Sunday, March 29, 2009

Twiggins Tweets A Greeting

Watercolor, oil pastels, ink, gesso, rubber stamp

Well, I suppose adding a rubber stamp to this creation above, as well as using various mediums, officially makes me a collage artist. I've been assembling collage images via the computer for some time, but have been longing to do more hands-on art. I ended up with paint and ink on my arms and shirt, and inhaled a few paint fumes as well. Things that just don't happen when you create digitally. Okay, I admit, I added a few tiny computer touch-ups during the final stages, but the majority was done in my studio.

"Twiggins" is a name derived from using twigs and ink to create part of the bird above. My initial intent was just to use those two items, but when I stared around me at all the other creative "toys" I could use, well, one thing led to another and an assortment of other mediums piled on. The rubber stamp in the middle of the bird says "PEACE" on it. I found a black ink pad, but realized it was dried out. I added some water to the pad and then placed the stamp onto the ink. The result was a rather ghostly imprint, but yet it has a mysterious feel to it. I fiddled with the word on the computer, trying to make it stand out, but gave up and left it as is. Sometimes more can destroy the original intent, if there is one. When I view the work of several of my collage friends, I am always intrigued by what is left unsaid with the words found on the collages. Words torn from pages or gessoed over for a foggy effect catch my eye and intrigue me. I can complete the sentences in my own way. I end up, in some respects, becoming a subtle participant in that particular artist's process. Make sense?

I thought about what Twiggins meant to me here. There are two versions. The first is that the bird is celebrating creativity and throwing confetti up into the air. Using rubber stamps and twigs with ink on them seems to push me in new artistic directions, a reason to jump for joy. The second interpretation is that the bird is peaceful within her own skin despite the chaos of society trying to make her forget who she really is. Both work for me. I am just happy that Twiggins is happy and it's infectious, I'm feeling those good vibes.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Flower's Spirit

"A Flower's Spirit"
Digital Photo

So Much More Revealed

Souls yellow and white
bath in the glow of God's love
leaving me dazzled

There are so many ways to capture the image of a flower. You can take them in clusters from far away. Or get down on your knees with a macro lens and single out just a few, making for a more intimate feel. And sometimes, as in the image above, you just have to hug that warm earth with your body to really capture an image like this. The photographer's body needs to be a little flexible in cases like this and sometimes onlookers will give you funny looks. But that joy of merging with nature makes it all worthwhile. All part of a day doing what one loves to do. The sun seemed to be at the perfect angle here, and the back lighting was soft and diffused, with shadows developing for a nice contrast.

I added the haiku "So Much More Revealed" as an afterthought. Haiku are poems of nature, three lines of 5 syllables, 7 syllables, then 5 syllables again. The words just came up, blooming from within me as these crocus bloom. Soon these delicate beauties will be gone; I see them already droopy, wrinkled. A short life-span, but I shall have this photo to remember them by.

I did very little to enhance the image above. Some things are better left au la natural. Simple, without distractions, can be better. And when I see a flower's soul; well, enough said.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lazy Days - Daydream Filled

"Lazy Days - Daydream Filled"
Digital Photograph

Another crocus wants to make its presence known here. The purple crocus really jump out from their white buddies. This one really wanted to stand out, so a wave of the magic wand and voila, a transformation. Hope he or she is satisfied.

Feeling the Spring Vibes

"Feeling the Spring Vibes"
Digital Photograph

I was out the other day taking some crocus shots. They always look so beautiful in full bloom, waving in the wind, soaking up the sun. I wanted to convey their energetic vibrations as they posed before me. So a little jiggle here and there and now I FEEL them. Can you?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Woman and Hawk Friend Welcome Spring

"Woman and Hawk Friend"
Pencil - Pen & Ink - Digitally Enhanced

It's Officially Spring! With it comes rebirth, new hopes, and new dreams. I found this sketch I had done a while back. Originally it was rendered in pencil and pen & ink. I felt I would celebrate Spring with its palette of flowers that heralds its arrival by coloring in this image. Sometimes I feel like I am losing my creative edge, but then inspiration flows through me and I am thankful I still have it. I didn't finish the image, but kind of feel satisfied as it is. The contrast seems interesting to me and the woman and hawk seem to glow and pop from the subdued background. I also like keeping original lines in, as it has more of an energetic feel to me.
So, I welcome the new season and my own creative impulses. The cyclic seasons herald my own cyclic artistic nature. My motto today: Keep flowing and don't resist.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sharing Myself with Others

"Flower Twirl"
Digital Photo

The flower above is what I have been feeling like for the past two weeks. Printing, matting and framing photos for a gallery exhibit can make your head spin around. Don't get me wrong, I love the experience of sharing my work and most of the images were created in the last 6 months or so. I think it's more like the after effect that really gets to me. I feel such low energy today after the fun and excitement of meeting old and new friends at the reception last night. I suppose I need to deal with the cyclic emotions that occur during these times, would be nice to ride on the feelings I felt last night forever and ever.

