50 has Come & Gone and I am Grateful

Well, my birthday has come and gone. I am 50 and it seems like things are still as they were, nothing feels or  looks different. I had a wonderful party with loads of friends, good food, and lots of laughter. I think it was probably the best way to spend my birthday. Sometimes when I think about my age it still freaks me out at bit, I think “how did I get here – wasn’t it just yesterday I was living in France and going to school?”

Life moves so quickly,  I need to remember that and live each day like it is THE most important day. I must remember that I have a sweat life; a partner whom I love dearly and who loves me more than anyone has my whole life. I have the dog of my dreams, I have wanted this dog for at least 20 years. I have a wonderful home and have the best job in the world, AND – I get to create art everyday in studio in the back of my home.

Through out my life, people have come and gone – family has come and gone but through all of this I have loved everyone. I know that one day everyone will know how much I have loved them. I have lived my life with respect for others and tried to be the best person I can. I have tried not to judge others and  tried earnestly to live and let live. I know that even through my life’s choices some of my friends and family have judged me and have said and done things that have been hurtful.  What they don’t understand is that the choices I have made through out my life made me the woman I am today. We all have made choices in our lives that others may not understand – but that’s the funny thing about our lives – they are all different. My choices and decisions that I have made throughout my life have brought me to this most awesome place – and at the age of 50 I can say it with all my heart – MY LIFE IS GREAT!

I am grateful for all the things I have done, the places I have gone, the adventures I have been on (good & bad) all the people who are and were in my life – all of this has shaped who I am today – I KICK ASS 50-year-old woman, artist, dog mom and wife.

Pictures below: 1. Me and my partner 2. The view from my studio 3. My dog – Chimay  4. My last art show in San Francisco

birthday pic looking out my studio

My Belgian Malinois playing at Yosemite - Chimay
My Belgian Malinois playing at Yosemite – Chimay

Raven at the Gallery

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I am FAMOUS!

Well, semi- famous, I got mentioned in the SF Chronical’s SF Gate. I had a show 2 weeks ago with support of Urban Solutions, San Francisco Arts Commision and 2 Blocks of Art. It was fantastic show, I sold 3 paintings, did 2 interviews, got invited to a friend’s Open Studio in December and made some dough. I couldn’t have asked for more.

I am working on 4 new paintings right now and will be showing them along with some of my past work at the Open Studio, December 15th and 16th and my friends Studio/Gallery. It is called The Clay Underground. Here is the link to my   friends place. http://www.theclayunderground.com/

Here’s the link to the article in the SF Gate: http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/The-stroll-that-became-a-headlong-run-3972369.php

Here is the link to my etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/RavensNestArt

 

 

Preparing for Shows – September & October

My last post I talked about thinking like an artist. Well, I have been living the life of an artist which includes NOT being on the computer, that is why it’s been awhile since my last post. I have been trying to get my art out there into the world. I have applied to be in a book, I applied for a juried encaustic show in New Mexico. I should hear back from both of them by the middle of September.  I am feeling pretty good and no matter what happens, whether I get in the book or in the show it will be okay. I am trying, I am working to become a true artist and I feel my art is good enough for all those things and more! I know it’s just a matter of time before other people know it.

Recently I was asked to participate in an art walk put on by Urban Solutions SF, a non-profit organization here in San Francisco. I will be participating September 28th  as well as October. It is very exciting because it will be 2 blocks of art with live music and art at every turn. The Central Market area of San Francisco is an up and coming art mecca and I am proud to be a part of the new growth. I am really looking forward to have a show with all my art and talk to the people in the neighborhood. I want to do what ever it takes to put myself and my art out into the world.

I will also be participating in the Mulford Gardens Art & Music Festival, September 29, 2012. It is located in San Leandro, California and will be from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. I have been making a lot of handmade note cards,  handmade journals and handmade address books for this festival.  I will be selling a lot of other goodies that I have put together for this show along with all my art.

Here is a slide show of some of the stationery sets and handmade journals I will be selling at this festival. I hope you all come out, it should be quite fun.

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Thinking Like an Artist

I had a friend of mine tell me the other day that she is starting to think like an artist. WOW! What a great feeling to be able to connect what you are doing in your life to how you are feeling on the inside. I have decided that all my free time is going to be dedicated to making my insides and my outsides match!

I spent a few weekends working on my artist statement and my CV. It took a lot of revisions and reworking but and a very patient friend (the same friend as previously mentioned) helped me with the editing. I am very thankful to her and her help.  I feel really good about my artist statement and think it’s time. It’s time to let the world see what I have been up to and show them that I am indeed an artist and they would do well to pay attention to me. I feel so much happiness and joy when I am creating my work that I have a hard time staying inside my body. I move around like a little kid who has to go to the bathroom. I get all wiggly and can hardly sit still. I am going back to my meditation classes this week which should help ground me. The Saraha Kadampa Buddhist Temple really brings peace to my life, my mind and my world. I am very excited to be able to find a place nearby that I can get to once a week. The Dalai Lama said, “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness”.

