Tangerine

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Tangerine -acrylic and charcoal on canvas

A week ago I was sharing the experience of drag-out fighting with a painting from beginning to completion. The painting here, was the exact opposite.  Every line went in effortlessly and when it was done, I thought “well that was easy”.

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This painting is 100% about color for me. I began by mixing my own oranges with magenta to create a hot and fiery backdrop.

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Well, I guess it wasn’t completely smooth sailing. I instantly hated the blue and the flower shape which I then had to get busy changing…

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Thanks to some gesso that flower began to become under control, but I did still hate that blue…my charcoal figures began to take form…

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I knew I was done when all the color felt right (bye-bye blue).

For me, this painting is about high-impact energy.  Things are busting and colliding and you can feel the jagged motion of  my charcoal lines.

The other night, my non-painting sister went to a drink and dabble. She sent me a photo of her completed painting.  They had taught her how to layer in a background and then allowed her to paint whatever she wanted into the foreground. My sister created this very soft tree.  Her color palette was creams and grey and caramel colors. I instantly felt peace and quiet from her color choices.

The thought of this has stuck with me. When I look at her painting, it tells a lot about her as a person. She is a soft-neutrals kind of gal in the way she dresses, decorates and behaves.

So of course my next thought was “if my sister paints soft and calm and is those things -then what do my paintings say about me?

Chuckle, chuckle, I’m not sure I can even go there…  The first word that comes to mind though is VIGOR – in a nutshell, an active strength of force. The second word – BOLD. My personality is very finite. Everything is black and white with me – I have no room or tolerance for gray areas. My final word that comes to mind is – TORMENTED. Inside I am a tangled up mess.  I want to do everything and try everything yet most things are complete opposites on the spectrum. With art I am fighting with my love of realist still lives versus  intuitive abstracts. ALeo creating subject matter the world might like versus what I may like. And I guess feeling strong and feeling week and vulnerable all at the same time.

It is an interesting thought. Art can be very loaded and very much give you insight into someone’s soul.

Luckily I live in a world where the soft and the bold can actually be born from the same mother. There is room for both to coexist beautifully. A world where we can learn and prosper from both.

And yet I must embrace who I am. No apologies. I was given my own very specific genetic make-up. I have learned to love what I am and make peace with that which I am not. Will this show in my work? Does this show in my work? Is that the true artistic path -to use your strengths to their best abilities?  It leaves no room for comparing yourself to others or what’s trending in your industry. You must silence it all and go within.

This is where I’ve been trying to hang out lately. I believe it is the path to tapping into THE CREATIVE FORCE. Embrace. Go within. -and see what comes out.

 

 

Happy Tree

 

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This is part of my intuitive painting series.  That’s where you show up, throw paint, make marks and not have a preconceived notion of what you are going to paint… Things evolve and the artist themselves is just as surprised as anyone with what is created.

The strangest things come out and they are always different from one another!

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_2016-02-24 16.48.29 _2016-02-25 15.00.38At this point I started to see the tree…

_2016-03-18 12.26.34Then the only thing I liked about the painting was the tree!_2016-03-18 14.59.47I was going to scrap the painting entirely by throwing more paint on top of it.  My first change-up was that big black stroke in the sky.  I was going to put big black strokes all over the entire thing, but after the first one, the painting became a little more interesting to me…so I kept going with it..

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Adding blacks, lights and darks, it evolved into this.  I live by the Atlantic Ocean.  The New England sea is a deep blue like no other place in the world.  That came to me in this painting.  And I just loved that tree!  It’s the only thing that kept this painting going.  To me, it is pretty and happy and it wanted to be manifested.

In the Springtime

 

2016-03-17 10.21.38.jpgIn The Springtime – acrylic and charcoal on canvas 20 x 24 inches

This is another intuitive painting, meaning there is no preconceived subject matter. You just show up to the canvas, add some paint and make some marks. Here is the progression:

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2016-02-26 15.35.02I didn’t like where this was going, so I slopped on some heavier layers of paint…

2016-03-10 11.32.59At this point at least the painting started to get a little interesting…

2016-03-17 10.21.35The movement of pattern in the leaves of the trees was enough to make me stop drastically changing and layering the painting. It started to give me a feeling of nostalgia for the spring and the beautiful pastel haze of all the trees.