It was so packed in the historical house that there was little elbow room. That's a good thing, of course. All my fellow writers from the writing class were there, which really touched me. A teacher from the Center who teaches quilting and a very creative watercolorist who I've met at the Center also honored me with their presence. It was fun to talk writing lingo and watercolor shop during the photo exhibit. All creative passions welcomed, right? A librarian from Frankfort with her mom and kids added to the excitement of the night. And of course, mingling with fellow photographers and learning their unique creative perspectives gives me food for thought and expands my horizons. Support for one another is what it's all about and we creative types like to stick close. There are so many believing mirrors out there if we allow them in. To be alone, for me, is to stay too much in my head where monkey mind likes to cause havoc.

I had so much fun sharing my creative process with those who wanted to learn about it. Just talking about my various images seemed to energize me. I think I really am embracing the passion of who I am and not stifling it anymore. It feels good. The more and more I talk about myself as an artist, the more and more I believe it. Visualization is a very empowering.

I had brought along a little photo album of some of my images and was staring at the squirrel I had recently finished in watercolor. It's on the most previous post I wrote here. I noticed it has no tail. I hadn't even noticed that before. Hm, should I add a tail and hope it fits into the rest of the image or will I be in a different creative zone and not be able to match what I had previously done? One gal said to me "Who cares about the tail, I'm loving its eyes. Who could resist it, it's adorable". So that seemed to soothe me for a little while, anyway. Ah, how I love the input of others!

In a few weeks, I'll be taking the photos down from this show and bringing them over to the local library. Yes, it is Bev's traveling exhibit. I'm glad I get to share my gifts with others. And, I suppose, if I look at the twirling flower one more time, I'll see it now as energy whirling around, looming towards my interior, longing for my passion to once again unfold.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Two Versions of a Squirrel

Watercolor and Pen & Ink

"Squirrel Magic"
Digitally Enhanced Photo

I believe we do not have to settle for one creative outcome when we look at an image. I took a photo of a squirrel and was really thrilled with its pose. Paws clenched to belly, staring at me, how could I resist? Originally the background was white with black stripes streaming down. As I stared at the photo, I imagined stained glass, a sacred background emerging. So with that in mind, I added a rainbow coat of colors to the squirrel and touched up the background, which already had the lines to follow. It has a nice pastel effect now, almost Easter-like and is now ready to adorn a children's illustrated book. Ah, I can dream, can't I?

The top squirrel painting was done yesterday. I had a hankering to do some hands-on creating with watercolor and wanted to see if I could tap into a more realistic animal rendering. So I stared at the original squirrel photo, who was looking at me from the computer screen, and began drawing on the paper. I started with the eye, which I always do, and proceeded from there. The paws were such a challenge for me to draw as I seem to have trouble with human hands and feet, and now animal appendages seemed a struggle as well. I think that's when I gave up on being so realistic and true to form and just went into "my zone". Purples, reds, oranges, and several other colors emerged on the squirrel, satisfying my colorist personality. The pen and ink was an afterthought, as I wanted to depict some fur lines here and there. Soon the pen had a mind of its own and squiggles and doo-dads leaped onto the paper. The bottom I'm not sure about. The original photo did not indicate any forms below the body so I just dragged some color and ink down and left it at that. I may decide to crop off more of the bottom so it doesn't look so unrealistic. Yet, I feel it adds more of a fantasy touch to the image, my own creative mark. So I've got mixed emotions. Would welcome thoughts and comments from you about the two images above.

Anyway, I think I'll continue to find photos of animals I've taken in the past and create from them, either digitally or with hands-on painting effects. Coming to the conclusion that I generally love all creative mediums, I'll pick and choose depending on my mood. And as the flowers are taking their sweet old time to emerge from the ground, my camera and I will continue to wait patiently for Spring!!! I think the squirrel was happy with the attention I gave him, though.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Evolution of My Creative Self

"A Creature Enjoying Nature"
Digital Art

My fantasy art continues to evolve and I truly am embracing what is coming out from my inner self. Sometimes, though, I am amazed at what I am creating. Who is this artist formerly known as Bev?

