Summer is the season for slowing down. For taking time. While I’ve been working in the studio a lot over these last few months, this summer has also been about renewal. As often as we can, whether it is a long walk down to the beach or a secluded hike or a weekend of camping, we are cultivating a habit of intentional quiet time.
As we approached the shore of Richmond Beach a few days ago, we happened upon an amazing installation of more than 30 cairns stacked along and in the water’s edge. We marveled at the time and patience it must have taken to create each of those sculptures, knowing that they are temporal. Creating art feels much the same– I work long and hard at painting, only to one day ship it off, where it will hopefully, go on to live a life completely apart from me. My time with my work is fleeting. But the hours spent creating it are the best kind of quiet meditation.
I’ve never been an early riser. So catching the sun rise over the Atlantic when I lived in Florida didn’t happen often. But being on the West Coast, sunsets have become my happy place. At least three evenings a week, the Mr. and I walk the mile and a half from our apartment then down (and back up, ugh!) 188 steps to Richmond Beach on Puget Sound. Many Friday evenings we take a bottle of wine and end the week watching the colors slowly shift over the Sound. It is an incredibly peaceful and lovely way to begin the weekend.
Last night’s display was so incredible that Instagrammers all over the Seattle area were posting their sunset views. We were all taking in and experiencing the same collective beauty but each from our own unique perspective. What a gift of a communal yet individual experience!
These magical sunset views are informing my new work in the VENTERS series– not always literally, but in the way the light becomes soft and dreamy, how the sun melts into the horizon, the way the colors morph and move one into another.
See the current VENTERS paintings on my website here. The newer paintings are even softer and more dreamy, if you can believe it! Can’t wait to show you.
One of the big advantages to our current traveling lifestyle is how many amazing places we are able to see. These adventures are a huge source of inspiration for me as an artist. But seeing so many incredible sights can also lead to a bit of inspiration overload and lead my artsy brain in all sorts of different directions!
With each new location, each new season, comes a whole new set of inspirations! So how does one artist handle so many different sources of inspiration?
For me, I keep my eyes open and take special notice of what inspires me, not just once, but on a continual basis. It’s easy to find one spark, but the trick is finding what will continue to spark over and over and over. Look not for the firecracker, but the forest fire– the spark that leaps and creates more sparks, more fire.
I make note but I don’t necessarily pursue those sparks right away. My sketchbook is full of idea scribbles, some pretty well developed, others simply notes on colors and forms. I also have a folder on my phone where I dump those quick sparks when I don’t have my sketchbook handy. Then, there is my favorite inspiration keeper– Pinterest! I have at least half a dozen boards where I hoard visual inspirations from subject matter to color palettes. I keep them private so they are for my eyes only until I decide I am ready to share them with the world.
I commit myself to what I’m especially inspired by at the moment and concentrate on exploring that inspirational idea fully. Each inspiration exploration becomes a series of work to be revisited again and again as I continue to find new ways to express that initial spark.
Once I feel like I’m done exploring a certain subject for a while, I’m ready to move on to another idea. But how to decide? Sometimes it takes some exploration in the studio to see what is moving me creatively or it could be as simple as how excited about an idea I am! The most exciting prospect wins!
At the moment, I’m exploring beachy and coastal inspiration in my VENTERS series– it is proving to be perfect for the coming summer on Puget Sound!
Once, in a job interview, I was asked what my favorite fashion brand was. I told the interviewer, I would love to be a Free People girl. But I think I’m more Anthropologie. And I think it’s the same with painting. I’ve gone through this questioning before, a few years ago, and thought I’d come to a happy conclusion.
But voices come in from all directions and we give them heed, perhaps we should but more than likely we shouldn’t.
Am I making work that makes my heart sing, that challenges me or am I making work that focuses on the way other people respond to it?
give me your forever, 2016, acrylic on cradled wood panel, 12×12
I’m a quiet person. I’m not loud or brash or even sparkly. I’m introspective. Some might say mysterious, since I usually keep my cards close to the vest. Why would I try to make work that doesn’t reflect who I truly am?
As I was beginning the VENTERS series, I experimented a bit with slightly bolder movement and texture and while successful, the more quiet and soft paintings that have come lately feel more “me”. I just finished up four more small coastal inspired pieces and am starting on larger canvases this week. They are turning out beautifully and sharing them will feel like sharing my heart. As art should be. I can’t wait for you to see, stay tuned!
I have been hearing for years that having a newsletter is mucho important for any online presence. And yet, for some reason I resisted. UNTIL NOW!
I’ve been getting requests on social media for folks to be notified when new work is available, when larger pieces are available, etc., so instead of making you guys do the work of checking the website or keeping up with social media posts, you can now be notified first thing when new work is ready for your eyes! Newsletter subscribers will get first access to new paintings and more!
