// >//]]>
...feed your soul with art & creativity!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Participate in Abandoning

For about five years, there has been a grass roots movement for artists to abandon their artworks.  I have written about it before when I first began doing it as a form of guerrilla art back in 2011.  I continued to abandon artworks when I moved from my lovely art studio in Ohio to Central Florida. In the past 4 years I had sort of let my abandonment of artworks languish for the most part.

It more formally became a movement when Michael deMeng began a FaceBook group (of which I am one of over 36,000 members of artists).  Artists post pictures of the art they have made for abandonment as well as pictures of where they abandoned it.  I even have found several pieces of abandoned art myself over the years from other artists who are anonymous.

This past summer when I was teaching art camp, one of the projects my campers did during the week was to make artist trading cards and leave them to be found by others.  The lovely thing about this was that we had permission from the Orlando Museum of Art to leave the tiny artworks around the hallways and other spaces at the museum.  Some of the students were so excited to see someone pick up their abandoned pieces of artwork.  Others were loathe to leave their artwork behind.

For me, abandoning art is a very freeing process.  It enables me to do many things 1)practice non-attachment 2)see someone enjoy receiving a piece of free artwork and 3) destash some smaller pieces of art and jewelry that are ready for a new home.  I get no monetary reward from leaving these artworks and my art is not signed so no one other than myself and anyone with me when I abandon the art would even know it was mine except for any photographs I might take of the item.

Other than the summer camp abandonment, I haven't done any art abandonment for about 4 years, but I have been missing that joyful sense of release and the fun of surprise knowing that someone is going to find and either keep or share my artwork. I love the idea of an anonymous happy surprise. There is so much "not happy" surprise going on in the world today that I think we need this little random acts of kindness to jolt us back to knowing that we are here for more than just the hum-drum, ho-hum slog through life.

In fact, I think right now I'm going to go make a couple of pieces of art and prepare them to abandon. I'll slip them into my purse and when I find a place that feels like the right place, I'll find a hidey hole to leave them for someone.

May we all share our talents, find happy surprises, and release our attachments.

(c) 2017 SZing, Bohemian Art Cafe. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs courtesy Bohemian Art Cafe, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Creativity is Exploration

This year I decided to try out Tamara LaPorte's LifeBook 2017!  Although I know how to do many of the techniques and things that are taught, my personal choice and reasoning is because I want to do more exploration in my art.  I also thought that it might be a bit of an impetus for me to get back to doing art every day like I used to do. 2016 was not exactly what I would call the "Year of the Artist" for me although I did accomplish the creation of several beautiful pieces of artwork that went to very happy homes--which makes me happy and thrilled to know I am fulfilling my purpose by imparting beauty to others.

Anywhoo--the lessons in LifeBook are well organized and thought out (after her many years of doing this I would say that Tam has it down to a science!). The price is not outrageous for an entire year of classes and I love that the videos are downloadable so I can watch them whenever I want--like last night at 12:30 a.m. when my sweetie was asleep and I couldn't sleep.

I enjoy seeing the materials that other artists are using and I have vowed to try a couple of new ones (for me) out this year.  For those that know me, you know I have an ABUNDANCE of art supplies and in 2016 I tried very hard not to purchase any new ones since I had so many already--and for the most part, I did not buy anything new supply wise, although I replaced a few worn out items that I use regularly.

The art medium that I am exploring this next couple of weeks (and will probably use throughout the year) are liquid watercolors.  I have used them in several classes but I do not own any except for three small bottles which are mostly used up now. As I do love watercolor painting anyway and making washes--this seems like almost a "cheat" to me, but I absolutely adore how vibrant the hues are and the deep saturation of color that is possible with liquid watercolor.

I have not decided which set to get yet.  There are several to choose from including Ecoline and Dr. Ph. Martin's on the higher end, and Sargent and Color Splash which are more geared toward the student than the artist (my guess would be they are less pigment than the higher end ones although for the money you get quite a bit more product than the higher end options.)  I believe Ecoline is a British product but can be purchased on Amazon in sets--what I wish is that they said which colors come in that set--they have all these amazing color swatches but don't say on the product itself what colors are included in the grouping. I may purchase Dr. Ph. Martin's at a local art supply shop to give them a try.  So I am excited to give these new art supplies a whirl and see how they up my art.

I was going to try to do a price and quality comparison but as you can see from the photographs, it really wouldn't be a possibility of comparing apples to apples as some of the bottles are larger than others and some sets have more in a set among other variables.  I guess as an artist, the rule of thumb would be "buy the best quality you have the means to purchase."  The other option is to buy one of each brand and see how you like each one after a test run or two and then purchase whichever brand you actually prefer.   I am interested in the Ecoline mainly because it has a nice wide neck for getting to the paint and the Dr. Martin's feels a little smallish in size for the money.  Dick Blick by the way, also has their own line of liquid watercolors and I am sure there are many other possible options. These were the ones that I found most easily.

With that said, I'm off to go work on my LifeBook.  I'm already two weeks behind and it's only three weeks into the program!

