The Festival

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This is Karen Stackow of Signs of Fire.

She’s a local artist who some time in February asked if I’d like to share a booth with her at the Narragansett Art Festival.

And so I did:

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I made the ceramic fish for the event and luckily I took photos because half of them sold!

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I had two that cracked during the firing process:

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Which means the cobbler gets to bring them home and stick them in her garden :)

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Well, long story short, I didn’t sell anything on day two.  Nor did anyone else. The festival is right on the water and as all the artists were sleeping rain and 40 mph winds were up to no good.  Many artists went home with nothing. Hours, weeks, months of work destroyed.  Investments in booths, collapsed.  It was a horrible sight.

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But that Karen Stackow, the universe was kind to her.

All of the tents on all 4 sides were destroyed but the orange tent-o-fire was left completely intact.  (Not to mention we emptied the tent before the storm.)

So, I guess that’s what they call a wash. <- horrible pun intended.

I did learn a lot.  I got a good feel for the events price point and I got to observe what people were buying.  Karen got me to sign up for SQUARE which now enables me to accept credit cards. And thanks to her, I didn’t have to sit in a booth alone for 8 hours.  Boy we had some good laughs!

Before it was all washed away, I also really appreciated the art talent.  It was great to see what everyone was creating.  It simply amazes me how different each and every artists vision can be.

I was honored to be among them :)

GAME ON!

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Have you ever heard of an Olympicnic?

Well it is very serious business.  Our family has started this ritual.

There may be silly races, water fights, a little corn hole, maybe a keg or two…

but now it just got a little more serious:

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Now there are trophies involved!

My family used to have a Festivus party during the holidays as well.  I was given a two foot Santa boot and asked to create a trophy for that occasion. Whoever got the best position in our gift swap was cursed with taking home the boot for the year and having to return it to the next Festivus celebration.  Let’s just say over the years things were written on it, family photos may have been added…there may have even been a little glitter and Jesus, all with the highest respect and admiration I assure you.

Our new tradition is whoever wins the tiki-garden gnome or the hot-mama troll gets to “add to” their splendor for next year.  I even left shelves to fill.  I think the troll needs another entire tier below it.

Let the Olympicnic defacement begin!

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I am just warning my family now, my daughter is playing to win.  She wants that tiki-garden gnome to reside in our up-stairs bathroom and she has advised us to do whatever it takes!!!

Bring it family. Bring it – Game on!

Go Jeanine!

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My girlfriend Jeanine has very carefully hiked the entire state of Rhode Island, very often with her kids and many others, and compiled the perfect guide for family friendly hiking.

 

Quite fitting that she is the founder and director of Rhode Island Families in Nature!

It’s been a long time in the making and she can almost taste the fruits of her labor.

Congrats Jeanine!  I can’t wait to receive my signed copy!  Woot! Woot!

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These were other illustrations I did for the book many moons ago… everything is beginning to get finalized.  The final stages…the finish line!

You don’t have to wait for the book.  Simply go to RI Families in Nature and see where this month’s featured hike will be and if you do, tell my friend Jeanine that Mary sent ya!

The Big One

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Abstract 48″ x 60″ acrylic painting

This was the first in the mark-making abstract trials.  Here’s how it started:

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On it’s way to being a boring old landscape…it was abandoned to my basement…

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This was one layer of random gesso and a layer of warm pigments.

From there, I added a layer of cool colors, some black and white additions, more reds and oranges…and then…. and then…

I froze.

I liked what had come out thus far and I couldn’t bring myself to cover up what I had thus created.

So I abandoned it and left it in the state that it was…

It’s a good thing because 2-3 weeks later it would have been in with the others – a state of disappointment.

There’s something to say about following your gut.  It knows what it knows without us understanding how it knows what it knows.

You most likely won’t see anything like this come out of me again. It’s doesn’t feel like my personal style, but I must say, this painting looks pretty darn cool in my bedroom!  I get lost in it every morning!

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Laugh it up, but this is the only photo I could find that gives you an idea of the painting’s size and proportion.  Proudly taken by my ten-year-old!

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OK. my slate is clean…

Now I can show some paintings I’m feeling really good about.  Woo-hoo!

Back to work!

2 More and 1 More to Go

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Below   -acrylic painting 30 x 40 inches (it’s a big one!)

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Through the Tree   -acrylic on wood panel 16 x 20 inches

I am not going to write too much on these.  They had the most issues for me and I’m neurotic enough without adding fodder to that feast!

Simply stated, these were the first layers:

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Crazy I know, but what I liked about the first layers is their pure clean color.  As I was instructed to add more and more layers to try out someone else’s process, the paintings got muddier and muddier. That didn’t sit well with my own personal style. Cool, because now I know that!

