I thought a friend would appreciate the peacefulness of the watercolor paintings instead.
Sometimes, its not, all about what I want!
I will post the other post later, as I am rather excited with the images.
Just, not today.
The 3 images are watercolours, ranging in style from abstract, impressionist to a more traditional approach. All convey the subject of water. I always find that water, lakes, rivers, beaches, ponds, etc are so relaxing for me. I think we all feel calmer and at peace near the water.
Time to refill the wells from Nature. Time for a Zen Stroll.
Is it just me, or does anyone else feeling a little bit hmm… bemused… lately?
Take a Walk
It seems we are being bombarded with all sorts of news these days. With the mind overloaded with the news, I decided I needed to completely turn off news feeds, shut down all the devices, phones, tv. To stop and Pause.
I needed a short 10 minute stroll to the local park.
It doesn’t need to take long, a short jaunt will do. Out in the open, or in the woods, its amazingly calming. I find the things of the earth reassuring.
Its a perfect time, for a Zen Stroll. To slowly walk, breathing in, the forest scents. To reconnect for a few moments with nature and become grounded again.
Dawdle, Doodle, Draw
I did take my sketch pad and charcoal. As you see, I managed one lone sketch. It was quick, not meant to “be” anything.
I loved 2019. I felt great, worked on some fabulous projects and took on more tasks than previous years. All the while, still feeling better than ever. Amazing year.
Moving forwards is ingrained into me, I’m constantly trying to reach just a bit further for myself. I know I challenge my students to stretch and expand in their art ideas, knowledge and techniques as well. They take it in stride, match me step for step.
What am I doing now?
I’ve had multiple projects on the go, keeping quite occupied. And always….Thinking of ways to inspire and encourage others coming into the art room, perhaps for the first time.
Self expression, self love, doing “it” whatever it is, for the love of what you are engaged in.
More Art Adventures, more art for the experience, less for the product.
Less things to ‘judge.’
I propose, that art, is an Experience to be enjoyed to please oneself.
As an act of self love.
Doing the things you, prefer.
It’s about Your tastes and the things you love. (Not concerned with what they might like from you.)
I’m encouraging each of my course participants to consider, that Art might be viewed, as an Experience: just like going to a musical, a movie, the theatre, skiing, or, even bungee jumping?!
Encouraging us, to believe that we are engaged in this activity, for the pleasure derived in the moment.
Solely because we love our selves enough to do something Nice, for us.
Not for a product to judge.
I think it makes us stronger, more resilient to treat your self like you would a friend. Don’t you?
It is a Fine Art, this Self Love.
Like all art forms….. it’s taking a lot of practice.
Creating, sketching, painting, envisioning, imagining all are useful in this endeavour I find.
Digital art, a combination of my photography and my paintings is another new avenue I am loving and will be sharing through the year.
2020 is a new year.
It is easy, to resist new things.
Its risky, and so much harder, to allow curiosity full rein.
But, to be curious and willing to experiment with different things, this is Expansion.
So, Why not?!
Term 1 is well under way at Atwell Gallery in Perth, Western Australia where I’m holding courses.
Eyes opened in discovering the transformation from the old plain jane Watercolor class…. to “Out-side the square.”
Oh my, What, did the students sign up for!?
Weekly fun, inventive adventures.
Last week was egg yolks! Making our own egg tempera paints. Seeing the gorgeous satiny finish that when dried, just felt luscious.
I am a huge fan of the great Australian artists, especially those of the twentieth century. Its my pleasure to share with people the arts and culture of Australia. Not just the modern, but the past as well.
He said, “It is the supreme art of theteacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”
2020. It most certainly, will be An Adventure!
I am so looking forward to it.
Final Note for those, ‘curious’ about the two images shown.
Expressive Watercolors, first image was done using a palette knife on damp 100% cotton paper. I used the PK 1008 knife as I love its sensitivity to my gestures without being harsh and heavy. I used mainly the earth colors in order to be in harmony with the Australian terrain, burnt and dry.
