I’ve grown quiet here on my blog – but it’s for a good reason . . .
I’ve been diving deep into the creative well!
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve hosted the Creative Nomad Art Journaling Adventure, attended Flora Bowley’s painting retreat in Portland, refreshed the warehouse art studio I share with my Mom, started a major renovation on our kitchen (what a mess!) and have been following the muse’s call towards LOTS MORE abstract painting. Woof. It’s a lot.
Our clean and renewed studio has really inspired me!
I can hardly wait to get there and begin making messes of the place.
I’ve been painting lots of “mini’s” lately – it’s totally challenging for me.
Bigger is definitely easier!
Weird huh? You’d think the opposite. But not for me.
These last three are what I’d call “medium sized” canvases.
(It’s hard to see scale on these closeups.)
Next week, a few “Fearless Painters” arrive for a reunion at my studio.
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,
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 do have some mad organization skills! That, combined with a lifelong purse obsession, a tendency to hoard art supplies and a desire to tote them everywhere is the “perfect storm”!
It’s manifested in an crazy array of “art to go” kits. Perfect for jaunts to desert or beach, art journal picnics or attending yet another art retreat.
I thought I’d share them with you today. I’ll put some links to various supplies in case you’re interested – and BTW the links do NOT earn me affiliate fees. They are things I really use and love. Almost everything can be had on Amazon.
This first kit is for “traveling light”. I use this set up most often – it’s great for road trips or for a sketch date at the beach.
In this hand painted clutch I can fit a travel set of watercolor, a sketchbook or journal, and a zip case full of pens, tape, scissors and glue. I also love to include my portable photo printer. It prints pics from my iPhone and even has sticky back paper – perfect for sticking straight into my journal!
It’s not unusual for me to pack an inspirational book – this one’s about Dan Eldon – the guy who first inspired me to art journal!
In my world, everything is an art project. I love to take canvas or cotton totes and alter them with paint. I use regular acrylic paints and find they do not fade or wash out. The flowered tote below was originally a gift-with-purchase bag from Victoria Secret – it’s at least 5 years old and hasn’t faded a bit.
What’s organization without a pen bag? It holds more than I really can ever use – it’s awesome! My husband’s bag (the green one) is filled with his cigar accessories and other man gear. No, I do not smoke cigars lol!
My second art kit has many more supplies to choose from. It’s the perfect “portable studio” for longer travels or for an in-person art journaling class.
The organizer is really cool! It has a lift out tray for sketching or art journaling in my lap – and of course being plastic, it’s waterproof. It holds quite a lot. In it goes tapes, a sharpener, glue, water brushes, a spray bottle of water, standard watercolors, little jars of shimmery water colors and water-soluble markers and pencils.
This final kit is full blown! This amazing box allows me to carry everything needed for a days long painting retreat, except the canvas itself.
In it, I can carry paints, brushes, paint pens, a painting shirt or apron, an art journal (or two), a full size camera and more. Pretty much anything can find a place. Well maybe not the humungous inspiration book . . . it’s an incredible collection of art journal images by Peter Beard – another favorite artist of mine.
I bound the journal to the right of the white camera myself – it’s soft and mushy which I love. I ripped the cover to size from one of my own un-stretched paintings on canvas. I filled it with luscious creamy 140 lb. hot press Fabriano watercolor paper – the best paper ever made in my opinion!!
They even make the box in other colors and sizes. I’m seriously lusting over the turquoise one. There’s even a cool fabric one (that I will not admit to owning – uh huh). I believe this box may have changed my life – well, my creative life – a bit, anyways!
Tell me . . . do you HAVE to tote art supplies wherever you go too? Am I alone in this? Do you go on sketching dates and art journal picnics and painting retreats?
Today, and for the next 2 weeks I’m on a self-imposed “working” retreat. Clearing the “white space” was not easy. But the work to get here, was worth having done, because the work I WANT TO DO can now happen! LOL.
Now, it’s time to allow. I will allow my normal routine and responsibilities to fall away. I’ll surrender to the writing, art making, reading and studying I seriously desire.
You see recently, I made a firm decision to begin hosting art retreats. It’s a longing I’ve had for quite some time, but I struggled – finding a perfect location to lease and making it work financially was just not gelling. Finally, I let go of the brick and mortar idea and decided to take it on the road. Hence, Creative Nomad Retreat(s) was born!
The first art retreat I’ll host is still months away, but there’s content I want to create for before and during the retreat, so that is a major part of what I’ll be doing during this time. There’s also art making, a bit of blogging, personal journaling and catching up on an online class to do. Dream time for other future art retreats is also on the to-do list! All of this will be interspersed with early walking, swimming, good food and rest.
I’m so happy, I almost can’t stand it! There is much to be done, but this is the work I’d PAY to do! It’s work I’ve CHOSEN for myself – work 54 years in the making.
So I’m off to whistle while I work, my dears! Catch up with you later. AND if you’re interested in learning more about the first Creative Nomad Retreat, go here. There’s one spot left!