Saturday, May 29, 2010

Art and Fear and Yupo

I have been reading ‘Art and Fear’ and dealing with my “Artists’ Funk”. I am always amazed when I hear and read about those who have never experienced it. However, I have broken through my ‘funk’, but not without some frustrations. One of the suggestions in the book is “When things go haywire, your best opening strategy might be to return—very carefully and consciously— to the habits and practices in play the last time you felt good about the work. Return to the space you drifted away from and (sometimes at least) the work will return as well.” The last time I felt excited about my work was when I was entering local art association shows and painting on Yupo. In fact, painting consumed me to the point that I rarely posted as attested to in my June 16, 2008 post.

If you have never heard of Yupo it is a plastic surface that accepts water media paints but has a mind of its own. The paint slips and lifts at the slightest provocation. A Japanese firm created it for sign painting. When I saw the wonderful paintings done by George James, I knew I had to try it. The first time I tried Yupo I cautiously drop some watercolor on the surface and a weird little bloom appeared. I added other colors and before I knew it, I had a strange flower staring at me. With a few pencil accents and paint lifts, I decided it was finished. I signed and titled it ‘Yupo Blossom’. From there I went on to paint some award winning abstracts. After reading chapter V in the book I am cautiously on my way again. The Yupo and watercolors are set to go and my blogging will have to wait in line!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nurturing Creativity

In my search for inspiration I discovered this 2009 video on of Elizabeth Gilbert and the subject of "Nurturing Creativity". Elizabeth is the author of one of my favorite books, Eat, Love, Pray. Her talk is about (and I quote)" the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses -- and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius. It's a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk". The talk is almost 20 minutes long, but I believe it is worth it. I worked on a mixed media piece while I listened. I smiled, was inspired and could relate to so much of what she said. Elizabeth gave me permission to keep on creating the weird pieces that I have been creating. Not sure what is up with my muse, but I am going with the flow. Olay!

A footnote: one could spend hours watching videos on TED, and another one I enjoyed is Amy Tan's video as she explores the creative process. This videos really needs to be watched rather than just listened to as she has a clever Power Point presentation

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Easing Forward

I have spent the past few days in my studio, pouring, splashing and wiping out paint along with doing some college. Nothing I consider successful, but that was not my goal. I just wanted to break my dry spell and move on. I gave myself permission to put the" shoulds" behind me. I think this little experimental wipeout watercolor on hot press illustration board, reflects my frame of mind. In fact, the more I look at it the more I like it; not as a work of art, but for the message it gives me. It is not like anything I have created before and probably not again. That is okay too. I am just easing forward.

Friday, May 14, 2010


One of the most interesting blogs I follow is Katharine A. Cartwright’s blog. Katharine is currently reviewing a wonderful book, Art and Fear, by David Bayles and Ted Orland. I bought this book a few years ago and as with most books, as much as I liked it, I did not find the time to finish it. I have always felt guilty if spent too much time reading. I usually try to read a little before I go to bed and I end up falling asleep, so it has been great reading Katharine’s book synopsis… A book club online and that feels productive to me.
What does all this have to do with retirement? One would think that being retired I would not feel guilty about reading or doing anything for just the enjoyment of it. One word, “annihilation”. The subject of a section in chapter III in the Art and Fear book and Katharine’s May 12th post. it refers to how some artists feel and react to dry spells in their work. Since I retired and no longer do shows or have an agent, etc. I have experienced this feeling of annihilation. I do not have the energy or the good health I had a few years ago so my productivity, even for my own pleasure, has diminished. The guilt and feelings of hopelessness gets heavy at times, which seems to exacerbate the “dry spell” problem. I eat too many sweets for energy (counterproductive), and when I am not going to the doctor, I am grocery shopping and doing other chores, but not painting. My excuse all winter has been the lack of heat in my studio. I tell myself, now that the hot weather is settling in, the studio will be the coolest place in the house and surely then the creative juices will flow! Now I am whining, which I really dislike, but I thought if I came clean with my fears, then I could deal with them. I hear the clock ticking and avoiding my studio will not slow it down. Maybe this will be my epiphany. Today I will go down and just throw a little paint on some paper and hopefully the muse with appear!

An epiphany is the moment when you run out of excuses for yourself, and nothing is left but the truth. ~ Kenji Crosland,

Saturday, May 01, 2010


For me spring is a time for renewal. A time to clean out the cobwebs of winter, plant seeds and get my house in order. It is also a good time to put my business affairs in order. With my taxes filed, next on my list was to finish my new website. The allotted space provided by my previous web host was limited and I had to use their templates. I tried to modify them to suit my needs for almost 6 months and finally gave up. I changed to a host with unlimited space and the option to create my own site. I am not that computer savvy so I bought a program to help me. It took me a little time to grasp the fundamentals (still not sure, I have done everything right), but I am now published online. I plan to add other images soon. The only thing still hanging is my domain transfer. It expires in 5 days so I am cutting it close. Fingers cross that I do not lose my domain name and all the work I have done...... Now I have tomato plants waiting for my attention.
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