Saturday, September 29, 2007

Back in the Saddle Again

I've been working all day on these art helmets. (I'd post a pic but the hubby took the camera with him for the weekend, along with the boys...)

I'm through with my latest bout of existential angst, thank you very much... and, after the seemingly endless tedium of the layering process, I've happily moved on to the painting phase. The first layer of color is down; naples yellow. I'm going to continue these next two helmets (and the two bowls I'm also working on) in the same vein as the first helmet: candy corn style... (Although a fourth helmet is threatening to be very red, with some beaded fringe. Can't wait to get to that one!) There are alot of layers of color to go on yet. I'm trying to finish these for Monday, when I deliver work to the North Tahoe Arts Artisan Store, and Riverside Studios in Truckee, for this month's show: "Noir". (see sidebar for more info).

Friday, September 28, 2007

LAST is Not a Four Letter Word

Ok, so I went to the mountain biking class.
We rode far, and I made it the whole way, ON my bike, even though I WAS last (or close to it) all the way.
And, (extra bonus!) I learned a few things about biking. (They apply equally well to art):

The ride might get hard, but if I keep going, I'll get through it.

After I get through a hard part, I'm able to go further.

And, I had geeky lights and stickers on my bike that needed to come off.

So, all in all, an afternoon well-spent. And I don't even feel bad about being last, because I feel good that I did it.

the Art Enduro

Part of the reason I called my art business Paper Moon is because alot of times I get inspired in the middle of the night. And sometimes I'm just awake in the middle of the night, with NO inspiration, which is what happened last night...But that's not what I want to talk about. It's just worth mentioning, in case none of what follows makes any sense!

I read alot of Luann Udell's blog, and she has a fantastic way of deriving insights into her creative process through other parts of her life, particularly sports. At our Underground Artists meeeting this week, we were joking about art as an edurance sport. And I'm starting to see, through my efforts at working out, how this is true. I'm taking beginning mountain biking at the local community college. In part, I'm taking this for my kids' sake...but it's going to take more than that to keep me in it. Last week I was at the back of the pack for most of the ride... and I'm kind of anxious about today's class. But I'm also kind of curious to see if I can make it through the whole class... even if I am pushing my bike up every hill. It's about seeing something all the way through, even if I'm not keeping up with the maniacal woman on the cruiser (with NO gears) who was so far out in front of the instructor that she kept going the wrong way...which might be another whole analogy.

But! to bring this back around to art... the last weeks were spent in a familiar psychic cycle of "what am I doing?" when it comes to my artwork. Early this year, I had told myself that, even though I've been at this awhile, this is the first time that I have fully committed to giving it my best shot; to working steadily and getting it out there consistantly. And here I was, questioning everything. Just like I'm questioning whether or not I can do this class...

Well, I'm committed to this class. It's going to test me, and I may not do that well with it. But if I finish it, that will be something. And I'm going to keep making art, because this really is the first time that I've come up against myself without having some outside excuse (like having a baby, or getting horrendously sick...). I'm coming up against all my fears and I'm going to keep going.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Art is an Endurance Sport

I did a little ranting yesterday: on my blog, and at my Underground Artist's meeting... on the subject of yesterday's post, and I'm grateful to my fellow UA's for listening to me; they've heard this before. And thank you Kristen, for the observation that became this morning's post title; it's brilliant!
We were talking, also, about the appropriateness of a mountain biking class that B. and I are signed up for... is this "who we are"? When I identified myself as an artist, finally, it became important for me to also figure out who I was not. (I said I was a late bloomer!) I'm NOT a mountain biker, but I have kids, and they love nothing more than barreling along a sandy trail, jumping off of rocks. So I felt I should know a little more about this. And in the process, maybe a little more about myself. Do I have what it takes to make it through this class? Do I have what it takes to make it through this particular round of questioning my art; to make it to the next level of commitment?
Maybe papier mache isn't the end result, but at this point, it's part of the process, and I've got to start where I am. I can go anywhere from here. And since I had a middle-of-the-night insight into how to finish this piece, for now I'll just keep going...