Chalk it up to experience as they say!

I’ve already started these new paintings where I’ve taken all I’ve learned from this process and I’m applying it in my own way.   I’ll start showing you them but I felt like I needed to get these previous ones out of the way.

So time to rip off that bandage, show my learning curve to the world and hope that someone else identifies with the great strength in showing that which you feel to be your most vulnerable.

It reminds us all that Van Gogh’s don’t come out the first time.  We are not alone in that.  I repeat. WE ARE NOT ALONE IN THAT. There may be a hundred paintings before you even find your groove. So you have to DO IT ANYWAY, FALL GET UP , FALL AGAIN GET UP AGAIN, EXPAND & SHRINK & EXPAND because that is how you get to the other side of anything worth attempting.  This sounds great in theory but the actual practice takes tremendous courage. It’s terrifying!

Still, we have to create the first hundred and we have to be ok with what comes out.

I have to say, being here in this stage, it feels quite invigorating and very freeing in a sick and tormented way.

Yeah, that’s sums it up and that’s how I choose to roll!

Come join me, the water’s great!  ;)

Swirl

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OK. Experiment #3    Swirl    -18×24 inches acrylic

This painting reminds me of jewelry. All of the circles remind me of gorgeous glass beads but also, there are little flecks of silver & gold leaf throughout which makes it sparkle.

There is also a spiritual element.  There are the birds flying throughout.  Birds always represent freedom to me.  Freedom to soar, to roam, to come, to go.  There’s a bird exhaling which to me is  pent-up energy.  So it’s the release of energy and then I vision the feather blowing in that wind-energy.  I’ve been reading a lot about Native American totems and spirit medicine which is definitely creeping into my work. The Native Americans encouraged blurring the lines between imagination and reality.  That which one could imagine has deep meaning for each specific individual and each individual could then learn from their own imagining and apply it to their “reality”.  It is not lost on them that “image” is part of the word imagine.  They believe in very specifically surrounding yourself with imagery – hence totems.  Imagery with symbolic reference. That speaks to me.

In fact, here are the bellies of 6 bird totems I just started Tuesday:

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No heads yet…hopefully next week :)

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So far, intuitive painting brings up mysticism and magic for me; that’s what bubbles up to my surface.  It makes sense, I spend every waking moment trying to figure out why I am here.  You know, the big question.  So of course that would be what comes out… pretty cool. Your heart gets to speak through a visual language.

Grrrr… I sure wish this was five times bigger than it is.  I am going to have to work on getting larger canvases.  Does anyone know how to do one of those kick-start campaigns?  I wonder if I asked people to donate to “me” as their cause and in turn I could send each of them a signed print of one of my large magical canvases that don’t exist yet but would exist due to them…that would be a cool concept.  Any one?  Knowledge you could impart?

My friend Judith from Synchronicity and Company, sent me this quick one minute movie from NPR’s Ira Glass. It really speaks to exactly where I am.  EXACTLY.  It is so frustrating but so true.  It is exactly how I feel.  Thank you for imparting your wisdom Ira!

Click here it’s only one minute!  http://omeleto.com/188186/

I started 5 new paintings this Monday. I am working on many at once to try to keep from “thinking”. It works.  I just keep twirling around using my intuition instead of over examining.  Cool things are coming out and I’m already changing AGAIN! … intuitive painting is so cool, because even as the artist, you have no idea what’s going to be created!

It definitely keeps you coming back for more!

OK. Off to paint… YES!!!

FLY-BY

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Fly-by  Intuitive Painting #2

Is there any incredibly wealthy individual out there who would like to buy me some giant canvases?

I actually really like this painting.  It is quirky and happy and wiggly… my only disappointment is that it is only 20″x 24″ inches.  Boy ol’ boy if this painting was 4ft x 6ft you could visually step inside and get lost in its fun!

My husband and I have a special connection to Prague and this painting very much reminds me of the city’s antiquity.  The city’s buildings all twist and turn in the skyline.  Half due to the Baroque architecture and half due to the settling of hundreds of year old buildings.  The city has settled into a twisty-turny, cobble stone, piled on top of one another visual delight!

When you see this painting in person, my favorite part of this painting is the sky. You can see the many layers underneath the transparent blue clouds.  Yum.  I do love that you can see the layers.

A friend and I were talking about “the ideal” vacation.  She spoke of entering the woods and getting into nature.  I was the opposite.  I love to visit cities.  I love to ramble through streets foreign to me.  I love to people-watch, find a book store, listen to live music, eat incredibly delicious food.  Cities have flavors and can collectively expose a lot of awesome things about humanity.

