Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"My Lady Comes Forth"

"My Lady Comes Forth"
Watercolor, photography, digital tools

Lately, I've been feeling the urge to bring people, especially women, back into my creative life. Portraits, half length, full length figures, it does not matter as long as they surface onto paper. The winds howl outside my window, shaking and rattling my environment and I pull my afghan more tightly around me.

The woman above mimics me in some ways, seeking refuge as well from the oncoming winter, looking for shelter in a nearby cave. Yes, the purple bluish area that envelopes the lady above was originally going to be a place she could protect herself in. Shielding herself from the elements of nature and also allowing necessary time to go within herself to seek new aspects of who she might be. But does she really need to do this? Perhaps instead she is emerging from her isolation. Maybe that is really a cloak around her that she will use as adornment as she mingles with life. Or maybe that purple that merges into her earthly body is her aura, her spiritual essence shining around her for all to see. The possibilities are endless and her dreamy face reflects this. Speaking of her face, I have always had a fascination with the renaissance and medieval historical time periods. When I was a teenager, I'd check out many library books dealing with that "romantic" time period and escape from my real world. And now, years later, it seems my artist self wants to incorporate that influence, via images and/or symbolism, into new pieces. I allow this to happen, going with the flow, not resisting. The background was originally a photo of some fall flowers and leaves I saw lying around somewhere. Yes, the autumn influence is seeping into my inner creative core as well. There seemed a bit too much green in the shrubbery, so I toned that color down to give more subtle contrast to the foreground image.

So I present My Lady here. One last thought. I often see little ghostly figures staring at me when I create something. My Lady might be one of them, but she wanted to be seen so she is bigger than most of the others that seemed to want to remain hidden. Perhaps this is a good thing on my part.Maybe aspects of myself, like My Lady, are springing forth from deep chambers. All I know is that my imagination continues to be sparked. Thank you, My Lady. Welcome to my time period, and please, show me the way!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Feeling the Spiritual Within

"Opening Myself To The Spiritual Realm"
Mixed Media

I talk a lot about my creative process on the blog here. In writing class I am told to write what I am passionate about and I suppose the same holds true here; thus the day after day recounting of my artistic path. And besides, being creative connects me to my spiritual self and gives me that "bliss" feeling that keeps me going. Today, my husband asked me if I missed going to church. He's good at throwing these questions at me from left field, and a simple yes or no never seems an appropriate answer. I stopped going to church in 8th grade and creativity and nature became my source of church from then on. I suppose the fellowship and community is something to be gained from attending on a regular basis. I told my husband that when I did go to church, the highlights were watching the sun shine through the stained glass windows and listening to the organist playing resounding, reverberating music. I guess I really didn't answer him because he walked off, sat down at his laptop and began playing some computer game on Facebook. I, however, continued to mull the question. I guess I really don't miss going to church because it's within me in some form or another every day.

For example, I will be filling up my spiritual well tomorrow when I go to the Center. There I and four other Reiki practitioners will be giving people 10 minute "taste of reiki" sessions. This energy healing is meditative, connects me to God and feels very good. Sometimes the people who get on the massage table are in physical or emotional pain. The energy that comes to them from the universe through me (I act as a conduit) can be powerful and life-changing. During the evening, there is soft, soothing music being played, candles are lit and the Center's location in a woodsy area all play a role in setting a positive atmosphere. (There is a church feel in the air during this time). So for me, doing the reiki/energy work is a form of spiritual replenishment. Once a month, on the last Sunday, I look forward to healing myself and, hopefully others. In addition, it is amazing the "buzz" one gets from doing this kind of work. There is a sense of giddiness, call it joy, that fills you from head to toe and makes you crave more of these good vibes, for lack of a better name.

So do I miss not going to church, which I haven't done on a regular basic since 8th grade? Except for the occasional wedding or funeral that I attend, I find that there are other ways to sustain my spiritual path. Whether it's being creative, going to reiki shares, walking in nature, meditating or having a wonderful deep conversation with a good friend, I know I can count on these resources to help me cope when life gets a little crazy.

See, I hardly talked about art at all here. Well, there's always tomorrow.

