Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Surviving & Thriving....

 I just finished a new painting that I am really proud of - from conception to finish.  It is not often I say that phrase "proud of" in reference to my painting.  I will explain why I am proud of this new painting and describe my process from conception to finish. 

Step 1 - It always starts with being AWARE....

I took a trip to New York City last December 2013 with my oldest daughter to celebrate her college graduation.  I have always wanted to see the Rockefeller Christmas Tree in person.  

While there, I was aware of many moments of being deeply aware of my surroundings, but  none so much as when I visited Ground Zero.  Who could go to the 911 Memorial and not be humbled, grief-stricken, and deeply aware?  On my way out of the memorial park,  I came upon a tree planted in between the North & South Tower reflecting pools.  I noticed it had the sun setting just behind it and was so beautiful. I snapped a photo to remember.  Just like I always do.  It was after that I noticed a small group gathered near the tree and a tour guide talking.  I listened in and heard that this tree was no ordinary tree - it was a tree that had survived and thrived.  This seemingly insignificant tree I had walked by earlier (and not even noticed) had survived when the Towers went down on that devastating day.  It was a miracle tree - something sacred.  It was hope.  And I had walked past that tree earlier, not even noticing.  I have to wonder, what else do I walk by and not notice?

I heard the guide say this tree had been taken off the property, nurtured back to health, then had been replanted.  It had budded that past spring for the first time.  Out of devastation comes rebirth and renewal.

On my way home, I reflected on what I had experienced.  It was funny - I had thought I would be awestruck by a large, flashy tree with twinkling lights near Rockefeller Center only to be moved by a small pear tree near a site of devastation - a tree that was plain and unremarkable. It made me think of Someone I had read about once in a book - "he had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him."  It's in the Unremarkable where we will see Amazing.

Step 2 -  NURTURING & WATERING a seed of inspiration....

As you can tell from the date of this post, it has been over a year since my trip to New York
Family Stroll
City - so many paintings and things have happened.  I have birthed hundreds of new paintings this past year - 2 paintings - "Family Stroll" and "No Room At The Inn" - were inspired by that New York City trip.  "Family Stroll" was even selected for a National Exhibit - the Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Exhibition in Colorado.  But still I had not painted the most significant moment from that trip. Why?  Because the greater the inspiration, the longer the incubation period.  Just like growing a plant, you must take time to water and nurture your creative thoughts.  

One day around mid- November 2014, I came across a poem, "Still I Rise" by one of my favorite poets, Maya Angelou.  And I knew.  I just knew.  It resonated and I felt that day at Ground Zero come washing over me. I felt the connection to my little seed of inspiration I had been nurturing and watering.  

Here are a few excerpts from the poem, that in particular resonated with me...

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise....


You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.


I rise
I rise
I rise.


While slavery is the overall theme of this poem, it is also a poem about hope and survival - about rising above pain.  Hope.  It was what I was feeling about the tree.

So my seed of inspiration had budded and now it was time to plant....


Step 3 -  let the planting begin - PAINTING....

So here is the technical stuff all of you love to know (I'm talking to my students here).   However - before I tell you all of these juicy little goodies, REMEMBER it was a YEAR before I got to this stage.  Take time and nurture your thoughts, ideas, inspiration.

I knew I wanted to put the words of that poem into my painting so I put them onto the surface of the paper and created what I call "a prepared surface".  It is currently my favorite thing to do - work traditionally with watercolors on a non-traditional surface.  It shakes things up and creates what I love most - layers of understanding.  

I happened to have a great photo to keep with me as a reference - that's important for me so I can capture the little details I might forget.  I don't always use reference images - sometimes I paint from my dreams or my imagination.  For this painting however, I wanted to capture every detail of that magnificent tree so I stuck pretty closely to my original photo.
 
I then took time and drew out the tree and surroundings.  I made sure I had the composition like I wanted it before I drew it onto the larger paper.  

After that I took about 2 to 3 layers of color to build up the value - it's a pretty straight-forward process after that.  

Now... I was almost finished and stood back and.....I had lost all of the words underneath!!! 
I was not happy about the painting and this was a definite challenge.  The lesson? When you are faced with a mistake, a challenge or seeming epic failure - EMBRACE it!  Therein lies a new discovery - ALWAYS.  I promise. Try it.

I thought about how to fix this - how can I get back some of the words of the poem without losing the shapes and values?  I looked on my table and saw my new Silhouette Cameo - a die cut machine I recently purchased to cut my own stencil designs for my paintings.  Well...WHAT IF? (my 2 favorite words) I use this machine to solve my problem?  So I created stencils of some of the words from the background and lifted them out with rubbing alcohol.  

I now had a really cool effect of positive and negative words and more importantly - a new discovery!  


 




Step 4 - FINISHED!

Here is the final painting - "Survivor".  The painting titled itself - truly it did.  So - I am proud of this piece not because it has a great composition, strong emotion, or painted technically well - it is because this painting has captured my feeling and emotion. And I have embraced my challenge to find a new discovery in the end!  

