Friday, August 18, 2017

Happy Art


Someone told me recently, your art is happy. I was both flattered and deflated. Of course, any mention or acknowledgment of what we are creating is a luxury. I should not split hairs on the quality of compliment. But the museum loving gallery junkie in me longs to make art with meaning, depth and that je ne sais pas quoi. But who am I to decide what that certain something is that makes someone stop and look twice or purchase or smile or feel good or all of the above. I'll take happy these days.

I'll take keep going where my natural aesthetic and creative pulls lead me. I do know that when I keep going and paint day after day, the work does evolve. And the artists I look up to and admire change over the months and years. Which means my art, too, is changing over the months and years. Is "happy" as a description so terrible? No. It's not. In context it says this. It says it lightened someone's moment. Maybe it inspired. Perhaps it made someone laugh. It's likely it pulled some nostalgic memories. It made someone feel. Happy. And that is why I paint and create. Because it makes me feel good and complete and happy.

Tag, you're it. xo



Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cherry Tomatoes


The world appears to be falling apart. Or imploding. Or both and I'm scared and angry and frustrated at how helpless it makes me feel. Domestically, the word "Charlottesville" will sum up a national outrage for years to come. Internationally, Korea, Barcelona, Sierra Leone are top of the harrowing news. I don't know what to do. So I keep going going with the small parts of my life where I do know what to do. Bringing a tiny slice of joy into someone's life through art or an unexpected kindness through snail mail or....there are so many different "ors" for all of us.

I'm not born a political crusader, I shy away from conflict but the climate right now is so heated, so tender and raw, I can't write without acknowledging it. And still, after mulling over this post with fingers pausing on the keyboard, I still don't know what to do so until I do I'm going to go deeper and stronger into the creativity I do know.

I know how to capture little moments that make life sweeter. Like cherry tomatoes from the local farmer's market. Or writing thank you notes. Baking treats and sharing. Picking fresh flowers. Running my small business with huge heart and attention to details and loving the real live kind folks who order from me. I know how to appreciate what I have and be grateful.

Today, cherry tomatoes. xo

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pot of Clover


I have an affinity for 5x7 flat panel canvases. They are relatively inexpensive in a world of spendy art supplies. They make charming postcard paintings, one of my pet side projects.  But most of all, they are the secret sauce in my creativity equation.  Often a canvas looks too big, a project too long to complete, an email too complicated to start, a catalogue mailing too boring, taxes too daunting and the list goes on forever. A lot of us creatives love the starting line...but the finish...? Well, there was a cafe I had to sit down at, a house I had to clean, dogs to walk, cats to pat, texts to return, Netflix to consume, I mean really important things!!!

But the minis? They are petite and approachable and unbelievably satisfying to complete. They are my reminders that frequent small painting will propel me further than large intricate occasional dabbling. These little pieces keep the paint wet. They keep me sitting down at the easel. They make me smile because there is something so silly and frivolous and ok about painting a donkey or dandelion or pot of clover. Do I need them wall size? No. But the spark of joy these miniatures bring me is priceless.

Often it is the days I do a mini that I open the channel to start a larger project or complete a task that's been lingering. They are also an excellent place to experiment with supplies and techniques. Composition, value, paint opacity, brush strokes. Sometimes I pay attention to these things, but often not. So much of painting is intuitive but when I use a small piece to execute a technique there is greater chance for me to slow down and practice.

