Entries Tagged as: inspiration

Red Leap

November 7th, 2010, Comments (25)

And now for something completely different! Or at least it feels very different from what I've been up to this month so far.

For day 7 of Art Every Day Month, again, I began with an intuitive/spontaneous approach. I took a piece of rice paper and roughly traced a leaping figure in sharpie marker that I found in a magazine (changing a few elements...I gave her flowing hair.) Under her, I wrote the word "leap."

Later, I took a piece of 6"x12" canvas paper, and squirted paint directly onto it, red and golds, then sprayed some purple-ish spray onto that. When that dried, I used gel medium to put the rice paper over the painted piece. It wasn't quite as transparent as it has been with past experiments, but it made a cool effect. I let it dry, tore away the excess rice paper and voila!

The shapes in the rice paper make it look like she's leaping through a forest to me. Although all the reds make it feel like she's leaping over or through fire.

Sometimes it amazes me the things that will come flowing out, if given the time and space to do so. This piece is just right for me today.

Bird Tree

November 6th, 2010, Comments (34)

For day 6 of Art Every Day Month, I wasn't sure what was ahead when I sat down to make art. Looking around I saw a photo of birds in flight and wanted to draw the bird shapes, so I started out there. The idea for the tree just popped into my head as I was drawing. I was imagining a tree made up of birds instead of leaves and then in the fall, each branch would release its bird as it would its leaves. This would be the moment of release.

Then I remembered something I wanted to try. In a class at Squam I took with Diana Fayt (an amazing ceramicist), she taught a method of drawing that involved drawing with graphite, going over it with oil pastels and then making the drawing more clear with turpenoid. The smell of turpenoid makes me feel sick after awhile, so I wanted to see if it might work at all with water soluble pastels. I knew water might smudge the graphite, but I figured it was worth a shot.

I drew the image first in graphite, then put a wash of the pastels over it. It did smudge a bit and get lighter, but not too bad. And it gave a nice soft effect. I went back into it some more with pencil, leaving some parts soft and faded and some parts darker. I like it. It's about 10"x14" with graphite and Caran d'ache watersoluble pastels.

Preparing for Art Every Day Month

October 27th, 2010, Comments (29)

A few folks have asked on Twitter and by email how people prepare for Art Every Day Month. Do folks plan out the month, have one big project in mind, or just wing it day by day? I have seen many different approaches to AEDM and there is no right or wrong way to do it. I think you need to do what will work best for you. To help give you some ideas, I'll share how I prepare and share some links that show what a couple other people are doing.

What I do is a mix of preparing and playing it by ear. I usually go to my sketchbook before Art Every Day Month begins and look at ideas I've had, but not brought to life, make some notes about things I'd like to try or play with, and doodle to see if anything else is coming up. If there are some supplies I need before the month starts, I'll make a run to the art supply store and get stocked, so I'm all ready to go on day one. I think AEDM is a great opportunity to bring ideas to life that I've been wanting to do, but just haven't gotten around to it for whatever reason. For example, I've been wanting to paint a picture of the story "The Owl and Pussycat" for ages, but I haven't done it. I plan to next month!

Having some sketches I might like to play with is a good way to never feel like I'm out of ideas or don't know where to start. If I'm feeling uninspired on a particular day or days during November, I can turn to my sketchbook and pick one sketch as a starting point. These sketches may be fully formed ideas or they might just be a note like, "Tree with houses for leaves." If you don't have any sketches built up like this, try taking an hour before Art Every Day Month begins, to play and doodle and see what comes up. Or keep a notebook by your bed or in your purse so that you can capture ideas, doodles, and things that inspire you, before you forget them!

Along with the ideas and projects I know I want to tackle, I leave plenty of room open for creating in the moment with no plan in mind. I might even do this most days, as it allows me to play with whatever is coming up for me that day. I'll begin by asking myself what materials, colors, and mediums are calling to me in that moment and then I'll let my intuition guide my creations. It's a fun way to create and it often surprises me!

Here are what a few other participants are doing or have done in the past:

Last year, Wendy Edsall-Kerwin did a Doodle-A-Day during Art Every Day Month. This year, she's got a list of ideas for what she might do this year on her blog, including a very creative idea involving the periodic table of elements, which you can read about here.

On Twitter, Julie Jordan Scott wrote, "YAY! I am creating quite a goody-box of raw materials for #aedm2010. I am so gleeful to wake up & ask my heart, "What's next?"" Love the idea of a goody-box, Julie!

In 2009, Jennifer Lee did a drawing a day in a mini journal (so cute!) It allowed her to participate in the challenge in a way that was manageable for her during a busy month. And the drawings were fabulous!

If you feel like you might need some extra support through the process, check out the Art Every Day Month Survival Guide, which is a private blog with daily posts that provide prompts, links, quotes, and creative ideas to help keep you going throughout the month.

I hope that helps you think about how you'd like to prepare for Art Every Day Month. I'd love to hear how you prepare!

Fall Collage

October 22nd, 2010, Comments (10)

I've collaged together some rice paper prints of leaves and stamps that I made while in Judy Wise's class at Squam. Rice paper collages so beautifully! I plan to work with this image more, painting and/or drawing on top of it once it's dry. It definitely feels like fall and fits right in with the earth theme.

By the way, make sure the top on giant containers of gel medium are closed before you carry them around. Yikes! What a mess! Thankfully, I couldn't help but laugh, scrape up what I could salvage and clean up the rest.

Two quick things:

1. Today, I have a video up at SPRING, all about creativity, cycles and the beautiful community of Art Every Day Month. If you haven't checked out SPRING, please do. It's full of inspiration and this month the focus is all about creativity!

