Tuesday, May 5, 2009

frosted inspiration

So I don't know why, but as an artist I have always been fascinated by cupcakes. They just make me happy

at the root of it all...

my sister
So a current theme in our drawing class has been what influences us... it has got me doing some serious contemplation. I really feel that what's encouraged me to flourish the most has been the supportive people in my life, mainly my family. My older sister has always been my hero. Ever since I was little I always looked up to her... and she happens to be an incredibly talented artist. Without her there to guide me I really don't know where I'd be right now.

my mother

I am grateful every day to have a mother like mine. I think we often take for granted how supportive mothers are. This woman honestly let me go out of the house looking like a box of paints threw up on me sometimes. She never stifled my creativity, she just let me be me. I love her so much for that.

All three of us

conceptual art

In one of my art history classes last week we were discussing the Dada period, basically the birth of conceptual/ modern art, aka what most people think is crap. Inevitably, one of the non art majors in the class verbalized the one phrase that endlessly urks me: "how is that art? I could do that."

...Yeah. But you didn't.

Modern art is one of the most controversial topics in art culture. People say it just takes up space. It's usually not pretty. What is it? What qualifies it as actual art? What qualifies anything as actual art? In my opinion, the problem is not necessarily with the art itself, but in the way people are looking at it, or not looking rather. In our society, art relies way too heavily on superficial value. I admit that when I'm looking at something in a gallery, I think to myself, "this is not so visually pleasing... next?" Because that is the way our society has conditioned us to judge, and i'll admit, I am a visual person and I like surrounding myself with things that are nice to look at. However, the reason I am so intrigued by conceptual art is because it completely challenges this way of thinking and judging. It actually necessitates that the viewer use their brain to decode the message that the artist is expressing, but the thing is, the artist doesn't usually care if you understand it or not because he didn't create it for you, he created it for himself. That is something I respect. But the question stands, what defines something as arbitrary as a literal pile of cow feces, or a chair in the middle of a field as art? After reading the book about Squeak Carnwath, I came upon this definition: "Conceptual art elevates a quotidian object or action to the realm of art by the decision of consciously observing and isolating it- distinguishing it as outside of the regular and imbuing it with a meaning we then decode through our own personal associations." I see art as both scientific and poetic; experiencing, observing, absorbing and then recording the process of examination and the expression of experience. This process is what makes it art. Not the fact that you perfected the rendering of a human nose, but WHY and how this is an expression of something below the surface. What I love about art is that there are so many ways to define it, and that's the beauty of it.

More quotes from Squeak Carnwath's book:

Art is proof of human majesty
Art is an act of devotion, a practiced witnessing of the human spirit.
Art is trust... trusting your instincts. To believe, to observe, to borrow, to create, to become.
It is not the job of art to mirror. Images reflected in a mirror appear to us in reverse. An artist's responsibility is to reveal consciousness; to produce a human document.
It makes our invisible visible.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Last Chance

As the semester is coming to a close, I think this is a great opportunity to look back at everything that has happened thus far and really reflect on where we are going. The final assignment for drawing really tied it up for me in forcing me to think about who I've become as a person. Everyone was able to pick two things that they felt has brought them to pursue art. I find this exercise important because though we are constantly experiencing events in our everyday lives, I feel that many of us fail to really "look" at what is happening around us (and to us) in terms of the grander scheme of things. It's so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of getting from one point to another that the whole journey is lost in a blur of activity.

What I've struggled with all semester was trying to keep myself from growing indifferent toward my life and what I'm doing. They say we're young and we should live it up, but there are many people who just breeze through college without ever thinking about what really mattered to them. Those people end up not fully realizing what they want to do with their lives. This can be a big problem, because the world is much more demanding and we have to be prepared for it. On the other hand there are people who are like zombies; semi-numb towards everything...those kinds of people also miss out on a lot. I've found myself falling towards the latter part in that I was loosing sight of why I choose to be an artist. I think this drawing class has really help me rethink everything that I'm doing in my art and in my life. I have a school girl crush with art. By maintaining my passions and constantly reflecting on all that I do, I feel myself falling in love with art all over again...reminding myself why I want to be an artist. Every drawing has to matter, we have to have interest in all that we do (even the little things), otherwise what's the point?

So I hope that everyone can look into themselves and their work and remember their goals. It's the simple but hard questions that must be answered..."where are we going?" Even if the question cannot be answered just yet, simply acknowledging these finer details will get us there. With that said, I hope everyone has a good a summer! Go do ART!

