If you want to see a glimpse of my studio, equipment, and technique, go to this link and watch. I think it's cute and hope it'll entertain you, although the music is pretty dumb. (Cut and paste the link into your browser.)
GET INTO YOUR STUDIO AND WORK
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle
Whether you're a professional artist, semi-professional artist, or hobbyist you probably have resistance to making art from time to time (or all the time). I recently attended the Synergy 3 polymer conference and Seth Saverick and Melanie Muir both gave separate presentations that spoke to this very topic.
Seth suggested "Creativity-Sucking Vampires" who tell you why you shouldn't be in the studio working. One vampire says, "Your work is derivative." or "So-and-so is so much better than you." Another says, "Who do you think you're kidding?" or "Your work sucks". Then there's always the vampire of perfectionism who says, "I'll make it tomorrow when I can make it perfect."
When I was young, I realized that I needed to make some decisions about going into my studio, especially when I had two young children. So, I worked when they slept - in the evening or during naps. I decided to treat it like a job and do a couple of hours every day. That became a habit so that by the time they were in elementary school, I had them working for me (they were really good).
Now, I can't imagine NOT going into my studio to work. This gives me a "home base", a structure on which to base my work.
One of the few things Picasso said was, "Inspiration will come, but it must find you working."
So, get into that studio and work. Don't listen to any excuses.
THERE'S NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN
King Solomon said this a few thousand years ago in the book of Ecclesiastes and it's confirmed (although less elegantly) in a brilliant book I just read entitled STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST by Austin Kleon.
Pablo Picasso said, "Art is theft."
T.S. Eliot wrote "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different."
Albert Einstein said, "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide you sources."
I try not to be inspired by other artists, but rather endeavor to pay attention to my own life experiences and to pay attention to the natural world around me. But, sometimes another artist does something just so COOL, I can't help myself. And that's OK. Maybe it's some shape they've developed or a combination of unusual colors they use that hits me in the face and I want to use that too!
It's when someone copies another artist's work and passes it off as their own that it's not OK.
And the whole point of what King Solomon wrote is don't take yourself so seriously. You weren't the first one to think up your fabulous idea anyway. Don't get upset if someone "copies" you or takes "your idea". And it's OK to look at the work of others and use something they've figured out that hasn't entered your mind yet.
Such is the title of a new exhibit at the Tassenmuseum (Museum of Bags and Purses) in Amsterdam. And these are the two purses included in the exhibit which are now part of the permanent collection of the museum!! I'm pretty excited and may just have to make a business trip to Amsterdam to check it out.
This is the perfectionist procrastinator writing after more than a year. I guess because there's so much shallow discussion of trifles on the internet these days, I don't want to add to it so only write when I think I may have something to say. This is it.
In my last blog post, I talked about new work revolving around "the journey", or "the road of life" and working with less narrative representation. That was actually just a jumping off point and since then, my work has continued to become more improvisational and abstract. I know that many of you do not relate to it as well as to the narrative work, and I understand that. I have not discontinued the organic pieces altogether, but have incorporated the organic inspiration into some pieces that reflect both the narrative and abstract.
Frankly, the abstract pieces are far more difficult than narrative pieces for me to do. Improvisation -- making decisions about color, composition, symbols, shape, line, and texture all while I am working on a piece makes the process both difficult and invigorating at the same time. I really have no idea what the final result will be. I have developed a vocabulary of symbols that I seem to always include, but other than that I start at zero and have to make lots of decisions quickly.
It seems to me that truly abstract work probably most reflects our humanness because it is based on spirit and what we do NOT see or know. Narrative or representational work is based on what we see and know. It has been a true challenge for me to make work not based on what I see or know.
This new work also makes use of a translucent layering technique I developed a number of years ago. I work on the bottom layer using heat set polymer paints and then bake it. Then I press thin pieces of translucent polymer on the surface with inclusions like powders and gold leaf, and then bake it again. Then I sand it, then carve the surface with lines and backfill them with colored polymer. Then I bake it again, sand it through 7 grits, then polish the surface with a buffing wheel. The result is a shallow depth that resembles fired enamel or fired glaze or glass.
Now, I have to update my website to reflect this new direction - new background color? New theme? New Home Page? Any ideas?
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