Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hummingbird Joy

"Hummingbird Joy"
Watercolor, digital effects

As hummingbirds have been making their presence known at my feeder, I thought I would honor one here today. Yesterday, I took my watercolors, known for their transparent qualities, and recreated the image above. If one uses watercolors that are transparent and adds lots of water, a stained glass effect can "sometimes" be achieved. As I looked at the original bird in watercolor, it seemed a bit muddy, lacking transparency. I thought about whether to continue on and tweek it on the computer. I often struggle as to when I feel a painting is complete, for to work too much on a creation can change the whole inner message. Yet, to stay safe and not experiment can be the death of an artist's growth process. (What I've learned by trial and error, anyway).

I decided to push the limits with the hummingbird and was glad I did. The stained glass effect seemed to shine forth for me.I played with the background, changing it to turquoise blue a la computer but then felt it competed too much with bird. Back to white it went. What's nice about the computer is you can easily change and experiment with colors and not have to live with a permanent decision. That's freeing to me.

I was reading a little bit about hummingbird symbolism. The tiny bird is known as the symbol of resurrection. Hm, maybe I had a preconceived inkling of this as the bird points upwards towards the heavens and wanting to achieved a stained glass effect as well. Reading further, I discovered that the hummingbird represents joy, love, and beauty. It can fly backwards as well. Translating this to myself, I look back at my past, but try not dwell on it. Forward process, staying in the now, where joy really does reside. The fluttering wings form an infinity symbol as well, which I was not aware of. Eternity, continuity and infinity are words associated with this symbol and I would like to remember that in my own life. My journey is a continuing process forever.

Finally, these words, "the sweetest nectar is within" affirmed that I am on the right path, seeking the jewels within myself. Externalizing does not nurture me anymore.

I love when these tiny birds come and say Hi to me. May you all, as well, tap into your own hummingbird joy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Touch of Psychedelic Art

Watercolor, Digital Enhancements

I laughed the other day recalling a fellow writer's comment about a cardinal I had painted awhile back. He said he liked "the gangster cardinal in the hood (graffiti)". I am always delighted about the perceptions of others in regard to any particular image I produce. Being the wonderful writer that he is, his words are to be particularly cherished. Then I remembered the day a gallery owner, upon seeing my artwork, remarked "what kind of drugs were you taking when you created these?". I'd have to say the drug of creativity. I find myself more lately tapping into that "psychedelic" aspect of who I am and the woodpecker above demonstrates that, to some extent. In fact, I'm wearing a ty-dye t-shirt as I type these words to honor the occasion.

Ideally, I wish woodpeckers, hawks, eagles, blue herons and other wildlife would perch on my deck and pose for me. That would be a heavenly plein air experience to me. A hummingbird does stop by the hummingbird feeder to drink, but I'm sure I'd only be able to document a blur of motion on paper. I settle, then, on either photos I have taken or a particular image from a magazine that appeals to me. Originally, the above image was done in watercolor, which I scanned and have a record of. The original background was white but then I accidentally spattered some paint drops on it. From there, I continued spattering and painting sky-like effects, which lent it more energy. Rather than despairing about a ruined image (as I have done in the past) I just went with the flow. Then, I went onto the computer and with some digital effects, was able to recreate that hippies, love-in, 60's effect on the above woodpecker. There's something about computer tools that really loosens up my creative free-spirit. Though others may consider digital art a crutch and not "real art", I find it opens me up to exploration and adventure.

So as I explore, I'll fly high, just like the birds, to tap into who I am. I belong to my own gang, called Creative Expression. New members welcome! Let's go paint some walls with graffiti! (Hm, maybe now I am getting carried away).

