Friday, March 22, 2019

March's Mentally Strong Women on Off the Wall Friday


So with March comes three more things that Mentally Strong Women Refuse to Do.  You can see the first two installments of this series Here and Here.  I was so struck by the original concept of Amy Morin's book because while reading the list they were all things that I have learned to practice in my own life.  I just wish I had mastered them at 25 rather than 50!

Continuing on. . . . Mentally Strong Women . . .

Don't Put Down Others to Lift Themselves Up

I love this one because this is the kind of rule that can change the world.  This means you have to be secure enough in your OWN  worth rather than devaluing others'.  Now that's easier said than done for sure.  You only have to turn on a national news program to figure that this country hasn't mastered it.  But the way I do it is to remember that we were all made intentionally unique.  Each of us has value. Each of us is amazing in our own right.  If someone doesn't see value in me, then obviously they aren't looking hard enough! Plus it reminds me to see value in others around me, even when I don't quite understand them. 

In art terms, this means....my work is ME and your work is You.  I don't need to put yours down to make mine look better because each has its own inherent value.  Now don't get me wrong.  Obviously, artwork is always going to be judged.  I'm just thinking that we don't need to make it part of our creative process.

Don't Allow Others to Limit their Potential

How many times have you heard, "Why in the world are you spending so much time and money doing THAT?"  Or ... "Ohhhh, I could just go buy a quilt much cheaper at Kohl's" Or...."What is THAT?"  There are always going to be people who don't get what you are doing or get why you do it or get where you want to go.  You can NOT let them influence your decisions.  The rule in the Sayre's house is that if you're not hurting someone or hurting yourself, then you should be allowed to follow your own path without the peanut gallery chiming in. Of course, the Peanut Gallery thinks their opinion is the one that you value, but all you need to do is smile nicely and say "ah-huh"....maybe nod a little.....then.....do what you damn well please.

Remember Art is unique to you and will be seen differently by everyone due to that uniqueness.  What people say concerning it, maybe be of interest, but it still shouldn't affect what you do or how you do it.  You are the man behind the curtain pulling the levers on this show.  Not them.  They are here to watch.

Don't Blame Themselves When Things Go Wrong

Okay, a show of hands....How many of you get halfway into a new piece and say....OH MY GOD!!  What was I thinking???  This sucks!!  Its a mess....I'm a mess!  Whose idea was this anyways and why in the world didn't I take up knitting????

Alright, that's a little dramatic, but I'm sure you get the point.  The creative process is a journey that goes through its ups and downs.  You can NOT let the downs convince you that the ups aren't going to come again.  You don't want to allow others to limit your potential and you surely don't want to limit yourself.  

Its all about being self-aware.  You can say, "Wow, this is NOT working" without saying "Wow, I'm a complete failure."  You then put your big girl pants and like Tim says, "Make it work!" (BTW, am I the only one that misses Tim Gunn terribly and thinks why in the world they thought Christian Slater would make a good mentor? sorry ...I digress...grin)

So I know, this segment of the series is a little more preachy than practical.  But once you are made aware of the dynamics of what's holding you back you can change it.  It's really not rocket science.  You just have to take a moment to assess what is happening.  The world these days is so fast - so loud - its hard to take that moment.  But for your own mental health - DO IT! 

So What Have You Been Doing Creatively?



Friday, March 15, 2019

My OPEN ACCESS Challenge - Off the Wall Friday



Let me just tell you ....  don't start browsing  a museum's open access collection unless you pack a lunch!!!  After many....many....many hours, I finally decided on a piece by the Expressionist Emil Nolde (1876-1956) I was first introduced to the art of Nolde when I saw the amazing exhibition Monet to Matisse: Painting the Modern Garden.  When I saw his pieces in the exhibit, I was so struck by the use of bold color it made me gasp!

That's why it surprised to find out that he was an accomplished print maker.....yes prints that were just black and white.  Once I started browsing them, it made me think, WOW what would be like in color....and then it went onto many other "What If" questions!!

So I picked a print to play with .....Tanzerinnen (Dancers), 1917.
The description from CMA says


These two swooning female dancers in long, elegant robes express themselves in dramatic but graceful curves, which are matched by Nolde’s vigorous gouging of the block. He combined a richly inked block with embossing, created by printing the block without ink (especially evident on the dancers’ white dresses). Throughout his career, Nolde returned to the theme of the dancer as the embodiment of freedom and expressivity. He knew several renowned avant-garde dancers whose form of modern dance involved elemental poses and free movements, often accompanied only by a drumbeat.

