whole different inspiration. so much mono culture and individualism at the same time. i really missed many photo opps there.

it's funny- this is not my native environment but there is absolutely something that speaks to my soul. it's gonna be fun exploring the whole compass rose symbolism, exploration traveling thing in my art. come along for the ride ;)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

it's my journey- what a long strange trip it's been

i so value my time with my artist friends. we bounce ideas, check in, learn from each other. tonight 2 of my friends were talking about thinking of giving up making art. one decided to just go with having fun instead of trying to figure out what will sell. the other is thinking about things- where to go next, what to do. 

it gets discouraging making art that sits in a closet until you drag it out for a show and then pick it up and stick it back in the closet. not because it's bad art, but because the right person didn't see it.

we got to talking about some of the local artists we know who sell. some of them bore me to death- well executed art that was interesting when i first saw it, but not so much years later. then there are those who continue to explore, either with materials and subject matter or by delving deeper into their chosen media and subject matter and keeping it fresh and interesting.

i'm an explorer. it's a good thing that i have a day job- it frees me up to play. in chronological order, a sample of my art from the past 10 or so years- 

the common thread? i am interested in the natural world. photography is a long time love that feeds future projects. i like to learn and experiment. i love the fact that many of these pieces are out in the world brightening someone's home (or a Boise street), but i am equally happy with the work in the journal pages that has improved my drawing skills and let me experiment with different media. 

i've come to trust and enjoy the process. since leaving the gallery and the pressure of creating new art on a schedule and since i have been traveling so much for work i have not completed many pieces of art. i have been on numerous photo safaris and have filled my instagram feed with iphone pics but i haven't been painting a lot. surprisingly that's OK. i am still creative, and i am really curious to see where this takes me when i do have studio time.

one thing i do know- i will not stop making art. be nice if it was selling, but i will keep going regardless. it's a big part of who i am.

Monday, February 20, 2017

two steps forward...

there's my valentine! love & mercy raised $175 for a local AIDS awareness program. 

it's always a good way to start the year with a focused art project.

i've also been drawing and working in my journals, tho not as regularly as perhaps i should be. here's jack watching the super bowl

and a page remembering my trip to california in january-

i've been traveling a lot- for both fun and work- but it does cut into my art making time.

i am still trying to figure out how find time to make and sell my art this year. hopefully there will be less travel and more studio time, but if not i am going to work on doing small watercolor sketches while i travel and consistently carve out studio time when i don't. i do have a group first thursday show in may and a solo one planned for august, so there are deadlines to work toward.

additionally, i was asked to participate in a fundraiser for surel's place this year. fun out of the box project, using shrinky dinks to make a piece of art to be auctioned off. sounds like a fun thing to play around with and i'm looking forward to it.

still working on my totem series. this burrowing owl is being done with oil sticks and i'm having fun drawing with them. lots of possibilities.

i'm home for 2 weeks and looking forward to some studio time. still trying to figure out how to best set myself up to work on the road (beyond sketching), how to set myself a studio up in fairfield, as spring is coming and i will be spending a lot of time up there with my camera. there's a way to make this work, and it's coming together, just need to sit down and think about it.

Monday, January 9, 2017

process- anatomy of a valentine

i've been thinking about how to keep making art and where to go with it. i want to get back to consistently making bigger pieces and i want to have a place to show them. until my job situation is known, it's hard to say how much time i will have to devote to my art practice, beyond the daily drawing and studio sundays that kept me going in 2016.

one possibility is small works on paper when i travel- daily drawing outside the journal. another is to continue to work toward a show with bigger pieces. we are scheduled for a first thursday in march at sola salons which gives me a goal.

in the meantime, i looked at the calendar on saturday and realized that i will be in town a grand total of 9 days before the annual donation for valentine for aids is due on january 27. decided i'd better get it done this weekend. between shoveling and keeping the floods at bay.

below is the background on 16x12 board. map, mythical creatures, a love song and a warning- seems about right. but where to go from here? i didn't lay this out with thought as to what was going over it- i never do. that meant that i needed to find a vertical image that fit among the bigger elements. i also wanted the background to harmonize better, rather than seeing blocks of brown or white which are visible here.

i added layers of gesso, titanium buff, filled in with markers and used a stencil to bring the background together. then i rubbed it off with alcohol to knock it back some. dug through my photos looking for the right focal piece. googled symbols of love, animal symbols for love, birds symbolizing love. swans and doves. looked through my photos. found one mourning dove and several swans but nothing that worked.

decided that the raven, symbolizing mystery and creation works. plus, with limited time, it's good to be in familiar territory. searched for the original raven photo of the commission i completed a few weeks ago and finally found it. while searching symbols, i came upon apple in one of the lists, symbolizing temptation. perfect.

below, work in progress-

and with the raven added in. raven done using pitt markets, acrylic paint and a white gel pen. the apple is primarily bombay ink but also incorporates pitt makers, paint & stabilo pencils. the pitt markers are india ink, so they are workable when applied but dry permanent, which is great. as for the rest layers of spray varnish will keep things in place.

wanting more unification in the background and a warmer look, i added a later of quinacridone nickel azo gold. better.

after looking at that for a bit, i decided i wanted to bring some of the background elements up a bit and gave her a scrub with rubbing alcohol. and here we are: love and mercy, my 2017 valentine for aids.

last year's donation, all you need, generated $225 for snap. my goal each year has been to raise more money. here's hoping that love & mercy can do that-