My head is currently filled with ideas being nurtured! I think some will soon be ready!
Ideas are nurtured and developed in my brain and don’t come out until they are ready, similar to how new beings grow and develop within a protection, where they are kept safe from harm. They are held gently, caringly, allowed to take their time until they are ready to be born. A seed of an idea is formed in my mind. It may die off and not grow any further. Or it may grow quickly and push its way out bursting onto the scene. Or, more likely, it will grow steadily, taking its time, forming itself properly until I know it is ready and I then allow it to emerge.
My head is currently filled with ideas being nurtured! I think some will soon be ready!
I received an email from a Lehigh University art history student asking me about these pieces. Lehigh University is within walking distance of my studio and students often walk the building.
It prompted me to write a little about them.
There are 2 pieces that go together (More Than Meets the Eye (Orange) is a companion piece). The concept with this piece is to serve as a reminder that there is always more than meets the eye. There is as much that we don't see as we do see. This applies to people, trees, the Earth, space, even thoughts, emotions, ideology... there is always more if we dig.
There is also always an opposite to all of those things. What we see/what we don't; tree trunks and branches vs the roots below; water on the surface vs below the surface (and the chemical component which is not seen by the human eye); for every happy moment, we have unhappy ones; 2 sides to an argument; debate, etc. To fully understand ourselves, the world, others, etc, we should seek to understand the opposing view/thing, things we choose to share with others/the things we keep to ourselves, etc. We are all seen by the outside world in certain ways, and we all have internal privacies.
Blue and Orange represent sky and earth. They are opposites on the color wheel - complimentary colors.
I also used the balance of color and black and white on either side of the yin-yang to further demonstrate opposites creating wholeness.
The yin-yang is used symbolically. I like how it divides equally with a flow in and around each half, serving as a reminder to keep balance.
The charcoal drawing portion uses the grain of the wood as a starting point. I find lines within the wood to begin with, continuing to then create a semi-surreal landscape. These landscapes create a space for contemplation of "where am I?" A place of mental meandering. The imagery also reminds us that there are times when we think we know where we are but in reality we don't. Things grow and develop in unique and surprising ways. There is recognizable imagery but it also doesn't make realistic sense.
The blue area is more "open". As the viewer gets caught up in the twists and turns of the drawing, they eventually find their way to the open and freeness of the blue. But, there is also texture and movement within the blue area. It is more subtle.
The processes of the 2 halves are also different. The drawing portion is done from what I refer to as "the inside, out" whereas the color half is more "the outside, in". Meaning that when I create the drawing side, I am turning inward. Remembering imagery I have experienced. Allowing my intuition to drive it's creation. I am in control of my hand holding the materials. Whereas, the blue side process is putting color down and losing control over it by adding water and plastic wrap. This process is kin to many things in life where we have control over choices but not outcomes because of outside influences. Both processes are a balance between control and letting go, though.
Holy cow! I haven’t posted in more than 6 months?!?! How is that possible? Let me fix that right now!
November and December brought a focus on the big Christmas season with commissions, gallery show and Christkndlmrkt, which always means making jewelry! A huge thank you if you became a new owner of one of my pieces.
And then 2018 came! I decided to make a little shift of my energy to build up some classes. I have many people reach out and ask when visiting my studio if I teach. My children are growing up which allows me to be more available for evenings and after school. And a few other teaching opportunities found their way to me, so it seemed as if the universe was telling me “get teaching, girl!”. I have a decent class schedule going now of watercolor, mixed media and drawing and painting. I am still developing a few more and I will be teaching summer camps at the Banana Factory for 2018.
I have had some interesting conversations with my students about the benefit of taking classes vs watching youtube videos or other online courses. I will share those in another post coming soon.
Now that classes are set, my next focus is to build my jewelry line. Stay tuned, I am researching and learning some new things with the hopes to make them even better for you!
And then there’s my studio work…. I have never thought of myself as working in series, but I recently recognized that I think I actually work in “stages” or “periods” (?). I am still contemplating this but have been feeling a big pull towards exploring sculpture again. I have a lot of projects working themselves out in my mind.
