Thank you, Maya Angelou for your words...they comfort me, inspire me and give me hope.
It's all starting to come together now.
Wait, let me backtrack a little bit. I knew I wanted to paint this month...and I have been painting. The suggested CED theme is 'spring' and I had kind of half-heartedly committed to the theme, resolving to address the theme through my color choices...opting for tints...keeping it light.
And so I have been painting. And I was excited about the actual process of painting...and happy with the colors...and everything was figurative...but something was missing.
So last night I am painting and a poem popped into my head. The poem was 'Since feeling is first' by E.E. Cummings. This has always been one of my favorite poems, and one that I memorized back when I was in high school just because I loved it so much.
So I started to scrawl the text across my piece in acrylic paint...and then I started thinking...maybe I will make a triptych, this will be the first one, and the rest of the poem with be painted on the other two pieces.
And then I got excited, because I realized that I wanted to work with text from poems that I like this month.
And then, after looking into it a bit more...I realized...
That being said...I am approaching the pieces a little differently this month. I haven't been posting the final pics to my 'Recent Works' page or to my FB Album, which is usually part of my routine...make the work, photograph the work, post then move on. For this month I am going to give myself a little more freedom and allow myself to go back into a piece and add more paint, etc after the day has passed. I may post the final pieces after a few days, or a week...or even wait til the end of the month...not sure yet. It makes me a little uncomfortable to do this, which kind of says that is exactly why I should change it up for this month, to try something different, to try to loosen up.
We will see how that goes. (insert nervous laugh)
This weekend I was sick. John was out of town. The AC was out. I decided to have myself an art, organizational and healing retreat. Friday night I was running a fever and I get a little delirious...and in this state of confusion is when I think I thought of this whole idea...so sometime around 2am I woke up and set up a bunch of 'stations' for myself. I even made a 'to-do' list for myself.
Do yourself a favor. Don't ever make a to-do list for yourself at 2am when you are running a fever.
Anyway, I stay up til about 3-3:30am and then went back to 'sleep'. I don't think I really slept, but my eyes were closed so I will count it.
Some time around 6am I woke up...because that is just what I do. My name is Jenny and I wake up early. Nice to meet you. After a workout and a some new meds I started tackling the items on the 'to do' list I created for myself...finishing three stained glass-inspired paintings I had started in 2010...painting many, many canvases in assorted sizes and also some plaques in a light pink...painting some mannequin torsos...working on my 2013 inventory...taking a break to draw for a bit...and finally, creating my daily piece. I worked in rotations, spending about an hour on each task and then switching and mixing in some naps in there as well. I was in bed by midnight. Feeling a little more normal.
This morning, up early again. My eyes were really sore, very fatigued but my sinuses felt a little better and no fever. I'll take it.
I mainly worked on 2013 inventory, another self-imposed task that I put upon myself and then obsess over until it is finished. While I was working on September 2013, my series inspired by music, I had the idea that it would be cool to have all the songs that I referenced in one location, in case anyone (me) wanted to listen to them as a group.
So...I made a playlist and added to the September 2013 section on my 'Recent Works' page... you can click on the image below and listen to them if you would like. The link goes directly to my September 2013 works and the link is there in the top of the post. So...ummm...enjoy!
(Update: Right now I am up to November 2013 on the inventory and I think I need to stop and take a nap. I am accepting the fact that I will not be able to complete everything on the stupid list and I am trying to be okay with that....zzzzzzz)
Belated birthday greetings to Maya Angelou...here is a quote I love by her (on top of one of my drawings from March 2013)...this here is a call to action...a call to keep CREATING...art, music, movement...whatever...
Just keep it up!
...the (optional) CED theme for April is SPRING!
Holy cannoli...so what do I do with that information?!
Well, I had already decided earlier in the day that I wanted to paint this month. Driving home I was still trying to figure out...do I go with canvas paper, canvas board or stretched canvas? The first two would be cheaper options...but the framing costs would make those more expensive costs in the long run...plus I wanted more options for sizes...so I went with stretched canvas. I chose 16x20 for the size...which might be the size for the whole series...probably will because I know that I will have a meltdown if the pieces are different sizes...just sayin'. (#OCDartist...seriously!)
After the canvas was bought and I got the email back from Leah with the theme...I decided that I can kind of work within that theme. I am working with what I consider to be a spring color palette, which includes tints of my favorite jewel tone colors...think Easter eggs and such.
An additional challenge that I am going to give to myself is to try my hardest to stay loose and attempt to paint in a more abstract fashion. To tell you the truth, painting scares me. I know I mentioned this in my previous post...but it really does. I spent a little time tonight gathering some images for inspiration and looking at quotes about painting and I came across this;
Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.
And then it kind of hit me. I think I get scared when I paint because it makes me nervous... it's like I don't know who or what I am in this medium. I don't know if that makes sense, I have by no means mastered drawing or collage or any other medium...but I feel at least more comfortable working with them. But painting...even if I paint over a hundred paintings (and actually, I definitely have over the years) I still do not feel like I know who I am as a painter. I think part of this is because I only took one painting class in college.
That class was the a summer session. I have Mr. Elmore, one of the BEST teachers I have ever had. I carved a little corner of the studio for myself that summer and filled it up with various works in progress and inspirations. It was my life that summer. See, I had always drawn and painted in high school but once I got to college I started getting into textiles. I took my foundations classes, then my surveys in metals and ceramics...but I was infatuated with fibers. I weaved, I screen-printed, I hand dyed fabric, I beaded...I even attempted some very poorly constructed wearable arts. But I just didn't paint...not until that summer with Mr. Elmore.
