Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Great Giveaway from Lovely Colorado Artist!

You'll want to check out these 2 uplifting retreats super collage artist KC Willis is offering at her Longmont, Colorado, studio next year! One is called Colorado Collage and features guest instructors as well as the inspirational KC! The other is called Imagination Congregation and is focused on making Christian art that will stand up and shout your faith!

Read all about these exciting opportunities to be inspired and find your inner artist on KC Willis' blog!

If you love vintage, you love paper, you love collage and western themes, and you love the cameraderie and inspiration of being with spirited women for an artmaking, soul-feeding, fabulous five days, hurry on over here and find out more from the links to these two great retreats (and guess what! Both are offered twice next year - so you'll have more opportunity to attend!)

Plus, KC and the visiting artists are offering an amazing goodie box for helping to spread the word! So check out KC's blog and the retreats and the fun and amazing art of KC Willis! (And learn how you, too, could be eligible for this great giveaway goodie box!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What I Learned from Seeing Artists at Work

Do you want to make more art?

What I've learned from visiting artists' studios this past weekend is that it really helps to see and hear the artist's process.

I've taken loads of classes and workshops, most of which are designed to give you a controlled art making experience. You're guided in a step by step process to success, with all the kinks ironed out.

Then you start out on your own, and WHOOOAAH! things don't run that smoothly. You may start to doubt yourself. And if you want to try something different, your self doubt can keep you in 'known' territory.

But visit some artists in their studios and you'll see just how gnarly the creative process can be. You'll see that it's messy (no, you're not the only one); it's filled with experimentation; flops; trial and error and, if you're persistant, success.

Look around a studio and you'll see beginnings of all kinds of projects. Talk with an artist in their working space and you'll hear about how many times they had to rework something to get it to turn out the way they wanted.

Yes, being an artist is about having ideas and making connections. It's about playing with materials and having fun. It's also about sticking with an idea through all of it's phases, including finding out what you tried just won't work, trying something else, learning a new technique, and voila! often many steps and missteps later, a finished show-ready piece emerges!

So go to your studio and make stuff and stick with it!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Learning to Play

Last spring I wrote about perfectionism here. My Little Miss Perfect was in full swing when I came home from Texas and amassed lots of supplies and books to help me learn about and improve in working with pastels. Trouble was, I hated making drawings of outdoor scenes and still lifes. I am able to make things look 'real' but I don't like the process. I get all tight and anxious about the finished piece. It's not much fun for me. But I tell myself that's what I'm 'sposed' to do.

So here I was, with all these new supplies, and I wasn't using them. As you might imagine, the guilt set in. I longed to loosen up with the pastels, but whenever I stared at that big sheet of paper, I felt like I had to make some 'real' art. Then a couple of experiences allowed me to find a new way. I hope my learning might help you, too, if you're faced with perfectionism.

Recently, I spent a fun and inspirational afternoon taking an Artist Journal workshop with Fran Meneley in Longmont. Although I'd done some collage, written a journal off and on for years, and done some sketching of ideas in my journals, this was my first attempt at the 'artist' journal.

It was intriguing and puzzling. Was it 'supposed to' be pretty, personal, artsy or raw? What's my style? Well, as I relaxed into making pages over the next few weeks, I realized it was all those things. Although I tend to value the raw over the pretty. Pretty gets my perfectionist thang going.

Last weekend I attended Boulder's Open Studios tour. One of my favorites was Caroline Douglas, a clay artist with a wonderful imagination. She had several small watercolor and pastel working sketches in her studio that reflected the way I long to play with pastels. I want to make imaginary pictures. Caroline's work showed me the way.

So last night I brought a box of pastels up to my art journaling area in an annex of our kitchen, and I restored my relationship with my pastels! How great to use them in my art journal, where pages are smaller and less 'special' than my pastel paper, so I feel free to experiment!

It can be really tough to let ourselves play. Lots of expectations can trap us. I'm grateful for playful artists like Caroline and Fran, who have shown me the way and helped me give myself permission to have fun. If you're stuck in the perfectionism rut, find a mentor of play, a queen or king of fun, and learn how you can let yourself go. You'll be glad you did!