O.K. confession time..I have been working on an abstract painting for way too many months. Each time I return to this painting I declare that on that particular day, if I resolve just a few more problem areas that my work will be finished! Sometimes I even take pictures of work in progress and look at it on my cell phone in the evening when I am home. I often convince myself that the next time I return to my studio... bingo I will just need to add a little of this or that and I'll be done. But even with some tinkering, that "finish" bell may not ring as I expected. How does one know when an abstract painting is done? One of my mentors said in a critique session "that a painting is not finished...it just stops in interesting places". So with that comment in mind, I'm returning to my studio and I am going to have a talk with my painting and ask it what would make you more interesting?
When this gorgeous photo of Lake Teedyuskung at Woodloch Pines's appeared on my Facebook News feed recently, I was pulled into the picture and dazzled by the absolute calm and beauty of this gift of nature. While the political world around me is filled with static and unwanted noise, looking at this photograph is a place to find peace and quiet. Spending decades vacationing at this popular resort, I have painted or sketched this lake scene over and over in all seasons. But this photograph by a gifted photographer unknown to me, taken on this winter day, reminded me that I can always find inspiration and solace in my art and in nature. The photo was also a reminder to me that I must work hard to protect that which is cherished, taken for granted or compromised.
Have you ever thought of your artistic inertia as a blessing and not a curse? Many creative types put a negative spin on such dormant episodes, calling these phases of hibernation "ARTISTIC BLOCK". No, no...these are critical relaxation periods for creative types when their pilot light is in reset mode. Shortly after these "breaks in action" the reset will generate a spark which often results in new ideas, turning points or revisions in one's approach to their work. A lot is always going on inside the minds of true artists. Like a sponge, the brains of creative people seem to be soaking up the world inside and around them. even when they are in a so called quiet period. These phases are not symptoms of inertia but rather recharging sessions which are critical to honor and cherish.
What a treat visiting Rosalie and Ray Gustafson, both artists who have a whimsical gallery and Frame shop called "Ray's" at 53 Poqonock Avenue in Windsor, CT. Rosalie always shares lots of her art tips and makes you feel right at home in her showroom. The shop is small but carefully planned to make to make every nook and cranny count. Rosalie enjoys variety in her work and often mixes her media to create interesting textures. One of her favorite techniques is to cut a landscape or cityscape design into a piece of Styrofoam (the kind found in the meat section of the grocery store) and to coat with paint and print with. She has done many paintings with a city scape theme that she starts out with the technique just mentioned. Than she collages painted or printed papers onto the original painting.
When I am making Mixed Media artwork I like to keep a pre-cut Mat "window" nearby to help me isolate parts of my work in progress that may actually be more exciting than if I kept the "whole" piece intact. I have been criticized for giving up too soon on "resolving" a whole piece and I understand that comment. I even at times feel a little guilty for reaching for my mat window, but I also appreciate that I respect my visual eye and if cropping is what is called for....that is what my artistic intuition tells me. Some guidelines that I use when I am making this decision to crop or cut up a piece of work is does the section I have highlighted show more composition integrity and or excitement than the piece as a whole? Sometimes eliminating "noise" or complexity is helpful. Are the color relationships keener in the smaller section chosen? Do I get more drama, serenity, mystery, movement etc. in the portion of the artwork that I have chosen to feature. These are some ways to think about should you crop or not.
It seemed to me that there needed to be a hub for obsessive and casual mark makers who enjoy adding wonderful lines, symbols, strokes, movement to their work. With that in mind, I started a new Facebook Group called "The Art of Mark Making in Abstract Art". Response to establishing this group has been very exciting ! Artists from all over the world are joining this lively group. To add a wide range of mark makers to the group, I have been scouting my other FB groups and inviting artists to join and spread the word. While, I know that a lot of "doodlers" are also Mark makers, causal doodlers were not my prime audience. my My goal is to bring together Fine Artists who work in as variety of media such as paint, pastels, crayons, ink, Watercolor, digital etc. The art exercise shown is one of my Midcentury inspired Watercolor and ink quickie pieces done on the beach during the summer on a Strathmore Bristol board "Visual Journal".
I have a love hate relationship with using art products as the company suggests. I usually start off just doing my own thing and then months later I read the directions. This is not always a safe thing to do, so let me go on record saying...don't listen to everything I say. In the case of permanent or even waterproof ink, we are not talking about too much "danger" here. But what we does happen with ink is that people get a little nervous about how to use ink products "correctly". I urge you to simply experiment with "drawing" with the tip of the bottle, dipping a brush into the bottle, loading a pen, using homemade brushes, etc. With practice you lose your "ink anxiety".