Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Weekly Quick Collage: Copper Cliff

Back to my weekly quick collages, and hopefully, posting much more regularly.

Copper Cliff
collage, 5.5 x 5 inches

Instead of the short quotes I usually post with my collages, I thought I'd share with you some thoughts on mindfulness and happiness from philosopher, Zen Buddhist, Episcopal priest and spiritual teacher Alan Watts.  This comes from an article by Maria Popova entitled, "An Antidote to the Age of Anxiety: Alan Watts on Happiness and How to Live with Presence", which you can find in its entirety here.

"What keeps us from happiness, Watts argues, is our inability to fully inhabit the present:

The “primary consciousness,” the basic mind which knows reality rather than ideas about it, does not know the future. It lives completely in the present, and perceives nothing more than what is at this moment. The ingenious brain, however, looks at that part of present experience called memory, and by studying it is able to make predictions. These predictions are, relatively, so accurate and reliable (e.g., “everyone will die”) that the future assumes a high degree of reality — so high that the present loses its value.

But the future is still not here, and cannot become a part of experienced reality until it is present. Since what we know of the future is made up of purely abstract and logical elements — inferences, guesses, deductions — it cannot be eaten, felt, smelled, seen, heard, or otherwise enjoyed. To pursue it is to pursue a constantly retreating phantom, and the faster you chase it, the faster it runs ahead. This is why all the affairs of civilization are rushed, why hardly anyone enjoys what he has, and is forever seeking more and more. Happiness, then, will consist, not of solid and substantial realities, but of such abstract and superficial things as promises, hopes, and assurances."

For most of us, mindfulness, or being completely in the present moment, is very difficult. Yet it seems we would almost certainly be happier if we could achieve this. What, then, is the best way to go about finding this mental state of "presence"? 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Long Time, No Post

Looking at my blog just now, I was shocked to see that I hadn't posted anything since last month's Searching for Roy G Biv.  I keep meaning to do a post, but sometimes life just keeps happening.

So for now, I just want to wish you the happiest of holidays and a blessed solstice. I promise to post more artwork again soon!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Searching for Roy G Biv: Pink

Since finding something pink around here in November is pretty difficult (gray or brown - take your pick), I had to go back a month or so for the photos.  I tried to cover a wide variety of the possible shades of pink, so here goes.

 Rosy pink veronica...

 ... a lavendar-pink petunia...

 ... a classic pink cosmo...

... coppery-pink grasses...

... magenta-pink cosmos...

... and faded pink coneflowers.

To enjoy all the shades of pink found by other Roy G Biv participants, please visit the blogs of our hostesses, Jennifer Coyne Qudeen and Julie B. Booth.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Drawing Challenge: Liminal

collage, 5 x 5 inches

When Veronica called the latest drawing challenge, "Liminal", I must admit that I had to look up the meaning.

1:  of or relating to a sensory threshold 
2:  barely perceptible
3:  of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition :  in-between, transitional liminal
state between life and death — Deborah Jowitt>

To see other interpretations, go to Veronica's beautiful blog and check out the links.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Weekly Quick Collage: Sacrament

collage, 5.5 x 5.5 inches

This one is more of a "traditional" Surrealist piece than what I usually do. There is no intended meaning, so you are free to make one up yourself if you wish! It's the only thing I could come up with that's sort of weird and "Halloween-ish".

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Weekly Quick Collage: Precision of Nature

Precision of Nature
collage, 6.5 x 5.5 inches

 “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”                                                                      ~ Albert Einstein

"Nature is not a place to visit, it is home."                                               ~ Gary Snyder

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Searching for Roy G Biv: Gray

In our search for Roy G Biv, we have now come the color gray. Our hostesses, Jennifer Coyne Qudeen and Julie B Booth, had to add on some colors that aren't in the rainbow, in order to round out the year.

A statue at Spring Grove cemetery in Cincinnati displays soft, mottled grays...

Huge gray rocks at Eagle Falls in the Great Smokey Mountains...

A little footbridge at Springrove...

A towering gray rock wall beside the Cumberland River in Kentucky...

An old, abandoned building (corn crib?) on what remains of a farm in rural Kentucky...

A widow on a lovely memorial chapel at Springrove...

A view of the side of that same chapel...

Shelf fungus on a log in Lewis County, Kentucky...

A fallen silvery gray leaf...

I hope you enjoyed my grays! To see what grays other participants have on display, please visit Julie B Booth or Jennifer Coyne Qudeen.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Out of the Darkness

Out of the Darkness
ingredients: vintage book covers, vintage book pages, vintage watch movement, other found objects, feather, stitching, metallic oil crayon, graphite;  10.5 x 15 inches

"Art is a wound turned into light."                                                                      ~ Georges Braque

I made this piece at a time when I was too upset to really think about what I was doing. I just started ripping stuff apart and gluing it on; the process was entirely intuitive. I know it expressed my desire and hope to leave that dark place and be healed. Perhaps when something important is lost, it can be replaced by something even better. I had to believe that. And I know that making this was a part of my healing process. Art has transformative power.

As someone who at one time considered becoming an art therapist, I found the whole process of making this piece to be eye-opening.  Not that I haven't had experiences of art-making that were like meditations, like being on a  completely different 'mental plane' than normal; but this piece was accompanied by a great release of emotion. Also, I have little memory of actually making it; I couldn't tell you what I did first, second, third, etc.

