The title for today's post comes from page 98 of Valerie Boyd's book on the life of Zora Neale Hurston titled, 'Wrapped in Rainbows'.
I participated in a Florida Humanities Council summer seminar my first full summer living in Florida, I think it was 2010...the focus was Zora's tie to Eatonville, Florida and it was one of the best professional development experiences that I have had. I spent a week engaged in scholarly discussion, reading about her, reading her writings, visiting the areas that she lived in and that impacted her life...it was a Zorafest indeed.
When I was completing my required readings before the seminar, I just remember being struck by the depiction in the text of how Zora entered a room, truly making herself known as a force to be reckoned with, with the flourish of her colorful scarf. "Colooooooor Struuckkkk!" she announced. She had arrived. I wanted to own a moment like that...and I did get a chance to act out that scene in our evening activity one night. And I did, my heart pounding, but I did, tried to capture my inner Zora. Which it is what Valerie Boyd meant went she signed my copy of her book.
But more important to the overall purpose of this blog...which is my artistic ramblings...Zora inspired me to paint. To create. To be an artist again. I think I have blogged on this topic before...who knows...let it just suffice to say that when I came home from this experience I immediately started painting...like...alot. I started painting over fifteen canvases in various sizes...all at once. It was exhilarating to start them all at once, working in layers...and I didn't finish them all at once, and some were more resolved than others...but I did starting CREATING.
Later I went on to several of these pieces in art shows. I wanted to invest more time in my own artisic development...and I did...I have been doing just that, even more so a couple of years later when I committed to making art everyday...and since meeting my art friend Jessie over a sparkly iphone case...
So...what does this have to do with finishing my April 'Color' series? Everything. Nothing. I just remember that phrase...wanted to tie it in somehow and remind myself that I am waiting for my own Zora moment. Valerie, Rosanna, Kanene, if you are out there reading this, you know what I mean.
Not sure what the theme for next month is. I might peek...I might just go to sleep! I am pooped! It was a thirteen-hour day at school! Seriously. Who am I kidding. Sleep it is!
I made this slideshow last week and have been battling with the music on it almost every night. Yeah, I am a nerd like that. The most information I have gathered about the problem (not helping it, mind you) is that it is some kind of issue with an update from Google Chrome, which is what I usually use for my browsing. So...long story short, it works if you open the link in Internet Explorer.
Some back story...it's about sketchbooks. I have a small collection of sketchbooks that span my years making art. The ones to the left...those are mostly just from undergraduate.
Like my approach to my daily art making, with my self imposed requirements...ya gotta make one piece every day...it has to be within the context of the series...try to stick with the same size and similar materials...step back and think about the overall body of work and approach it as a narrative...then label everything and inventory it in some gigantic list...yeah, that is what I say to myself every day when I am making art. (did you just think I was drawing faces?)
Deep breath. So I have somewhat of the same mindset when it comes to my sketchbooks. I think I was a little more crazy about it in undergrad, but some of the OCD tendencies have stuck. I have always loved a black, hardbound sketchbook. But...then I feel trapped by it. I took some time last week and....well, I actually felt a little better than I thought because I did have most of these books filled with drawings, scribblings, musings and such...but it never failed...somewhere along the line the work inside just...stopped.
Chalk it up to being a young artist, juggling academics and a social life with the demands of art school. That is part of it. But I think in many ways my own way of working would stop my from continuing with a thought or idea. For instance...I kept separate sketchbooks for the different mediums I was working on, usually dependent upon a class I was taking at the time. This meant that an idea for a silver brooch had to go in the metals sketchbook. An idea for a coil pot? Yep, ceramics- that was the only place those thoughts could exist.
I think I wouldn't let myself integrate the media and/or the thought processes, which meant that I didn't take it as far as I could have. Keep in mind this is thirty-five year old me trying to reason with what eighteen-nineteen year old me was thinking/planning/dreaming of artistically.
Another thing that prevented me from finishing my sketchbooks...fear. I mentioned that I like the feel of a bound book. It feels official, it feels important. Sometimes I feel like it was fear that kept me from continuing with a thought...what if I could not execute my idea as a sketch...what if I could not articulate my goal for the piece...what if my shading was off...what if my proportion was wrong...
When I see the end of my sketchbooks I feel like those are pages of self-doubt scribbled with invisible lines that I am the only one that can see...and was too scared to go beyond.
I will keep these sketchbooks. Looking through the pages I saw many good beginnings, but one thing that I can see is these are proof that I need to believe and to push myself to just keep going- to not be stopped by the wall of blank pages. My sketchbook is a safe place where I can make mistakes and if I let myself- I can grow.
Interestingly enough...I have some more sketchbooks from more recent years...graduate school and post grad...I will blog about those another time. These days I don't sketch that much, I just jump in and do the work. Not good, I need to sketch more. I think I need a sketchbook, and I need to complete it...to see what would happen if I was not afraid. And while I am at it, maybe my summer project, or a future project could be to revisit those blank pages in all my other sketchbooks.
The following is me finally sitting down to blog a little about a productive, art-tastic weekend I had...hey, better late than never.
