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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Three Generations of Artists

As far back as I know of, there have been three generations of artists in my family.  My maternal grandmother was very creative and often trying new things.  She eventually settled on her own ceramics shop in the town of Merced, CA.  It was a great place for a little girl like me to roam and imagine.

The interesting thing is that my grandmother didn’t just “settle” for the images as they came out of the mold like many people do.  She added her own flair.  She would take a small sharp needle-like tool and enhance the faces of the dolls, adding details like hair, eyelashes, ear canals and nostrils, and even carving teeth between the opened lips.  Her finished products were fine art compared to the bland blurry original.  Her nativity sets were so fine detailed they looked like carved ivory when she was done with them.  Her china dolls had real porcelain roses she hand made from tiny pieces of clay.  I loved sitting next to her and watching her fingers expertly form balls of nothing into delicate rose buds.

My mother did lots of ceramic in my grandmother’s shop, as did I.  But my mother also invested in oil paint and dabbled in painting, sometimes passing down her left over canvas and paint to me.  She never went beyond painting for herself, her own enjoyment and home décor, but I think she could have if she had wanted to.  She was a practical woman, using her creativity to enhance her home and our lives, nothing more.

My Mom's drawing of me
It shouldn’t have come to a surprise when I decided I wanted to pursue art, but by all accounts it was a shock to my father.  He always wanted me to be self-sufficient and he was pretty sure art was not the means to that goal.  However, I couldn’t shake my love and devotion to art.  Even today, though I get little financial success, I get a deep heart-filled, personal success from each and every piece I create.  Perhaps it is for the next generation to achieve a more financial success in art that I have, but even if that is not in the stars, I will always love this heritage of art I have received.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Is Photography Art?

The question is about photography being art.  I think much of photography today is merely capturing moments and not really artistic expression.  And then there are those who take photography to a new level of artistic expression.  Tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator help to make photography more than just capturing a moment in time but also manipulating it into a work of art beyond what the camera actually sees.  I have fallen in love with this part of creative expression, taking photos of children and incorporating them into new and different environments and fantasy settings. 

I started with just fairies.  I really love fairy tales.  I really love children.  It only seems natural that they two should marry into something different and beautiful, don’t you think?  So I started adding butterfly and dragonfly wings and making fairy photos. 
Then I made some water pixies but putting the children at the bottom of the ocean.  Really fun. 
That’s when my sister asked if I could make her grandson on a dinosaur.  I hadn’t even thought of it.  I thought it would be much more difficult to find and photography a dinosaur than it was to photography a butterfly.  But I was wrong there.  People have been fascinated with dinosaurs for a really long time and made statues, sculptures, and models of dinosaurs just begging for a photographer to come along.  The results are fun and fascinating.

So have I become a traitor to the pure devotion of art by spending 6 to 10 hours creating these photo manipulations and composites?  I don’t think so. 

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Cryptic Quotes

Paint the way a bird sings.   Claude Monet
"Hummingbird Angel" Watercolor on wrinkled paper, 23" x 30"

What does that mean?  Paint the way a bird sings… in the open air?  But birds also sing in captivity.  Paint the way a bird sings… happy and carefree?  Maybe.  But I find most artists create from a place of real suffering and drive… that seems very little like “happy and carefree”, don’t you think?  Paint the way a bird sings, just because he feels like it?  I don’t know about that either.  Much of the time, I don’t really feel in the mood but once I begin painting and creating, it begins to take over and flow out of me.   So for me, the mood doesn’t make the painting, the painting makes the mood.  Paint the way a bird sings, out of sight, out of reach, but still noticeable?  Maybe.  I love the seclusion of art.  I love creating behind closed doors and away from prying eyes, constant critics, and the mundane of the horrific national news.  I love that it can carry me away to heights and places no one else can go.  Maybe that’s what Monet meant.  But who knows.  Sometimes I think artists are cryptic on purpose just to keep people off balance.

What do you think?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Monochromatic Painting

Ever try a monochromatic painting.  That is painting with only one hue plus black and white?  There are lots of cases where it can be very successful.  Still it can be confusing.  I did a painting once using mostly blues plus white and black.  My friends trying to be helpful, said I needed to add some warm color to the highlights, so I added a little yellow.  Still my elderly and very experienced friend said it need more warmth in the highlights.  I added still more yellows.  In the end, I wish I had left it alone entirely because now it was just a yellow and blue painting that looked strange no matter how you view it.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Art Show Judging

Okay so I didn’t win anything on the Sleeping Beauty collage but I won a 3rd place on the Red Girl collage instead.  It is always hard to know what the judges are thinking.  I know that one of the judges finds my collages to be too abstract to be properly considered representational.  However I love the effect and the challenge of the hard edges as well as the search for just the right color combination.  Still, I’m happy with a 3rd place as opposed to none at all.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sleeping Beauty Collage

I originally created this concept for my children’s book but left the background blank.  To enter it in the art show I made a few changes and added the background papers to make it complete looking.  I love this one.  I think she is adorable.  Hoping that this will win an award this weekend.  We shall see.

Wish me luck.