Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Hands of the Artist

Our hands are one of our most basic tools. We use them, in all areas of our lives, to feel temperature, texture, hardness, wetness, weight...and on & many uses for these little tools. They have a sensitivity to them that is indispensible. They have a dexterity, strength, and ability to be controlled. So, as an artist, we are especially attached, (in more ways than the obvious) to our dear hands. For the most part, our hands do what our brains instruct them to do. We are happy to be able to mold, paint, wipe, smoosh, dab, pick at, many tasks we artists give to these little guys.

Sometimes, we are delighted to just let our fingers and palms move over a completed piece, to feel the texture...we are texture lovers, aren't we? How delightful to feel the old lace, the metal keys, the rough sand, the cool smoothness of an embossed surface, the stickiness of drying glue, the warmth of cooling UTEE, the bumps of the brads, the wrinkles of the flowers. All these items hold meaning for us. We perceive where in the process of creating our art we are as we feel over our piece. Sure, we can look at it, but it's when we feel it that we are also assessing it, weighing our decisions to add more, or stop now.

I know that I feel very connected to my artful process when, at the end of a project, I look at my hands and see the assorted stains from alcohol inks, Distress inks, acrylic paints, glitter, assorted glues, and chalks. I want to protect my hands from burns (who hasn't touched the UTEE a bit too early?) and from cuts-craft knives and awls -and especially from super glue! I need these tools to keep safe so I can continue to do what I love.

Hands are also a wonderful iconic image, like hearts, crowns, wings, birds, keys, numbers, and so much more (but I think that covers a lot of my personal favorites.) It is very alluring to see a large hand model, especially one that has had some sort of "art" happen to it. It reminds me of the quote, "A mother holds her child's hand for just a little while, but she holds his heart forever." (Make appropriate gender substitutions as needed.) Which brings me to the final note on the Artist's hands. We hold on to things. All of our art tools and supplies pass through our hands, but we also hold on with our heart to so much of what we love. Hand and heart, together in so many activities..we are so lucky when we can have these two elements working together in our lives. Because of my ability to make my own art, in my own way, at this time in my life, I consider myself incredibly lucky. Leaving a comment?...would love to hear what other iconic images you all like to collect, use, dream about, etc

Here is a photo of this week's free give away to a randomly chosen commenter . Leave me a comment at the end of this post to be entered to win a pink Slice apron from Making Memories, a red rubber unmounted phrase set, and a paper pack which includes stickers, shapes, etc.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Just Like the Butcher who backed into his meat grinder...

...I have gotten a little behind in my work!! I will definitely get the essay on the "Hands of the Artist" going in my next post. Meanwhile, for a free prize chosen randomly, please respond to this post with whatever it is in your life that keeps you from geting things done on time. Prize (with no photo, because does it really need one??) is a set of Tim Hltz' grungeboard alphabets.

Also--update--we have received all the new Memory Box stamps and papers--butterflies--gorgeous--well done, Dave!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Artist's Spine

We all have a backbone...some ache more than young folks out there will understand this more later on. Anyway, this backbone is our spine, that set of bones that runs from head to tail, that connects to most of our ribs, that protests our nerves. It is a central part of our anatomy, and anytime there is something wrong there, we feel it immensely, and we can even get immobilized by the pain. For us, as artists, we are going to see the "spine" as defined by the other terms used for it, those being "willpower" and "courage." We say of someone, "they had the spine for that task" or "you need a strong spine to accomplish that task."
As artists, we need willpower and courage to continue on in the face of elements in the world that would slow us down or stop us altogether. We need the courage to take chances with our art, to make it, maybe even show it to other people, and yes, my goodness, even put it out there for sale!! We need willpower to sit at the art table, (Sometimes, I need the willpower to actually find my art table) and let our muses speak to us. Sometimes the voices are very low, or hesitant...Our willpower enables us to sit still and wait for the inspiration, to practice the new techniques. Maybe when we have learned something, or seen it in a video, and go to try it out, it doesn't come out as we had planned. We need to be able to persist, tweak, adjust, and repeat, and be open to lots of different outcomes.
To really learn about a project, I am discovering that I need to make more than just one sample. I need to try different colors, textures, sizes, materials...just to see what direction I really want to go in. Sometimes, I am not necessarily being creative as much as I am being scientific, experimenting... what happens if I try this?...or that? I need my courage and willpower intact to get to where I want to go. When my "spine" is out of kilter, i.e. my courage is weak or my willpower is taking a nap, things don't progress, I slow down, and I am a bit off of my path. Exercising the back muscles keeps the spine fit. Exercising our courage and willpower muscles keeps our artistic spine strong. OK, everybody, get out there and do 50 sit-ups, artistically speaking, of course!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

This week I am going to write about the Artist's spine...but that is for tomorrow, when I will actually make the entry. Right now, I am just showing the prize for the upcoming week, to be given to a randomly selected entry from everyone who leaves a comment on tomorrow's post. It is a pair of albums from Making Memories, one is 12 x 12 , the other is 8 x 8. Good Luck!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Heart of the Artist

So, today we are thinking about the artists's heart. Well, what is the heart, what does it do? Some would say it is our core, others, a circulation pump, yet others would say it is the seat of many things for such a small organ...Anyway, as a circulation pump, the artist's heart circulates the life-affirming energy that causes us to bring our impulses into the field of art, and into existence. We have something inside of us, that, without the sustenance (oxygen and sugar) delivered to our soul/mind/creative spirit, would remain unshared. So, the artist's heart, insofar as it allows the good items we ingest (again, reading books, mags, taking classes, talking to other people, and even, yes, experimenting!) to circulate through the brain, sustains and supports our creativity.
As our "core," our heart drives us to do what we love, what makes us come fully alive. This is a little different than the whole "love center" thing...We say about people, they had the "heart" to do something difficult, or brave...and we usually mean the drive, the essential, purposeful desire to do a certain thing. So, with our art, we have the "heart" to create something from how we feel, whether it is a scrapbook page about people we love, a few cards for some friends, an altered book that we can share with others in a round robin, or a piece of art to hang on our wall at home and just appreciate, soak in, and re-experience the "heart" that drove us to create it. Sometimes we need a little bravery to try something out of our comfort zone, afraid we might be judged as odd, or fringe-ish (which, in my opinion, is not such a bad place to be.) This is where the "heart" of the artist takes over and guides us into our work. Many of us have had the experience of just getting lost in what we are doing as we play with our art supplies...this is the heart, leading us to a place it knows about, before we even realize that we are going in a certain direction. There are reasons, almost always really good ones, that impel us to create exactly as we do...a certain color evokes a memory, a texture brings us to a new place, a juxtaposition makes us feel soooo deeply...This is living, supported by all the functions of our heart. So, I just say, follow your heart.
And that brings us to the most familiar aspect of the heart, the loving part. We are all pretty familiar with this aspect. We love our significant others, our children, our parents, our dear friends...and our art. We can get very enthusiastic about art, in that we just want to be doing it, thinking about it...everywhere we look, we see something we want to bring into our next excites us, and makes our hearts swell with it the ink on our fingers, the paint in our hair...the colors we are surrounded by? We are delighted by it, we love it, we are content in its presence. We feel full being in our "art" element...we feel safe, at home, whole, and content...I do believe that this is love. I love my art, and it seems to be loving me back. How nice is life to work out like that.
Here is the prize for a random drawing I will do from
everyone who leaves a comment after this entry. It is
an assortment of stuff to make art with.
I think you will "love" it with all your "heart."