Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On Connecting with an Audience

As an artist, I spend a majority of my time hulled up in my studio, lost in my own head, wrapped up in my own thoughts.  So, how can I take this inward focus and turn it outward with the intention of my art connecting with an audience?

1. Define the audience.  The artist aught to know who her audience is.  I know that my work has a tendency to capture the hearts and understanding of women.  I think it is a safe bet that her audience will be a lot like herself, so that's a good start.  She should not paint for her audience, but with her audience in mind.

2. Create a message and a thing of beauty.  My dad always says, "If you want to sell paintings you can't paint camel bottoms."  Sage advice from he who consistently maintains aesthetic appeal.  The artist has to achieve a delicate balance between being honest, sincere, and original and being relevant, unambiguous, and able to relate to.  The purest art has something to convey.

3. Disappear.  Do the work to translate an emotion or idea into an image, then step away and let the art speak to the viewer.  During the process of labeling, packing, and shipping off a painting, I detach myself; I no longer want to be present once the piece is on a wall.  I love when the viewer finds her own meaning, whether it is in line with mine or not.

The successful artist is not lost in her own world, she is observant and deeply connected to yours.

Monday, April 26, 2010

4 Plates

Hugger Mugger

Feeling like a Circus around here.

Art Access Gallery
17 May 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

On Friendship and a Sunday Drawing

I liked my dear friend Elise's comment about inspiring creativity in each other (she does the same for me).  In the middle of a paragraph describing eccentrics, Dr. Weeks threw in this line: Many of them are loners.  I think it can go either way.  I have wondered if it is too much to ask for an ambitious artist, LDS, raw-foodie, home-birthing, soccer coach who has daughters and loves to run, bike, swim, race and get fully absorbed in a good book to move in next door?  It would be lovely if our chickens could play together.  I sometimes forget that other people aren't as totally excited about something as me that is probably a bit outside of the norm, let alone have any idea what I am talking about.  "You know, because it didn't go over 118 degrees, so, you know, enzymes and stuff."  Note to self: Blank stare = no idea what I'm talking about, must change subject immediately.  On the other hand, mulit-hobbied people can have friends with a vast variety of interests.  A rucksack brimful of topics of conversation at the ready.  Loner is sounding more and more appealing.

I am very lucky to have a husband who is easy going, open minded, and willing to try new things.  He seriously had no idea what he was getting into when he married me.  I was just twenty!  I didn't even know who I was yet.  We were talking this morning about how different we are now, eleven years later, and how different we would probably be if we hadn't been influencing each other for all of our adult years.   I like that we got to grow up together.  I think it helped soften the blow.

Friday, April 16, 2010

On Drive

I've been working on writing a very serious business plan.  My online research for this project (not to be confused with self-indulgent, time-sucking internet surfing) has brought up some interesting ideas and intriguing people.

For example, I discovered a new word: entelechy.  Derived from the Greek word for "having a goal" or "the supposed vital principle that guides the development and functioning of an organism."  Psychologist Deirdre Lovecky said, "Entelechy is a particular type of motivation, need for self-determination, and an inner strength and vital force directing life and growth to become all one is capable of being."

Tim Burton said, "The tricky thing about being in the entertainment industry is that basically no matter how much money is involved, how good the life is, the thing that still compels you is that thing inside."  It's what my dad calls the "burning in the belly."

I think the key to propelling the driven is curiosity, which compels creativity and activates drive.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

On Eccentricity

From Medieval Latin eccentricus, derived from Greek ekkentros "out of the center."

Dr. David Weeks', famed for his scientific studies on eccentricity, gives us this list of 15 qualities, possession of at least 10 of which qualifies one as an eccentric: 
nonconforming; creative; strongly motivated by curiosity; idealistic (wanting to make the world a better place and the people in it happier); 
happily obsessed with one or as many as six hobbyhorses; aware from early childhood of being different; intelligent, opinionated and outspoken; 
convinced that you are right and the rest of the world is wrong; non-competitive (not in need of reassurance or reinforcement from society); 
unusual in eating habits or living arrangements; not particularly interested in the opinions or company of other people except to convert them to your point of view; 
possessing a mischievous sense of humor; single; eldest or only child; a bad speller. 
Where do you stand?  I'm not going to claim that I am intelligent, but hello hobbyhorses!  I have at least as many as six, most of which I could, on any given day, get completely carried away with.  Bad speller, yes, but that is what gets me my rockin' scrabble scores.  I call it creative spelling, Gavin calls it cheating (I always win).  Unusual in eating habits, afraid so.  I've got at least eleven of Dr. Weeks' "qualities," twelve if being the youngest of many counts like being the oldest.  They tend to have similar traits, so I think it should.

