Recently, I had the pleasure of being featured on Jamie Ridler’s podcast. In it we talk about everything from my relatively recent journey to discovering I was an artist, to the various types of journals I keep, to making time and space for your own artistic adventures!
I generally paint with no plan whatsoever. Which means I have no idea of what subject I’ll paint. I think the only time I’ve ever done that was for a class.
My plan is simple. Choose 3 colors I’m drawn to, and add black and white. That’s it. Next, I begin smooshing the color onto the canvas in any way that feels good (expressive) in the moment.
I also try to keep my body moving and my head out of the game! Eventually a direction reveals itself and I go with that – until, and unless, it changes – and it often does.
So when I’ve stacked up a few paintings, it’s always a surprise to find similarities among them. That’s how my “series” come to be.
I do recall painting the one below. It was a dark and grey summer afternoon – a BIG storm was blowing in. I had all the windows in my studio open to enjoy the breezes and tingly electric atmosphere.
It rarely rains in Southern California, so when it does it’s an event!
Newscasters excitedly repeated their “storm warnings” and bragged about their modern (but seldom needed) radar system. No wonder “Storm Chaser” came into being.
I remember feeling in my bones that my next way to paint was revealing itself as I blended the many shades of blue.
I was “in it” – the flow, that is.
That doesn’t always happen, but I always pray for it.
There’s no more joy-full feeling!
Since then, a few paintings have the same aerial feel. As I paint, land and seascapes emerge from under my brush or fingers. Hence, the “Bird’s Eye View” series is born.
(The painting below was four-different-paintings before this finally came! I’m learning patience y’all. Really – painting teaches you stuff.)
During this same time period (since June) another series is taking shape…..one probably influenced by my daily walks – during which I’m amazed by the beautiful vegetation in my neighborhood, or in the wetlands and beaches I frequent.
I’ve taken so many photos of flowers lately, I’m sure it is the inspiration that’s become visible on my canvases.
This series, I’m calling “My Secret Garden”.
Even my art journal pages seem to fall somewhere between the two series now.
It’s all a mystery to me.
I never know what’ll show up!
If I’m not in love with a painting or page, I simply add another layer of paint the next day or flip the page.
Non-attachment is necessary, or I’ll make myself crazy – which is so NOT the point of creative expression.
“No worries,” I repeat under my breath.
“Breathe,” I tell myself.
It’s just paint.
Let it go.
Let it go.
Tomorrow, I’ll share something new and exciting – I’ve been interviewed by Creative Life Coach, Jamie Ridler, for her weekly podcast! OMGosh she’s about the most supportive and creative person I know!!
And guys – there’s 1 seat open for the upcoming art journaling retreat I’m hosting in Palm Springs in January. I KNOW it’s waiting for just the right person…..if it’s calling to you,
There’s been so many different things happening in my world lately. It’s a mixed-media-life dontcha know!
A couple of weeks ago, I attended a class with Misty Mawn. I’d never met her, but had done her online classes. Misty is so funny and a truly generous soul. The girl over-delivers let me tell you – I have enough ideas to keep me busy for the next year!
The combination of story and painting is something I’ve been musing on lately. Misty’s class dove deep into that process. I will share more as it unfolds in my studio. Meanwhile, here’s a couple of quick sketches and a small painting from the class.
Tomorrow, I begin another workshop with Katie Kendrick!! I went to one last year too – but couldn’t resist another opportunity. Katie is beyond talented!
Ya know, I have done many classes, both online and in-person. But I dig the in-person workshops so much, I’m trying to do that as often as possible. Being in the company of other artists touches my creative soul like nothing else can!
There’s also been art play in the journal too. The writing journals I use are hand made by Jenni Bick and are a combination of writing and “artist” papers. My latest has so many watercolor papers, I’ve been inspired to do more “art” than I usually do there.
A bit of paint or marker, some quick and clean collage and ta-da!