May your spiritual light shine through.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Got Attitude

"I Got Attitude"
Watercolor, feathers, torn papers, inks
on matte photo paper

Yesterday was an experimental day. Originally I had printed Twiggins out on matte photo paper, which I usually do for prints. But I was running low on Magenta ink and the image came out lacking colors. The yellows were dulled down, for instance. So I decided to see what I could do to enhance the print. Now this would be tricky as the paper was rather thin. I've been told that collage/mixed media work needs to be done on watercolor paper or canvas, which is sturdier. But this was a test, I kept telling myself, for fun, so I first dabbed some watercolor on, followed by some colored inks. Yes, the paper was starting to buckle a bit, so I switched to other, less watery mediums. Prismacolor pencils helped brighten him up. Then I found some feathers bought at a craft store and a box full of handpainted papers I had constructed some time back. I felt good about tearing up the papers becaues they were still in their 8x10 original form and I had pondered thoughts of framing them. Now is that attachment to my creativity or what? After that first rip, it got easier and then I glued bits and pieces here and there on the bird, around the bird, and checked in with Twiggins to see what he was thinking about his make0ver. His eyes seemed to sparkle back at me so I proceeeded. Once the feathers went onto his head, I could see him getting an attitude. Attitude is a good thing, I thought, I need attitude for myself too. Not a cocky way of being, just more fearlessness, I suppose. Interesting. He was sharing himself with me and I was sharing myself with him. I knew I had transcended into another level when a more psychological sense of what I was doing was emerging. I had thought I would keep going and perhaps add some more colored papers but decided to scan him in as is and see how he looked.

The original Twiggins that I created loves to celebrate life. Twiggins #2, though a twin of sorts, wanted his own personality to identify him and make him stand out. The art process always teaches me something and here is what I learned from creating this bird. I need to access all parts of myself and not keep them hidden. I need to not be content with one aspect of me, in spite of its familiarity and safety. Need seems a bit hard-headed, how about if I replace need with want? That seems a bit more doable, softer.

Twiggins #2 has attitude now to keep going on his path. Show me the way, my bird friend. Keep that stiff upper lip and soar high!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Hidden Gift

"A Hidden Gift"
Digital Art

Lounging on petals
a fairy beckoned me in
and the world collapsed
but I did not care

- Beverly Bronson -

Just a fantasy image to start off the day. Yes, I will venture out of the flower to go to writing class today, wiping the pollen off of my face and the fairy dust from my eyes. And fairy may just decide to go with me. She wants to see more of my world! We are all one and can learn from each other!

Have a magical day full of wonder!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Butterfly Festival, Butterflies Everywhere

Dahlia #1

Dahlia #2

I could write a book about my day today at the Butterfly Festival in Lake Katherine. But I'll keep it short (ha, ha, that won't happen) once I start writing, and add more later. I met a few of my art league friends at the nature preserve and took some early morning photos of the butterflies floating around in their butterfly net home. Yes, I felt like ripping holes in the netting and letting them fly free, but instead restrained myself and took photos of them perched on flowers here, there and everywhere. It was still rather peaceful, mind you, as the "crowds" had not descended yet for the 11:00 am opening time. So the butterflies still seemed in a rather zenlike mood to me and I meditated, with my camera, on each one of them. Hey, this is my idea of Sunday church, what can I say?

After I was done taking pictures, I grabbed my paints and watercolor paper and decided to attempt a little plein air painting. I'm pretty rusty, well actually two years rusty from painting with s group of plein air painters, but felt brave and wanted to step outside the box. So I plopped myself down off the beaten path of people swarming in droves everywhere, choosing to recapture the beauty of a peachy pink dahlia that was just bursting at the seams.

Dahlia 1 above is full of color. I got the basic outline down and then the creative zone grabbed me and every color I could get my hands on graced the paper. When I was done with Dahlia 1, I decided to recreate a more approximate image of what stood before me. Suddenly I had flashbacks of a Chinese brush painting class I took in Florida a while back and the painting strokes began to take on those characteristics I had learned way back when. So Dahlia 1 and Dahlia 2 are two impressions of the same flower that was bobbing in the wind nearby. They are so different, yet painted only within minutes of one another!

