Inspiration

Sandia Mountains with cloud cover

Sandia Mountains with cloud cover

I’ve been struggling with my life as an artist lately. Having been an artist professionally for over 25 years now, some days are just hard. I had this vision where I would be as an artist by this point in my life. It doesn’t really match up with my reality at the moment. Being an artist is a constant struggle interwoven with moments of inspiration and good days.

Yesterday was a cloudy day in New Mexico, today, more of the same. I’m a desert rat, meaning I love the sun! Cloudy days are great, at first, but then the grey emotions set in and I’m a wreck. It’s the reason I paint bright, happy, joy filled paintings. I NEED the sun in my life.

Most often, my inspiration comes from my morning meditation. I start every day with meditation, it helps me stay in a positive frame of mind, helps me keep my inner peace. Before I meditate, I usually read something inspirational. Currently, I’m reading the book
Simple Abundance, A Day Book of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach. It has a different entry for every day of the year. It was a gift from a dear family friend. I highly recommend it!

Cactus in bloom on the West Mesa

Cactus in bloom on the West Mesa

On days like today, when my emotions are raw, I need more than a sitting meditation in my studio. I need to get out of the city and reconnect with Mother Earth. My husband, Aaron, was sweet enough to notice what I needed and we took a drive out to the West Mesa for a short walk at the volcanoes. It was a bit chilly and windy, but it was so nice to be under the great expanse of New Mexico sky with the rain clouds looming overhead. The clouds are so much more beautiful when you are outside than when you are sitting in your office with grey light filtering in from the grey sky.

As we were walking back to the car, Aaron and I were talking about our art and music careers and what’s next. It’s the theme of the day. It was the question I meditated on this morning in my studio. Joyfully, the answer came to me on that short walk with the cool New Mexico breeze blowing through my hair.

It’s time to start over. Wipe the slate clean, heck, throw the slate away and start with a new slate! I am going to go silent online for a while. I have a plan, or at least the inspiration for the start of a plan. Being online, with my blog/website, facebook page, twitter profile, Etsy shop, etc etc, puts so much pressure on me to always produce something new. Blog everyday. Post to my feeds. Sell my art. Create more art. Repeat. I am going to take some time off from my online life. I’m going to reinvent myself as an artist. I’m going to make a plan. I’m going to execute that plan. In my studio. With no online presence. I’m going to take a class. Paint new paintings. Build a new website.

When it’s all done, and I have an idea of where I’m going next. When all the work is done, the new website is up, etc. I will be back. I will make a huge splash all at once! I will know exactly where I’m headed, or at least have a much better idea of my plan to get there. I won’t stress myself out getting there. It’s time for the caterpillar to go into it’s cocoon. The Butterfly will see you on the other side!

Aaron and I during our walk at the Volcanoes

Aaron and I during our walk at the Volcanoes

Creativity: BE the Light

Finished up the painting I’ve been working on yesterday, but didn’t have the camera with me at my studio, so I’m posting it today! My inspiration seems to be leaning towards the light these days. It’s manifesting as paintings of a symbolized sun. Besides love, light is something desperately needed in this world today.

When I say light, I don’t necessarily mean it literally, as in sunlight. The kind of light I’m talking about it the radiant light of joy and love, the light that shines forth when we give of ourselves to others. The light of the Spirit guiding us towards our authentic selves. The light that casts out shadows and makes evil hide in a deep, dark hole. Other Lightworkers know what I’m talking about. It’s the light that draws people into your world because they are in desperate need of positive energy. Perhaps they are like minded and want to share and heighten their positive energy.

I am still working on staying in this place of light. This is most likely why I’m being inspired to paint these pieces at the moment. I NEED the reminder on a daily basis. I don’t like to write these posts about positive energy and love without clarifying that I am on this journey too. I am far from perfect. I am grateful for my spiritual guidance! I’m grateful that I have this medium for bringing more light into the world. I’m thankful for the gift I have been given to share with you all. As long as it keeps inspiring me, I will continue to share it! May you all see and feel this light and be guided to your own higher purpose. Be the gift to the world that you are meant to be. We are here to give of ourselves in our most authentic and loving way.

Creativity: Blue Sun in Progress

First layer of paint on Blue Sun original oil painting

First layer of paint

It feels great to be back to daily painting. Every time I take an extended break from painting and then get back to it I wonder what I was thinking? Painting is my purest form of joy. Nothing lifts my mood better. I’m the first to admit that painting is my therapy. It is more than that, it’s a meditation, a prayer, a trance, a ‘zone’. I guess it’s good to take a break occasionally, it makes coming back to it feel exciting. All the ideas that I’ve marinated on for the past year are bubbling up to the surface. Who knows where it will lead. The unknown is the best part.:)

Blue added in on Blue Sun original oil painting

Blue added in

I started this painting on Tuesday and it is still a work in progress. Can you tell the sun is shining in New Mexico this week and last? I’m enjoying the sun motif, I’m such an open book, just look at my paintings and you can see my mood by the colors I use. This color combo reflects the sunny days and bright blue skies of a Spring day in the Land of Enchantment.

