Friday, August 19, 2011

Exciting Days!

I am beyond excited because I just got to put up an art show at a bookstore in Old Roseville called Beatnik Books I found the owner, Chelsea, on Craigslist and she is an amazing advocate for 'starving artists,' offering her wall space for the third Saturday art walk, hosting the party with live music, food and beverages. The ambiance in the store is just...warm. I LOVE what she has going on...and excellent supply of used books (priced really affordably), great lighting and colors, and as giants like Borders are leaving our community, it makes me happy to know that a shop like this is available to us. Chelsea is the heart of the bookstore and I'm delighted to have encountered her.

Getting ready for an art show is like getting ready to open your journal for lots of people to browse through. There's always the push during the couple weeks leading up to the show where you're wondering if you can put out one or two more pieces that would really put the show over the edge. Then there's the stress and worry about getting things in the right frames, mattes, etc. Art is expensive...that's one thing I would tell young students wanting to get into art. The supplies are spendy, plus it's usually an investment up front to get pieces made and ready to sell. In art school we had to load up on all the mediums: oils, pastels, acrylics, inks, brushes, canvases, etc. I have made a point of choosing to use materials that I come across in my day to day life. Almost any blank item that looks like it would hold up well under paints and inks becomes fair game. For example, when we had our house stucco done a few months ago, we got to see the sample colors on 12x12 inch pieces of stucco. I immediately thought, "I can use that," and I painted this here:

A lot of the work is keeping your hands moving at creating things. It's easy to get a little stale if you don't create for a few days, and there's nothing more frustrating than to have the artistic vision but to have your brain-to-hand relationship get clogged. I found that acrylics are easy to work and, I don't have to wait too long to regroup and approach the canvas again. I can get pretty cranky if my artwork gets constipated, and there's nothing worse than when something starts well but doesn't end great. Sometimes that's just how it goes. It's like seeing a picture of yourself where you look fat and you just want to DESTROY it. Over the weekend I was going through my work and pulling out the ones I don't like and I put them in the trash. My husband asked if I knew I was leaving work in the trash and I wanted to retort with an "I can't STAND to look at that crap!! Why do they torment me with their ugliness?!" Missing the mark can be frustrating.

What is encouraging and inspiring, however, is when I feel like my art is connecting with people, inspiring people and making people think. My husband is my biggest champion, and I don't feel like it's because he has to be. Seeing him moved to tears when I painted him a self portrait and wove in lines from a Bukowski poem for Christmas a few years ago was a rich and powerful moment in our relationship.

He has been promoting my art show also, and when he sent an invite to one gal he works with, she replied with this:

"Wow…thanks for sharing this. This has not been the best day and wondering through Angie’s paintings has been a wonderful adventure - interesting, powerful and calming. I totally left my day behind and took a 10 minute vacation. I feel better right now than I have all day…"

I almost cried.

I heard a woman speaking at a prophetic arts conference I attended last year and she was talking about how a lady she knew who had been suffering from cancer and had a terminal diagnosis looked at a painting and suddenly she felt something change inside her. While she looked at the painting, the pressure in her head released and a fluid flowed out of her ear. She was healed. She knew she needed to get to her doctor, but the cancer had taken her hearing and given her migraines, and when the fluid flowed from her ear she could hear again and her head stopped aching.

I know that my work takes me into a different part of my brain and can completely transform how my day is going, how I feel about a situation, how I vent frustration and anger or express my love. There are times when I paint something before bed and first thing in the morning I pad along down the hallway in my bare feet to see what I painted the night before and if I still like it as much as I did with my sleepy eyes before bed. I feel connected with my Creator when I am creating. I feel like I'm 'the best me' when I paint about something I just learned or felt and I get it right. To have that validated is such an invigorating thing.

Other husband and I came up with this...we're a little peeved at how things have been going here in the USA, so I worked up this illustration/design. Shirts available for sale! Hit it up on etsy:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer Inspiration

Summer is usually a time when I drag a bit...I have a hard time working out when it's hot and I tend to prefer being poolside or napping during sticky afternoons when I'm not at work. This summer, however, has been thick with inspiration. Having my 15 month old toddling around keeps the energy higher in the house and he's always up to something. It's amazing to see bits of myself in him: he LOVES to draw with his markers and crayons and he LOVES animals. We had to peal him off of the goats and pigs at the petting zoo at the state fair last weekend.

I have been working to discipline myself by nourishing my mind as an's such an input/output process. I have been hungry to see new art: the term "feast your eyes" comes to mind. I have been watching a lot of documentaries and interviews, doing a lot of reading and learning a lot about art history, and working hard at getting my art out there by responding to ads and entering shows. Watching videos of people like Pollock, Basquiat, Andy Goldsworthy, Alice Neel work is truly inspirational. I have taken a page from Jackson Pollock's drizzly style of painting lately and I love how you can really create texture when you layer things on super thick. My art professor's voice echoes in my head, "BE BOLD!"

It can be a little overwhelming to keep pushing when I am working full time and mommying the rest of the time. It often feels like I have to work at the Angie time in there also. Sometimes the prospect of plugging away at a job that I'm only partially passionate about can overwhelm me, so entertaining daydreams about showing work and getting to spend more time painting and in the studio (or even having a studio, for that matter) can really pick me up. I have to visualize that it's possible and I have to believe that I'm good enough and that I deserve to live my dreams.

I'm excited to say that I will be showing and selling my work at a coffee shop in Old Roseville beginning the third Saturday in August, which means that I will spend the next three weeks trying to get enough work together, fretting over frames, undulating through self doubt and anxiety about whether people will like my work, and finally...the show will be up and I'll be there to fidget and blush during the opening because that's what I do.

A peaceful, very feminine voice has surprised me a few times lately in my work. I admit that sometimes doing work that I know will be shown is like writing in a journal that I know people will open and read. I sometimes dislike how it feels to stand back from a piece and wonder whether people will engage with my work and whether it will be commercial enough. My momma once told me, "All you can do is your best," and I love that. I hope that at when I consider all the different hats I wear (mommy, wife, employee, friend, disciple, artist) I can stand back and say "I'm doing all right because I'm being true to myself." I think that spirit of self affirmation frees me to be really, really kind to myself, and I think that's the beginning of so many good things in life.