Blog Post 5.19.13 (Teaching, Sharing & Inspiration)

People that know me, specially artists, know that I LOVE art.  I am in love with the process of making art.  I find so much joy creating art that I automatically share details freely with my fellow artists.  I think it comes naturally for me to share, so that maybe others can find the same joy I feel doing it.paint closeup 2

I had several friends tell me I should teach, that I am a natural at it.  Well, I can tell you that I never thought of myself as a teacher of any kind!  I guess the difference is that sharing something you love does not feel like teaching, so it does come naturally.  So I finally decided to give it a try and did a small test workshop.  I invited 4 friends to take part (several that encouraged me to do this in the first place), so I could figure out how to structure it for other students.

paint closeup 1I thought about what to name it and how to describe my workshop, and it’s so hard to put into words what I would like to teach.  Mostly I want to share fun techniques, tips, and play, to inspire those that are too afraid to “be” an artist, or remind those artists that lost the “fun” and “joy”, why they became artists in the first place.  I want them to come out of the workshop with their creativity wheels turning, ideas running through their heads and inspiration overflowing.  I feel it’s those little surprises that come out during play and experimentation that excite us and allows us to come up with something that no one else has done before.paint closeup 3

I also love working with other artists.  The inspiration you get from working with others is contagious, and in teaching others you come up with new ideas while you are explaining a process.  I know also that many artists do not share their ideas.  They are afraid that someone will steal or copy them.  Well, with the age of the internet I think that can happen anyway, without teaching someone!  Also I have seen that when you have a group working on an art project, each person has their own artistic vision in their work, which makes it different from the others.  I believe true artists want to come up with something uniquely theirs, that makes them stand out from the rest.

 

Blog Post 3.31.13 (Artists, Artists, Artists…)

Stevie Nicks at SXSW 2013

Stevie Nicks at SXSW 2013

A few weeks ago I volunteered at SXSW and was able to attend a couple of interviews with musicians (Depeche Mode and Stevie Nicks).  It was fascinating to listen to their answers about their artistic process.  They were asked about how they come up with the music and songs, their inspiration, and do they struggle with ideas, and they had a lot of the same answers as painters would come up with.  That got me thinking that I needed to get a dancer’s perspective as well, see if it was the same, so who better to ask than my father (Eugene Slavin)!  He was a ballet dancer, and choreographed many dances in his career, and a lot of his answers were the same!  I found out that ideas, inspiration, creativity is very similar no matter what your artistic outlet is.  Here are several of the answers I heard:  I play the music and the lyrics just come out, I read or watch movies for inspiration, I look at art and listen to music to get inspired, I see a dancer or hear music that inspires a dance.  I think when the creative brain is engaged, when we see or hear ‘it’ we just instinctively know it.

It was interesting asking my Dad about his artistic process (I had never spoken to him about it before).  The one difference it seemed was that a lot of the choreography was dictated by the talent the dancers, or what their strengths or weaknesses were.  I guess if us painters were limited to just paint with specific materials it would be the same thing, or a musician only able to use specific instruments.  Getting creative with what we have is what we have to do when the creative bug strikes!

Blog Post 3.1.13 (It’s going to be a Great Year!)

So far this year is starting out pretty good for me.  In January I started out with my first really big solo show.  I set up this show about a year ago as a way to force myself to create a good size body of work, so I can start submitting to different galleries around the country.  As it got closer to the date of hanging the show, I started panicking, wondering if I had enough art!  Well, the amount of work turned out to be just perfect!

