6/4/22

How people view our artwork


How people view an artist's work is as unique as the individual. 

Every one of us has life experiences that inform how we look at the world around us.  People view our work as unique as to how each individual person thinks, dreams, senses, and perceives the world around them.  It is so fun to learn about all the angles art will bring to mind while looking, absorbing, dissecting, analyzing, and swallowing the whole piece.

Some will take an analytical approach “Perhaps there is some sort of reference to…?" 
Some will take a dream approach…”It takes me far away…" 
and some will take on a memory approach…”It reminds me of…"

But what do people see when they look at a pastel?  Well, there is one common reaction I get each time, and that is…”Oh, that’s CHALK, isn’t it?  Well, it is the most common art material since the dawn of time and is often mistaken for chalk, but no, it is not chalk.  It’s pure pigment rolled up with a touch of binder.  

....Silence....

The earliest renditions of art are displayed in the caves of Lascaux and were made with mankind's first pastels.  The earliest masters used it to summon up quick ideas and from that time on, artists have relied on its versatility to create beautiful works of fine art.  People will always view our work as individually as the artist creates.

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6/1/22

 A different point of view... 


creates new ideas. 

When I was a young child I would spend hours burning energy riding my bouncy horse. After a couple of hundred races, I wondered if there were other ways to ride the horse. Why not? So I tried riding on it facing backward.  And then I tried riding side-saddle and eventually, I discovered hanging upside down was the best...until the blood rushed to my head.

I suppose the horse taught me that changing my perspective might open up new possibilities...and that curiosity could offer up some life lessons.  Flexing my point of view has helped me manage a few challenging circumstances. In these uncertain times, I believe that flexibility is more important than ever before.

Sometimes we can just get in our own way....and sometimes we can get in others' way too.  
A stifled point of view could deem us self-absorbed, judgemental, and even shall I say...narcissistic.  But when we get out of our own way and begin to understand another's viewpoint or life experiences, our compassion and forgiveness grow.  Listen carefully and ask questions to better understand their "why" or "view" to see what makes them "tick". We don't have to agree, yet understanding another's point of view or experience connects us and certainly opens up doors to better relationships in our community.  We humans have the unique ability to have and share compassion for others.

What if?
Why not?
How fun!

Moving along...    



4/24/22

Keeping it simple

 Keeping it simple...in a complicated world 

No doubt we are living in very challenging times.  Global warming, cultural division, instant communication, space flights, war, and Covid...and that's just the tip of the iceberg!  Iceberg? Ack!  

Coming from the 60's generation, it would seem we had it tough.  It was rare to have a private phone line, a color television, and fast-food meals. It was not convenient, yes, but it was simple.  While I was raised in poverty for a short time with my unstable Mother, I saw and experienced a LOT of things that have informed my perceptions of the world around me. We got along with very little and struggled. Yet the distractions were few.  Looking back, it really wasn't bad, but that's hindsight.  Having had success and failure in many forms changes our perceptions of life.  The struggle is good, but not fun. We learn from it all and hope for better each time around.

Recently, I recorded a few instructional videos and an online appearance on repurposing pastels The experiences were very challenging and tested my will.  My personal expectations were high and I felt confident.  I am still wondering what the final result will be from it all.  Will it have been worth my time?  Will it inform and inspire others?  Most likely. But who knows.  I allow my hopes to not be crushed if all fails, and I understand that I have no control over much if anything in this world. What works best is living simply and being responsible with choices.  It's like that even more so in the year 2022.  

 If you could change one thing in our world today, what would that be?

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1/3/22

 Spinning Into a World . . .




. . . Like OZ
(recap from April 2021)
 
The past few months have been a whirlwind of new adventures for me...but not anything like a fun outdoorsy adventure. I"m talking about Online Video adventures.  All because of shitdowns and social distancing, most if not all of us have had to recreate our lives online...and we're either getting pretty good at it or pretty messed up.  Well, I'm feeling a little bit of both. 

A while back, I started teaching pastel painting online, and then I soon found out that online instruction requires a huge mental shift filled with excitement and fear.  Imagine along with me, talking with a group of peers with your eyes closed, sharing how you do what you love to do, say...flying a kite, for example, and then suddenly you are looking into a computer screen trying to explain how to do it.   And then the wind picks up, and then your kite....well. You get my drift.  Needless to say, my mind has been getting quite the workout,  unlike my now flabby body, as it shifts from my vault of information and then transfers that into verbs, computer commands, and clicks, all while laughing at how It all makes sense.  It feels as if I am both running from tornados and running towards them at the same time. And I'm not out of breath!  Are you?

Mostly, what I'm yearning for is the comfort of familiar days.  Who loves a great conversation face to face? Or a good firm handshake or hug. Remember those?  Gosh yes! But you know what?  The return to whatever normal was will be sweeter when we land back on solid ground... hopefully soon.  And oh, how a normal routine will feel ever so sweet.  And the clean-up, no matter how devastating, will be a cathartic rainbow.

