Small Paintings, Big Zen

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I recently sold a small painting (left) to a 77 year old woman who thought the painting was "hot".  I just love that -- not that the painting was hot, which it was, but that a 77 year old woman thought it was hot and bought it! Applause to dynamic, confident older women.  They give me something to grasp onto as this aging thing approaches. Plus, at dinner, I got fabulous life and love advice. #followit

Since the "Back It Up" show in Savannah went well, something had to give, right?  The day after I closed the show I dashed to Florida as my mother had a stroke a week prior.  I can't express what this means because unless you are actually a caretaker of someone with a stroke, you can't possibly know the weight it is, emotional, pychological and physical.  I wasn't prepared for the reality.  My summer plans are changed.  My day to day psychology totally affected.  I bought red lipstick to brighten up the frown I'm trying to turn upside down.  

In a few weeks I drive out to Las Vegas to drop off 20 paintings for a 2 month solo show and that's pretty overwhelming with everything else on my plate with lots more changes on the way.  I decided one of the best things I can do is make more art and to not get overwhelmed by it, go small.  The point of "size matters" is absolutely relavtive to what you're looking to accomplish.  

Though I'm co-teaching a class on the Old Master's Method in July that I'm ridiculously thrilled about, I am determined to find time to create a few small, sexy paintings or drawings that won't take weeks or months to complete but rather hours to days.  I begin art passionately and then get too involved when I love it and then try to make it perfect and then it's a spiral of good enough vs not good enough. I don't have time for such value judgments this summer, plus I don't possess the mental capacity to begin a new long term commitment such as one of my usual larger paintings.  Going small is like wrapping me up in a straight jacket and saying, "paint!"... but you know, I can do it when I put my mind to it. There are ways. Everthing is mind over matter except usually our matters are stronger than our minds. 

If you want to keep up with what I create as I work on it this summer, connect with me on Instagram because that's where I'll be posting primarily and I will be back on the blog once I have a few pieces to show or something to talk about.  I don't have much to say right now.  Life has thrown me a curve ball and I have to manage it focused. 

I struggle to make art when I am stressed or overwhelmed so I hope a few small, "don't need to be perfect" kind of pieces would be a good step to continue an artistic flow because we artists deal with artists block too.  It is too easy to have life overtake the creative expressions that make artists move forward.  When I was a writer, all the writer's advice was "write!".  Artists need to make art.  Creators create. It's just too easy to let external life circumstances effect the production value of all of us.  Health and balance for me right now - zen health - is my primary need and making art helps me find that zen feeling... even though I'd rather swap out the "Z" and the "N" for "S" and an "X".  :) From a zen type place though, good and sexy concepts can flow and the art makes itself. Stress hijacks the soul. Just breathe and go.  

NEW ART: "Embrace"

Click to view larger, "Embrace", oil on canvas, 20x24x1.5 inches

Having not painted in oils for many years and being a bit uncomfortable with the medium, I'm pretty excited with how this new painting came out.  If I painted her in acrylics I'd not be able to get the details that make this painting pop.  The hand was especially appealing to paint!  

There's a lot going on with her hair and face, its shadows and angles, yet there's a simplicity in her bosom, led upwards by the position of her hand, pointing to her face where your eye goes before moving down again from the "chaos" into the "calm".  I really like the flow and the painting itself has an interesting sex appeal that I can't quite describe but can feel.  I titled this one "Embrace".  

Being she's an oil painting, pardon the pun, but she's still wet. Ha! Sorry. :) I just finished her a week ago...

I typically don't use oils as a medium but recently I've had a lot of mentions from others to try to appreciate oils, so I'm working on it, keeping open. This is my first attempt in many years to play with oils and after I've almost perfected my acrylics style, I'm mixed on the oil medium just because my process of painting with it is much slower and detail oriented but I do love the blending capabilities which of course, push my skills to higher levels and that's what I'm seeking. This was a cautious painting because it felt so foreign in its process to create but I enjoyed the different pace, the challenges acrylics don't offer and seeing what I could do with that extra blending and detail capability, which I'm very happy with. I'm off to finish the next painting.  Hope you enjoy this one.  If so, click the like button! :)

Contact with purchase or viewing inquiries for "Embrace".

New Art: The Charmed Muse

New painting finally complete and let me tell you, this was a long time in the making!

