Friday, January 10, 2014

Artist's Rant

Winter Walk Inspiration

Art has been my main vocation for around 15 years. But art has been a part of my entire life, as least as far back as I can remember. I'm nearly 44 now, so that's a long time as far as I'm concerned.

I've tried to be lots of things beside being an artist. In fact, at times I'd rather be anything than be an artist.  It's not that it hasn't been a great gig. It's not that it hasn't put food on my table, paid my mortgage, and paid for a vacation or two. It's allowed me a flexible schedule and to raise kids first and foremost, and keep most of my sanity by only working part time.

But I'm going to spill a secret, and I'm hoping, just hoping, there may be others that feel the same....

I don't make art because it's fun. I don't make art because it is always relaxing. I make art because I HAVE to-  no, I don't mean just to earn a living, because there are many other career paths I could have taken. When people say they love making art, I do get it. I remember when I was a kid I loved making art. It was and still can be meditation, but attaching the word fun and love to it now isn't quite the right definition. 

Being creative is a compulsion for me. It's serious. It's left and right brained work. Maybe that's why I don't mass produce art. It's not about me being's about capturing a perfect moment or a message or bringing an idea alive. I create constantly. If I'm not physically creating something, I'm creating in my mind. It is like trying to ignore a perpetual mosquito bite.

The need to create "beauty" as it is seen through my eyes in that moment is overwhelmingly important. I'm not frenetic about it, I'm actually pretty calm and centered about it. But it has to be done in some manner, in some medium. Like breathing, I just can't not do it. I have a hard time explaining it, even to myself. 

Why do I do it then? What do I get out of it? I do love being in the present. I love walking, gathering inspiration, seeing the perfection of the natural world. I am in love with that feeling of being in the moment- actually the feeling of after the moment, because when you are in the moment you don't recognize it until you are out of it. The hard part is bringing back that moment and creating something tangible that will invite another to see something maybe they've never REALLY seen before. To help them put on artist eyes for a second and invite them in, and hopefully let them experience a moment of their own.

What is this desire to capture a moment, a piece of earthly perfection, a lens into my world....which at times doesn't feel like "my" world?  
When I'm fully immersed I feel like I'm just an instrument sharing a piece of the bigger picture.
I'm getting pretty deep now. If it's not my world, my work... Whose is it? What is the purpose?

As an artist I  search for answers to these and other questions. I have internal struggles, an internal rebellion, at times feel those "tortured soul"  attributes of being an artist. Well, those are my thoughts today.

Rant over...back to creating. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Art-a- Day Challenge


Today was the 2nd day of the Art-a-Day challenge. There are numerous versions of this, our local version  was started 6 years ago by Bobi Wilson, a Tri-Cities artist.The rules are loose. Create art in your own way every day for the month of January. I missed last years event due to some life challenges but this year am ready to give it a go.
   I'm not one to create art without an incentive, challenge or goal. It's difficult sometimes to create art for fun when it's what you do for a living. I could use the art from my regular job but forcing myself to do art for me is a real challenge.
  Here are the first my posts for art-a-day:

Winter Walk Book Art Album

I am intrigued by frost. I love the quiet on a cold frosty day. It seems as if nature goes completely silent. There is an eerie, solemn, and desolate feel walking amidst the frost laden landscape. 

On this particular day two years ago, walking through the vineyard of Hedges Estate on Red Mountain, it was 19 degrees and the only sounds were the crunching of my footsteps and gentle breathing. 

It wasn't until this fall that I was inspired to use my pictures. They were beautiful on their own, I needn't paint a picture from them. Sitting in my digital files did not do them justice nor a store bought album. I decided a handmade book would be so much more interesting, maybe an heirloom my family would hold onto.

I started out with store bought handmade paper with unfinished edges. I tore each 13" X 13" sheet into two pieces.
Using black tea, I stained the edges by rubbing the tea bag over the edges. I'm an impatient artist so I used a blow dryer to dry the pages.

The pages were a bit too antiqued for the pictures. What I was after was a worn feel and something that reflected the colors of dried grass and snow. I covered the pages with gesso leaving some of the tea stained edges untouched.

 I painted on Porcelain Crackle Paint by Perfetto. It has to be used thickly for a deep crackled affect.

I folded each paper in half and used a dull knife edge to make a crisp fold. I then used a thin jewelry twine to sew each of the folded pages together.

I used stick flat glue to attach the pictures, finding pictures that complemented each other. I left a page blank to insert an original poem on a future date as I'm trying my hand at calligraphy this winter. My last step was to print a small title onto a piece of vellum and attach to the cover.

I am so thrilled by the finished product. I'm going to create more book albums like this and maybe expand the idea onto canvases for wall art.