THE CREATIVE PROCESS

For the last two weeks I have been waiting on pins and eedles to hear if I am going to land a 4,000 sf studio in Dallas, rent free I might add! No word yet but that hasn't kept me from creating a t-shirt for the place!

After looking at first various online possibilities for this project, in the end I went ahead and hand painted a shirt. Irrespective of whether or not I would like what I painted on the shirt, I put it on the table, put white paint on my brush and simply went to work. With two white elements - one on the upper chest, one on a sleeve - completed, I went for powerful, passionate red for the numbers.

I couldn't envision the street name on the front of the shirt and had ruled it out for the back (too much additional work) so I figured I was altogether finished with this project. Then out of the blue, two days later, the idea of putting the name of the street on the white accents already on the shirt dropped into my head!

Though I could have fit the street name on the one larger white space, I decided to break the name of the street up to add an unexpectee twist to the finished project.

Throughout the whole creative process here, I launched out, stayed open to new thoughts and inspirations, and ended up creating exactly what I wanted! O the joy!

Knowing that I may not get this studio at all, you might wonder why I would put so much time and effort into a project like this. The answer is that making art does not need a goal, right? Even if this t-shirt is never worn, it is a triumph for me as a creative project!

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THINK BIGGER

Two weeks ago I found a big 4,000 sf studio space in Dallas, which has been vacant for a year. Applying my "think bigger" mantra - a step up from "think big" - I right away contacted the real estate agent for the property via email and laid out my plan: Let me have this space for free for a pop-up art studio, while at the same time continuing to pursue finding a permanent tenant. (The two big FOR LEASE signs onsite would stay up while running the pop-up. ) Yes, the plan sounds crazy but believe it or not I have done this before - Aug. 2017 to March 2018, just off of Henderson Ave. in Dallas!

The property agent for the space I am after called me this week and, as it turns out, had actually been to my Henderson Ave. pop-up 2 years ago! (It was next door to his favorite coffee shop!) The rep went on to say that the property owner for the space I want is "an alternative landlord" and might very well accept a pro bono arrangement. He then asked me if I would be comfortable with a three to six month lease! Of course I answered “YES!! I am supposed to hear back from the agent about all this by the end of this month (August 2019).

I am so believing this is all going to work out! Maybe I'm counting my chickens before they hatch here but I would much rather recant later for being too optimistic than be robbed of hopeful enthusiasm and joy! Believe with me that this glorious studio space is in the bag!

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I AM SANTA FE

In August of 2011 my husband and I drove to Sante Fe, NM for the weekend. While it was miserably hot in Texas when we went, the Sante Fe high desert was heavenly! What a great weekend we had!

While I loved all the spectacular beauty we saw in Sante Fe, to my total surprise, it was the art galleries and exhibits in downtown Santa Fe that sent me over the rainbow!

Though I had painted in my twenties, I was 61 in 2011 when we made this trip to Sante Fe and hadn't painted in over 30 years! In fact, I had pretty much forgotten that I had ever painted! And yet, driving back to Texas from Sante Fe, the thought that I am an artist kept going round snd round in my head.

The day after we returned home I went to Hobby Lobby, bought the art supplies I needed, and did my first painting since 1978. The more I painted the more my joy deepened! Since 2012 when I decided I wanted to "go all in" and began to paint daily, I have been positively aglow with happiness and joy!

When my sweet sister recently called me to propose that for my next birthday we fly together to Santa Fe for a weekend, my response to her suggestion totally surprised me: "I am Santa Fe!” which is to say painting daily brings me so much joy and delight, I don't need to go to Santa Fe! So where are we going for my birthday? To the ocean!

Pic of 8’ unstretched canvas inserted in setting.

Pic of 8’ unstretched canvas inserted in setting.

PLAYING WITH ABSTRACT ART

When I started painting in 2012, my canvases were all smaller than 30”×40”. It wasn't until 2016 that I bought a 5’ roll of canvas and started “going big.” Here in 2019 I am now buying 8’ rolls of canvas! At present I am working on three 8'x6’ paintings at my home studio.

When our son, Martin, came by for a visit today, he knew right away I would want to take some pics of him in front of my newest artwork - which of course I did!

What I really enjoyed about the photo session that followed was how Martin was somehow able to enter each painting, pick up on aspects I hadn't even noticed, and then respond so spontaneously. Truly the whole experience was amazing!

Because all three canvases are so big, just standing in front of each canvas you feel like you are walking into another world, another reality - which is just why I like painting so big - but not until this session with Martin did I ever experience the joy and light heartedness of my own art!

Looking at each huge painting, Martin spontaneously reacted to the graphic direction of each color! Even as I snapped each pic I was smiling from ear to ear, watching Martin's playful poses!

After snapping about 30 quick pics I decided to use 10 to create a slide show. Looking at “the movie" I created, with the most charming, whimsical music provided by my Samsung 19, was a genuine revelation for me - all because of Martin! His imaginative, creative poses, showed me just how much joy was hidden in each of these paintings - and in him! You can't watch the video without coming away smiling!

No one has ever looked at my artwork before and brought out so much life, enthusiasm, and joy. Thank you so much, Martin, for showing me how to play with my own artwork!!!

Watch "Martin with Big Art. June 2019" on YouTube https://youtu.be/jersg76ZN2U

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Leave No Hostages

When I started painting in 2012 I was 62. While I had no idea at the time why or even what I was painting (!), I knew I felt impelled to continue painting and right away committed on every level to go “all in”.

