Narragansett Art Festival

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OK.  I am going to be honest.  As an artist, this years festival was NOT good.

Here’s the truth of the matter:

The weather was just too darn nice.

The first amazing weekend of the summer and guess where everyone was?

The Narragansett Art Festival?    – Ummm… no.

They were at the beach.  The Narragansett Art Festival 2016 was a ghost town…

It was sooooo hot.  HOT. HOT. HOT.  It was sweltering.  I am telling you I had eyeball sweat!  It was definitely not the kind of weather for strolling through an art festival.

So #1 complaint.  Good weather = Bad show.  No people = No one to show your art to.

Ok. Now let me turn this around and tell you some good things.

I was floored.  Someone who reads my blog traveled quite a distance to introduce herself and invest in a piece of my artwork.  I don’t care if I had actually sold thousands of dollars at the best attended art festival in my area – that them there was the most touching thing I’ve ever experienced as an artist!  First of all, someone I don’t know actually reads my blog???  And my words and images have connected with another human being???  That allows me to see; I can have a positive impact on the world.  I can connect with other human beings through my art.  PERIOD.  Simply-amazingly-awesome!  I met and talked to a lot of wonderful people in the last two days.

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The next good thing is a friend.

16 hours of a poorly attended festival is enough to sugar myself and stick my head in an ant hill!

Artist Karen Stackow of Signs of Fire shares a booth with me.  We do not make similar artwork which allows us to perfectly compliment one another.  But really, the best part is cursing under our breath, laughing out loud, spitting cherry pits and having one another to keep each other company.

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What’s more?

Having someone to grab a margarita with to celebrate it being over!!!!

hallelujah!

Collagraph

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COLLAGRAPH: (Wikipedia- is a printmaking process in which materials are applied to a rigid substrate (such as paperboard or wood).  Ink or pigment is applied to the resulting collage, and the board is used to print onto paper or another material using either a printing press or various hand tools. The resulting print is termed a collagraph. Substances such as, acrylic texture mediums, sandpapers, textiles, bubble wrap, string or other fibres, cut card, leaves and grass can all be used in creating the collagraph plate. Collagraphy is a very open printmaking method. Ink may be applied to the upper surfaces of the plate with a brayer for a relief print, or ink may be applied to the entire board and then removed from the upper surfaces but remain in the spaces between objects, resulting in an intaglio print. A combination of both intaglio and relief methods may also be employed.

Does that make any sense?

In a nutshell, you collage all sorts of materials thinking about what type of textures they will produce and how much ink they will absorb.  Want white areas? use something glossy and slick.  Want dark areas?  Use fabrics which absorb ink.  Want grey areas?  experiment, experiment, experiment!

I’m taking a collagraph class with an amazing teacher named Casey Weibust.  Click on her name and see her amazingly funky prints! I took an etching class with her and I’d come out from the studio dizzy from all the toxic chemicals, so when Casey told me there was a way to incorporate all different printmaking techniques and do it chemically-free, I had to check it out! Here’s Casey Weibust in action:

So first I had to create some plates…

They look like little collages, but in actuality each piece was considered for what it would do when black ink was applied.

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Instantly, I learned what not to do!!!

Many of my darks were too dark.  Many areas I thought would be light, were pitch black.  This is where the artistry comes in.  You have to try everything and then carefully catalog all of it into your head in order to apply each element exactly how you intend to. Lots to think about.

This plate was my favorite:

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Do you see how different the same plate can be just by how you ink your plate?  That’s another entire form of study.

So much to learn!!!  So much to learn!

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!!!

I’M ON MY WAY!

Final Postcard

POSTCARD date announcement

Greetings Blogosphere, I’m making tons of progress!

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My dear mother, who also happens to be a picture framer and art gallery owner, sat with me for hours as we went through my entire year’s worth of art.

We created piles.  One pile was considered the CREAM OF THE CROP. We considered these pieces print-worthy and definitely worth framing.  The next pile was considered “VERY GOOD” and also worth picture framing. The third pile was considered “MEDIUM GRADE”.  These pieces I am going to frame myself which means they are sure to be super quirky and very colorful!  The final pile was considered “bin art”. This means we couldn’t exactly foresee who might want these works in particular (they are a little weird or simply color studies or experiments), but if jewelry design has taught me anything, that which I deem “not a hit” seems to be a hit to someone out there! Those will be priced and stored in bins at my opening.

  So, my 365 show should have something for everyone – all economic brackets and from serious pieces to the absolutely absurd!

Currently I am securing a Rhode Island exhibit date and location.  I should have that in the next few weeks.

I am trying to find an affordable company to make notecards of some of my birds and botanicals. Does anyone know of a printing company they would like to refer? I want to keep the price compatible with greeting cards.

and other than that, I will be FRAME, FRAME, FRAMING!

I have also been jewelry designing and soul searching.  I will blog about my new pieces from the pottery studio as well as share some books that have really opened my mind to my place in the universe (I’m always over-analyzing myself!)

So put it on your calendars, MAY 4th 2-5 pm. This will be my first 365 Art show opening, RI date to follow.  I will be working towards opening an ETSY store for jewelry, prints and pottery (baby steps!) and I look forward to clearing my desk so I can get back to art making.

I have really missed blogging and hope to get into a new rhythm. Thank you all for your support, I just can’t wait to CELEBRATE!

http://www.becreativemary.com

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DAY # 365 – enVISIONing the New Year

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Wahoo!!!! The Final post of my 365!!! Who’d a thunk it?

I couldn’t fathom sitting at my table painting alone on my last day.  That just didn’t seem like a fitting ending.

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So I invited a couple of friends to join me!

