Monday, June 25, 2007

An Affirmation

I am still being unproductive in my art. I can't pinpoint what the problem is. I have been focused on family. With my daughter who is back from college I feel I want to spend more time together before she goes off again. Then we have my son's birthday coming up. This weekend there was a surprise visit from my daughter's boyfriend and the list of reasons to stay away from artmaking goes on. And yet I feel there may be an underlying reason that is lurking. When I read Eric Maisel's e-mail last night about a seminar for creativity coaching, I think I found the answer. I have been feeling that my creative life does not matter. So Eric's advice to all the attendants was the following affirmation: I MATTER AND MY CREATIVE LIFE MATTERS. I' ll be repeating that one and see what happens.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A week of almost no artmaking

It has been a week of almost no artmaking. Family duties, a personal committment to exercise more and summer chores in the garden have taken more time away from the act of making art. Looking at old art that seems stale and uninteresting is bringing out the judge who says: "maybe you're not good enough". Instead I am reading a book by Micheal Kimmelman: The Accidental Masterpiece. On the Art of Life and Vice Versa. I must be searching for meaning in my art or who knows what. Maybe I concerned that it is all so trivial. Whenever my husband hears that I have sold a work of art he immediately approaches with the business side: How many of those can you make? He means well but it trivializes the original work of art. I know that my art is not about trivial things. It is built on many layers.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Making Paper

Last Sunday, my friend and collage artist Laura invited me and Anne to make paper in her back yard under a tent. The three of us chatted and made paper almost all day long. The act of making paper is so meditative as you stir the slurry and then dip your mold into the vat. The result is a sheet of paper in pulp form which is then hung up to dry on a line. I made a stack of off white and red sheets. The time just flew. Laura prepared a delightful lunch for us and then we were at it again. We had a great time making paper which will be turned into collage works in the near future. Today I looked at my stash of paper and was inspired by the stack's various colors and textures. I guess I have always loved paper for its own sake. And the proof is that I have tons of paper in my studio just waiting to be cut, torn, glued and combined for a work of art whether small or large. And yet the handmade paper feels more precious, like bread baked from scratch.... such satisfaction.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Birthday Wishes

For the past 18 years I have not had to purchase any greeting cards because I believe I can make one as well as any commercial card. Yesterday I made this one for my husband's birthday. He has saved every card I ever made him and threatens to have them framed. It is always pleasant to hear such a compliment. My friend Mary Jane always kept my cards and when she moved from Naperville to New Jersey she had them all framed and has hung them in a delightful arrangement in her family room. Such appreciation of my creativity just nurtures and motivates the artist. My daughter has learned that a hand made gift is much more appreciated than the commercial one and often makes her own cards, especially for Valentine's day.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Time to Purge

This week I have been in a purging mode. As I surveyed all the art supplies, equipment, etc. I realized that I am overloaded with items that no longer are relavent to my art making. Today I even found some much older works of art that Irritated my aesthetic bone. I had to make decisions. I am in the process of purging some older works of art that I feel do not represent who I am now as an artist. The time has come to sell or destroy these. I feel that by releasing these works I will allow myself to be open for new work to come forth. I will photograph the works and then send them on their merry way to another place.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sometimes I Just Leap

While creating miniature art my approach is often carefree and daring. The following poem describes the feeling rather accurately..
W. H. Auden: "Leap Before You Look"
The sense of danger must not disappear:
The way is certainly both short and steep,
However gradual it looks from here;
Look if you like, but you will have to leap.
I leaped into a composition. I liked it. I thought others might not appreciate it. I was wrong. Tricia loved it and bought it before I even had a chance to photograph it.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Process of Artmaking

When life takes a detour and creating art takes a back seat , the creative momentum can be lost. How do I get it back again? I force myself to work on a miniature piece. A 4 X 6 size is ideal for playing, risk-taking or just spontaneously putting it together. And so this winter life took me on a detour of my regular creating time. The longing to get the hands dirty and composing a little piece was there but the opportunity did not present itself readily. Then last week I received a call from someone who had purchased my original notecards last year and was looking to purchase some more to give as gifts to her children's teachers and to some colleagues. Suddenly the need to have inventory motivated the artist in me to go ahead and paint. There is always a need for simple watercolor florals. Those are fun because of the sponteneity, the ease, the simplicity. I was able to sit down and produce a number of these gems. Then there were a few tinted papers, some sheet music and other miscellaneous papers littering my art table. Within minutes I was gluing these miscellaneous fragments together and making simple compositions. The fire of creativity is burning within me again. I will tackle some challenges that have come across my desk. White on White. Holiday themes. I can feel the oxygen circulating around me.

On Display at Carol Stream Library in Illinois

Yesterday, with the assistance of my daughter, Victoria, I hung 11 collages at the Carol Stream Library. There is a certain good feeling when viewing your work in a grouping in a public place. I hope anyone who sees it will offer comments. But the sale of a work would equally place a smile on my face. The triptych was one of my landscape collages created from an abstract acrylic painting.

Friday, June 01, 2007

What Medium Am I Working In?

I have studied watercolor, acrylic, print-making and clay. Yet when I created my first collage I sensed that I had found my medium. What was it that gave me that sense of satisfaction? It was the piecing together, the gluing the cutting but most of all it was knowing I could re-use and recycle. I was trained as a child to waste not by my mother. So the lesson stayed on until my adulthood. There is an incredible satisfaction in knowing that some discarded object can be put to use in a new and unique way. And so I began to look at old watercolors, acrylics that did not pass the test of completed and satisfactory pieces. At first these works became little 4 X 6 note cards. Then larger pieces emerged from scraps. Learning how to integrate successfully has been the greatest challenge. Learning from the masters like Rauschenberg, Schwitters and others is a great help. Today I incorporate many media to try to communicate my message. I like using anything that suggests language, music, and imagery of the spiritual whether it be objects of faith or God's creation.