People frequently ask me, do you paint every day? No. But I do paint almost every day and that has changed my life, changed my career, changed my joy level, changed my acceptance of my own work, changed my acceptance of other peoples work, so what I'm trying to say is that it has basically changed everything. xo

"Pot of Clover" 5x7"

P.S. Coming soon as direct result of these minis!
A beginner's painting course: "Wait, Wait, I Don't Paint: A Workshop for Beginners, the Curious, and the Creative." No experience necessary.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Pink Roses


"I must have flowers, always and always." Monet

Well, one could argue Monet was on to something. For me, the inspiration is endless, regenerative, serene, peaceful, easy, difficult, contemplative and familiar. I paint florals frequently not only because I love the beauty of them (and what a great excuse to buy fresh flowers) but also for the complexity. They continue to challenge and delight. There are florals I do that flow naturally, and those I really need to study and correct and deliberate over. As often as I create them, each one is unique.They are my teachers. My muse. My faithful inspiration. xo

"Pink Roses" 11x14" SOLD


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Dandelions


My garden is not really a garden. It's a yard. Actually, it's manicured dirt with some bushes. My house is on a hill, a steep ravine, so the backyard is more of a girls gone wild flower fest with things that bloom on their own time, mostly because it rains about 11 months of the year. The front has trees, bushes, one single rose plant that I bow down to every May, and a couple of rhodos that don't do much. Not compared to the neighbors at least! I live in a gardening jurassic park neighborhood. Peonies are wild, not from Trader Joe's. Lawns are the color of golf courses and daffodils sprout exactly the middle of March to let us know spring is really almost here even if you're wearing a puffy. One of my neighbors has a sign, an adorable little sign, painted by her gardening club that her house is on the "tour".

My garden, yard, area in front of house, does not look like that. It doesn't look bad. It just doesn't look like that. I have tried gardening several times. In the ground, in pots on the front porch, in pots on the back porch. I have a natural interest in flowers, I just don't seem to have a natural interest in GROWING them. Fast forward record scratch over to my dandelions here. My dandelions, my sweet, airy hippie blowing in the wind dandelions, however, are growing so beautifully, so perfectly, I wanted to capture them. They are abundant and healthy. There are more of them every morning when I go outside. I'm oddly happy with them and have no intention (today) of cutting them down. I am a dandelion gardener. I picked some. I blew on a few. I made a wish. Then I painted my wish. xo

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Steiff Donkey


I paint a lot. It is mostly my profession, my job, my hobby dare I say, one of my obsessions? And yet, the well can run dry. Or you just look at your canvases and think, nope, I can not paint one more flower. Or seascape. Or apothecary jar. Or..or...or.

I'm listening to "Theft by Finding" by David Sedaris right now and apart from my complete and utter devotion and undying love for him as a writer and satirist, I am in awe of his ability to chronicle the mundane and fascinating in his daily life. An apple, a chance encounter with a waitress, a taxi ride, anything, everything, is fodder for the ridiculous and sublime. I look at my world differently when I read him. I've always tended to see the world through slightly Seinfeld-ian glasses but Sedaris takes it to another level. His insights are sad, profound, hilarious, gross, loving, sensitive, profane and charming. And in walks my donkey.

I'm listening to Sedaris and I think, my version of chronicling my life, my diary as it were, are my paintings and subject matter. The minutiae of my world, the collections, the vintage treasures, the insights and humor I add. My miniature Steiff Donkey is one such nugget. He is a birthday present, purchased in Aajiic Mexico but presumably born in some German Steiff factory meticulously crafted 50 plus years ago. He is old, he is in mint condition. I love him and can't explain why but the second I saw him in a thrift store the obsession was ON. A love like that bears memorializing in a portrait.

I'm reviewing my obsessions and deciding they are good things after all. They are the fuel. The scratch you must itch, the novel you must write, the donkey you must paint. xo

"Steiff Donkey" 5x7" NFS

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Land and Sea


Sitting on a bench looking out at the ocean, a marina, a beach, a wharf; that is my slice of heaven and inspiration. Where the thoughts melt and the ideas have a chance to c a l m d o w n. This little piece of paradise is loosely based on Clover Point, a look out in Victoria, BC. Fresh and salty air, wind in the hair and the sound of seagulls. Home away from home. xo

“We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” 
Henry David Thoreau

"Clover Point" 11x17" available at elizabethW Carmel (kelly@elizabetbw.com for questions)