Curiosity, the last image was a surprise. The surface was a textured pastel paper with a high grit tooth. I splashed on some burnt orange and blue inks randomly. Then, dropped in dry pigments and some watercolor. Followed by a light spray of Adhesive spray over the image. What happened was a delightful, unexpected sedimentation. The texture in real life is incredible.
Anything with “Wabi Sabi” has my immediate attention, as many of you have guessed by now. Wabi-wabi Painting with Cold Wax by Serena Barton is on my list of Great Art Books to read. Beautifully laid out, logically presented and is easy to follow along and ‘ad lib.
Cold wax is a wax medium primarily used with oil paints to extend, increase thickness, to create added depth, transparency to the painting. With hot wax, ie encaustics, you need to heat the wax. Which is sometimes a logistical issue.
I have, used cold wax over both acrylics and watercolours.
It worked fine for me.
Cold wax is easier, than how wax encaustics.
Its ready all the time. It doesn’t give precisely the same results as hot wax encaustics, it is different. In a good way.
I have experimented with both, and love both.
Wax, either cold wax or encaustic, have a certain quality to them, an otherworldliness. This makes them perfect for paintings denoting depth, space, antiquity, and distant lands.
Its this unique quality the wax provides, that I love.
The aspect of travel of Other Lands, suits cold wax application beautifully.
Travel Inspiration… through Art
Art is a form of travel.
Why do I say that?
Art is able to transport you in time and place.
I suppose, its almost like a magic carpet. In a way.
Art is able to transcend the barriers of the present moment – to project us forward, backward, or perhaps into alternate and magical, realms.
If, the art is convincing enough.
If we are fortunate to have a Muse, to help us!
The Art Muse
Art in all its forms, needs some type of a muse.
Something to breathe the breath of life into the art.
Something to spark the ember into a fire.
We need a Muse, that Adds To the world of art we wish to create.
The Muse shares with us, shows us: different approaches, fresh ideas. With the help of our Muse, we use all our senses as we go about our everyday living.
Daily life, has been enriched.
That, is what the Muse does for the artist.
Expressive Art Creations can’t flourish, in conditions of rigid conformity.
The Muse, works best in a free unbound environment. In utter authenticity.
The Muse relies upon individualist creativity. That which can not be replicated, mass produced.
The Muse is no Lemming. What is being created are things of unique and rare merit.
Imagination comes without an On – Off switch. Sometimes its ON. Sometimes, its Off.
Travel to new lands – Breaking Out
Creativity isn’t free to express its voice, if its shackled to the same four walls.
Art needs to be let out of the room, to go explore.
Once in awhile.
These 3 Mountain paintings, are from 3 completely different geographical areas.
The exploring, the wandering, the travel …. it continues to Add To my daily life.
We travel to new places, To See.
Discovering different pathways.
To hear the songs from all across the earth.
Travel allows us to discover.
Whether we are walking a new street, seeing a new country, a new city.
Using a new color, a new medium, a different paper. Or a different brush.
Without a bit of travel, we become insular.
We become wrapped within our own habits, routines, becoming slaves to our own Selves.
Not noticing the treasures surrounding us.
So. By the occasion foray to a new land, a new media, a different place, we become more aware of our local daily environment as well. Interesting.
I’d always longed to travel the entire globe.
Spinning the school’s world globe, studying maps of other lands.
Dreaming of being a pioneer, of discovering unknown places.
While there may not be, many of those wild places left to discover and my days of scaling the rugged mountain peaks may have finished….. I still can hike (stroll) and explore and conquer new lands.
But we can use Art, as our vehicle, to transport us wherever we wish to go.
Any new place we go, adds to us. We become more, Inside.
Cold Wax is another way to travel to new places – in your art.
It has an adventurous, unknown, feeling to it. It feels wonderful buffed and polished when dry. The layerings will create a sense of smoothed-over scarring; with a dimension and depth that is irresistible.
Cold Wax Mediums
I have used all three of the brands. Each are quite good. I do like Dorlands.