And I remember how alive I felt. I remember how excited I was about the wet acrylic moving across the canvas, painting impasto...watching it dry and leaving ridges, small landscapes of dried paint on this large surface.
And I painted some after undergrad...just a little here and there...my bridal portrait...a gift for mom...some msc. faces for my friend Gin...
...and after I moved to Florida I started to pick back up with some painting here and there. I got a major 'inspiration jump start' after attending a Zora Neale Hurston seminar through the Florida Humanities Council...then I started making pieces with text...then specfically for art shows...and then I was sidetracked by my tree series one summer so I painted a tree to go along with the drawings I created.
...and fast forward to pretty much now. Well, 2013 at least. I have some paintings on display and for sell in downtown Hollywood. I haven't really sold any, but it feels good to just know that folks can see them.
I have been painting here and there...but I would never dare call myself a painter. And I don't know that I would be after this month coming up, either. But I am going to make a concentrated effort try, so there's that.
Per usual...we'll see where this series goes!
...I am still waiting to confirm the official Creative Every Day theme for April 2014, I don't always work by the theme but I do sometimes use it for inspiration. In the meantime, I was just looking through the March 2013 series and checking it to see how the work 'flows'. I think that I kept the treatment of the figures pretty consistent, and certainly the materials used. Each piece began with either the face drawn in pencil or the figure cut from magazines, which I then combined on a background and added paint and embellishments. Somewhere after the middle of month I started adding a thin layer of flesh-colored acrylic wash over the drawn face to make it 'blend' more with the color of the skin in the figure. One thing that I made a conscious effort to do was to begin and end the series in with the same type of piece, kind of 'bookending' the pieces from the month in between pieces that incorporated two figures. In the piece from March first I was thinking that the larger figure was breathing life, inspiration into the series, as both figures are facing to the right, the natural progression of the pieces, and actual numbering which goes from left to right. In the last piece, I was thinking that the two images were reflection about the series, eyes locked on each other, like maybe the viewer interrupted some hushed conversation that they were having about the series as a whole. Just some of my thoughts.
As I was looking through this series, and the works from February and January of this year I am thinking that I might need to take a break from the way that I have been working on my daily pieces...maybe take a break from small drawings/mixed media.
I think I need to work larger for a month.
I think...no, I know...I need to paint.
What am I going to paint? No idea and I am terrified. I am hoping that the CED theme will give me some guidance. I work in such a restrictive, methodic manner that when I paint I am torn by sheer fear of the blank canvas (which for whatever reason is different for me than a blank paper) and being excited about the movement and freedom in the act of painting. I feel like I never where to start when I paint...but I always know where to start when I draw and that can be frustrating.
Nine years ago John and Maria's mother passed away. She was a beautiful, calm spirit...an amazing woman and I see glimpses of her every time I look at John and Maria, and at her sister, brothers and nieces and nephews. I see Lucy everywhere I look.
So on March 31st...and every day...I will keep looking for Lucy, looking for that beauty and calm that she embodied. I love you, Lucy.
How fitting is it that here at the end of my month dedicated to Kawaii/Harajuku themed pieces that my friend Jess throws a Kawaii-themed birthday extravaganza? Perfect.
I worked on what started out as a neckpiece for about a week, and it went through many changes. For starters, I gathered the materials. Oddly enough, many of the materials I already had on hand, but I did go and purchase some items at two of my favorite places, Michael's and Deals. All in all, I spent about $20.00 total create this monstrosity, half of which was just the stuffed animals.
...and now the series is winding down. I had fun working on the piece this month and when it gets to the last few days I always think to myself, 'Does it make sense? Does it flow? What would I have done differently? If I was making ten more pieces, what would happen in those pieces to resolve the series?' These are just things that I think about...wait...okay, that I OBSESS over.
Another thing that was on my mind this weekend, and this goes back to my OCD tendencies and self-imposed 'rules and guidelines' for my daily art...what to do about the pieces from March 28-29th. Okay, hear me out. I stayed up late helping Jess and Sofie with party decorations...Jess was cooking with her husband Adam and friend Robin..Sof was bedazzling pinwheels...and me...I was sitting in the middle of a huge piece of canvas on the floor painting rainbow patterns. So when it came to finishing my daily piece...I just had a head drawn. Next thing you know I am sleeping.
So I got up early Saturday morning and finished up that piece...I actually ended up adding it to the top of a box that was part of Jessie's birthday present. I had started this box as an example/project to work on alongside my mixed media students at Muzart and it all just kind of came together. I glued the face on the top and added details with pain then embellished it with cabochons and gemstones. That was my piece for March 28th. The inside cover was the drawing/collage/painting combination that I have been working so far this year, heavily influenced by fashion. I went back into the piece and embellished the neckpiece with gems and then went back in with paint and added kawaii/harajuku style makeup to the face. I added a message to the inside bottom of the box and then filled it with five frames, a pad of mixed media paper, a pack of new microns and a Michael's gift card. I decided that this would count as my piece for March 29th and then got busy working on the final touches for my outfit for the evening.
Seems silly, but this was a big deal for me to make this decision. When I used the hashtag, #OCDartist...I really mean it!
Yesterday I wasn't feeling well so I went home early, ate a bajillion tums and slept. When I finally woke up I sat and finished up several pieces that I had started but was not quite finished with. Per my last post...I started off with a nice clean space (our dining room table) then I completely destroyed it to the point that we had to eat dinner on TV trays...and I had to deal with John making mean faces at me when he thought I wasn't looking (caught ya!) and eventually I cleaned up the space.
Well, kind of. I really just relocated to the couch and I have all the chaos there within my reach.
Anyway, I did finish all the work so I am up to date, and I added the pieces to Facebook and to my 'Recent Works' page. And as for the new mess...I will handle that later.