I have a confession. Ever since moving into my new studio, I have been creatively challenged. Perhaps its because I finished a major sereies of work that took me a year to complete. Maybe its the blinding sunlight in the afternoon that changes the way I see color now. Perhaps its just overall distraction as I settle into my new environment. I don't know.
But I do have a strategy for dealing with this lack of inspiration.
Work in another media.
I have a new "sketchbook" that I'm having fun with. I'm spraying water-soluable inks through stencils and then adding water with a brush. On the left page, you can see he spray pattern and on the right, you can see what happens when you add some water.
It's fun, brainless, and poduces some surprising results. Maybe inspiration will come if I continue this process over the next week. I'll keep you posted!
I've been studying watercolor painting for the past year and have purchased at least 8 different palettes to try to come up with something that works no matter what instructor I'm learning from. Each instructor has their "favorites" and specific paints they require for their classes and NONE of them is the same!
Paints are expensive and palettes are limiting. And once you squeeze the paint into your palette, you really can't remove it.
So one day, I saw these small plastic rectangles in my art store and thought "perfect!" I'll just squeeze my paints into one of these and move them around within my palette. That way I can mix and match colors to my class or needs. But I couldn't find a commercial palette that would fit these small boxes.
I love shopping at my local art store since most of the people there are artists and have come up with innovative and inexpensive solutions to solve problems that commercial companies have yet to figure out!
The woman in the watercolor department said "I have the perfect solution!. Buy this student watercolor set (metal) and buy these thin small but powerful magnets. Attach the magnets to the bottom of the plastic rectangles with super glue and fill the pans with paint. Then put them into your metal water color set and you are ready to go!"
I wrote the name of the color with a Sharpie so I know which color I'm using. You can see my first one, I wrote it upsidedown! Don't do that! Also, I have two pans labeled as "rose" but one is "permanent rose" and one is "opera rose" so make sure you can differentiate each color.
Now, I can mix up a palette for every class and situation. YES!
Every February, my friend Judith Cassel-Mamet and I co-teach a 3 day art retreat. We strongly believe that every participant needs to take home a finished piece of beautiful mixed media art as well as a reference notebook full of information that can help them become better artists. It's always a challenge to design a retreat that doesn't depend upon using sewing machines because we want our participants to come without having to lug heavy equipment or buy any supplies.
For our 2017 retreat, Judith and I are working with a new material that neither one of us have used before but functions like paper AND fabric. This satisfies both of us since I can add stitch and Judith can add paint!
Here is a glimpse on the piece I'm working on now. So far, I have sewn some decorative lines using my machine, sprayed some acrylic inks, stamped with archival ink, stenciled with metallic acrylics, enhanced with water color pencils, and just painted over the surface with more watercolor.
I love how this layering process results in amazing textures and patterns. Now, I shall start adding hand stitching.
Sigh. I'm in a happy place!
I have always been a creative person. Mostly, that expressed itself by breaking rules and many times, that got me in trouble. But many times, it led me to thinking about new ways of doing things and being viewed as "unique".
This weekend, I drove to Salida, CO where my nephew, Scott Bouldin, opened his new venture -- HUBBUB Brewery. More than 1,000 people came to sample his 8 beers and hang out to listen to wonderful music.
The next morning, he took me on a behind the scenes tour of how he creates his unique beer.
What an education! So many times, we think creating something unique is easy. Just "do it" as Nike says. But as artists, we know thats really not the case. Creating something unique takes years of practice, understanding and learning new and old techniques, trying something new without worrying about the outcome, and just going where no one has gone before.
I salute my nephew for his courage and hard work in creating a brewery unlike any other. I am inspired by him and see that creativity happens in all industries and we, as fine artists, can take these ideas and incorporate them in our own work.
I'd like another glass of Fresco Y Seco, please!
I never believed in a creative Muse that would sit on your shoulder and help you create. I always thought if I concentrated enough, something would pop out of my head and on to my sketchbook or into my hands as I just worked at making art.
If you talk to enough artists, you know you are not alone when you confess to being in a black hole. Often this happens after you finish a major series of work or close down your solo exhibit at a gallery. There is a let down and a wondering "what's next"? This is where I am right now.
This week, I had the chance to visit fiber and mixed media artist Susan Dillon's studio at GRACe. Her studio was a delightful, energetic and chaotic place and new work was simply outstanding. Susan is not one to just do one thing — she explores all her creative ideas at once. (This is not an easy thing to do!). She works on several completely different series but manages to keep exploring each one to it's fullest.
I have known Susan ever since I moved into RiNo. She and her husband had a retail location on Larimer street where Susan created amazing hats and accessories and her husband worked as a professional photographer.
Eventually, they morphed and Susan is now back in her roots as a fiber artist and manages the newest building for creatives called GRACe in the RiNo district of Denver.