Bringing kindness to myself and others is one of the ways that I help bring the balance in my life. The balance of myself (inside and outside), balance of life vs. work vs. art vs. friends.

I am going to do it, I am going to start thinking like an artist and put my art out there in the world. I just sent an application in to be in a book. It’s called Embracing Encaustic, by Linda Womack. I think it is very fitting that as I am embracing my life as an artist I am embracing a book that is embracing encaustic art.

Encaustic Painting Diptychs

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I have always loved painting with multiple panels. Whether it is with oil or encaustic. I love being able to bring the viewer from one side to the other with my painting. It feels more complete to me; maybe it’s because I have had 2 families –  growing up with an adopted family and as an adult meeting my birth family. I think in twos….two mothers, two fathers, two families etc.

I also love layers; when I was growing up I would always look into other homes, through windows to see if that was my birth family. I think being able to see through to another world is one of the reasons I love encaustic painting so much.  The wax is the window and even though it may be distorted; if you look close enough you can see what lays beneath. You don’t always see everything but you usually get the feeling of what is there. If you look closely to my work you will see what lays beneath. Have a look!

You can also see what else I have been up to at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/RavensNestArt

 

Getting ready for the World

I feel like I have been at this for a long time and yet I still get freaked out when thinking about preparing for a show. My head plays all kinds of games: is anyone going to come? Are they going to like it? Will anyone buy my paintings? Will they think they are original and will they get it?

The list goes on and on, but I have to stop and listen to my heart. I am doing this because I love to paint. I want to share what I love with the rest of the world. Yes, I want people to come to my shows. Yes, I want people to buy my work (they already have). Yes, they are original and people so get it. I have to keep remembering that people like my work; they have actually said so – to my face.

Working with Encaustic is very difficult for me, coming from an oil painting background and having control over the paint to using wax, heating it up and feeling totally out of control really has been a learning experience for me. Sometimes I love the outcome and sometimes I think – what the hell just happened? Is is good? Do I like what happened? Should I just leave it? Should I throw it away? I have done both in the past and feel fine about the decisions I made about each one.

While trying to get ready for the last show, I was frantically trying to make sure everything was perfect. Well, being that I am human I forgot that I needed to put signs up for the titles and the prices but what happened was in the last minute I came up with a great idea and people like it.

I have to remember that I may not always be prepared, I may not please everyone but as long as my work makes me happy and brings me joy all the other stuff will come. People who matter will eventually see my work, I will start to remember all the things I need to have a successful show, I will sell my work and my life will be great! If I can stay positive and keep putting out into the world my work, great things will happen. I had 7 pieces in the last show and I would like to share them with you.

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50 Paintings in 6 Months

I was told by a friend of mine that any reputable art gallery won’t show your work unless you can show them you can do 50 paintings a year. Well, I took that as a personal challenge – to do better than that; I am trying to do 50 paintings in 6 months.

I have been writing this blog for 3 months now and went into my studio today and counted all my paintings to make sure I was still on track. I counted 32 paintings so I am ahead of schedule and pretty happy with the way things are going.

I have been putting myself out there, talking to people, owners of galleries and doing what I can do put myself and my art out into the world. I started an Etsy store and have been working really hard to promote myself and my art and have sold 3 paintings from the store. If you would like to see what I have in my Etsy Store please visit it:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/RavensNestArt

There has been two results of my personal challenge; one I knew would happen which is producing a large body of work to show to galleries and put my paintings in a show. The second side effect of my personal challenge came out of the blue – I feel better about myself, I am happy in my life, I feel calm, complete and joyous every day I wake up and think about what I am going to paint today. What a wonderful side effect!

What is my wish? My wish for myself – to find the perfect match for my paintings in a gallery – for people to be moved by my paintings and to be able to continue my passion.

My Art Process from Beginning to End or my Finished Joy

I want to share with you Dear Readers my art process. How do I start an encaustic painting? What do I do in the middle and how do I know it done?

1. The first thing that happens is that I have an idea, I then break out one  of my sketch books. I always have one around me; whether I am at home or riding to work or in my studio. I typically have 3-4 sketch books going at one time. I keep them all around my house, in my purse, in my studio and next to my bed because I never know when I might have an idea and for me – “if it’s not written down it doesn’t exist”.