Seriously, we need to collaborate, Tim!
This past Saturday, I spent the majority of the day sketching the current Alexander McQueen S/S’13 print campaign at Barnes and Noble, taking breaks to sneak off and read Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible…only to come home, nap, draw some more from the McQueen image and then go back to Barnes and Noble to read another chapter… sigh.
John did mention that he was starting to be concerned with my love for Tim Gunn, but I assured him that it was harmless, then went into a lengthy diatribe about Tim's disdain for jeggings and capris. Tim Gunn is my Barbara Streisand, and I think John gets it. (BTW, Turns out, John agrees with him. I know how to pick'em.)
And can I just take a minute and just say that the current print ad for McQueen featuring Sarah Burton's designs and photos by David Sims is so striking. I didn't make it very far into the issue of Harper's that I picked up because I became so inspired by this particular image. So I ended up making several sketches based on just that image...and will probably make some more. Wow. Like buttah.
Sunday morning...it was time to wake and draw...at the beach! I was worried that the clouds would steal my sunshine, but light prevailed and I was able to get some sun on my face while finishing up my daily piece.
Next up on Sunday, I made the trip down to Boca for the last day of the IMPACT: 50 Years of the Council of Fashion Designers of America exhibit. First off- I should have made this trip sooner (slapping myself on the wrist) I went on the last day of the exhibit AND it was on a Sunday…let’s just say it was crowded. But I knew I had to see this show before it came down, and I am glad that I made the forty minute trip down to Boca Raton. To be in such close proximity of pieces from so many influential designers was exhilarating. So…I sketched. I sketched gowns, separates…side views, front views, back views…fourteen drawings on toned paper and Bristol board later, fingertips covered with conte crayon…and I felt pretty fulfilled leaving...
…while I was drawing I did have several people stop to inquire what I was doing. Was I a fashion design student? (No, but thank you for thinking I was a student.) What was I going to do with these drawings? (Ummmm…I don’t know) I really enjoyed talking with each person that stopped me; obviously we shared a common interest if we were there at this exhibit. I don’t want to design clothes. (Accessories, maybe) I don’t want to sew. (gimme a hot glue gun or some stichwitchery and I will see what I can do) I just want to draw beautiful clothes. I want to be around fashion. I have been fortunate to have some of my illustrations published in Art Hive, so that is my only outlet for showing my work besides my website and social media outlets. I make the work, I post it…and then…I inventory it and file it away. It would be nice to sell some it, to show it, and I will keep my fingers crossed that might happen. I would like to have work published, to go to fashion shows and sketch live, to sit in and sketch collections in stores and design studios, to build relationships with designers…or even just keep sketching from the fashion photography in Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue and in print ads- my original source of inspiration...yeah, that would be my dream. I still love teaching and my regular ol' daily art that I make...but...a gal can dream.
…for now, I will just keep making a piece of art every day and feeding my love for fashion by drawing from the images that inspire me. Since I made the commitment to making a piece of art every day in January 2012 my art has really become what drives me. I just want to keep making more work and trying to improve my skills as an artist, and allowing myself to become completely engulfed in my desire to just..create.
"Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you another topic. Duran Duran is neither a Duran nor a Duran. Discuss. There I feel better. Okay that's all the time we have this week.
Close enough. Close enough. Don't go changing just to please me. I'll tumble for you. Let's go to the phones the number is 555-4444. Give us a call we'll talk you know no big whoop. Hello?"
(Linda Richman,aka Mike Myers, 'Coffee Talk' SNL)
(...and, yes, today's post is dedicated to my Barbara Streisand, the one and only Tim Gunn)
So...here I sit...slightly earlier than usual...do I keep writing...do I try and go to sleep? Considering how sleepy I was this morning, I think I should go with the second option.
But before I go...I did post my daily piece, so check that out. I am going will full color now, inspired by paisley print and organic shapes.
I also posted the fourteen new fashion illustrations I completed this past Saturday...I do want to write about that visit to the Boca Raton Museum in a separate blog post...
Per usual...more pics posted via IG @artinw_damuse...night, ya'll! -JLG
Sneak peek of the pieces I made at the museum...
Again...I love/hate you Instagram (shaking fist while simultaneously looking dreamy-eyed)...I may not have posted to the ol' blog, but I have been making art. Lot's...and lot's of art.
It has been an art-filled couple of days...but I will have to write more about it tomorrow...made my daily pieces...read three chapter's in Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible...became obsessed with Sarah Burton's bee/hive/bee-keeper themed pieces for Alexander McQueen...did some beach drawin'...and...spent a few hours sketching at the Boca Raton Museum of Art.
More details on all of that later for now, just gonna post some of the work!
...not a long post tonight...John said I should go out by the pool when I got home, so I did...made my daily art poolside..weather is perfect...for now.
I discovered that oil pastels and heat don't mix. (Duh, right?) Or do they? My hands sure were messy but the colors really went on the paper smooth and blending was easier. I'm just sayin'...
Also...made a new fashion illustration...a little Louis Vuitton...it's been a while.
Artist and Art Teacher