Art Fest Prep

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Finishing up…

Wrapping everything up. Loading the car. Trying to think of every little thing I might need for 16 hours out in a field with art. Ah, I always forget something!

I made these little prints based on the larger paintings framed below:

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So many more… I have little paintings hiding in every nook in cranny.  I hope I remember them all!

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The weather for the festival is predicted to be 80 degrees with an ocean breeze and low humidity.  That would be amazing especially after last year’s hurricane conditions which blew down tents and destroyed art.

I think I’m ready.

I’m exhausted from trying to create work for this show at the same time as being home with my kids for summer break.  Somehow Monday morning will come and I’ll catch up on a bit of rest… But for now, full steam ahead…

I’m off to the Narragansett Art Festival!!!

 

My Rhode Island

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I just finished a series of paintings of some of my favorite local locals.

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The painting at top left was a little 12 x 16 painting I did during my 365.  Back then I had spent weeks trying to minimalize my painting style as much as possible.  I had loved the effect and promised to return to the concept, but you know me…I got distracted :)

Well, I remembered and tried again.  Even though the color palette is quite restrained and minimal itself, I tried to keep the colors as bright and vivid as possible.  No mud.  I don’t see the world through a beige lens :)

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I also knew I wanted them to all tie together like a series, so I worked on all of them simultaneously.

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First I did all the skies, then I blocked out the landscapes and then carefully, one by one I added all the details. I have to say, adding the trees, grass and rocks was terrifying.  I really liked the uber-simple landscapes and wondered if I should just stop there.  I’d love to get some viewers feedback.  How minimal should I go and still be able to communicate my beautiful locale?  My intuitive self would say make a hundred more paintings and then you’ll see clearly… but my good old regular self says “hey, that’s way to long. I want to know now!”   Yes talking to myself again… :)

I am going to turn this collection into a mini-art print set.  I’m thinking 8×10’s.  It will make just the prettiest little bathroom for someone won’t it?    ;)

Today’s my birthday.

As a gift to myself, I joined Weight Watchers and the gym in February.  My goal was to feel awesome by my birthday which is always Memorial Day weekend which just happens to coincide with the beginning of summer.  The past months have been a lot of hard work and discipline.  I put myself first very adamantly.  My exercise schedule was just as important as the kids music lessons, sports practices and play dates. Of course there was guilt in that at first, but now I am an equal citizen in our family and everyone has supported me.  To date, I have lost 16 pounds.  And guess what?  IT FEELS AWESOME!!!  Hardly anything is wiggling and jiggling and I’ve slowly decreased my addiction to salty crunchy junk food (mainly Doritos and anything orange!)

So today I will thank the universe for my good health and smaller waist size.  But I think I’ll take an extra few moments to embrace the discipline.  I come up with some crazy goals and after I declare them to the world, I WILL NOT BACK DOWN.  That’s usually why I like the declaring it to the world part.  But really, I didn’t think I could do this one.  I really like to eat – and drink for that matter ;)  I thought I’d fail within a month… maybe even two weeks.  But, showing up at WW, seeing the same women each week and routing each other on, sort of made it fun.  I don’t own a scale so I had to show up for weigh-in once a week.  That in itself was enough to get my personal drive  into OVERDRIVE.  I do like a challenge I must say.  It’s been pretty cool.

So, I did it.

The weather is absolutely stellar today. I’m heading outside with my head held high.  I’m a year older and I feel great!

Tangerine

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Tangerine -acrylic and charcoal on canvas

A week ago I was sharing the experience of drag-out fighting with a painting from beginning to completion. The painting here, was the exact opposite.  Every line went in effortlessly and when it was done, I thought “well that was easy”.

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This painting is 100% about color for me. I began by mixing my own oranges with magenta to create a hot and fiery backdrop.

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Well, I guess it wasn’t completely smooth sailing. I instantly hated the blue and the flower shape which I then had to get busy changing…

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Thanks to some gesso that flower began to become under control, but I did still hate that blue…my charcoal figures began to take form…

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I knew I was done when all the color felt right (bye-bye blue).

For me, this painting is about high-impact energy.  Things are busting and colliding and you can feel the jagged motion of  my charcoal lines.

The other night, my non-painting sister went to a drink and dabble. She sent me a photo of her completed painting.  They had taught her how to layer in a background and then allowed her to paint whatever she wanted into the foreground. My sister created this very soft tree.  Her color palette was creams and grey and caramel colors. I instantly felt peace and quiet from her color choices.

The thought of this has stuck with me. When I look at her painting, it tells a lot about her as a person. She is a soft-neutrals kind of gal in the way she dresses, decorates and behaves.

So of course my next thought was “if my sister paints soft and calm and is those things -then what do my paintings say about me?

Chuckle, chuckle, I’m not sure I can even go there…  The first word that comes to mind though is VIGOR – in a nutshell, an active strength of force. The second word – BOLD. My personality is very finite. Everything is black and white with me – I have no room or tolerance for gray areas. My final word that comes to mind is – TORMENTED. Inside I am a tangled up mess.  I want to do everything and try everything yet most things are complete opposites on the spectrum. With art I am fighting with my love of realist still lives versus  intuitive abstracts. ALeo creating subject matter the world might like versus what I may like. And I guess feeling strong and feeling week and vulnerable all at the same time.

