Saturday, February 28, 2009

secret 7 - consulting with guides

"Picnic at Piedmont Park" by L in college, 1979*

The first challenge in this chapter asks us to think back on our families - were they supportive and encouraging - did you get a sense that you were naturally good at your art, did your home life build up your self-confidence, etc, etc? I think I talked a little bit about this in this post and have shared with you about my supportive family. But the chapter also asks us to think about the other creative influences we had growing up - such as teachers and friends or even other artists we never met but were influenced by. I was fortunate to have art teachers that were very encouraging from an early age, but in college I think it was my art professor that really made me believe I had talent worth something. I felt like of course my parents would encourage me, especially since my mom was an artist herself, but for someone else to have faith in me seemed even more real. He was the type of professor that would always praise something about the piece first and then give the constructive criticism. This method worked best for me and helped me grow as an artist.
I didn't really know what I was going to do with it all when I graduated, but a year after designing ads for the yellow pages, I got a job with a "real" advertising company. A family friend from church owned a advertising company and knew me well enough to know that I was "artistic" (I used to design posters and brochures for the church even in high school). He needed a graphic designer so he asked me out of the blue if I would be interested in applying. I had no formal training in graphic design at all and he knew that - he just asked me to bring some photos of my paintings and to create 2 ad layouts. wow what an opportunity. I was hired on April 1 1982 - april fools day! - is this a joke I thought - and have been in advertising ever since.
So... guides? yes I had good ones. My family encouraged me as a child which lead me to believe I could pursue an art degree, my professor believed in my abilities and gave me the confidence to continue and a friend recognized my talent which all lead me to the work I do today for a living.
Who influences or guides me now? I'm not sure I can say she influences me in the traditional sense but I would say my daughter, in different ways, motivates me the most. She has encouraged me to start creating for myself now that I have more time on my hands and it has turned out to be a wonderful way to ease the loneliness. I'm not really sure what I would be doing if I didn't have a creative outlet. And I feel like other influences are plentiful. I have numerous creative friends and of course all you talented women out there and my constant source of guidance is my mom.

*this is one of the paintings that helped me get a job. It hangs in my brothers home.

Complete (?)

"Our Pets" (click on it to see a bit larger)

I've finished my painting today. This painting is 30" x 24" - quite a bit larger than the last one I showed you. Of course seeing it small here on screen, I see things that might need to be changed, just slightly. I should probably just stop looking at it for a while. I'm also the very bad at naming my paintings. Any ideas for this one?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

i get distracted

loves me

I should be working on my painting today... and I will, but as I was throwing out the dying flowers that I bought myself for Valentine's Day I decided to do a little scannography with a single daisy. An hour or so later here is one that I have. This is just how the petals fell and I'm not sure I like the pattern it created – it's almost right, but as I see it now it looks like I need to experiment some more.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Secret 5 - Committing to self-focus

Reading this chapter I think I sort of felt guilty for NOT being more creative because I do have the freedom unlike many women I read about who are producing so much great work. I am at a place in my life right now where I can focus almost all of my attention on myself if I wanted to, is that sort of selfish? I really have no excuse what-so-ever not to be creative at any moment I feel like doing it - I can truly be my own person - I have no one who is immediately reliant on me day to day. I can get up and eat my Saturday breakfast at leisure and then begin painting and paint all day long if I feel like it. Maybe I shouldn't feel guitly about that.

My mom is a fine artist and always encouraged me to be creative too. As a young married woman she worked as an illustrator for the Baptist Sunday School Board to put my dad through medical school, but when she had my older brother she became a full-time mother and focused on being a full-time mother until we went off to college - then she picked up her paint brush again and began to focus on the artist she had put aside to rear children. She began taking studio classes, studied with well-known painters like Marc Chatov, and began painting commission portraits and landscapes and was so happy to be creating again. To this day she will paint all day long and will have at least one or two paintings in process and continues to take classes. She has always been my role model.

My daughter is now in college and I think she's taking pretty good care of herself, so now is my time to focus attention on myself, right? I'm enjoying having a paint brush in my hand again.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

home is where the heart is

I thought today, on this day that lots of hearts - the symbol for love - are floating about on cards and balloons, worn around necks, and expressed on paper and in words, it would be fun to see just how many hearts I could find in my home. These are the ones I found, just as is - evident there is love in this home.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

cupcakes for the party

Georgia and Jamie are having a blog warming party today. I decided to bring cupcakes AND some cool heart shades in pink, purple and blue.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

SS Superhero photo challenge - abstract

Over at Shutter Sisters, Andrea was reminiscing about Highlights magazine and the section at the back of the magazine where you had to guess what an object was based on a very close up photo of it. My dad was a doctor so he would bring home the magazine for us to read. I always loved that game and the hidden pictures page, too. ( remember Goofus and Gallant? ). Anyway, when I saw this challenge I browsed through some of my photos but this image that my daughter took I thought fit the challenge the best. Can you tell what it is?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

#4 - Surrender to Creative Cycles

"We've already experienced some hills and valleys."

I've definitely been in some valleys with my creative adventures. I work as a creative person every single day at my job (and have for 25 years) so I gave that as my excuse for not being creative when I got home. And the weekends were too busy with other things. But I'm not using that as an excuse any more. Since my daughter went away to college I started an etsy store and sold at a craft show with my daughter in the fall, then I started taking a metalsmithing class. I plan to continue with it even after this one ends (if you remember I have money to spend on a week long workshop at John Campbell Folk school - can't wait) on top of all this I started to paint once again. So I would say I'm on top of the hill right now in my creative adventures and it's exhilarating.
I would say painting is the main talent that I want to concentrate on right now. And I feel that I'm in an positive cycle right now with that - thanks, in part, to deadlines. First, I had the auction piece to complete and soon after I finished that piece I received an invitation to participate in a juried show. The deadline is very soon - Feb 10th. It's events with deadlines like these that encourage me - keep me focused on completing a piece. So I started a 30 x 24" canvas on Saturday. I wasted a good half of the day just trying to decide "what" to paint. In the end, I just went with my first instinct and that was to try something different for me. I'm painting my daughter's cat, Kodi. We adopted her one year ago as a gift for Taylor's 18th birthday. So I guess it's fitting.
What I'm excited about is the fact that I have the room now (no teenagers playing rock band in my living area) to paint upstairs in the wonderful light of my dining room AND I can keep it set up so that I can paint when I feel like it. To me that's half the battle - having the space to keep the easel and paints out at all times. Of course I can't have guests over for dinner but I rarely do that anyway. So the space is all mine. Nice.

painting in background - Self Portrait with Horse by Taylor age 12