Anyway, a good exercise for me. I guess I'm not really very good at plein air painting. I get too distracted by the events and goings on around me, and today there were a million things to steal my attention. Still, I was proud of my attempt. But even in my hiding place away from humanity (or so I thought), several people stopped by. A few were friends of mine and that was fine. Another was a very elderly lady whose kids? dropped her off nearby so she could rest. Maybe they thought she would be okay with me. We struck up a conversation, I forgot her name but she said she lived with a bunch of old ladies, she had macular degenerative eye disease and couldn't see my painting very well but still liked it and was quite pleased when she remembered my name when she waved good-by.

All in all, a good day out in nature surrounded by butterflies, kids dressed in butterfly costumes and happy, excited energy. I'm glad I dabbled in photography and painting while at the fest. It seemed to keep my creative mood sustained for a longer period of time. I think next time, though, I'll seek a quiet refuge if I decide to paint outside again. As I was getting ready to leave the preserve, I noticed a stray butterfly hovering on a thistle nearby. An escapee, I thought, and silently wished him well as he took off, free from his net confines! I think that's all any of us want is freedom, freedom to be who we are!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Georgia and Joan, You Live On In My Heart!

"Inspired by Georgia"
art collage

"To create one's world in any of the arts takes courage"
- Georgia O'Keefe -

Georgia O'Keefe has always been an inspiration to me. I have been to Santa Fe and seen the museum devoted to her. I have yet to get to Ghost Ranch, where she created so many fabulous paintings, but that is on my to do list. I want to walk on the grounds where she lived and feel that creative energy and spirit oozing out.

I found out recently that my college room-mate and now famous actress Joan Allen, will be playing the part of Georgia O-Keefe this weekend. On Saturday, on Lifetime TV, a documentary portraying the love affair between her and Alfred Stieglitz will be shown. I understand that there was a promise between Georgia and the TV station to make it historically correct. And why should it be otherwise? Though I don't get that particular channel, I am hoping to either have someone tape it for me or I shall go watch it with someone who gets cable. This movie means alot to me. To have my college room mate play such a beloved artist of mine is a double blessing. Over the years, I have lost contact with Joan, but am determined to connect with her someday. She does have a fan page on Facebook and I just joined the group recently, so we shall see.

As I'm devoting this post to Georgia, I happened to come across an old collage I did in a college art digital class. As I stare at the image today, I realize that I have added another artist painting a nude in the image. Like so many older creations I come across, I love to analyze the image and wonder why I did what I did. As Georgia gazes from afar, I ponder why I chose this other artist. Georgia did pose nude for Alfred, perhaps that is the connection. I see some bones lying in the ocean as well. Not the famous cattle skull bones she lovingly recreated, but bones are bones and well, what is Georgia without her famous bones? I remember traveling up to Taos, New Mexico and stopped at a roadside stand where a fellow was selling bones, bones, and more bones. I wonder if any of those bones were used in Georgia's still-lifes? Makes for a great story. Hm, perhaps I do have some material for a future writing... I notice some painterly effects I added to give the image a dreamy, more cohesive effect. And it seems the lack of color set a mood for this piece. How interesting, as I consider myself such a colorist these days. I am glad I was able to access this "old" creation because it does remind me of how much I have loved and embraced surrealism over the years. I know that this is one of the directions my artwork will take me. There's an inner knowing when one connects to something that just "feels" right to them, like a coming home of sorts.

It does take courage to embrace who we truly are, and I appreciate the quote by Georgia O'Keefe. Thank you, Georgia. Thank you, Joan. Your strong dedication to the creative arts sustains me on my own path!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Pearl Within I seek. Dive Deep!

"The Pearl Within I Seek"
Digital Art

Tomorrow is the beginning of a new season of Creative Writing at the Center. Click here to get more info. My husband teaches, or should I say, facilitates the group of writers who will gather weekly. Initially, I went to these classes to support my husband and help him run the group. But it opened my eyes to what a gifted, safe kind of teacher he is and I am so glad he shines his light on others. All along, however, he has told me that I am a writer and I have protested this mightily. I struggle with the writer concept, feeling it is hard enough as is to stay current with my artistic dreams. And being the experimental intuitive artist that I am, well I already have my hands full of creative mediums of a more painterly quality. But I must admit, I am finding some hidden gems within myself, through words, that I cannot express as a visual artist. So today, I am readying myself to make that shift to "writer" for tomorrow's gathering.

