What often vexes me is that painting is like having a bad mistress...Read More
Lately, I have seen so many beautiful sunsets. I have risked my life trying to get my iPhone out to take a picture of them while driving in the car. (Do not tell my husband, he does not want to know that!) My kids make fun of how I babble about all the oranges, salmons, pinks, purples and blues. My youngest even took a stealth video of me going on and on about the sky one evening. Have you ever seen the double rainbow video on YouTube? It was almost like that.
One of my favorite artist, 18th century Spanish painter Louise Melendez, combined his still-lifes with dramatic backgrounds. He would often throw in a sunset or pretentious landscape behind his melons and the effect was stunning. I thought I would try the same with my little still life painting today.
Pomegranates are not only beautiful but symbolic. They symbolize fertility and abundance because of their multitude of hidden seeds. Jews eat their 613 seeds on Rosh Hashanah, Muslims place them in the Garden of Paradise, Persephone was tricked into eating pomegranate seeds and had to stay in the underworld with Hades, Turkish people crack them on NewYears's and according to Wikipedia the pomegranate is the symbol of Armenia. (Really, why are people not painting more pomegranates?)
This week I spent a little time exploring a new creative process that turned out to be a blast. I want to share it with you because whether you make art or not, we all have the choice to look at the world around us and see what peaks our interest and create a life that's beautiful.
This process was taught by Tracy Verdugo on Tamara LaPorte's "LifeBook 2016," an online course I have been taking for the past two years. As an artist I am often asked where do I get my inspiration. Usually, I respond with "I don't know" or the equally vague "life, I guess." But really, inspiration is everywhere - you just have to be willing to pay attention to the details.
In this process, Tracy teaches students to make inspiration bundles as a creative prompt. The task was to go through 6 or 7 books or papers you have collected and tear out a random image (don't over think it) so that you have a stack of about 7 to 12 pieces of paper. Taking each piece of paper one at a time see what appeals to you and incorporate that into your piece. Below is my finished painting that, in the end, I was very happy with. BUT - like everything in life - there was a catch...
"Little Details" 9 x 12" mixed media
This is my first image and it is not hard to see where the figure is represented. What WAS hard and what you do not see is that underneath all the layers there was a beautiful, painstakingly painted re-creation of this woman in black and white. Then I came to my next image and had to decide what to lose and what to keep. What to paint over and what to incorporate.
In the end it turned out to be a much more interesting painting because of what was kept and lost. That is how I see life. We can try as hard as we can to be something we think we "should" be, to hang on tight to those images and stories we want to tell about ourselves. However, the real beauty is in the details. What we observe, discard and layer. That is how we take our world and create a life that is authentic and worth living.
Each image below is represented in the finished product. Can you spot the inspirational details?
Right now I am feeling thankful that I have this time to work in my studio and get connected back to my spirit and my art.
My usual M.O. Would be to rush into some crazy job or volunteer opportunity to create self worth. But instead of panicking, I am going to trust that my highest hope for myself and God's will for me are in alignment. My path (career or otherwise) is unfolding and I need to trust not panic.
Yesterday, I sat with my thoughts and called in the muse. Above is a picture of her surrounded by symbols of where I am and want to go creatively. She is colorful and bold - just what I hoped to call in.
"Sing in me O Muse, and through me tell the story." -a rough translation of Homer's invocation to the Muse.
What are you thankful for today? Are you going to trust your spirit or panic?