For The Birds

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This is the first in a series of cutesy-beach art I am creating to sell to tourists this summer off Narragansett Beach.

This illustration depicts some spoofs on our visitors as well as favorite local beach foods. Here’s a link to a description of some quirky RI favorites:  10 Must Try Foods When Visiting RI

_2017-03-28 11.03.44Ok. Now let me explain another part of this beach art idea… it’s a little bit embarrassing, but I’m sure somebody will get a kick out of it.  Do you know those nights when you wake up at 3am and there is absolutely no way your mind is letting you go back to sleep?  Luckily I don’t have too many, I sleep like a log, but I did recently had “One of those nights”.  For many, every piece of stress in your life might surface: to-do lists, exams, presentations; you know all the stuff that seriously needs worrying. Well, for some reason, my mind didn’t go there. My little off-beat head started thinking about a Haiku poem I wrote in the third grade.  Hmm… I really liked Haiku in the third grade… and then poof…13 Haiku poems came out of my head and onto little scraps of paper I keep on my night stand. Granted they are all about the beach because that would be my current focus, but now I’m thinking to possibly use them in my beach art.

Here is a fast recap on Haiku for those of you like me, who may not have worked on one since the third grade:  How to write a Haiku Poem The important principle is that it is a poem of three lines: 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables.  They aren’t supposed to rhyme, but they are supposed to conjure beauty and nature.

So some of these poems are better than others.  The one below doesn’t really conjure up beauty but a seagull technically is a part of nature ;)   FULL DISCLOSURE: DON’T JUDGE ME OR I’LL NEVER SHARE MY FAILURES WITH YOU AGAIN!!! Ok. with that said, here’s my seagull Haiku.

So clever they Are

Watching seagulls is so fun

One just took my lunch

 I have an illustration I’ve done of a seagull inside someone’s beach bag grabbing a cheese doodle.  It is one of my favorite pass times -watching unsuspecting beachgoers wading in the water while they thought nothing of sealing up their beach bags.  Rookies.  The seagulls wait maybe 40 seconds before they fully abscond with their 12 inch sub, 3 bags of chips and some chocolate chip cookies for good measure.  I love it.  Good stuff. Serious entertainment.

So the image above isn’t the one that matches this poem.  I am wising up and starting on my least favorite illustrations as opposed to my favorites.  The last ones always come out the best and it has only taken me a decade to discipline myself not to jump right in on my favorites! This illustration didn’t really match up with any of my poems, but it kind of cracked me up, so I decided to paint it anyway.  Can’t hurt right? May not use it but it lets me iron out kinks…

In the coming weeks I will post a bunch of little drawings/paintings and haiku poems.  My idea is to write the poems onto the illustrations, but I am holding off until the end to decide how stupid or valid this idea is… I mean maybe channeling my inner 3rd grader seemed like a way better idea at 3am then it might a month or two from now.  If there are some word geeks out there who want to send me improvements…I am all for it…if not, I will plug away and let the ideas work themselves out. If I make 12-15 paintings there should be at least 6 worth printing.  I learned that from pottery.  Want 4 perfect plates?  Make 7. Then you can choose the best.  There’s some merit to this idea…

I apologize for sounding completely insecure today.  I’m feeling insecure. I don’t like to admit I’m not perfect, however I find it so important not to perpetuate the illusion of perfection. It’s not real.  Good ideas seldom come out on the first run. Becoming good at something only comes from learning from past failures. The reason I still blog is because I don’t think there is enough artists out there that show this perspective and it’s probably one of the most endearing parts of sharing one’s creativity.  It’s not perfect!  Still, it doesn’t feel that great showing one’s underbelly.  It makes you cringe inside and writhe in discomfort.  That’s why I do it.  If you disclose everything and still you are alive – you are free.  And strong.  It put’s hair on your chest ;) And don’t we all want that?   … back to work!

 

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Painting Update

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I’m still plugging along.  I only use blue, yellow, magenta, black and white paints.  I mix my own colors.

Well, mid-painting, I ran out of the blue gouache.  My local art supply store was out of gouache (because I bought it all!) and I live an hour from any other store that would carry fine art supplies ( I have to get my kids from school, so there is now way I can drive two hours and pick up paint in time!).  I had to special order the paint which means finishing this painting is on hold until I get the supplies… I can imagine it is just like Van Gogh running out of the organic compounds ochre & umber in the middle of Arles… your just stuck right?  Yeah Vincent. I feel your frustration.

I have a long laundry list of other creative projects I put on hold so I could paint.  I guess the responsible thing to do would be to get all my other work done…maybe even some actual laundry – nah, I’m not that desperate!

