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Posts from the ‘Artists Who Inspire’ Category

What Didn’t Make It

Sleepy Reader

A precious photo of me as a child revealing a habit that I still fall victim to that didn’t quite make the cut for my blogpost, What do you want to be..?

Today I’d like to share some photos that didn’t quite make the cut in my previous blog posts.  I wanted to share these because I find sometimes what was not shown or talked about is as revealing as what is.

Girls in studio

These girls blew me away with their talent and creativity in my studio this summer

This was a photo I wish I could have included in my blogpost, The Wonderful World of Kid’s Creativity.  Alas, this was taken later in the summer.  These girls are the older sister and friend of the kids I instructed at the art camp in the beginning of the summer.

Boy, were these girls ever enthusiastic, talented, and creative!  They took my assignments and ran off with them.  It was a joy and honor to have them in my studio for a few sessions!

Studio of Georgia O'Keefe

O’Keefe’s studio set up in her museum in Santa Fe.

This was Georgia O’Keefe’s studio table and easel (with a canvas in its very early stages) reassembled at her museum in Santa Fe, NM.  I had wanted to share this photo after I visited the museum last summer, but my desire to include her beautiful artwork won out.

I don’t know about you, but I have a fascination with looking at and reading about other artist’s studios and workspaces.  I love to see what inspires them, how they organize their supplies, and how their space influences their work.

O’Keefe’s set up exemplified that perfectly.  Above her table was a picture of what she would have seen out of her studio window and scattered among her paint supplies were bones, soil samples and other natural materials she used as inspiration.

Here is an article on O’Keefe’s studio and several other famous artist’s studios.  Pinterest is great for this, too!

Beautiful Stormy Sky

One of the original photos I took and re-edited for my blog-post, Letter to my 18 year old self.

This photo was reproduced many times in my blogpost, Letter to my 18 year old self, but not in its original form.  It was taken from my front porch one early evening when there were storm clouds brewing while the sun illuminated behind them.

It was also an evening where my husband was away and I desperately needed a time-out from the kids.  So I grabbed a beer and snuck out to the porch, observing the approaching summer storm for a good half hour until one of the kids finally discovered me.  It was heavenly!

Chinese squat toilet

A Chinese squat toilet

Finally, a picture that just didn’t make the cut from our travels in China, two summers ago.  Its an example of one of the many squat toilets we encountered in Beijing.  (This one is relatively cleaner then many of the others that we came across!)

All I can say is that I would have amazing thigh and calf muscles if I lived there!

Are you like me?  Do you like watching the out-takes and blooper reels of movies?  Are you fascinated with the backstories (sometimes maybe more so) then the front stories that you see in the news and tabloids?

Have an amazing, revealing week!!

Evolution of a Painting: Banyan Tree Series- Part 1

References for Banyan Tree Paintings

Drawings and Photos that went into creating my Banyan Tree Paintings- Shown here as a work in progress

Its been waaaaay too long since I’ve shared my painting process!

I should know since it has been way too long since I’ve actually been able to paint.  But not for long- 1 more week until the kids are back to school!!

Once that happens, I may have to go into hibernation to create more work and catch up on my business.  Don’t worry, I’ll leave you with my Banyan Tree series.

I’ve decided to break this post up into 2 parts.  Part 1 will be a is my trip to China last year (where I discovered Banyan Trees) and a crazy story that explains why I created a separate page on my website for archived posts from a previous blog.

I think I’ll start with the blog explanation first.  (Those of you that subscribe to my newsletter may have heard part of this story already- I hope you’ll stick around for the juicy bits!)

Not too long ago I had a blog on another, non-Wordpress site.  It was named after my one of my favorite artists, Marc Chagall.  I called it “The Flying C_____. ” (Except it didn’t have a ____ after the C!  There is a reason I am being careful about repeating his name, as you shall see..)  He was an early modernist artist and his style and use of colors had been a large influence on my art up to that time.

Screen Shot of The Flying hippo

A Screen Shot of my previous blog with a name change to prevent any more legal trouble.

I had created my previous blog while I was in the process of rediscovering my creativity and forging my art career.  This was a very exploratory period for me, and my blog reflected it.  It began with many starts and stops, but as time went on, I became more confident and my blog started to reflect it.  I even began to gather a small but loyal following.

That all changed one day when I received an email from a law firm in Paris, representing the artist’s family, asking me to Cease and Desist from using my blog title and domain.

