It seems like the first of the year is always the time to think about goals, make a plan for the year and start fresh. (As evidenced by the times I’ve written blog posts in January only to fizzle out a few months later!) I ran across this quote yesterday and it am hoping it will help keep me on track – I think most artists are easily distracted and I am no different. I decided I would make a screen saver out of it so I’d see it daily! I created the digital background image last week as I was goofing around in Photoshop – I’d not done any digital art for well over a year so it was fun to create something new and then within a few days realize it had a purpose to team up with the quote. I’ve made it a large file with the idea that anyone that needs it is welcome to download it and use it, so feel free if it speaks to you too!
Each year I pick a word (or words) that will be my inspiration, goal, good intention for the year. For this year the word “STRENGTH” has been coming at me from all directions so I’m going to claim it and run with it. It is something I can apply to so many different areas of my life!
After spending many hours the last few months creating hand made journals (I guess I need to post about those soon, hmmm?) I’ve added to that interest the idea of writing styles, script and other artful lettering. I’ve always loved to add words & quotes to my art but have never been particularly fond of my own handwriting. I’ve just been doodling around with pens, etc. for now but have an intro to hand-lettering book that should be delivered later today.
Here are some of my scribbles in one of my journals over the past week. Perhaps as I progress and become more skilled I’ll be able to use these words and thoughts in my artwork! I hope the new year blesses you with inspiration and passions to pursue. I love that feeling of hope a new year brings with it. Who knows, I might even blog more regularly this year! We’ve got another 362 days to find out!
So the last month or so I’ve been yearning to get back to being creative on a much more consistent basis. You know, like daily. 🙂 A friend of mine found this wonderful challenge page that just seems to fit the bill. One, it’s low-pressure and (most importantly) it’s not just a single media but ALL creativity. You know that fits well with my meandering bend! Here is a link to the page if you are interested in signing up as well:
I am going through and updating, deleting and generally spiffing up my blog. After 800+ posts and seven years, I’m sure this is past due! Thanks to the fabulous Alyson Stanfield and her Art Biz Blog for the prompt! I’m guessing no one needs to see old announcements about upcoming classes and shows that happened years ago so those will be the first things to go. In the meantime I’m revisiting a lot of posts that I’d forgotten about.
When I ran across this one I knew I wanted to share it again and knew exactly what images I wanted to match with it! When I posted this original poem in 2008 I hadn’t yet reach a stage in my blogging adventures to even know how to add images along with the words. Which ended up working perfectly because I hadn’t yet created these digital drawings. I don’t share much of my poetry, this is the only one that made it to the blog and, as perhaps you might notice, I’m not necessarily in my happy place when I write it. I can’t recall ever feeling so happy I just had to write a poem about it! 🙂 During this one I was feeling creatively blocked as well as struggling with some life issues that wanted to overwhelm me. I’m glad I’m not in that place anymore! When I re-read it today I relate it more to the wintertime and all the things laying dormant under the snow waiting to be released into the sunshine to grow and flourish. I’m more than ready for that to happen as I gaze out the window at all the whiteness surrounding us today!
Fragile shoots of creative inspiration creeping from between the cracks
in monotonous everyday life. Some struggle tenaciously for existence
most wither quickly, life choked from them suffocating in the climate
they were born.
Those that endure the harsh beginning required to grow without nourishment,
pushing past smothering layers of daily tedium. Cautiously they proceed,
death waiting, grasping, determined to wedge them under layers
Scarcely any will survive the journey despite their most valiant efforts.
Their route chaotic with sights & smells. The dead, decaying predecessors
strewn recklessly along the way. A frightening path, even for the resolute.
Struggling to outrun the stench of failure the most resilient push forward,
hoping that the next layer, or perhaps the next, will release them from
this nightmare. Slowly, tentatively they surface, grasping their
hard earned freedom.
Fresh air & sun caresses them and, though they are few, they sprout
and blossom a furious riot of brilliant colors. A kaleidoscope
of leaves and blossoms fed from the flesh of dead ancestors
lying beneath the uncaring layers of life.
Tiny seeds drop working their way slowly down below the tiers
of dullness and predictability, dormant. Waiting in dream-laced limbo.