Art therapist and author Shaun McNiff says, "Like dreams, art works are surprising syntheses of elements on the threshold of consciousness that present themselves. The artist prepares the space and lets the controlling mind step aside. Artistic cognition responds and takes advantage of accidents, chance, lines, forms , figures, and interactions that emerge "unwatched." (Art as Medicine: Creating a Therapy of the Imagination")

Though I never purposefully set out to engage in any sort of therapy (as I didn't here), sometimes it just turns out that way. Does this ever happen to you?  I'd be interested to hear what other artists think about this.

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of every day life.”                             ~ Pablo Picasso

Friday, October 2, 2015

Weekly Quick Collage: Abstract II

Abstract II
collage,  7.5 x 6 inches

I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
                                                                                                                                ~ Pablo Picasso

I'm definitely taking Picasso's advice on this one. I have been trying to push myself to work more abstractly, which is not really my strongest suit, so to speak. Really, to be clear, I should say I'm attempting to make work that's non-objective, meaning that it's not based on real objects, whereas abstract work is. Art history.com says, " Nonobjective art is another way to refer to Abstract art or nonrepresentational art. Essentially, the artwork does not represent or depict a person, place or thing in the natural world. Usually, the content of the work is its color, shapes, brushstrokes, size, scale, and, in some cases, its process."

Though my work isn't completely "realistic" by any means, and I wouldn't necessarily call it abstract,  it usually depicts objects that are based on real ones, i.e. butterflies, flowers, birds, faces, etc.  I guess it walks a line somewhere in between. So I thought it would be fun to do something that's focused on colors, shapes, and movement rather than recognizable things. I don't think this is easy at all, but it was fun, if not entirely successful. And I think I'd like to try more of this in the future.

What do you think? Is making non-objective work easy for you, or difficult? Any insights or thoughts concerning how to make it easier?

Thanks for looking, and have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Bonus Weekly Quick Collage: Kingfisher

I really have been making quite a lot of these lately, so I decided to share two this week instead of just one.

mixed media collage on board, 5.5 x 6 inches

Making these collages has become addictive, in a way.  I love to be able to juxtapose disparate elements without worrying about whether or not they "go together." I love the constant exploration of form, size and composition. Part of the fun is seeing how far you can push these elements and still make it "work." Working on these collages is a very intuitive process for me, and one of the most rewarding aspects is that it's always a surprise in the end - I never know how they're going to turn out until they're finished. I also find that working on them has vastly expanded my ability to pull a composition together - something I never really thought about when I started.  And the best part is that it's play, which is the best kind of learning experience.

“This is the real secret of life -- to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”
                                                                                                               ~ Alan W. Watts

“Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.”
                                                                                                                   ~ Tom Robbins

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Weekly Quick Collage: No Direction Home

No Direction Home
collage, 8.5 x 5 inches

It is good to feel lost... because it proves you have a navigational sense of where "Home" is. You know that a place that feels like being found exists. And maybe your current location isn't that place but, Hallelujah, that unsettled, uneasy feeling of lost-ness just brought you closer to it. ~Erika Harris

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves. ~Henry David Thoreau

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself. ~Alan Alda

Friday, September 18, 2015

September RoyGBiv: Metallic Gold

Since we have traveled the entire rainbow now (and more), you'd think the metallic gold would be what we found at the proverbial end. No such luck, but I did find some beautiful golden things on a Buddhist altar.

To see what golden things others found, go to our hostesses' Jennifer Coyne Qudeen and Julie B. Booth's blogs for the links.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Think Square

I have a piece in this exhibit by 50 different talented printmakers form Tiger Lily Press and Northern Kentucky Printmakers. Please come by and see it if you get the chance. The opening reception is September 18 from 6-9pm.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Weekly Quick Collage: The Magic Door

The Magic Door
collage, 5.5 x 4.25 inches

Did you ever work on a piece that turned out radically different from what you expected? Yeah, me too.  Art-making, I find, often involves the element of surprise. This one looks nothing like I thought it would, and I'm not really sure if I like it, though not specifically for that reason. I tried some decollage with this one, gluing on several layers and then tearing some off in various places to reveal what's underneath.  Then I glued lace over some of the other parts, which I think may have been a bit too much for such a small piece. Everything I make, though, is a lesson that informs my art- making process, and therefore the next piece. So that's a good thing, right? We learn from our mistakes, and from our successes, both of which make us better artists in the long run.

If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes.                                                                                                        ~ John Wooden

If you live long enough, you'll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you'll be a better person. It's how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.                                                                                                                    ~ William J. Clinton

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
                                                                                                                                   ~ Scott Adams

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

New Mixed Media: Map IV

Map IV
ingredients: vintage maps, vintage book pages, vintage stamps, acrylic ink, metallic pen, watercolor pencils, image transfers, stitching  (7 x 7 inches)

This piece has come together slowly, originally starting with two fragments of pieces that didn't work out, and then building on from there. I am pretty happy with the way it turned out, though some parts were ripped up more than once, as you may be able to tell. It just goes to show you that you shouldn't necessarily throw away the pieces you consider failures; you may be able to recycle them into something else. Does anyone else do this? I find it often works out well for me.

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.                           ~ Alan Cohen