I think we live in such a product-based society that these hours of thinking, contemplating, processing, absorbing are not valued. But I know that they are crucial to my growth as an artist. They always lead to growth in my work.
I think people buy art because it has touched something inside them that they want to stay connected with.
Imagine seeing a work of art that has reached a place within; whether it nudged gently or touched like a spark, it made you pause. Maybe to contemplate or feel or question. Or maybe you didn't quite figure it out yet. But you are aware. You walk away. You still feel the effects of the experience. You carry on with your daily life and, because it is human nature, you fall back into your rut.
Now imagine if you had that piece of art in your daily life. That connection to that place within will grow. It will become more of you. It might be a sense of peace and calm, it might be a challenge that helps you resolve. It might give a reprieve from your stressors.
You may not be able to put it to words. You may not be able to explain your connection. Because the art is the language. The art enables that part of you to become forefront in that moment. It facilitates a an abstract communication. It opens the door for you to become a better you.
I started working on some new pieces with a new approach this weekend. It’s an attempt to "not think so much". To stay more just in the moment. To trust my instincts. I wanted to focus on this because I want to have more of that in my life. I want to get out of my head and back to the "just do" mentality. I tend to be an over-thinker and it can be to my detriment. I do like that I am a deep thinker, but there is a balance between thinking deeply and staying in the thought too long. I can have the tendency to stay in my head for a very long time and that can hinder true progress. It can create a sense of fear about moving forward. Over-thinkers tend to not act until they feel they have thought everything through completely. Sometimes, it is better to be free to “just do” without all the halting pause.
Can you relate?
What do you think?
What is your first thought?
Your first reaction?
I have spent the past 2 weeks creating peaceful scenes. There is a lot of strife in the world. I feel the turmoil deeply. The way this affects me as an artist, in terms of what I create, is not to “put it all out on the canvas, but instead to create what I want more of. Feeling the need for peace and calm, that is what I was drawn to create. I see these paintings as easy and comfortable, both to create and to view.
I hope you find a moment of calm and peace. Maybe these paintings can help.
I wish you all to have a wonderful week.
I went to the Allentown Art Museum with my daughter and youngest son last weekend. As we were leaving, my son says, “Does art make you smarter? Because I feel smarter. Like I am making connections in my brain that I wasn’t before.” Yes, honey, it does :)
As an abstract language of emotion, art reaches parts of your brain that may otherwise lay untouched. Or, it keeps alive a part in you that enhances your being. When you are looking at art, your brain is working to make connections. It is working to make sense of what you are seeing but then also trying to connect it with how you are feeling. I think all types of art does this to some degree. You know you are looking at something that is flat, 2D but it has depth. You might be looking at a painting of flowers, but the flowers have been edited by the artist. You try to understand those edits, even if it is at a subconscious level. You try to reconcile what your brain is seeing with what you believe should be there and why there are differences.
This is even further challenged when looking at more abstracted pieces, or surrealism. You are challenged to figure it out for yourself. Even if you understand the artists’ work, your brain is spending energy looking, identifying, connecting. Sometimes it is the colors we respond to, or the shapes, or lines, or the imagery itself. It evokes a feeling as well. And we want to understand how this thing in front of us has caused us to feel.
What am I feeling? What is it about this that is making me feel this? Do I like this feeling?
When you are paused by a piece, these are some of the things going through your mind. You may not be aware of it, but from having many conversations with people about art, I do believe that this is the basis of what goes on. You are trying to figure out the connection you have or don’t have. So your brain is engaged and different parts of your brain are activated. So, in truth, I don’t know if you can say art makes you measurably smarter, but I think it awakens your brain and connects with your soul which definitely creates opportunity for you to be more than you were before.
I think it can be important for us to understand why we do things. It helps give meaning to our work (not just art work, but any work that we do). It is the motivation behind the effort. I hear a lot of this commentary lately, “I am an artist because I don’t have a choice. It is who I am. It is how I approach life and essential to my existence.” To someone who may not have that in their own life, that may sound a bit dramatic or unbelievable but it is very true for me. However, how did I discover that about myself?