(c) 2017 SZing, Bohemian Art Cafe. All Rights Reserved. Photographs from Tamara LaPorte's LifeBook 2017 and from product photographs.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Not All Artists are Masters

In the Star Wars movies, Luke Skywalker trained to become a Jedi Master.  He left his training before he was "graduated" and never got to finish working with Master Yoda. He was full of himself and thought surely he knew the best way to go about his life.  In the end, he became a Jedi Master anyway, but it was not without difficulties that would have been avoided had he stayed to complete the work in the first place.

The Jedi were not a large group compared to the billions of people alive in different star systems. Most were trained from a very early age.  Many were not chosen to become Jedi.

Masters of Art is somewhat like this.  There are comparatively few Masters in the world of art than there are or have ever been artists. Of those that are Masters, few of them are actually acknowledged and recognized as a Master during their own lifetime--da Vinci, Michelangelo, Picasso perhaps, maybe Warhol, Matisse, Dali...but even this is not a certainty.

Artists should continue their training throughout their lifetimes. We never know when our artwork will catch the eye of the "right" critic, the right gallery, the right buyer. We just must continually improve our skills, hone our craft.

The general population and art critics of the time did not appreciate nor agree that many of those we consider Masters were in fact Masters. It seems that at least in modern times, you must be deceased to have value and to be considered a Master.  There are a few possible exceptions who are living, but much of their current status is a result of some very clever marketing and placement.  Time will tell if their artworks will live beyond them or garner the respect of a Master.

What does this mean for those of us who are not Masters?  It means we must continue to practice, to learn, to study, to do the art that is ours to do.  In reality, worrying about being a Master is not why most artists do art. We do art, we create because we can't not do art or create.  We are driven by some inner sense of urgency to put brush to paint, ink to paper, to sketch, draw, and express.  Most of us will not be acknowledged by the world as Masters and many of us will live and die in obscurity with our artwork never being in a show, never being in a museum, never being noticed by an art critic other than our self.  Perhaps, if we are lucky, our family and friends will value our artwork and treasure it, creating heirlooms. And who knows if some day it may not be discovered and considered a Masterwork.

But this does not matter.  Not all artists are masters. But all artists are artists.

(c) 2017, SZing, Bohemian Art Cafe. All Rights Reserved. Photographs courtesy of Bohemian Art Cafe and Pixabay's public domain images.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Never Give Up

As an entrepreneurial spirit, I have always had a drive to work independently and creatively.  Has everything I've tried worked out? Not by a long shot. And there have been several distinct time periods in my life where the crushing blows of failures kept me in a creatively dormant state for long periods of time.  Although there was no particularly difficult or crushing blow in 2016, my creativity was definitely one the wane.  I allowed it to be fallow and dormant.  I got distracted by other things.

Part of this perhaps stems from moving to a new home where my art studio is not insulated. Since Florida stays warm most of the year, the ambient outdoor temperature for example today on January 2 is hovering around 68 and is expected to get to the mid 70s.  This means that my studio will be in the mid 80s.  When the outdoor temperature in the summer was around 90, my studio temperature was in the 110 range. It is very difficult for me to get excited about working in a space that is that warm and knowing I'm going to sweat all over my artwork.

It also can stem from the fact that I have a lot of stuff in my art space--some of it unrelated to art. I need to clean it up, organize better and make room for what I really love to do.  I need to purge the supplies I do not use, need or want anymore.

But I'm not now and never have been a quitter. I may have had to rejuvenate. I may have had to reinvent. I may have had to alter course or change the way I was doing things. I may have had to start completely over. But I never quit. I never give up.

In the past few months or so, my creativity has been tugging at me--I've been drawn to painting again, to doing glass work, to creating more jewelry designs, and to working in my visual art journal.  I was creatively fed in 2016 by teaching art classes, working sporadically in my visual art journals, and doing several custom mosaic pieces for customers. I was creatively fed by practicing medieval illuminations with the Society for Creative Anachronisms.

At one time, I was driven by an interest in getting my work into big galleries, into art magazines, and being known as an artist on a larger scale. Although I certainly would welcome all of these, they no longer are my driving force for doing artwork. Now I want to spend time intimately with each piece that I do. I don't care if it takes me three days or three months to complete a painting so long as I truly know it is finished. I don't have to make dozens of pairs of earrings but I want whatever earrings I do make to be something I would either want to wear or be thrilled to give to a friend.

I am not formally trained as an artist and am mostly self taught. I do not know the "right" art people, I do not live in an especially arty location, and I certainly am a long way from any of the major art cities of the USA or World. I cannot give up my love of creative art just because I'm not going to be a world class artist. I cannot give up my love of creating even though I have no need for more artwork in my home.

My goal for January is to 1) clean up my art studio and research some ways I might be able to insulate it better; 2) work on more medieval arts/illuminations 3)begin a new painting or finish an old one and 4)work on revitalizing my website which I have taken to bare bones over the past 6 months because I was fed up with the web hosting system I was on.  I'm never going to give up on my creativity. I need it too much as it is one of the ways that I get into the "zone."  I love that sense of timelessness. I love connecting with that lightness of being and my truly creative self. I had forgotten my artful self this past year, but I am ready to reawaken.

In what ways have you given up on your artful self that you can rejuvenate, reinvent or reawaken your creativity?

(c) 2017, SZing, Bohemian Art Cafe. All Rights Reserved. Photographs courtesy of Pixabay public domain images.