I chose the image above to represent and symbolize my "writer" self. The initial photograph was taken at Garfield Park Conservatory during the current exhibit "A Garden of Glass", which is created by Dale Chilhuly. More of his glass creations can be found at his website. Click here.
Anyway, this particular glass reflected in a mysterious way on the water it was floating on. It appears to be a spaceship, which tickles my fantasy fancy, but in this instance today, I shall call it an oyster. An oyster eminating energetic rays of creative life from the pearl that lays nestled within. I look at my writing process in the same way. I do not want to leave any hidden source of myself buried underneath. The healing qualities, the pearls, cannot be overlooked and I must dive into myself to recover them, pushing aside the seaweed of my ego which tries to trip me up. The words I added to the image as a warm-up for going into writer mode. So I take a deep breath now, go into the word processing area of the computer, and begin to tap some words out. I want to take a moment here to acknowledge Carol, a wonderful dreamy writer who almost daily has encouraged me to stay on my path. She inspires me with her writings as well and today I will go to her blog and remember the magic of writing, which you can access here.

Well, that is all for today. May you all dive into your inner selves and find those treasures that need to be stirred up and revealed. Think of them as gifts to the world and like a little kid, I cannot wait to receive them.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Reflections on being in an art fair

Bev at the Tinley Park Art Fair
Photograph taken by Roving Photograph Bob

I'm feeling a bit sore and sunburned today, ah the aftereffects of doing something you love. Every art fair I participate in is different and unique and I suppose that is what keeps me intrigued. Well, and sharing my art with the world, how much better can it get than that?

We were in a new spot this year. That threw me off a bit. We were away from the entertainment stage and wine and cheese area which was disappointing. There was a wonderful energy last year revolving around that location. It's strange how one must get acclimated to a new spot. We had to hug our tent close to a curb so as to allow space for the artist neighbor next to us. The Park Forest Art Fair was going on at the same time as the T.P. Art Fair and apparently some of the artists who should have been in T.P fair chose the Park Forest Art Fair instead. So the two fairs on the same weekend left for fewer artists , more empty spaces and still tight quarters. Go figure!
The annual parade that goes down Oak Park Avenue took a bit of a detour this year. One of the the bands decided to walk up and down in front of the art fair tent locations. At one point they stopped for it seemed like forever and played music right in front of my exhibit. I got some great photos of the band members but the fairgoers either got trapped in my tent as a result or had to stay away from the area till the band moved on. So this was a mixed blessing to me, and rather a strange situation.
Earlier in the day, about 500 motorcyclists gathered at a nearby pavilion to begin the journey to Abraham Lincoln cemetary? (Hey, Elena, I was looking for you on one of those shiny bikes, ha, ha). This memorial, which they have done for the past three years, is dedicated to a young Tinley Park Soldier who lost his life in Iraq. The Cardinal (not the bird) was even there and gave a blessing to the motorcyclists before they headed out. The Cardinal earlier had participated in a mass celebrating a church's 75 years in existance (In Orland Park).
As always, it was fun meeting people. One of my good photography friends stopped by to chat and that made my day. I hadn't seen her in so long and the two of us stood next to each other snapping photos of the band members and each other. Ah, the creative juices really flow when two creative spirits are together.
I got a lot of compliments on how unique my work is. Guess what, even got a 2nd place ribbon and cash award for having a great art setup and wonderful art. This was a first for me and affirms me on my creative path. I am doing what I am supposed to be doing!
One lady asked me if she could send me a photo she took in Hawaii and could jazz it up and make it look painterly and "different" like I do with many of my flowers. I told her I'd try and will await the photo via e-mail.
I am always grateful for my husband's support there. Putting the tent up and taking it down and making the display presentable is so right up his alley. I wonder what it would be like to do this alone at a fair? It would be a different kind of experience, I am sure. But in the meantime, my husband supports my creative endeavors and I support his, so this is as it is for the moment.
I got about four people to take pictures of me. Being a photographer, I am always taking shots of others and forget about myself in the process. So I am grateful to have a few photos I can literally "call my own".
Like everything else, I wonder how this particular art fair will pan out for next year. It was small and cozy but somehow less lively than previous years. There were no kids dressed up in costumes performing this year and several other activities that made this fair whimsical had disappeared. I suppose if the fair was the same every year it would be boring. But yet....... Oh, well, enough reflecting here. I just wanted to write while the memories were still fresh. Have a great day, all! Be well.....