One way, or in another. In some measure. It doesn’t have to be “Art” nor music, nor even in the sciences.
Maybe you are one of the generous ones, the kind and thoughtful ones. Sharing your enthusiasm and your knowledge freely.
That. Is a special kind of magic. People don’t forget it. I certainly don’t.
It really doesn’t matter what your job title is, your career, vocation, etc. A convenience store clerk, recently showed me…. how skilful he was at making magic. Just by being himself. Being generous. When he did not have to be.
Magic is Seeing, What You’ve Never Truly Seen Before
On the Art side of things, there is a kind of magic I find easy when I teach or coach a group of new artists. The kind of magic, that illustrates for them a variety of pathways and perspectives on how to see what they’ve never truly seen before.
“Is Graffiti, art?” was one question for the group. At first, many didn’t see the art in any graffiti. But, some graffiti is so breathtaking, it defies any to not call it Art.
I also am inspired when finally, I have been able to get an individual to feel, the art. Wow. Yes. Magical indeed the sharing of methods, techniques, thoughts, of ways how they can Feel it, and become aware of things they’d never felt, before. I do find it easy. Fun. Inspiring. Challenging. Magical.
Yes. I guess that is a type of magic that I do.
Making Magic applies to the practical side of creativity, the nuts and bolts ie the tools and materials, as well as the philosophical side.
The Magical Palette Knife PK 1008
There is a Magical tool I love.
It is the PK 1008. A very sensitive, versatile palette knife that responds perfectly. Fluidly. There is no stiff rigidity of stroke inherent to this palette knife whatsoever. It is far too sensitive for that!
The Mountain Landscape is a Palette Knife painting, a bit wild and rebellious…. that I’ve mounted on my last sheet of handmade Indian Village paper.
I pre painted this in Indanthrone with Indigo for a velvety blue black to contrast my image. It worked.
With the PK 1008 the sharp angle and width allow for a myriad of very expressive movements and technical applications.
Double or triple loading the knife with a few watercolors, then boldly …. sliding it across the predampened paper – oh, my. That absolutely creates Magic!
Making Magic with the Palette Knife is most likely my top favourite technique in creating art. Nothing else quite works outs like it does. Full of unexpected delights and color melting together. Beautiful and strange pairings that should not work, but Do.
And even when the image isn’t doing so well in ‘your’ intended direction; turn it around. Maybe that palette knife, does have some mysterious magic in it after all. Many times, not only my work, but students’ as well, when reassessed in the upside down mode – it is stunningly Perfect! Amazing.
Palette Knife Magic Tips:
My Tips for those wanting to use a palette knife with Watercolors, ie not impasto style, are as follows:
Be Bold! Decisive. No fiddling, nagging, etc. Speak UP. Say it like you mean it, then leave it be.
Review your Art Basics quickly. Tonal Values, Edges, Aerial Perspective, Focal Point, Details/contrasts. Then try to stick to most, of those.
Most Importantly, use your artistic drive to make the audience FEEL Something! Don’t be content with recording the facts, the details, the accuracies.
Why might this interpretive definition be important to you?
While I’m specifically writing this article for the current participants of my courses in Perth, I feel it is relevant for many others who’d like to be encouraged, as they create.
People who create things – ‘Creators’
We do not, need to be painters, to be considered creators of art.
If you make things, build things, develop things – you are a creator.
We have been led, to believe only a select rare few, are artists. Are deserving to be named art creators. Not so. We are all, born to create. In some form.
Art, takes an infinity of forms: Music, photography, dance, building & bridge design, digital apps., surgery, interior design, fashion design, coding, cooking, sculpture, writing, martial arts…. We can make anything an ‘art form’ if that is our desire.
To take something to an ‘art form,’ we must truly love the subject.
Become partners with it. At ease and in tune with how it looks, moves, feels, sounds, responds. The beginning of artistry is love, time, connectedness.
Whether we’re painters, teachers, computer app designers, composers, surgeons, city planners – we all can enhance our work when we “feel” the situation, the surroundings, immersing ourselves in the subject. Being connected.