Moving along...    

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9/11/21

Life's Not An Act!

 A Show-Stopping . . .


. . . Year  
(recap from Jan 2021)
 
Well, my friends,  If you were to find one WORD that would define 2020, what would it be?

At the beginning of each new year, I take some time out to write down a list of goals I'd like to attain. Sadly, I had never looked at my 2020 goal list again.  As I am writing this, I just pulled out my list of goals for the first time since I wrote it and I'm surprised at how lofty they were. I almost want to say they were unattainable but were more like a misguided thought.  At this point I realized, I just need to be grateful I have one life to live.  If you could rerun what went right, what might that be?  I would imagine it must have been pretty much an individual activity?  Like throwing a temper tantrum or running in circles?  HA!  How about learning how to ZOOM or facetime?  For the most part, accumulated show cancellations were what slowed me down. Waaa a a  a  y  down.

On a brighter note, last year provided me a lot of time to think, learn, and reassess just what is important. I am so grateful for my husband and all my children...including a new kitten.  I had time to really focus on my personal health, yet exercise evaded me. Motivation slipped a bit, but so did the days of my life.  So, what day is it anyway?  We all endured 2020 together, and I am happy to turn over in bed and wake up.  So what one word would you call 2020?  For me, it was "Suspend"  Life is not a soap opera, nor does it offer a "re-run" or a "fast-forward" button. So let's take it easy on ourselves.  One. Day. At. A. Time.

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8/13/21

Finding my GrOOOOOOve. . .




 
. . . with one little mark
 

This post is from my monthly Studio Updates, dating November 2020.  Take note that the timing of this post my not be relevant.

~

At this very moment of writing, America has resolved the election and potentially developed a strong Covid cure. It sure has been a tough road. Together we all have been on them at different times of our lives, with steep hills to conquer and bruising bumps to get over. Our 2020 stories will take the route into the history books and cement them into our current generation. I wonder how stories we all have in common from 2020? Sad, yet somehow I am feeling a little glimmer of hope. 

On a brighter note, so much is bubbling up in my studio! There are several half-finished paintings that I'm re-addressing, online courses are starting to take shape, a BIG, long-term project is being imagined, and just some good vibes all over. I"m happy to say that my slump is nearly over and I'm starting to find my groove! It all came to a head while I was working on a painting last week, when one little, and very joyful brushstroke "giggled" at me! Yes, I wrote giggled. You see, the act of painting is a dialogue...and sometimes it speaks to the artist in most mysterious ways, but this time it giggled! And the best part? I was ready to receive it! What a joyful and intimate moment. I sure hope that joyful mark comes back to greet me again and again. As for the photo above? Yup, that's me...high up on the top of the beautiful St. John's Bridge in Portland, OR., during a graffiti abatement closure. A while back when life was "easy", a few of us artists, Don Bishop, Quin Sweetman, and Za Vue had the idea to paint a nocturne of the Willamette River upon the closed bridge. And what should one do when in a most opportunistic place? Well... Cartwheels! ... and take a rest in the middle of the high road!

So how do you find your grOOOOve? Do Share!


Moooving along...

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5/18/21

A Holding Pattern and the Struggle to Land


 A Holding Pattern and the Struggle to Land



 

Now more than ever do you find yourself asking "How am I doing?" How many times have you said, "It's been a really weird year"?  It seems trivial to say the big challenges are about readjusting our daily lives. Over the past eight months, we've had to reconfigure how to shop and keep 6' apart, attend school, see the doctor, enjoy a dinner out....and just breathe!  So, just last week as I was painting on a most difficult piece and pondering my personal challenges, I decided that the phrase "Life imitates art" is relevant more than ever.  Are my struggles at the easel in effect, in sync with the world around us? Why yes they are.

Let me explain. On my easel sits a piece that is whooping my butt!  I would work for 4 hours on a particular area of the piece, resolving all the problems of the world upon my easel. Then.... the following day I'd return to my studio and scrape it all off!  After four embattled weeks of daily repeated efforts, I finally realized, and am embarrassed to share, that I was in a hovering pattern. I could compare it to the delicate Forrest Gump feather that indecisively floats along with the breeze. Perhaps the smoke-filled skies from the devastating fires, protests, hurricanes, and Covid are affecting my work in various ways?  Hmmm...

I will let you in on my little secret.  It is not unusual for me to experience environmental battles in my work, but never one so extended. Heartbreaking.  So, I was wondering if you sense holding patterns in your life too? How do you process a difficult struggle?  Well, for me my art acts as a grounding, therapeutic source.  Perhaps the phrase "Life imitates art" could be switched around for one instance to read "Art imitates life"?

Moving along...    

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