I often feel like my belly is the inside of a bouncy castle, or a trampoline. This ‘lil man inside me is one active guy. There are days when I love it and think about what he must be doing inside there, and there are other days when it drives me nuts and all I want is a bit of peace, quiet, and less jostling happening inside. This past week has felt like an incredibly active week!
So when I saw this I thought, maybe I should have mini Conk make his first painting later this week when we have a bit of downtime over the holiday and when he has a particularly active span of time. I am a fan of abstract painting and there is something slightly surreal about having the movement of your unborn baby paint their first painting. I am curious!
Over the long holiday weekend, we watched “Words and Pictures.” It has been a while since I have seen a good movie (or one that I actually watched completely without multi-tasking). This one sucked me in. Maybe it was the subject matter. Words, writing, ideas and art, painting, pictures. Plus it had a bit of the indie film feel to it. It was a mellow movie, not too much drama, but just the right amount of depth.
Juliette Binoche and Clive Davis are the main characters and they do not disappoint. Owen is an alcoholic, yet endearing English professor at a college prep school, and Binoche an artist/painter who cannot do what she used to after rheumatoid arthritis effects her. They begin a personal and professional war that moves both their students and their own worlds. It was not an amazing movie, but enough to keep me engaged and make me think. I was enamored watching her paint. Who knows if Binoche had any idea what she was doing at the craft of painting, watching her awakened a dormant vein inside me. I have not painted for a while. She painted large pieces, a size I do not have a space for, yet it brought back a craving for me to continue to paint. It brought back the desire to dust off my brushes and get busy painting.
As far as the movie goes, I could speak to either side of the debate (words or pictures) as the movie debates. I am a word fanatic. I love writing, find that I process my world with words. Yet, I also love art. It calms me, is therapeutic, and truly allows me to be in the moment. Some of my paintings have no words to describe them, they are just something I feel. Sometimes my words still do not do justice to what I am feeling. The debate continues, but both are just as important to me.
Over the weekend I took an encaustic art class. It was my first time playing with wax, a heat gun, and my desire to deep dive into this art medium. I have been interested for years, follow a few local artists, and finally took the plunge to dabble in something that has inspired me for quite some time. I learned a lot, have even more of a desire to purchase my own supplies and whittle away the hours in my own little creative world.
You may remember a post from almost a year ago on the encaustic piece that Chris and I purchased at the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts. It is the second piece we have hanging from local encaustic artist Karl Kaiser. I love the modern look of his work, the clean, smooth look of the wax resin, and I have to say after spending 2.5 hours playing with this art medium, what he does takes incredible patience. Here are the two pieces I semi completed during the class. You should feel honored and lucky that I am sharing my unfinished artwork.
As soon as I have a spare moment (life has been busy what can I say), I am going to do some research to find out what it will cost me to purchase a heat gun, pancake griddle, metal warming pots, resin, wax, medium, encaustic paint, boards, etc. While it sounds like a lot, I think I can do it fairly inexpensively to start with to ensure that it really is something I want to do long-term. As I write this I have visions for different paintings I would like to try, and I can see it begin to become a bit of an addiction. I can only imagine that there are things to do at home, the house is interestingly quiet, and Chris tracks me down knowing that he’ll find me in the studio (aka baby room, aka dog room, if only we could decide), wasting a Saturday away playing with wax. Is that really so bad? There have to be worse addictions. There was something soothing about manipulating the wax and in some ways having no control over it.
I asked the instructor if I could play with hardware washers. I ended up only having the time to put one into my piece, but I can see where I would like to explore metal and wax, sort of a juxtaposition on organic and industrial in one piece. I think I am already addicted.
Chris are you ready for our shopping trip to the art, hardware stores and oh your favorite: Michaels?
A colleague at work told me about the book: “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon. I read it a few weeks ago. It is such a great book. It reads a bit like a Hugh MacLeod book (see gapingvoid.com). There are so many inspiring ideas in this quick read. You can easily read it in an afternoon.
Ever since I read it, the idea of “Steal Like An Artist” has come up often in the last few weeks. Leveraging ideas that have already been put forth, but altering or updating for a specific audience. For example, infographics are all over the Internet. Many companies and individuals use the “infographic” idea and repurpose them for the needs of their audience. Infographics are a compelling way to break down a story and show a visual image of the data and details in a consumable way. Does that mean that we are plagiarizing or stealing the idea? No, it means that a good idea can be transferred, altered, and made better with each use.
An example Kleon shares is with art and painting. When we are young and are taught how to paint, we look at the great painters, Pollock, Klee, Picasso, etc. We look at their form, color, and technique. We make our own paintings by trying out what these famous painters did. We find our own technique and skill. We might not have ever learned to paint without stealing from these artists. Kleon goes on to clarify that there is a difference between taking a poem word for word, which is plagiarizing, and using a poem to inspire one of your own.
my most recent “almost finished” painting
Above is one of my recent paintings. I cannot decide if I am done with it or not. I have loved learning from artists that have come before me. “Steal Like An Artist” is a definite must read!