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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Childhood Yearnings, Fearless Kids.

Hey Everyone - Happy Sunday :)

Fearless Creativity...

Hope you all are having a great weekend.  I've been painting like crazy lately and experimenting with being fearless in the studio - not caring how things turn out, not anticipating the "message" of a piece - just starting with a blank canvas and making a mess.  Scarier than it sounds though...

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” – Mary Lou Cook

In the studio...
I had colored in this magazine image a while ago but wasn't quite sure what to do with it.  I also had a background laying around literally from years ago - and I figured they would be a good match.  I can't stand having unfinished pieces lying around!!!

 I played around with where I could place it - I wasn't sure what I was going for when I started, but I knew it would come to me once I was just present with the process.

Then I kept building up the layers around the image to embed the picture more into the painting - I basically just crammed a bunch of tissues, napkins, labels, magazines, wrapping paper - anything I was going to throw out anyway :)

 To smooth everything in, I washed it over with matte medium and water, which acts like a seal over all of the layers I created.  Then over that, I painted and smudged a bunch to add some color.

Then, I had fun obscuring some other images.  Again, I wasn't sure of what "theme" or "message" I was going for in my painting, but I always have fun letting the materials speak to me - it's like a treasure hunt, and every little clue you scavenge guides you to the next one, until you have that "Aha!  I've got it!" moment.
So I tore these images from magazines and just put the thinnest layer of napkin I could over it, just to make it look ever-so-slightly washed over.

Add some more napkins and paint around it to really blend it in, and voila - a little face is hiding in the picture now!

I tucked the little faces behind the shoulders of the girl, so now they are like her "guardian angels"
 Slowly the piece started coming together for me - this is a young girl receiving messages, from who?  What is she looking for, what does she hear?

I'm proud of myself because I actually took a break and sat with an unfinished piece for a while!  I wanted to let everything dry to see how it would all come together...but of course, I couldn't leave my painting without adding my signature tear drop.  I always add that - even if I don't know what it's for.

I came back this morning to darken around the image a bit - it needed a bit more blending in.

Then I looked at the tear again, and realized maybe this was a girl who's childhood had been snatched from her, and she was longing for it.  So I had some fun with that idea by inserting a few little clues.
I added a little teddy bear being snatched out of the air, washed over with matte medium and napkins to obscure it a bit.

The word I inserted (with a tear coming out of it, over course) is "thoughts".

I think this painting came together and I do like how it turned out.  It reminds me of my own yearnings for childhood, and sometimes feeling as though the run was snatched out from underneath me.  We all long for our "teddy bear" every now and then...

I was going to name this piece "Childhood" but then I realized I painted something years ago with that same title:
In this painting, I actually washed gesso over some of my own childhood photographs.  It's interesting comparing these two pieces side by side.  I don't know which one is more melancholy or wistful.  Maybe I'll put these two in a series.  "Childhood Revisited" and "Childhood Yearnings."  Not sure which is which yet...

Ah the process of discovery!!!
Play with Life!
Create!  Now!

Yesterday I talked a bit about how it's never too late to find the artist within you, that we need to keep that childlike wonder within us, and that fearless attitude that whatever we put to paper is good 'nuf, because it's our own - it's a world of our own making.
Beauty is all around us - feeling artistically uninspired?  Just look out your window :)
For example, my dad's 4th grade teacher told him he was a terrible artist, and so he shied away from drawing or anything "artsy" for so long - finally...we got him to draw!
The proud artist!
And if my dad can do it - anyone can!!!!
A favorite book of mine is called Life Is A Verb by Patty Digh - it teaches us how to live fully, freely and aware.  There are plenty of books ot there about passionately fostering your own creatively with reckless abandon, but my favorite way to learn is just by watching kids.  Teaching nursery school was one of the most inspiring periods of my life.

Every day that I taught, I used to come home right away and journal about my experience - I was so overstimulated by the creativity that seemed to come to instinctively to these kids.  This is an excerpt from a cold March afternoon:

"Bronwyn rushes to the window in the back corner and presses her face to the screen, which I have left partly open to let some early spring air into the room.  She’s thrilled as she looks outside and feels the air on her face.  “I can feel the cold coming in!” she exclaims as the wind begins to leak through the screen and playfully flirt with her uncombed tresses.  Other children catch onto the excitement and pull up chairs by the window, their knobby knees balancing on one another and they are so thrilled with the air and the half-melted snow on the ground.  “Hi Snow!” Sophia exclaims, “How are you feeling?” and the world seems to smile, as if it has found a choir of companions who will always sing with its seasons."
"Heart On Its Sleeve"
There is life, there is music, there is nature all around us - and this nature is our nature too.  So this lovely Sunday, open your eyes and take in the world around you - it's here every day, ya know :)
Yes, there are COWS at Hampshire College!
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein
And today's thanks goes out to my dad for always being fearless - in the art studio, in're my hero dad!

Random Inspiration...

If you need a prompt to get you started, try some other forms of creativity!
Repurpose something today...
41 Ways To Reuse Your Broken Things

Fidget, fumble, doodle...
Researchers Are Studying the Things People Fiddle With at Their Desks

And, since Pi Day happened to be yesterday 3/14 - get crafty in the kitchen...
Every Pie Recipe You'll Ever Want or Need!

The world is your canvas..

So now, what are you waiting for?  What one thing can you make today?




  1. have i told you lately that i think you're FABULOUS xoxoxo

  2. Wow, this is amazing work. You're definitely blessed with talent.

  3. Lovely pieces of art, you can see how inspired you are from how passionately you write about your work.

  4. Thanks for posting, I love the last few pieces.

    And...I can make....a BLOG! ;)

  5. I don't like unfinished work around either. Things feel off until they're used/done. This is great too!!

  6. My hubby is the one that has to finish projects asap. I could let them sit until a rainy day!

  7. Thanks for the book suggestion! It looks really interesting.