Saturday, January 30, 2010

Define it. Defeat it.

After struggling with "selfish artist guilt" for many years, I wanted to balance my "day job" responsibilities and give in to my desire to paint again. I had been trying to connect with artists by getting involved in an Artist's Way group about 45 minutes from my home.
One day, I had a day-job deadline, and an artists' group assignment deadline. After fulfilling other appointments, I had about three free hours in the afternoon. Usually, I would tell myself I didn't want to work at home, but if I didn't get my work done, I shouldn't be painting, either. Thus I would procrastinate miserably on both, and get nothing done.
But on that day in February 2009, I decided to do something effective. I divided the hours in half, working on the day-job stuff first, then painting for 1-1/2 hours. I knew if I worked on the painting first, I would never leave my studio. So, I set a timer and trudged through my paperwork.
And, yes, I was so happy when that timer went off. I wasn't through with my work, but I had begun, which was more accomplished than the alternative results.
Running with a guilt-free heart to my small studio space, I began a colorful painting that had been lurking in my head to fulfill the assignment. I completed it that afternoon and it's become one of my fave paintings. At the group that night, one member requested a print of the painting, since it seemed to illustrate her personal journey.
I refer to this as the Half & Half Technique. Yes, it's sad that some of us have to play tricks on ourselves to accomplish anything. But finding what works for you can be extremely rewarding when you have struggled for years with a mentality that holds you back.
If you're struggling with something, sit yourself down, and honestly figure out what it is that holds you back.
Then make a plan to defeat your foe.
Become a warrior for your inner artist, and fight for your studio time, unique voice, personal choice of media, risk-taking permission, or a license for imperfection. These are just some of the essentials we all need to protect while creating. What is holding you back?
Define it. Then, defeat it.
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Oh...the painting?
It's the one entitled "Isaiah 40:31"
This reassuring verse states:
"But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint."
Lemme tell ya, when life gets tough, it doesn't get any better than that.

"Isaiah 40:31" oil on canvas by DJ

Consider Humble Materials

I was checking out Jo Horswill's always inspiring blog "My Story" and was reminded of the fact that ordinary household materials can bring beauty into being. I then visited Odd Chick's amazingly creative blog "Passions of an Odd Chick" and read about her desire to create her computer-patterned background by hand. The two seemed related in my simple mind, since I use styrofoam blocks for printmaking in my classroom. So I played with some styrofoam blocks and oil paint on this icy Saturday afternoon.
I'm not pleased enough with my photos of the painting to share it here, but, as my life goes, the blocks look better than my painting!

I don't know what I think of the painting, yet. It has an amateurish quality that I'm trying to leave behind. Unsuccessfully!
But, at least I got my hands messy, so it was not a wasted Saturday afternoon.
Thanks to Jo and OddChick for the inspiration. Hugs & Hairsmooches.
OK, people...Use what you have to create. Make yourself happy. Make stuff. Now.
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Traveling in a Strange Land


"Lady of the House" in oil on 20x16" canvas by DJ

Detail of "Lady of the House" in oil on 20x16" canvas by DJ

In my last post, I mentioned that it's been so long since my last real painting session that my studio felt "foreign." That led to my comment that it's a good thing I don't mind traveling in a strange land.
When I had a few hours this past weekend, I reacquainted myself with my easel, and this lady's face appeared. I began with a palette knife background, then surprised myself by painting her into the plane with a brush...of course, I was so pleased to see her, I got stuck and didn't go any further. I usually err on the side of simplicity, much to the experts' chagrin. But since "simplicity" is my word for 2010, I'm not bothered.
Don't you be bothered by silly critics, either, my friend. Get into that workspace and create!
Tell those voices in your head to SHUT UP! And then, go, do what your heart desires!
I'll be here to cheer you on...
Love & Laughter,
DJ

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cozy Winter Nap, Anyone?



The photo is of my cat curled up napping under the warmth of a lamp. Yes, this is what I WISH I was doing...
But life has other ideas, so I've been working, attending too many meetings, grading portfolios, getting report card grades into the school computer, visiting family & friends, and getting over a nasty sinus infection that decided to hang on long after its arrival during Christmas week.
And on top of everything else, my computer got an infection! What fun...

The other night, I walked into my studio and it felt like a foreign land. Yikes~
Good thing I like to travel to unusual places ~lol~
I better get in there and remember what it's like to apply paint to a surface...
Is it Spring yet?

Love & Laughter... to everyone in blogland
DJ

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Three Little Words

It is the beginning of January 2010...
The number sounds especially auspicious to me this year. Like we should be making plans for world peace efforts and calculating space travel activities or throwing an international parade or something.
A new year is like a fresh new canvas, several artist bloggers have remarked. Yes, and I wonder what will be painted upon mine?
Like you, there are so many things to do in so many arenas of my life.
My list is long, and my time runs out.
Prioritize?
I wish. Hmm…Let's see:
~Seeking God’s Will would be first, to ensure everything else is successful.
~People and art would be next.
~Animals would be in there somewhere.:-)
Gee, it sounds so simple when you put it like that!
Several blogger-friends have a word to focus upon for the new year instead of resolutions.
Perhaps my word could be SIMPLIFY.
The list above is simple and seemingly stress-free. And Honey, I desperately need stress-free.
I wonder if I can simplify my work at school to alleviate stress there..?
I’m working towards simplifying things at home already.
So, for you, I'll share my Christmas preparation/cleaning method in three words:

1) Throw out. (Yes, 2 words, but more aggressive than "toss" :-)
2) Purpose.
3) Place.

“Throw out” means giving it to our local thrift store for sales that benefit our local Hospice.
“Purpose” means making sure the remaining object has a purpose for taking up precious space in my life.
“Place” means finding a place that is convenient and unobtrusive.

OK, it probably lets out the plans for space travel and an international parade but...SIMPLIFY is my word. What's yours?

Love & Laughter, (and a stress-free 2010 to all my precious blogging friends)
DJ