I took a photography class years ago for several reasons – to learn lightroom, understand my camera better and to see if I really enjoyed photography. It was a huge success and along the way I also discovered I have a unique perspective on the world. Biweekly we were given prompts to challenge ourselves and give us a specific reason to pull out our cameras and shoot. This specific prompt was “chair”. Now I could have done what everyone else in the class seemed to do which was assemble a still life around a dining room chair. The photos were just lovely, some included flowers, others scarves, the lighting was gorgeous but this just wasn’t me. I took a couple days pondering the word chair and remembered that I had a little silver chair for holding place cards. So I gathered a small little box full of things and out to the garden I went. I knew the silver chair would look out of place in the flowers and I was totally right. Add the little porcelain doll, a monopoly hat and the stage set was perfect. Not only did this speak volumes to my inner muse but I was so thrilled with how different it was I couldn’t wait to share. It prompted many comments and inspired others to dig a little deeper into their work. Who knew I was a photographer in the making? Just another way to let my creative side shine.
What would you do for the prompt of “chair”?
For years I have been wanting to self publish. I researched for places to go and wanted everyone to have a chance to get the book so I chose an online publisher I was impressed with. Their quality, easy to use format and great sales page made it a no brainer for the go ahead. To create my own book/video course all in one was a feat I was willing to tackle head on. This would mean hunting, gathering and finding props that inspire me. Arranging and photographing the props so I can create from them. Videotaping me creating and talking through each surface and colored pencil piece. Writing instructions and doing the drawings of every project. Then taking glamour shots of the finished projects so you can see them beautifully displayed. It was no small undertaking and the thought of actually filling at least 60 pages seemed quite daunting. But it was such a dream of mine, to combine a book with a video course all in one that I just pushed through it. I made a schedule, checked it off and when finished with one task moved on to the next. Before I knew it the book pieces were created and filling my studio space with the nostalgia of my childhood, Vintage Wishes was born. I still get excited seeing the book in print and even the preview will send me into giddy smiles of satisfaction see it here. It was truly a labor of love and a push into what I consider my future. I loved creating the combination and have several planned for 2018. So, what have you been dreaming of? Create the steps and make it happen, you can do this!
This is the result of my 70 Days Art Challenge inspired by Vincent Van Gogh. Not only was it a way to create for 70 straight days but I gave myself the added challenge of working in watercolor with a few exceptions. It gave me time to play and practice with my new Daniel Smith watercolors on a daily basis which helped me work through a couple of things. First, I like working in watercolors over a gessoed surface because of the pooling of color that happens and the softness of layers. Second, it let me experiment with color combinations to see if I liked them together. By limiting my time to create, 10-15 minutes per piece, it also allowed me to just get it done instead of planning and thinking too much. I cannot believe that these 70 pieces are the result of a one word prompt per day. How I interpreted the prompt was not what everyone did and that was one of the beautiful things that happened when we shared our daily art. We got to see the same word thought out in 100+ variations, mediums and style – it was just so much fun! If you would like to try your hand, here is the link to the self paced version, along with the 21 technique videos included. Go ahead, take the challenge, you might even surprise yourself in doing it!
Do you think outside the box? If so, how far do you go?
Years ago the Society of Decorative Painters asked a group of artists to design around a theme of “flowers” and each of us were sent this wood piece to work on. The first thing I knew for sure was that there would be flowers of every shape and size represented and beautifully painted. The second thing I knew was I would not be doing a flower. It was that instant. A challenge had presented itself, how can I do a “flower” piece without painting a bloom. So I thought about gardens, wallpaper, magazines – could I make these work? Then I wrote down things I could include seed packets, water, seed pods, bees, butterflies, dirt, a greenhouse etc. As I sat there writing these lists, a wonderful idea popped up, a “flower” before, during and after. I started gathering all the things I wanted to include and laid them out on the board, the one thing missing was a connector to bridge the two sides and that’s where I came up with the paint strip. Even potting sheds need to be painted from time to time so it was perfect.
As I sat painting this piece, I wondered how many others would think outside the box and go against the norm. Out of 20 artists, I was the only one without a flower on my piece yet “flower” was so well represented it fit in perfectly. So, challenge yourself to think outside the box, you just never know what creative vision you might come up with. It’s nice to stand out, have a different voice, a unique sense of design. It’s great to be YOU!
Orange is showing up a lot for me the last couple of months and I like to think that it is due to the excitement of what is coming in 2018. It represents creative energy and frankly I love the color! It decorates my studio with its enthusiastic character and just makes me smile. As I researched it online, this is what was said about orange – Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation. A lot of encouraging words for sure and I truly believe orange is showing up to keep me fascinated with the new year and what it holds for me. This past year has been about taking time off of work and just moving deep inside to discover what I really want, need and to explore what offerings will move me in the direction I want my business to go. I want to paint! I want to help other creatives find what moves them! I want to be present, extremely present to what my artistic heart and soul are discovering every single day! This is what orange looks like to me, a place to find myself and the courage to head in the direction of what’s next. What color speaks to you? I would love to know…
I started “Meet Me Monday” on Instagram to tell a little bit about myself each week. It is really fun figuring out what to share and reveal and how the photo can say it first as well. This little gazing ball hangs in my moms background. It is full of wonderful shadows, sparkles of light and her latticework shows up beautifully within its reflections. But let me ask you, would you have seen it? This little ball is only 2″ in diameter, hanging slightly above your head. Would it have stopped you and make you take a closer look? For me, this little gazing ball speaks volumes about my curious nature. I love to learn, challenge myself any way possible, and am an over achiever most days. I just don’t look at things. I see them, study and research them until I have a better understanding of what I am looking at. I like to take photos of stages (bud, bud opening, bloom, full bloom, seed pod). It gives me a full definition of what I am seeing and helps me create art around it better and with the details I am in love with. Curiosity is part of who I am, it is my favorite thing about me because it has kept me engaged in the ordinary, the everyday, the discovery of beauty everywhere.
How does your curiosity show up?
When I was creating my colored pencil book/video course Vintage Wishes, I wanted to showcase the Cast of Characters I used throughout the book. This group was my inspiration, my gathered concept of what the book would become. Each one hand picked for some special quality. The pixie for my childhood, the matchbox truck for my brother, the globe because of the beauty, the deer for my love of nature, the angel for my trip to Savannah. Yes, there is a reason for every piece I included. So today I am sitting here thinking about the assembled Cast of Characters in my life. You know, the people who hold you up, raise you higher, support and encourage, tell it like it is. What does that group look like to you, in your life? Mine has changed over the past couple of years as my needs change, as I search for something missing or different. The one thing I know for sure is you can’t do it alone, no matter how strong willed, independent or smart you think you are. There is a reason for connection. There is a reason for coming together. There is a reason for community. It is up to you to search and discover your reasons and truly embrace your Cast of Characters. Thank you for being a part of mine today!