I get a lot of questions about my original 5x7 heart paintings. I'm not sure if it's because they are painted on watercolor paper, or because of the way they are presented. So here's a quick video that explains more about them.
The funny thing is, once someone has bought one, they tend to purchase more. So it's one of those art items that are just better seen in person, than seen on a computer screen. I hope that by sharing this video with you, you will be able to "see" them viturally, and then be able to better understand these very unique, and awesome little paintings.
They make a great gift. But they also are great to keep for yourself. : )
Lately I've had a lot of questions about specific pieces of art. What do I think? Is this or that piece "good." While I'm glad people think my opinion has some merit, what I generally ask in return is "What do YOU think?" That is really all that matters.
Sure I can tell you that technically this piece is brilliant or a mess. Or that this artist did or did not seem to know his or her intention when creating a piece. Or that the reason you are probably asking me is that you prefer a lot of differentiation in values in color/light, when this artist liked everything to have a similar color/light value. But what really matters is what you the viewer think. Do YOU like it? Yes or No?
I know in art history class we were always told there are many many layers to any piece of art. That the artist was making a statement about his or her political era, his or her religious beliefs, etc. While I don't want to diss our great high school and college teachers, art isn't always that layered, that symbolic, that - dare I say it - deep. And even if it is, I think most artists would rather you enjoyed their work, or had an opinion about their work, than to not enter the game at all because you are afraid to miss what the artist intended.
To me this is the great thing about art. After I finish putting paint on canvas, it doesn't really matter what my intention was. What matters to you the viewer is what YOU think. How it resonates with YOU. That doesn't mean you can't pick out my intention, my emotions while painting the piece, or evaluate my technical abilities. But bottom line, either a piece of art resonates with a viewer or it doesn't. (And if it doesn't resonate with a viewer, it doesn't mean it's a "bad"piece of art, it just means that it doesn't resonate with that person.)
I was reminded of this concept again today, when looking over my portfolio. This piece is called The Seduction. When I painted it, I meant for it to be about a girl being seduced by a slightly older boy on the cusp on manhood. I meant for it to be innocent and tender. When a girlfriend of mine saw the finished piece she disagreed and said that this was a painting for an older woman seducing a younger man. I see what she means, but that's not what I intended the painting to be. However, at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what I the artist thinks, even though I painted it. It matters what you the viewer See, Think and Feel when you see it.
So next time you really don't like a very expensive piece of art on the wall, or you really love an inexpensive piece of art - don't worry about it. Embrace that opinion, because it's yours. And in the end, that's all that really matters.
After searching everywhere I normally search for positive, fun good news - I've been getting a little - OK make that A LOT - upset at the lack of good, happy, positive uplifting news given out by any major news carrier. Especially since I know good news is out there. Just seems most news organizations would rather scare the crap out of us than report anything good.
Everywhere I turn people keep saying the same thing - good things are happening, but no one is reporting. Like the fact that according to a real estate friend of mine in Laguna, more people are purchasing homes than before in our area, but no one is really reporting it. Well, I'm no large broadcast organization, but I figured I could make a tiny step in the right direction by sharing some good news I know of. And then, if anyone is so inclined, perhaps they could add their good news in the comments section?
I realize this post has nothing to do with art, but it does have to do with the passion for life which more easily happens when we are happy. So here's my good news:
Two weeks ago a friend text me to say he was getting an organ transplant. This being the 5th or so time I had been text the same news I held my breathe as I always did. But this time - the transplant happened. AND he is doing well. Which means come his birthday in a few weeks, he should be able to go out and celebrate without constraint. Very cool. And very deserved. Now he can do his type of creating with a health body fully supporting that process.
Which got me thinking of another medical miracle I celebrated a few months ago when my girlfriend's husband recovered completely from something he had initially been told there was no cure for. But again, due to a type of transplant, he is not only doing well, but inspiring others to keep going and find a similar success! And on his 100 day mark, a group of us met to celebrate this amazing recovery and achievement. I was so honored to be able to celebrate that with him and to see the impact his recovery was having on others. It was truly inspiring.