2. The second step in my process is to draw and sketch my idea. I typically will go through 2-10 pages of my sketch book. It is how I can bring my ideas come to life. If I am on my way to work or in bed I will keep the sketch book handy and then bring it to my studio to redraw it in my bigger sketch book that I keep there. I will use colour pencils or pens to highlight certain areas, spots that I want to concentrate on. Usually I am using a black, blue or burgundy pen for the basic part of my drawing.

3. The next step for me is to pull out all my papers, ephemera and any other goodies I have laying around that I think will go well with what I am trying to put out there. This part is typically with out colour because colour is so important to me and so important to my work. I don’t the colour to distract me from the objects I using for the painting. I want the pieces to work on their own and to look good/balanced within the whole. I will take a picture of what I have laid out and then look at it very critically away from the studio. Then I will bring the picture to my sketch book and make any changes or alterations that I feel are needed.

4. Once I am happy with the layout, I will bring in the colour for the painting. I will bring out my colour pencils or pens and do some sketching while trying to find the balance between the colours and the items I will be using for this painting. It will be very simple with large blocks of colour to give me a feeling of what I want to bring to the piece.

5. After I have added colour to my sketch book I set up my station with all the things I have laid out; but I will have more items there too because I want to leave my self open to change. Once I begin painting sometimes things look different and I’ll need to add or subtract items or change the colours. I usually stop a lot in the beginning and use all my pictures/ drawings and colors as reference. Once I am about 1/2 way through I can see what it will look like and visualize what needs to go where and what else I need to do to complete the painting.

6. After I feel the painting is completed, I will step away for a while and then come back to it make sure I feel it’s complete. During the process, I will take a lot of notes next to the painting; I have brown craft paper down underneath the painting which works great for keeping a clean surface as well as a perfect place to write down notes. I really like writing and taking a lot of notes about my paintings. Writing helps me see my work from another perspective; the teacher in me never leaves and this is the best way for me to critique my work. I try to see my work from all different angles. I  know when my work/painting is finished because I look at it and FEEL JOY! I hope you like this as much as I do.

Thinking about Mother’s Day

I have been thinking about the fact that Mother’s Day is fast approaching and I don’t know what to get my Moms (yes, that’s right – plural). I have a birth mother and an adopted mother both with which whom I love. I wanted to get them something heartfelt but don’t have a lot of money. I know my birth mother’s favorite colors are purple and orange and my adopted Mom loves blue and green. I decided that I would make some small encaustic paintings in their honor.

I sat down in my studio with the idea that I was going to make 2 paintings for both of my Moms. What happened was that I ended up being super productive and completed 10 paintings in one day (ONE DAY), which is so amazing for me. I was in the Zone! I am happy with how some of them turned out and not so happy with others but I have had some compliments from people I don’t even know so whose to say what moves people and what things people connect with.

When it comes to me and my Mothers; it doesn’t matter that I am almost 50 years old, I still feel like a kid when it comes to my Mothers. I want to do the best, be the best I can be for them.

Here are 6 sweet mother’s day encaustic paintings that I did and am listing them on Esty right now. http://www.etsy.com/shop/RavensNestArt

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Here are the “non” mother’s day paintings:

Rêve d’art or dreaming of art

I have been dreaming of art this past week and am really excited about my new series that I will be working on. I wanted to make sure I could do what I imagined; so this past week I spent a lot of time sketching and painting. The paintings I am posting this week are sketches for a larger project. I am so excited I can barely contain myself. Every time I think about it or talk about it I want to jump out of my skin; go home and start painting. This is the most inspired I have really felt since I started my journey of encaustic painting.

I am going to bring the things I love all together – teaching – french and painting encaustic. I love more than these 3 things but these are the 3 things I am bringing together for this series. I will be painting the entire alphabet  – one board at a time. A-Z in French and with lovely articles in French. I will be using an old fashioned writing tool, the writing paper I used when I was a child. The kind that’s really large, it has a solid line at the top and the bottom and the dotted line in the middle. I will be writing in French each word and will be bringing the pictures to life with old fashioned drawings and painting of each item.

In this blog post I am using things I cherish for my sketches; as you may remember from a few blogs previous I talked about how I love keys and so this week I focused on my technique using keys (the French word for key is Clé). I used keys and mirrors in these 5 paintings, they are just sketches to help me with how I want the final pieces to come out. It was a really great exercise, it helped me see what worked and what didn’t. What I needed to do to make sure the viewer saw the old fashioned writing paper. In some of the sketches the paper is easier to see than others. I want to make sure before I begin my actual painting that I understand what the wax will do to my pictures and to my writing and what is the best way to keep the integrity of the wax and the images while still bringing to life my dreams.

Here is a sneak preview.

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