The Ultramarine Blues

I was just reading the Washington Post article via Fulfillment Daily by Maia Gambis, “Why making art is the new meditation.” And yes, yes it is! Though, much like meditation, it isn’t new. But much like meditation, it is greatly needed.

After seeing only the headline I put my coffee on my studio desk, ran to the car to get my laptop so I could write about how art made ME feel. I talked to the neighbor, watered my front yard plants, picked some strawberries, hooked up my laptop, made some raisin bread toast, drank my cold coffee and sat down to read the article.

I told you [almost] everything I did in the course of getting to this point because, again, after JUST reading the headline I got a kick of endorphines. I was happy and greeted my neighbor with a hardy “hello.” I was happy to stand in the hot morning sun and water my plants while beads of sweat started forming. I was ecstatic that I still had some strawberries that the bugs hadn’t eaten off of yet. I was content to drink cold coffee because there was a sort of anticipation about what I was about to read.

As I was reading I googled the people who were quoted. Louise Bourgeois‘ honesty makes me smile, I would have liked to have known her. By the time I die, I hope I leave behind a body of work that says something about who I was. Selfish, but therapeutic.

Eckart Tolle offers the kind of teachings that most of my days are spent wondering about.“ All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness…” -Tolle

Much to my dismay the article ended. But what I can see has begun is my ability to deal with my “blue period.”  Which is the artistic world’s red flag that artist’s use to cope with longing and a stress-filled life.

“The deeper the blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man towards the infi­nite, awak­ening in him a desire for the pure and, finally, for the super­nat­ural” -Kandinsky

That quote came from an article by Teresa Koester for Schirn Mag which looked at 10 artist’s and their blue periods.

This all comes on the heels of just finishing a series of paintings all done with various blues as the common background. I had found a tube of Ultramarine that hadn’t been used much (gasp!), and once I started incorporating, I couldn’t stop using it.

I was just talking to a friend who has been using nothing but blue in her work. I asked if she was stressed lately. The answer was an emphatic “Yes.”

The blues have been around for a long while. They aren’t going away, and I don’t think we complain about the artistic results from their visit.

I’m embracing my blue period, and thanks to ultramarine, that makes me happy.

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September

So i last posted 154 days ago. It’s obvious i have no discipline to write. But, i have been making sure that i get in the studio to make some art. I’ve discovered the world of encaustic painting. Though right now i’m working with paraffin and fusing the layers. Here’s a sample of what i’ve been up to:

  
  

I’m really loving this process and when i finish one piece, i can’t wait to start the next.

Catching Up (image heavy)

What a creative title for this post!

Sometimes we just have to be okay with the mundane.

And besides, it’s the complete truth. I’m going to do my best at updating you on what i’ve been up to since Labor Day.

September 2014 found me volunteering at the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower. It’s a lovely old clock tower with a fascinating history. If you’re ever in Baltimore, go tour it. But go when it’s not too hot or too cold, the building isn’t equipped with central air or heat.

Also, I started the Baltimore ATC Collaborative with a few co-workers. Here is a few examples of our last couple months… they are a great exercise in trying something new.

ATCs_group_Feb ATCs_group_march

In October, i started an art journal. Something i should be doing every day. The journal came about by not wanting to throw out a cute old pocket calendar of my daughters. It was from 2012 and i’ve held onto it (as all good hoarding artist’s should) so now it’s being repurposed.  On the second spread, i made use of a silo i had cut from an artwork i had done for a co-worker of her dog Millie. Since this photo, it has been completed.