Mmm… I love the spring!

  I love scratching the earth, planting seeds and feeling the warmth of the sun…

Yeah, do you think my subconscious is trying to tell me something?

Come on Mother Nature. BRING ON SPRING!!!

Bouquet In the Wild

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Bouquet In the Wild 4ft x 4ft acrylic & charcoal on canvas

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At this point I truly hated where this painting was going…

So I drastically changed it!

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It of course reminds me of Matisse, not that I knew that while I was working on it.   I almost wish I had a 10 foot canvas so I could see what my curtains and wall paper would have looked like ;)

Intergalactic

4Intergalactic (10)Intergalactic acrylic painting 30″ x 40″ inches on canvas

I was visiting with a friend of my mother’s who told me somehow she must have been dropped from receiving my blog via email.  She hadn’t received anything from me in months.  Well Miss Sharon, it’s not your email account it is me. It’s been a month actually and how fast that flew.

I am my children’s nanny in the summer and of course my cherubs come first.  It’s amazing though how one week I think I am going to be able to do everything and the next week I drop off the face of the earth for a month!

Don’t get me wrong, I have done plenty.  I taught pottery and art camps, painted 3 more paintings and binged on our local beaches.  I have LOADS of photos to share, but first I have to get my kids back into school. 5 more days of freedom before all of us get back into a schedule.

OK. Enough with the excuses… LET’S TALK ABOUT ART!!!

Here is the layering progression of my painting Intergalactic:

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The first layers of this painting had fish swimming around and there was a house with windows and doors.  But eventually I started to see planets forming and from there I was hooked!

There are many layers of floating stars and planets.  When you see it in person you can actually look through the layers. To the right there are hands reaching to pluck one of those stars from the sky or is it just a strange plant?  I left it ambiguous.

I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot of Keith Haring influence in my use of the charcoal.  When I pick up that piece of charcoal something makes me draw very ballsy and bold.  Nothing soft and nurturing coming out of my hand.  My cousin Liz is designating this my “Piss and Vinegar Series” and I think she’s right.

There are some issues with these current paintings.  I don’t feel like I really have control over color – what is coming out isn’t exactly what my right brain would plan and there isn’t any quiet space.  In theory there should probably be at least one-third of the canvas solid and opaque giving your eye a place to rest…

It shall take many attempts to tame my inner-dragon.  As I have mentioned, these paintings are intuitive paintings which means I spend countless hours trying to keep that right-brain at bay.  Each stroke and color is done by pure gut – no thought.  Pretty freaky what comes out of my psyche huh?

Eventually I will be able to marry my left and right brain and come up with some images that have some thought, planning and organization …. with just a hint of “piss and vinegar!”    :)   but for now I am learning and shall let my heart do what my heart wants to do!

 

The Guardians

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Are you ready for this??? ……. I’m actually completely happy with another painting! Woo Hoo!!!

It’s always nice when critiquing time comes around and you don’t even have to hear yourself complain!

OK. So this is how it started out.  I used 300 lb cold press paper. I believe it’s 24×30″.  I used acrylic paint and charcoal.

I am in love with using the charcoal.  I was roaming around YouTube one day and found an artist named Gerda Lipski .  She was combining acrylic and charcoal on watercolor paper and I was instantly mesmerized.

For me, there is something about using this thick heavy paper that creates translucency that traditional canvases just can’t match.  In the next few days I will show you canvases done at the same time as this painting and ETHEREAL and you will be able to tell.  The canvases are much darker and busier.

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Now, let’s talk about the initial layer of this painting .  It looks like a horrible 80’s-throw-back painting doesn’t it?  I love this intuitive painting style because you just pick a point and start, but as the artist you keep going and going until you intuitively know you are finished.  So with this initial layer I gave myself quite a few shapes in charcoal that I could flip the paint around multiple times and see where it took me, but with this painting, I knew instantly.  Even though they are round, I knew them to be eggs.