Its this way we can best share the excellence of creation we have envisioned with the world.
Acts of Creation: All In
We use, channel, harness all of our senses in order to create the art.
But, we must do so opened up. All In.
To be All In, means you’ve put everything on the line.
You are Vulnerable.
Stripped down to your core. And must engage the process with sensitivity, with feeling. Being attuned to, in time with our chosen partner, i.e. subject.
What is your subject – Is it the Mountain? The ocean? The forest? The dancers at the ballet? The little rose bush, that the frost of autumn has aged overnight?
Those cool professional walls, barriers, and that distance put into place to keep us “safe” and protected from feeling hurt, or embarrassed?
They don’t help us.
What they do is negate the power of creation we could have infused our art with.
Why do we copy?
Replicate Joe Smith’s painting? What ‘risk’ are we taking in doing that? If it is mocked and we are embarrassed, we can always say, “Oh well, I only copied Joe. Its not mine. Not really.” And, no. It’s not.
When we open up, we then are so vulnerable. And this is the scary thing.
It is an uncertain thing.
We do not like the fact that we don’t know for certain if our creation, will work or not.
IF, it will be ok. Be ‘good enough.’ Or not.
To have family, a friend, a mentor … “approve.”
Get “likes” or not. Get followers or not.
Life is way too short, for us to make those approvals of monumental significance.
Your own opinion, that’s the one that is of monumental significance.
And, yes. It is a struggle.
Every time we pick up the pen, the brush, the mouse, the knife, we hear the voice in our head tell us to do it better this time.
(Silence that voice each time. It knows nothing. Nothing…. of relevance to the act of creation.)
It is the Uncertainty,of not getting it right, that stops us. It is what blocks us, chains us, ties our hands from trying.
It is the Uncertainly that stops us from being ‘ALL In.’ Prevents us from giving it every thing we have to give.
But if we never try, never summon the courage, (in some cases we must invent it if that is what is required) then the world, misses out on what we alone have to give.
Yes. We will stumble.
We will fall to our knees.
We will fail.
Its ok. I repeat, it is ok that we make mistakes, stumble, fail.
*side note, if you are a bridge engineer, aircraft mechanic, heart surgeon, airport traffic controller…. its ok, if you have a little higher standards than what I’ve just mentioned. In fact, thanking you in advance for it. cheers!
For too long we have all been told, trained and conditioned, to believe in the god of perfection.
“Get It Right.”
No errors. No flaws.
No visible signs of cracks, age, wear or tear.
In other words, absolutely no signs that we are, after all, Human.
Because, being human is the greatest asset we have. Flaws and all.
I’m currently mentoring privately a beautiful person, with acrylics. We are working on a helpful approach to lessen the fear of mistakes, flaws. We’re developing a program with Multiple creative resolution methods, imaginative solutions, thinking outside the box.
Addressing – Society’s obsession with imperfections.
It is a challenge to go against our training. But, we can do it. We simply repeat, the acts of creation we desire. Over and over, and over.
In the mentoring sessions, we are repurposing used acrylic canvases. They already have colors and textures on them, in abundance. But, they were not quite working.
The next step is to brush over, in selected areas large swaths of contrasting paint.
We used White. Brilliant! This creates a lovely and lively sensation of vibration and contrast. The underlying base comes through in places with the white, skimming along the surface to create fascinating patterns suggesting of bark, trees, foliage shapes.
This Technique clearly demonstrates that the underlying “Imperfect” canvas, with its scars, its hard edges, its yucky bits…. actually was the perfect substrata for the project.
I like how this art creation process can also be interpreted through the lens of life as well.
This is one of the pieces, my friend created using the acrylic methods described above. A Wonderful, act of creation.
Art of Connection
I am in fact, expressing in paint, my world. Not yours. Not Joe’s. Mine. This is a very important distinction artists, creators need to make.
