Nature is always the muse

A new series of paintings began happening a few weeks ago. It is titled "Naturae" which is Latin for nature. Of couse. Nature is always the muse. Every single piece of artwork I create is inspired by the natural world around me. 

I needed to create on a smaller scale for a while. I love creating big, but sometimes the size of larger works involves more time commitment than I can offer. I craved working on a scale that didn't require days or weeks to complete. A size which allowed me to start and finish in a day or two at most. Something I could work on after a long day at the J.O.B. These works are created on interior house paint sample swatches I had in my collection of interior design tools. No longer needed, I decided they would make the perfect canvas surface. Each measures approximately 11x14 and all works are mixed media to some degree. Acrylic paint, colored pencil, soft pastel, oil pastel, neocolor crayons, charcoal pencil, embroidery thread and paper collage. 

Please visit the shop to view the collection. The first 10 works are up with many more to follow in the coming weeks. Prints will be available of these paintings as well, sometime in the near future. 

Thank you for visiting here. Offering kind words and support of my creative life. 

Grateful every day. Live life wonderful.

~am

art and writing

Art and writing. I want to do both. I have this internal struggle about which to put first. Creating art usually wins. It wins because I HAVE to paint, MUST create visual art. Writing is a WANT. Until it becomes a NEED. 

When I'm writing, I think I should be painting, and when I'm painting, I'm wondering when I'll write. Some of my best ideas for stories and essays come when I'm painting. The naming of things, words of wisdom and inspiration, greeting card words, almost all come while I'm painting. Maybe the solution is to write while I'm painting. Maybe it doesn't have to be one or the other all of the time. 

I see other artists who also write books. Several books, and all while they continue to make illustations, paintings, photography. I marvel at how they get it done. When do they write and when do they make art? Writing is of couse a form of artwork. Writing requires less supplies, but can't come to exist with less effort, inspiration and creativity. 

If I won the lottery and could spend my days painting and writing, I think I could get both done. But sense it is unlikely I'll win the lottery, given that I never play the lottery, I must go about finding the way that works for me to create visual art and write. Perhaps I've been looking at this all wrong and telling myself that my time is either spent with a paint brush or pen in hand, but not both at the same time.

The limits we put on ourselves, are limiting. 

I'll give this making art and writing along side one another thing a go, and let you know how it turns out. For now though, I'm done writing and I'm going to return to painting, until such time as I feel like writing. And then I'll stop painting. The cycle continues. 

live life wonderful,

~am

 

do you love what you create?

detail of new work, new series

detail of new work, new series

Last week I began a new series of paintings. At the time that I sat down to paint however, I didn't know I was about to start a series of paintings like none I'd painted before. I really liked this first painting. When it was complete, I sat back and stared at it for a long period of time because I felt very pleased with its outcome. I was surprised I thought it was so good. I'm not sure the last time I felt this way about one of my works of art. In truth, I like the vast majority of what I create. I believe most artists do like their own work. And yet I realized in that moment, that I hadn't felt so deeply content and pleased with a work of mine in a really long time. Perhaps the reason this one felt so good is because I sat down to paint that night with no particular outcome in mind. I only wanted (needed) to feel the brush in my hand and see the dance of colors. 

It's a little odd to really think about I feel about my own artwork. If I find I've created something that I don't like, I simply paint over it, recycle it into another piece of work, or sometimes, trash it. But how often do I "love" my work? A great number of my paintings are visual representations of the stories that live in my soul, and once rendered in art form, my feelings of attachment to them and favor for them, begins to lessen. 

Over the years, there have been works of art that I have created that have made me very happy. That have helped me work through an issue or situation, and bridged gaps between what I perceive and what is real. Most have been painted because I was filled with joy. And there are some that I like just fine, but wouldn't want to look at every day hanging in my home. This is a truth I'm not sure many artists would admit to. I don't believe we have to think all of our work is good and love every single work of art we create. But these works are no less important to our artistic and creative journey. They are no less part of us and our story. To date, I only have one painting that is mine to keep, one I wouldn't sell. It has great meaning to me as it represents a time in my life of fear and uncertainty about my future. 

This painting tells the story of natural beauty, which I knew in my heart, and deep in my soul, would heal me. And I won't go so far as to say that this painting is even one of my best, but I need to see it every day. This painting is beautiful in my eyes, and I have had people tell me it is to them as well, which is nice, but not essential to how I feel about this painting. It is a reminder of that tender time in my life, big decisions made and of following my gut instincts. 

As an artist, as someone who creates images on canvas, there will be works that I myself find wonderfully wonderful, and some that simply need to be created in ugliness and later painted over. There will be many paintings that delight me and some that disgust me. And every single one is important to my creative life, to my stories that must be told. Some are silent companions here to walk with me in times of sorrow and some are vibrant dances of color and shape that scream my enthusiasm for life. 

I don't have to love every single painting I paint. I don't need to believe that every word I write and story I tell are master works of art. I simply have to keep creating. God gave me this gift with no strings attached other than the wish that I create.  

I'm excited about this new work and eager to share these paintings. They tell another story. One of mountains, flora and fauna, colorful land and sky, places seen and dreamed. Adventures had and plans ahead. They are simple and to the point. They are me. They are you. 

~am 

looking back, and moving forward

I don't often recycle old blog posts, but every now and again, I come back to one and I think, "Yes! Share this one again." 

I needed to find this tonight. To read my own words about moving forward in life. Maybe it will be something that you needed to read too. 

From March 2013......

I've been thinking a lot lately on how we move forward in our lives.  Forward in both good times and after the bad.  How couples move forward after they say "I do" and how those that don't stay together, move forward after they say good-by.  How the college graduate moves forward into real life, work life.  The way newly retired folks begin again, another new chapter in their lives with more wrinkles on their face and wisdom in their hearts.  It seems to me that we are all striving to move forward in life, whether we are aware of it or not.  There may be times when we feel stagnate, that our lives have come to a stand still and hold no more surprises and no more adventure.   Could it be that when we find ourselves feeling this way, we have chosen this state of mind?  

I'm of a restless nature.  Always looking for the next challenge, the next opportunity to learn, the next person to befriend, the next painting to create, the next story to develop.  I guess you could say I'm always putting myself on the road to somewhere.  Roads leading to small and simple tours of new and unexpected outcome, and roads leading to monumental change.  Looking back on my life, I can now see that I've been this way from a very young age.  To others looking from the outside, it may have seemed I stayed in one place, snug within my comfort zone.  But I know different, for if only in my imagination, I was constantly seeking new roads.  The status quo has never held my attention for long.  And I recognize and admire those who travel the roads to someplace new far more often than I do.  I look to them in awe. 

We make our own lives.  It is up to us to put ourselves on the road to somewhere wonderful.  Places of meaning and worth, of happiness and joy.  Places that excite our senses, feed our souls, and which lead to good, no harm.  It is a great privilege in life to have choice.  Moving forward is a choice.

This weekend, next week and every day of your life, put yourself on the road to somewhere.  Move in a positive direction.  Go out and take advantage of every opportunity life holds out to you.  Be grateful.  Help others along the way.  Find yourself in a place of wonder.