I think one of the great aims of an artist is to help people see the world around them through a slightly different lens. Whether it is more convicting, more cheering, or more inspiring, the goal is to make some sort of positive impact through it. Sometimes we need something bright and uplifting. Sometimes we need to recognize harsh realities. Sometimes, we just need reminded to stop and be grateful for all that we have been blessed with. Cicero called gratitude the parent of all virtues. Romans 1 describes the path to futile thinking and foolish hearts being darkened as beginning with a failure to give thanks to and glorify God. Gratitude is an essential ingredient to our well being.
To help me be more mindful of noticing a greater portion of the things I have to be grateful for, I intend to start visually recording them here. So here are my gratitude greats for the week!
This great little shop has been so hospitable in allowing a young woman in the local art mentoring project to work on her painted door project right in the store! I am grateful for such an accommodating attitude.
This sunset had to be one of the highlights of the week. Breathtakingly beautiful, and definitely testifies to the glory of its Creator.
Maybe this is a bit more superficial, but I am thankful for the technological tools that I have been blessed with that really shrink the world down to a size where people all over the globe feel like my neighbors!
Color. It seems God could have been content creating a black and white world, but I am so glad He didn’t! I love the infinite variety of color!
I have to say that I have loved working with the Stampington Company and their wide variety of great magazines. This week I discovered and unexpected appearance in two of them. I am grateful for such opportunities, and have really enjoyed connecting with their readers!
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” Frida Kahlo
To make this page, I first painted around the image I wanted to use in a double page magazine spread.
Next, I painted over the photo, adding my own flair.
Love this woman’s hair! Maybe that is the look I will go for in my eccentric old age.
Finally got Bardo’s Art Chest moved into my studio and organized my paints into it. If you missed the history behind this piece, check out my post here. I know my paints are different than the ones Bardo used, but all the little shelves in the back of the chest worked out just fine for my bottles and jars of paint. I like having the bottom facing out because it is easy to see just what color I want to grab! There is a special tray for long handled brushes and a couple sections that I haven’t decided how to use yet, but I’m sure I will have them filled soon! You can also see my fancy tin cans for storing brushes, scissors, and pens. A coke crate on wheels sits on top of the chest, and holds all kinds of often used utensils. My glass party plate palette slides nicely underneath. Nest to the crate is one of the globes that I am excited about giving a mixed media makeover!
Here’s a telling peak of the colors I gravitate to!
The thing I love about playing in my art journal is that there is no right or wrong. I can try out new techniques and not worry about the outcome. Tonight it was loosening up with my Dr. Phil Martin’s Hydrus watercolors and a black Prismacolor pen.
J.B. Holdren, also known as Bardo the Clown, worked for the Kansas State Fair for 67 years as sign painter, clown and artist. Earlier this year, at age 93 Bardo passed away in his permanent trailer home on the fairgrounds. Though he had reportedly slowed down a bit, he worked right up until the time of his death. When his estate sold, his hand painted carousel animals brought thousands of dollars each. So, imagine my thrill when I acquired this portable painting chest that had belonged to this legendary and prolific artist. It will find its home atop my own studio table where my own paint splatters will humbly join his.
Sometimes, some just plain old silliness pops into my pages. This is another of my magazine turned art journal pages, and the original lovely and respectable lady in the ad became a whimsical pink haired and long necked fun loving friend. It is like there is a child within that drives creative outbursts of ideas that catch the grown up me by surprise. But, maybe that is not so surprising considering that a sense of fun is a pretty crucial aspect of finding the glow of creativity. It helps me escape the boundaries of the ordinary to see possibilities beyond what meets the eye. It links this to that to make connections that otherwise would remain unseen. Even in such expressions of fun, I am often surprised at the important truths that reveal themselves. Perhaps play is the spiritual exercise that makes children so in touch with God. They are able to see in a different way, enabling a faith that can imagine God doing the impossible. So, let the child out to play!
“In order to do something well we must first be willing to do it badly.”
Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way Every Day
The risk of failure inherent in creating can be enough to derail the motivation to even try. To try new techniques means most will be a flop, while once in a great while you will hit on a tremendous success. The key is that there is no shortcut to success. It will never come unless one is willing to wade through the failures. The failures, the doing it badly, actually become an essential part of the doing it well.