When I create a painting, or photographic art image, I am primarily attempting to convey the dialogue. In other words, the dialogue that is going on between the subject and myself.
That simply can not occur if I refuse to spend alone time with it.
If I treat it callously, abruptly, with little regard, and simply want to “use it” to make a pretty little picture to boost my ego – then, no, I can’t expect its true beauty to shine through.
Its more effective to become friends with the subject.
To learn about it. To immerse oneself into its world.
Then…. Maybe I can create art that has a beautiful life energy within it.
What I hope to create, is to convey the essence of what I myself connect to and “feel.”
To define this. I think of it in these terms: of having the emotion of Love of life, emanate from my creation. Just as a warm fire in winter compels and draws people closer.
I know. That is, a lofty goal. And one I often stumble, fall and abjectly fail at. That’s ok. I’m All In. I’ll keep trying. Some, do work quite well. I’m happy with that.
In whatever form, the art chooses to take for each individual, we want to strive to impart a piece of our selves, into our “Acts of Creation.”
Education. When I present skills, concepts and new techniques, I also learn. I learned …. a LOT, from my venture To Queen’s Gardens in Perth.
On the job, on going education. Perfect.
Yes. There have been days, of ‘not so’ perfect. And I most definitely will not share those with the public. But overall, it is a great gig.
Sculpture: Peter Pan
I left the green shaded groves, of the UWA Sunken Gardens. Leaving the calm, zen there.
I drove off, into the city. Clearly following my well researched and diagrammed directions. I had studied this. I knew the route.
In the city. Gosh. Who, would have suspected?
Where was my Plan B?
Needless to say, the first attempt to arrive at Queen’s Garden was met with Strike One.
I ended up, very close to my original starting point. Oops.
Do I give up and go home? Do I allow the city, and detours, to be victorious? I sighed. It WAS HOT. 90+ degrees. How bad, did I really want to go?
But, you know, I am Determined.
Someone just recently, made that comment – that I was very determined. I’m not certain if it that was a polite way of just saying, ‘Stubborn.’ I’m thinking it was though!
My “Stubbornness” won out.
I continued on my target goal to the Queen’s Gardens. Finally, 55 minutes later – I arrived! It should have taken 20, tops.
Victory. Ok I met some more road closures, detours. And had to walk from the river to the Gardens. (Bonus, more exercise for me!) The point is, I achieved my destination point.
I had a nice pleasant stroll around.
Relaxing. Taking photos of turtles, black swans, golden breasted waterfowl, massive ivory waterlilies on the deep blue ponds, wooden bridges, and the famous bench from the movie “Notting Hill.”
Towards the end of my stroll I came closer to the large statue that had caught my eye earlier. It had looked like a Pied Piper of sorts.
I was so immersed in the faces and features, the transcendent expressions the artist brought to life, I didn’t look first at the title or description.
Instead I engaged with the art. Section by section.
I loved the ‘rabbit’ like ears upon some of the figures.
Once I was finished with taking the photos, then I read.
I discovered the statue was based on JM Barrie’s story of Peter Pan.
The sculptor was Sir George Frampton. This was one of his 6 replicas he cast from his original mould. This sculpture was erected in Queens Garden in June 1929.
The original is in London, the Kensington Gardens.
Apparently with the original statue, Sir George…. acted without authorisation.
Overnight, without prior permission, he erected his Peter Pan statue unbeknownst to anyone.
He did get chastised…. however in his defense he stated that he’d simply wanted the children to be surprised. To awaken and see the ‘Peter Pan’ in the gardens ‘as if the fairies had done so overnight.’
I can just imagine how this explanation went over!
But, I think, he may have had a smidgen of ‘determination’ within himself. I don’t think he was going to allow anything to dissuade him from his goal. He knew what he wanted to accomplish.
And he did so.
Artists need to have this quality of Determination.
This almost wilful, stubbornness.
It is this, that enables them to overcome the 1001 odds that are stacked against them.
The challenges of the city proved to be an excellent educational tool. We can choose to give up too soon, or choose to be Determined.