Once I verified that this was for real, I was caught with two emotions.  A part of me was flattered that I was singled out by the The Artist’s family (Chagall passed away in 1985) and part of an international exchange.  I was honored to be contacted by them, even though I knew I was a peon, just getting in their way.  I couldn’t help but feel a little star struck!

The other part of me was frustrated.  There was no doubt in my mind that I would comply, but that didn’t change the fact that the blog name was on all my business cards and marketing materials.  Luckily, my business name had nothing to do with my blog name, or I would have been in real trouble!

Then there was the problem of what to do about my blog.

I could have just created a new blog on the same site and redirected everyone there, but I knew that I needed a website and it would only be logical to include a blog into that site.  My problem was, I had to give myself time to create a new website and blog- And I couldn’t publicly tell anyone why I was doing it because of the pending Cease and Desist!

So I stopped writing blog posts and attempted to lead my followers to my new website, which was still a work in progress (with construction dust flying everywhere!)  It was not the seamless transition that I had hoped for, but I did the best I could.

There is a point to this story– There were some darn good blog posts on that previous blog site, some of which I’d love to link to when I talk about certain topics.  (Like the Banyan Trees!) But these links are hard to do with a now blocked site.

But I think I’ve found a way.

I still have access to that closed site (Now called The Flying Hippo, to avoid any further confrontation!) and was able to carry over relevant blog posts to a new page on my current website called Archived Posts.  This is an imperfect process and I’m still working on the formatting, but if you read my blogposts: My Travels to the Other Side of the World and Back and Finding Inspiration in China you’ll understand why I felt they were important to my story.

Again, please excuse the appearance of these blog posts as I try and work out all the formatting bugs!

Banyan Tree on side of Railroad Tracks

In my previous blogpost, Finding Inspiration in China, I describe the fascination I have for Banyan Trees.

They’ll explain about my trip to China last summer and the Banyan Trees that I encountered there.  Then it will make much more sense next week when I explain my paintings based on them.

I hope you don’t mind the extra reading!

Join me next week as I delve into how I created my Banyan Paintings and what I envision for them in the future.  Also. let me know what you think about this crazy story and if you have any suggestions on how I could better link the 2 blog sites together.

Until then, Have an amazing week!

Everyone Has A Story

Aminah Robinson Mixed Medium

The Columbus artist, Aminah Robinson, weaves stories into her spirit-filled mixed medium artwork.

Last weekend I went on a Women’s Retreat.  It was fabulous on many levels.  Here are just a few:  1. Having my own room and meals taken care of with the freedom to take a nap, go for a walk, or just be still without having to justify it to anyone.  2. Interesting topics, stimulating ideas, and space to meditate and pray. 3. Meeting fascinating women and getting to know them on a deeper level.

What I also enjoyed at the retreat was how I began to hear people’s stories.  I love a good story.  I especially love it when I hear a story and it completely changes my perceptions or perspective.

I’m not going to reveal the stories I heard last weekend.  Many were personal and told in confidence.  But I admire and thank them for the courage it takes to tell them.

Instead, I’d like to highlight some more public stories that have inspired me.

This is Aminah Robinson.

I first became acquainted with her story many years ago through an article in Columbus’ Capital Style Magazine.  She is a local artist that has gotten international acclaim for her prolific work in paint, sculpture, mixed medium, and many other forms of art.

But life didn’t always come easy for her.  She married young and divorced soon after her only son was born.  She worked a minimum wage job and had to go on welfare at times to make ends meet.  Then, when her son was only 27, he took his own life after battling with depression.

Through it all, Aminah continued to create with any materials she could find and made sculptures out of a substance called Hogmawg, a mix of mud, grease, glue, and dyes.  She wove the stories that she heard as a child and in her community throughout her work.  Her work is magical, spiritual, and leaden with colorful imagery.

If you’d like to see more of Aminah, her process, and her stories click here.

This is Tim.

Tim from Tim's Place

Tim has a fascinating story.  He owns a restaurant.  Not just any restaurant, a diner that gives out hugs.  Isn’t that wonderful?!

That, in itself, is a story.  But here’s the underlying one.  It’s obvious from his picture that Tim has Down’s Syndrome.  This means that he had to put a lot of extra effort into obtaining a restaurant and creating it what it is.  He’s had to pull in his family to help and allowed his community to enter into his world to make his business successful.

It’s obvious from the video below that he has done just that.