You can sign up for my artist newsletter, From The Easel, over on the blog sidebar–
I’ve never been good at keeping a sketchbook, or even painting daily unless I can block off a few studio hours to really paint. So the idea of creating something every day for 100 days was intimidating, but the idea of pushing myself in that way really excited me.
With a bit of trepidation, on Tuesday, April 19th, I began #the100dayproject, committing to creating every day for 100 days and sharing the results on Instagram.
Working within certain parameters would, I knew, make this process easier to document and control, so I decided to create 100 small artworks on 6×6 vellum ( I’m addicted to these little guys for quick sketches ). I started with acrylics for the first few pieces, whipping out quick little paintings while I worked on bigger canvases in the studio.
But I soon switched to watercolor, as it just so happened that the beginning of the project coincided with our prep to move from OR to WA, so the watercolors were much easier to whip out while my acrylics were packed away.
And I do believe a love affair with watercolor has begun! A large part of what artists who have participated in #the100dayproject have experienced has been a creative breakthrough or the discovery of a new technique or new palette or approach. I don’t plan to give up acrylics, but I do think I’ll be exploring watercolor on a larger scale very soon!
You can follow my #the100dayproject progress by following me on Instagram or searching the hashtag #100littleartworks. There is also now a #100littleartworks page on my artist site that I’ll be updating periodically.
I’m enjoying this new journey! Have you ever participated in a daily creative challenge? What did it do for you?
It seems like one coast or another has always been a part of my life. Growing up in Florida, I spent a lot of Saturdays collecting seashells with my mom on white sand beaches. Then five years ago, Mr. F and I crossed the country and I was introduced to the Pacific Ocean and the beaches of the Northwest.
I carry both with me and both coasts have inspired this new series, Venters. The title of the series, Venters, is the word for what the wind or tide drives in from the ocean upon a wave.
I love the way the light bounces off the waves, how the sand glistens in the afterglow of each kiss of the waves upon the shore.
And at the breaking and closing of the day, the coastal waters light up like the sea glass jewels they wash upon the sand. At those times, it seems that the ocean quiets and the earth revolves a bit more slowly. It is that feeling that I hope the Venters paintings capture.
As I was finishing up the work for my LATITUDE show, my mind was already overflowing with ideas for my next body of work. But I was having a hard time narrowing my scope. Then my hubby and I took a weekend trip to the Oregon Coast. And my new series, VENTERS, was born.
A dozen new paintings in my VENTERS series are now available at Art & Light Gallery in Greenville, SC! You can also see all of the work on my website. More on the inspiration behind this new series, coming soon! I can’t wait to see how our new spot near Puget Sound influences what is to come.
You guys, there are some artist’s work that I just adore. And I just can’t help but share with you when such an artist has a new body of work to share or a solo show that you must see! Artist David Pirrie has a solo show, Mapping the Rockies, at Ian Tan Gallery in Vancouver, BC until April 30th.
In the artist’s own words, “I use the dots and grids to represent coordinate plotting, metaphorically pointing to the impermanence of their man-made structures that attempt to prescribe location at the intersection of human and geological time. I also paint evidence of erosion, hoping to remind us of the temporal nature of the mountains which, seemingly anchored in time, force us to acknowledge our transient existence on this earth.”
If you are in the Vancouver area, get to Ian Tan Gallery & see this show before it closes! See the show paintings here and more of David’s work on his website.
This past weekend we took a long overdue break. Mr. F and I flew down to San Diego to spend time with our close friends, the James. Our friends had a family funeral on Friday, so we were left to our own devices once we arrived in San Diego. We decided to spend the day in one of the most beautiful spots in So Cal, La Jolla.
Since we knew a lot of our time with the James’ would involve chasing and being chased by three adorable little boys, we wanted the first day of our little vacation to be as peaceful as possible. So we wandered along the ocean shore, breathing in the salty air, drawn in by the turquoise water and blooming coastal wildflowers.
It was a day for slow wandering. So of course, we found ourselves drifting through a few of La Jolla’s galleries. Our favorite by far was Madison Gallery on Wall Street. The current exhibition, Gods of Suburbia by Dina Goldstein was visually arresting and symbolically engaging.
dina goldstein and shelley adler
It was such a pleasure to finally experience the work of Hunt Slonem and Miya Ando in person. There is so much more to them in real life than you will ever see online.
Our wandering also took us over the MOCA La Jolla to see the Ed Ruscha show, Then & Now: Paintings from the 1960s and 2000s.While Ruscha’s work isn’t Mr. F’s thing, I loved seeing this collection of his past and present work. Definitely worth a visit if you find yourself in the area!
ed ruscha at MOCA la jolla
But perhaps the best thing was simply the air and the inspiration. After we paid a visit to the Oregon Coast a few weeks ago, I’ve been working on a series of coastal inspired paintings and this trip definitely added to my inspiration supply.
How about you? Any inspiration trips planned? Any interesting gallery shows you’ve seen lately?