OK.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress and I hope you are all taking on something uber-creative today!

Uncovering the Layers

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I finished my first painting in some time today and boy was there a lot of angst attached!   Here’s the story…

So last week I had finished the months of interruptions that kept me from painting and was ready to start fresh.  I knew I wanted to start with painting landscapes because I hadn’t done too many during my 365.

I went to the library and amassed my favorites: David Hockney, Milton Avery and a few other books on Fauvist masters.

Next I pulled out ten big blank canvases.

Then I put them back and pulled out ten small 11×14 canvases.

Then I thought maybe I should work out some sketches on 3″x 5″ watercolor paper.

Then I thought well, maybe I should do three samples of each concept and figure out what color scheme I want to work with, then I’ll take the best, paint small 11×14’s acrylic paintings and from there take the best concepts and go to large canvases…

sensible right?…

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Well, I got two mini water colors into this process before I felt like I never wanted to paint again!  I had sucked all the joy and spontaneity right out of my own creative process.  Boy I felt absolutely discouraged and all-out bummed.

It took me a day to pull myself together and remind myself I have been dying to paint for the last 4 months!  I returned the books to the library.  I put all the canvases away.  I stopped looking at all the amazing inspiration I had pinned on Pinterest.  I put away everything.

Wow. I had gotten myself into such a perfectionist frenzy there was no way anything could come out yet alone create joy.

From there I asked myself “what do I feel like doing?” and the answer came.  “I want to play with fast strokes and swirl paint.”  OK.   “I want bright clean color and I want to be able to add layers if necessary.”  OK.   “I don’t feel like acrylic at the moment – it makes me too serious.  I’m not in a serious mood…” OK.  Got it.

IT’S CALLED LISTENING TO YOU INTUITION!!!

As soon as I dumped the preconceived notion of everything my painting needed to be, it allowed space for “me” to be.

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I felt a little rusty.  I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted it to look like or what I wanted where.   I did a lot of back n’ forth until I found something I could live with.  You know, I guess it’s like the warm up before the run. We’ll call this painting some well needed stretching.

There are quite a few things I’d change in hindsight, but I was happy with where I left it.  The color is beautiful.  The mood is how I feel this time of year.  There’s breeze, sunlight and so much beauty outdoors.  This painting is loosely based on a road I drove down in Jamestown.  It was quiet, well manicured and I just loved the turn I find myself wondering …where does it lead?

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Here is the final painting.

It is gouache on heavy cold press paper 30″ x 30″.   I put a bottle and can in the photo at the way top to give you an idea of the size and proportion of the painting.

So the unnerving first painting is out-of-the-way. Hopefully now I can do away with the angst and get back to work!

Ah, it feels good to be back :)

Thank you. Plain and Simple. Thank you.

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Reporting from the art front, I am pretty sure I can officially declare myself –exhausted!

I am still trying to catch my breath from my amazing art show Saturday. As you can see, I am only now getting all of the photographs loaded and finding that quiet moment to reflect.

Gratitude.

That is the word. That is the emotion I am feeling, GRATITUDE.

Now of course there was the tremendous amount of art…

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And there was beautiful flowers and food….

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But really, what made the show beautiful, WERE THE PEOPLE!

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My gorgeous girlfriend Elisa Lucia, staged props throughout the entire venue from her home-staging business.  Pretty vignettes that look like the very things I love to paint, were interspersed throughout my work.

My Aunt & Uncle and cousins came to support me even thought they already showed their support at my New York show!

I had other cousins with newborn children who set the date and came to see my show. Even though that had to be quite difficult for them and quite a distance to travel.

Then there’s my local friends and family here in RI, that POWER BLASTED Facebook for me.  They invited their friends to come and join and spread the word in the most creative ways. I am so very lucky to have these people in my life.

My biggest thank you goes to my mother.  Her energy and boundless creativity put me to shame!  My mom framed, hung both shows and promoted her heart out with not one single complaint.  Hours and hours of work went into these art shows and she was with me every step of the way. To nurture me and also to push me out of the nest.  There are no words to describe how lucky I am to have her.

I had over a hundred people come visit Saturday.  Each person followed me through the entire journey, they watched day after day, night after night, cheering me on and letting me know that they were there.

What one might consider a lonely experience was actually anything but…

I know it sounds crazy, maybe even a bit cliché, but truly, what will I take from this entire 365 experience?

The people, the gathering, the community, the positivity, the nurturing, the enthusiasm, the support.

For if a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one to hear it, does it make a sound?