I touched on this subject in a very early blog post: I Create for Us, It’s a symbiotic Relationship
I just reread that post and can say that I still find it very true. So I invite you to reread that for insight into WHY I create.
But there is more! (Isn’t there always?) When I was in 3rd grade, my family moved to a new town so I started in a new school. One day, I was pulled from class and brought to another room where there were a few kids working on various things. I was asked if there was something I would like to do. I was so confused! I was in school, weren’t they supposed to tell me what I should be doing? Having never been presented with this before, I remember being unsure but for some reason, I have no idea why, I ended up drawing.
I can remember where I was in the room, pretty much in the middle, with window to my left. The table was light colored, the low chair was an older heavy styled school chair. But I cannot remember why I chose to draw, or why I chose to draw what I did. I don’t recall if I was copying a picture, but something in the far reaches of my memory, I think I was.
As memories that stay with us usually do, what I do remember is connected to the feelings of the experience. What I remember most is after quite a while of drawing, I became aware that I had zoned out. I had become so engrossed in what I was doing that I had become unaware that everyone in the room had gathered behind me. And I vividly remember that moment.
The thoughts which ran through my mind are still with me. I remember, in that moment, realizing that there was something very powerful in what I was doing. I remember being both annoyed and pleased! I remember wishing they would all go away and leave me to get back to my drawing. I also remember feeling powerful that they were impressed enough with what I was doing to stop what they were doing to notice me. For something to be able to take me away from my surroundings the way that it did, and for it to also take others away from theirs, had to mean something. I understood then that there was something very powerful about art and that it would be a part of my life. I just didn’t really know in what form. I just wanted more of it.
That was the beginning of my understanding how my art is equally for both me and you.
When you are feeling a bit lost, returning to your roots can give you a sense of grounding and a place of comfort to find your direction again. I have been feeling a bit uninspired, most likely due to “winter blues”, but it has really been bothering me. I have a ton of ideas, but I question each one’s worth in creating. During this floundering, I have done a few small paintings because sometimes we just need to DO in order to find our way through things. Plus, the process of creating, the feeling of mixing colors and then watching those colors spread onto a canvas is delicious enough to raise my spirits even if the end product is pretty much crap. (I feel like I should share the crap, share some of the “failures” that it takes to get to those “masterpieces.” Not all time spent results in a saleable product.)
I still felt lost. And was becoming more frustrated, really searching for an answer.
So what are my “roots” with my art? Drawing. Without a doubt. My very first drawing ever (in 3rd grade) was what clinched my love for art. And drawing is the foundation of all my art. So, I pulled out my pencils. And began….
And things began to click. My desire for more openness (which I wrote about in my last post), my interest in horizon lines, above and below ground concept, remaining balance in life, even the yin-yangs all seemed to come together for me. I regained some clarity in my direction. And I am finally feeling a bit more energized in moving forward!
Since childhood I have loved little crevices and tiny spaces which I could crawl into, whether it be mentally or physically. I’d explore, challenged to climb and duck and stretch while traversing the terrain. There was a sense of safety and protection in them for me. A sense of hiding. I enjoyed the constant change in textures I would feel as my hands helped me navigate. My visual senses were alive and fulfilled. This comes through in my work clearly. However, lately I have been feeling as if I can’t breathe in them; the spaces could collapse. Suffocate. They have begun to feel “too much”, a sort of sensory overload. While wide open spaces, which at one time were boring to me, are now allowing freedom of movement, visually, mentally and physically. Openness and vastness leaves one exposed with no place to hide and nothing to consume my thoughts and brain activity. No distractions.
I am feeling a desire for that openness. Where I once say exposure I now feel freedom and peace. The ease in which I can visually and physically roam about is drawing me to it. I welcome the stillness. The calm.
Instead of the engaging distractions from thought, I long more for the disconnect and mental shutoff the open landscapes offer.