It is an interesting thought. Art can be very loaded and very much give you insight into someone’s soul.

Luckily I live in a world where the soft and the bold can actually be born from the same mother. There is room for both to coexist beautifully. A world where we can learn and prosper from both.

And yet I must embrace who I am. No apologies. I was given my own very specific genetic make-up. I have learned to love what I am and make peace with that which I am not. Will this show in my work? Does this show in my work? Is that the true artistic path -to use your strengths to their best abilities?  It leaves no room for comparing yourself to others or what’s trending in your industry. You must silence it all and go within.

This is where I’ve been trying to hang out lately. I believe it is the path to tapping into THE CREATIVE FORCE. Embrace. Go within. -and see what comes out.

 

 

Happy Tree

 

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This is part of my intuitive painting series.  That’s where you show up, throw paint, make marks and not have a preconceived notion of what you are going to paint… Things evolve and the artist themselves is just as surprised as anyone with what is created.

The strangest things come out and they are always different from one another!

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_2016-02-24 16.48.29 _2016-02-25 15.00.38At this point I started to see the tree…

_2016-03-18 12.26.34Then the only thing I liked about the painting was the tree!_2016-03-18 14.59.47I was going to scrap the painting entirely by throwing more paint on top of it.  My first change-up was that big black stroke in the sky.  I was going to put big black strokes all over the entire thing, but after the first one, the painting became a little more interesting to me…so I kept going with it..

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Adding blacks, lights and darks, it evolved into this.  I live by the Atlantic Ocean.  The New England sea is a deep blue like no other place in the world.  That came to me in this painting.  And I just loved that tree!  It’s the only thing that kept this painting going.  To me, it is pretty and happy and it wanted to be manifested.

Mary vs. Painting

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Into the Forest – acrylic painting on 36×48 canvas

I titled this blog post Mary vs. Painting as a laugh.  For any painters out there, can you sympathize with occasionally hating a painting?

Every day that I walked in to my studio to face this painting I would smile and throw some paint at it and tell it “I hate you!”. My description should not make you think I was feeling rage or anger, this is sort of like meeting up with an old-time nemesis.  An entity you have faced over and over again and have figured out that fighting and struggling against it is futile.  At this point you can sort of laugh and tell the entity you hate it, but it has sort of lost it’s meaning. It’s just a routine you both go through.

This canvas is large. 3 feet by 4 feet. I instantly felt like this it was huge and unruly and I just couldn’t tame it.  Yet every day I would walk in and spend a few hours wrestling with it until I was exhausted and then I’d ask it for mercy and pack up my bags and go home.  The next morning I’d smile at it and ask if it was ready to wrestle some more?  By day 4-5 I was absolutely amused.  I wanted to quit, grab a box-cutter and shred it to bits, but instead I would laugh and tell this canvas I was not surrendering.  I would tame this wild beast.

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Actually, I’m not sure I ever tamed this beast.  I did my best and I learned through it though.

This painting is so crazy. There is almost too much energy and no visual rest.  I can be fully aware of my newness to this painting process and know I will eventually have full control and mastery, but for now I am completely vulnerable.  All I can do is show up, go for the ride and learn at a snails pace.  That is hard for an extremely erratic fast-paced Gemini. I know this about myself, so I have no problem laughing at it’s irony.

It is often said that man visually chooses landscaped earth over the natural state of wilderness.  Man can grasp an appreciate the lines of one tree but not 30 trees intermingled.  It brings discomfort because the eye does not know how to process and identify what it is seeing.

That’s kind of how I feel about this painting.  It is wilderness.  It is hard to process all that is going on.  There is no visual rest.  But just like the untapped forest, maybe that is what was there before we all began to manipulate it.

There is joy in that for me.

I shall observe, embrace and bless my journey.

In the Springtime

 

2016-03-17 10.21.38.jpgIn The Springtime – acrylic and charcoal on canvas 20 x 24 inches

This is another intuitive painting, meaning there is no preconceived subject matter. You just show up to the canvas, add some paint and make some marks. Here is the progression:

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2016-02-26 15.35.02I didn’t like where this was going, so I slopped on some heavier layers of paint…

2016-03-10 11.32.59At this point at least the painting started to get a little interesting…

2016-03-17 10.21.35The movement of pattern in the leaves of the trees was enough to make me stop drastically changing and layering the painting. It started to give me a feeling of nostalgia for the spring and the beautiful pastel haze of all the trees.

Mmm… I love the spring!

  I love scratching the earth, planting seeds and feeling the warmth of the sun…

Yeah, do you think my subconscious is trying to tell me something?

Come on Mother Nature. BRING ON SPRING!!!

Birds in the Shadows

_a2015-08-13 17.08.34Birds in the Shadows  – acrylic and charcoal on canvas 24 x 48 inches

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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.

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Yep. That’s what I’m thinking while I paint pretty pictures of little birdies  -Pure piss and vinegar!!!  

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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…

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Love you all ;) daydream a little!