fun with tar gel and more than a bit of serendipity
I love the way the word skips off the tongue. serenDIPity. It's a word that's been coming up a lot lately, in my conversations, in overheard conversations and in song, making me smile every single time.
The above image was made with two inks, two stamps, onto tissue paper. Often, between projects, I will spend a few hours or even days preparing new papers to have at the ready. (The super-talented Laura Lein-Svencner has some excellent tutorials on her site.) Sometimes the papers end up in a collage, sometimes on a journal page. I like having access to a lot of different colors and patterns when I am on a roll at my art table. I don't know about you, but I don't want to stop the creative flow to paint the "perfect" paper. Working spontaneously (another fun word) and intuitively seem to best suit my Muse. Grabbing a paper scrap, trying it out on piece, seeing if it works, discarding it and moving on to another if needed, are all a part of being in the flow. I'm discovering though that this way of working leads to enormous messes. Please tell me I'm not the only one! My artroom can fall into such incredible states of disaster at times that even I am mortified and it forever surprises me at what a fast rate this can occur. It's the subject matter of much teasing in our home. But I truly don't mind the straightening up of the art room as it seems that ideas come freely and fast in that time. A paper scrap will land on the floor or table next to another paper scrap I would never have paired it with but the combination works and again there is that word...Serendipity.
Another word that I like to say a lot, especially when it is related to art, is "play." I think often of the quote by Picasso: "All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." It's a good thing to remember. In fact, it couldn't hurt to print that out and paste it somewhere near where I work or better yet, on the door, so that I must read it before I enter my art space. I do try and approach my time at the art table as playtime; I'm not always successful but most times. It's getting easier the more I do it. Music helps. Letting go of end results help. Red shoes help as do deep breaths and iced tea with a swirly straw.
A workshop with Suzanna Fields at Hollins University over the weekend turned out to be a glorious afternoon of play. Adding to the already perfect loveliness of hanging out with two of my favorite souls, artists Gina Louthian-Stanley and Dreama Kattenbraker, there was the bonus of meeting new folks if only briefly, Tif Robinette and Eric Fitzpatrick, local artists also taking the class. And then there was the great class itself during which we were all encouraged to channel our inner child and experiment. Play! Good stuff! Suzanna was super-sweet, fun, high-energy and passionate about acrylic paints and mediums.
Suzanna's work is amazing and if you are local I encourage you to see her work at Hollins before it comes down. Here is Suzanna generously demonstrating some fun you can have with tar gel and ink:
Julia Cameron in her book, "The Artist's Way," encourages artist's dates and I took myself on one yesterday. My dear friend and fellow artist, Sonia Hancock, was sweet enough to join me. Our destination was the Olin Gallery at another nearby school, Roanoke College. I had been going crazy wanting to check out Kurt Steger's work ever since hearing other friends talk about one of the pieces called the Burden Boat. It's a breathtaking piece. You can read about it below. Just click on the image if you need to enlarge.
I wrote a burden and placed it inside. (if you would like to mail in a burden to be placed in the boat, the address is there on the paper in the photo.) The entire exhibit had this special magical and mythical feel. I am thinking now of the walk through the Pearl Gate and the rustle of the paper as it touched my sleeve.
There was also work in the adjoining room. Right away, both Sonia and I really connected with the amazing work of Billy Bob Beamer. And in the way of serendipitous things, Billy Bob happened to be there in the gallery. We got to talk with him a bit about his work, about meditation and music, about the fibromyalgia he lives with and the workshops in which he helps others use drawing as a way to enter into a trance-like state to manage pain. He was such a nice man. You can get a glimpse of his work and read about him here and here. Or better yet, make it out to the gallery before the exhibit closes on the 20th of this month. I hope to gather a group together for a workshop led by Mr. Beamer. If you are local and interested, please comment or email me.
And I will wrap up this lengthy post with a quote. Perhaps another I should post in daily view.
"The position of the artist is humble. Essentially he is a channel."~ Piet Mondrian