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Here is the painting after its first few layers of mark making.  You can see how your mind can go in many directions.  I see a fish in the bottom center which could have been an entire different story…

Again, I do like the first few layers better than the over-doing of extra layers and all this over-context.  I have started new paintings where I am trying to keep the colors brighter and less muddied, but as soon as I start “trying”  the unabashed free-spirit intuition goes down the tubes…

It shall take me many a painting to figure out my personal groove… umm, wealthy individual with unlimited canvases for me???  Please come forward!!!

THE SHAMAN

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OK. The perfectionist in me doesn’t want to show the next 5 paintings I am going to show you.  This is absolutely why I will post them.  Bye-bye perfectionist who lives in a safe little shell where one only shows the world that which can be carefully manipulated.  Hello BRAVE NEW WOMANROAR!!!  These are from an intuitive painting class.   I had no idea what I was doing, and this is what came out.

Abstract & Intuitive Painting DO NOT LEND THEMSELVES TO PERFECTIONISM!

If you are truly in the present moment, then you have absolutely NO CONTROL over what comes out on the canvas.  Planning takes forethought which is a form of control.  This is control-less or OUT-OF-CONTROL!!! Totally out of my comfort-zone. It is great for me. Free therapy!

There is an artist named FLORA BOWLEY.  A friend turned me on to her process and I bought her book called “Brave Intuitive Painting”.

Brave Intuitive Painting Book Cover

There are so many aspects of Flora Bowley’s process that I LOVE.  She is very spiritual.  She uses all 5 senses when painting.  I learned SO MUCH about changing up my mark-making and creating texture and movement.  At times I actually finger painted!  I totally forgot how awesome paint actually FEELS.

So today I will show you one of the paintings and in the next week, I’ll unveil the others.

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This was the first two layers.  The first was a layer of warm colors and the second was a layer of cool colors.  I thought this was fairly ugly to tell you the truth… but I pushed on…

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Next, came a layer of black and white and after that, you keep adding layers until something “speaks” to you…

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The first thing that stood out for me was the circle with lines coming out.  I have a shaman friend who literally blows energy in and out of people and that spoke to me visually.  From there, I stayed incredibly alert and kept asking “what do I do next?”.  From within me, a very strong voice began to command what should be done.

The heart stood out next for me which was warm and rich but, to its right I was told was its opposite -it is cold and filled with holes. I was told to put a knife in-between.

Intuitively fire balls started to be painted, but I didn’t know exactly that was what I was making.  I just heard inside, pick up orange and red.  I had hand-made a series of bird stamps which I added. Only right now as I observe do I notice there are 4.  North, East, South & West? What do they carry to and away?  They seem to be flying within the frenzy. I didn’t plan it, so I can’t say exactly what they are doing.

Next the hands were very important.  I distinctly heard “ice” for the hand to the right.  Blues, digits, snow, and the moon.  It’s counter was on the left.  I went to make digits for fingers and my insides said “NO”. Flames full-thrusting flames darn it!

There was so much more.  I saw a sea of fish to the left of the face, blood, holes – are they auras or portals? There is nature and grass down below, night and day. Many dichotomies. In fact the entire painting is about the opposites one finds on the planet earth.  Full/empty, hot/cold, heaven/hell, good/evil, healthy/sick, happy/sad, rich/poor, awake/asleep.

Deep thoughts by Mary Walsh – and yet, I thought nothing!

I simply listened from within.

As for the painting, it’s a little too crazy for me aesthetically, I don’t like the darkness and the color-palette per say, but again, I didn’t spend time controlling it!

I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, the journey, and that is the direction I am headed.  I have to shed making things in hopes that they will make other people “happy”.  I can’t make other people happy nor can I successfully “think-out” what the entire world would like!  Different things speak to all of us.  I have been spending countless hours asking the question “what speaks to me?”  I hope more of what does comes into my work.

I embrace my inner authenticity.  May I share it with the world!

Here’s to the journey!

COMING TO LIFE

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Of Course I went the color route!!! How could I leave these brown and gray???

It’s against everything I know!

These are under-glazes.  Off to bisque fire and then I will get another shot at color infusion

– with the glossy glazes!

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I wish WordPress had Smell-a-vision.  You could not believe the fragrance!

Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend Everybody!

M

READY, SET, NARRAGANSETT ART FESTIVAL

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I am participating in this summer’s Narragansett art Festival. It takes place the weekend of June 27-28.

These are ceramic wall hangings I am creating for all of our beachy houses here. Well, I guess they could be trays too for a coffee table.

I am headed in now to underglaze them, but it’s tough, I sort of like them natural…

We shall see what I decide….

I hope I don’t sell them all because I want one!