Underwater – acrylic and charcoal on 300 lb cold press paper 24″ x 30″ inches
I started with the infinity symbol in charcoal and this is where it took me.
I did sign both top and bottom so it could be flipped either way.
I know. so weird!
Have you ever tried writing a book? I have at least 4 books rolling around in my head. I never get past page three out of complete frustration! However, my friend Jeanine, she did it and I am so darn proud of her!
Years ago Jeanine founded a group called Rhode Island Families in Nature. Her mission is to share her passion for the great outdoors with kids, grandparents, moms, dads and any significant other. It’s do-able, it’s accessible and it’s enjoyable. To quote Jeanine, “People who regularly spend time outside are happier, healthier, and even smarter than those who do not. And hey, let’s face it: it’s just plain fun to get outside and play!” Jeanine offers a monthly hike on her website. All you have to do is show up!
Now let me get back to the hard work part… So first she had to write the book – kudos right there! But there is so much more. Jeanine picked the most family friendly hikes from her own experience and then set out with a GPS app to painstakingly map out all 42 trails in her book. I went out with her a few times on this mission and I tell you she was counting how many steps from the tree until you turn left and documenting any inaccuracies in previous mapping attempts. She checked parking, strollers, time frames, you name it. Ok. so she got that done and then had quite a few more hurdles. On her own, no backing – her own money, Jeanine hired a map maker, an illustrator, an editor, a graphic designer and alas a printer! Each process took months and months and she saw it through all by her lonesome.
I received a text of this photo one day. To most of you this looks like a trunk full of boxes right?
To me, this photo was filled with so much symbolism, I just love it. I picture Jeanine all by herself, giddy and needing to share this with someone – anyone! I imagine when she looked at her car she must have thought ” HOLY SHIT I DID IT! This is real.There are actual boxes of my book in my trunk!” There will be a book launch party this weekend and a lot of celebration, but I’d imagine grasping the reality started with this trunk.
So I say to all of you who live in NY, CT, MA and RI – think HOLIDAYS!!! With this book you can go to a place where there are no cellphones or sirens. It’s quiet and you are hand in hand with the people you love. Sounds to me like a gift that will keep on giving!
Congratulations my friend. Job well done!
Book Launch Party: Join us on Sunday, September 27, as we explore the northern section of the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge and celebrate the launch of The Rhode Island Family Hiking Guide and Journal!
Sunday, September 27, 2015
50 Bend Road, Charlestown
I just started committing to holiday shows. This means jewelry-making for the fall is official!
I have scoured the old Providence mills for over ten years and own WAAAY TOO MANY jewelry components. I used to make jewelry for small gift shops along the New England coast as well as The Boston Museum of Fine Arts gift shop.
Just recently a fellow jeweler passed away and she wanted to make sure someone would put her materials to good use. I was entrusted with her belongings which was enough to say OK I WILL MAKE JEWELRY ONE MORE TIME!!!
I’m trying very hard not to buy any more supplies, but it’s hard, I have purchased a few more things… just a few!
I figured my autumn pottery session should be devoted to jewelry vessels for my holiday booths as well. These jewelry trays have a small bowl for rings and earrings.
However, my pottery instructor says they make her crave sushi! Hey that can’t be entirely bad. They’ll be multi-purpose!
I have oh so many ideas for both jewelry and vessels… you’ll have to stay tuned to watch the progression.
I BETTER GET CRANKING!!!
I named this painting “Birds in the Shadows” because when you see the painting in person, the birds are the last thing you actually see.
I did this on purpose.
When you’re looking out a window you see the ground, the trees, the sky. Right? Your brain simply interprets the key objects and filters everything else out. However, the longer you stare and the more conscious your observation, you begin to see the entire window’s view alive and moving. I can’t tell you how many times I wait that extra 2-3 minutes and then I sit in amazement. There are sometimes 20-50 little sparrows on the lawn which were there the entire time and my mind filtered them out.
I know many people close to me that would say “Yeah, how nice you spend your days in la-la land staring out your window… some of us work you know, some of us have real jobs, some of us can’t afford that luxury…” Boy I am plagued by this. I’m sent this message daily by my society and even by those near and dear to my heart. Somehow I am the weirdo-dreamer because I observe what is actually there and try to remind people of it? But darling humans around me, could it be that YOU are the ones in la-la land as you sit for hours right by the window not looking out because your hand-held device is the only thing that captures your attention?
You have no time for these frivolities? Could it be your free time is lacking in abundance because you are pressing little buttons accumulating points from little games on your phones? Do you need to sit and watch on a screen what someone you haven’t seen in 13 years is doing in Milwaukee instead of sitting and watching the real world right outside your window?
Just shut up. Stop it. Put it down and frigging listen.
There is wind rustling through the trees right outside your window. No really. Turn off your AC and open the window, you’ll hear it. I swear! There’s squirrels fighting over territory, blackbirds filling up the trees, sunlight warming up that patch of earth over there and the smell of berries rotting in the vines. Every day and it’s free, well It’s free right now anyway…
You are right, some of you are not “affording” the luxury and you do appear to have way more to show for yourselves than I. Go ahead and call me the weirdo-dreamer.
Why do artists paint pretty pictures? Why do they so often choose the simplest of subject matter? It’s to remind people of the beauty in the everyday. In all of the minutia that many filter out and no longer see. Yes to us “freaks” everything in the everyday world is simply mind-blowing :)
Artists are not the dreamers, you are the ones in a dream state. I’d say artists are the observers. They are very alert and very awake. They are the ones paying attention to the things the world forgets or are considered less important.
Yep. That’s what I’m thinking while I paint pretty pictures of little birdies -Pure piss and vinegar!!!
Ok. so where was I before I flipped out on my blogosphere public? Sorry about that digression. I mean who’s really reading this blog anyways… Mom are you there? You are at least reading these posts right Mom? Ahh… Mom???
Oh yes right…. the progression of my painting…
Love you all ;) daydream a little!
Seeds in the Wind acrylic painting on canvas 24″ x 36″
This painting was tough. I kept bringing it home finished and then taking it back to my studio because it didn’t feel right.
I wanted to capture movement through translucency and it definitely took layer after layer after layer, but in its final stage I like that there are some seeds far back and some up close.
My paintings are still a bit congested. No breathing or quiet space. I am going to switch hats and work on jewelry for a few months. I’m hoping the time away from painting will allow my brain to process and when I come back I will subconsciously be able to make the changes I want to make.
I still have quite a few paintings to show though, so don’t go anywhere!
Angels Among Us -acrylic & charcoal on 300 lb cold press paper 22″x30″ inches
So let’s see how this painting got started…
Like the famous Rorschach ink blot tests, you can interpret lines and marks in a myriad of ways. I personally saw a wing to the bottom right and went from there! Random strokes of lilac caught my eye as well and I saw more wings.
I see wings – I associate angels
I see angels – I associate bows an arrows
Now this is where my cousin Liz says “Wha -Wha- What? How do you get bows and arrows from angels?”
Well duh, the most famous angel? Cupid??? …. Of course this makes perfect sense… to me ;)
I also drew in some xxoo’s which equal love. Perfect Cupid sense if I say so myself! There’s also a little planetary/cosmos action which is aligned with my constant quest to understand the spiritual world around me.
This painting turned out bright and airy and it keeps one looking for the mystical and weird which is right up my alley. It’s a perfect psychological bundle of the inner workings of my mind.
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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!!!
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…
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!