In the meantime, here's a quote from Alyson Stanfield's upcoming book . . .

"The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own.No apologies or excuses.No one to lean on, rely on, or blame.The gift is yours—it is an amazing journey—and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins."—Bob Moawad

Monday, September 24, 2007

Papier Mache, Put Down

I was having a really hard time this weekend. I started about 5 new pieces, and the layering phase always gets to me... it's boring and tedious and makes me question why the hell I chose to work in papier mache. I took it a step further this time around: I starting asking myself the age old question, "why do I do this?" and other light-hearted soul-searching questions, that supposedly you've answered by this time in your life (I'm a late bloomer)...

Thank god I had the presence of mind to take a bike ride, or I might have slashed my wrists...

Anyway, I was looking for some art blogs online, and came across the originally-titled artblog. Now I'm REALLY questioning everything. This older post from 2006 (I'm so cutting edge!) talks about the impermanence of papier mache and doesn't mince any words. Yes, there are papier mache pieces in major art exhibits here... so that's interesting to me. However, if the question is, "what do I want to do with my art?" I'm really going to need to come up with an anwser soon. Because "junk art" is not it. And according to these ladies, papier mache is junk.

Anybody got a razor blade?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

PBS on Art

I just got around to reading some past newsletters from Alyson Stanfield that have been building up in my inbox. A few weeks ago she wrote about "seducing" one's viewers. In it there's a link to a PBS series called art:21 that unfortunately won't be showing in my area! But it looks great. Check out the website. It's going into it's fourth season, so maybe everyone knows about it, but it's the first I've heard of it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Art Helmets, the Next Big Thing

Well, it's done. I finished "Ceremonial Candy Corn Helmet" in time to bring to the Truckee-based critique group yesterday, and it got everyone to giggle...which is great. I know, it needs a more inspiring name... and some companion helmets...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

How to Screw Up A Papier Mache Piece

Ready to screw up a perfectly good piece of art? Good. Let's begin...

First of all, it's helpful to start out with a nice family drama operating in the background. This will serve to distract you from your inner voice. A disagreement with a family member will work fine.

Next, you'll want to make sure to be working against a tight deadline. This notches up the pressure a bit, which will ensure maximum anxiety, thereby reducing the inability to create freely! For good measure, work only on one piece at a time. That way, the anxiety will be increased, as there will be no room for mistakes.

Okay, ready to start? Of course, you'll want to keep regular hours. But make sure to work over the allotted time, and keep going until you're feeling completely frustrated. Does the piece seem to have evolved into an un-salvageable disaster? Then you know you're on your way! (At this point, it's good to add a little something that doesn't work and can't be undone...)

Now, push on a little more....Starting to feel hopeless? No possible solutions? Good job. You're ready for that large chunk of chocolate you've got stashed in the back of the cupboard. And once you've taken a break from this exciting process, I guarantee that , when you go back and take a discerning look at your hard work later, you'll find you may not hate it as much as before!

Birth of the Art Helmet

I'm starting a new art genre:
the Art Helmet.

This one is based on candy corn (and yes, there was a thought process behind it, but I can't quite follow it anymore...). I went to the store yesterday to buy actual candy corn, for reference. And you know what? Candy corn is REALLY pointy. Much more so than this. So, the next ceremonial Candy Corn Helmet will be more pointy. In the meantime, we have the stubby version. Which I kind of like; it reminds me of something Fred Flintstone would wear.
The frame was created with chicken wire (can we PLEASE have another name for this product?) and covered with layers of paper and glue. The ridiculously tiny horns and edges are an epoxy resin that I first used on "Bear Your Soul". I'll post more photos as I go...
Shelley Hocknell and I are going up to Truckee to visit with Carole Sesko and her critique group tomorrow, and I think I'll bring this. The hubby says it's "not my best idea" but it makes me laugh every time I look at it! (I can almost hear the Vikings now: "Lovely Spam, wonderful Spam!")