Saying Adjure'

Today is the last Blog posting and I must say to everyone in this class how much I thoroughly enjoyed it, meeting everyone and consider it one of my favorite classes. As I mentioned in my first posting, I was very nervous returning to school (since it had been nearly 27 years) but you all made me feel right at home and a part of the class. You were all certainly “DIPLOMATIC” when it came to the critiques, for that I thank you. Barbara, I have learned quite a lot regarding elements of drawing, value, quality of line and the fact that we really don’t need nor are required to draw with just line or line at all. Value and variations of value can be utilized well to define form with out the use of line. We learned and discussed the importance of composition, balance and proportion. I must say that the last assignment to me was hands down the most interesting to me. The reflection process was a very personal one for me, returning me to a life filled with sharing, love, happiness, support and encouragement. How fortunate for me. I was blessed. Although life wasn’t always a bed of roses, we certainly had our down times; it just supports the fact that we all can be a product of our environment and how important the role of mental and physical support can play in our lives. You don’t have to have all the material possessions to have a free spirit and look at things from a different perspective. If I have learned one thing, it would be to continue to LOOK hard and see the detail, and appreciate it through your ART.

Best Wishes to all,

Drawing on Life

Today I thought that I would write a little more about life and how as an artist it is very similar to be an artist in “Life”. Actually, the similarities of being an artist and the experience of life. As an artist you tend to be look upon as different (thank God) and having a sense of perspective that most people in this world don’t (Thank God, again). The fact is that we look at things, I really mean look at things! Most people go through life seeing but not? What I mean by that statement is that most people view things but never really take the time to see things for what they really are. An example would be: Most people see a spider’s web in their garage or outside between bushes, their first thought would be to knock it down, possibly kill the spider that made it and move on. As artists we perhaps would see it, move in closer and start looking at the intricacies, think about the composition and the time it took to design and create such a masterpiece. Literally overnight! Wow, what a feat. Most people could have the same approach but choose not to .What a shame. They really don’t know what they are missing. Slow down, Hell; STOP! LOOK and LISTEN. Draw on the beauty around you. It could be something as small as a pebble at your foot. The sounds of a leaky faucet dripping ever so lightly at night when you lay down for bed. The point being, “take full advantage of each and everyday”. One never knows when it will be our last. An old cliché perhaps but oh so true!

Looking before leaping

I left off last Blog with the statement that you should question your choices before you make them, for they will follow you through “LIFE”. What I meant, was that you should think and make decisions based off of very calculated thought processes. It is very difficult if not impossible to re-adjust for bad decisions. As an artist, you don’t just look at an object you prepare to draw once and think for one instance you will and could capture that set-up with great detail and accuracy? Do you? I think not. It takes great observation and study. It seems to be the same if “Life”. Hasty decisions often times come back to haunt you. The point being, to adjust before the final decision is made. BEFORE the final decision is made. Calculate your approach. THINK and LOOK hard and long. Once the decision is made, you can still adjust but the adjustments will probably be less monumental to your long-term goals and success. Look, at all angles and from different perspectives not for just the face value. Look for the details, the subtleties, just like in a great work of art, look for the frailties, the lighting, the composition (the HIDDEN STRUCTURAL MAP). That is the ticket, look for the things in life as well as in your art that will help define and guide you to the next level. Never stop learning, for it is the life blood of existence. Education is key!!!! YOU CAN TAKE THAT TO THE BANK! LITERALLY!

Looking but not seeing???

One of my biggest pet peeves is the fact that (and we’ve all done it) looked at something but never really seen what we’re looking at fully or why??? That’s right, all of us! We live in a world of high expectation and achieving great results fast. That means that we all had better learn how to manage multiple deadlines, objectives and projects. Otherwise, we most likely will be left behind!!!! Right ???? Well, perhaps we just need to approach things differently. Maybe we just need to look harder, listen more intently, think longer and react more calculated! Slow down ………. In today’s ever so changing field of technology/communications we have come to expect almost an immediate response to almost ever request. Globalization of communications leads the way. Now, today we must have to a Facebook, Gmail, Google and Yahoo accounts to just survive???? And of course, how could I forget the TWEET. What ever happened to speaking with the person you needed or wanted to talk with? My password list is as long as my grocery list however getting shorter each month due to rising food costs. I wish my passwords would do the same. No Chance! Which brings me to another topic? Identity theft. Wow, who would have thought that people half way around the world could steal your personal information and drain your monetary accounts so easily? HACKERS! What a name? People wake up. You certainly are required to conform, but at least you still have a choice? Or do you? When was the last time you were required to log in, ID and password, scroll here, click here, just to receive information directing you to another web site location/ address to do the same again and again? Invalid password ……Please Reset….. Wait three hours for an alert re-confirmation. Life continues to require us get more tech. savvy every day. I am starting to feel more at ease with this phenomenon but I feel very helpless and sorry for the grandparents and people over say 60??? Hell 50???? How out of touch these people must feel. The fact is that some of the most self assured, hardest working and the happiest people I know are older, out of touch with technology but at a state of satisfaction and ready for what lays ahead tomorrow. What this has taught me and perhaps makes you rethink that way in which you approach life and happiness is that all you need to do is “LOOK” hard! LISTEN more closely and choose more wisely. This takes time and focus! Slow down long enough to choose wisely. You will have to live with your choices in life for LIFE.