Besides introducing you to an amazing artist, I also wanted to confess that I was very jealous of where she is right now. I could just see all the ideas she is working on and just how exciting and unique they are. If I don't get out of my funk soon, I'm going to ask her if I could just sit quietly in her studio and watch her work. Perhaps SHE is the muse I need sitting on my shoulder!
I am so blessed to have a beautiful studio in the Dry Ice Factory. I love creating in the RiNo Art District so am happy I didn't have to leave my artistic home for the last 7 years.
Amazingly, everything I had in my gallery fit into a much smaller space, Thanks to my friend Bruce who re-built all my storage shelving and put together some new metal shelving to serve as a storage space for my art, I even have room to store MORE art!
This is the view from my sewing machine table. I like to keep the door open so I can meet new people. But I'm tucked into a corner so things are pretty quiet.
You can barely see the large windows on the left that bring so much beautiful light into my studio. So much light, in fact, that I had to hang some curtains so block the afternoon sun. (you know that sun and fabrics don't get along!)
But it makes me happy to open my studio door every day and the atmosphere inspires me to create! If you find yourself in Denver, come visit!!!
The older I get, the more I look like my sister but I wish I had her silver hair! Our father had it and so did his sister but somehow, this gene was not passed on to me. We are 2 years apart and she has been the best friend I've ever had over the years. I have looked up to her all my life and continue to be amazed at her good works. As a nurse, she has achieved the highest level of professionalism as a graduate of Duke, nurse practitioner, Dean of a nursing school and on the hospital board. She has spent her life helping others achieve health and wellness and now, she travels to third world countries saving babies and teaches other nurses how to save lives. Marilyn is my personal hero.
So I was so touched when she drove 3 hours from her home to come to my last exhibit at aBuzz Gallery last night. And I am also grateful for all my friends who came to give me a hug and wish me well in my next adventure. This is the community that gives me the courage to continue on my artistic mission.
I spent the day moving the tables and furniture into my new studio and as I looked at the empty space, I felt a sadness of loosing something but as I spent some time in my new studio (trying to arrange everything so I could find stuff) I felt the excitement of starting new path in my artistic life.
I'm sure I heard this phrase before (probably a Broadway song!) but for every ending there is a new beginning and that's how I'm feeling today!
My last exhibit at aBuzz Gallery will be on October 29th from 5-8pm. It will only be up for one day since I am heading out to Des Moines, IA to lecture and teach this week and aBuzz Gallery will be closing at the end of the month. I hung the show today and love how it looks.
These are very large pieces (too large to qualify for most art shows!) so I don't know if I will be able to get them out in public very often.
This exhibition will showcase five pieces — each representing a decade of my life, from the 1950's through the 1990's.
If you live in the Denver area, I'd love to see you this Saturday night — celebrating my current series of work and celebrating the 3-1/2 years of the existence of aBuzz Gallery!
I will be moving into a studio at the Dry Ice Factory so I will be continuing my work as a fiber artist. I have already booked a solo show at Niza Knoll's gallery for 2018 so I'm not going away! But now, my challenge will be to create a whole new body of work for that show. It's an exciting future to contemplate!
When I first moved to Colorado, my husband and I visited many pueblos and we collected pots made by the various Indian tribes. We enjoyed meeting the artists and talking about their life and their craft.
But the thing we also loved was seeing the architecture of the villages we visited. As as New Yorker, I was shocked to see that apartment living as not invented in Manhattan!
During a recent visit to Taos, NM, I had a chance to go to the Taos Pueblo. This Pueblo was one of the most beautiful I have ever visited. It is the oldest continuously inhabited place in the Americas. Wow. I brought home some dirt in a small bottle to continue to connect me to this very spiritual place. It will reside in my studio to remind me of the muted browns (dirt), tans (buildings), reds (dried peppers) and blues (paint and sky) of this environment. This palette will probably appear in my future work.
One of the joys of traveling is to see and collect different color palates. It's amazing how they change from place to place. Next time you travel to a distant place, bring along your set of watercolors and make a palette of that place for future reference and to remind you of your visit. Wouldn't it be fun to have a page in your journal just consisting of color palettes for each month of your year? Hmmmm. I think I'll do just that in 2017!
Color + Pattern: Mixed Media Adventures!
Feb 17, 18, 19 2017
Table Mountain Inn, Golden CO
$475 plus $40 material fee (covers all materials)
We loved the location and the amazing energy of our students last year, so we are planning another art retreat to bring color to our Colorado February!
This workshop will offer a different approach to the study of color as the primary language of both fiber and mixed media artists. Pattern will also be explored during the 3 days together since it is a critical component of texture and delicious layers.
For more information and to register, click here!