So Good/Great news is out there. Except maybe it's not so much out there - as here - within our social worlds and all around us. We just have to pause a minute and maybe pass a little bit of it on to others. Anyone care to share some good news of their own?
I titled my last art show Devina - which means heavenly, divine, beloved. I felt this name reflected what my intention is whenever I paint a woman - to show the beauty of the female form, by honoring the lines, and the curves that create her. I feel strongly about the need to honor the beauty of a woman's body because for so long, women in many cultures, in many times, have not been so honored. They were (and still are in some parts of the world) told to cover up, to hid, to not even look upward and be counted.
And even when a woman in our culture is "appropriately" clothed some people feel the need to attack the beauty of a woman, and highlight their idea of perceived "flaws." When Jessica Simpson made a fashion misstep, amplified by an unflattering camera angel, it made headlines for weeks. And now we have this whole Kim Kardashian "incident" because someone accidentally posted a pre-touched up version of her photo shoot. Which was in my opinion so minorly touched up, it should not have even been reported on.
It feels like at times that between the media and our own negative voices, we as women sometimes forget how beautiful women really are. And forget to honor our bodies and ourselves. My point is that the female body in itself is a work of art. And I hope in my art to bring that out, so women recognize it, in the piece AND in themselves. So next time you pass a mirror, be kind to yourself, and honor the heavenly, the divine and the beloved in you.
While I will admit that my focus of late has been on the female form. I did not want people to think that I have anything against the male body. I find the male form, equally beautiful. And, being heterosexual, quite tantalizing. I have even been known to trip while passing the larger - than - life images at Abercrombie & Fitch. Something about a flat stomach and showing a little bit of hip bone, like a promise of things to come, really can distract a girl!
So, after being asked repeatedly if I had this guy or that guy in my couple series, but just the guy alone - I decided maybe I should not exclude male torsos from my series and got to work. This is the first painting in that series.
Everyone of course may have a preference in terms of the "type" of male physique they prefer in their man. I myself lean towards what I always thought of as a runner's body. But after much study and consideration... have realized can also apply to volleyball players and swimmers. So, to start my foray into creating single male forms on canvas, I did start with my preference. Since, as one of my art instructors always told us - paint what you know. Not that I know my model personally, but well, you know what I mean. ;-)
I was sitting on my bed, as I do every morning, writing things in my journal I am grateful for. I looked up and saw this miniature hut hanging from a hook on the wall that my boyfriend at the time had bought me while we were on a trip. I don't think he realized it, but it's significance to me was huge. To me it represented being true to myself and my vision, and I felt that he was in his own way recognizing that.
Yes, I know, female circular logic! But the reason for that - and the reason I keep the miniature hut in my bedroom is because I want to remind myself of the lesson I learned while painting two rather large hut paintings. I had come home one night after a really fun date - and painted two huts from just what was inside of me. I didn't use any reference material, I was just going with my feelings, and remembering some huts I had seen in Hawaii on the Big Island.
When I took the paintings into my painting class, which was filled mostly with women, I was told the huts weren't realistic because of their roofs, and that my islands looked like tree branches. They joked that I was painting bird cages. On and on they went. So I changed the paintings, to try and address some of the outside criticism I was perceiving. And subsequently, hated those two big paintings.
A few years later, a friend of mine came to my studio and bought a small sketch of one of my huts. A sketch I had done that first night before putting paint to big canvas. He loved it. It really connect with him. And I realized that he was connecting with my original vision. After he left, I took those two big hut paintings out and painted over them - this time sticking to my original vision. It was a very freeing experience.
And the funny thing is - since then, those two paintings and similar images have resonated with a lot of men.
So I learned two things from those hut paintings: 1) stay true to my vision in my art; and 2) not every painting is right for every audience. Just because one audience doesn't "get" it, doesn't mean the piece won't resonate somewhere else.
Iwas recently in a discussion about what a "true artist" is. One of theothers in the discussion insisted that a "true artist" has no business sense, and creates only what they need/are compelled to create, with no care for what other people think or what will sell. And was that once an artist takes into consideration what others might want, they are no longer a "true" artist.
