Monday, January 26, 2009

Welcoming the Last Week of January with a Glorious Sunrise

Here is a early morning photo of the sunrise from our front porch. I braved the cold January temperatures in my bathrobe to get this blazing sunrise shot. It sure has been cold here, this weekend we got up to Mad River Glen to ski. I think it was the coldest day that I have ever skied. I could only stay out for three runs and then had to warm up in the lodge before heading out for more. We were lucky and didn't have to deal with waiting in lines so we actually got a lot of skiing in.
Today I am off to get some errand done first thing this morning, then to the studio to work on a few pieces that have been in progress for a little over a month. I'm hoping to post some of my new pieces in progress within the next couple of days. I am really looking forward to receiving my Art Nest Retreat package. I know some of the other ladies got theirs this past weekend so hoping for mine today. There are two spots left for anyone who wants to attend this cozy art retreat next month. I can't wait!
Thinking of warm thoughts on this chilly Monday morning and wishes for a dreamy week.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Capturing A Snowy Day With My New Camera

What a perfect snowy day to settle in at home and enjoy the freedom of not having to rush around town. Yesterday I picked up my new Nikon D40 camera. I am so happy to have made this purchase. I have been struggling with my old Canon which was on its last legs since this past November. Here are some of the photos that I took today with the D40.

It was so beautiful outside. Brian, Buddy and I went for a snowshoe on our land through the field, into the woods, and down to the river. Here is a shot of our front yard after we returned.
Then we got cozy inside. Buddy was sleepy from our outdoor exercise.

Abby was sitting by my side while I read the camera guide. Brian scooped her up in the football hold and she looked like she was about to burst with all her excess pounds. I love her and her rolly polliness.

Miss Tessa spent most of the day in her kitty perch sleeping. She woke up for a few moments and I got this great shot.

I also squeezed in a little time to do some sketching. I'm trying to work on some female faces that maybe I'll use next month at the Art Nest Winter Retreat. I am getting so excited I can't wait to attend my first art retreat, learn some new techniques while getting to making art with other creative and talented ladies.
I am looking forward to Kate coming home tomorrow. I missed her tonight. We have been getting in the habit of having a nice Sunday dinner together. Tonight I made vegan stuffed shells and roasted veggies. So yummy! Well at least it is a long weekend and I'll have some time tomorrow with her. Maybe I will get her to come to the studio with me for a while. I have been meaning to do some rearranging and reorganizing in the studio. When I am done I'll have to take some new photos to add to my website. I love my new camera!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

16 Things about ME!

1. This is one of my all time favorite photos of Katie (taken 5 years ago when she was 7.) It brings tears to my eyes looking back at how she has grown and thinking of how being her mom has been the most amazing moments of life!

2. I start every day with a cup of tea.

3. I am a vegetarian and love to cook but hardly ever use a recipe.

4. I love the ever changing weather in New England and don't think I could pick a favorite season because they all have so much beauty to offer.

5. I need to exercise more.

6. I love to dance especially with Katie, who is developing into a fantastic modern dancer. I wish I could move my body in a way to make it look so fluid and graceful. I used to think I was a good dancer, but age is creeping up and I am not so flexible. Kate tries to teach me, but it just becomes humorous. We laugh so much, it is incredibly fun no matter what it looks like.

7. I love being around other people but I need to spend some time every day alone to recharge my batteries.

8.It has taken my 22 years of creating art to feel comfortable enough to call myself an artist.

9.I wish that i could really keep my things organized. I am organized to the point where I know where most things are and can put my hands on them. This is an area I really could use some help with. I don't even use a file cabinet. I have piles around my desk.

10. Brian and I have been together for over 7 years. Neither of us can remember the date of our first official date. We have been living together for quite a while now. Yup can't remember exactly what year that was just that it was summertime.We are not married and I am totally comfortable with where we are and think that our relationship is so much better than most married couples.

11.I have a great big love of a dog, Buddy, and two cats Abby and Tessa( she thinks she is a dog like Buddy and will even follow us on walks into our woods.)

12.I love my studio space and feel so creative there.

13.I have never had lofty dreams of making a living on my artistic talents until this past year. I have big dreams to teach, inspire others with my artwork, spread the joy of the process that comes when you create art, and have a wide circle of a creative community.

14. I like watching the TV show What Not To Wear, i love nice clothes and makeup, and think what a blast it would be to be handed $5,000 to shop in NYC.

15. Both my parents died at somewhat of an early age ( my dad was 60, mom was 65). It makes me worried about growing old, being healthy, and getting Kate to a point where she can take care of herself.

16. I like to take care of with how I treat people and the world around me. My sister's nick name for me is Care, she say it fits me perfectly.

Now you have been tagged. I would love you to share 16 things about you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Learning To Think Like An Artist and Working With An Art Journal

I have been working on my practice of keeping an art journal. This is a photo of the start of my cover page. Since I took this photo I have added the word DREAM. This is my inspirational word for 2009. With out dreams where would we be and what better place to record our dreams than an art journal. I have to thank Karina for publishing so many of her inspiring pages from her art journal on her blog Herland Story . These beautiful pages have given me the desire to start my art journal.

