i live in a beautiful place, and am lucky enough to have incredibly easy access to places like those below- the first 2 photos taken on the route of my daily hike (when it's dry enough to be on the trails) and the second a 15 minute drive away and favorite weekend trail.
i was born in the city and my mother says that i saw a tiger before i ever saw a cow, but that's because she was taking me to the zoo as an infant. and the arboretum. and the museum of natural history. and pointing out cardinals, talking about jenny wren who came to her mother's house every year, pressing autumn leaves- noticing and appreciating nature is something that i remember always being part of my life.
my parents moved from chicago to denver when i was 12 and when i saw the mountains i was done. i tried living away from them, but that didn't work out so well. i will have been in boise 20 years this october, the longest by far that i've lived anywhere. there are still plenty of spots in and near this beautiful state to explore.
i know her well enough to anticipate my favorite wildflowers blooming, the greening of the hills, the arrival of the sandhill cranes & yellow headed blackbirds, the browning of the hills (making them look like velvet), the yellows of autumn and white and stillness of winter. i am still delighted by surprises like finding moose live closer to home than i ever hoped and finding and identifying new wildflowers & birds.
i have all of this in my heart and it, in turn, finds its way into my art. after my last post about what art is, janice at postcards from wildwood emailed me because the question of voice and what the artist intends vs. what the viewer receives has been on her mind. i am not introspective (being an aries and all) and janice is ( i think virgo?) so we are coming at this from divergent angles. and i appreciate her truly interested and thoughtful questions making me THINK.
and this is what i came up with-
"i am not so sure that there is a message as that there is a mission- or a desire to have a voice- to share something about how i see the world. which will be interpreted by everyone who looks. but if my art makes a real connection with the viewer i feel like i have succeeded, regardless of their interpretation.
on the whole, though, i think that if i have a message it's that it's a great big wonderful world and that the natural world is amazing. that there are hidden depths and different ways of looking at things and if you open your eyes (and mind) there are always things to learn."
janice replied with an interesting observation that i haven't has a chance to ask if she minds if i share, so that may come later.
it's an interesting journey we're on, and we're all artists for compelling reasons, but they're all very individual and not always easy to articulate or define.
i am reading carole king's autobiography natural woman right now and am impressed by her generosity of spirit, creativity and insistence on living her life as she needed to. we share a love for idaho, which is part of what inspired this post.
we saw carole & james taylor on their troubadour tour a few years ago in sun valley and they were wonderful- beautiful is a song that i need to throw on when i'm feeling kind of cranky :) and it inspired, in part, this post.
and since i am too inept to figure out how to embed the youtube into this post it'll be a separate post, but oh well!
i had the best experience teaching my first mixed media class- and if you'd like to read about it please visit my other (more professional) blog on my website- www.greatwideopenart.com , because i have other things to talk about here.
we had a conversation last night about what art means to us as artists & to viewers. i am not an educated artist. i often hear references that i am clueless about (tho i will check it out later if i'm intrigued). so i get being someone who is interested in and likes art but is intimidated by ART.
i love sitting in my booth at shows listening to people talk about my work. it took me a while to get to this point, but it's all fun now. (well, 90% of the time). people know just how i did something and explain it to their friends at length. only they're usually wrong ( happens with photography a lot). or they could do the same thing, or they explain the symbolism of a piece. and i love to hear what they see in things i've created.
one of the women in the class last night asked if i did a painting with mountains and a road- and i knew right away what she was talking about. i have had so many people tell me that they knew exactly where this is. maybe one got it right. but everyone so clearly had an emotional attachment to the place that they "knew" it was.
karen said that she bought this card, framed it and looked at it in exile knowing that some day she would get back home. that, to me, is the highest compliment. i managed, in this painting, to capture an essence of a landscape that speaks to those of us who love this area. people know that this is in idaho, colorado, montana, oregon. it doesn't matter. it's home.