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The birds were created using stencils I created for bird paintings a year ago.  They were made from cardboard from my recycling bin and on many occasions I almost tossed them back into the recycling, but for some reason I allowed them to kick around in my basement and instantly when I saw those eggs in my mind, I also saw those bird stencils.

Birds? Eggs? From there came building the nest.  There are many layers of acrylic and charcoal swirling around this painting.  It was fun.  I envisioned the robins in my yard picking up twigs one at a time adding and building.  I took my inspiration from them and added and edited until I knew the nest to be complete.

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As I looked at the painting, the last thing I felt it needed was a glow.  That made it mystical to me.  When I look at the painting complete, I see the two birds as guardians of something quite magical.

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So taking it to another level check out this book that found me.  I say this book found me because I went to Block Island, entered their library, climbed up the stairs to a room in the library less perused by many, randomly turned into the third row and right at my eye-level was this book:

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I’m into anything spiritual and mystical, so of course I grabbed it and read it on the beach last week.  Very cool book about Ancient Mexican Shamans by the way, but the thing that stuck with me, is that the shaman in this book interprets human’s energy mass as circular orbs of light.  Shamans believe every darn thing in the universe to be some form of energy.  There are trees, rocks, birds, thunderstorms, mental thoughts, global thoughts, wind, universe…the great creator…everything is energy and has a shape. To them some energy looks like filaments, clouds, fluid and some energy looks like orbs.

What I found interesting, is this shaman’s lineage goes back like a thousand years.  Each shaman passes the information learned to the next generation and this is the part I found interesting.  What this particular family of shamans interpreted was that humans auras were egg-shaped a thousand years ago.  When the shamans saw humans energy masses then, they were in the shape of an egg.  Today, in the twentieth century, they interpret the energy as orbs – circular.  Something happened over the centuries that our energy masses shifted in shape.  I believe it had something to do with the hardening of our thought processes and the interpretation of all matter as concrete and finite.  This has changed our auras shape.

hmmm…

Have I scared you off with all of this mumbo-jumbo?

When I got home and looked at this painting again I thought to myself, yes, exactly!  This was what I felt when I was painting!  I instantly saw those round blue circles in my painting as orbs/eggs even though they weren’t “egg-shaped”. I knew them to need this special glow of light, like energy.

The birds in my painting are the guardians. Guardians of something mystical. Guardians of us humans.  Anyone who knows me intimately knows I have had a really strong connection to birds in the past 3 years.  Strange stories I could tell you…

So why am I dribbling on?  I read this book which totally put what I knew about my painting into words.  The crazy thing is the synchronicity.  I finished the painting two weeks before I got on a ferry, went to Block Island, randomly climbed the stairs, went into the third aisle and found this book waiting for me.

The painting and the book were connected but separated by time.

If that aint an amazing koinky-dink, then I don’t know what is…

WEIRD right?  … do-do-do-do!

The Big One

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Abstract 48″ x 60″ acrylic painting

This was the first in the mark-making abstract trials.  Here’s how it started:

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On it’s way to being a boring old landscape…it was abandoned to my basement…

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This was one layer of random gesso and a layer of warm pigments.

From there, I added a layer of cool colors, some black and white additions, more reds and oranges…and then…. and then…

I froze.

I liked what had come out thus far and I couldn’t bring myself to cover up what I had thus created.

So I abandoned it and left it in the state that it was…

It’s a good thing because 2-3 weeks later it would have been in with the others – a state of disappointment.

There’s something to say about following your gut.  It knows what it knows without us understanding how it knows what it knows.

You most likely won’t see anything like this come out of me again. It’s doesn’t feel like my personal style, but I must say, this painting looks pretty darn cool in my bedroom!  I get lost in it every morning!

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Laugh it up, but this is the only photo I could find that gives you an idea of the painting’s size and proportion.  Proudly taken by my ten-year-old!

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OK. my slate is clean…

Now I can show some paintings I’m feeling really good about.  Woo-hoo!