Sculpture and Painting

I was having a conversation with my Color Theory professor a few days ago about how different painting is from sculpture. I said, "It's like there's more compromise in painting than there is in sculpture. Maybe sculpture is more deliberate?" This post is intended to be a little more of an in-depth exploration of the differences between painting and sculpting.

Why does it seem like I'm always trying to compromise with color in paintings instead of deliberately making them do what I want? Why does sculpture seem more deliberate, and less like a guessing game at times?

Color works specifically with the eyes and the response to visual stimulus, but it seems as though there's a different realm when it comes to sculpture. It's a difference I've been trying to understand for myself since I decided to become a sculpture major a year ago here at UNCG. What is the difference between the visual realms of color and space? Space seems to be something that is felt with the mind more than seen. Our way of understanding space requires a different part of the mind, it almost seems. There is a strange dichotomy, though, that tends to complicate things. What is the real difference between looking at sculpture and looking at paintings? Both are visual stimuli, dependent on aesthetics and concept, both are art. You can walk around a sculpture, but some paintings also have a feeling of depth that can create a feeling of space.

So what is the feeling of space? And what is the feeling of color?

Color, in its purest form, seems to actively communicate with our eyes. It is either there, or it isn't. It is finite, deliberate. Space is all around us, all the time. Our awareness of it changes and it sometimes altered because of sculpture. Perhaps the difference lies in that: color is more active than sculpture because it generates new perception each time we see it; space is something we're more or less always aware of, and the sculptor's job is to manipulate what's already there to make our perception of space more powerful. Which is harder? I'd definitely say that painting is harder. It seems as though every time I start a new painting, I end up asking myself, "How did I get to this point? What is happening with these colors. What are these colors doing?" It becomes a question of specifically how the colors are communicating with me rather than a question of whether or not the colors are communicating at all or what I want them to communicate. I feel like I ask similar questions when sculpting, but don't have to try as hard to explain it to myself. Is space understood more easily than color? Perhaps with me, it is. Perhaps with others, it is not.

It's a difficult issue. Lately I've been trying to figure out ways to explore the differences between painting and sculpture more deeply than I have been. If anyone else has any thoughts about thisto it, I'd love to hear them. I could go on forever about this issue. (But I won't. I'll stop here.)


These are two poems I've written recently that have strong hindu and buddhist influences. I thought I might share them.


The longest finger: a flame.
A perfect-circle is formed
A consolidation-consensus is reached.
In the name of the Holy, they produce a flame.

A vibrant sustenance, tarred and burning
Expelled, expelled, expelled, expelled.
Slowly, the waving vibration of sundanced trees
Of a long and snaking line of time.

A grand expansion grows to transcendence.
AngerLanguageWorry fall to humanity.
And what is left but a wordless art, teeming and golden
Seen perfectly through infinite strings of life?


Living beings, like tiny specs of organ
Squeeze past one another in a mass of entanglement.
Patterns, internal, move them.

A universal hum emerges from one
Then another
And, finally, all.

An internal movement, an external pattern,
A pulse like ephemeral light.
And all are rendered still.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Arnold

I bought a bird feeder a few weeks ago and the word has finally gotten around the neighborhood that there is food on Hazel's porch! So far I have accumulated: two couples of Mr. and Mrs. House Finches, one Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal, one Mr. and Mrs. Gray Catbird, one Chickadee, one Tufted Titmouse, one Mourning Dove, and one Tree Sparrow!

But that's not all! What has been even more fun to watch are the two squirrels who have been frequenting my porch. One is really, really fat and scared/neurotic, but the other is the cutest, sweetest little button! I named him Arnold and he loves me because I put bowls of seed out for him. He is the only one of all of the animals that have been visiting me that won't run away when I come close. I suppose he's the only one that realizes that I'm where his goodies come from. We've bonded...

