Secret Garden Series -#2 OWL

18 x 24″ watercolor – Secret Garden Owl

My second painting is complete. I don’t know if it’s the distraction of the pandemic, but it feels like it took forever! I’m very happy with how it turned out. I feel like it conjures up the feeling of a secret garden.

Here are a list of objects to find within my secret garden painting:

A Dharma wheel, a Mayan temple, a chrysalis, an evil eye, a praying mantis, a potion bottle, the queen of clubs, fire flies, a fiddle head fern, matches, and a ladder.

Also, I am adding a Latin quote in each painting. This painting says “ALIS VOLAT PROPRIIS” which means “She flies with her own wings”.

Here were the three little studies I created to come up with ideas and the comparison to the large final painting:

So that’s it. Next I will begin part 3, the rabbit!

Back to My Roots

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From From My Garden,  16″x20″ watercolor 140 lb cold press paper

I just realized I have been posting the every-day-progression of this painting on Instagram, but never in my blog!

My blog is more like my journal or diary.  Maybe even my confessional? It is where I divulge my inner most thoughts, which many times can come off as self-deprecating  or even once in a while a bit witty and informative. I have all of those traits within me. I always think it’s best to be brutally honest because that is what is most sincere to others.  To see that we are all not perfect.  We all have struggles important to us even if they may not necessarily be important to others. We have ups, but we also have downs.

With that said, I have had an epiphany.  Did anyone else realize I have been working on abstracts in acrylic for over 6 years?  Personally, it’s been a really rough ride. I haven’t shown most of the paintings because I never felt like I could create the vision I had in my head.  Over and over again I would start a painting and feel defeated mid-way through. For six whole years. Day after day. I have probably 20 unfinished paintings in my basement.  It has left me truly wanting to quit art-making altogether.

But maybe it wasn’t that I needed to quit making art. Maybe it’s that I needed to change my art practice.

Before six years ago, I was a watercolor still-life painter.  That’s where I started. That’s what was intuitive to me.  I have traveled on a path of denying this. Trying everything else in my wake and de-valuing what came natural to me.  I blame this on being an experiential learner. Some of us won’t believe the stove is hot until we actually touch it. No matter who tells us otherwise.

I’ve had a six year stove-touching :)

I had to experience everything else I could do to know thyself.  Some think that’s why we are on this planet.  We didn’t come here to do what we already know, we came here to experience.

Well.  I am at the point that I am ready to value what comes natural to me.  I LOVE COLOR PERIOD and I really know my way around a watercolor box.

Since this awakening, which was about a month ago, I have been painting up a storm.  These watercolors are just flowing right through me. As soon as I’m done there isn’t ten minutes before I’m starting another. It feels great.  Like I’ve come home.

The painting in this blog is one of the first larger ones.  I’m working on another larger painting as we speak and then I’m also working on little 11×14 size paintings for more “fun/exploration”.  The little ones are my permission to not take myself so seriously.  That feels good too.

I am trying really hard not to look backwards and ask the question what do I have to show for the past several years?  I have to look forward and ask what will come out of me next? The answer I hope -amazingly bright colored pretty things :)

Now on to the ART-part of our programming.  I always think it’s fun to look at the progression of a painting. So here it goes:

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 I have questioned myself. Why florals? Ugh, still lives? How boring. Neither nature nor still-lives will ever lead you to something unique. Maybe I’m supposed to do or be something else? Would something else make me better, more well-known, more deep and introspective? Happier? Well I’ve spent some time looking for the answer to these neurotic questions .

After six long years, this is what I’ve learned. I didn’t choose floral watercolors. They chose me. A soprano is never going to achieve singing like an alto. They are a soprano. Singing like a soprano will light up their world. Meaning : Honor your skill set. Honor your strengths.

Surrender.

I have surrendered. So now let’s see where it takes me…

My new painting called “Close to Home”

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Let me show the progression of this painting before I start talking about it.

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I have this terrible affliction called insatiable stimulationWhat is this you ask?  

OK. I made this up but let me tell you the symptoms:  If my surroundings are not well-lit, sunny, happy, colorful and changing every 2-3 months I get agitated, depressed, restless and I want to physically move to a new home.  More poor husband.  Can you imagine your wife asking to move every 2-3 months?  He has learned to nod, smile and pretend he’s listening. I know he thinks I’m crazy and yet he still sticks around -God Bless em’.

So, it’s probably not realistic to move every 2 months.  I have had to create coping mechanisms to trick my system into thinking it’s in new surroundings without actually moving.  What I do is I gut my living room.  I empty it of everything and then I refill the room with whatever I own in a very different way.  For instance, this was my fireplace mantle at Christmas and this is what it looks like in January…

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I change the pillows, blankets, nick-knacks, table.  Everything.  And for about two months I lose that itch for new surroundings.

I tell you this long winded-story because it is the muse for my new painting.

I feel like I have kind-of run out of inspiration for a new room given my same-old tricks.  So I said to myself, “You’re an artist.  Create a new painting to give you inspiration for a new room”.  Duh, I can actually do this!

Now this new painting is a bit weird I know.  It’s incredibly bright.  A bit naive. And a bit wonky – (In a nutshell it’s me!). I had a hankering to cut paper like the artist Eric Carle of The Very Hungry Caterpillar child’s book.  Cutting paper is very physical and in reality it is carving away at negative space instead of creating a positive image.  Paper arranging allows you to move your composition around so that you can work on the spaces in-between images and make sure those spaces are just as interesting as your true subject matter.  Now when I say it’s me, what I mean is that it is incredibly personal.  I live in a little yellow house, the 4 birds represent my family unit, I am an avid gardener and environmental advocate, the two people represent the long hikes I take with my daughter and dead center is our lovely kitty-cat Willow.