Millie_journalpage

here’s a couple details of other spreads…

23_journalpage Journal_a beautiful progress Journal_encaustic

In November, my husband and i went to see one of my favorite local bands, Sweet Leda. They were at the Cat’s Eye Pub in Fells Point, so we just HAD to go. And i got myself a tshirt. Albeit, too small, but, still….

sweetLeda_tshirt

December found me looking at that darn Pinterest! My office has a million coffee filters from before we had single packets. I put a few to good use on this wreath for inside the kitchen door.

wreath_coffeefilters

and this snowflake

christmas_snowflake

I also joined the hashtag project #drawingdecember where anyone could make a ‘drawing a day’ and post it. I found it very cathartic. I used it has an opportunity to just do quick drawings of unplanned things…

drawingdecember_preg lady drawingdecember_foot drawingdecember_fish drawingdecember_teeth drawingdecember_pigdrawingdecember_cloudperson

I also finished a drawing for a friend, here’s a detail:

drawing_cowboys_detail

And I didn’t think i’d get them done, but I made our Christmas Cards! (thanks to my gelliplate)

Christmas cards_2014

January had me staying inside and making more stuff:

craft day_keys craft day_magazine holder

February was freezing cold. Perfect weather to stay inside and work in the studio. I felt like i had something to say one day… So i made a few mixed media pieces.

Mixed Media_Anguish selfportrait

travel

The end of February, one of our 3 cats passed away. RIP Dhari. He was 15 and was spoiled.

Dhari

March has been just as cold, even snowing on the First Day of Spring. I have been doing quick faces in a few small sketchbooks. Once i got the eyes, nose and lips i wanted… they just flow from there. They seem silly, but they kinda remove some cobwebs from my thoughts.

faces_6

To round out the middle of March, I also remembered to make my sisters birthday card …and mail it. Not the best photo, but it is watercolor and tissue paper to simulate a 3d effect. She likes the beach.

during and after pics:

bdaycard_wendy_1Bdaycard_wendy_2015

And now look at me, posting in my journal.

I hope to post more often, i’m just one of those who’s not sure what to say or how to say it exactly. If you got to the end, thanks for sticking around.

Now, go make things!

Elusive Happiness

These days i spend most of my time trying to keep my mind busy …or dosed with a night time sleep aid. The reality i’ve made for myself is crushing my hopes for the future. I find myself being of little comfort to those needing consolation. Or even able to play along with those who are already happy. I don’t want to be the “whoa-is-me” person bringing everyone down, and yet…

I’m retreating to my studio to make stuff. To get out the sadness in order to find the happiness. It’s there somewhere.

I’ll end this post with 2 images of recent prints i made on that newfangled Gelli plate.
Both gifts. Both made me briefly happy.

IMG_8471-0.JPG

IMG_8484-0.JPG

A discombobulated studio

I’m starting my week of staycation with piddling in the studio. I’m sure i’ve read somewhere before about supplies and useable studio space. I say ‘useable’ because i have paint, (not enough but what i do have is old and desperate for use) i use an old tv carcass as a studio table for cutting and micro projects (that don’t happen as often as they should) my daughter uses an old round table for painting on a tabletop easel, we use an old dresser for scraps of paper and things for collages. We’re making do with what we have, yet the frustration level is high and the stunted creativity is noticeable and sometimes crippling. The latter is what i’m trying to avoid by getting this out here in this blog post. Now with the groceries being taken care of by the husband, i’m free to paint on the kitchen wall. I will not stress over needing more black paint for the curtain outline of St Basils Cathedral. I will make this all work. I am an artist. I will endure.

Fear in thinking

So i was all excited about this “art-a-day” thing. I think i should’ve been more specific with myself. Maybe i should’ve said “one doodle a day”. Something less serious than “art”. Though, i know it’s the same thing, there is fear. Fear of creating and letting “things” go. If i make something, what does it mean? What does it mean if i don’t make something. I think that “thinking” is getting in my way. Maybe i should just sit myself down with supplies around me and just sit there. Give myself time to tell myself that it’s okay to make even a mark on a piece of paper. Any mark. Any paper. With any material. Maybe then the creativity will flow again. I’m off to try it. I’ll post it. I will. This blog can hold me accountable. I need accountability. I guess sometimes i fear that making stuff just doesn’t matter. Until i make something. Then i feel like that moment was what i was made for. Better go before i find a reason to not make a mark on some paper. Any mark. Any paper.