Monday, April 30, 2012

ocean angel

Silence is a source of great strength. 
Lao Tzu

This morning's little sketch...

today feels melancholic to me.
A melancholic Monday.

I went for an early morning walk on the beach this morning,
and when i came back, i wrote this
in my little journal.

Life is ebb and flow.
It's about learning
when to hold on
and when to let go.
Like the turning of the tides
it comes and goes
in constant transformation.
There are days
where i have the strength
of an ox
and days where i am like
a butterfly in the wind.
On days when i am called
to have strength of steel
i go within
and imagine myself
as the ocean
capable of swallowing shores
and soothing spirits.

My heart pulses
and i become rhythm.
Back and forth,
the ticking of a clock
the breathing in and out
the breaking of waves on the shore
the singing of birds
the leaves in the wind
the footsteps in the sand
the blood in my veins...

i become one with the ocean
and there,
i find my voice.

I hope you all find some time today
to connect with what's important to you
and find your own voice.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

EMERGE and white wings...

Well, here it is. Done.

At least i think it's done.
I sometimes have to sit with it 
for a few days before i decide.

Not sure about the title...
EMERGE keeps coming to mind.

I just looked up a definition that reads:
Sea mammals must emerge periodically to breathe.
Yeah, sounds about right these days.

My apologies for the crappy photos.

Last night's painting is basically a "paint over".
(what you see here is already painted over)
I had done a painting a few years back
and hated it.

Every time i saw the painting in my studio,
i wanted to paint over it.

So i finally did,
and this one sits with me
far more comfortably than the other one did.

a few earthy, neutral colors...

and this little being was born.

I think this is the first time i've ever painted
in such neutral colors.

At least on canvas.

Maybe i just felt totally colored out

after EMERGE

and needed to get back to basics...
back to a more pure nakedness.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

eraser free drawing

Good morning folks.

I've heard some people say that
they can never draw without an eraser.

Well, i'm here to tell you that YOU CAN!

When i want to paint something in watercolor
i usually draw an outline in MICRON pens.

But the outline, as you see,
isn't just one continuous line.
I think the most important thing when drawing
is to see the empty space
as much as the object itself.

When we draw, we often spend far too much time erasing,
or we draw in the one continuous line
and then get caught up in the details,
and then realize that the shape is off,
or the object is way too small
in proportion to the page,
or the angle is wrong...

we've all been there, right?

So here's my little secret.

1. LOOK at what you're drawing. (photo or still life)
2. OBSERVE IT before you begin to draw it.Where are the shadows? Where's the light?Where's the buckle with reference to the heel?In the middle of the shoe? More at the top?( get it, right?)
3. SEE the space around it (the empty space) 
4. BEGIN by drawing reference points (or little lines) on the page
5. BE KIND and patient with yourself.Yup. This is an actual step, and if you don't do it,the whole thing just fucks itself up. :-)

Obviously, as you see here,
the reference points don't need to be exact
and if you realize (like i did in this case)
that the shoe is actually more narrow,
or a bit longer,
then just draw new little lines!
You'll hide the old lines with the painting.

Cut yourself some slack,
be kind to yourself
and just keep drawing.

This takes practice...

Once the left shoe was done,
i basically did the same thing on the right.

a few little details and very rough lines...
it's not important for the line itself
to be precise here,
but the shape of your object.

my trusty little watercolor set...

I usually begin with the lighter colors
and work my way to the darker colors.

A few added details with the watercolor
and there you have it.

Little shoes that belonged to the unknown child of the Titanic...

Drawing techniques can be mastered by anyone,
but you want to draw with more than just technique.
You want to draw with emotion
and intuition
and trust
and feeling.

At least i do.

And you want to have fun while you're at it!

So get to it, peeps.

Take out the micron pens, or markers, or bic pens...
and try your hand at this.
I'm cheering you on, here!!

For those who are already masters at this,
just go get yourself a glass of wine
and join the cheering section.

Monday, April 23, 2012

art history

I love history, and art history in particular.

I was reading part of these great books last night
and it got me thinking about the need for expression
and how similar we all are, in so many ways...

There's so much to learn
about one another, isn't there?
Regardless of how far back you go in time.

We are far more similar
than we are different.

I believe the need for expression
is far greater than we sometimes realize.

 I wanted to share
at least these few little things with you
that i find so interesting about these few artists.

Auguste RENOIR (1841-1919)
broke his right arm several times during his life,
and learned to paint with his left hand.
At the age of 57, he has severe athritis,
and eventually paints from his wheelchair.

But still - he paints.

(Renoir, with an already paralyzed right hand)

Claude MONET (1840-1926)

Attempts suicide several times in his life,
by jumping into the Seine River.

Between 1916 and 1926, he works on 12 large canvases,
that become The Water Lillies
and within this time frame,
he goes nearly blind due to cataracts.

Still, he paints.