May all your creative dreams come true!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Playing Brings Out The Joy

"The Joy of Creating"
Colored Markers, Stencils and Three Alphabet Blocks

I was waiting for writing class to begin and, feeling restless, walked around the art room for a bit. I noticed the room filled with magazines, torn papers, glue, scissors on the table. It was as if all the "artists" had left in a hurry. Somehow, though, the lingering creative energy in the air felt contagious and soon I had taken a piece of paper, some assorted markers and stencils and began playing. It was interesting how thoughtful I was about picking out colors and where I wanted the various stencils to go. The heart stencils appealed to me because I wanted to feel the love. Also, a sense of childlike joy was coursing through me so the three alphabet blocks I found seemed to capture that as I glued them down. Hm, now maybe I am beginning to get why collage artists and I suppose other artists as well, like to add words to their creations. Makes it a more complete expression? Finally, snipped the paper edges with fancy scissors and I was done. I felt good and ready for writing class which would follow shortly thereafter.

I was glad for the above experience. It was unplanned, spontaneous, the best kind of thing to happen to me. Lately I've been busy getting ready for an art fair which can be a stressful ordeal. I needed a fun outlet and making the above collage? fulfilled that. I need to remember this, to take a break once in awhile to do art, to play with art. The final product does not have to be a masterpiece or take hours to complete. I learned a little more about who I am and discovered that Joy is something I want to feel all the time.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ocean Sunset, Abandoned Collage Scraps

"Ocean Sunset"
Watercolor on Rough Textured Paper

"Collage Scraps - Lying in Wait"
Torn papers, etc....

One can never predict where the creative process will go (nor would I want that to be the case). Yesterday I had the urge to surround myself with tissue papers, rice papers, ribbons, magazines, metallic threads, and other treasures that a collage artist would drool over. Yet, in the other room, I heard my watercolors calling to me in a soft voice so I added them to the mix of creative clutter. I saw a photo in a magazine filled with exquisite purples, oranges, pinks, reds that only a sunset could convey in all its glory. I drew in pencil a vague image similar to it and then painted in watercolors a sunset reflected in waters with mountains surrounding it. (Nothing like the original image, but then where would my unique stamp be otherwise)? Then I tore various papers in similar colors to the watercolors (like oranges, yellows, soft purples) in hopes of gluing some of them over the image. I hemmed and hawed looking for more transparent papers to allow the watercolor underneath to show through. I didn't want to lose the watercolor effect. Already, I was feeling some resistance to the process. I stared at the mountain and fell in love with how the watercolor had made little textures and shapes on the paper. And then I just stopped. Maybe a little nutrition would give me the energy I needed to continue on with the project. After my appetite was quenched, I gathered my chosen papers, grabbed my matte medium and began. Nope, my heart just wasn't in it any longer. The collage that I had hoped to develop never happened. I lost something, that creative mojo would not spark any longer. Rather than forcing myself to continue, I let my inner voice rule me, because it seemed intuitive and just "right".

Perhaps someday I will work on this image again. The papers I had planned on using are now in a cardboard box waiting for that day when I feel the urge to explore. The intent was there to collage, but something deep inside of me raised a louder voice, (JUST LET IT BE), which I had to listen to. Ah well, I rather like the simplicity of the piece above. Sometimes "keeping it simple" is what it's all about! But sorting out all those voices clammering within us, well that's another story!

May sunrises, sunsets and rainbows fill your life today and always........

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pen and Ink, Another Way to Share My Creative Voice

"Pot of Flowers"
Pen and Ink
60 lb. sketchbook paper

Watercolor and Pen and Ink
60 lb Sketchbook Paper

I'm finding within me the urge to create more and more and with whatever tools I have handy. I am so glad I enjoy various mediums to work with. Sometimes the medium can match the particular mood or emotion I want to convey within myself. To have these choices is quite liberating. I was talking to a children's book author the other day. She told me about the illustrator who is working with her on a soon to be released book. (I will, with her permission, give more details in a future post). This artist works in watercolor and pen and ink. I realize I too enjoy the merging of those two mediums. I can be floaty and dreamy with the watercolor and can render more details with the pen and ink. I recalled a former art teacher of mine who, after seeing my artwork progress, noted that I had an illustrative quality in my renderings. These individuals who have crossed my path have gotten me to musing about my artistic style. Perhaps the sky is really wide open and there are more opportunities to pursue than I had originally envisioned.

