Saturday, February 23, 2013

Being Brave

First finished painting

For the past four weeks, and for two weeks to come, I have spent every morning with the artist Flora Bowley. I feed the dog, wait for my first k-cup to drip into my coffee cup, grab a handful of vitamins, and then wander over to the couch and turn on my computer.  And every day, Flora has given a little of herself to those taking her class -- advice on how to act courageous even when you aren't feeling that way, how to center yourself with breathing and yoga techniques, how to set an intention for your day or your week, and yes - techniques to paint in an abstract manner.  She doesn't give you steps to paint like her.  She teaches you how to bring what you have, fearlessly and confidently, to what you want to put on your canvas, or what you want to do in your life.  And she shares some of her favorite music, too.

I love Flora's teaching technique. She knows when to give you short bits of technique video (about 3-5 minutes) and when you might need more time to watch her process.  I never felt overwhelmed, but I always felt challenged right to the edge of my ability. Which is where we all need to be, isn't it?

I worked hard. It's difficult to push away your conscious, image-making mind and just work intuitively, and to trust that your instincts will take you somewhere other than a big brown blot on your canvas.    I woke up every morning excited about the next class and went to bed thinking about it.

I think this one is finished...

I prepared for this class by taking a one-week workshop with Carla Sonheim, called Imaginary Creatures.  I wanted to practice visualizing images that are in a mixed background, because I know I have had trouble with this in the past and it's exactly what Carla teaches.  I think it really helped me, and it was lots of fun. Carla's an excellent teacher. She's clear and direct and gives you little steps each day so you don't become overwhelmed.

Maybe I'll post images of the silly, charming creatures that visited me during that class. But not today.  Today is all about this way of thinking, of knowing, of painting -- and about getting the courage to step into the darkness and be confident that a path would appear.

And now I'm ready for the next painting, because I just can't stop doing this...
Getting ready for my next canvas

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Vintage Ancestor Journal

The next installment in my vintage ancestor journal work.  This one is for Sox. We're inventing ancestors and their stories for each other, using cabinet cards we find and our imaginations.

The tag background is made with a technique I learned from Sarah Whitmire, using coffee, cinnamon, metal bits and strings to create an aged look with the shadows of the pieces laid upon them. I love this method and I make lots of tags at once when I brew up a batch of the mix.

Floral cotton tape, gold skeleton leaves, stamped tag, old lace, and a vintage cabinet card enhanced with pan pastels.

A letter to Aunt Alice describing the wedding at West Point, Hudson River.

A tag tucked into a hidden pocket with the bride and groom

The sisters - lovely bridal attendants

A family to be proud of!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Some journal pages

Most of my art journaling is done while I'm also doing something else:  watching tv, for example. These pages were from Superbowl Sunday.

Starting with a quote
Intuitive Layers

Found flowers

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What do you do when you don't have a studio?

You improvise.

I've been taking a Flora Bowley class on Intuitive Painting, and it's a fun but messy business.  Lots of paint splattering and spritzing, whole-body movement and music. It's fun and inspiring and a great way to get in touch with your inner spirit.  The conundrum is how to do it in my one-bedroom apartment.

But there was a will, and then a way.

The bathroom looked like a crime scene...

...but it's very spray-bottle friendly

And our living room wall unit doesn't just hold digital technology anymore. 
I didn't even need an easel - just an open drawer and an old shower curtain.

 I don't think my "studio" will make the next issue of Where Women Create magazine, but creativity will persist, despite the greatest obstacles.