Taking some time this summer to rest, regroup and give myself the gift of creative play. Anytime is a good time for a little filling of the artistic well, but Summer seems perfect, why else do we call them "lazy, hazy days of summer!"
I've stepped back from the studio and working on canvas/panels and returned to what got me into painting to begin with, Art Journaling! Watercolours, pencils, stamping and other simple mark making tools are easy to transport, can hang out with you on the deck or other summer fun places. Keeping it simple!
Simple is good. It's a life style I've been reaching for, transitioning into for a long time now, less truly is so much more for me! Decluttering, getting rid of excess or things that don't reflect your life now or serve you, gone! One question echoes through my mind all the time, " Does this reflect what I truly value?" Boy, does that clear out your living space, refine your Studio and above all how you choose to spend the time you are gifted with.
There are a lot of people embracing 'Simplicity', or Minimalism as in the case of Josh & Ryan of The Minimalists. We come to it for various reasons, my health and life with chronic pain was/is mine.
Whatever you are up to this Summer, I hope you are having a grand time living it!
I'm curious, how does stress affect your creativity? Are you able to power through and still connect to the work, still manage to influence it in a positive way or does it become a dumping ground for the darker emotions that often accompany intense stress?
Perhaps it only becomes an issue when it's a work already in process or a commissioned piece in which the client is looking for something, less dark than what your new stress levels seem to be able to produce?
It's interesting to see how stress affects our creative output. What I'm coming to realize is--you can't predict what role art will play in the stressors of living this often times, "messy life."
I know for myself in the past, art was key in walking me through a very painful and sad time, as it has for many others. I also know that, a few years later when another devastating blow came calling, creativity shut down. I could not find release through paint and canvass, everything came up ugly, muddy and I had no desire or a clue how to get past that place. Perhaps that was the point of it all, life was dishing up some ugly things and mud was its colour. If only life came with the big brush of white out gesso as it did and does with paintings that need a fresh start.
Work on current commissions is grindingly slow. It's problem solving in the planning stages (finding the elements I need for what I want to do). On the side, I'm slapping paint around or playing in an art journal simply to keep my head in the stream of creative effort, but stream seems about dry!
"Trusting the process is based on a belief that something valuable will emerge when we step into the unknown. There are elements of surrender and letting go which have more to do with flexibility and the ability to change direction, than with defeat and annihilation...Experienced creators are able to step aside and relax in order to advance. They work with the process, stimulating it with a forceful initiative or a subtle nudge, but always respectful of what takes shape outside the sphere of a person's control.
The humblest expressions can be sources of insight and wonder. In art therapy, healing often occurs when we begin to make paintings that engage the sources of our discontents. When I enact my angst and fears in an artwork they become my partners in creation, and my relationship to them is transformed." Trust The Process by Shaun McNiff
It's been a few years since I've attempted to do a mixed media piece using photos. I love working with images of ole vehicles with their rust, faded paint and battered look. (Image of first ole truck provided by Kellie Graham second image provided by the talents of Frances Robinson) Both pieces are done using oil paints and cold wax medium and various collage elements.
I think I can relate to the waring of years with these old trucks! But the journey continues...
As the title would indicate, we recently lost a beloved family member to cancer. It has been a hard journey, packing in all the special moments we could and cherishing every day they were still with us.
I found myself drawn to the palette knives with their slashing movements and delicate highlighting to help me work through the turbulence that is grief. I come away from my time at the easel spent,
the canvas, paint and incisions of the knives hold my emotions and release me from trying to contain them anymore. I know Im not alone in how art can tap into the deepest recesses of our minds/hearts. Shaun McNiff in his excellent book, Trust the Process explains it this way,
"Trusting the process is based on a belief that something valuable will emerge when you step into the unknown. There are elements of surrender and letting go...to relinquish its plans and expectations in order to receive an unanticipated result. The humblest expressions can be sources of insight and wonder."
I know this to be true, and am so grateful for having picked up a brush six years ago to begin this incredible journey into the power of creating.
"Negative and fearful experiences can really test our capacity for positive reflection. In art therapy, healing often occurs when we begin to make paintings that engage the sources of our discontents." Shaun McNiff
Doing things a little different this Holiday Season, I've taken a step back from work in the studio, and taken a hard look at what I truly value and want to include in all that the Holidays can be/mean. It's a much slower pace and Im not feeling frantic like I often would.
The bulk of my Christmas shopping was done on line, in fact I think the only time I braved the Mall was with my teenage Granddaughters, for fun! Just to show you how long its been since I've made any in store purchases, my Granddaughter, Grace stood beside me at the check out and helped guide me through the interact haze! We had a good laugh at how out of practice I was, got to love techie Granddaughters! Yup give me a computer or ipad and some gift ideas and I'm golden. Now to see how it goes comes Christmas mornings unveilings.
As we do every Christmas, our family will come together over a two day frenzy of gatherings, we will play, laugh and eat too much I am sure, and there will be so many more great memories to store away and cherish. I hope this Christmas Season will be full of times together with those you love!
Merry Christmas from my home to yours!
If I had to sum up what creating art has taught me these last 6 years, it's resilience. Studios are full of failed attempts, I know mine is; colour plans that don't work, resin that doesn't set properly, some idea that just doesn't pan out, sales that don't happen. I could go on!
And yet, we press on, digging deeper to find what we need to keep moving forward. For me, it's the very act of creating that helps me to stay motivated, to push aside the voice of failures.
Recently, this piece pictured above (middle full painting) only one portion imprinted well, and the colours didn't do what I expected, so I will be redoing this piece and trying again. I have to admit the photos look better than the actual!
"...you must have true understanding of the creative process. You must become acquainted and intimate with creativity's purpose and find out how it works...Without understanding, creativity depends on grace or guessing, and its comings and goings can become quite frustrating and widely spread apart. " Point Zero by Michele Cassou
September has arrived, time is flying! I'm in the studio daily with a number of paintings in process. Joining the 30 in 30 Challenge with Leslie Saeta where hundreds of artists are painting each day for the month of September. Not all of us have processes that allow us to complete a painting in a day, like me, but the intent is to get you focused and painting every day.
Thought I'd share a few of the finished pieces from my last post, studio time has been challenging with ongoing pain issues but I'm happy with how some pieces have come together!
Big Grey turned into one of my fav new pieces, the touches of blues and soft yellow really made the difference. Finding my way into this process of discovery with oil and cold wax.
The smaller 12x24" that was crying out for a solution, came together and is now on it's way to Texas! Others are in various stages of completion, and I do believe it's time I get to it!
"Trusting the process is based on a belief that something valuable will emerge when we step into the unknown." Shaun McNiff
Welcome, I'm Bren Thebeau. Through trial and error I have sought to educate myself in exploring the rich depths of human emotions and sensory expression through abstract and mixed media art.