Idisagreed for a couple of reasons. First off I think this runs dangerously close to the idea that any artist who is commercially successful has sold out. And second, to label only one type of artist as a "true" artist is discriminatory. I would agree that an artist by definition will continue to create whether or not their work is sold. But, there is nothing wrong with hoping he or she connects with an audience and makes people happy with their work. And in doing so, actually grows creatively by helping to fine-tune their creative voice.
Iam not suggesting an artist give up their own personal drive to create by following the latest art fad, or by copying someone else's work to bea success. I have found that most artists who do this, die a bit inside. And for the most part, their art dies as well, because they themselves do not know why they created a piece. Therefore, there is noemotion or feeling behind it, which translates into "dead" art. And aswith all fads, doing work this way is generally not sustainable. Another fad will come along, and so keeping up with them can be exhausting.
Iam also not suggesting that an artist create only what she/he thinks other people will want or approve of. Because again - this work will generally not resonate. Such art lacks the creative spirit, and emotionassociated with art that has been created by someone who knows WHY theywere compelled to create it. Art created out of a need for approval will not resonate with the audience, because in truth, it did not resonate with the artist when she/he was creating it.
However,I do think it is perfectly acceptable to fine-tune your voice as an artist by listening to what your audience has to say. This can help an artist better tell his or her story and share their vision. For example,I started painting male torsos after multiple requests for such. And Ilove this new direction. Creating with an audience in mind can also lead to new shifts in work that better resonate with your audience. I love doing commissions because I always learn from the additional pointsof view, and a good portion of the time my art will be enhanced by thatexperience. I have had completely new lines of work spring from a commission request. Always in a manner that I am excited about, but thatalso broadens the amount of people who are excited by my art.
Wegrew up in a culture that has told us since pre-k that "You can't make aliving as an artist" that "Artists don't work" and that "Art is not a real job." So to put an additional restriction on an artist of "true" is burdensome. Anyone who has overcome listening to the many objectionsabout their career path and fearlessly calls themselves an artist IS anartist. It doesn't matter if their work is "good" or "bad, " "successful", or "commercial." These are all outside labels. What matters is that an artist creates, that they follow their muse. And if,in the process, an artist also wants to connect with a wider audience, and allows in some way for that, it does not necessarily make for commercial art. It does not have to equate to loss of creative voice.
Findingand keeping our creative voice is a balance, and we each find our own. To call one person's form of balance wrong, and to declare there is only one true path, is not something I agree with. Especially in art.
What I realized, sitting on my couch recently, after being highly productive in my studio, is that the BEST cure for creative block is a date or time spent with my guy. In that down time after the date, I have created some of my most original pieces, and effortlessly come up with the solution to creative problems that were bugging me for weeks.
When I was in college I decided that my art suffered any time I had a boyfriend. This is because every time I had a boyfriend, I would stop sketching. But what I now realize is - I stopped sketching, not because I stopped wanting to create - but because I was worried about what he might say about my art. (Which of course speaks volumes for my taste in men at the time.) I had been carry around this construct - that it was either art or a boyfriend - ever since.
So happy to have come to a different conclusion - and now that I think about it - better guys!
I've been working on a new design. Because I decided to create something specific for inside the home, the design process included talking to people to see what they would like to see in this type of art work. Last week I started hating my sketches. Then I realized it was because I had somehow lost my vision in the midst of trying to give people what they wanted.
Once I backed up, realized that, and started sketching again I was able to incorporate what people said they would love to have with what I wanted to create. Magic! And totally awesome. :-)
Always interesting as an artist when I accidently lose my voice or choke it in order to give others what they want. I'm much better at avoiding this particular pitfall than I use to be, but sometimes I still get pulled under.
I know some say creating art should be all about the artist. And a lot of the time, I would agree. But I find that at select times, when I chose to court public opinion, or do a custom piece, I come up with things I never would have thought about without their input. (Like the painting my sister asked me to paint for my nephew's nursery.) And those creations are some of my most favorite and fun pieces of art to create. Because when done with my voice in tact, they help me grow and stretch my creativity in ways I wouldn't have found otherwise.
Any other artists or crafters out there ever have a similar story?