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After painting all of the paper cut-outs, I truly had no idea what I wanted for the back-ground.  I sat with it for about a week and then I took a deep breath and decided to start with a grayscale under-painting.  My idea was to paint color over the under-painting but the black and white had so much energy to it I stopped.  It sort of reminds me of when the Wizard of Oz moves from B&W to color.  That is the most magical part of the movie. So I kept it black and white.  About 6 layers of varnish later and it’s one cohesive unit.

The painting is large. It’s 48 inches across.  It will be the focal point of my room.  But not until I become stir-crazy sometime in March.  I am content with my current living space, so I better not push it -LOL.

When that day comes, I will post a picture :)

 

Remember Me?

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Do you remember me?

Last, I was working on this painting.  That was June 20th.  The last day of school for my kids.

Guess what?

That painting is sitting exactly where I left it on June 20th.  Maybe, just maybe I will get to finish it now that the kids are back in school!

So much happened over the summer that I didn’t have the opportunity to blog.  My last post was dated August 2nd!  Subsequent to that post, I taught 3 weeks of pottery camp and then marched right into teaching adult painting classes this fall.  I feel like the universe is spinning so fast, I am desperately holding on by my pinky fingers!

Here’s a summary of the projects we did with over 60 pottery campers:

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Just because the three weeks of teaching pottery camp were over, didn’t mean pottery camp was over for us instructors.  We had to fire and glaze over 600 of their pots.  Needless to say, that took the following three weeks moving us right into Labor Day.

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If that wasn’t enough, I was invited to my first member’s invitational.  What an honor to have my art displayed in such a beautiful gallery (The show is running until October 13th)!

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I also carved out some time to devote to my own art-making.  Hopefully now that I summed up the past month, I can start posting on a more regular basis!

Here’s to the slower winter months!  Please dear Lord!  ;)

My Favorite Time of the Year

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My first jug has come out of the kiln and I am IN LOVE.

The flowers find their place in it perfectly.

Both pieces above feature my hand-crafted stamps. I keep gushing about this, but it really makes it feel so personal. LOVE.

No faster than I could park my car, was I in my garden finding the perfect buds.  This is my absolutely favorite time of the year, especially as a potter.  I get to take my pots from form to function.  I get to bring the beauty of the outdoors – in.  It is simply delightful!

Here’s a few more pots out of the kiln:

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Seriously though, the jug below here is my FAVORITE.  I generally don’t keep much that I make because my darling cherubs break them all, but this one might be a keeper.  I’m holding off though, I have two more coming out… you never know ;)  They might be winners too.

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I’m crossing my fingers!

Drawer Pulls

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Still waiting for my gouache paint to come… looks like I won’t be painting until Monday at this point!

So while I wait, I decided to knock a couple of projects off my to-do list.

First were some polymer clay drawer pulls.  I can’t believe it, but I looked it up.  I have been designing these knobs since the late 90’s…

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I used to create them for a multitude of hand-crafted artisan gift shops.  You know, the stores we all love to visit and indulge in on vacations and during the holidays.  About 10 years ago I stopped creating them.  The #1 reason was motherhood.  These little drawer pulls take an exorbitant amount of time (more than people want to pay for!).  Twelve years ago I had so much free time…so much crafting vigor…ah those were the days…

Never the less, a customer in New York found me.  She brought a drawer pull she bought ten years ago, into my mother’s gallery and asked if I’d make her some more.  Now she has a grandchild who’s room they are excitedly decorating and wouldn’t these be perfect?  …Yeah, they would….  How could I resist?

So yesterday I dusted off my old pasta machine (that’s how polymer clay artists condition their clay), I hand mixed all the colors, and set off creating my floral pulls, petal by petal until I reach their centers.

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Here were some drawer pulls I created for an interior decorator.  See how they match the fabric swatches?  It’s pretty cool.  I always thought they’d be my ticket to “crafter fame”…but alas…not so. Their time has not yet come…

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Yesterday was like catching up with an old friend.  One you know everything about, inch by inch, spec by spec.  I missed my polymer clay pals.  It had been too long.  It reminded me of just how much time had passed.  It was kind of sad actually.

But, I had no time to wallow, I had 4 kids to pick up from school.  There were soccer try-outs to rush to, dinner to make, laundry to wash…

Yeah. My life has changed quite a bit.  I’d say I’m just as creative as then, maybe even more so.  I am more confident and I clearly know what I want as an artist, but that time factor just eats away at my soul.  I never feel like I have enough time to create the myriad of manifestations rolling around in my head. I am sure the present me will tell the me of ten years from now,” hey, it was just a passing phase”, but never the less I always carry a great deal of frustration about time… It’s my number one metaphysical issue. grrr….

I think the Mary from 12 years ago would say keep going, keep reaching, keep exploring and try to obtain the unobtainable.  It’s what keeps us young at heart. The present me would say the same…and the future holds what the future holds.

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Hey former self, thank you for the trip down memory lane and the great words of encouragement. You know, we should do this again sometime…

yeah,   …sometime real soon.

http://www.becreativemary.com