So, what does this mean?  Dr. Weeks says eccentric people "have these happy obsessive preoccupations, and a wonderful, unusual sense of humor, and this gives them a significant meaning in life. And they are far healthier than most people because of that."  I'll take that, sounds lovely.  

I have to say, when I got excited at the prospects of being eccentric, my sweet husband gave me a loving reality check.  Family, kids, my LDS faith, this is where I do most of my conforming.  Conform can feel like an icky word, but keeping one foot on the ground allows me to raise socially healthy kids, have friends, and be able to help others on their journey, among other good things.  I won't get carried away, but I might do a little day dreaming.  

my wheatgrass juice/sprouting factory

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On Creativity

As a career artist, creativity is one of the most essential tools in my box.  I’m always seeking out my next idea, which will marry a concept with an image to become something beautiful and meaningful.  This activity is my favorite part of the process.

The great thinker, Edward De Bono, who calls creative people “weirdoes," says this of them:  "They are strongly motivated to be creative. They put their energy in trying to create. Creativity is a top priority not just a peripheral luxury. ... If you spend more time trying to be creative you will be more creative. ... They are not satisfied with the things the way they are. They continually seek to do things in a different way.”

I’m not sure about being a “weirdo,” but I like being understood for having a strong motivation to be creative.  It reminds me of my rant in the interview I did for Today’s Mama where I went on about needing to take the time to create, as if away from the real stuff.  It’s too bad I feel that way, like my artistic endeavors are selfish.  We call that mama-guilt.  I would much rather look at it as a growing process, essential to my being, and a good thing all around. 

De Bono goes on to say, “The worship of weirdos implies the impossibility of creative skills for everyone else. This is directly contrary to my own belief that creative thinking is a skill that can be learned, practiced and used deliberately." Same, in fact I am trying to implement twenty minutes of drawing into my morning routine in order to grow my creativity.  "This 'opposite' of complacency is very important and powerful. ... They enjoy thinking. They enjoy being creative. They enjoy having ideas. Most people do not enjoy thinking at all." 

Can this be true?  Who doesn’t enjoy thinking?  I love thinking, thinking’s my favorite.  A friend of mine was wondering how I love to run so much.  She said, “You must enjoy your own company.”  Actually, I do.  I love being alone, lost in my thoughts; I could spent vast amounts of time there.  

Friday, April 9, 2010


 We let the chickens choose the winner.  And Stella's beak holds... Katie!  Email me your address and I'll send the drawing to you right away.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Interview and Give-Away

I was interviewed by the lovely Emily King, who writes for Today's Mama.  Click on that link for a look-see.  It seems unfair to do a give-away somewhere else, when I haven't done one on my blog for such a long time.  So, here it is:
An ink drawing sent to a random commenter.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Let us put on the Armour of Light

Romans 13:12  "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light."

21"x30" (that's big) 
To be entered into the Spring Salon at the Springville Museum of Art, Utah.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

We had a wonderful Easter.
Hope yours was as sunny and happy.
It is my pleasure to introduce you to Stella, Crystal, and Emily.
More, much much more, to come...

Friday, April 2, 2010



This is my first of five works for the Art Access 300 Plates show next month.  Here are a couple of the questions and my answers that will be usee in an "artist booklet" to go with the show:

*How do you usually approach your artwork?  Ideas come from any random moment, are jotted on a scrap of paper, added to the "painting ideas" list on my phone or, preferably, drawn in a sketchbook.  I just have to hang on long enough to get it down before slipping back into the atmosphere.  I approach my paintings as reactions to experiences got by consistently living.

*What were the challenges and/or rewards of working on the fundraiser's 10"x11" recycled litho plate?  I love creating art out of these plates.  This project gives me the most brilliant excuse to try something new, experiment with mediums and create with unbridled joy.  The challenge?  To apply this to all aspects of my work.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

“Fat boys! Where are my fat boys?? I love my fat boys.”