More yellow in the background on Blue Sun original oil painting

More yellow in the background

The working title of this painting is “Blue Sun”, but I’m hoping something less generic will turn up by the time it’s finished. The size is 8×10″ and the medium is water mixable oils. Should finish it up at the beginning of next week.

More yellow layered over background on Blue Sun original oil painting

More yellow layered over background

I am taking Fridays off from the studios for the next month or so. Working on getting our house ready to sell. So much to do! Stay tuned for my next blog post on Monday.:) If you don’t want to have to think about it, subscribe to my blog(upper right hand corner of this page) and get notified whenever I post something new. Thank you!

People Who Inspire Me: Scott White

Scott White is a phenomenal furniture maker based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I first met Scott when we represented Scott’s work in our gallery. I had seen his work around town for at least a couple years before we opened Chroma Gallery and when I started filling our huge 4,500 square foot space, I knew Scott’s furniture would complement the art perfectly.

Once I met Scott, what struck me immediately was his positive outlook on life. Like Aaron and I, he had experiences similar to ours with serendipity, and he knew he was following his heart by making things with his hands. This is what first struck me and still inspires me about Scott. He is living his soul purpose.

Scott uses recycled metal and wood in his craft, as well as plywood and other woods. His chairs are just plain gorgeous and comfortable to sit in. Though he doesn’t like to consider himself an artist, his furniture is sculpture and therefore, Art with a capital A!

Scott’s Statement about his Craft:

In the current environment where ‘disposable’ is practically shoved down people’s throats, my longing is to make objects that will outlive the owner. This culture needs to revive the art of craft wherein the pieces that reside in your space will effect you even when you aren’t physically there. They possess the energy of the maker where the hand touches everything and they think about every line. My technique has evolved predominantly, to that of sculpture, where the object appears to come out of a single piece of wood. I collaborate with the material and rarely make sketches, paying attention and sensing how the form will resolve. The process is conscious and deliberate.

Paula: If you had the power to change one thing in this world, what would it be and how would you change it?

Scott: I have the power to change many things in this world simply by opening my mouth…..or opening a door. Many have said “you’ll never make a difference,” but to those I say, “wait”. One never knows what a kind word or even gesture will do for someone else. I think we are all here to plant seeds…

Plywood chair by Scott White

Plywood chair

Paula: What or who inspires you?

Scott: People who are passionately authentic inspire me. Those who are willing to be vulnerable….anomalies in a culture that stresses uniformity.

Paula: Who has had the biggest influence on your craft?

Scott: In the realm of furniture, George Nakashima and Sam Maloof are my go-to people. I lean towards George’s aesthetic…….. “luscious utility”. I came across Sam years ago before I started building furniture and he was etched in my mind from day 1. He once told a story about the mailman being all worried that his mail contained some bills, knowing Sam and Freda, Sam’s wife, were struggling. Others include Rebecca Solnit, a force of nature who eloquently talks about real change. The natural world is huge for me….not that I get out a lot but to see the genius everywhere is invigorating.

Paula: What do you want your art legacy to be?

Scott:  I don’t use the word ‘artist’ to describe myself. That’s such an ethereal word and employed by a lot of people (on the outside) who deem what is or isn’t ‘art’. I make objects yet wouldn’t even go as far as to call myself ‘maker’. That said, I hope my ‘legacy’ is that I helped more than I hindered, and that I’m remembered occasionally.

Three Tiered Round Table, Mahogany by Scott White

Three Tiered Round Table, Mahogany.

Creativity: “Shining Your Light”

Aaron and I took Friday and Monday off to make this past weekend a long one. I guess I should say we took the days off from our studios. We worked our butts off at the house! We are currently getting our house ready to sell. This past weekend was focused on yard work and filling a big hole in the back yard where our root cellar used to be. Hauling wheelbarrows full of dirt from the front yard to the back corner of the back yard was exhausting! We moved just over a ton of dirt on Saturday morning. Plus I weeded the front yard while Aaron was picking up the load of dirt. These things used to be so much easier in our younger years! We spent yesterday taking the poor neglected puppies for a hike in the Sandias. It was a good 3 hour hike!

Shining Your Light 10 x 8" original oil painting on canvas

So, back to my regularly scheduled blog post! Thursday afternoon I finished the painting I posted about in my last post. “Shining Your Light” is about lighting up yours and others lives with your own inner light. We all have it, that inner light that shines through us when we smile or show love to someone. There may be turmoil in our lives, but if we can remember to shine our light, the turmoil will subside and the joy will shine through!

