I love acrylic paint. Like LOVE it. It's fast drying time, which many see as a downfall of the medium, lets me work at a speed that I'm comfortable with. I feel like I can literally get inside of the painting. The flexibility of the paints and mediums is so. so. wonderful. The saturated colors are delicious. Here's what, though, I am making a concerted effort to switch to oil paints for a little while. Push myself out of my comfort zone a bit. I know acrylics up and down. Oil paints and I are old friends, but have a lot of catching up to do. So far, I'm smitten. Their rich, deep tones and buttery strokes are incredible.
This vulnerable thing is not my bag. I've spent the better part of the last three hours contemplating (in a journal, in a gym class, in my car...) how to blog about journaling without feeling like I'm walking around in my underwear. For me, my core is linked to all these journals. They house my dreams, my fears, and my to-do lists. They are littered with inspiration, sketches, ideas, blunders, and the occasional story by one of my kids.
I have a few... ATLEAST three in every room of my house. I can't even comment on the quantity in my car. I even have a tiny paint set in there just in case the urge strikes me. I reference them daily, while painting, and just to catch myself up to speed.
Sometimes I draw, sometimes I paint. Often I write. I'm realizing I find much catharsis from writing. Pen to paper. Brain to soul. Helps guide me steadily.
I recently finished a body of work: Translation. It revolves around language, specifically, what's unspoken. I feel, I paint. It’s what I have to say, sometimes its not even conscious; putting something instinctive into a visual expression for others to receive.
Paintings, for me, are circles of communication. As an artist, I intend for their work to be translated. I want the viewer to not just react to my paintings, but to respond to them.
One focus of my art is life cycles... Take a flower. It's life cycle is so short, you can actually watch it unfurl into this beautiful explosion of color, of shape, of form. And almost instantly, after it reaches it's fullest bloom, it starts it's demise.
But what exactly is that moment of completion? Of highest beauty and form? Is it at the fullest bloom?
For me, it's the process; the entirety of the cycle.
In Nectar Nearly Complete, I attempted to capture an abstracted slice of a delicate flower in a bold, strong way. Stringing together in the process with fragments of development, I hoped to achieve a balance, a sense of near completion.
In Sitting Room, I explored the life cycle of an old room, which has gone through many transformations throughout it's course of life. Each one breathing new life into the space. What was once modern and fresh becomes antique and sacred. Each season leaving it's mark on the room, bringing layer after layer of character and depth to it.
The aspect of cycles also applies to my technique. Using acrylic paint, mediums, charcoal, and occasionally other elements, I work in layers. My goal is to achieve balance between these layers, while giving each one its' due credit.
Last week, I was visited by the incredibly talented and wonderful Liz Byrd, of Papered Heart Photography. It was so uplifting to share stories of inspiration, process, and goals. It's remarkable how two very different disciplines of art share so much similarity at their core. Feeling the presence of someone else simultaneously creating their work was so inspiring. And the images she captured took my breath away...
“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced” -Vincent Van Gogh
I graduated high school in 1996 with full intentions of obtaining my BFA and starting a career as a fine artist. And then, I chickened out. I opted instead for a masters degree in Speech Pathology and a nearly 15 year career working with children, most of whom had autism, teaching alternative communication methods. I loved my job. It was stable, interesting, rewarding, creative, and fun. Through it, I have met the most amazing people. But, I never stopped regretting my decision to let go of painting. It took me nearly 15 years to muster up the courage to finally put my first painting out in the public’s eye and stick a price tag on it. It was one of the scariest things I have ever done. I knew instantly I could never, ever, give up on painting again.
The thing is, I had a great life, great friends, great family. I was happy. But there was something more I was craving. Something individual. Something that only I could create for myself. And painting was the answer. My way of spilling out all these crazy, mixed-up emotions, day to day struggles and triumphs, mixing them all together, and, in the end, having something positive. Something that says keep going; reach a little further; smile a little wider; hug a little tighter. It’s all about communication, after all…