Monday, October 26, 2009

Some African Animals Brightened My Day!


"Happy Cat"

Watercolor, Computer Paint Tools

The images above were painted during an arts/craft fair I participated in recently. Though the fair in general seemed light on the crowds, I decided to take matters into my own hands to alleviate some of the boredom and/or stress I was feeling at times during the event. The people across from us, Ethnic Arts Africa, (for their website click here), were selling wonderful figurines they had brought over from South Africa. Masks, paintings and assorted animal pieces such as giraffes, cats, elephants, alligators and owls filled their tables. We struck up a great friendship and, with their permission, I was allowed to take one figure at a time over to my booth and paint it. And, in the process, I learned how to interact with my fellow vendor and brainstorm on ways to help market both of our products. I even made a bit of a story out this, telling people wandering in that the figures had walked over to my booth, clamoring to have their portrait done.

This was a great exercise for me. I have done little painting when I am in a public arena (except for painting outdoors with fellow artists), so this was a perfect opportunity to stretch myself. My husband wanted me to sit right in the aisle so I could be more viewable to the public but strollers and people walking three abreast kept me staying a little more tucked in. And I was right next to the small cafe so there were some hungry campers coming through. As it was, at one point I knocked my water cup over. Well, I'm glad I did this myself but still....accidents happen. But, really, it was more than just being exposed to the public. I needed to feel safer internally, within myself. Art-making is a very personal experience, sacred even, and I feel I put my heart and soul out on the line each time I create. My inner child/artist needs to feel protected in order for me to access and tap into this deep part of me. I think creative types can understand this! Anyway, once I finished the giraffe, I felt more comfortable and was able to keep going with other images. I also painted a small fairy girl which Ethnic Arts Africa also sells (yes, they have a variety of merchandise), and I shall post this magical creature here in the near future.

I got some nice feedback on the creations above. Even kids and babies seemed charmed by the whimsical creatures. And isn't that what it's all about too, spreading the artistic joy to those who come into our lives? I pushed my creative boundaries, tapping into some resistance and then working through it and moving on. And I learned how to interact with my fellow vendor and brainstorm on ways to help market both of our products.

So I took a chance with this fair, with no expectations and came away rich with new visions and ideas. I do miss all my african animal figurines from the fair who came over to keep me company and am glad I have their painted portraits to remember them by! Thank you, Jan and Jack, for entrusting me with their care for a few hours. I am grateful to you both for helping my artist self to grow just a little bit more!!


Suz said...

good for you....having so much fun...that will only free you up to have more fun....nice critters...very pretty and exciting colors and form

Doris said...

Wonderful day you created for yourself! Could have censored yourself but you broke free of inhibitions. Kudos!

butterfly woman said...

Hi Suz,
Yes, I think I find surprises within myself I never thought I had. Preconceived notions of who we "think" we are as creatives limits us. So when the African herd wandered over to my booth, I just went with the flow. This is how I used to paint with the white backgrounds (many years ago) so maybe I'm connecting to a part of me I pushed way down (a childlike part).I used to judge my white backgrounds as not being good enough.Everything is really good enough.
Hi Doris,
Yes, my emotions (and censor and ego) were trying to wreck havoc with me over the course of four days. My comparison/competitive side was rearing its head.But my artist self where truth reigns won the battle. Thank God it's getting stronger every day!

Carol Anne Strange said...

Just popping in, Bev, to say hello. So wonderful to see your creativity continuing to shine. Keep up the wonderful work, you inspiration! x

Laura said...

So good to hear of you ventures and exploring, a notch on the belt and off to regroup, gather and set up the next one.... good for you.