Be Like Water

I’ve been officially unemployed for over a year. And I’m incredibly fortunate that I am in a situation that means I can take my time to find work that I can sink my teeth into.  A year ago at this time I was creating illustrations with full intention that children’s illustration was my goal.  And you know what? I  love creating my creatures and animals. I’ve learned to manipulate vectors and colors in ways that make me very happy.  But I know that the possibility of writing and illustrating a book are probably not where I will end up.

About halfway through 2013  I read Kandinisky’s  manifesto Concerning the Spiritual in Art and created a vector abstract series.  And it felt natural.  These abstracts led to learning about patterns.  Rather than fight it, I followed it. And since the fall, that is exactly what I have been doing. Following. My sketchbooks are filled with leaves and flowers and birds.  I’ve explored the clean lines  of mid-century designs and studied  vintage fabric.  I’m very pleased with the results.

Wave

Arches

2014 has begun creatively quiet. I started a temp assignment a week or so before Christmas that will last until the end of tax season in April. As things get busier and deadlines loom, I’ll be on my feet long hours. I know I’ll be tired.  I’ve adjusted to the five day schedule now and my energy to do anything more taxing than making dinner is finally coming back.

Instead of being frustrated that I won’t be able to create and paint as much as I’d like, I’ve learned acceptance. My mantra at work has been “be like water.”  This position is a stepping stone. The consistent paychecks are allowing me to pay ahead on my student loans, put money aside for later and keep food in the cupboards. I’m lucky that my husband is in a position that allows me flexibility, but we’re a team and that means shouldering responsibility.

abstract_easel -21614

The best thing to happen from all of this following, creative quietness and acceptance?  I’m painting. Not just painting, I’ve given myself permission to step away from the computer and spend time on my abstract painting roots. No big goals. No portfolio plans. Just me and the canvas. And it’s really lovely and good.

New Work: Calendar Series

May

June

Outside the wind is blustery and icy. Good motivation to stay inside and work.  This week I’ve been working on the months of a calendar. I’m treating each one as its own work of art- with functionality. I’ve assigned myself rules: one color in addition to black and cream. In the end, the series has to present itself as a whole. The shapes and colors need to connect, so I’ve repeated  shapes and patterns without  repeating the composition.

You can find the entire series poster here in my calendar gallery.

(You can also find the prints for sale here.)

New Work: Dandelions and Dinnerware

Dandelion Adrift

Dandelions

Mid century modern design makes me happy. Its exuberant and bouncy.  I love the flatness of the lines and shapes. I go back to Mid century modern whenever I need inspiration.

Inspired by vintage Corelle dinnerware

Dandelion Dish (teal)

Inspired by vintage Corelle dinnerware

 

Corelle were the everyday dishes of my childhood. We used Old Town Blue. My mom might have used her Betty Crocker coupons to purchase some of place settings. I even had a matching set of doll dishes complete with a percolator coffee pot (for looks, not percolating).

 

(all the above images are available in my Society6 shop as prints, mugs or pillows)

New Work: Abstracts

After creating the vine for this pattern, I couldn’t walk away from the shape without experimenting further.
Lattice

I closed the shape in and gave myself some minimalist rules as an exercise.
Industrial Abstract

One abstract leads to another.

Industrial Abstract Variation

    Sometimes its a relief to minimize my choices and work strictly with color and shape. I can easily see these images becoming oversized paintings.

New Artwork: Birds and Flowers

My sketchbooks have been filled with flowers, lately. I’ve been exploring folk art designs and vintage fabric patterns. My challenge this week was to incorporate pink- a color I don’t normally think about using and focus on a limited palette. I found myself enhancing the pink and making it deeper as time went on. It ended up on a raspberry note, but cheerful and happy, just the same.

Tulip and Little Birds

Tulips and Little Birds (black)

Hello, October!

Hello, October.  Where’d you come from?  My last post was dated July. JULY!

Creatively, I let summer take whatever course it wanted. And my work definitely meandered. I’d show you, but….I can’t. My hard drive failed. And my external backup failed. All my digital files are gone. All my writing. PFFT. Just like that. Gone.

Lesson: it is not IF your devices fail, it is WHEN. Back up your work. Protect your backup. Treat it like something precious. Because it is.

And how am I taking it? I’ve been oddly calm.  I’m rather enjoying it, to be honest. It’s a bit like spring cleaning….in a ruthless-pare-it-all-down-to-nothing-kind-of-way. Starting over means a clean and tidy computer. Though, I wouldn’t recommend ever loosing all your files, if you can help it, the process has been good. Very good.

I’ve begun to rebuild my portfolio. The best part of starting from nothing, is starting with nothing. Really. I can’t look back at previous steps, so I have to move forward. Thankfully, I still have all my drawings, but I’m not seeing the value in re-creating anything as exact copies. Everything is new.

Some of my new work has been influenced by topsy turvy dolls. I had one as a child. One side was Red Riding Hood. Flip her skirt and she became the Big Bad Wolf in Grandma’s nightie. Flip the nightcap and he became Grandma. Like topsy turvy dolls, my images are completely invertible. Its interesting to see how the expressions change a bit, depending on how you look at them.

This one was directly influenced stuffed animals my grandmother made when I was little. They were always at here house, to play with there. The dog was made of bright 1970′s orange calico and cat was bright green calico. Both with embroidered features. I’m not sure if she intended it, but thinking back, they reminded my of the poem “The Duel” by Eugene Field about the Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat.

A close up of the black cat’s face.

New Work: Geometric Abstraction

Last week I indulged my inner nerd and read Kandinsky’s manifest “On the Spiritual in Art.”  This lead to investigating the movements of the Russian Avant-Garde.  I found myself rather amused by the seriousness of the movement manifestos.

I rolled my eyes at first, but then realized back when I was a student, I was feeling some of what Kandinsky was writing. The abstract painting of my college days was searching for some of the same truths Kandinsky was attempting to teach. I sought to eliminate evidence of object or anything identifiable. At the time, painting was so much more than completing an assignment. I craved the studio experience. I think I was too young to fully appreciate what I was experiencing. And while I knew who Kandinsky was, it wasn’t until last week that I understood him as an art theorist. It was a happy and profound moment to make the connections.

True Poet

 Everything Starts with a Dot

Happy June: Love is in the Air

I’ve been looking at folk art lately which has led to examining color and simpler shapes. While I often use limited palettes for color choices, I gave myself the challenge of using just the colors, no tints or varied values. This forced me to pay attention to the color interactions. The results are cheery, clean and crisp.
 (These are available in my Society6 shop as prints as well as on various merchandise. “Love is in the Air” happens to make a rather nice tshirt.)