"Beyond Limits" North Hills Gallery 2013 Panoramic photo shot with my iPhone 5

“Beyond Limits” North Hills Gallery 2013- Panoramic photo shot with my iPhone 5

At this event I sold 3 paintings, and was pretty well attended, which was just wonderful!  I had lots of positive feedback on all my work, from artist friends as well an others that I did not know.  (I also got a video of the show but have not done anything with it yet. That will be a new project for me to learn how to do! 🙂 )  Once the show came down, I decided to take one of the most popular pieces to my office at my ‘day job’.  Well, it did not even make it up on the wall before someone decided they had to have it! (see it below)

SOLD- Desert Ruins Under the Stars 30"x40" Mixed Media on Canvas

SOLD- Desert Ruins Under the Stars 30″x40″ Mixed Media on Canvas

Then yesterday morning, during a break I pulled up Facebook and I noticed that SkinnyArtist.com posted their yearly 21 Artists to Watch in 2013 list, which I love to look at every year (I find great artists to follow on Facebook and Twitter), and to my surprise I saw my name on the list!!!  I feel so honored to be mentioned with so many wonderful artists (and thank you so much Drew for the wonderful words and support)!

I am now preparing for the West Austin Studio Tour, which will be taking place over 2 weekends this year, April 27-28 & May 4-5, 2013.  I hope my momentum just keeps going, I am ready!

Blog Post 1.2.13 (So you want to be an artist, now what…)

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

So, it’s the beginning of 2013, you have always wanted to be an artist, but you have been discouraged from pursuing your artistic interest by most people.  But now your creative urge is strong.  You feel that something has been missing in your life, and just maybe that may be it.  Well, get to it!!  Start drawing, painting, sculpting, or whatever artistic medium you feel compelled to do!  Yes, it’s overwhelming, and if you think you have to wait till you can go to art school, DON’T WAIT!!  Just do it!  Otherwise you may never do it.  My decision to start painting was one of the best things I ever did.

Early work- Leaf- 2002

Early work- Leaf- 2002

I had a friend ask me today about how I got started painting, how long it has been, etc.  She has had that creative urge, and luckily decided to listen to it.  So I thought that would be a good topic to write about and share my experience, since I kept waiting until I realized that if I waited till the “perfect time” it would probably never happen!

First of all, I have always been artistic.  I have been drawing since I was a toddler (please don’t let not growing up drawing stop you!).  I was intimidated by the idea of painting.  I didn’t know anything about materials, how to use them, what I needed, and I let that stop me for many years.  I finally decided to sign up for a painting class at our local art museum.  It was very helpful!  Once I got that out of the way, I decided I could try and teach myself some techniques.

Early Work- Flowers in the Stream 2003 (I think)

Early Work- Flowers in the Stream 2003 (I think)

One of my favorite pastimes was (and still is), going to a book store, sitting down with a cup of coffee and a pile of art books and magazines.  When I found a favorite, I would buy it so I could try some of the techniques at home.

As I got some paintings done, I was brave enough to hang some in a group show at a cafe I was working at, then at the hair salon I went to, and eventually joined The Creative Arts Society, one of our local art guilds.  Some of the artists I have met through that group are now some of my closest friends!   By being a member of the group and participating as a chair & member I learned painting techniques, how to frame, how to hang shows, and just talking to people about my art!

The next step I took was going to a week long painting workshop.  THAT changed my life!!!  I think I was finally ready to take that big jump into taking my artwork seriously.

Early Work- Peach Rose 2004

Early Work- Peach Rose 2004

Some of the most important things I learned are:
-Get lots of art materials, if you just have a few, you will worry about “wasting” what you have.  I bought a lot of materials with my weekly 40% off coupon from Michael’s (you can now sign up online to receive the coupon in your email, or if you have a smart phone you can download their app).  And don’t be afraid to “waste” materials, you are not wasting, you are learning.
-Give yourself permission to “play”.  By playing around with the paints I learned how to work with them.  And painting should be fun anyway!
-Draw, even if you don’t think you can.  If you can’t come up with things off the top of your head, get beginning drawing books to guide you.
-Join a local art guild if you can, or try to meet other artists.  It’s wonderful to be around “like minds” and you learn a lot from each other.  If there is not a good art group in your area look online.  You can also find other artists on Twitter & Facebook (I have found many of them very encouraging).
-Go to art galleries & museums for inspiration!
-Read The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron.  I know many artists that say it has changed their life (including myself).  You can find links to my favorite books including this one on the “Favorite Books” page.

