Blog Post 1.11.12 (My Artist Epiphany)

(The reason I have been sharing my experiences as an artist are so that other artists out there can relate!  I hope that in me talking about my experiences, others can realize that there is not right or wrong way to do this.  And it is not just to talk about me!)

I sat down with an artist friend this afternoon talking about being an artist, and trying to figure out how to be full-time artists and make a living at it (now, THAT is the question!).  We got together at my studio, since she had not seen it before, and she spoke about the artist “30 second elevator speech”.  She asked me if I had one.  Well, I feel like I am still discovering my “style” as an artist and I told her I didn’t think I had one.  I had explained to her how I came to do my latest paintings, but to me is sounded childish, not professional, like I am just “throwing paint on a canvas”.  Well, I thought about it after she left, when I was by myself, painting, and my Pandora was playing some soft mystical music, and I realized that superficially that may seem like the explanation, but it is so much more than that!!!  As I was working on some paintings in progress, I asked myself:  “Am I just randomly putting paint on a canvas?” “What is it that I am doing?”.  I analyzed what I was doing and it came to me!  I realized that it’s a relationship with the paint and canvas.  It’s experimental, it’s instinctive, it’s learning from the paint, the canvas, the process.  It’s almost like being one with the painting!  I know… I started thinking about those artists statements I have read in the past that were so “deep” and I wondered what the heck they were talking about, and realized “that’s me”!!  Am I one of them now?  Oh!!!  I am now an “Artist”!  🙂

Blog Post 1.5.12 (Another painting- in progress?)

I have been working on several new paintings in my studio.  Some of them I know where I am “going” with them, some are just plain experimental.

A bit of history about me and abstract paintings.  I love abstracts.  When I go to museums and galleries, the paintings that are my favorites are usually the abstracts, or very loose paintings.  My history with art has been mostly drawing.  As a very young child I started drawing everything I would see.  I learned by copying, a lot.  As a teenager I drew faces for fun (yes, I really did!).  As a result my artwork was very “tight”, realistic.  I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, but the abstracts are what has always excited me, what I am drawn to.  Since I am mostly self-taught, I have struggled with how to even start an abstract painting.  I have bought several books that have guided me through the process, but as any of you artists know, it takes a lot of work to make some of that very “simple” looking artwork.  At least for me anyway.  You can look back at some of my previous posts (last year) with some of my abstract paintings, which I have been very happy with. The workshop this last summer also helped me a lot, learning some techniques, and also knowing to just trust my instincts and have fun.  (And I am having a blast!!)

Now to my latest piece.  I “think” I am happy with this new one.  It has gone through many many layers and reincarnations.  I think it looks like a loose landscape.  This has been a painting that I have had sitting in the corner of my studio and I keep looking at it and adding to it.  Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t.  With the last layer I decided I like it.  Let me know your thoughts!!!

Blog Post 12.31.11 (What I learned as an Artist in 2011)

I think this has been a very good year for me as an artist.  No, I did not sell tons of art, but I think I finally realized how seriously I want to be an artist.

Up till this year I passively was waiting till something would happen so that I could be an artist full time.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was just waiting.  Now I feel this determination to just make it happen!

After The Storm

After The Storm

Several things happened that I think made me feel very strongly about it.  Starting 2010, with an artist friend’s encouragement, I read the book “The Artist’s Way”, by Julia Cameron.  I had it for a while, but I had a hard time getting into it.  My friend was going to join a meet-up group to go through the book and asked me to join her.  It was the best way for me to get through the book, and even though I did not think I got much out of it, everyone I know said I definitely got a lot out of it!  Then this year, another thing I think helped me a ton was investing in an art workshop for myself.  I took a 5 day Abstract Acrylic & Collage workshop from Robert Burridge.  Well, let me tell you, it definitely lit a fire under me to get painting!  Since the workshop (5 days of painting, a bit of eating, painting, sleeping and more painting) all I want to do is paint all the time!  I think also, just watching a successful artist paint and go through their “process” was fascinating, and made me realize that I “do” know what I am doing and I am not doing it “wrong”.  Watching someone go through their creative process was amazing, and I could understand what was going through his head while he was painting.  It was just awesome!!!  I strongly recommend all artists invest in themselves and take a serious art workshop.  Last but not least, thanks to an awesome friend (that I met during the “Artist’s Way” group- talk about serendipity!) I got a studio space to paint.  It has made such a difference!!  Now I can paint for hours non-stop, have several paintings going at once, it’s just too fun for words!!!

I think also getting involved with social media helped me.  There is a lot of information out there from different artists, and a lot of encouragement also.  Doing blog posts sort of regularly about my art, sending out info on Twitter and Facebook, and also helping other artists with their social media needs has been good for me.  I started “Flourish Social Media” this year, after I had artist friends wanting to pay me to help them set up their Facebook pages, Twitter & blogs.  I hope that with that on the side I can support myself with just than and my art!  That is the goal anyway…

In the works...

In the works...

