Sunday, January 25, 2009

#3 - Follow My Fascination

I received two special pieces of mail on Thursday - my "12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women" book and a letter of appreciation for the painting I submitted. The letter made me feel good, and proud too, that I painted for a good cause. Now I'm eager to paint for myself. Also, I was excited to get my book so that I can get on board with the rest of the group. I have a lot of reading to do.

The book starts out with a quote that just really speaks to me:
"Your creativity is waiting for you like a dance partner." -Barbara Sher

painting in background "Oma" - by my daughter - age 10

This is my dance partner - from across the room it calls to me yet I stand back, hesitant to approach for fear I will mess up. I'm not a dancer, at all - I'm too embarrassed of what others will think of me and I have no rhythm whatsoever. But no one is looking so what am I afraid of? It doesn't matter if I look silly or make a wrong move - just go for it and don't hold back. As much as I wish that I could dance I wish that I could approach a canvas without trepidation - hesitant to make that first brush stroke. I want to paint freely with big, bold strokes of color just as if I was gliding across the dance floor listening only to the music in my head, letting my body relax and feel the beat. I want to see what's in front of me, put my brush in the color and quickly translate my vision to the canvas without thinking twice. I feel like I over think my painting - like the few times I have been on the dance floor - I try to think how I should be moving instead of just relaxing and feeling it.

The third chapter, "Secret 3 / Follow Your Fascinations", starts with a quote: "If you can put fear aside, you're unstoppable" - Janet Hagberg
So this next canvas, I will put that fear of making a wrong stroke and try not to over think it. I'll just squint my eye at what's in front of me and translate quickly and boldly. It will be fun. We'll just see how that turns out.

The 3rd chapter talks about risk taking. What kind of risk taker am I? The problem is I don't feel like I'm much of a risk taker at all. This holds me back. If I were to take a risk and follow my fascination I would sign up for a Plein Aire painting adventure in Provence right now, book a flight to France and experience the dream I've always dreamed of.
I've painted several paintings of lavender fields in Provence - compositions from made up from several photographs I pulled out of magazines.

But I want to paint these scenes standing in my floppy straw hat with the sun warming my back, easel in front of me, mixing the perfect shades of lavender with my oils, intoxicated by the scent of lavender surrounding me, and paint til the sun dips below the horizon.
So what is stopping me from doing this? What real risks are there? I don't know the language, I'm afraid to travel alone, I don't have the extra money right now, etc. Well... start saving now, take my daughter with me (she knows the language) and there you go - that takes care three things I thought were stopping me. My creative self is inviting me on this new adventure and I'm ready to follow.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

birds will sing their sweet song

It seems a lot of bloggers are eager for Spring to arrive - they've had enough of the cold and gray. In some ways it feels like it is just around the corner that the buds will begin to emerge and the birds will sing their sweet song - it really won't be long.
After I took the photo for my Spread Your Wings post, I looked around and realized - I have birds of all types in my home. Birds that are sculpted, painted, hooked, carved and cast and one that sings for me each hour. I guess I'm really draw to their charm. They make the home cheery despite the weather.
Did you know that “The bluebird is symbolic of happiness and fulfillment. When you see a bluebird around you it is a reminder that your world is filled with happiness and satisfaction, it shows us to take a closer look and to value and appreciate all of the joy that surrounds our lives.”

Saturday, January 17, 2009

#2 Honouring My Inspirations

Just to preface - I haven't received my book yet so I'm a little behind.

The #2 Secret to Highly Creative Women is "Honouring Your Inspirations" and we were asked to think on these things.
"What have you always loved? What inspires you? Catches your eye? Makes your heart sing?"

This is a quick visual representation of what makes me happy - things I love everyday - my home: the warmth, the light, the treasures, the art and craftsmanship in it and God's beauty surrounding it.
The creative talent that I am trying to follow and grow is my ability to paint. What inspires my painting? I pull from what surrounds me, usually right here in my home, when I begin a painting.