Getting to watch the squirrels and birds has helped me come to realize just how much I love nature. It's where I find the most peace. It's an escape from this world; it's a little glimpse of Home that arouses all the senses. I find my inspiration in the vast, matchless beauty and splendor of the earth and all that lives on it. What better thing to strive to capture in a work of art than the incomprehensible wonders of Creation? It is the Divine Masterpiece. What better beauty and perfection to study, to aim for, to dwell on than life? For it has been said to, "ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind" (Job 12:7-10). Learn from the Master - the supreme, original Artist.

"If art is good art, if it is true art, if it is beautiful art, then it is bearing witness to the Author of the good, the true, and the beautiful." - R.C. Sproul, Lifeviews

...fat squirrel name ideas anyone? :-)


Last week, the last set of paintings in my Painting 2 class were due. For the project, the class had to build an imaginary landscape and make 4 paintings based on it. At first, I was not at all sure about this project and had no idea what to do. Eventually, I got an idea one night and constructed my diorama of sorts from mat board triangles and yarn.
Last week, as I had only the week to finish them, I had to put several hours in to get the paintings done. Consequently, this resulted in few hours of sleep and a bit of mental and physical strain as I was also winding down for all of my other classes and working at my job as well. So anyway, night after night, I went to the studio right after work to join the rest of my class in our race against time. Though I never really wanted to go and work on these paintings hour after hour, there was something invigorating and stimulating about it. I was learning to paint quickly and to see beyond the surface. Multiple colors resided in one color and shadows came to life and took on a vibrancy I greatly desired to captivate and translate accurately but not necessarily realistically. I grew tired and sometimes had to stop prematurely but tried to apply equal investment to every portion of each painting so that it was at least balanced in its shortcomings.
I finally finished. I set the paintings alongside one another for a final personal analyzation before the in-class critique. As I viewed the works all splayed out together, I noticed a bit of an emergence in my paintings, an evolving per say, in which I was finding my way to understanding the subject and the matter. Albeit, one can never be done learning as long as one seeks to do so, but I found that somewhere in the midst of all that seeing and painting, rushing and not thinking, it started to make sense. There was a beauty in it all that I never would have seen perhaps, had I not worked and reworked the same setup from different angles. I was learning to look and find while actively doing. Even though my works are no masterpieces by any stretch of the imagination they contained something much more wonderful than a prestigious title or appraisal. They contained me.

When I was 5, (photos of some of my tree/plant studies)

During the process of my first piece I observed about every tree around the art building, I also did some observing outside of class. I tried finding trees that were both interesting and simply, I wanted to capture the essence of the outdoors, that I so enjoyed drawing when I was younger. From my list of 25 one that I chose was the memory of learning how to draw a tree. My Dad was always a bit of an artist, he never went to school for it or anything but he had a lot of natural ability. He just knew how to draw things, and he enjoyed doing it as a hobby. When I was five I remember my dad drawing and I tried copying him, to my dismay my drawing was no where close to his. I quickly became very frustrated, I couldn't understand why his drawing was so much nicer then mine.
My dad saw how irritated I had become, and he ask me if i needed help. Well I was a stubborn child and quickly turned down his offer, acting like I knew exactly what I was doing. After a couple more failed attempts at drawing a tree, I finally gave in and ask my Dad for Help. This was my first real brush with art, It was The first time I really tried putting effort towards a drawing, and it is still one of my fondest memories. Here I have included some of the photos of trees and plants I took to help me with this project.

Misplaced goods.

The more organized I try to be, the harder it seems to be to find things. I just moved into this new house on March 1. Since then, I've got my "art closet", which stores my photographs that I've yet to put into a book, various papers for said book, cotton for making dolls, styrofoam shapes for random projects, all my paints, brushes, pens, and other stuff that could be categorized into a craft of some sort. Somewhere, not in that closet, is a tube of black paint. I need that one thing, right now. And it isn't where it ought to be! This is frustrating!

I've searched all over. A few days ago I couldn't find the charger for the camcorder, and I needed it to film Ben's submission grappling tournament, which took place yesterday. At the very last minute I found it in a box where it shouldn't have been. I searched for days! I finally told Ben I had no idea where it could be, that I'd looked in all the places it ought to be 3 or 4 times, and everywhere else once. But the one place I didn't search, was in HIS boxes that have yet to be sorted, that sit in the closet in the kids' room. And of course, that is where I found it.

By the way, after 5 intense bouts against some solid competitors, he won first place in his division. I am very proud. And today, he is very sore! My baby's daddy is a champion. :) I got it on video, thanks to the perseverance of my searching efforts.

I'm tired of being disorganized. It wastes so much time that could be better spent doing anything else. My mid-year resolution is to correct this problem, before the baby comes. Until then, I have to probably go out today and buy another tube of black paint, because I'm exhausted from looking!