I am really looking forward to what 2012 has to offer.  My goals are to paint as much as I can, and get my work out in the world.  Along with a few other artist friends we will be brainstorming together and encourage each other to be able to make a living through our art.  It’s a scary “art world” out there, but I am determined to do it!  Life is too short to not do what you love and were meant to do!!

Blog Post 12.29.11 (The Finished Product- Photo of my Painting)

Ok, here it is.  This is a better photo of the finished product.  Let me know your thoughts!  This photo is better than yesterday’s.  You can see the detail better.  This is not the official photo of it.  The glare was terrible, so I had to work on this image.  I think I will take this one to get photographed by someone with the right photo studio space.

My latest painting

My latest painting

Blog Post 12.28.11 (New Painting: Done? I think so!)

I walked into the studio this afternoon, planning on adding more layers to my painting.  But, when I looked at it I really liked it the way it was!

To know when a painting is done… That is the question.  I think that is when our instinct as an artist has to step in.  If we take one look at the painting and love it, we need to listen to that.  Artist Robert Burridge told us in a workshop, “If you have to ask, the answer is always YES!”. I like that.  Also, what’s the harm in putting it out there and if you decide later it’s not done, you can always take it up once more!  Here is the photo I took today.  Not a good one, just with my phone in bad lighting and bad angle.  I did not do anything to it from the last post.  I will try to get a better photo in the next few days.

By the way, I decided to try different color combinations with the same techniques and see what happens.  I love the organic shapes in this painting, and I hope I can recreate it! 🙂

Blog Post 12.26.11(Painting Progress- 3rd layer)

I added another layer to my painting today.  I was not happy with what was happening when I mixed my own purple, once I added alcohol or it was watered down (done on another piece).  So I added some already mixed violet color to add a bit of a different color.  also added more blue, black and gold drops.  Here is a shot with some of the up-close details also.  I just LOVE the details!!

close-up detail

close-up detail

close-up detail

close-up detail

close-up detail

close-up detail

Blog Post 12.22.11(Making Art Paper!)

Well, not exactly making the paper itself, but making papers for collage.  If you have not tried it yet, you can make some really cool papers using Citra Solv cleaner and National Geographic magazines.  They even have videos on their website and a whole artist section with fabulous ideas!

This is one of my pieces I did using some of the Citra Solv collage papers:

Ruins at Night

Ruins at Night

What you do is drizzle the Citra Solv on the pages of National Geographic magazine as you flip through the pages.  It does not work on the ads (they are printed differently than the rest of the magazine).  Close the magazine and squeeze the excess liquid out of the magazine.  Let it sit for a few minutes (this depends on the temperature outside I think, it seemed to take longer with it being cold outside).  Then tear the pages out and let them dry.  The colors and patterns are amazing, and some of them are inspiring, that is how I came up with the idea for the piece above! Most of the images will be completely gone, but sometimes a ghost of an image remains, which is really fun to work with!

Here are some of the papers I came up with today:

Citra Solv Paper

Citra Solv Paper

I can’t wait to see what I get inspired to make with them!!

Blog Post 12.21.11(Painting Progress- 2nd layer)

It was a bit chilly at the studio this afternoon, and I almost didn’t go.  But thanks to a friend needing to borrow something I had there, I had to go anyway.  I was not feeling very inspired when I first got there, but as I stared at unfinished paintings I felt I had to add more paint!

This is my second layer (1st layer photo here).  I added some more blue with some black, to add the darkness, then added some “texture” spraying water and dripping alcohol.  I LOVE the effect the alcohol gives!  It has taken a little practice to learn when the paint is at the right consistency to get it to do what I want. Oh, also added some gold drops!  By the way, I use mostly acrylic paints.

2nd Layer

2nd Layer

 

Blog Post 12.18.11 (New Painting Series)

I have been working on a new series of abstract paintings.  I have not decided on a name yet, but some of the choices coming to mind are “Universe”, “Constellation” or “Cosmos”.  This is the 1st big series I am doing from my new studio space.  My favorite part about doing my abstract paintings is playing and discovering what develops from the painting.  There is such freedom in starting with no preconceived idea, even-though it is scary. Well, the first piece in the series just happened, it was actually a combination of the beginning of the painting, and some small exercises on paper that I really liked.  When I put it together it just spoke to me.  Then the rest of them is just running with the basic idea and playing with different techniques until I am happy with the results.  A friend suggested I take pictures of one of my pieces at different stages, which would be quite interesting, so I thought I would post the 1st photo tonight.

Below I have the first few pieces of my series.  The top 2 paintings in the photo are finished, and the ones below them are getting close.  (Not a good photo, but you get the idea).

Below is the first layer in one of my next pieces for this series.  I also have a couple of close-up shots of the cool details that inspire me to do more!

First layer

First layer

Close up detail

Close up detail

Close up detail

Close up detail

The sad part is that quite a bit of this cool detail will probably get covered up, but the end result will hopefully be awesome! (That’s the goal anyway!) 🙂

Keep posted for the next layer…