I don't do resolutions but I do enjoy simplification as the New Year comes through. During the Christmas break I clean out my studio so that it is fresh and ready for new ideas. I started this year by working on some pieces using a minimal palette ~ Black, white, and 3 colors (Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna and Paynes Gray).
Creating with a minimal palette frees up creative brain cells that sometimes get overwhelmed by color choice - leaving room for you to grow on composition, line, contrast to name a few. I was turned on to the idea after taking Laura Horn's #minimalmagic online class and it has been the gift that keeps on giving! You would think that putting restrictions on yourself would hamper creative juices, but for me it's had the opposite affect...
I tend to overdo it when there are too many choices (you should see my plate at a buffet table!). So having just a few color options opens me up to really concentrate on the roots of what I love and what inspires my artwork ~ organic lines, botanical shapes, contrast of simple vs. busy, and beautiful soothing palettes.
There is definitely ART to decision making and working in this way helps me develop that muscle!
This doesn't mean I will never create with more complex palettes ~ I do love getting lost in a 'color puzzle' ~ but I see this as a place to return to and really build up my personal preferences, composition skills and aesthetics that can carry into bigger, more complex works.
1. Layering ~ a quick drying time allows you to add layers of paint on top of each other without having to wait around a long time and watch paint dry ;). That being said, if you need more drying time there are additives like Golden's Open Medium that serve that purpose. Layering acrylics also give you the ability to use some of my favorite techniques such as etching into the wet paint to reveal the color beneath, or cover up large areas without creating mud.
2. Mixes well with other media ~ acrylics are very medium-friendly :) You can layer them on top of watercolors, paint pens, water-soluble crayons, pens, etc.. You can also go over top of them with oil sticks and paint pens - just be sure to let the paint completely dry first or you'll quickly ruin your paint pen! They also work well with collage - I use a gel matte medium to adhere the collage bits on top - this you can do even when the acrylics are wet.
3. Translucency ~ Many of the acrylics have a translucent quality and with these you can see the the layers below. This can add a great richness to your painting.
5. Easy to work on paper ~ When I'm working on bigger pieces I keep a stack of 140 lb watercolor paper nearby. I use it clean off my brushes, take a break from the big painting or just to use up remaining paint at the end of a session. I love this practice because the pieces are small and no pressure attached to them - because it's just paper and it holds the paint really well. If I don't end up with a composition I like I will slice & dice them into bookmarks! These make great extras to give to people who buy my work and, of course, I put a sticker with my info on the back :)
Looking for a fun gift for your favorite artist? Here are some ideas I came up with that I think most creatives would enjoy ~ I know I would!
If you want to #BUYLOCAL
(which I highly recommend!)...
1. A piece of original artwork from their favorite artist. If you want to let them pick it out, most artist will sell you a gift certificate for future purchase. Another way to go is hit up some local artisan fairs - there are usually many this time of year and you can support a local artist. Most creatives appreciate something handmade. My vice is handmade earrings!
2. Art-night out! Plan a night out to a local gallery or museum and treat your artist to dinner.
Things I'd like but wouldn't spend the money on...
5. A gift certificate for a massage. Believe it or not art-making can be taxing on the body! Whether stretching large canvases or hunched over a small drawing, the repetitive nature can take its toll. Plus, who doesn't appreciate a relaxing treat?
Last minute shopping/easy to purchase online...
6. A Buddha Board www.amazon.com/Original-Buddha-Board-Relaxing-Painting/dp/B0010TEFFQ Also falls under category of 'treat I'd like but not likely to purchase for myself'. I could see using these as a way to warm up or just mess around when you want to be creative but don't want to start a formal project.
7. Smartphone tripod. These come in handy for the artist who makes time-lapse videos of their creative process. I use and like this one...
8. An art calender. Again, if you know their favorite artist - go for it, if not there are many out there with artwork from the greats...Matisse, Picasso, Frankenthaler, Kahlo to name a few.
9. An art book. My favorite pic would be, hands down, The Jealous Curator's latest book...'A Big Important Art Book (Now with Women): Profiles of Unstoppable Female Artists--and Projects to Help You Become One'. I already purchased a copy (in case my husband's reading this) www.amazon.com/Big-Important-Book-Women-Artists/dp/0762463791/ref=asc_df_0762463791/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312166025508&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=3378832859959233253&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9005630&hvtargid=pla-554993956736&psc=1
10. Gift Certificate to an art store... Local if possible ~ they are a dying breed. Here in Rochester we have a great one, Rochester www.yelp.com/biz/rochester-art-supply-rochester
I hope your holidays are filled with peace & joy! Happy shopping!
Snip color palette inspirations from magazines...
When visiting my mom there's always a big pile of magazines she's already read through - I love perusing the pages and gathering colors that catch my eye. I bring washi tape and put them in my sketchbook.
Clean up studio before leaving so you’re ready to go when you come home! Nothing inspires me more than a workspace that is de-cluttered and ready to go! The goal while I'm away is to keep some creative momentum going and gather visual tidbits that might spark inspiration when I'm back home.
I’ve worked for 20+ years as a Landscape Architect so its no surprise that my art is inspired by the outdoors. Whether I’m running, walking our dogs or working in the garden I am always picking up bits of nature that catch my eye, or snapping pics with my phone - trying to capture anything that makes me stop and gaze.
I love the endless supply of design elements that nature can supply…interesting patterns, compositions, energetic organic lines, contrasting textures and color combinations.
One of my favorite sources of inspiration is the garden. I treat planting design like 'painting with plants' with broad strokes of color through a field of green. The blooms of the Pink Muhly grass do a great job of this!
I take a LOT of pictures throughout spring and summer to call on in winter when I need some color inspiration!
A recent favorite palette from the garden is a cool sage green next to a more vibrant yellow green contrasted with a bit of burnt sienna from a branch, or in this case dried Sedum blooms.
I also turn to Instagram feeds for inspiration. A current favorite is an interior design feed @enter_my_attic. She posts gorgeous vignettes of minimal spaces. I love her color palettes and modern compositions accented with botanicals.
The trick is to then have a gathering place for all the inspo! I started a new Instagram account just for this purpose @inspirationonmyrun. It's my easily accessible bank of images I can dive into when I need inspiration.
My sketchbook is another place I keep my keep my findings. Occasionally, when I don’t feel inspired or know what I want to work on I will do some visual ‘cataloguing’ of my gatherings - which usually leads to an idea.
FUTURE GOAL: to spend more time reflecting on my gatherings, sketching- not for reality but to spark something new - a way of translating it into something of my own, my own visual language.
CALLING myself an artist was a big leap for me, but its something that's been in my heart for as long as I can remember. Life and loss over the last few years have made it crystal clear how precious our time is. It's also prompted me to push myself out of some self-created comfort zones - such as publishing a website just for the purpose of sharing and selling my art...
After years of creating work here and there and posting occasionally on Instagram, the time finally felt right to make a genuine commitment to my art practice. It's been truly gratifying to take a cohesive look at my work and the process I've developed over the years. Designing this website has only reinforced my passion for creating, and solidified the need for it in my life on a regular basis.
I'm thrilled to be taking this leap and look forward to continuing to share this important part of my life. Check out my site and please spread the word if you like what you see or know someone who might!