Intergalactic

4Intergalactic (10)Intergalactic acrylic painting 30″ x 40″ inches on canvas

I was visiting with a friend of my mother’s who told me somehow she must have been dropped from receiving my blog via email.  She hadn’t received anything from me in months.  Well Miss Sharon, it’s not your email account it is me. It’s been a month actually and how fast that flew.

I am my children’s nanny in the summer and of course my cherubs come first.  It’s amazing though how one week I think I am going to be able to do everything and the next week I drop off the face of the earth for a month!

Don’t get me wrong, I have done plenty.  I taught pottery and art camps, painted 3 more paintings and binged on our local beaches.  I have LOADS of photos to share, but first I have to get my kids back into school. 5 more days of freedom before all of us get back into a schedule.

OK. Enough with the excuses… LET’S TALK ABOUT ART!!!

Here is the layering progression of my painting Intergalactic:

5Intergalacticc (3)

6Intergalacticc (4)

1Intergalacticb (2)

2Intergalactic (1)

3Intergalactic (9)

4Intergalactic (10)

The first layers of this painting had fish swimming around and there was a house with windows and doors.  But eventually I started to see planets forming and from there I was hooked!

There are many layers of floating stars and planets.  When you see it in person you can actually look through the layers. To the right there are hands reaching to pluck one of those stars from the sky or is it just a strange plant?  I left it ambiguous.

I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot of Keith Haring influence in my use of the charcoal.  When I pick up that piece of charcoal something makes me draw very ballsy and bold.  Nothing soft and nurturing coming out of my hand.  My cousin Liz is designating this my “Piss and Vinegar Series” and I think she’s right.

There are some issues with these current paintings.  I don’t feel like I really have control over color – what is coming out isn’t exactly what my right brain would plan and there isn’t any quiet space.  In theory there should probably be at least one-third of the canvas solid and opaque giving your eye a place to rest…

It shall take many attempts to tame my inner-dragon.  As I have mentioned, these paintings are intuitive paintings which means I spend countless hours trying to keep that right-brain at bay.  Each stroke and color is done by pure gut – no thought.  Pretty freaky what comes out of my psyche huh?

Eventually I will be able to marry my left and right brain and come up with some images that have some thought, planning and organization …. with just a hint of “piss and vinegar!”    :)   but for now I am learning and shall let my heart do what my heart wants to do!

 

The Guardians

NESTED (3b)

Are you ready for this??? ……. I’m actually completely happy with another painting! Woo Hoo!!!

It’s always nice when critiquing time comes around and you don’t even have to hear yourself complain!

OK. So this is how it started out.  I used 300 lb cold press paper. I believe it’s 24×30″.  I used acrylic paint and charcoal.

I am in love with using the charcoal.  I was roaming around YouTube one day and found an artist named Gerda Lipski .  She was combining acrylic and charcoal on watercolor paper and I was instantly mesmerized.

For me, there is something about using this thick heavy paper that creates translucency that traditional canvases just can’t match.  In the next few days I will show you canvases done at the same time as this painting and ETHEREAL and you will be able to tell.  The canvases are much darker and busier.

NESTED (4)

Now, let’s talk about the initial layer of this painting .  It looks like a horrible 80’s-throw-back painting doesn’t it?  I love this intuitive painting style because you just pick a point and start, but as the artist you keep going and going until you intuitively know you are finished.  So with this initial layer I gave myself quite a few shapes in charcoal that I could flip the paint around multiple times and see where it took me, but with this painting, I knew instantly.  Even though they are round, I knew them to be eggs.

NESTED (2)

NESTED (1)

The birds were created using stencils I created for bird paintings a year ago.  They were made from cardboard from my recycling bin and on many occasions I almost tossed them back into the recycling, but for some reason I allowed them to kick around in my basement and instantly when I saw those eggs in my mind, I also saw those bird stencils.

Birds? Eggs? From there came building the nest.  There are many layers of acrylic and charcoal swirling around this painting.  It was fun.  I envisioned the robins in my yard picking up twigs one at a time adding and building.  I took my inspiration from them and added and edited until I knew the nest to be complete.

NESTED (3b)

As I looked at the painting, the last thing I felt it needed was a glow.  That made it mystical to me.  When I look at the painting complete, I see the two birds as guardians of something quite magical.

——————

So taking it to another level check out this book that found me.  I say this book found me because I went to Block Island, entered their library, climbed up the stairs to a room in the library less perused by many, randomly turned into the third row and right at my eye-level was this book:

519ZE1W87SL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_[1]

I’m into anything spiritual and mystical, so of course I grabbed it and read it on the beach last week.  Very cool book about Ancient Mexican Shamans by the way, but the thing that stuck with me, is that the shaman in this book interprets human’s energy mass as circular orbs of light.  Shamans believe every darn thing in the universe to be some form of energy.  There are trees, rocks, birds, thunderstorms, mental thoughts, global thoughts, wind, universe…the great creator…everything is energy and has a shape. To them some energy looks like filaments, clouds, fluid and some energy looks like orbs.