I can say that I am definitely not ready to quit my day job to be a full time artist, yet… but I have not given up on it.  I am working hard to realize that dream.  I have set goals for myself along the way, which has been helpful for me.  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions just let me know!  You can also find me on Facebook & Twitter, and I am always happy to share what I know!
Above you can see samples of my early paintings.  You can find my latest work on my Facebook page and website!

 

Blog Post 12.15.12 (I want Peace…)

I am done with giving my energy to all the negative horrible news, bombarding me non-stop.  I have had so many thoughts running through my head, so I thought I would put them down in a post to share.  Some will agree with what I say, some will not.  But I thought I would get this off my chest and move on.

The last year or so I have been on a search.  You could call it a search for myself or a search for inner peace or a search for happiness.  Some will probably say I am in a “dream world”, or I am naive, but if you just allow yourself to open your mind you may see a different point of view.

Peace, we all say we want it.  But how do we exactly achieve it?  I do believe that we will never achieve it with violence (of any kind).  I believe that if we truly cared about others, their happiness, their well-being, we would eventually have peace.  We have to get out of our “what’s in it for me” mentality, well-being for everyone will only make things better for everyone (this includes healthcare, both physical & mental).  I think peace is contagious and it spreads.  Peace cannot be forced on someone.  It has to be shown by example.  ANYTHING negative or violent will NEVER achieve peace.

Guns = negativity = destruction.  There is nothing positive that would ever come from them.  You may try to rationalize it but the bottom line is all they do is destroy, that IS their function.  You can say protecting yourself is positive, but if your mentality is about protection, you are not thinking peace and it’s a negative thought.

People are not born wanting to hurt others.  That is put into people’s minds.  Everyday there is violence and negative energy on the news, on tv shows, on the roads and people’s attitudes.  Have you ever tried to say something nice or help someone that was angry toward you or meant harm? Maybe you should try it and you may be surprised!  I do believe everyone wants to be loved, it’s human nature, and a lot of people have never been given that.

Ok, I have expressed my opinion.  I will now stop commenting, “liking”, re-tweeting posts related to the horrible event from yesterday.  I will stick to my usual positive thoughts.  You may comment or share this post.  I will not comment on positive or negative thoughts, all my thoughts are above.  I will approve comments as long as they are constructive whether positive or negative.

Thank you for listening.

Peace…

If you want to try and open your mind and find some happiness & inner peace, check out the book “the Secret”.

 

Blog Post 10.30.12 (Favorite Art Supplies)

I thought I would share some of my favorite art supplies and stores with you.  I paint mostly with acrylics, and lately I use them pretty watered down or liquid (for my Cosmos Series).  My new favorite place to get paints is Nova Color (in California).  I found out about it through Artist Robert Burridge, when I took one of his workshops.  First of all I LOVE the price, they are extremely economical.  The colors are highly pigmented, and I have not been disappointed yet.  I have been using bold primary type colors so far, but I just ordered several earth tones that I can’t wait to experiment with.  You can also order large quantities, which is nice if you use a color a lot!  Also they are super nice to deal with!

One of the coolest things EVER is the Gold Gesso from Daniel Smith.  It’s like liquid gold! I have not experimented a lot with it yet, but I have used it as gesso and painted over it with acrylics and you get a wonderful metallic sheen that comes through the color.  I have experimented doing some drips with it and it’s beautiful, but it is on the thicker side, so keep that in mind.

I also love the high pigment content of the Holbein Acryla Artists’ Acrylics.  I usually get them through Dick Blick, they are pricey compared to the Nova Color paints, but they are worth it, specially for specific colors! The violet purple is my absolute favorite!  I have not found one with the same intensity.

I am still searching for the best deals on canvas.  I may stretch my own, it is more cost effective, but it does seem harder to do the larger the canvas, so my local Jerry’s Artarama get’s most of my business on that.

Almost forgot!  Also super fun to use are the FW Pearlescent Acrylic Inks by Daler Rowney, I like the very liquid metallic consistency.  It’s easy to drip them since the bottles come with a dropper.  I also get these at Jerry’s and they have a ton of colors!

Hope you try some of these out if you have not done so yet.  Also share with me any other great places to shop for art supplies!