I can create and create and create, but if I have no one to share it with…

There’d simply be no joy.

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Having Fun Framing

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The Picture framing of my 365 Art Project has begun.  I’m pretty lucky to have 2 picture framer businesses in my family.  As I had mentioned, my mother is framing the “best” pieces and I am framing the pieces she didn’t pick!  It’s funny, but most of my favorites didn’t make the cut, but it wasn’t a personal decision, my mother has a very good eye for what “the masses” will like.  I trust her judgement even though I’ve never fallen into that category!

  I was lucky enough to inherit this black frame due to a measurement error. I recieved the frame with the glass and hand-built shadow box walls already built into it.  Total score! I bought a shocking blue piece of fabric, stretched it on acid free foam core and floated #313 – Ode to Hundertwasser in the center.  I love this gouache painting for its primitiveness and clean bright color.

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Next to be framed was the watercolor #157- IN MY GARDEN –The Poppy.  Can you believe someone didn’t like this gold frame because of the lines in the gold-leaf guilding?  For those of you that don’t know, there are finite linear lines in a true gold frame.  It is where the real gold leaf overlaps itself when being applied to the frame.  Here’s a tidbit, if you can’t find overlap marks on your gold frame, it’s most likely painted which means there is a good chance it’s not a  true gold-leaf frame!  So, when you go to have something framed, don’t complain about inconsistencies, it’s most likely an indication of hand-craftmanship and authenticity.

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I think that #217- STILL LIFE WITH BOVINE came out so darn sweet.  This frame was a customer’s frame that they no longer wanted.  It had two dings in the finish.  So guess what I did?  I added 20 more dings, literally, with a hammer!  I dented, scratched and sanded the frame until it began to have that “country distressed” look.  Next I found this pretty blue trellis fabric, stretched the fabric and floated my artwork. I just love what a frame can do!  This painting is ready for a country cottage!

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#10 – ODE TO THE ORANGE, was from the first week of my 365.  It definitely has some technical issues going on, but it’s still a fun piece.  I went with the look of a “Man’s study”.  Dark plaid says to me “fraternity”, “law office” or “man-cave”!  Thanks again to the customer who wanted a new frame and no longer wanted this gold metal frame. It’s in perfect condition!

The titles of the paintings above are actually links to that particular day of my 365.  You can learn more about the painting and see what I was thinking and feeling at that given moment.

OK.  so four paintings framed and only about one hundred more to go!

I forgot how fun and creative the picture framing process can be.  I’m having fun with it!

http://www.becreativemary.com

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DAY #354 – AND MAY ALL YOUR CHRISTMASES BE BRIGHT

#354- May all your christmases by bright

Oh man. I would love to wake up one morning and see Fruity Pebble colored snow!

That would make for a Very Mary Christmas!! Ha ha ha. That was bad… I know… I know…

It’s funny, when I started this 365 challenge, I had absolutely no idea how it would end.  I’ve lived every day thus far “one day at a time”.  It is only occurring to me now that I have given absolutely no thought to how I am going to make it through the next ten days. I start traveling to be with family for Christmas starting tomorrow.  Packing, gifts, cleaning, becoming Santa, driving, hosting, trying to have a meaningful moment with each person in my life… How in the heck am I going to create something daily for my 365 and simply try to survive what is already the most stressful time of the year for me?

I’m pretty sure you couldn’t hear that giant sigh I just made.

The answer is – I have no idea!

The answer is I will most likely have to work small, I will have to engage my family in whatever I come up with and finally, I’m going to have to give myself a little bit of a break!

That is hard for me because if you asked me a year ago how I would like my 365 to end, I would have said “fireworks”, better yet “I could run through a hand-crafted finish line”  or best “I could sit on Oprah’s couch in Maui and reflect on a great year”.

More likely I will not have showered for three days, my children will be shooting me with Nerf darts, my house may become condemned for the amount of crap on the floor and I will finish out the same way I began, with a few good friends giving me a pat on the back.

Reality isn’t ever as good as my imagination. This is why I chose to create!

So I warn you, if I post a photograph of a pretty swirl in my coffee, a mustard stain on a cocktail napkin or Jesus on some toast, go easy on me!

I am going to try my best, but I have to tell you, I just can’t see how I’m going to make it to that finish line!

I’ll do it though…I’ve come so far, I can’t quit now.

http://www.becreativemary.com

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DAY # 342 – A Letter to My Husband on his 39th

 

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To my husband the day after his 39th birthday:

I met my husband in a political propaganda class three months before college graduation.  I can write a couple of pages about our meeting, but simply put.  Three months until we were out in the world.  My husband will tell you he didn’t want to get involved, seeing as how he was graduating, I will tell you, he never had a chance!

