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 1.15.12 (Working my Left-Brain!)

Well, if you are coming across this blog post, my left-brain worked!  I decided to move my blog over from WordPress.com to a WordPress.org hosted site.  There were quite a few details involved, and it will take a bit of tweaking, but the basics are done. (Yay!) I won’t explain all the details, since the few people I tried to do that to told me all they heard was blah, blah, blah, blah… and I figured if you are looking at my art/photo blog you are probably not that interested in the details.

The main reason for my change is that I wanted to be able to have ads eventually and monetize my blog a bit (I have to support my art career somehow! 🙂 ) and I was not allowed to do that on WordPress.com.  Since I am writing more about my painting process I would like to have links to books I like so that they are easy to find and purchase.  And we will see where else this blog adventure takes me.

Stay tuned for links & info to my favorite things I like to use for my art.  I may do a special page, not sure yet.  This is definitely a work in progress.

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 11.5.11 (My Pursuit of an Art Dream…)

Well, some of you might have seen that I just recently got an art studio space.  Since I have been in a small apartment, it’s been difficult to make myself paint.  As us artists know, if you have to take all your supplies out, then put them up when you are done, you will talk yourself out of doing it.  I was painting outside most of the time, which it was either 100+ degrees, or I was being chased inside by bees.

Old "Studio" (balcony)

Old "Studio" (balcony)

I had several things happen this summer that made me determined to find a way to get a studio space.  First, I attended an Abstract Painting and Collage workshop with California Artist Robert Burridge.  I kept hearing my friends that had attended his workshops in the past say that he was amazing and they have attended his workshops numerous times.  Well, I saw why!  I was extremely inspired and felt that whatever it takes- I must paint every day!!  (By the way, I highly recommend his workshops, his enthusiasm is contagious, and yes, you WILL want to paint!)

Then I read the book “The Secret”, recommended by my friend & my sister.  A few little things happened that really made me believe in the book, and that what I want I can achieve.  I could not afford to rent a studio space, but I knew I just HAD to find a space.  So I posted a comment on Facebook asking if anyone had or knew of a space I could use.  Well, the Universe sent me a space!  It just happened to be a friend that I met through an “Artist’s Way” book group.  Talk about Serendipity!!! It’s a garage that she needed help fixing up, and so in exchange I use it as a studio!

My New Art Studio

My New Art Studio

I have not gotten into a routine yet.  Several weeks of working on the space, organizing, a bit of painting and celebrating (I threw a big Opening Celebration party), but I think now I am to the point that I can plan on going daily.  It is hard to do when you work full time at a very “non-artistic” job, but I have to make myself do it.  Part of my plan to make myself “accountable” is getting the word out, I feel that if I let everyone know I am an artist and I have a studio, I am now expected to paint!!  So there it is…

Inside the Studio

Inside the Studio

I plan to post some of my progress in the studio, my thoughts on being an artist, and a bit of my work on this blog as well, so I hope you will follow my pursuit of my Art Dream! 🙂