I sense a shift in my work again due to this. One that will reflect this shift within me. A shift to a more sensitive subtle color palette, exploring white in all its subtle hues. And a shift to more spacious compositions. Decluttering compositions to highlight a single detailed crevice amongst the vast white. It is where I long to be for now. I wonder how (or even if) this will come through in my art. I think I need to get this out of my system. I had planned on moving forward with my Yin-Yang Explorations but will now put that on the back burner. I often find that when a side path beckons and I try to resist it, I end up stuck. If I eventually give in to the beckoning, the works don’t always turn into anything of artistic value and I am reminded of the comfort I find in my process and I retreat to my old imagery where I feel that sense of going home. Or I discover a new aspect of work to incorporate into my work. This can keep my work fresh and new. Stay tuned to see which way this plays out!
"Free to Roam" studies, 4x4x2" acrylic on canvas
I did these as a response to how I was feeling. I did one, put it on a different table to dry. I couldn't see them as I moved on to the next one. When I put them together to take this photo, I was very surprised to see how they actually matched up! It was completely incidental.
Have you ever contemplated buying a piece of art that really spoke to you but you didn’t buy it because you didn’t know where it would go in your house or because it didn’t match your décor? I am here to tell you that your things don't need to "match". Nor should they. If you choose to surround yourself, in your home or office or anywhere, with art that really speak to you, you will build a true home environment for yourself. It’s the difference between a house and a home. And It is your home; you are free to create it however you want. You may like something modern and harsh but also something soft and organic. They will go together! Because there IS something in common, there is a common thread – YOU! You just may not be aware of what that commonality is until you begin to build it over time and it starts to come together.
Also, consider that things which correspond but don't completely match, adds interest and an added extra element that suggests sophistication. And confidence! Once you start filling your home with art that is truly you and is there because you love it, your home will become your retreat. And it will be a place where others visit and feel you and leave feeling inspired themselves.
My entire life I have had a love affair with trees. I have felt a pull to understanding them and have had this underlying feeling that there is so much more to their world than we are aware. My #art is much about that... my belief that things are connected in ways which we don't fully understand.
My images I create are worlds where things connect in what seem non-sensical ways. But maybe they are not so far fetched after all. They make sense to me on an intuitive level. I recently watched a TedTalk by Suzanne Simard. (Recently, as in this morning!) I am inspired again. I am motivated again. I feel invigorated. And even feel that her talks have helped me understand my own work better.
Her work in science discovered through facts links with my work in art based in emotion. I listen to her talks and see her passion and understand better what I intuitively understood on my own. Our similar idea communicated in 2 different ways - one scientific and one emotional.
I am having an "ah-ha!" moment. I am actually seeing my work with new understanding. I mean that literally... I am looking at some of my paintings hanging in front of me as I write. She speaks about how trees communicate with each other - mainly underground. They actually know and help their kin. There is an underground network of communication from tree to tree and it is not random. It is intentional.
One thing that also strikes me is how the older trees, the "mother trees" as she refers to them, actually take care of their young. As they die, they send "wisdom" to the younger saplings through the root system. She has been able to trace these signals from the parent tree to the sapling directly. As we cut down these mother trees and plant new ones, these forests are weaker because they do not have their mother to help them. These newly planted forests are also not balanced with differing species. The yin-yang is thrown off.
Translate that to people. Think of different species of trees as races. They help their own but need each other to survive. Each species contributes in it's own way. Their life cycles are actually all on a unique cycle, even though we see it as the same within seasons, when you look closer, each tree species develops in its own unique way. Contributing and taking carbon and other elements at differing times to keep things balanced.
Trees are amazing. Forests are intriguing. We can learn so much from them if we allow ourselves to open our minds.
If you aren't familiar with Suzanne Simard's work, here is a start.