Blog Post 10.26.12 (Great Pinterest Idea)

Well, I LOVE Pinterest! But it can be quite addictive!  I joke around that it just sucks hours out of your life, but I have found great ideas.  I have found art inspiration, handy ideas, and more info than I need!  One of my favorite ideas that I found is one of the simplest! I can’t believe I did not think about it on my own, it’s genius.  I have tried to find things to place under my paintings when I apply varnish to them, to keep them from sticking to the table, but nothing I did was perfect.  Until now… Push pins! Just pin them to the wood under the  canvas and it’s evenly away from the surface.  Here’s a couple of photos:

 

I also realized they I don’t have a Pinterest button on my blog! One of those things that I will try to work on soon!  By the way, you can find me on Pinterest under my name!

Blog Post 8.28.12 (Just doing it!)

I have been having a lot of conversations with a lot my artist friends lately, trying to figure out the future, figuring out how to be an artist & make a living at it.  Also have come across a lot of articles on the subject (funny how these things pop in front of you just when you need them).  One thing I noticed is that the more painting I do, the more thinking I do! I guess it opens my mind, to think deeper than I have before.

Tranquility 36″x48″ Acrylic on Canvas

A thing I came to realize is that if you want something, really really want it bad, you will work really hard to accomplish it.  I noticed a lot of people want things now, they expect it to be easy, or they say they don’t have the time to work as hard to the depth they need to to accomplish that goal.  Then in the next breath, almost always is “I don’t know how you do everything that you do!  I’m just not you!”  Well, I know I am no super-woman, I just have this emergent urge to reach my goals.

I always wanted to be an artist, or I guess I always “have been” an artist.  But I was waiting until the time was right, when I could quit working and go to school so I could learn how to be an artist.  Well, time kept coming and going and the time to go to art school was not going to happen.  So, I decided that I could just do it, teach myself.  I have read everything art related I could get my hands on.  Got brave enough to try different techniques, got over the fear of “wasting money & materials” (you have to do that!), took some painting classes at the local museum, joined an art guild, learned how to hang exhibits, learned how to publicize, learn to inspire other artists, finally took a painting workshop, got a studio and have been painting like crazy!  And, all this while working full time at a non-artistic job!

Maybe I am a bit crazy, hyperactive, or just desperate to get my art created before time runs out.  Either way I am having the time of my life!!  I don’t have the answer on how to get my goals accomplished, but I am figuring it out along the way.  And I am still determined to make a living with my art!!!

(The photo above is not perfect.  Taken with my phone camera)

Blog Post 8.18.12 (Son & Baby Photo)

I love technology!  What would we do without our smart phones? When you just don’t have your camera with you and you just have to take a photo these smart phones really come in handy!! I went to see my new grandson (my son’s baby) and I had to photograph their interaction.  It’s just so sweet! I love this photo!!! (Next time I need to remember to take my big Canon!!) 🙂

This was taken with my Evo, made B & W in Photoshop.

Blog Post 4.10.12 (The Abstract Painting Continues…)

I have had several paintings in the studio I have been “stuck” on.  I just have not know what to do next on them.  I have started and finished other paintings and those still sit there, staring at me.  Am I afraid of “messing up”? Waiting for them to “speak to me”?  That’s one of the things I find fascinating, challenging & frustrating about abstract painting.

Finally yesterday I decided to take desperate measures and just add paint to them.  I feel that at least something changes on them and maybe then they will “speak to me”.  This is the experimental part of my painting.  If I am stuck, the painting will never get finished, so if I at least add paint, whether good or bad, the painting has changed.  That is when I have found some of the most exciting things happen in painting!  Sometimes it’s a happy accident.  Sometimes it’s just something I would have never thought of that just comes out in frustration!  But it sure is exciting!

Here’s a few photos of my stuck paintings in progress… (excuse the photo quality! cell phone photos at dusk!)

I finally know where I am going with this one… stay tuned for the final version!

Red in progress

Red in progress

Works in progress

Works in progress

Please share what you do to get unstuck! Would love to hear!!! 🙂