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Inspiration From Those Who Surround Me

I am preparing for an art fair tomorrow. I need to mat and frame a few more pieces, but right now my feelings and emotions (and spiritual guides) are telling me to take a time out and write about someone who I feel is quite special in my life. A creative being who inspires me to the helm.

This particular artist I am speaking of is Fred Holly. A wonderful acrylic/colored pencil artist who teaches at Vogt Visual Art Gallery at Tinley Park, Illinois, his playful fantasy images are a sight to behold. Several of his images (done in acrylics) are posted here below.

(Offhand, I do not have the titles of these paintings, sorry)
Created by Fred Holly

I remember stopping by one time and seeing one of his works in progress, a castle with a hot air balloon rising into the sky. I was awed that he had created his piece totally from his mind and I knew then and there that one does not always need an image to "copy" from. Our heart, mind and soul has a wealth of inner material to draw from. I left the gallery that day swept up with possibilities about an imaginative realm where whimsy and fairy tales come true. Yes, he was someone who helped inspire me to create fantasy images.

Not long after this encounter, Fred suffered a very serious illness, which continues to disable him. Yet, he keeps painting and teaching classes at the Gallery. The only thing he cannot do is frame his own pieces anymore. I saw him at a recent reception for an exhibit of his work and felt his inner glow. In some ways, he seemed healthy and at peace (at least, his soul did). His mind was sharp and his wit still evident. Yet, on a physical realm, Parkinson's had recently invaded his life as a "side effect" of his initial illness and the shaking was there as he sat on his chair. I took his hand and his sweet smile radiated across his face. Yes, here was the Fred I knew. The spirit within still shone through.

I thought to myself about his passion and continued determination to spread his gifts to the world. What else can he do but live his life with his creatuve soul? For me, it is a lesson, to keep creating no matter what. and to live fully in the moment. I feel that everything in life teaches us something. If the resistance comes, which I personally encounter, remember those who have faced even greater obstacles and continue to share their creations in spite of, or as a result of. It can put everything into perspective.

Fred, thank you for coming into my life. You are a wonderful role model for me and I am glad to know you. I offer this virtual rose from me to you. May we each as artists continue to pass on the creative torch.....

"Stop and Smell The Flowers"

P.S. His work is on display the month of September at Vogt Visual Art Gallery in Tinley Park. Please stop by and see his magical works. Oh, and come on over to the art fair on Sunday too which is just down the road from the gallery. Here's the link for more info: Tinley Park Art Fair. I'll be there sharing my gifts too. What a great artist's day, don't you think? And now, off for a few last minute preparations......

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Belonging Yet Alone

"Belonging yet Alone"
Digital Art Collage
Watercolor, acrylics, photographs,
torn papers and some digital painting

Some days I feel alone. I so want to belong and sometimes when I try, I do not fit anymore. Especially when I seek refuge in old ways, old habits that seem safe and familiar, yet have an eerie strangeness that makes me feel queasy. Change is necessary, but the anxiety that accompanies it is unwelcome terrain. I feel like a square peg in a round hole, forcing myself to be happy, which ultimately brings resistance. I crave and relish my uniqueness, but it is often an isolated, lonely path. I encourage others, but at the risk of either neglecting myself or not heeding my own advice. My moods lately have been extremely high and low. I suppose I am not numbing myself anymore or losing myself behind my glasses of denial. They say to get to the gold within ourselves, we must feel the pain. I suppose......yet, it can be rocky terrain I walk over and dark caverns I grope through. I had a strange dream last night with my father in it. I have never dreamed about my father, but this particular dream had frightening aspects to it that still lingers as today moves on. The past has been reawakened and I wish I could put it back to sleep. I am thankful for spending time working on the above collage, for it helps alleviate some of the demons within, but then again, it aggravates them as well.