What I found interesting, is this shaman’s lineage goes back like a thousand years.  Each shaman passes the information learned to the next generation and this is the part I found interesting.  What this particular family of shamans interpreted was that humans auras were egg-shaped a thousand years ago.  When the shamans saw humans energy masses then, they were in the shape of an egg.  Today, in the twentieth century, they interpret the energy as orbs – circular.  Something happened over the centuries that our energy masses shifted in shape.  I believe it had something to do with the hardening of our thought processes and the interpretation of all matter as concrete and finite.  This has changed our auras shape.

hmmm…

Have I scared you off with all of this mumbo-jumbo?

When I got home and looked at this painting again I thought to myself, yes, exactly!  This was what I felt when I was painting!  I instantly saw those round blue circles in my painting as orbs/eggs even though they weren’t “egg-shaped”. I knew them to need this special glow of light, like energy.

The birds in my painting are the guardians. Guardians of something mystical. Guardians of us humans.  Anyone who knows me intimately knows I have had a really strong connection to birds in the past 3 years.  Strange stories I could tell you…

So why am I dribbling on?  I read this book which totally put what I knew about my painting into words.  The crazy thing is the synchronicity.  I finished the painting two weeks before I got on a ferry, went to Block Island, randomly climbed the stairs, went into the third aisle and found this book waiting for me.

The painting and the book were connected but separated by time.

If that aint an amazing koinky-dink, then I don’t know what is…

WEIRD right?  … do-do-do-do!

Please, take my card…

IMG_5043b

It was time for a new business card.

Gosh, you could spend days looking at advice for how to create the most effective business card.

“You will be judged before they even flip the card over”

“Make sure your title is the first thing that comes across”

“Add your photo to ensure you are remembered”

bla, bla, bla, bla, bla…

Instead of worrying about what everyone else might want in my business card, I decided to make a card I liked.

I like business cards that are visually stimulating.  Color and images are the fist ones I go for.

I also love wit and humor.  If you get me to think, ponder or laugh, then its a keeper.

My third prerequisite is that je ne sais quoi.  For me it’s seeing a card that makes me want to know more about the person behind it.  That could be an amazing logo or a terrific slogan. I do love a good pun…

I think I nailed it on the head. I said it above “For me it’s seeing a card…”  Seeing a card.  That is what I do. I’m a visual person.  I bypass black and white standard press cards and I gravitate towards ANYTHING VISUALLY STIMULATING!!!

FINAL Business card

This was my last card.  Pretty much I wanted to hand it out to people and have them go to my website for all relevant information.  I have to say, I don’t know if anyone ever went to my website, but everyone knew me around town before I ever met them.  I guess there is something to putting your image on your card…

IMG_5050

This is the front of my new card.  It has a logo.  I have somehow branded myself “Be Creative Mary”. After years of trying to come up with some witty name or concept for myself, simply being creative seems to sum me up perfectly :)

The quote however, the quote is there 100% for me.  I cannot for the life of me figure out what the rest of the world wants in an artist.  What can I write on a business card that will seduce you into x, y or z? …. beats me.  I make art because I can’t not.  How’s that for a catchy slogan? 

I put the quote ” I make art to show my soul I am listening” because the second I was done creating the template for this card I wanted my card up on my bulletin board so I could read the quote over and over again.  That’s a good enough reason for me.  Maybe someone else will want it on their bulletin board and it will constantly remind them to wake up every day and do the thing that fills their soul with purpose and with happiness.

IMG_5049c

The back of the card of course needed to have the vital contact info, but that doesn’t take up too much space.  I figure if you are at the point of wanting to contact me, you’ll squint and get the info.  Might as well go for the amusing factor instead.  The painting I added to my card is titled “the art consumer” which is poking fun of art show personas.  My mother has a gallery and we always find the most eccentric art aficionados. It’s also a little nod to a self-portrait because those are my eye-glasses and let’s just say I have a penchant for visually stimulating attire.

This was funny, I just got my new cards in time for the art festival so I dropped a stack on the table in our booth.  There were people coming and going and I was making idle chit-chat with the passers-by when this woman read the quote “What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imaging, you create” I stopped and looked at her and said “boy that was beautiful, where did you get that?”  The woman looks down grabs my card and hands it to me.  Yep.  In the weeks since I’d designed it, I had forgotten I had added that quote to the bottom… I’m such a knucklehead!  I think I need to add that side of the card to my bulletin board too.  If only to remind me what I wrote!