Flashes of life-giving inspiration ignite them,
beginning another perilous journey upward toward the warm, inviting rays.
This past year my artist friend Sofyia Inger has been working on her project, “The Story Dome”. I’ve kept tabs on her progress and even had a chance to see her a few times this month but I was still not prepared for my visit this afternoon at the Indianapolis Art Center, to see the actual work. This evening is the official opening and reception, which I know will be fabulous, but since I wasn’t able to attend I snuck over early this afternoon to see it. As it turned out I was the only one in the dome during my entire visit. It was liking having my own imaginary world to wander and explore! Just entering the space I could feel the smile spreading across my face and lighting up both my imagination and my heart. It felt magical in there, completely surrounded by sounds of nature, words written from the heart and artistically displayed from ceiling to floor. There were also listening stations where you could put on earphones and listen to music created specifically for this project. I felt like I had entered a different world, a world that was honest and hopeful and full of wonder. I wanted to live there! Or at least close the doors and keep it to myself for a few hours, to lay on the floor and gaze at the walls…humming to the music and writing my own stories. The images I’ve posted here don’t do justice to the experience, you really need to go and experience it yourself. Although it’s a large enough space to accomodate several people I recommend giving yourself the gift of time alone there! I’m already looking at my calendar, planning how many times I can re-visit the installation in the next two months and wondering how different each visit will be. I left today feeling introspective, invigorated and happy. Very, very happy!
I don’t tend to get up on a soapbox but sometimes I just feel like people aren’t getting the information they need. So, prepare yourself – here it comes!
Supporting the arts means BUYING art.
Seems like a simple concept! Supporting local businesses means shopping there. Supporting local eateries? You go to dinner there. Want to continue having local theater and musical venues? Buy tickets and attend a performance. Same goes for art!
Yes, it’s great to have big crowds at openings, art fairs and shows. But just attending these with your friends as a social activity doesn’t help the artists! No, you don’t have to buy something at every event you attend but if you want to continue attending and enjoying these things you do need to invest in them occasionally! It’s going to be hard to brag about what great art events you have in your community when they disappear.
Let me guess? You can’t “afford” original art. Phooey! I’ve seen lovely works of art for less than $50. Yes, they might be small pieces for your wall, or from an artist you don’t “know” yet. But if they make you happy, buy them! Art is to be enjoyed and cherished, regardless of the source. There are so many types of art that you can buy – pottery, glass, sculpture, paintings, fiber art, jewelry, photography, even prints and notecards – that don’t require a second mortgage on your home. Want a larger, more expensive piece? Save for it, just as you would for any other major purchase! This puts into perspective:
I also love this quote from a fellow artist, who is the owner of a local gallery:
“Art is for all classes, not just the wealthy. In order for an artist to survive and continue to create, sales are needed to pay for studio space, supplies and marketing that is necessary to even think about moving beyond local and regional following. The great thing about buying works from an emerging artist is that you have invested in their future as well as owning a work at a more affordable price point. The value of art is developed by those who begin buying artists work early in their career.” – Jerry Points
I believe there are also myths about artists, stereotypes, that perhaps keep people from buying art. Like the concept that creating art isn’t a “real” job. Believe me, it is. It’s a small business, usually with a single owner doing all the work – from cleaning up spilled paint to delivering art to customers, galleries and exhibit venues, filling out applications for shows or grants, doing promotions and marketing, setting up tents/displays outdoors (no matter how hot, cold, rainy or windy it might be), keeping up with the latest trends and technology, updating websites and knowing where our inventory is located, volunteering and participating in local art groups, to keeping up with bookkeeping duties and filing our taxes and, somehow, among all the “business” then finding the time and mindset to create their art. Yes, we do it because we love it and sometimes we even doing it “playfully” but it IS work! I love this pie chart, although it’s labeled specifically for photographers, it applies to all artists.
SO, I’m sure you know by now what the “Action Required!” is that I’m asking.
Buy some art!
