Friday, February 29, 2008

A Shift in Thinking

Hi again, well, I'm back from Jamaica and feeling somewhat refreshed. It's funny though how easily all the same things that irritated you before a vacation still irritate you as soon as you come back. I really thought that a week away from the house and kids would renew me, and I'd come back easy-going and carefree, and that toys all over the floor wouldn't bother me a bit....think again! Oh well, if nothing else, it was a really relaxing week while I was there, and I think everyone needs that once in a while!

I haven't had a lot of art time lately, with the trip and various other naptime problems that have arisen since (since naptime is my main source of art time), but I have managed a couple pieces. I don't know if it's been apparent here, but I've been struggling a bit with my art lately. I feel like I'm on the verge of some sort of shift, but I just can't quite figure out what that shift is. My art feels stagnant lately, like I'm not pushing myself and not growing, and that bothers me. I'm very inspired by a couple different artists these days (matirose, betsy walton) for the freeness and "messiness" in their art, and I'd love to somehow move in that direction, while still being true to my own artistic vision.

I think that the first step for me is to change my thinking while I work, which I've tried to begin doing. While I always have tried to "let what happens happen" when I create, I'm going to really push myself in this way, since the artwork I like seems to come from a sort of subconscious level. Even though it sounds somewhat contradictory, I'm going to make a concerted effort to "not think" while I create, and see what comes out.

Since I've made that decision, here is what I've done:

This one sort of evolved into a piece about some of the naptime/bedtime struggles I've been dealing with with the kids. There's something about it that doesn't feel true to my own vision. I think I was trying too hard, which is exactly what I'm not supposed to be doing! But I have a feeling there will be many pieces I'm not happy with during this period of transition...

This one I've very happy with. It came about very naturally, which is what I'm striving for, and I feel like it's still "me".

And this is a spread in Riley's journal that I did this morning. I overthought it a little bit while I was working, but overall, I think I was able to let go fairly well. It's about him giving up his pacifier, which is bittersweet for me. This kid was so tied to his pacifier until about a month ago. Then one day, it developed a crack in it, and that was it! No more pacifier, by his own decision. I was just shocked that he would so easily give it up, but I guess kids work in mysterious ways! It's sort of nice that I won't have that struggle down the road, but it's just another bit of proof that he's growing up....sigh.

It's strange how all three of these have the same color palette, which was not intentional. So, there you have it- the workings of my strange artistic mind. I know that the pieces themselves may not look that different from my other work, but in my mind, I've begun a journey down a new path. We'll see where I end up!

And I wanted to say thank you to all of you who complimented me on my portraits of the boys in my last post. I love realistic painting, but it's stressful, so I just don't do it often. However, I'd love to somehow combine it with my collage at some point. Maybe that will be in the forefront as well...

Friday, February 08, 2008

What I've Been Doing...

Hi all, I just wanted to show some photos of projects I've worked on in the past month since I last posted. I have to say I'm enjoying the lighter computer usage that I've imposed upon myself lately. It's given me a chance to spend more time with the kids, on my art, and also, just relaxing! So, here's what I've been up to...

A spread for Riley:

This is about his most favorite toy, a tricycle/big wheel sort of bike. He is on that thing constantly- a very good $4 Goodwill purchase!

Paintings of the boys:

I've wanted to do this for quite a while. Riley's is 11x14, just for size reference. Portraits are so hard, because you really have to capture that certain "something" that makes the person who they are, and I really struggled with these. But I think I've finally gotten them to a point I'm happy with, and I know I'll treasure them in the future, when those baby faces have grown into young boys!

A birthday gift for Noah:

A fabric house "bag" with soft block-like things that go inside. This has got to qualify for the "most time ever spent on a sewing project because everything that could go wrong did" award! Boy, it was really a labor of love, but in the end it turned out cute. I guess that's what happens when you just make something up as you go along...

A birthday for Noah:

The little guy turned one this week!

A birthday spread for Noah:

The birthday hat on his head is from the card Jason and I gave him, and the strip of paper down the center is a piece of wrapping paper from one of his gifts.

A project for the future:

I picked this up at Goodwill for $20 yesterday. I just love the detail and styling on it. It's pretty dirty right now, but with a nice distressed paint finish, I think it will be gorgeous!

And that's about it! We've got our Jamaica trip coming up, and I can't wait! We are really in need of some rest and relaxation! I just hope I don't miss the kids too much...but I'm sure they won't even realize we're gone, since they've got grandparents to keep them busy!