Of course, I'm intrigued by dancers too for pretty much the same reason Nolde was .... the curves of the body, the natural rhythm they bring to a piece ....the freedom the spirit.

So tomorrow on my Creative Day off, I'm going to attempt my first original piece in FOREVER!!  So excited!!  I'm going to use Nolde's print as a jumping point and see where it takes me.  I can tell you right now....it WON'T be black and white!

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Open Access CHALLENGE on Off the Wall Friday

The Digital Wall At CMA where you can look at images right there
Have you ever heard of the Open Access Movement?  Yeah, me either.  Well at least that was true till my last visit to the Cleveland Museum of Art.  In its simplest definition the Open Access means that academic research (but for my purposes art work) is distributed to the public free of charge and copy right licensing.  With a little bit of research you will find that this movement has its cheerleaders and naysayers (as you can imagine - but really in today's climate what doesn't?)

The Red Kerchief, Claude Monet (CMA)
And why is this important?  Because museums are giving the public free access to their extensive digital collections to use as they may.  The Cleveland Museum of Art  announced last January that  the public now has the ability to  share, collaborate, remix, and reuse images of many as 30,000 public- domain artworks from the CMA’s world-renowned collection of art for commercial and non-commercial purposes. In addition, portions of collections information for more than 61,000 artworks, both in the public domain and those works with copyright or other restrictions, works are now available. 

And CMA is not the only one!!  The National Gallery, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago all have open their images free to the public. 

So I have a challenge!  I challenge YOU to browse through the museums' collections  - pick some picture that inspires you and let it jump start you onto a new path in your creative journey.  Now this doesn't have to be anything formal. It can be sketches, digital or ..... gasp.....actual fabric!!!  But let your imagination run wild and take the plunge into these collections.

I will be sharing mine over the next few weeks and I would love it if you would too.  Anybody who does please link back to this original post so that maybe it will inspire someone else to take the plunge into Open Access!

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, March 1, 2019

The Landscapes of Charles Burchfield on Off the Wall Friday


As always the Cleveland Museum of Art had many great exhibits at once.  Included in this visit was an excellent showing of the local painter Charles E. Burchfield(1893-1967).  The exhibit centered on his drawings from 1915-1920 which he described as his golden year since it was a flurry of creative energy.  He created more paintings in those years than ever before  starting with local landscapes and developing an abstract style that would define his work in the coming decades.

Charles Burchfield at work in later years



According to Burchfield's friend and colleague Edward Hopper,"The work of Charles Burchfield is most decidedly founded, not on art, but on life, and the life that he knows and loves best." That was definitely true of the exhibit.  It was so interesting to see the creative journey he took as he worked.



What I found the most interesting was the progression of the studies he did to create Church Bells Ring, Rainy Winter Night (1917).  Watch how he starts with a rather conventional idea and scene.

Study 1

Tim Burton Creepy  - but still easily recognizable

Study 2

He starts abstracting out the bells but buildings and sky are the same

Study 3 - He add more movement of the whole scene with adding Rhythm to the sky and buldings

He must have been happy on where it was going because they resulted in this amazing piece



Now I know that a lot of people like to spontaneously create. Here though you can see the value with starting with a central idea and using miniature studies to let it evolve into something truly amazing.   I'm sure you can see the influences of Van Gogh in these but this type of abstraction would define his work from this period on.  I personally love it since its approachable but its still rather surreal.  SPOOKY but interesting and mysterious,.  It leaves you wondering  - OMGosh what went on there??

I really think its special when an exhibit can take you into the artist's creative process.  It inspires you to take home a bit of that process for your own work.

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

Friday, February 22, 2019

Georgia O'Keeffe: Living Modern on Off the Wall Friday



Okay, is it too late to say I want to be Georgia O'Keeffe when I grow up?  Last Saturday, we finally made it to Cleveland Art Museum to see the exhibit Georgia O'Keeffe: Living Modern.  All I can say is WoW!  I mean it.  It wasn't your average exhibit of just her paintings but a glimpse into  the woman herself.  It showed you her work, her style, and her passion to be a modern original.  The funny thing is that you get the idea that O'Keeffe didn't have to remake herself (or Brand as they say today) into a Modern Original....she just was.

The exhibit began with her aspirations at age 12 to be painter and how her mother taught her how to sew.   It showed her thrifty tendencies with sewing and designing  her own clothes.  It followed her through her break through into the art world of New York City in the 1920's.  It continued on with extensive photography with her as the main subject.  Then moved out west in her more mature years to series of desert landscapes and southwestern symbolism.