Originally, the image was a watercolor I did of a bird. It seems lately that my jumping off point is usually a realistic image of something but then it seems I get bored with it and need to jazz it up in some way. Perhaps this what is called my style. When I scanned it into the computer, suddenly it transformed itself into a bird/lizard/wolf of sorts. As I stared at it, I began to imagine it as something coming from prehistoric times, now in the present checking out what life is like now. I wonder if it likes what it sees? I added some surrealistic Dali touches of melting, through some painting tools, which I love to incorporate.

Melting, to me, represents the idea that we are not solid, rigid forms but that we can evolve and dissolve into so much more of ourselves. In addition, the taoism philosophy that we are all one with nature and ourselves seems to adhere to the melting philosophy I incorporate into my art. We have so many parts within us just waiting to be tapped into and to be rigid and not embrace them is to die, in some sense. I suppose that is what happened to this creature. It wanted to reveal other dimensions of itself so I birthed it into this final form. The background was initially white and rather stark-looking but I wanted to develop a fantasy background to go with the creature on the branch. Perhaps the colorful creature could have stood alone on the white background and maybe now he/she is getting lost in the colors behind it, but I like it this way.

This creature may, in time, evolve into something more. Human characteristics may emerge from it. Or it might settle and embrace into its present skin. Whatever the case, I find my own creative process continuing to evolve as well and I don't think I'll ever stop learning. Thank you creature, for showing me the way.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Parrot Pays Me A Visit

Digital Watercolor

A parrot has flown in to join my bird menagerie. I like parrots because they are so colorful. Watercolor is a wonderful medium to use as it can flow with the help of some water. Actually the background is from another watercolor I did a while back. The parrot I just painted tonight. With the help of the computer, I merged parrot to the sky background and voila, a new creation has emerged. The touches of white you see on the bird is gesso, which I couldn't resist using. Also, I brushed the gesso in a washy manner over some areas of the parrot, to give it just a touch of opaque feel. For contrast purposes, I suppose. So technically, the purists would say it is not a watercolor creation because I used the gesso, but hey the bottle was sitting nearby and I was in the zone and grabbing anything and everything and the rest is history.

So if you hear a voice squawking "Polly Want A Cracker", you'll know it's coming from this little place right here.

Dreamy Kind of Day

"Dreamy Landscape"
Digital Art

Today I felt dreamy. I had dreams when I slept last night and still seemed like in dream state when I was awake. Even a few cups of coffee didn't alleviate the swirling fog residing in my mind. A perfect kind of mood to create in. The inner critic seemed to have burrowed itself under the covers, sleeping on and on. This gave me free rein to frolic with my inner child sprite. It rained all day, I had blueberry pancakes and spent many hours writing haiku (about pancakes, cinnamon rolls, and other nurturing delights). Later in the afternoon and into the evening I painted landscape scenes like the one above. I could do activities like this 365 days a year, I think. Might get tired of blueberry pancakes and rain, but the creating part, well, that never gets old.

The pancakes nourish my tummy, the rain nourishes the lands and the creating nourishes my soul! All is well.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Merging Fine Art and Photography

"Hummingbird Garden"
Digital Photo

"Dancing Fern"
Digital Photo

I realize I haven't been here for a while so thought I'd stop by and say Hi. I've been busy getting some of my photos ready for an upcoming exhibit at Vogt Visual Art gallery for the month of March. There will be about 19 other photographers there as well so it's a nice diversified mix of creative people. A reception will be held Friday, March 13th from 6:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served. I will share a link to the gallery shortly.

The above images were both taken at a local greenhouse I often frequent. The "Hummingbird Garden" photo was tweeked up in Photoshop to give it a more painterly/fantasy feel. I felt the background had a stained glass spiritual feel to it so went with that as I created it. That photo will be in the exhibit, along with about 16 other photographs I have done within the last year. My style (whether in art or photography) continues to take the path of surrealism and fantasy art.

The second photo was originally a rather ordinary looking green fern with little tonal variation. I wanted the photo to jump a bit more, to look more alive and energetic, so played around with it in Photoshop as well. I love the image, but didn't get it ready in time for the show. And personally, it's just as well, for I didn't feel comfortable exhibiting it in the gallery show. Yet, I want to embrace my creative style, which continues to change and grow daily. With that in mind, I continue to keep my eyes open for new galleries and venues. The sky is really the limit as to what is out there.

When I went to the exhibit to hang my photos, I was quite pleased to see all the digital photos that were there. In fact, there are about 16 or so photos done on canvas, giving them a nice, painterly feel. I haven't tried that technique myself, but it's just another way to expand our creative horizons. Each gallery exhibit or art show that I am in is unique and I never know what to expect. That's what makes it so much fun.

Hope to see you there.