2. Art Every Day Month is right around the corner. It's a low pressure challenge that draws a great group of creatives every year. Your daily art could be jewelry, knitting, cooking, collage, drawing, anything else you can dream up or a great mix of lots of creative activities. I'll write more about it in the coming week, but you can read all about the process here and sign-up here.

And if you want to join in, but would like a little extra support, inspiration, and daily prompts to keep you going, you can sign up for the Art Every Day Month Survival Guide here.

Shower Power

September 9th, 2010, Comments (16)

I was in the shower the other day, thinking about the water theme, when it hit me that I was currently in water and that the shower is one of my favorite places to think! Perhaps it's because all other sources of stimulation are gone and I'm just focused on the simple tasks of cleaning my hair and body. I enjoy the sensual nature of taking showers or baths, they're so relaxing, but they're also a place where my mind roams, a bit like it does before I'm falling asleep and little ideas and inspirations will occur to me.

As the shower lingered on, I thought about how much I love to be near water in general when I'm thinking, writing, or doodling. I find sitting by a still lake or pond to be relaxing and meditative. Being near a fast flowing river is where ideas and writing will move more quickly. And then sitting by the ocean, I'm soothed by the far away horizon, the big sky, and the regular woosh of the waves.

Do you find ideas occurring to you while you're in the shower? Or near a body of water? Pay attention this month and see if you are. I'd love to hear about it.

I was also inspired to draw this cute little shower girl. I wish I had a shower cap that was that cute! :-)

Mermaid with Stars

September 2nd, 2010, Comments (10)

I started this mixed-media piece thinking about the water theme and how water is so much of who we are, the foundation of life. I put down pieces of rice paper to create texture, putting them in a circular shape. Water makes me think of circles, the womb, life, an individual cell.

The stars were unplanned, they just came up. I think I was inspired by the teeny tiny baby starfish I've seen wandering around our fish tank at night. So cute.

Where is the water theme bringing you?

Checkity Check It Out

August 18th, 2010, Comments (10)

Yesterday, I got a copy of Four Word Self Help, Patti Digh's new book. I got an early copy because I have a piece of art in it, along with many other wonderful artists from around the world. You can find my piece, "Let Others In" on page 3. What a beautiful little book this is!

I also wanted to share Jess Larsen's website. She has started offering doula services in the Northern New Jersey area. I'm a big believer in what she does and was thrilled to have some of my work, including Spring Thaw (above), featured on her site. You can learn more about what she does as a doula here.

Fire and Water

August 12th, 2010, Comments (14)

I'm a total water person. I'm soothed by the sounds of water, blue is my favorite color, and my sign is Cancer (a water sign), so it's an interesting challenge to focus on fire this month. As I was working on the piece above, a play between reds and blues, I received my weekly horoscope email from Rob Brezsny, which reads:

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Here's a thought from the Cancerian
philosopher Gaston Bachelard: "He who listens to the singing of the
stream cannot be expected to understand the one who hears the singing
of the flame: They do not speak the same language." While I mostly agree
with that poetic formulation, I think you're about to be a temporary
exception to the rule. Normally you are acutely attuned to the singing of
the stream; your skill at reading its nuances are supreme among the
zodiac. But I expect that in the coming days, you will not only have the
power to appreciate the song of the fire; you'll even be able to empathize
with and understand people who are entranced by the song of the fire.

How perfect is that?

When I read the horoscope, there was just blue below and red above. After reading it, I drew in the tree which intertwines the two. Are you resistant to firey natures? How do you bridge the gap?

Fire Red Kayak

August 8th, 2010, Comments (6)

So much fun with the hubster yesterday out on the Charles River in a fire red double kayak (how perfect for the fire theme!) Man, what a workout! It was wild being out on the river, it felt like we were in another world, far from the hustle bustle. Everything but the tips of a tower were hidden by the greenery hugging the shore and our only company were birds and other kayakers.

I was inspired by the reflections and ripples in the water, the bits of flowers and trees that grew up in the middle of the river, and the birds sleeping peacefully while balanced on one foot. At the end of it all, I was quite cooked by the sun and paddling, but we had a great time. And the afternoon nap helped. :-)

My attempt to snap a picture of he and I in the kayak with my iphone didn't go so well, but you can see a bit of his hairy leg in there. Hehe. I hope you've all had a beautiful summer weekend!

Can’t start a fire without a Spark…

August 3rd, 2010, Comments (17)

I woke up with that line in my head, part of a Bruce Springsteen song. How true! And what a fitting way to start the month of Fire, talking about what sparks our imagination, what fires us up creatively, the ways small and large that we move from idea to creation.

Just the way that I woke up with this song in my head is a good example of where my ideas come from. The hypnagogic state, that fuzzy land between sleep and being awake, where the mind is more open and ideas often come fast and furious. I love to keep some paper and pens on my nightstand so that I can jot them down while half asleep, because sometimes I will remember the ideas and other times, they slip away as I'm waking up.

Bits of song, dream images, short phrases, little bits of shadow, and memory will often be the spark behind an idea that leads to a creation. A spark is just the starting point. It won't always develop the way it first began, just like a fire won't always spread the way you expect. I like that bit of surprise that happens as an idea transitions from spark to form. But it's also just interesting to see where ideas come from. Sometimes the most unexpected places, like the shape of a leaf or the color combination on a billboard. And sometimes ideas seem to come out of nowhere.

Where do your sparks of inspiration come from?

Pay special attention this month, catch them as they come like the girl in "Catching Stars" above, and see which sparks become full fires!