"Awakening", 48 x 48" oil painting on canvas, Artist's collection

“Awakening”, 48 x 48″ oil painting on canvas, Artist’s collection

This little painting was inspired by a large painting I did many years ago. “Awakening” hangs on the wall in my bedroom. It’s the first thing I see every morning when I wake up. It’s a 48 x 48″ painting that will most likely never be sold. It will stay a part of my own personal collection.

The reason? I painted this painting at a very difficult time in my life, yet at the same time, it was a time of huge growth and discovery for me. It was almost a year after my dad passed away, 2009. At the time I painted it I was reading Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth. In the book he talks about “awakening”. Which is where the title of this painting came from. I’ve since read it a couple more times. It’s one of those deeply spiritual books that I like to read over and over because of it’s truth. Awakening is basically when you get to that point in life where you realized you are a spiritual being having a human experience and not the other way around.

My dad’s death was the catalyst for my own awakening. I finally KNEW deep down inside that there IS something after death. Death is not the end of our spirit, it is the end of our physical body’s existence here in the physical plane.

Last week, I woke up and looked at “Awakening” and realized how far I have come since I painted it and how much my art has changed. I felt that I hadn’t completely explored the ideas in this painting and I needed to revisit them again. Not always easy to do 7 years later, but beneficial just the same. I may just stay on this narrow, winding path for a few more paintings. Who knows what will come of it! Stay tuned…

Creativity: Spiral Abstract Series Revisited

Spiral Abstract "Mesmerizing", 8 x 10" oil painting in progress.

“Mesmerizing”, 8 x 10″ oil painting in progress.

Today I worked on a new painting. I’ve truly missed painting daily. I would like to get back to that. I may have to give myself a challenge to make it happen. Haven’t decided what that will be just yet. A painting a day? A larger painting a week? I’ll let you know what I decide in a later post.

My Spiral Abstract Series started way back when in 2002. Throughout the years I have revisited the series and painted series within the series. You may be wondering what is this thing you call a “Spiral Abstract”? Well, I call it the Spiral Abstract Series because every painting starts with a central spiral, usually in yellow. I like to think of it as the “entry point” for my painting.

Staring at a blank canvas can be a bit intimidating if you don’t know where to start. That first twirl of the brush in the counter clock direction is where I start. It breaks up the white of the blank canvas, teasing me with it’s starkness. It’s like taking a jump into the canvas and the spiral is the ripple of the paint spreading over the surface. It represents movement, as if the canvas were spinning out of control.

What comes after the spiral is the abstract part of the painting. It’s expressionist in the process of painting whatever pops into my mind as I mix paint and sometimes use a spray bottle of water to blur lines and create layers of interest.

Sometimes the abstracts morph into something more representational, like a flower or the sun. I paint with oil paints, but because they are water mixable oils, I can use them more like a watercolor. Washes of color rather than brush strokes emerge from the canvas that started out blank and accusing.

The colors, spirals, swirls, marks, flower petals and all elements of the painting come from my Spirit. Called the Muse, God, Holy Spirit, Universe. Whatever you call it, it is something within and without me. It’s all around and it’s the source of all creativity in the Universe. I don’t control it, it tells me where to move the paint to next. Painting is a meditation/prayer for me. It keeps me connected to my source of life. It is my reason for living. It’s the thing I came here to experience.

It’s not easy to describe the creative process. Personally, I think this is because we the artists are merely the channel through which the creative energy passes. It’s a trance state in it’s purest form. I don’t know any other way to say it! So there you go!:) Thank you so much for reading my ramblings! Sign up for blog updates up in the upper right corner of this page.:)

Creativity: Back to the Drawing Board

This morning I reworked my new doll pattern. It turned out much better by leaving the legs separate from the body. Now my stuffing hole is back in the bottom, instead of the head. The canvas doll shown in the first photo didn’t make it through the stuffing process. Another case of seams being to close to the edge. Another doll scrapped. Bummer.

doll pieces using new pattern

Two dolls using the new pattern

The Daisy doll on the other hand is turning out just right. I changed the leg shape, no more chicken legs! I sewed a seam for the shoulder joint since the arms are now connected to the body. It was a bit stiff before I made the joint in the shoulder.

New Daisy doll almost done!

New Daisy doll almost done!

I’m just about out of time for making stuff and blogging today. This evening, my  band Sunlight is heading into the recording studio to start work on our second CD! I cannot wait to share these new songs, it’s going to be great! I’m grateful I get to live my dreams on a daily basis. If I can do it, anybody can. Never give up!