I have shared Aminah and Tim’s stories because they touch a core in me.  Aminah is a an artist who has allowed her community and her heritage to shape and drive her art.  I love her spirit.  I’d love to plant a seed of what drives her into my own life and work.

Tim is inspiring on many levels.  I think the main one for me is that my son also has a disability.  Autism.  Tim’s story gives me hope that my son can achieve wonderful things as well.

That’s what stories do.  They draw us in.  Sometimes they touch off something in ourselves that we can relate to.  Other times they just fascinate us or help us to see the world from a different perspective.

Stories are the threads that sew our lives together.

Can you think of a story from your own life that has bubbled up to the surface lately?  I challenge you to do something with it.  Write it down, illustrate it, or create a poem or song out of it.  Feel free to keep it private or, if you’d like, to share it. I’d love to see it!

Have A Wonderfilled Week!

How To Get Back In The Saddle Again

Ebb and Flow Drawing

A drawing in my sketchbook entitled Ebb and Flow. A constant theme in life- we need the ebbs to ride the flows.

Gosh, it’s been awhile.  That’s life, isn’t it?  Christmas, New Year, gatherings of family and friends, a few illnesses and holiday colds, and a trip to DisneyWorld thrown in.  All of a sudden it’s been 2+ weeks of suspended animation from ‘normal’ daily activities.

I’ve had a good break but I’m ready to get back in the saddle again with my art business, Art At Dawn.  I’m starting a fresh chapter and am hoping to create systems and form habits that will carry me through the year.

So what does that mean to me?  Where do I begin?

1. Cleaning

First things first.  There are still a few files left out from last year and bookkeeping to get caught up with.  I actually took an e-course a month ago called Organizing Your Art Biz with Alyson Stanfield.  It was filled invaluable resources but I was only able to implement a fraction of all her wonderful organizational wisdom.  Time to get to work!

2. Resolving

I feel the need to make new resolves and goals for myself.  This is easier said then done.

Goals and Intentions Worksheets from Jessica Swift

2014 Goals and Intentions worksheets from Jessica Swift. Notice that I chose ‘Diligence’ as my word for 2014. What’s yours?

Jessica Swift to the rescue!  This inspiring artist just came out with a handy and colorful goals and intentions kit for 2014 (with monthly checklists and quarterly reviews).  Just what my right brain needs!

3. Prioritizing

Once I have these goals in place I’ll need to start organizing them and laying out the blueprint of how they will be carried out.

In Allyson Stanfield’s course she introduced us to Asana.  A online task making tool.  It’ll take time to write out all my goals and tasks but once they are laid out then bit by bit things will become much more streamlined and systematic.  That’s what I’m hoping for anyway.

4. Being Gentle

My instinct is to push forward like a racehorse thats just been let out of his starting gate.  I often find, though, that this way of beginning leads to confusion and spreading myself too thin.

Sense of Purpose QuoteI want to be purposeful this year and kind to myself.  I want to have my goals and systems in place so that I can work intentionally and then be fully present for my friends and family when my work day is over.

Welcome 2014.  Glad to make your acquaintance.  This could be the start of a beautiful friendship  year!

What are some of your goals and intentions this year?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.

Have A Wonderful, Goal- Driven Week!

PS– Please tune in next week when I’ll have actually gotten on the saddle and will share some of my goals and intentions for 2014!

PPS– Check out this blogpost from my good friend, Amy, about my fun visit to Tallahassee, FL last November.  Beware of my head on a swivel in a .gif at the end of her post!:)

This Is Now- My Mission Control

Mission Control Back Then

My Mission Control -1 year ago.

Those of you who have been following my blog for awhile know that last year I turned a blah desk area into my Mission Control.  What’s a Mission Control, you ask?  An area to keep me focused, organized, and motivated for the purpose of running my business.

I’m not going to go into how I did it.  What I am going to show you is what it has become.

To do that, I have created this chart to explain the different facets of my “Mission Boards” and point out some of my favorite bits of inspiration and motivation.

Mission Contol Desk Area Today

My Mission Control Today

How fun is that?!  I can’t wait to get started!

Artists That Inspire- Mission Control

Artists That Inspire

#1- Artist’s that Inspire me.

The top image is a painting from one of my top 5 favorite artists, Marc Chagall.  But many of you already know that since his name was part of my previous blog title.   (Once I get my newsletter up and running, <soon!> I’ll give you the dirt of why I had to quit that blog.  It’s quite a story!)  He’s been an influence on me ever since college and looking at his work always makes me happy.  This image is from a set of notecards that a good friend bought for me from The Cleveland Museum of Art.