The image reflects various aspects of me, I am sure of it. The spiritual side, the darker shadow side, the flower representing hope and new blooms within. Above the more shadowy figure is a photo I took of an architectural piece designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was taken through a window. It sinks down into the figure, offering some sanctuary and respite. Both figures are brooding, not meditating, but brooding. Sometimes that brooding sinks me down. The words "Love may be grand" that cross the figure are elusive at times, love may be grand and then again it is fleeting and slips through my fingers. Today is a strange day for me as a multitude of emotions move in and out. I am participating in an art fair this Sunday and know that my emotions increase tenfold when these events loom on the horizon. Though there seems to be more, an underlying nameless feeling that lies waiting to pounce. I hope making this collage will release some of what is churning within. Usually this works, but there is some deep residue to muck through.

Thankfully, tomorrow is a new day. And I pray my dreams tonight offer some peace. Thanks for letting me share here. It's a good release.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Eyes - Windows to the Artistic Soul!

Today is the day after of an art fair I participated in held in Plainfield. I feel a bit sore physically, as setting up an art display can be a bit grueling. But emotionally and spiritually, I am rejuvenated by the event, so all in all well worth it. I suppose what stands out is the participation of elementary, junior high and high school artists at the fair. I was awed by their passion, enthusiasm and creative spirits. One of the aspiring young artists came by and struck up a conversation with me, sharing nice compliments about my artwork. She told me she did pen and ink art, so I made sure I told her to stay true to her artistic passion. Encouraging one another on our life path seems vital and I try to do that as much as I can. After all, I can't get enough of it myself and know how good it feels.

Later on I checked out her work and the work of other young artists displayed on easels and boards in the park center. They are all quite gifted and I can only imagine what the future holds for them. The art teachers seem very special as well and appear to be wonderful mentors. My new pen and ink artist friend and several other girls were also doing face painting in a booth nearby. Later in the afternoon, she stopped by my booth and showed me her dazzling blue eyes. Someone had painted her eyelids and when she closed her "real eyes", this is what the result was. How creative is this? Magnificant!

Several of her art friends were also raving about the beauty of another girl's eyes. These eyes were not painted on, but were natural. I can see why they were so complimentary of the eyes, which you can see below. There are wonderful lines and gold flecks in the pupil. Wow! And I can just imagine she is visualizing her next creative piece, even as I write these words.

As I mentioned earlier, these young artists were doing face paintings and I couldn't resist taking a photo of these butterfly eyes. Hey, I am known as butterfly woman myself, so I felt a personal connection here. Great artistic vision, so to speak, again a "true work of art". And someone seems very happy to have her face as the backdrop!

All in all, a very interesting day. I almost wasn't going to participate in the fair, but just imagine what I would have missed out on otherwise. I was so thankful to be surrounded by such joyful spirits. Sheryl, the Plainfield Art League President who got this event off the ground, always makes me feel so welcome and special. And to top it off, several reporters from the Plainfield TV station interviewed me and took photos of my artwork. The young reporter asked me where I get my creative inspiration from. Amongst other things, I told her that I am often inspired by the creative energy of others. And yesterday, well the eyes added their own special magic, putting truth to the saying that eyes really are the windows to the artistic soul!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How I Live My World

"Field of Coneflowers"
Digital Photograph

A rather rugged hulk of a guy was staring for a few minutes at some of my images at the art fair the other day. "Wow, what a way to escape from the real world", he reflected out loud. I thought about his comment and yes, it is a WONDERFUL way to live. From his point of view, maybe an escape, for me just living my heart.

And so today "Field of Coneflowers" emerges in honor of this gentleman, a photograph taken at Lurie Gardens in Chicago with a few dabs of fantasy thrown in.

The real world collapes around me and all I hear are the silent voices within. I give them permission to dance in the coneflower field. Perhaps if I look closely enough, I may see that man joining in! All are welcome.