All through her life one thing was very clear....she was a modern Icon.  Her fashion style was aptly represented with her love of Japanese influences and the exquisite custom tailoring of black suits for "Going to town".  They had the gorgeous silk and linen blouses she designed with  perfect pleating.,  Even her denim work aprons and jeans were on exhibit.  I mean there is something when you can literally see the shoes that the woman walked in to bring her to life in front of your vary eyes.



Truly, I'm not sure if I was more impressed  with the clothing or the photos or the paintings they gathered.  One thing I know for sure is that she was MUCH more than her famous serious of exotic flower paintings.  You could see the true depth of the artist from the things that were in the exhibit.


My husband and I spent the rest of the evening talking over what we had saw and speculating on her life.  She seemed such an unique individual, a woman before her time .... a true modern Icon.




I highly suggest you take 4 minutes of your life and take a look at this video of this same exhibit in Brooklyn,  It really captures what I saw and thought.  Like I said ....I want to be Georgia O'Keeffe when I grow up.

What Have You Been Up to Creatively?


Friday, February 15, 2019

More Things Mentally Strong Women Don't Do - Off the Wall Friday



So this week I continue on my take on 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don't Do by Amy Morin.  I really love this list and I think it will translate well into our creative lives.

They Don't Let Self Doubt Reaching Their Goals

Wait!!!!  We're suppose to have goals????  Nobody told me THAT.  Well if they did you probably weren't listening because goals are scary.  Why??  Because if you set a goal you are suppose to reach it right?!?  You Bet!!  But there are two secrets to setting goals....make two types...short attainable goals and long range goals that are more lofty.  Stop.  Take time in a quiet moment and think of what you want to do with your creative life.  For instance right now my goal was to get going creatively and finish some things.  Your goal might be to enter your first juried show or to make your first art quilt.  Whatever....THEN don't let your inner critic stop you.  I know I've written on this before but its so common and so important that it bears mentioning again! You will always be your worse critic and you will always underestimate yourself.  Its  - A - Big - Fat - Lie!!  Like all lies, you can't let that stop you on your journey!


They Don't Overthink Things

Yes, we have all been there....so many decisions....so much time....It can stall you...Forever!!
The way I combat this is that I give myself a deadline and just make a decision on what goes next in a piece.  Its hard, I know, to take that leap into the deep end but remember you are NOT going to drown!  At the very worse you'll doggy paddle to the edge and try again ....at the best it will be the beginning of a warm summer's swim.  Remember all creative decisions good and bad are not the end of the world.  Art is about the process as well as the finish product!


They Aren't Scared to take on a Challenge

Art is hard.  I'll say it again.  Art is hard.  Its hard to learn.  Its hard to practice.  Its hard be under appreciated and not understood.  Its hard to be vulnerable - Yes Jenny, you're right being vulnerable is ridiculous!  But honestly where did we think the saying  "Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy" came from.  With so much struggle comes so much reward on so many levels. 

And if you don't think I practice what I preach, then you must have forgot that  I spent the month learning how to sew a decent curve seam AND writing to the world that I went on antidepressents - grin!!  Like I said being vulnerable is hard!



They Don't Fear Breaking the Rules

This one I think we have cover since most of my readers are not what I call traditional quilters.  I remember my first year at Quilting By the Lake where this table of what I thought looked like a group of genial grandmas had this whole discussion on what was the best way to re-use Cd's in their quilts.  (I think the word MICROWAVE was mentioned!)  Anyways, this was my first wake up call that I wasn't in Kansas anymore and this ain't your grandma's log cabin.

It takes rule breakers to come up with the exciting.  It takes rule breakers to come up with the innovative.  It takes rule breakers to come up with the future!  Now the big BUT here is that you can't just go around breaking rule willy-nilly.  The best rule breakers have a method to their madness. 

As Jackson Pollack said,  "It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess. Otherwise there is pure harmony, an easy give and take, and the painting comes out well."

 So that should give you some food for thought this week.  Slowly but surely I've been getting through my Block of the Month Quilt.  Already I'm getting the itch to get back to my own original work but I see the value in this project and I'll be happy to get it onto the quilt frame.  There is something so peaceful in hand quilting!

So What You Been Up to Creatively??

Friday, February 8, 2019

Off Wall Friday

Normally, I write my blog posts Thursday night.  This Friday though, I'm taking a creative day off and I thought it would be fun to share my progress of what I got done.  So I'll update tomorrow.  But the show must go on - well - at least Off the Wall Friday has to so as always....


Sunday Night:   Leave it to me to take all weekend to get this much done on my block of the month quilt. But finally the curves are done and also the month of August.  Next week....onto   September.


What Have You Been Up to Creatively?