The 2-piece image is taken from a modular painting by a local artist, Christine Guillot Ryan.  She creates many paintings that can be hung in a variety of ways to convey different meanings.  Brilliant idea!  I love the colors and dreamlike imagery in her work.  The prints I have are actually magnets so that they can be put together in a variety of ways as well.

The image on the bottom right is by Richard Diebenkorn, a 20th century Abstract Expressionist Painter.  He uses rich colors with a raw but sophisticated application of paint that has left me breathless the few times I’ve seen them in person.  I love when art does that to me!

*Check out my Facebook Page for more images from these artists.

Mission Control- Mahem is Everywhere!

Mahem Is Everywhere!

#2- Mahem Is Everywhere!

This was an actual postcard I received in the mail.  I don’t actually remember what insurance company it’s representing.  Does it matter?  The Mahem guy is a hoot and a reminder to not take life so seriously.

Appropriately placed below it is a stern Batman reminding me to quit procrastinating and work on my art!

The quote off to the side of these two mavericks is one that I found in an existential moment when I was contemplating what my role was as an artist and who was going to benefit from it.  It reads, Man himself is created after the image and likeness of God, therefore there is something divine in the art of making images. – Theodore the Shitite

Beside those are some of my own rules and goals gleaned from random passages I have read.  They are reminders to help me focus when I become caught up in the web of my busy life!

Mission Control- List area

An area for keeping Wishes!

#3  My List Area

To the right is my Wish List.  More specifically, my list of Ikea studio furniture that I’m lusting for after I harvest my money tree!

Next to it is the running list of office and art supplies needed the next time I’m out.  It’s amazing how much paint and paper I go through.  I should buy stock in them!

Desk Area- Favorite Quotes and Inspiration

Favorite Quotes and Inspiration

#4 Favorite Quotes and Inspiration

I seem to look up at this corner of my Mission Control board more than others, so subconsciously I’ve reserved this for my favorite quotes and notes.

The 1st has become my somewhat of my mantra this year:

3 Simple Rules:

1. If you do not GO after what you want,  you’ll never have it.

2. If you do not ASK, the answer will always be no.

3. If you do not step FORWARD, you will always be in the same place.

Another source of inspiration is this quote by the famous New York dancer, Twyla Tharp from her book, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life:

When you have selected the environment that works for you, developed the start-up ritual that impels you forward every day, faced down your fears, and put your distractions in their proper place, you have cleared the first hurdle.  You have begun to prepare to begin.

These are my go to quotes right above the ever inspirational quote from the bible, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. -Philippians 4:13

Mission Control- Writing Prompts and Fun Card

Writing Prompts and Fun Card

#5 Reflections from Writing Prompts

For the past year I’ve been receiving daily writing prompts from the online blogger and small business coach, April Bowles Olin.  These started from an e-course I took from her, Blogging For Your Creative Business.  The prompts have been an invaluable tool for reflecting on my creative process and ideas for future projects and blog posts.

Sometimes I save the prompts that are especially meaningful and this is where I put them.

Here is also a card from a friend after my 1st Studio Open House. (I’m planning on having another one of them this spring, by the way!)  I love how playful this card is.  It reads:

How To Paint

Put your ego, critic, Judge in a Drawer.  lock it.  Go on an Art store adventure.  Buy smooth or nubbly paper- whatever sings to your fingers.  Tear it into odd-sized pieces.  Buy one Brush.  Choose colors that you love in ink, watercolor, Acrylic, Oil or Finger paints.  Mix Colors randomly or put directly onto paper.  experiment.  Keep Going.  Make More Mistakes.  Laugh at what develops.  put layers of color on top of each other.  Tear the paper up if you Don’t like it.  Glue the pieces into the center of the next picture.  See if it develops into anything.  spill paint onto the paper.  Watch what Forms next.  This is painting.  you are a painter.– SARK

So that’s it for now.  I’ve laid out the inner workings of my brain and what strikes a chord.  I expect that my Mission Boards will change and evolve as I do.  It would be interesting to do a follow-up in a few years to see exactly how they develop.  

But for now I’ll stick with what I have and let it seep into my bones for awhile.

Do you have a favorite quote, motto, or random words of wisdom to share?  I’d love to hear them.  Who knows?  Perhaps they will make it onto my Mission Control Board!


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