Victory. 
Survival. 
Thriving. 
Hallelujah! 
 
I hope this inspires you on your journey to all things creative - the universal language of us all. 

 

Friday, February 28, 2014

to be HEARD is a beautiful thing...

Why paint? The answer, for me, is to simply be heard, to share and have the gift received with love
and appreciation. 

With this in mind,  I want to share with you inspiring words from an email I received recently,  from a patron about my paintings, my process, and how he feels about art.

I thought his words might inspire both artists and those who appreciate art....

Dear Trish, 
Art is a totally creative process and when done correctly may lean on technique but the outcome is always random based on the time, mood and energy that the artist processes at the time of creation.  Your technique of layering makes each creation special and can never be duplicated even if you tried.  I completely understand this.


I only wish that people could appreciate what they saw when they viewed a piece of artwork.  No matter if you like it or not the piece in front of you is unique and random and is as close to nature as you can get.  Everything in life is random and every great masterpiece was the result of random circumstances that led up to that precise time and place equation.
When people surround themselves with copies or blank walls it does not allow them to dream, to understand the magic of life and to aspire to their full greatness as a living example of this magic.  If you fill your home with perfectly made furnishings and/or antiseptic environments there is no way to be kind to yourself and in turn open to ideas.  The greatest perfection of  human beings is their imperfection.
Your story is one that embodies the struggle we all face and I really appreciate you sharing with me your struggle.  It will make your painting that much more special.
If you can I would love to see the piece.  Not because I want to see it before you send it.  I will love it no matter what as I really love your creative process.  It would be nice to have a picture of the new, "baby".  Maybe art galleries should consider themselves, "adoption centers!"
A piece of art that you live with is like that you know.  At first it is your new baby.  Then after you live with it you experience it from time to time at different moments and it takes on a richer meaning and eventually is part of the family. 
I guess if I ever sold any of my pieces I would want to know it would have a good home!"
Best Regards,

David Goldstein
Chief Operating Officer
Jerry's Artarama


I am so grateful to David for his inspiring words....to be heard is a beautiful thing.
the steps in my painting process...







the final result....

                                                                                                                           
                                                          ... I love happy endings

Monday, December 30, 2013

blessings....

This time of year I reflect on all of my many blessings - I recently saw this quote in a video -  "don't miss out on a blessing because isn't packaged the way that you expect..."  I like this reminder of how we sometimes miss the blessings we receive every day because they come in the ordinary, simple things we take for granted.  

All of this led me to create "mini blessings"tm, small paintings with inspirational blessings, that you might want to give a special person.


I also created a special "blessing book" - a present for a friend who was a blessing to me this year.  This book was created from an old rejected painting.  I printed out photos of her grandchildren and family that I collected off her facebook page and collaged them onto various pages along with inspirational quotes.  

This book could be a journal in which she could write down various blessings, a devotional to write spiritual thoughts, a prayer journal or anything she could image.  

Here are the pages...
























Monday, October 29, 2012

I Felt The Wind....

I felt the wind of the Holy Spirit as it blew through the classroom, at my last Spiritual Awakenings Retreat on Art Journaling I gave at Pleasant Vineyard Ministries' Retreat Center in Camden, Ohio.  During class, as I walked around the room, I felt the connection of spirit with creativity with all of the participants.  I had an amazing experience and facilitator, David Maynard was the ultimate host.  I have been asked to come back and do another retreat in the Spring of 2013 - I cannot wait....
Here is a page from one of the participants in the retreat, Marcella Roe's journal... 


Here are some of my pages, that I demonstrated from the workshop - hope you enjoy!

This is a page I demonstrated from my Altered Book, titled, "Roots" - this altered book is a tribute to all of my ancestors who have made me the person I am today.  This particular page is devoted to my Great Grandmother, Nellie McVeigh Anson.  I recently found my great-grandmother's journals - a treasure of insight into who Nellie was. 

On the left of this page, is an excerpt from one of her journal pages, I have collaged onto my journal page.  The added bonus is where her entry includes me - "Patricia"!  I knew her only briefly growing up, but her journals give me more in depth insight to who she was.  
One such insight was, most of all of her pages started with, "A grand day..." (the lettering on the right, is copied off of her original handwriting).  I liked knowing that my ancestor was a positive person, as am I and I loved tracing her handwriting - it made me feel connected to her in a new way.  

This page is my tribute to her...


 My revelation for this page is that you should always stay firmly connected to your ancestral roots - they are a part of you. 

My second demonstration involved another altered book I have begun which has the working title of,  "Le Fleurs Of France".  This is an old french book of poems, that I purchased while getting lost on the streets of Paris in April of this year, 2012.  I looked the book up online and found translations to all of the poems.  I printed out the translations (excerpt seen on the left side of page below) and collaged them onto the pages next to the french poem.  I have included the poems that speak about various places I went on my journey through France in April 2012.
The page below has the poem, "Le jet d'eau/The Fountain" on it's page's text- it reminded my of the Medici Fountain and pool on the grounds of Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, so I sketched a part of this fountain on the left page.
"deep calls to deep" is an exerpt from the Book Of Psalms, which speaks about how God calls to us in all of creation to our very souls.  I felt God in that special moment as I gazed at the beauty around me...