The top image above was done while I was sitting on a friend's patio the other day. Various pots of plants, climbing vines on fences, and an occasional hummingbird quickly put me in a creative, dreamy frame of mind. Grabbing sketch pad and pen and ink, I began recreating the vision in front of me. In time, I may add color, but for now I'm enjoying the black and white effects. I am glad I am sketching plein aire (drawing and painting in outdoor settings). Though I sometimes long to be with my art friends who are doing weekly outdoor art jaunts this summer, I realize I can have my own solitary artist dates as well. I am aware that often I stop myself, instead waiting for the "right conditions" to occur - whether people, places, the proper art tool, etc. Excuses and the creative spirit do not mesh, I realize.

The second image above was an older image I found in the same sketchbook I was using. Watercolor and pen and ink were used here. Though the paper is not really conducive for watercolor, I rather enjoyed how the paper buckled under the heavy moisture. The background had some interesting texture and line as a result. Sometimes when I look at my older artwork, I wish I could return to that "style" I had. Though this can put me in stuck mode, I also find it helps me to recall parts of myself that I may have forgotten for a bit. I prefer to look at this as a positive process and whatever my creative urges want, I will listen to and abide by.

I find myself "longing" to create art these days. I welcome this feeling and am riding with it. Let the journey unfold.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Petey the Parakeet


Petey Parakeet has flown in to say Hi. I saw him in a photo in a book and immediately I remembered my pet bird from childhood. So I painted him yesterday in homage and memory of all the good times when he chirped happily, singing beautiful songs.

Petey feels a little more impressionistic to me. I enjoy letting the viewer fill in the image with their own interpretative vision. I didn't feel like adding a lot of detail and decided to let the body kind of flow with the wet watercolors. The eye I always make pretty clear, for after all they are the "windows to the soul". Some feathers have been indicated with fine lines but I didn't want to overdo it. The branch he's perched on is from my imagination. I'd like to think he's free now, flying in the world, no cage to enclose him anymore. On a personal level, I suppose that is what I am seeking, freedom to be who I am. I think I've been there for awhile now, and hope it doesn't flee my grasp. I'm not sure if Petey is finished yet, but I just wanted to share him here anyway. I notice there's what appears to be a heart on his chest, that darker small shape. How about that, Petey continues to send me love, even after all these years . Back at ya, Petey!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Stretching My Creative Limits

Within Myself A Garden Grows
Acrylics, Scribble Paints, Torn Tissue, Rice Paper

Collages are so experimental and fun. I wonder why I do not allow myself to do them more often. Maybe I broke the ice the other day creating the one above. Hopefully, there will be more to follow. I've been feeling torn within myself, not sure what direction to go with my life. Then recently, I was reading something by Lucia Capacchione, an expressive art therapist. She feels that the art form of collage may help us through our chaotic feelings as we tear pieces of paper and rearrange them into a new form with entirely different meanings emerging as a result.

I, being the ponderer of deeper meaning in all forms of life, took Lucia's words into my being and then proceeded to just have some fun. Surrounding myself with acrylics, scribble paints, torn tissue and rice paper, I let myself go into play land. I was thinking of making a landscape, but then gardens came to my mind. These were my thoughts but then flow took over and the papers and paints danced in a more abstract way without purpose (or so it seemed). There is not really a sense of any element really being tied down in the above image, as I look at it. The triangular forms point up, like arrows, to show my longing for a higher spiritual/artistic consciousness. Also symbolizing freedom of expression, the sky's the limit, old ways of being going by the wayside. Simple pieces of paper, squirts of paint lead to great awareness. Amazing!

I may frame the piece above for an art show at the end of the month. I would like to breath some new life into my creative process. This is how I feel today. Tomorrow, who knows?