Friday, October 31, 2014

Sugar Skull Scalawags

I actually created these sugar skull characters last year but I thought they might be too weird to post. However, since it's Halloween and, in the interest of embracing the strange side of myself and my art, I dug their container out of the pantry yesterday and aimed my camera in their direction. The skulls themselves are made of molded and hardened white sugar so I'm not sure how long they'll actually last. They've made it a year intact and free of far so good. I have stored them in an airtight container nestled amid those little packages of silica gel (you know the ones stamped "Do Not Eat"?) that come with a new pair of shoes or anything other product that needs to remain dry within its packaging before it gets into the hands of the consumer. I save every one of those packets I come across and toss them in with the skulls to keep my skeletal friends nice and moisture-free. By their smiles, it seems that all is well. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Finding My Authentic Mojo

As I've mentioned, I'm working my way through Tracy Verdugo's e-course "Paint Mojo." We're on the final week of this wonderful six-week course. Much of the content is centered around finding your own voice and connecting with the inspiration all around us to spark fresh, new works of art.

One component of this class is a week-by-week painting project. It is always difficult to learn from an artist with a very specific working style and NOT end up with something that looks like a mimic of that artist's work. Keeping this in mind, I followed Tracy's process up to a point. As the weeks progressed, I drifted more and more away from Tracy's instructions and back towards my own way of painting. Last week, our canvases had reached the point where we were beginning to look for something in the painting that was calling out to us to be brought forth. Students were finding soaring birds, elegant elephants, intriguing underwater scenes, ethereal other words, lots of pretty things.

I tried to find something pretty, something "normal". I really did.

Instead, I found this fellow. He roared so loudly that I had no choice but to bring him to life. It is very important to note that although I am ceaselessly drawing them in my sketchbooks, I never, ever paint my creepy critters and characters onto canvas. Stretched canvas is so expensive that I reserve that substrate for my show work. (No, I am not able to stretch my own.) In addition, I've never considered my creature doodles as anything marketable so when I create work to sell, I stick with themes that are proven sellers. I love bird and animal imagery anyway so in the past, this tactic has worked for me. However, when this creature emerged from the paint, I experienced an amazing (and very scary!) change of mind.

I think it is time to take a risk and put together an entire show featuring my private passion front and center. Yikes! There is a good chance that this is a fool's errand. Let's face it: monsters aren't as living room compatible as pretty birds and elephants. This is really a matter of authenticity. I love creating creatures. As crazy as it sounds, they whisper things to me as they come to life. They tell me to play, to smile, to laugh, to be bold, to be content with who I am, awkward bits and all. I think it is time for my creatures to speak their truths to a wider audience.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

In Between Brush Strokes I Might Blog

Well, as per usual, frenzied prep for an art show landed in the midst of my newly-minted weekly schedule and my comforting, organized routine blew up in my face. I hadn't painted all summer due to my foot surgery so I was scrambling at the end of September to try and complete a few new pieces to hang. Then, just as I got the work, new and old, up on the wall, I booked another show for November and December. (Back to the easel I go!) In addition, I'm working through Tracy Verdugo's Paint Mojo e-course, an incredible, in-depth painting adventure that has captured my remaining spare moments after teaching and physical therapy are done for the week. (I won a spot in this class after Tracy offered a giveaway on her blog - so lucky!) Somewhere in there, I also had the first of two annual home inspections which always hit this time of year.

So ends my explanation for falling off the grid here at Lost Coast Post. Longtime readers will know I do this from time to time; if you're new to my blog...welcome! Be forewarned: with limited time and energy, blogging often falls to the bottom of the to-do list, especially when I'm caught up in painting. It occupies my heart, mind, and attention like no other activity in the studio. Even when I'm struggling, it is an extremely meditative process. I forget to clean the house, make meals, to say nothing of blogging. I guess it makes me a bad blogger but I think I am an infinitely better person and artist when I follow my Muse whenever, wherever, and however She appears. After eight years, I keep returning to this space despite my many distractions and challenges. As always, I appreciate my readers' tolerance of my inconsistent publishing habits so I can indulge my artistic fancies. I'll try to get back to my twice-a-week posting schedule but right now, art is constantly calling me away from the online world. I need to answer that call while I can.

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