I began this painting a year and a half ago and worked on her regularly until last summer when I just lost momentum. I felt like she needed something else or that the painting needed another element or maybe more four leaf clovers for good luck... I don't know.  She had me perplexed for a while.  I almost painted out the flowers, then I decided to leave them and just darken them enough to subdue them into the background but then they were too dark and she was too bright.  The balance on this piece was like a dance: sometimes it flowed and other times it fumbled.

I changed her face three to four times trying to get the right look, which sometimes is super easy and other times it's torture. In her case it was just trial and error. She hung on my wall for a couple months at the studio and then I took her home hoping for added inspiration while I fine tuned her on days I was there. I'm finally calling her done.  I have nothing more to add without fear of messing up the good that's there.  Sometimes that's the finishing point for an artist because sometimes the "as is" is just perfectly acceptable within a domain of imperfection, which is in fact, ours. There's a point in painting, as in life, when you have to know to let it be.   

This painting is pretty special to me personally.  It had various meanings through its development for me, much of it inspirational and the title has changed each time but I decided on "The Charmed Muse".  I had hoped to have it complete last March for a partial thematic St. Patrick's Day thing but I'm -- gulp -- a year late.

I enjoyed my time painting her.  She was a pleasure to look at for so long, and to go through that lengthy process of creating, modifying and finalizing her while feeling her energy out to ultimately making the various changes she demanded as she came to life was an interesting progression of thought and creative pondering. She changed every few months and so this point of "finished" has a bit of empowerment to it. I've never taken this long to complete a painting so I've never had an internal dialogue with other paintings as I have had with this one. Pretty sexy painting, I think.

The building to the left is Savannah City Hall with its gold dome, which you can't tell is gold in the photo.  It was an afterthought element which is why there is so little of it in the frame but I want it known what it is because Savannah has served as a "muse" to my artistic inspirations, as well as the person I'm becoming and the directions I'm setting some of my larger bets on. Savannah, the city and its imprints, had a distinct and definite influence on the progression of this painting. 

The Charmed Muse, 30W x 40L x 1.5D inches, acrylic on canvas. Inquire for purchase.

Boudoir: From Camera to Paintbrush

"Lovely Angela"

"Lovely Angela"

I've decided to no longer accept boudoir photo bookings but to instead take on boudoir-ish portrait commission paintings. I've been asked about what happened so I felt I owe an explanation.  I kind of dropped it suddenly and without warning.

IN THE EYE OF THE CAMERA'S BEHOLDER

Everyone is a photographer these days but I was one when it mattered differently, when it was film and manual camera, batteries not needed unless you wanted a flash. With Instagram filters, smartphones and a wide variety of photographic options it’s no longer the craft that fed my creativity or my soul back when I began my first boudoir shoots in the late 80s nor is it something that sustained me into the new millennium to the present. Photography has become a mainstream vision evolved from everyone's need to express themselves through the eyes of tiny cameras. And everyone does! Like, everyone. Countless imagery pours in daily on news-feeds from a variety of online sources.  It's too much. For me, it's overwhelming. Each coin has two sides but at this point in my life experience, photography doesn't reel me in. It's often that when something becomes mainstream, I'm out trailing again. I dislike crowded paths.  I don't do it on purpose but something in me refuses to feel the clusterfuck and forces me out, and so a new offshoot into the realm of eroticism develops.

IT'S THE STROKES, FOLKS

In painting, it’s up to you and your trained ability to see and to translate a vision onto something where you're not dependent upon technology: no camera issues and failures, no dead batteries, forgotten or corrupt SD cards, no mechanical malfunctions and truly, minimal unexpected external bullshit that can turn a challenge into a headache during the creative process. Of course, if you're an iPhone photographer, you're not quite getting me here but fact is, pro pics require a lot more than an iPhone. I feel that when a person begins to bitch about the little things that are simply part of the bigger picture and thus parts of the job that have no bitch rights, the passion is gone and it’s time to move on -- so I am. 

Boudoir figure and portrait painting is currently more enjoyable and empowering to create than a photo album. The movements are different. It's harder on my arm and shoulder, sure, with those consistent strokes and it's much harder on my eyes, that intent focus on a canvas that after a while, my eyes cross and I have to walk away to sooth the burn. It's mentally challenging in ways photography isn't and one is simply that I'm not a mechanical - logistical person. I don't much care for mechanical things or planning logistics or anything actually that has too many straight lines, angles, details and clear need for mathematics for that matter.