Back to work!

2 More and 1 More to Go

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Below   -acrylic painting 30 x 40 inches (it’s a big one!)

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Through the Tree   -acrylic on wood panel 16 x 20 inches

I am not going to write too much on these.  They had the most issues for me and I’m neurotic enough without adding fodder to that feast!

Simply stated, these were the first layers:

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Crazy I know, but what I liked about the first layers is their pure clean color.  As I was instructed to add more and more layers to try out someone else’s process, the paintings got muddier and muddier. That didn’t sit well with my own personal style. Cool, because now I know that!

Chalk it up to experience as they say!

I’ve already started these new paintings where I’ve taken all I’ve learned from this process and I’m applying it in my own way.   I’ll start showing you them but I felt like I needed to get these previous ones out of the way.

So time to rip off that bandage, show my learning curve to the world and hope that someone else identifies with the great strength in showing that which you feel to be your most vulnerable.

It reminds us all that Van Gogh’s don’t come out the first time.  We are not alone in that.  I repeat. WE ARE NOT ALONE IN THAT. There may be a hundred paintings before you even find your groove. So you have to DO IT ANYWAY, FALL GET UP , FALL AGAIN GET UP AGAIN, EXPAND & SHRINK & EXPAND because that is how you get to the other side of anything worth attempting.  This sounds great in theory but the actual practice takes tremendous courage. It’s terrifying!

Still, we have to create the first hundred and we have to be ok with what comes out.

I have to say, being here in this stage, it feels quite invigorating and very freeing in a sick and tormented way.

Yeah, that’s sums it up and that’s how I choose to roll!

Come join me, the water’s great!  ;)

Swirl

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OK. Experiment #3    Swirl    -18×24 inches acrylic

This painting reminds me of jewelry. All of the circles remind me of gorgeous glass beads but also, there are little flecks of silver & gold leaf throughout which makes it sparkle.

There is also a spiritual element.  There are the birds flying throughout.  Birds always represent freedom to me.  Freedom to soar, to roam, to come, to go.  There’s a bird exhaling which to me is  pent-up energy.  So it’s the release of energy and then I vision the feather blowing in that wind-energy.  I’ve been reading a lot about Native American totems and spirit medicine which is definitely creeping into my work. The Native Americans encouraged blurring the lines between imagination and reality.  That which one could imagine has deep meaning for each specific individual and each individual could then learn from their own imagining and apply it to their “reality”.  It is not lost on them that “image” is part of the word imagine.  They believe in very specifically surrounding yourself with imagery – hence totems.  Imagery with symbolic reference. That speaks to me.

In fact, here are the bellies of 6 bird totems I just started Tuesday:

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No heads yet…hopefully next week :)

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So far, intuitive painting brings up mysticism and magic for me; that’s what bubbles up to my surface.  It makes sense, I spend every waking moment trying to figure out why I am here.  You know, the big question.  So of course that would be what comes out… pretty cool. Your heart gets to speak through a visual language.

Grrrr… I sure wish this was five times bigger than it is.  I am going to have to work on getting larger canvases.  Does anyone know how to do one of those kick-start campaigns?  I wonder if I asked people to donate to “me” as their cause and in turn I could send each of them a signed print of one of my large magical canvases that don’t exist yet but would exist due to them…that would be a cool concept.  Any one?  Knowledge you could impart?

My friend Judith from Synchronicity and Company, sent me this quick one minute movie from NPR’s Ira Glass. It really speaks to exactly where I am.  EXACTLY.  It is so frustrating but so true.  It is exactly how I feel.  Thank you for imparting your wisdom Ira!

Click here it’s only one minute!  http://omeleto.com/188186/

I started 5 new paintings this Monday. I am working on many at once to try to keep from “thinking”. It works.  I just keep twirling around using my intuition instead of over examining.  Cool things are coming out and I’m already changing AGAIN! … intuitive painting is so cool, because even as the artist, you have no idea what’s going to be created!

It definitely keeps you coming back for more!

OK. Off to paint… YES!!!