to me, art succeeds when it provokes an emotional response- if someone smiles, laughs, is calmed, wonders, looks deeper, it's good. i love knowing that someone wants to live with and look at something that i created. i love hearing that i created something that made a difference to someone.
i have art in japan, england, illinois, florida, colorado, california, washington and other places i don't even know about. i am sure that some of it is treasured & some of it is in a closet. but it's all out there because it touched someone. that is amazing. it's a gift to me from the universe.
it's spring on camas prairie and weekends are spent (as much as possible) exploring the area with camera in hand. i am never disappointed. here are the fruits of this weekend's photo safari-
centennial marsh- this will be dry by july, but is now full of water & teeming with birds- it will be even busier in the coming weeks-
it's always a treat to see the sandhill cranes, and to get close enough for photos. usually as soon as the car stops they start walking the other direction. even better to be able to see them dance-
love the yellowheaded blackbirds. and am tickled with this shot-
and some curious pronghorn-
things get better in the coming weeks as more birds come into the area and wildflowers start blooming. next week is hanging, so it will be yard work saturday & hanging sunday, but then i'll be back at it.
my last class is tomorrow night, then studio tuesday & getting things finished up before we hang on sunday, so stay tuned! have a great week-
ahhhh, tuesday night. always wonderful, but especially when it's closing in on time to have new art to rotate into the gallery. having my fellow artists working with me feeds my creativity & takes the pressure off- it's just easier to make things.
thought i'd show you what the rest of the crew is working on-
nancy- currently working on this clay doll (that she made). note to self- must check out lumiere paint-
lynn was creating ways to fit as much functional room as possible into a small space- redesigning her office to also serve as a guest room- yeah, there's math involved
pam working on assemblage pieces. we fell down on the job as far as helping with names, but i'm sure she'll come up with something brilliant!
this is where i started- struggling with both, tho i felt better about the B after last night's work on it-
and even better at the end of the evening- i think it's done! yay! spatters rock! they are a great way to tie things together and create movement without disturbing the essence of the piece.
the crane is still trying to find her way. i opted to do a more stylized image, but that means that the background needs more work it seems. thinking that a stylized flower stencil of some sort might be the thing. this is a layer of matte medium to reduce the shine & help me think.
lastly, the dolphins are lighter and, i think, done.
and that's it for now. maybe some studio tomorrow, but not much for the rest of the week- music thursday, photo safari over the weekend. only one week til hanging, tho- i need to finish some things!
week 2 of the mixed media mash up. the middle is always the hardest part for me. making backgrounds is easy, once i start, because there's no pressure. and once i've figured out where the piece wants to go it pretty much flows, but that middle part of finding the way to the end can be really tough.
so of course i brought tons of stuff & offered plenty of options. maybe too many. they told me to stop, looking just a tiny bit overwhelmed. but there are so many ways you can go! here's the group playing away-
and some of the works in progress- once we got going it got easier (funny how that works)
i even made progress on the painful b painting, which i brought as an example of how ugly things can be in that middle stage.
next week we'll be finishing things up. it'll be fun to see where everyone's work ends up & what goodies they bring to get it there. i'm lucky to have a class of women who make art in other forms, so it isn't much of a leap for them to play with new stuff, which is nice.
first- judy, you were right. having both cameras is the way to go, no question. and the strap is great (unless i think i need a tripod).
we went to fairfield on saturday, and checked out the nature conservancy's silver creek conservation area. can't believe we've never been there!
first- my very favorite big animal, a moose. we had no idea that there were moose so close-
we think it was a mama & 2 calves from last year. looking a little rough blowing her winter coat, standing in the water chewing her cud.
we couldn't stay long, but will be back to explore. over 150 types of birds seen along the creek (oh boy!), moose and other critters, fishing for the hub, beautiful scenic vistas & nice trails- looking forward to it!
back on the camas prairie, lots of antelope. this was a young guy, more curious about us that scared. hopefully he'll learn to be scared & make it through hunting season, in the meantime it was a great photo opp.
we saw a veritable herd of sandhill cranes. steve counted 30. first trip to the marsh in the evening, and i wonder if they group up at night & disperse into smaller groups during the day. it was something to see so many together, with a few geese mixed in.