Painting allows a curvy, loopy, non-conformed kind of expression and the full dependency is on me: my time, my efforts, my education, my focus, my failure and success, 100% my fault in good or bad result.

... this would be a good time to mention a side note on this since it's on my mind after a few recent articles I've read about girls and self-image (and a future blog I hope to get to):

 I do not in any way feel or ever felt - unless someone told me that it could be so - that being a girl, a female, a woman hinders my ability in career achievements.  Ever.  In fact, it has always been and probably always will be that my actual ability and maybe personality have or may in the future hinder my success but never the fact that I have a sweet flower between my legs. This is a societal imposition of thought that I never subscribed to.  

So much has influenced this change from photography to painting that I can't even begin on the topic except one word: growth.  I still value boudoir photo albums and photographs and I absolutely feel every woman should have the experience at least once in her life. Totally. Here's my past boudoir page that discusses a little bit about why if you're interested (text just below the introduction).  However, a painting is a different level of expression I feel privileged to know how to do and not everyone can paint people and that's more special for me than taking photographs right now.  

I'm rather sad the photography didn't sustain my desires but it didn't.  I still love good photography and appreciate it, for its functional purpose and for its artistic purposes. However, for me photographically there was always so much to deal with that the weights of those stresses overtook the pleasure of the imagery and its productions.  When I began painting in acrylics, particularly the kind I do now where I mix my own paint, something strange happened and I couldn't break free.  It was love at first stroke. (that would be a good cheesy opener for an erotic story, wouldn't it?...)

I found that I wanted to paint not photograph, plus, I needed the "safe zone" of a studio to do it in, with silence or music but ultimately to create in peace which meant alone.  I've determined that 19 years in motherhood has terribly affected my ability to tolerate human bodies around me all day.  I mean nothing mean here to others but I am in human heaven when I'm alone in the studio painting - again, all me, not me trying to help another person get what they need often to the point of my own suffering but me giving me what I need. It sounds narcissistic.  It's not.  This is healthy and needed. I've given a lot of myself to a lot of people over the years and so now I'm giving something to myself and what I've chosen is art and the time and place to make it.  "Paint it and they will buy" is my knock off of "Build it and they will come".

WATCH OUT FOR THE OVERLOAD

For me personally, the overload of sensual and sexy (and pornographic) photography plastered everywhere on the Internet to see whether or not I want to while also keeping up with boudoir photography, along with a year of life figure drawing classes of naked people, painting the 2nd ART PORN collection due out in Las Vegas in omg a few months, plus much more that has happened personally have reshaped the way I view the human body, sexuality, women and men -- basically all that is life creating and sustaining. 

There's a huge change inside and I've only cracked the shell. I don't know what to expect and quite frankly, other than what we can all expect - which is ultimately death at our door - nothing is forever.  I've learned this, especially with heartbreaking news a few weeks ago that a 30-something friend passed away just 2 weeks after her birthday leaving behind 2 children under 10, after they lost their U.S. Army father to war a few years back.  Both parents gone. Life's unfairness we can't control but our time and actions we can.  I've emerged back into the light.  I'm blinded quite honestly but art is my guide through the yellow brick road of life and "now" is what all the signs read and point to.  

Less variety and more depth is perhaps the goal now and painting an image provides that, whereas with photography it was the opposite. It takes a lot of hours to make a painting and with it, you build a dialogue in your mind about the subject matter and so it makes you think and that usually then makes me research and so it becomes sort of an intellectual and artistic endeavor.  I speak only for myself here. It gives me life, a reason to reach further each day.

Artistically, I made a leap in appreciating the sensual, subtle and authentic appeal of a painting’s interpretation of eroticism and/or one’s personal self over that of a photograph. It was unexpected and there's place for both - art and photography's expression of eroticism - but I am no longer both painter and photographer. Painting is a rich experience - a difference of Hershey's chocolate versus Belgium chocolate truffles. It's hard to go back to what used to be good but now isn't satisfying anymore.  You can't fake satisfaction, or the materialization of change.

It's very awesome to sit in this seat of view and it's an exciting time in my creativity.  It's not an easier path but it's a lot more fun and I think the best part of all, it diminishes the pressure of trying to satisfy a perfection that doesn't exist.  In a painting you are an essence and expected to be imperfect.  It's a path to self-love I never realized existed before and I look forward to passing that on to other women as I shelve my camera and trade it in for some stylish, light-weight soft brushes.  :)

Contact me for information on boudoir portrait painting commissions.