This is a work of mine that I was looking at with fresh eyes as I wrote this:
"Bridge to Seeing", 2016, acrylic and maps on canvas
I have noticed a trend in my work recently that they are visually congested. There is a lot going on in most of it with small portals of “lighter” spaces. I think it is actually reflective of how I have felt and how my life and mind have been. But I am wanting more calm and space to breathe in both my life and my art. I need to be careful not to add too much as I develop each piece. I am going to move to a lighter palette too. I want to explore the idea of less is more in a way. I notice when I look at artwork, I am drawn to ones that actually have less in them. Ones with “open” areas. Ones that are visually softer. I think it is because I have so much in my head that I enjoy the pause that looking at a calm piece brings me. I find busy works too much to actually take in and focus on.
Someone recently asked “what 3 things matter most to you?”
Peace. Peace within myself seems a major priority. Yet I wasn’t feeling it. I have been dealing with some pretty stressful things and not feeling at peace. As I contemplated this, I realized that peace within me was possible, even among the madness which surrounds me. It’s separate in a way. The THINGS in life we endure may be consequences of our actions and choices and they may feel unbearable and impossible to assimilate within ourselves.
So how do we own our mistakes, our own shortcomings and acknowledge them in an authentic way of taking responsibility for them but still remain at peace?
I have had an onslaught of worldly secular man-created struggles lately. Impossibilities which I feel as if I must OVERCOME. However, as I process all of it, it dawned on me that this struggle was separate from my true self. My true essential being.
My true being is the self I am when I strip myself of all judgment. My true being is the one I am when sitting on a rock by a stream feeling nothing more than the breeze, rain, mist, heat of the sun, biting cold… experiencing the smells of the earth. Hearing the sounds of the earth. My true being is the one that is there connecting with nature. My true self is the self I am when I experience the uplifting feeling from the collection of crocuses blooming early spring. Or the nakedness in the cold snap of a bitter cold winter day. It’s not always warm and sunshine and pretty colors. But none of it ever judges me and I do not judge it. It is peace. It is existence.
My true self is also when I laugh or cry or get angry… when I feel.
I live in this society. I have no choice but to accept its guidelines and the way it works. I must abide by laws and consequences. I must own my faults, errors and secular consequences. However, I do not need to accept any judgment from others or myself that come with that. Because I, my true essential being, is really ok. It is intact and still there.
Things do happen TO us. We are sometimes victims. And I am a bit tired of all the modern pop talk of being positive. Only putting positive out there is not really being positive. That can actually be dangerous and denies people of reaching out for help; it denies the full experience of life. And can bring shame. It can lead people to ignore when they are actually being threatened… their well-being or the well-being of those they care for. To ignore that, is not to live in peace. It is to live in denial. If you are actually stalked, when your life is actually threatened, how do you remain at peace? When other people decide to invade your peace, how do you remain ok? I am still working on this...
I know there's peace deep in my soul. I know it to be true. I know I am nothing more than part of the nature of all things. All this other noise of life is man-made. But it is real. When others threaten you, how do you reconcile it all?
For now, I go sit on my rock. And just be. And breathe.
I am going through a reassessment of my life, myself and my work lately. Sales of my work haven’t been what I need them to be and when that happens, like in any business, I have to reevaluate. One of the concepts that I have encountered is that artists’ “product” is really emotion. This idea has grabbed hold of my mind. I am still not sure if I feel it to be 100% accurate but it seems the closest description to what it is that I do. I do not really sell just a “product”. I think this is one thing that sets artists apart from other businesses. I am not really selling a service or a product. In a way, it is both. It is also something else. Which is also why it is so hard to set prices. (that is for another day though.)
With all of this rethinking, I am rethinking my business model. I have to. Or I will go out of business.
I grew up poor. I grew up on food stamps and lived in HUD housing in the 70s and 80s. I began working when I was in the 4th grade, delivering newspapers. And I had jobs all through high school and college. I put myself through college while completely supporting myself. I was emancipated when I was 18. And yet, art was for me. A poor member of our society. I have maintained that art is for the everyone. I have wanted to keep my work priced at a price point that would allow children to grow up with real art in their home. I believe that everyone would benefit from having original art in their home. As much as I still believe that, the problem is that I can’t survive with that model. I can’t provide for my own children.