7 years later, here in 2019, well started in my 70th year, I have much more of a handle on what I am doing and where I am going: I paint because I love how making art allows me to commune with the deepest places within myself, places so private I didnt even know they existed! What I am painting is all about interior realities which, as it happens, relate to universal themes - joy, anxiety, discouragejent, confusion...- easily recognized by anyone open to abstraction. As for where I'm going, that's easy! I'm going onto the next adventure!

Just this past week I completed just such an advenure: a big, bright, minanalist 6' by 6' painting. Instead of stopping where I normally would, however, I decided to not just keep working on this canvas but to completely change course, ending up with a complex, dark composition, which totally suprised me. For some reason, the expression "leave no hostages behind” came to mind at the time!

Thinking about it, I began to consider that if I “killed” my hostages - my cozy familarity with primary color, my habitual way of approaching each painting - I could get beyond my comfort zone to greater liberty of spirit, the ultimate goal being to be fueled purely by  imagination and creativity, not habit!

The result of this leave-no -hostages-behind decision is entirely new for me. As my creative energy increases I feel like the doors of my whole life and being are being blown off! My response? Bring it on!





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DON'T ROB ME

Recently I've noticed a whole bunch of seminars, webinars, books, workshops, etc., about how to paint passionately, boldly, fearlessly, how to find your inner child… My response surprised me: I felt sick to my stomach.

Why on earth would anyone want to be robbed of her personal art journey? Why would anyone want to follow someone else's path, use someone else's experience/ insights instead of pursuing their own personal art paths?

Skipping gradual, natural, self discovery to be hot housed into someone else's idea of what an artist should be/do is my idea of artistic robbery! The last thing I want in my art practice is a program, a map, “training wheels,” to save me from dead ends, from what may seem like pointless floundering around.

As I see it, each person's unique journey should be thrilling, full of surprises and fun, with lots of learning! These life long journeys are where we learn to persevere, learn to be confident and brave, and eventually come to understand who we are as artists and where we want to go.

When people ask me to teach them to paint I tell them to buy the materials they want and then go at it! Maybe that's too right brained and intuitive a response for some folks - but that's me!

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Painting Big

I would never have found my way to painting big without my artist friend, Sunny Delipsey. I mean who thinks to start painting 6’ canvases when they've only been painting for a couple of years? Not me, that's for sure!

Sunny's idea was that I buy a roll of canvas and just have at it! Though my largest canvases at the time were only 3'x4’, I listened to Sunny and acted on her suggestion.

I was so uptight about painting my first large scale work that I drew out a plan for what I was going to paint - something I never do. 15 minutes into trying to follow the plan, however, I was so miserable I tossed aside my sketch and went after the canvas the way I always do - with nothing but energy and color as my guides. The result completely overwhelmed me, so much so that I have continued to paint big since that first one in 2014.

The experience of tacking up a big swath of unstretched canvas and then putting up color after color is actually so exhilarating, so liberating, that painting big is all I want to do!

My answer to who is going to buy such heroic size work is “Who cares!” The whole point of being an artist is to create work matches the size of the vision you have within yourself. My vision is big!

Going Right To Get Left

Though I understand that the whole right brain-left brain thing is “out,” I find it a useful concept for reflection.

Most of my personality, as I experience it, is right brain: intuitive, emotional, creative. As you might guess, my years in school were pretty miserable.

To my total surprise, finding my way to abstract art in 2012 at 62 revealed to me a whole depth of spontaneity and life I didn't even know was in me.

In many ways painting has been a “welcome home" experience, which is to say I feel like being an artist is who I am, who I was meant to be all along. So what if it took me until 62 to discover it!

Oddly enough, the more I paint, the more I begin to see that my right brain adventures actually end up leading me to left brain analysis!

For example, one of my first reflections about painting was about the meaning of abstract art. My conclusion, drawn from my first months of painting, was that abstract art, like life, has no meaning at all unless we give it meaning. This was a crucial insight for me, as was trying to figure out why I mostly use primary colors.

What I currently tell myself is that I use primary colors, especially black, red, and white, because something in me is attracted to bold, powerful expression.

Since I don’t see or want boldness and power in my life, what I think I am really doing when I paint is speaking to my desire to be spiritually bold and strong, not in my strength but in God. This is a reflection I am still mulling over today - all because of abstract art!

Whenever I paint, which I see as an entirely right brain experience, I always end up reflecting on what I have done and then bump into entirely left brain analyses I never would have reached - without painting! O the wonder!

Failure As A Work Ethic

The life of an artist is a solitary pursuit, which is to say, all the output comes from one person – the artist. Age, education, the perfect CV, impeccable references and endorsements, cannot do a thing to get the brush on the canvas, the chisel to the stone, the foot to the dance floor!   

All the artists I admire have brazenly commited to expressing their ideas and passion, without any regard at all for whether people will like what they do, which is just what I am about.      

From virtually my first painting, I went all in – financially, psychologically, emotionally – believing that it is better to burn and fail trying to achieve something impossibly big rather than burn and fail due to cowardice, fear of rejection – killed off by common sense.      

For me, making art has always meant fearlessly pushing conventions and limits until there are none, improvising to the hilt creating endless new realities!      

My goal from the beginning of my life as an artist, which didn't happen until I was 62, was never to win - at least not in the normal sense of the word (fame and financial success) - but rather to fail, specifically to fail harder, that is, dare more, risk everything, in pursuit of being as authentically myself as an artist as I could possibly be!

Now 70, I am producing the best work of my life. Where others may see me as old, heading toward the end of life, disconnected from current trends, out date with my limited tech skills, the truth is I am exploding with creativity, more focused, alive, and inspired, than I ever dreamed of in my 30s!

If as artists we are not daring ourselves to dizzing heights, without any thought of a safety net, what are we doing?