All said, people snatched up the cards.  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t to contact me and yet they will in a sense still get a little piece of me.  Maybe, someone will be having one of those crucial moments in their lives, where big questions are getting asked and answers can only be found within.  Maybe out will pop the card from their coat pocket and they will read some words of wisdom and it will be just what they needed to listen to their soul or to imagine or create. Or better yet, maybe just laugh.

That them there, would fit my definition of a great business card!

 

ETHEREAL

_IMG_4651

OK. I’m back from vacation and it is time to start showing some art!

To sum up the last few months, I would say I have gone from more traditional still life painting to exploring abstract painting.

I tried another artists technique which was a wonderful learning experience, but I knew that particular style was not my own.  I unveiled these trial paintings much to my chagrin and then started 5 new paintings taking what I learned and now trying to make it a little bit more of my own.

So here is painting #1 of 5.  I am calling it Ethereal.

_2015-05-29 17.46.00

Above is the first layer of the painting.

It is a 24×30″ acrylic painting on 300lb cold press paper and I drew on it with charcoal.

 It wasn’t on purpose, but in this first layer, I began to see a cat or tiger appearing on the right.  I totally didn’t want to go the cutesy route, so I added about 3-4 more layers trying to transform that feline into something else! I also used quite a bit of clear matte acrylic medium to try to make each of the layers translucent.

I tried to keep spinning the painting 360 degrees, to move quickly, not to get attached and to remember to make the painting experience as much fun as possible and in this way, I succeeded.  I had a great time! Strange things began to take form.  See if you can find them.  There’s a dragon, floating eyeballs, a spinning torpedo, and tons of crosses. Do you see a tiger? You better not!

_IMG_4651

It was a strange phenomenon.  As I began drawing crosses (and I’m not exactly sure why I was by the way), I felt a tinge of fear or guilt. I slowed down and explored that emotion and tried to figure out where and why it was present. I figured out it was due to my Irish Catholic upbringing.  Just like the sacrilege of defacing our American flag, the cross is the same way to Christianity.  It’s sacred and you’re not allowed to use this icon unless you are praying to it.

So yes, this is one belief, but another is that a cross is also two perpendicular lines that intersect. When it comes down to it, it’s two lines. Why should I feel guilty about drawing two lines? I am allowed to make any marks that come to me and I can disassociate these marks with whatever pre-inherited notion that has been unwillingly attributed right?  Wow.  That I can say, felt a little bit like FREEDOM, freedom from societal preconceptions… Woo Hoo!   Now feeling mentally liberated, I started making tons of crosses, in black and in white and I loved letting go of the idea that I might go to hell for doing so!

As the crosses began to radiate out from the floating orbs in the painting, the crosses did take on some meaning for me.

I believe in life after death and I believe our souls are energy that cannot be created or destroyed.  The way the crosses float in the painting, makes me feel like they are souls around me floating through dimensionless matter. This in turn reflects the rest of the painting; objects floating in dimensionless matter.  To be ethereal.

Weird stuff.

It’s a good-size painting and the color vibrates right off the paper.

I am truly happy with my work.

Wait… did you hear me? …let’s just take a moment, do you realize I just said I have no complaints?

That’s a big deal.  Artist contentment…

I must be getting somewhere!

BIRDS TAKING FORMATION

IMG_4977

The other day, when I was at the art festival, I handed a woman my business card.  She looked at it, then said “Oh, I just started following your blog and I have no idea how I found you. Did you ever finish those birds?”

I can’t tell you how awesome that feels to find out someone other than my mother actually reads my blog (mom you are still reading it right?).  I’m not alone in cyber space. Woohoo!

Secondly, I have been working on my bird totems. I just fell off the planet when my kids got out of school.  It took a little adjusting from having 60% art time to 5% art time.  It’s all good though because they force me to stop and smell the cotton candy and maybe ride a wave or two…or three!

IMG_4969IMG_4968IMG_4974

Another woman in my pottery class thinks these birds should be mounted on large sticks or poles.  I think it’s brilliant.  I picture myself standing there with the Staff of Ra like in Indiana Jones – God help me that’s an absurd thought!  I’m totally doing it!!!

I’m off to Block Island for my annual family vacation next week.  I will be searching for the coolest pieces of driftwood I can find for my bird totems.

I Can’t wait!

The Festival

_IMG_4939a

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:

_IMG_4933

_IMG_4941

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

_IMG_4955 _IMG_4953 _IMG_4952 _IMG_4951

I had two that cracked during the firing process:

_IMG_4956

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

_Untitled-1

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.

2015-06-28 09.09.00

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!

IMG_4846b

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:

IMG_4871

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!

IMG_4876

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!

thecover

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!

Untitled-1

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

IMG_4747

Abstract 48″ x 60″ acrylic painting

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

IMG_4045

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

IMG_4050

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!

IMG_4544

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!

————————————-

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

IMG_4723

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

IMG_4736

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:

IMG_4403d

IMG_4403c

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!  ;)