I spent a magical day there and this page takes me back to that day.


The retreat was a wonderful experience and I look forward to going back!  Thanks to David Maynard, Joyce, and all of the staff,  for a wonderful time! 
More information about Pleasant Vineyard Ministries can be found at www.pvmcamp.com

Monday, October 22, 2012

BLESSING = Getting Paid For My Passion!

I woke up this morning and said to myself - "It is a BLESSING to be paid for my passion!".  This thought was prompted by an email I received that someone just the other day.  I thought I would share a very special day with all of you.

I recently held a program for the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society in September, on my "Nature's Palette Series" where I used actual leaves in my painting process.

I am using the photos GCWS used on their blog to show my process (see link to their blog, below).....












I also demonstrated what to do when you go back to your painting and there is a disaster!  I showed them, with the use of gesso, how to the pervasive fix dark value that is throughout the entire painting and turn it into a good mixture of light and dark values.  I held my breath on this one and hoped it would work!  I love the finished painting!

BEFORE.....a dark, muddy, mess!  What to do?  I knew I needed to pull back some light and mid-tones.

 DURING....I took a roller and rolled a layer of white gesso over the entire piece.
After the gesso was dry, I tinted it with harmonious color to finish....

AFTER.....

 There is something empowering about taking a seemingly rejected painting and bringing it back to something beautiful!

Here is the link to the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society's Blog for the entry for -  Thursday, September 20th.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Join Me On The Playground


If you ask any child, recess is their favorite part of the school day. It is because there is complete freedom in an otherwise structured environment. As adults we are surrounded by structure and need to remember the playground.  

As an artist, I found a way to recreate that playground.  Art journals for me, brings me back to that time on the playground.  A time when I created art authentically without any preconceived notions.  A time of innocent intent and no judgement.  A time of using pure imagination and the Creative Spirit I was born to use! 


This past weekend I surely felt the wind of that same Creative Spirit blowing like a welcome breeze on a hot summer day as it touched each participant's face at my Spiritual Awakenings Art Journal Workshop in Tipp City.  So I will share this magical experience...and maybe - just maybe - it will make you want to start your own playground of imagination in the form of an art journal....


I can never know the hearts of each and every student.  But God knows why they have been provincially placed for such a time as this.  One such student, I sensed, needed to be alone with her thoughts.  I had no idea how tender her spirit was until I read her words posted on her blog.  
I am touched by her inspirational words and it is a reminder to us all that God does not shine in the comfortable areas of our life, but in the struggles.

Here are her own words about her experience:  http://myunswervinghope.blogspot.com/2012/08/fight-or-flight.html

This is one of the pages from her book.

I love when students think outside of the box and ask "what if?" - this student  used a very unusual book - an old record album (how fun is that?!) - and asked, "what if I painted the record and journal a private message to myself on the surface?".  How clever and imaginative!  I immensely enjoyed this woman's joyfulness which I see in these pages.


One of the great experiences of this workshop was that mothers and daughters got to share the experience together.  We had 3 sets of mothers and daughters.  One of the youngest participants (a high school student), shared  that she got to see another side to her mom, as her mom is usually very quiet.  It was very touching and I sensed their bond had been strengthened even more.  Here are their favorite journal pages.  I was only later, I noticed that both had used the same colors, but in an entirely unique way. 
I thought of this as a metaphor for my own relationship with my mother, we are the same colors, but used in an entirely unique way!





Another joy was getting to know one of the older participants.  She had been an artist all of her life - I enjoyed the freedom of brush strokes and the wisdom of her words - these are her pages.
 

I admire the quiet people in the world - I'm fascinated by them.  Mostly because I am not one of them!  In the same way I admire and I'm fascinated by the tranquil colors this quiet participant chose and the simplicity of her composition on these pages below.  I had observed this artist's quiet, capable spirit throughout the class.  I watched her take care of her elderly mother with a kind, gentle intuitiveness.  Then when I saw her pages, I saw all of these things qualities about her, that I had observed! These pages are authentically her.


One of my primary goals was to have each participant make a connection between creating in their journals and the Creative Spirit that lives inside all believers - to awaken the creative spirit within.  
This artist shared that she had made such a connection - these are her pages.

 I love the softness of these pages - the words are special too.  This artist had a sweet, sweet spirit and so do her pages.


I enjoyed getting to know all of the participants - that is always the best part for me.  I spent  a lot of time with one participant that traveled all the way from British Columbia to take this class!  Because of the circumstances surrounding how she found out about the workshop, I feel that it was providence she was placed in my life.  I feel that way about all of the participants in my workshops.

She was so delightful to get to know and her pages reflect her personality much better than I could ever write about!
I see joy and wonder when looking at her pages.


Though the workshop may be over,  the joy, experiences, and connections still remain with me. 

I enjoyed playing on the playground with all of these delightful women. 
And I smile in remembrance at our time together.