(Monet - The Water Lillies)

Edouard MANET (1832-1883)
One of the great impressionist painters
who becomes good friends with artist BERTHE MORISOT,
who eventually becomes his model for painting.

He falls in love with Berthe, but in 1874,
she married his brother, Eugène.

Edouard's pain becomes obvious in his brush strokes
and choice of color in his paintings of Berthe.

He is no doubt filled with grief and longing,
and at the age of 40,
he becomes partially paralyzed
due to an illness.

And yet - he paints.

He dies at the age of 51.

The differences between this earlier painting
and the last painting in 1874
show the differences
between love
and loss.

Berthe MORISOT (1841-1895)
Her paintings are accepted at the Salon de Paris
when she is only 23 years old.
She builds a home in Paris
where she often entertains artists & writers,
including her dear friend, Edouard Manet.

Edouard dies in 1883,
her husband in 1892,
and her sister in 1893.

There is a dark cloud cast around her
and her work as an artist.

Still - she paints.

She dies of the flu in 1895,
at 54 years old.

(Berthe Morisot, self portrait, 1885)

Vincent VAN GOGH (1853-1890)
Of all the Impressionist painters,
Van Gogh is the one who inspires me the most
and who i feel was most misunderstood.

 He began to paint at the age of 27,
and painted over 1000 canvases in a period of 10 years.
He also wrote over 800 letters to his best friend & brother Theo.

Vincent suffered from epilepsy and other mental issues
that would surely be treated today,
but they go untreated in the 1800's and eventually,
he is brought to an asylum in Saint Remy de Provence, in Paris
after he cuts off part of his ear.

Van Gogh, self portrait, 1887

Van Gogh, self portrait, 1889

(Van Gogh, his last self portrait, 1889,
given to his mother as a gift.)

Still, he paints.

While he is in Saint-Remy,
 he paints Starry Night.

In 1890, at the age of 37,
he walks to a corn field
shoots himself in the chest,
and dies 3 days later.

His brother Theo dies only 6 months later
at the age of 33,
no doubt of loneliness.

They are buried next to one another
in Auvers, Paris.

Vincent Van Gogh sold one painting during his lifetime.

Today, they are worth millions.

I'm adding this footnote after i saw Lorinda's comment,
for fear that some of you
may run out & cut your wrists this afternoon...

This may sound to some like
the plight of the suffering artist
but what i find so interesting
is how despite everything,
despite how difficult or tragic
or traumatic these lives were -
they still felt the need to create.
The need for expression.

Perhaps it is not despite everything
but because of everything
that this need was so profound?

How about you?

Do you feel more creative
when all is well,
or does your art seem to take on
new meaning
when there's a gray cloud above your head?

Do you use art as a way
to help you out
of the darkness,
or simply to express this darkness?

Humour me.
I have a curious, passionate heart.
I said so in my profile.

And hang around.
Tomorrow's post may not be so heavy.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

intuitive painting, take 5

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling
of letting go and holding on. 
Havelock Ellis

hello people.

I've been MIA for the last few days.

Sometimes, life itself is too damn good
to be spending any time
blogging about it. 

I'm back now,
so you can all breathe a sigh of relief,
get yourself a drink and settle in.

I started this last night with no idea 
where it was going.

Intuitive painting, i guess.

i thought of the funny & multi-talented Cat as i painted,
when she posted the question lately
about whether or not we talk to ourselves while painting. 

I do.

Last night, i seemed to be repeating the words
just trust yourself.

And so i did.

It's still a work in progress,
so i'm not sure yet how i feel about it.

I sometimes wish i didn't always gravitate
towards these familiar leafy pod shapes...

But it is what it is, right?

If i consciously tried to change its direction
then it's no longer intuitive painting,
but controlled painting.

Controlled painting is ok sometimes
but last night, i was in the mood 
for letting emotions run free,
like wildflowers in the wind.

I'll try to post it again once its done.

It's a rainy Sunday,
my teenage son is here with a few friends,
and i think I feel
a painting coming on.

Hoping you all have a great week.

Pull yourselves away from the computer now & then.
It does the soul good.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

what IF and little bird on a branch...

This ended up being far more collage than anything,
but it was still fun to do
and such a relaxing way for me
to end the day.

That's my new motto. 

Is it fun?
Then do it!

Does it help make the day just a little better?

We spend far too much time
justifying art.

It is what it is
and if it makes you happy -
do it.

So i spent over an hour last night
in my little blue room,
with good music,
a glass of wine on the left
and brush water on the right ;-)
and I played.

I've realized in the past year or so
how essential this playtime is for me.

Twyla Tharp calls it The creative habit.

I sometimes call it play but in reality, it's work.

It is my life's work
and it is no less important
than anyone else's life work.

And sometimes...
while painting and collaging...

when your mind is free,
and you no longer hear the chatter

you may even find answers
to some of your own questions.

little bird wishes you all a wonderful day...
filled with more color than you can handle.