17 years later, the reasons I fell in love with him then still hold true.  He is the most caring individual I have ever met.

Now for my story.

3 months before graduation I had been dating a bona-fide rock star – at least he thought he was.  Two months before that, he had taken off for Costa Rica and not even cared enough to tell me.  What can I say, I was young.  Rock band. Drama. Boy friend took off to Costa Rica.  Makes for a great song…don’t it?

About the time I met my future husband, the old rock star resurfaced.  Apparently, after soul-searching on a tropical coast for a few months, he had realized I may have been worth fighting for.  I now had two love interests.

I’ll tell you how I picked the “right guy” for me.  Around this same time, I was getting my wisdom teeth out. You know, I had to take advantage of my wonderful healthcare package before I graduated and became unemployed (pre-Obama Care where you really couldn’t afford a health plan out of college!)

I went home for a few days to recover.  Mr. Rock Star lived by my hometown.  He stopped by to tell me how much I looked like a swollen chipmunk.  From what I recall, that was about what I took with me from that conversation; a swollen chipmunk.  I went back to college and hung out with my roommate pretty much waiting for the swelling to go down, when this guy I barely knew stopped by my room.  He came by to load my dorm fridge.  He had yogurt, ice pops and what ever else he could come up with to make me feel better.

From that moment on, I knew the answer.  This was someone who cared for people. Who cared about people.  This person was special.

This rest is history.  Something in my innate animal brain told me to go after him.  To change his mind. To make him realize that even if he was graduating in three months, that was ok, I could go with.

Somehow amongst all the youth drama I did it.  I got him to marry me. I thank my soul for making the right decision.

This silly little painting depicts are life after that.  We backpacked Europe, got engaged on the Charles Bridge in Prague over pizza, we’ve owned two homes, two cats and had two babies.  We have supported each other in one of the most important aspects of our lives – making sure we both do what we love for a living.  Watching my husbands computer business grow has been like watching our first baby grow.  It’s now a beautiful child with a life of its own.

My husband has always liked fish motifs. They are all over the house. At this point, we all give him things that have fish on them because they remind us of him. He may not even like fish motifs anymore for all we know, but it must be nice to know everyone thinks of you when they associate you with that thing.  So I added the fish motif!

I had no idea what to write in the bubbles above the fish.  It was close to midnight last night when I created this and with what little creative juice I had left, I came up with this:

“Want to get together for eternity?” is a statement.  Being with my husband for 17 years is the longest I have ever done anything.  I have had no job, no car, no dwelling, no locale, no diet, no sweater…nothing that has lasted longer than 17 years.  For a person with a very short attention span, that’s a big deal.  Gosh if we’ve done almost twenty, could we do a lifetime?  It just seems crazy. Crazy cool.

“See you at the finish line” is what I started saying after we had kids.  For the past decade it’s like these wild electrons keep spinning around our nucleus.  Often now, there are days where I feel like I am waving from across the room but never quite make it over to say hi.  On really crazy days when we have more to do than we can handle I yell over to him “see you at the finish line” meaning we may not be able to be together at this moment, but if we have a common place to meet up later, we’ll meet up then.  The joke is that this might be retirement, old age, death or even another lifetime!  That’s how it feels some days. It’s the best way I can come up with to say “Keep running the marathon and if we both keep running the race, if we both support each other, we just might meet up at the end.”

So that’s my sappy story.

I often think my husband must have been a real wicked SOB in his past life to be paying his penance with a lifetime of me.  I’m the lucky one in this scenario and I’m eternally grateful for it.

Happy Birthday Big Lug.  Yesterday was a small marathon in itself.  There was no surprise party, parade or bandstand.  Instead there was grandparents, children and more theatre performances.  Amongst the chaos, there was a quite sweet man turning 39 surrounded by the electrons he calls his family.

I hope to meet him at the finish line.

http://www.becreativemary.com

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DAY#342 – JDOG BDAY CARD

#342- JDOG BDAY CARD

I just finished today’s painting and I have 4 minutes until midnight!

I wasn’t home all day and started this painting around 9:30 this evening.

Today was my husband’s birthday and this 11×14 gouache painting is a tribute to him.

Unfortunately, I am drop dead tired.  I would love to explain all the hidden meanings throughout the drawing but am afraid I will be absolutely incoherent if I go any further.

With that said, I will attach an amendment to this post tomorrow.

I need some zzz’s

See you in the a.m.

http://www.becreativemary.com

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