So, what do I do? As I pondered this, I almost “gave up” and went looking for a “real” job. I have 3 children who need to eat and do things; and we need a car and a home. The problem is that creating art is what I do. It is my gift and my talent. I know that. I believe it. When you are going through the steps of finding a job, you are asked over and over “what are your strengths?”, “what are your talents?”. All this leads me back to being an artist. What I have concluded, for now, is that giving up on it means not sharing my true self with the world.
So I have realized that instead of throwing in the towel on the idea of making a living with creating my art, I need to go about it differently. I haven’t figured the whole thing out yet, but I am spending more of my time learning about business. I am identifying my needs and wants as well. I am feeling hopeful again that I can make this work. I am realizing that I have been listening to “the experts” instead of myself. I have been buying into an idea of how to do this even when it doesn’t make sense to me and it isn’t working for me!
This idea that I am selling emotion is helpful. I am honing in more on what my mission is. I have never thought of my art has having a mission. It is funneling my energies and helping me focus. It is helping me find my target audience – aka buyers. I need them. That is a reality. Without them, I cannot afford to continue to create the way that I do and so nobody would benefit from my work and nobody will have my art in their life. This is a little hard for me to accept. I still believe everyone should have original art in their home. I believe it adds a richness to your life. It’s akin to listening to live music vs recordings. There is just something extra that comes with live music. An energy. It is an experience that touches our souls. Same with dance or theater. Or even going to a football game instead of watching it on tv. These are all tangible experiences which add value to our lives.
I am going to fight on and continue to figure this out. And find out if I have what it takes.
There are times when I am lost. Not uninspired. I do want to create – paint, draw, build, it doesn’t matter – but I don’t know what to do. So I just do. Something. Anything. Searching for that click in my brain which gets excited about what might come next. This week I have been struggling with my work. The little I have managed to make, I feel is garbage. I do understand that this probably comes from returning to work on the large scale piece I have had hanging around for months. It is intimidating. And I am not sure what to do with it - or I am afraid?
I feel a resistance to letting go. I feel a fear in “just doing”...that GO FOR IT! mentality. I feel that I am holding back. I am not exactly sure why or what I am holding back. But I also don’t know what I want to do with it next. I am stuck in my head. Thinking too much. I am hoping this all means progress and growth, as I have mentioned in a past post. But when I am in the middle of it, it feels like failure and frustration. I have ideas that I should pack it all in and go get a “real job” – whatever that means.
This is hard work. There can be so much self doubt… Overcoming constant questions and battling so many ideas every day all day long. And waiting… waiting for it all to come to me…. A true lesson in patience with myself.
This is the piece I did/struggled through today… which I feel is garbage. (My boys LOVE it! I am so thankful for them!)
Your honest feedback is more than welcomed!
I just had a slightly bizarre thought this morning. As I struggle with this need to always push myself with my art to create something NEW and interesting and different… a need for each piece to be some new push of the envelope… But also recognizing that this approach can actually stagnate me, I realized that creating each piece is like creating a child or offspring: Each one is created in the same way. But each one is unique and different. And it’s almost like that is the secret. The development is what makes each one special. It wasn’t that it was created in some remarkable way, but the opposite. It was created just as the others were, but it found its own way and that is kind of awe inspiring. And makes me appreciate each one more. And gives me permission to simply go through my steps and allow what comes to emerge from the process. Instead of making it be about the exploration of process and making the process be unique and special…. Let the piece shine for it’s uniqueness in its development. I feel settled and ready to continue. I am wondering if this means that I have truly found my style… at least for now.
This comes from a post I made on my Facebook Page....
I want to share an experience I had this morning. I held a Family Pumpkin Painting class at the Art Establishment Studios. It might sound crafty and maybe just like something to fill time to some people. But this happened: A mother brings her 8 year old son. She doesn't participate but stays to help out and observe. I discussed ideas with him. (brainstorming...) He did some sketching of his final ideas. And he made a personal choice on his design. This is about learning how to make choices when there is no right or wrong, which he will have to do his entire life. He then followed through with that choice... he learned about planning before just jumping in... patience and being thoughtful before acting (impulse control). I taught him how to use a brush the "right" way so he could get the result he wanted. In the end... he LOVED his time spent painting that pumpkin. He was SO PROUD of what he accomplished. He wants to come back and take more classes. His mom shared with me that it has been difficult to find things he wants to do and she was so happy he liked this so much.