I delight and draw inspiration in the following:
God's beauty every single day, sunshine, clouds, sunlight, shadows, warmth, firelight, scents, snow, flowers, fall leaves
simplicity, quietness, organization
art, photography, clean design, colors, red things, the written word, book covers, music and CD covers
classic design, shaker furniture, vintage dishes, soft florals, warm woods
travel, new places
my daughter, family, friends, and everyday I am inspired by reading blogs, visiting etsy, and flickr
I could continue to add to this list all day but these were the first things that came to my mind.

I have been surrounded by creative inspiration all of my life, specifically in my own family. My mother is a still life, landscape and portrait painter, a carver, a quilt maker, a doll maker; my dad is a furniture maker, a toy maker, a blacksmith and iron metal craftsman, a baker; both of my brothers share the same talents; my younger brother is a medical illustrator. Of course they are much more than these things but in the artist realm they can do all things and do them well. So it wasn't any surprise that I would go in to an art field of some sort. By profession I am an art director but for pleasure I am a painter, potter, weaver, and jewelry maker. Of course it wasn't a shock when my daughter decided she wanted to go into the arts as well. She is very talented and I feel has a more creative mind than I do. She is just in her 2nd semester of college - her main focus going in was photography but she has found that she is very good at drawing as well. I am inspired by her and look forward to seeing where she will go with her talent.

Today I made space for just me. I stayed at home and really looked around me and through my photographs and pictures I have pulled off the internet - what am I drawn to and why? Then I figured my home must represent a lot of what makes me happy so I created the little collage of home. But of course I am inspired beyond home. I am inspired by all of you ladies out there who are doing wonderful things with painting, photography, the written word, baking, housekeeping, and parenting. You keep me focused and give me a sense of accountability to do my best and keep at it. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

secret #1

This is the post I wrote a couple of days ago and then hesitated - decided not to post. Now I'm posting as part of the group. The first step - acknowledging my creative self

i'm a painter and i have a unique style of my own

A few months ago I was invited to participate in a community auction/fund raiser. I felt honored to be a part of this 20th Anniversary Gala event. When I was asked to paint a small painting (all artist had to paint on the provided 5" x 7" canvas) I thought, "well that won't take much time" so I put it off until the last minute. (I have a bad habit of procrastinating).
To me one of the hardest parts about the painting is coming up with the idea and setting up a still life that will make an interesting painting. A pretty photograph doesn't always make a great painting wouldn't you agree? I knew I had to keep this painting pretty simple so I decided I would just do paint a still life and use the lemons and cranberries that I had on hand. So I set up a still life and took pictures - I took lots of pictures and rearranged items to see what worked best.

I tried variations on this

and this

But I ended up with this (taken of the painting before completion).

I'm told my paintings have a sort of trademark style - odd perspective of sorts. When I first showed the painting to my brother he said, "yep, classic L style". Even my college professor told me I had a unique style - at the time I didn't know if that was a good or bad thing. I guess I really do tend to paint at an odd perspective, many times from above, and that's ok. Here is the painting I submitted a couple of years ago for our community auction. See what I'm talking about?

In contrast this painting was very large - 40 x 30. I really want to make it goal of mine to do more of these large paintings and use a palette knife like I did on this one. It was a lot of fun. Now that I have the time and more freedom (daughter off at college) this is my goal - start immediately and do another one very similar to what I just painted at 7" x 5" and paint it 40" x 30".

acknowledging my creative self

I just found out about this book blogging group and I am so excited to join it. However, I can't immediately post about Secret #1 - "Acknowledging Your Creative Self" because I'm at work. It's funny, just 2 days ago I almost posted about a painting I recently completed and then hesitated and decided not to post. Hopefully the support of fellow artists will help me feel free to share my creative self more often and be inspired to create daily.  
I plan to post tonight when I get home but I wanted to go ahead and join in.

I look forward to joining you all on this journey.