Buy some art during a gallery walk, at a local gallery, a display at the local coffee shop, at a one-day-only pop-up gallery, from the website or Etsy shop of your favorite artist, from you neighbor that works in clay or the guy down the road that builds metal sculptures from used parts. It doesn’t matter how or where but it DOES matter that you do your part to keep the artists in your community thriving.
When you do make that art purchase, remember that the most important criteria is to buy art that brings you joy! Will it make your day better each time you see it? Art doesn’t have to match your couch, nor does it have to please your Great Aunt Margaret’s taste! Surround yourself with art that you love. You’ll know it when you see it, and when you do see it – buy it! Get lost in it. Be inspired by it! Place it where you can enjoy it each and every day. Spread the joy around, send artist-made cards to your friends. Give the gift of art, or of art lessons (many artists teach too!).
Art does nourish your soul. Indulge and delight in it!
One of my favorite memories from childhood is the inexpensive cardboard kaleidoscope that used to arrive in my stocking at Christmas, or that I could save my pennies and nickels for and buy at the local dime store (yes, I am that old!).
I’d not really thought about them for several years until I discovered a digital program that would create kaleidoscopic art. Even more sophisticated and detailed than the beads rolling in the bottom of a tube, I have created more of them than I’d care to count. Yet it just wasn’t quite the same! To my surprise as I browsed the toy aisles, the kaleidoscopes that used to be so readily available are much harder to come by these days!
Finally, on a short vacation to visit friends in Florida last March, I discovered one in a gift shop full of fun ticky-tacky souvenirs that I’ve seen in those shops since I was a kid. An appropriate fate for something so old-fashion and low tech I suppose. I was ever-so excited to find them, although they weren’t exactly as I remembered.
These had large, clear, dome-like lenses on the end of the cardboard tube and you didn’t rotate the piece on the end to change your design, you rolled the entire tube around. But it somewhat satisfied my quest and I happily paid an outrageous price to bring one home with me. It immediately took up residence in my art studio.
Although different than I remembered it’s fun to look through because, as you are viewing the patterns it creates, the background you’ve pointed it at is part of the design. It was especially fun during the summer as flowers bloomed and into fall as the leaves changed. I’m waiting for a nice blanket of snow to see how brilliant the design will be on an all-white background!
I continued to cruise toy aisles and other spots where I thought I might discover a kaleidoscope but didn’t have any further sightings until a trip up to Michigan late this summer. Again, in another tourist gift shop, I spied them. LOTS of them! In different sizes and shapes. Kaleidoscope nirvana!! I passed over the odd design I already had at home and looked through each and every different color, size and design they had. This time I bought TWO! One, pretty much exactly as I remembered from childhood, followed by a shorter version that had a sort of “stained glass” effect on the end cover instead of the traditional semi-opaque white film covering.
They have taken up residence with the first one in the studio. I play with them occasionally, share them with young visitors, grandkids and anyone else that seems remotely interested. When I purchased the first of the three I had tried to take photos through it using my point & shoot camera. The attempt was less than successful. 😦 I don’t recall if I tried to use the phone I had at the time but inspiration hit last week that, since I’d recently upgraded, perhaps my newest smart phone would work. I won’t say it was the easiest task, and the percentage of useable images was probably right around 50% BUT, when it did work – Wow!
Holding both the kaleidoscope and the phone in my left hand (and trying to keep them lined up in the proper position) while trying to turn the tubes and push the image capture button with the other hand was a feat in itself. I tried it standing, sitting, laying, propped up and a few poses in between that I can’t even describe! But I really didn’t mind the contorting, once I’m in the “photo zone” I rarely pay attention to much else but the images I’m creating.
After my photo-making craving had been satisfied I began to weed through all the images, deleting the ones that didn’t turn out well, along with several duplicates. Since they were already in my phone I decided that I’d do some digital enhancements to my favorites before I uploaded them. In addition to the eight that I’m sharing with you today I have another eight that I’ll share in the near future.
I hope that you have enjoyed the images, my story and perhaps a few memories of your own as you read this! I’d love to hear about them, regardless if they are about a kaleidoscope or some other favorite childhood memory – be sure to leave me a comment. 🙂
Until the next time just picture me browsing the “retro” toys, on the lookout for the next piece to add to my collection!