Another boy (9 years old) was there waiting for his dad. He decided to join us. He also declared "This was great! I am going to come to all the classes when I have to come here with my dad!"
A grandfather brought his 4 year old grandson. At the end, the grandson was sitting on his lap while they worked on his pumpkin together.
These kids learned a lot about creating art, but so much more that is directly relative to life skills... impulse control, planning, thinking things through, they shared, responsibility, taking turns, patience, how to clean up after themselves... I could go on! They also felt pride in themselves. But also, they had an experience that is not really quantitative.... they walked out of there happy, excited, alive, and connected to something within themselves. And just knowing they wanted to do more.
I temporarily moved out of my studio for a few weeks so they could do some maintenance. Upon moving back in, I hit a creative block. It was all fresh and new and bright. Stark. And it seemed to be lacking personality and character. I didn't know what to do, how to set it up, arranging my work areas. Where to allocate work vs display. I was creatively blocked at a time when I thought I would be creatively opened.
As tough as it was being in it, I also welcomed it in a way. I have learned that in order to climb out of these unpleasant places we find ourselves, we have to dig within and reassess. For what used to work no longer is. And we need to figure out why. Or what will work now. So "climbing out" seems fitting to me. We end up growing. We end up in a better place.
I have finally just finished a new piece that I am proud of. It seems to be a new direction based in all of my past. But most of all, I am proud that I overcame and did grow. I am excited to see how it continues.
This is not a great pic of the piece, but it was I have at the moment. If you can, I suggest you view it in person. There are a lot of subtleties that don't seem to be captured well in a pic. As one friend said, "It takes you on a trip..."
“Ghost trees” have found there way into my work. They originally came from me playing and experimenting as part of my process of creating. I loved the textures and effects painting over the tape had. These trees have grown into “ghost trees”. Deemed this because they are there but aren’t. Just as I have felt for so long. I have become so fond of these that I feel a piece is incomplete without them. But I personally have felt incomplete too. Sometimes I wonder if things appear in my work to help me understand myself. It can take a while.. A year or more even, but I have started to see a pattern with new things that find their way into my work.
Organic Escapes… my pencil drawings. I am sooo fond of them. I still truly love them. I love that they existed for me. I love that they are. I began creating them more than 20 years ago while in college. The beginning came from a stone lithography independent study. I stared at this rock slab and found myself getting kind of lost in the grain. So that is where I began. As they developed over the next 20 years, I found pencil to be my favorite method of creating them. I described the process of creating them as escaping into the worlds that I was creating… existing in the place where my pencil point was. It has been a while since I have sat and focused enough to complete one. It is hard for me to know if that is because I no longer need to escape or something else. I am curious to see if I escape into another one again sometime or if that phase has passed.
Negative space becoming positive.
Feeling hurried and rushed, late for Back To School Night. I drive focused on getting there on time,
pressured. My art head saves me. I notice the sun setting, the daylight fading, reminding me how late I am. But then, I begin to focus more on the beauty of the color of the sky. Magnificence setting behind a mountain with a cloud just peeking above the edge. Intense light with a harsh line creating brilliance. Oranges of the sunset, blues of the sky, purples of the mountains, yellow or white (which is it?) of the cloud.
I slow my driving to allow more time to savor the fleeting moment and determine the subtlety of the colors and to allow more time for the image to seep into my brain.
I exhale again.
I become keenly aware of my options – remain focused on arriving on time at my destination
(maybe! Barely! Hopefully!) or focus on the visual moment. As I slow, Ichoose that which I know is true to my soul. And I feel more fed, whole and complete. At ease and more able to take in what is in store for me as I walk into the classroom with one minute to spare.
A reminder to be true to myself
always and it will all work out.
Melissa Perhamus is a visual artist who currently physically lives in PA, but mentally can be anywhere at any given moment.