2 cranes landing, with bonus crow (love those surprises!)
we had a beautiful sunset
an equally beautiful sunrise on the marsh
and came home & caught the great horned owl on our dog walk.
the weather in phoenix was lovely! and since my flight didn't leave til 8 pm i had time to take advantage of it with a visit to the desert botanical garden- which is near enough to the airport to make it a convenient stop. i brought the sony 5n with the standard 18-55 lens on it (making me really glad i sprung for both- it fits in my purse with this one, easy to pack).
oh, how i love tuesday nights! pam, lynn, jaki, sue & me tonight. it's a nice little clubhouse :)
i failed to get many photos, as i am on a mission to finish up my art source inches and get a bit ahead while i have a chance.
my friend jeanne got these amazing dolphin shots in the keys when a whole bunch of them (like 50-75) suddenly showed up in deep water near their boat. she gave me permission to paint. which, after having done the dolphin swim, i felt qualified to do. it's important to me to have a connection with what i'm painting, and dolphins are not part of my native environment. but after the swim i feel like it's ok.
i a background looking at me for a while (8x8), was thinking about a kingfisher
but my husband was on the computer and i didn't want to bother him to print and it was nearly studio time so i decided to give the dolphins a try. and i think it's working out ok.... they're darker than in the photo, so i may do some lightening & detail work, but mostly pretty good i think. thanks to pam for the suggestion to turn sideways- much better!
this one is challenging me. i've had quite a few spontaneous "likes" but i can't get past the fact that the bird & 2 bees have halos from the tissue paper that was supposed to melt into the background. dammit. i have tried to paint over it- both darker and lighter; i have tried to sand it off; i have tried to ignore it- i hate it and can't see past it. i would have made sure that at least i liked the shapes if i knew i would be seeing them as part of the piece. i am about to try to scrape down and pull the damn things off.
but i'll have some time to ruminate. heartless bastards show tomorrow night, off to phoenix at o dark thirty thursday morning, home late friday, then photo safari in fairfield. so the next time i can mess with it will be sunday afternoon. which is probably a good thing.
my theme for the year seems to be do things that scare you. stretch, push yourself, learn that it's ok. so when amy asked me to teach a mixed media class at wingtip press i said yes.
and i thought about what i have liked in workshops i've taken, and what i could teach and how to facilitate play (cuz really, mixed media is about play). and then i thought that maybe i hadn't planned enough, but i didn't want to over think it.
tonight was the first night, and we had fun. here's the clean table at the beginning. 5 students, everyone had 2 6x6 canvasses & 2 8x10 baltic birch panels to work on.
paula laying her foundation
miriam putting things together
the table looking more normal-
panels drying in the print rack :)
and the canvasses-
we had fun- and i am looking forward to more fun next week. this week we laid the background, next week we'll continue to build on that, adding layers & texture & a focal point and the last week we'll put the finishing touches on things.
even with friday off it was a quick weekend- don't know where the time goes! we saw the hunger games friday- loved it, they did a good job.
hike saturday, and some stuff around the house, then out to a local singer/songwriters showcase, which was great.
hike this morning- things are starting to bloom- currants
and at home, species tulips-
violets (which always remind me of my grandmother)
i start teaching my class tomorrow, night, so some time was spent gathering supplies. i need to get a few more things together, print some handouts & organize in my head. we have 5 or 6 spots filled, so that's good.
this will be a busy week- class monday, atudio tuesday, heartless bastards concert wednesday, phoenix thursday & friday, and probably head for the hills next weekend- there may not be much blogging in there, so have a great week!