There’s been work on the easel too. I think my daily walks are leading to lots of abstracted flowers and nature-inspired paintings. Here’s a new one.
Live long enough and you begin to understand what “lights you up”. I know that a bit of “adventure” and the delight of seeing creative spaces both really do that for me!! Combine the two? Forgetaboutit!
A few days ago, I stumbled upon such an opportunity when a new art friend told me about the annual open studio tours in a nearby desert area we’d never visited.
WHAT! I JUMPED ON IT!
Road trip with hubby + artful spaces = BLISSFUL DAY!!
Considering there were 95 studios open, this would take some planning. There was no way we could see that many. So we grabbed their catalog and map and charted our course.
We began our adventure in the farthest area (29 Palms) and worked our way back closer (Joshua Tree) to home.
Some studios were easy to get to – as in paved roads and close the highway. Others were situated far into desert dirt roads. My jeep was built for this adventure!
Half the fun is not knowing what’s around the next bend. We were so lucky to purchase an incredibly beautiful painted drum from a Native American living in this deep desert “ranch” below!
My favorite stops were where several artists used a sprawling “communal” space. The high desert has wide open spaces to spread out, ya know? Artists sure know how to make ramshackle buildings fun!
I love all sorts of art, but hardly ever do I get to see where it’s actually created. It’s really interesting . . . I mean the studios themselves often become a work of art.
Anything can become a “canvas” – walls, tables, furniture, even large storage containers!
Look – this guy lays out a large stained glass installation. Wow! I never imagined that he would design and draw the piece first – of course he did. Duh. Then he makes, colors and cuts the glass! Wow, that’s a lot of skill.
Such an artful adventure does require hearty sustenance.
We heard the best burger in town was here at the Joshua Tree Saloon.
I’ve find that insight and inspiration comes in waves. I’m there right now – atop a monster wave!
I’m recently back from an indescribably-wonderful-5-day-retreat with Angi Sullins – in New Mexico – my “soul’s home” – the place I find MOST inspiring. Angi is truly a MUSE! Do attend one of her retreats if you can – I highly recommend it! Afterwards, my husband and I took a beautiful road trip through the desert southwest.
The day I got home, Elizabeth Gilbert‘s latest book was released. It’s called “Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear” and it is so so rich! I ripped through it!
MUST. RE-READ. VERY. SOON.
AND this week, I returned to the warehouse studio I share with my super-talented-artist-Mom. We had a loooong hot summer’s break. Woof.
A day of cleaning the studio + a bit of reorganizing + a day of painting = CREATIVE BLISS!
All of this has sparked an urge to re-commit to my creative life – officially – like with a written contract. Which admittedly, felt like a strange thing to do. Then, my husband reminded me that we enter contracts with employers, spouses, landlords, etc. Why not make an agreement with the way of life I MOST CRAVE? (Yeah – I’m talking to you M.R. Bird.)
In Ms. Gilbert’s book, she writes of committing to the writing life at a very young age – her vows were concise and reasonable, and they still apply to her work today.
My call is towards a broader creative life . . . I write, I paint, I art journal, I now host art retreats, I sometimes teach, I love interior design and gardening and fashion…..all of it! It’d be impossible to narrow it – but I suppose my emphasis is on painting and writing.
I thought I’d share my own creative commitments with you here – ya know, to make it officially official. Here goes:
I will follow my truest curiosity – allowing it to lead me to MY most creative life.
I will honor my ideas – gathering, harvesting and acting on them regularly.
I will always make the physical space for my creative pursuits – whether that’s in a studio or a corner shelf!
I vow to never put pressure on my creativity with expectations of money or accolades. I will do it for love and support it however is necessary. Anything else is gravy.
I will wholeheartedly pursue my creative passions through near-daily-practice. I will build my creative muscle. I will show up. I will remain teach-able.
I will nurture my creative soul through inspiring experiences, books, classes, people and more “just doing it”.