“Best Tent Ever!” – Celebrating Contentment

Hello! Thanks for visiting my blog.  I just got home from seeing a friend in her new apartment.  My pal Debbie and her husband sold their country home this summer and are renting a place in town until a suitable house comes up for sale.

Debbie is a wonderful friend and an incredibly positive person.  Although she doesn’t know how long her family will be in the apartment, she always has an upbeat attitude and cheerfully declares that it’s the “Best Tent Ever!”

Being the visual person that I am, I thought she needed a piece of art to commemorate this season of her life.  As much as I love being in the studio and making art, it’s sharing it with others that makes it complete.

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“Best Tent Ever!” – 8x8in – original mixed media on canvas

That’s all for today.  Thanks again for visiting and have a great day,

Melanie

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“Dance of the Teacups”, or “Frankenstein Revisited”?

Hello!  Thanks for visiting my blog.  After publishing the original “Dance of the Teacups”, I emailed an artist friend a photo of the piece for his critique.  Have you ever had one of those moments where, after making a decision, you asked yourself “what was I thinking?”  This turned out to be one of those occasions, as he had little good to say about the piece.  It was painful to read this critique, yet I had to agree with the honest assessment, and be grateful for a good friend who wants to help me grow as an artist.

It reminded me of a childhood “what was I thinking? experience” that had much the same effect on me.  Until my family moved in 1982, we lived along the banks of the Mississippi River in a little neighborhood east of Brainerd, Minnesota.  It was an idyllic place to be a kid.  Winters were spent sledding on nearby hills and skating on the river.  Summers held ample opportunities for swimming, exploring the surrounding woods and riding bicycles.

One particular day while riding my bike, I thought it would be interesting to ride with my eyes closed!!  …..what was I thinking?  Within seconds I slammed into a neighbor’s mailbox and fell headfirst into the surrounding rock garden.  After the shock wore off, I surmised that the lump in the middle of my forehead was growing at an alarming rate.  Within hours, as you may have guessed, I looked like Frankenstein.  Lesson learned!

As it relates to art, this recent critique was also a lesson learned, since it prompted me to create a list of questions to ask myself about a piece of artwork before requesting critiques from others.  Sometimes the process of growth is a bit uncomfortable, but at least I don’t look like Frankenstein this time around.  Additionally, I strongly believe people should only plant flowers around their mailboxes!

Finished piece and detail photos.

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renamed “Tea Time” 10x20in. cradled birch panel

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“Tea Time” detail

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“Tea Time” detail

Thanks again for visiting.  Have a great day!

Melanie

“Dance of the Teacups”

Hello!  Thanks for visiting.  When I started “The Fearless Artist” blog this past summer, it was my intention to share my process and art in progress.  Mixed media/collage is a messy, involved activity.  It’s often easy to forget to take photos while deep in the creative process, or quite commonly, my hands are so full of paint and glue that handling a camera would be decidedly disadvantageous.

I resolved to be better about taking process photos, and want to share with you a piece of my current work and the steps required to arrive at this stage, where I’m evaluating the piece and thinking about what is necessary to “pull it together”.

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“Dance of the Teacups” – evaluation stage

One practice that has enriched my creative process is working from my own photo references.  When one is first starting to explore art, it’s helpful to copy ideas in books or magazines to learn techniques and gain confidence.  Eventually, however, it’s time to take off the training wheels and go for a ride!  Using personal photos enriches the artistic experience by adding both meaning and challenge to the process of creating art.  Below are the reference photos for this piece as well as various stages of construction.

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Photo, El Cid resort, 2013

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Photo, El Cid resort, 2013

Dishes are a recurring theme in my work.  They make me happy.

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One of my favorite painting substrates

I prefer to buy the plain wood panels and apply gesso to four or five at a time.

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Base layer of collage papers, ready to be adhered with gel medium.

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Addition of paint

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Initial placement of collage elements

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As of today, evaluation stage

Please excuse the variance in photo color and quality.  It’s my next task to figure out how to gain consistency in that area.  If you have a procedure that works well, I’d love to hear it.

Thanks again for visiting and letting me share my art.

Have a great day,

Melanie

 

The beauty of imperfection

The Fearless Artist

Hello!  I’ve recently been going through much of my artwork, categorizing photos and making it easier to share in a logical manner.  It has proven more challenging than I thought, as photos are spread among different SD cards depending on which camera was used at the time.  Add to that the beauty(?) of phone cameras, and trying to retrieve photos from my previous phone.  I must say, I have learned my lesson!  There is now ONE camera/SD card reserved just for art, which will make it infinitely easier to find, upload and share art going forward.

In this process, it has been fun to look back at previous work and see what I’ve learned over the past couple of years.  Below is one example that illustrates the beauty of imperfection.  After reading “My Thread Sketch Journey”, an article by Kelly Nina Perkins in the “Cloth Paper Scissors Book”,  I was…

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The beauty of imperfection

Hello!  I’ve recently been going through much of my artwork, categorizing photos and making it easier to share in a logical manner.  It has proven more challenging than I thought, as photos are spread among different SD cards depending on which camera was used at the time.  Add to that the beauty(?) of phone cameras, and trying to retrieve photos from my previous phone.  I must say, I have learned my lesson!  There is now ONE camera/SD card reserved just for art, which will make it infinitely easier to find, upload and share art going forward.

In this process, it has been fun to look back at previous work and see what I’ve learned over the past couple of years.  Below is one example that illustrates the beauty of imperfection.  After reading “My Thread Sketch Journey”, an article by Kelly Nina Perkins in the “Cloth Paper Scissors Book”,  I was eager to try her techniques with my own subject matter.

Below you can see my inspiration “cups” as well as the book.  The third photo shows my “quick and dirty” experiment.  I wanted to create a piece for an art exhibit that I did last year, but this one turned out slightly smaller than the mat/frame I was planning to use, AND I wasn’t sure I liked how messy it looked.  The final photo shows the next attempt.  Although the colors are more vibrant, this piece didn’t seem to have the whimsy that the first one did.  It was a great lesson that letting go and “letting the paint fly” will yield very different results than a controlled approach.

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Two of my favorite cups

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First experiment, mixed media on watercolor paper, 4x6in

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Second experiment, mixed media on watercolor paper, 4.5×6.5in

It was so much fun to revisit these experiments that I think I’ll try it again with new subject matter.

Thanks for visiting!  I’d love to hear your comments or feedback.

Have a great day!

Melanie