Monday, September 17, 2007

Now You Can Subscribe

I just got done adding the "Subscribe" feature... phew.
I'd seen it on another artist's site, and wanted an easy way for readers to access my blog regularly, but didn't want something that I couldn't easily figure out, if it was me! So it had to be REALLY easy. I think this is. The other option was the RSS feed thingie... I tried that once, to subscribe to another artist's blog, and I didn't like it at all. This one, the one I set up here, allows you to receive the blog updates as an email. Give it a try and tell me how you like it.

On second thought, if you're receiving the post in an email, you don't get the benefit of the lovely page design, etc etc...

Well, we'll just try it for awhile and see how we feel about it, shall we?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's Colorful...It's Fun...Umm...

Last night, at an art opening, I had the interesting experience of watching somebody try to explain my work to two other people.

This, as it turns out, is not an easy task.

It was actually quite funny. I will never forget the looks on the listeners faces as they stared somewhat blankly at my valiant friend. She struggled on, bravely, for a bit: (I'm going to paraphrase here) "it's papier shapes....colorful....(nervous giggle)..."

I am grateful to my friend for even attempting to describe my work. (thank you, Shelley!) It's not easy for me, either. What I do is unusual. In my book, that's a good thing, but I have to learn that it's not a judgement on my work if other people don't understand or connect with it. And I'm realizing that this is going to keep coming up... I just got accepted to the North Tahoe Arts Artisan Shop on a trial basis, as I'm their first-ever papier mache artist. I'm honored...I'm boldly going where no papier mache artist has gone before. So, THAT will be interesting...

While I don't exclusively consider myself a papier mache artist, I do adore the medium, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to watch people stare blankly at me... because at some point, I know I'll begin to see glimmers of recognition. And that will be worth all of my previous stammering!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Artist Blogs for Dummies

I'm not sure how successful I've been, yet, in my quest to improve this art blog...

I found some good information this morning, at the Artrepeneur and Blogger Tips and Tricks, but, you know, some of the language just doesn't make sense, still. (Link field? What link field?!) But, I'm trying. I really really enjoy the writing of this blog, and I want to use this blog to reflect the love I have for the creative process as well.

Not that it's always easy. I've been having a rough go of it, since the Valhalla show finished up. I always have a bit of wierdness after I've finished up one thing, and am ready to go on to another. I've just found out I got accepted, on a trial basis, to the North Tahoe Arts Artisan's Store, in Tahoe City. So I've got some work to do for them, and it's going to be in the same vein as the pieces I submitted... NOT something entirely different. This can be problematic for me! I have a tough time recreating something I've already done. But! I'm going to give it a try...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Blogging 101

It's kind of backwards: I'm reading a book about blogging, now that I've been at this for awhile. It's called "What No One Ever Tells You About...Blogging and Podcasting", by Ted Demopoulos... (a Greek guy! It's got to be good!). One of the first things I read talked about the purpose of your blog. Hmmm....
What IS the purpose of my blog?
I'm going to be working on that.

And I'm going to be making some improvements (hopefully) to the blog. For starters, I'm probably going to change the name, although I think "Paper Moon" was already spoken for... So look for some new things here soon... I'm also open to suggestions if anyone wants to comment on things they'd like to see me blog about (ie: Britney Spears).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Oops, I Did It Again

No, I'm not going to write about Britney Spears' MTV Video Awards performance here... everyone else is doing that...
But I DID do it again; I spent an hour on the computer, instead of going directly into my studio this morning.

So, rather than take any more time by writing, here's a link to Carole Sesko's website...
I went to an opening there on Friday night. Great energy, great people, great art. Nice to see a vibrant art event up here in the Sierras. I also stopped by the Riverside Studios First Friday event in Truckee. Same goes... a good time was had by all.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Another Melissa

Recovering from last week's show (I found it exhausting for lots of reasons) and spending my morning (or possibly entire day...) looking for the Staples receipt for the new computer before my husband does the freakaloo...Oops, too late.

So instead of writing, I'm directing you to Melissa Tereck's work. She was featured in the SF Chronicle for her very popular papier mache figures. She's prolific and funny, and wonderfully friendly and supportive. Visit her site here.