Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 16 - Challenge Over - or is it?

During these first two weeks or so of this new year, I have have learned a lot about myself and THE creative process. Realizing now that this challenge has really started for me in earnest, not ended. The challenge is really day-to-day; how to incorporate art-making into my daily life. I can make an argument why this isn't a challenge, that really it is a blessing, but regardless it remains a question for me to live into.

Back to Soul Expression's New Year 15 day Art-Making Challenge: I completed 16 pieces (yes - an extra one!) - well almost - I still need to touch up a couple areas with white acrylic and spray the last 5 pieces with a finish. Also my dad taught me that a project is never finished till we put all our tools back to where they belong. Then I also need to scan them all for "history" and jot down any additional notes on the methods I used, such as what worked or what I would do differently. Oh - then I need to show them to the "world" as a final stage of the creative process. Wow! It keeps going . . . so when are we done?

The creative process is exactly like that - a process. It doesn't really stop or begin, it is on-going in many aspects of our lives, whether we are aware of it or not. Sigh. Okay! Let me get back to specifics, I learned much from this 15 day challenge which I hope to integrate into my creative process going forth. So -- what did you learn (or not)? Would love to see your art which you created and talk to you about your process! 

Let us all meet at Chase Art Studio next Saturday, January 28, at 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm for an exhibit and light snacks to share our insights. No RSVP is required unless you are bringing your art to show us; then you need to contact me so we can set-up an area in the studio for your art. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 11 - January 11, 2012 - 11 pieces complete

Today after I spilled walnut ink over some 5 pieces in the making by mistake, I am now proclaiming that I have completed 11 pieces of art. The spill hastened the process of finishing several canvases sooner than I had planned. Since I had a third of a bottle of walnut ink on my work surface, I decided to sponge it around the edges of the canvases I spilled on and others that were almost ready for the final touch! The creative process is often mysterious and peculiar . . .

So -- how is it going for you all that took on this challenge - or not? I am still pretty excited and motivated, as I really enjoy creating series which share common materials and themes. With every piece, I incorporate what I learn or like (or not) into the next piece. Of course, there are mis-takes -- which I am attempting to view as another way of learning and a new place to start from. I am growing more confidant that I cannot really ruin any of the 6 x 6 inch canvases that I am working on; they are much more resilient than paper and the layers of add nice texture . . .

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Day 4 - Art-Making is Happening (and not)

Monday is "art day" at Chase Studio and I couldn't wait to get out into the studio to play with the little canvases. Ideas are flowing and I want to try new different materials on this series. Oh my! One participant texted me: "hope my head can make it thru this. Stimulation up the yin yang." Once started - I am in the process - engaged in Soul Expression. Committing to this challenge has been very motivating and inspiring for me in many ways!

And - life happens. I didn't make it into the studio yesterday and today only for a couple hours to finish (maybe?) a couple pieces. Then tomorrow I am going away to a New Year writing retreat till Sunday. It will be much fun but I won't be working to complete my 15 pieces. This is exactly how my life is - juggling activities (some planned, some not) around my home & family, and commitments everyday. How to fit art-making into an already busy life?

collage with gesso, glue, watercolor crayon, water-soluble oil pastel, acrylic paint and a dye stain

When I realized that I would be away on retreat, I thought that I might plan the 15-day challenge around it. Perhaps the challenge could start the Monday I returned? Then I looked at my calendar and saw that I had several full days of commitments the following week, then the next week looked even busier because . . . That is exactly how life can be, at least for me. I have not yet made my art-making the most important priority of my life, and life happens. So - the challenge has begun and I am fully in it! Are you? What is coming up for you?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 1 - January 1, 2012 - Getting Started

Today is first day of a new year and the first day of our 15-day Art-Making Challenge. It wasn't until I put away all the holiday decorations did I actually get into the studio. Getting started on a new project has always been hard for me, yet I am learning to manage my process. I go grocery shopping, take Tesha to dog park, make telephone calls, clean the toilet or other things I rarely do before I commit myself to going into the studio. Not quite sure why I have a hard time starting - but once I do - I am pretty happy and engaged in the process. In fact, once I start a project, all I want to do is be in the studio working on it!

So - I have been looking forward to the challenge ever since we dreamed it up in late November at the Kurt Schwitters' Exhibit in Berkely. I knew I wanted to create 6" x 6" collages with a common theme but didn't know what materials I would be using. It is easy for me to get overwhelmed with all the possibilities (see more on this at Tuesday, May 31, 2011 blog posting). After I put away all the dishes and supplies on the counters (more stalling and distraction) and unwrapped five 6" x 6" canvases, I decided I would start with what was right in front of me; a calendar of black and white Zen-like nature photographs that a good friend gave me a few days ago.

Black and white felt good and I wanted at least one other key black and white source to collage with the photographs. I then decided it would be great fun to use the photographs of Pre-Columbian Art from "University Prints" that I bought last summer. Of course, there will be color - probably bird images, messengers of the sacred, and acrylics or maybe gouache, and, or perhaps origami paper or . . .

starting place: cleaned-up work area & staging of materials
In managing my creative process, I have learned not to get too far of myself, such as having everything determined ahead of time. Once in the process, I am much more aware of what is needed for whatever I am engaged in. Make sense? Just start - start with what I know and what is in front of me; that is my new motto these days.

Several participants of this challenge are concerned about not being able to make a finished piece of art every day for 15 days. No where in the description of Soul Expression's Art-Making Challenge does it state that you must complete something every day for 15 days; it reads, "15 finished pieces in 15 days". Think about it. There are some things you could complete - yet there are many things which will take time to dry or evolve over several days. Late today I started - I started by beginning the first collage layer (or two) on 5 pieces. Perhaps tomorrow I will finish a piece or two - or finish three - or start another background or . . . My intention, the first stage of the creative process, is to make 15 pieces of art in the first 15 days of January 2012. Now that I have started - I am pretty happy!

layers of paper adhered to canvas with matte medium, now drying for tomorrow's "play"

Tell me -- how was your first day? How did you feel? What did you do (or not do)? Please leave your comments and email any images you would like for me to post for you to illustrate your journey.