A new year requires new energy, a new perspective, maybe some new strategies?  It made me think of vision boards. Everyone can use a little re-focus for the new year!

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I apologize for the horrible copy, but a wonderful woman came up with this grid for creating vision boards.  Her name is Erin Goodman and if you have a moment, check out her website.

Anyway, creating a vision board is a great way to reflect on your current circumstances and prioritize for the upcoming year.  What would you like to experience more of? What do you want to welcome into your life?  What is ready to leave?  What no longer works?  Magazines are a great way to find images and words that reflect your desired state of being.  After you create your board you put it in a private place and continue to reinforce the messages you would like to welcome in the new year.  I’ve always found many truths in the boards I create. I am thankful I carved out some time to create one today.#365 - enVISIONing the New Year (3)

It was great to share some good laughs on all the “shoulds” in our lives.  You know, the dictations of perfection created by society. The diet I’m supposed to be on, the great job that will make your family happy, the soul mate to complete your family photo.  When you get away from all of that, what do you really want?  Usually it’s fairly simple – peace, happiness and health. 

I know I have a lot of examining I need to do.  I have absolutely no idea what direction to go in next.  The beginning of this year will be dedicated to figuring that one out.

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My super creative friend made this beautiful little hanging for me.  It has some amazingly awesome quotes on it and all my friends signed it.  I will post this where I wake every day and I’m sure some of its wonderful wisdom will sink in.

I have so much to think about. So much to take in. So much to analyze.

I simply want to thank all of you that came along on this journey with me.

I really feel that by putting myself out there and by sharing my strengths and weaknesses, I connected to other people, to humanity.  I’ve met so many people along the way and this is the part of the experience I shall cherish.

Thank YOU, the people. For “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”  If I stay a hermit and do not share my creativity with others, do I honor my purpose in life?  You guys were my awareness.  You kept me from slipping, from being to hard on myself and you challenged me to try harder and to try new things.

I truly feel blessed. Thank you.

http://www.becreativemary.com

Join me on Facebook:  Be Creative Mary

DAY # 364 – BUTTONED UP

 

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I spent Day 364 home sick in bed.  Well actually, I did go to the doctor to get antibiotics for my mangled throat and then I got in bed and slept – a lot.  It’s funny, this is what I envisioned doing on January 2nd – minus the sore throat and ear ache!  I guess I’ll have to find something else to do now on January 2nd – Like be healthy!

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I tried to figure out what I could do from bed today in between resting.  I have this giant box of buttons just begging to be played with, so I pulled it out.

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First I went through and picked my favorites and then I had to figure out what I wanted to do with them.

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I have these gold-plated bangles with an empty bezel in the center.  I use to fill them with polymer clay designs and sell them to gift shops.  They just happen to be the perfect shape for vintage buttons.  I assembled different combinations of buttons and then wired them to the bangles.

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Next I made myself a necklace.  I tried to make the necklace symmetrical in design yet each button is different.  I love that look.  I’m definitely not matchy-matchy. I guess you could call me mixy-matchy!

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Of course my daughter popped in to see what I was up to and had to join in on the fun.  She found the wiring a bit difficult, but as usual, she’s always keeping up with her mom! Her necklace looked great.

So although my head is pounding, and my ears ache, I still made time to be creative. Tomorrow, when I’m feeling better and I’m on my last day of my 365 Challenge, I will now have something fun to wear.

OK. Off to take my evening dose of amoxicillin.  Tomorrow I have something fun planned, so I better rest up!

http://www.becreativemary.com

Join me on Facebook:  Be Creative Mary

DAY #363 – THANK YOUS

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The Walsh Clan is going down in a ball of fury!  First my son, then my husband…now me.

My throat hurts, my body aches and I just want to spend the rest of the week in bed.

I was so proud of myself for staying healthy during the Christmas season.  Stress always gets me sick over the holidays and I thought tanking up on vitamin C was going to see me through.  However our house has been full and sharing a bed with two sicklings was more than my body could take.

Did that stop me from trudging on with my creative 365?  Nooooo.

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South County Art Supply had given me this rubber stamp block for carving.  It’s super soft as opposed to carving in linoleum which is hard. I thought the size seemed perfect for creating thank you cards. Don’t we all have someone to thank this time of year?

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Let’s just say I figured out how to use the material after I was through with it! Meaning, these didn’t come out all too well because I was learning along the way.

This is what I learned:

First, when creating a design, you really must consider the spacing between objects.  I didn’t leave enough and lost most of my design, especially the lettering.  Second, I started carving with an Exact-o Knife which was not the correct tool for this rubber block.  The Exact-o Knife stabbed too deep, did not make uniform marks and made the rubber stamp crumble.

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Half way through the process I figured this out and pulled out my Speed Ball linoleum carving tools.  THEY WORKED PERFECTLY. Unfortunately I didn’t have any large rubber blocks left to apply what I learned!

I had a smaller block which I only used the carving tools with. See how the lines are a lot cleaner.

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It’s really not my favorite activity to try something, mess up and have to post it on the world-wide web, but hey I’m honest, I should at least get points for that!

If I were to try this again, I would spend way more time on a well conceived design and I’d only use carving tools. I could see using this technique for only one large object per block. Maybe a bird, sunflower or I thought of doing a flying pig!

Of course my daughter wants to try this now.  So we will be picking her up a rubber block to create what else? None other than a platypus!

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OK.  My back is killing me, my glands are soar…I’m crawling into bed now… :(

Two more days…two more days until I take a long winter’s nap! I desperately need one!

http://www.becreativemary.com

Join me on Facebook:  Be Creative Mary