Making Choices

I haven’t posted in a while and it is about time! Recently, I finished an on-line course with Cheryl Taves, The Artists Mindset. It was a 12 week course with a lot of journaling and prompts to actually get in touch with my artist self. What do I love, and what do I not love (just as important, I learned!). The journaling has become an important part of my life, and I miss it when I don’t take the time to do this. I highly recommend Cheryl’s course, by the way. It not only jump starts your creative side, but it totally challenges the reasoning side, why do we do this? And what are the roadblocks we set up for ourselves?

As always, finishing is one of my biggest challenges, and time is another. Thus, I am trying to tackle both issues as best I can! This painting has had so many lives, I cannot count. It has many colors and layers beneath and it has been a friend (and enemy) in my studio for months. But this morning, I knew what I wanted to do and I think, I am pretty sure, it is finished! I am not sure about the title, so if you have a suggestion, let me know!

This painting became a looking inside and looking outside type of work. It reminds me of doors and windows we might encounter in daily life. We can choose to walk through the door when it becomes clearly there, or we can choose to pass on by. We may not know the outcome either way, unless the choice is made. I’m talking metaphorically, as well as the physical door of course. Windows are the same, windows into our soul? Windows into others souls. How often we don’t really look at the person we are talking to and wonder if they are really ok. Is there something we can do to make their day a little brighter?

I learned a new word last week, sonder, the realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own. I realize, yes, I may have a lot going on, but so does every single person I know! And as busy as life can be, I am so very fortunate to have the life I do, the love of the friends and family, and the mindset to accept any challenges that lie ahead . And this, my friends, is the door I choose to walk through today, trying to be positive, accept changes I have no control over, and looking for challenges that create excitement. Peeking through the windows with openness and no expectations. And sending good thoughts to each of you as you navigate this somewhat crazy world today in whatever you have going on!

Simply Simplify

January is almost gone and as usual I am behind! But what's the hurry, right?
Starting the new year, I like to look back at the previous year and then look ahead and plan somewhat for the new year. I tend to over estimate what I can get done reasonably in any given amount of time! Thus it goes. For the upcoming year, I continue to take classes, drawing and panting, as well as a mentorship. Hopefully, I can make some decisions on what to keep and what to leave behind. I have decided my word for the year is "SIMPLIFY!"

The painting below, Closely Woven, was accepted to the Visual Art Society of Texas, 125-Mile juried show. It received a merchandise award from Richeson Art Supply so I am salivating on what colors I want to order!
Closely Woven
20" x 20"

I taught my first class in Oil and Cold Wax in September at Artist's Showplace Gallery in Dallas, Texas and had the best experience. I will teach again in October. This class is "Finding your Voice using Oils and Cold Wax". I am not sure if we continue to search for our voice in art, but there are many ways to explore what we want to paint. Oil mixed with cold wax as a medium allows us to play and explore, then cover and obliterate, all the while creating scrumptious texture to go back into. It is slightly addictive.

Artist's Showplace invited me to exhibit in the New Beginnings show with two other lovely artists, Jo Moncrief, and Sarah Joseph. the show is up until February 2, 2018. I have 15 paintings in the show, mostly oil with the cold wax and a few with acrylic finished with cold wax. 

I am lucky to have so many opportunities to study with amazing teachers, both locally and away. Michael O'Keefe and Ellen Soderquist offer life drawing classes,  both amazing teachers. Jay Bailey offers sessions as well and I try to go when I can, he is awesome. For my painting classes, I am studying design with Jane Jones through March. Jerry McLaughlin, Oil and Cold Wax book co-author will be here in May, and I look forward to that also. Lisa Pressman is also on my list! (Teacher extraordinaire!) And this past year, I have found an artist I can't wait to study with, Dawn Emerson. Check out her book and videos! 

I also turned my garage into my studio this past year and it has been so great to be outside of the house, both for the mess and for the lack of distraction of working at home. Even if it is just across the driveway! Pictures at another time!

So, back to SIMLIFY. I hope to simplify my work, simplify my processes, clean out unused art supplies and slow down and enjoy each new piece I work on. I need to focus on what I know and not feel like I need to continue to know everything that is new and exciting out there! That is a tough one, there is so much to learn! My list of what to simplify, needs to be simplified! 

Thank you for taking the time to check in with me! Hope you are having a great new year!

Art2Life Nicholas Wilton

I just completed the 12 week on-line course with Nicholas Wilton, quite the forever giving and sharing instructor. So much information and so much to look at, now I must debrief and re-visit many of the ideas and topics. As with any information you learn from other artists and master teachers, it is prudent to actually say, OK, what works for me???? As I grow as an artist, I learn something from each of the classes I have taken, from the teacher and the other students as well. At the end of the day, it is important to spend time examining the things I love about art and what makes it mine. I admire artists who make the bright energetic paintings, but then when I work like this, I end up subduing so much. So, is the hidden me really that energetic wild and crazy person I long to come out? The one wearing the high-heeled bright red, crazy shoes? Of course not, I laugh.... I am the quiet one in the comfortable, red canvas loafers! Close enough to exciting is moving from neutral to red loafers! I am experimenting with how to make that quiet more interesting! These are 9 paintings that are close to finished from the course, 12" x 12" panels. I was surprised that they seem so much alike when they all started out in different ways!

Also here are my shoes! Who knows, that actually is white paint on those heels, and I will try it again! Life is good. It is so awesome being able to spend time with paint or charcoal, in life drawing class with the most motivating instructor, with other artist friends and just friends who never seemingly tire and so patiently and kindly listen to me ramble! And then there all the amazing teachers and mentors that have taken me in. Thanks to all!

What about you? Is the art that is in you the same art that you love?

Day 21 of 30 - In Process - January 21
In Process
20" x 20"
Mixed Media on Paper
I am working on building negative shapes out of the abstraction. I have been motivated by seeing others subtle figurative work, I have been drawing live models for a while now, and it is time to just dig in, I suppose. I had fun with it and it isn't done but thought I would post the process as I go.

January 1, 2015 - Perceptual Openings - Happy New Year - Day 1 of 30

New Years Resolutions. Well, I decided to do the 30 Paintings in 30 day Challenge again, this will be my third time. The first was January 2014 and I posted resolutions. I am excited, I actually accomplished some of them, a blog, a web site, and the 30 day challenge!
 From January 2014
  • Goal 1. Create 30 paintings in 30 days.
  • Goal 2. Complete the unfinished paintings in my studio.
  • Goal 3. Start a blog to keep track of my accomplishments, and failures as well, since I learn with each!
  • Goal 4. Create a web site. And a blog.
  • Goals 5-100. To be determined as each day evolves!
This time I have two ideas to explore. First, I have been cleaning my brushes or tools on squares of paper with leftover colors from other paintings, and I am going to start by working these into small somewhat finished paintings. Secondly, I plan to look at some of my finished paintings and dissect them into parts that I can develop into new paintings. Sometimes zooming in, I find a lovely little area that I want to enlarge to be its own painting and that has been quite fun! I have been noticing two reoccurring themes in my work. The first involves entryways including doors, windows and other passageways, and the second involves emerging figures, sometimes so subtle it even surprises me! Let the process begin!
Happy New Year!
Perceptual Openings - Artist Kathy Elliott  #oilandcoldwax # abstractart
Perceptual Openings
5" x 5"
Oil and Cold Wax on Arches Oil Paper