As I began this practice of keeping art journal, I struggled a bit with letting go of thinking of the final product and letting it be truly about the process of writing the whispers and visions of my past, present, and dreams to come. I found some relief when I came across a write up that I did for my students in a class last year about learning to think like an artist. Here it is

Learning to think like an artist means:

· Look at things more closely than most people do.
· Finding beauty in everyday things and situations.
· Making new connections between different things and ideas.
· Going beyond ordinary ways of thinking and doing things.
· Looking at things in different ways in order to generate new perspectives.
· Taking risks and exposing yourself to possible failure.
· Arranging things in new and interesting ways.
· Working hard and at the edge of your potential.
· Persisting where others may give up.
· Concentrating your effort and attention for long periods of time.
· Dreaming and fantasizing about things.
· Using old ideas to create new ideas and ways of seeing things.Doing something simply because it’s interesting and personally challenging to do.

So taking in all my past words of wisdom, I came out with understanding that the greatest gift you can give yourself when you begin thinking like an artist is the freedom of an open mind and the endless possibilities to make the way you see the world a better place. Here is to a year of seeing the possibilities for a better world.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Selecting Subject Material For Your Artwork and Allowing Your Inner Voice To Be Shared

Beginning a new piece of artwork can sometimes be very intimidating. It is very bold action to take a blank piece of paper or canvas and decide I am going to create an image, translate a subject that I have some kind of personal connection with, render a visual image that is unique and let others view it to be judge by the critics of the world.
Sharing your artwork is a leap of faith. It is trusting that what you are creating is worthwhile no matter what your level of skill. Even sharing artwork with closest family and friends that we love and trust can sometimes be difficult. We are all critics and it is impossible to receive a positive response from everyone. How come when we voice an opinion we can understand that some people will disagree, but with visual expression we don’t always want to put ourselves on the line to be judged.
From my experience, the 22 years that I have been serious about making art as a way to express something within me that just needs to be fulfilled and communicated, I have spent a whole lot of time struggling to balance making art that will be accepted and liked by the people who view it and art that communicates who I am. It has only been in the past couple years that I have found comfort in the way I pick subject material and use it to communicate a small voice inside of me that has been waiting, ever so patiently, to be heard. Why now? How come it took so long? Is there some new technical skill in my art that I now possess that allows me to be able to connect with my art? The best answer that I can offer is trust. I have learned to trust that what I am expressing is the beauty, the pain, the hope, dreams and sometimes fears that I encounter in life.
So here is my advice on maybe getting a bit closer to finding your voice and letting it speak through your artwork. Pick subject matter that you have a connection with. Trust your instincts of what you like or are repelled by. Both can be valuable as subjects to represent in your art. When you pick your subjects take the time to analyze what is it that made you react.
All subjects will connect to some of the Elements of Art, (color, line, shape, texture, value, form, space), and the Principles of Design, (balance, contrast, unity, variety, emphasis, movement, pattern, repetition.) You can see that with each of the examples from below I also am drawn to specific elements and principles that I feel are essential aspects of my subjects. This is another way to help you translate your subjects into your own personal artistic voice.
Here are some examples of subject material that I have found connections with and why I love using them in my artwork.

Flowers – color, organic shape, and contrast. That sometimes you find them in the most unusual places standing boldly alone and other times they blend in with the bunch.
Things that fly (butterflies, dragonflies, bird) – form, variety, balance, and movement. Dreaming of flying off to new adventures, loving the feeling of the wind and imagining what it might feel like to soar and glide with the wind carrying me on my journey. Knowing that even with flight you still need to come back to rest and be grounded.
Trees- line, texture, repetition, and pattern. Connection to nature and a world that is bigger than me. The give and take they bring to life.
Girls and Women- Form, value, unity, and variety. My connection with femininity and those who have influenced me, helped me grow, comforted me on my journey through the good and hard times. Bringing me to the understanding that essentially we all embrace our emotional nature and we try to do the best we can to love and share ourselves with others.
So now I hope you can translate this information to help you with your process. Set aside some time to search the Internet, magazines, books, and your photos, ECT. to find subjects that you are drawn to. Start your collection of photo references for your subject material. When you have a good collection separate them into categories and take a few minutes with each to select some elements of art and principles of design that jump out at you. Then get personal and write down what these subjects represent in your life. Don’t worry right away about your technical skills and how well you will be able to render your subject. That will comes with time and practice that you devote to your artwork. Be patient and trust in yourself.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What is stopping you from living your dreams this new year?

A new year is just starting and there are so many things that I want to do. At times I almost feel paralyzed from trying to do it all. Sometimes I am wandering back and forth from task to task just trying to decide what to do first. I envy the people who can make a to do list and then actually follow it up. If I were to actually make a list it would be incredibly long and I would be so overwhelmed. What I have learned that helps me is to choose a few things to focus on. It often takes me day, weeks or even months to accomplish them. The one thing I can say for myself is when I do finally get to a task I really put my heart and soul into it.

Last year was a really good year. Some of the highlights for me are that I found a great new studio space that I love, I created my website , I have started the process of getting my work into public shows, I got to meet Kelly Rae Roberts and registered for the Art Nest Winter Retreat which she will be teaching at, and I am slowly expanding my creative community.

So I wonder what is in store for me this coming
year? Here are some of my dreams for 2009. I will share my love of mixed media with others who want to learn and experience the joy of this creative process. I will buy myself a new digital camera. This spring I will organize an Artist Retreat for the women in my expanding creative community. I promise to myself that I will work at the practice of art journalling and let my voice continue to emerge in my artwork. I will nourish my spirit and body by returning to my yoga practice, something that I really neglected in 2008, in hopes for a balanced and healthy new year!
So what are your dreams for 2009? Share them with me and you will be entered for my January giveaway. This months giveaway will be a goody bag filled with some art materials, papers, and wonderful embellishments that are just waiting for you to use in your own artwork.
Have a dreamy new year!
Love, Caryn