As a creative soul, it’s important to me to keep a fresh flow of ideas and perspectives entering my psyche so I can continue to grow. Taking classes is a wonderful way to do so. In recent years I’ve turned to more to online classes. Though I appreciate the human component in an actual class, in an online class I don’t have to commute and carve out a substantial chunk of my day to attend one session. I also have access to the video content so I can watch the lesson over and over again. In terms of engaging with other students, there has always been a dedicated Facebook page to post and comment on other students’ work.
As I am a non-traditional artist not wedded to just painting and drawing I find there is more of an eclectic selection of classes offered online. In the past, I have taken “Make Monotypes” (Gelli Printing) with Linda Germaine, “A Year of Painting” with Alena Hennessy, & currently, “Words & Pictures” produced by Carla Sondheim and friends. All these classes have been top-notch and reasonably priced. I made the mistake with “A Year of Painting” of not researching the artist’s style thoroughly. Though it was well taught ultimately the content was not for me.
If you are interested in taking an art class online, just Google online art classes in your specific media and then do some online research on the reviews as well as the artist’s work. Instagram is a good one for that. Also, consider MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) which are FREE.
I am having loads of fun at the moment with “Words and Pictures.” This class is currently getting me out of my comfort zone to explore lots of great ideas. A friend of mine signed up for the class as well which makes it even better. The current lessons are being taught by the infamous Martha Rich. We are quick sketching life around us and the conversations we hear (including internally). I have my first ones with this post.
Never taken an art class before? Go online. There is nobody to be self -conscious around but yourself!
I just spent the last few days on an explore of Austin, Texas with family. Having never been there before I was curious about the culture of the city having heard it mimics Portland, Oregon, the area where I reside. Both cities sport “Keep Portland Weird” and Keep Austin Wierd” slogans. I think Portland gets the credit on that one. In the short time I was there I would say that Austin was like Portland with more torn edges and a cowboy overlay. Substitute evergreen trees for oaks. Portland is artsy but Austin exudes art to the extreme. Street art is everywhere from graffiti to spectacular murals.
The city library did not dissapoint with its edgy architecture, art installations and its current art exhibit “Testament Project” by Kris Graves.
Green space is in abundance as well. We had a chance to stop by Barton Springs, a popular swimming spot and the Zilker Botanical Garden. So many things to see, too little time. I will have to go back.
There are times you will find yourself mired in a quandary. Sometimes the solution becomes clear in a relatively short amount of time and in others it takes a while to get clarity. Making art is a great metaphor for life in this regard.
I’ve had two art pieces that were finished – but not. Some things were missing and I did not know what. So I let them sit for weeks revisiting them from time to time. I had to let the questions percolate within me for months and be patient. Recently, I finished both pieces. All that mulling worked out in the long run.
The collage (“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”) piece pictured was mounted on a cradled (dimensional) board. Over the weeks I added more marks and contrast but it still wasn’t enough. I finally came to the realization that it needed a more definite frame around it. Thus I purchased a bigger cradled board, flipped it around, painted it a deep plum, and then mounted the collage board within it. Voila- closure!
The ceramic mask was the same way as I tried bits of this and that over weeks. In the end, I replaced the headdress of wheat with two lovely feathers, mounted a piece of an old earring on the forehead, and then glued brass nails around the neck area. That last step made the formerly boring piece really shine.
In both cases, it took me about three months to get resolution. The muse can be slow. Rushing won’t work. I do this same process with my writing. Put it away and let it stew for a while. There is nothing like having fresh eyes when looking upon a problem.
Solutions will come. Sometimes you just have to slow down and be patient!
Three years ago I started this blog to promote my artwork because that’s what “everybody” said you should do. (See “I was supposed to be Blogging About my Artwork”) I had no idea how to start a blog, nor post, and what do I write about?? I started anyway and when I got a “Like” and a “follow” on my first post I was stunned that someone actually enjoyed what I wrote!
Three years in writing a blog post is a weekly ritual. In the process, I’ve developed a love of writing and have gotten several pieces published along the way. It’s become a meditation of sorts, thinking about what’s been important to me in the week to share. The practice of blogging keeps me grounded. Some posts are better than others. Showing up is the important part. Originally I thought it would be more of a show and tell of my visual art process. My intuition told me to do otherwise and as a result, my artwork has taken a more back seat. This really is just a blog about me on the creative journey we call life.
Then there’s the takeaway from reading the blogs of others. I’ve gained a lot of perspectives just from reading about the experience of fellow bloggers and commenting on their posts.
Putting up this blog was a creative risk. Every time I post is a creative risk. But it’s with those risks we take we grow so much! Ultimately the most important thing is that my personal expression satisfies myself. I still don’t know exactly what I am doing but that is what makes it such an adventure. If you have been toying with the idea of starting your own blog, just do it. There are so many tutorials right on WordPress to help you on your way.
Soon to come this year is a second blog dedicated to tips on sustainable living. Also, I will be including some of my artwork on the bottom of posts just in case anyone is interested. Stay tuned….
A good intention is like the seed of a tree whose fruit we do not know.
George Bernard Shaw
It’s become a personal tradition to rather than make a long list of resolutions to pick a word to live by for the year. Last New Year my word for the year was “courage.” Looking back I believe I did the word justice (to the point of perhaps overdoing it?) I put myself out of my comfort zone by making a new body of work, participating in the Art Harvest Studio Tour, completing a printmaking residency, traveling Scotland to walk with friends & then to Ireland solo to attend Craiccean a week-long bodhran (drum) camp on one of the Aran Islands. Then there were a series of health issues that had to be navigated that took a different type of courage. I am happy to report things are much better!
Ready to give courage a bit of a rest, my new word for 2020 popped into my head during last week’s yoga class when my teacher asked us to think about and intention for the New Year. That word is “acceptance” with my secondary word being “focus”. I find one word can have quite a few layers to it and I am eager to explore where these will take me.
Last night I read the following poem I wrote at a gathering of friends as a toast to the New Year. I am very optimistic for better times and wish all of you the best for 2020.