Portraits and Pain

  

Can art and painting help us process our feelings? Feelings that rock us so hard we think we’ll never be the same person again.

   
    Or is artwork a distraction, a place to focus attention away from hurt and sadness? Does the creative process mull our awareness and feelings into the artwork without us knowing?

  
This is a piece that I suddenly realized I was painting for one of my dearest, oldest friends. She lived through cancer last year.🔺

 ❤️ 

#mixedmedia #redheads

Portraits consume my every painting hour~ alas, I cannot paint enough of them to satiate. Bringing their moods to life is divine. LOL.

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Anyway, I am really having fun with them. Here, I used an older, holly hobby-like piece I did, and then remixed. Lots of layers and texture in the background.

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Garland of Roses

  From my workshop #Entwined, #misty mawn. Portraits. Portraits. Portraits. How endlessly fun and challenging it is to draw and paint their moods. I love building up layers of skin tones, rubbing lines out with gauche, re-highlighting parts, etc. Its like a strange puzzle that I am drawn to doing over and over.

  
  
  
 
  

  

   

Experiments with portraits

“The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.” ~Robert Henri

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I’ve been steadily working my way along in Misty Mawn’s online class. My favorite part is portraits. Portraits. Portraits. How endlessly fun and challenging it is to draw and paint their moods. I love building up layers of skin tones, rubbing lines out with gauche, re-highlighting parts, etc. Its like a strange puzzle that I am drawn to doing over and over.

As always, I like showing the process, just as I love seeing almost anything in a Before and After format. Here are the phases of a couple of older portraits. I started in one direction then veered away in another:

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This little piece belongs to a children’s story my mom wrote, that I’m working on illustrating. The story is about a little family of birds that forms, lives, dies, and learns to fly.

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Here’s a wonderful quote from Mary Oliver that feels reassuring to me these days.

“Creative work needs solitude. It needs
concentration, without
interruptions. It needs the whole sky to fly in,
and no eye watching until
it comes to that certainty which is aspires to,
but does not necessarily
have at once. Privacy, then. A place part- to
pace, to chew pencils, to
scribble and erase and scribble again.”

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An Egon Sheile study

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Here’s my painting of Egon Shiele’s self portrait…from an online tutorial with Misty Mawn. Egon Shiele was a prolific protégé of Klimt, and was highly influenced by another his work, but evolved into his own style. I’m moved by Shiele’s ability to take a few lines and create a moving work of art. He spent a lot of time focusing on self portraits and the human figure. His work was often erotic and sometimes disturbing. Egon Schiele was born in Austria, dying of spanish flu at the age of 28 ~tragically, a couple weeks after his pregnant wife died of the same plague.

Characteristics of Shiele’s work:
Strong, sometimes jagged defining Lines, especially of knobby hands, emotional and often provocative sexual forms, bold colors.

Here’s my study of his self portrait, which I chose because of the articulated joints of the fingers:

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I used a photo of my son, with his shocking hair, to capture a similar Sheile-like quality. Then added some fun photo filters from pxlr, while listening over and over to a steel drum rendition of David Bowie’s The Man who sold the world:

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Here’s a favorite poem, by a favorite artist, Lawrence Ferlinghetti:

Don’t let that horse
eat that violin
cried Chagall’s mother
but he
kept right on
painting

And became famous

And kept on painting
The Horse with the Violin In Mouth
And when he finally finished it
he jumped up upon the horse
and rode away
waving the violin
And then with a low bow gave it
to the first naked nude he ran across

And there were no strings
attached

~Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 1958

Everyone an artist

Listening… a little to Bon Iver, Holocene & The Wolves so gorgeous…then made a little shift to Sigur Ros…& how easy it is to draw & paint listening to this music

it’s another overcast/rainy day here, perfect for lingering over a pot of coconut earl grey tea from Wonderland Tea & finishing my early portraits from Misty Mawn‘s workshop. I loved this project, I think I will do it again soon…started from magazine images, painted black background, on a Cigar Box lid.

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I’ve been thinking about who is living an artist’s life? Everyone of us. Since everyone is living a life, and the creative force of the universe is inside each of our nervous systems, our spirits, then no matter what life we’re leading, we are all artists. The cement layer with their trowel, the lawnmower with their rows, the long haul driver with wild mind full of paradise thoughts, the painter at their easel or house going for color, smoothness, lines, the doctor cross referencing a thousand remedies and wounds to apply the right salve. We’re all artists.

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“…so this this the sound of you
here and now whether or not
anyone hears it this is
where we have come with our age
our knowledge such as it is
and our hopes such as they are
invisible before us
untouched and still possible.”

~from To The New Year, WS. Merwin

“The risk it took to blossom”

Thank you from my heart to Misty Mawn. Her angel of inspiration has come my way. Anaïs Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”

I’m bumbling through a painful transition these days. I’ve been laying in bed all week with the first bad cold in a few years, and thinking. My sweet son is growing up and away so fast….he got his license and a girlfriend in the same week. The center of my life has grown wings and is mostly out flying these days. Its all been so sudden and my heart has been aching. I’m nostalgic for his younger self, and want to go way, way back to the beginning– where I could smell his sweet hair and just hold him in my arms. Instead, I’ve been moody and listening to soulful music and painting.

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Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
by Dan Albergotti

Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch the long days.
Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires
with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals.
Call old friends, and listen for echoes of distant voices.
Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Look each way
for the dim glow of light. Work on your reports. Review
each of your life’s ten million choices. Endure moments
of self-loathing. Find the evidence of those before you.
Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen for the sound
of gears and moving water. Listen for the sound of your heart.
Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope,
where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic. Think of all
the things you did and could have done. Remember
treading water in the center of the still night sea, your toes
pointing again and again down, down into the black depths.

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Mixed Media: Diva Espana

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The Swimmer, Italian Pastry, Diva Espana are a fun series of collages that I made in January with my sweet friends over at my house. We gather when we can and love all things crafty. We all have a creative focus in our lives. Dancers, store owners, zumba queens, each of us with our own distinct, female style. I love our mix.

As with all my pieces, Diva Espana begins with layers of paper, images and paint. The little piece of sheet music is called “Robins on the lawn,” from a favorite piano piece I played when I was young.

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I love her blue-black hair.

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The background elements are like puzzle. Finding pieces that add to the composition, but don’t crowd or steal away is one of my favorite parts. In the end, her rosy neckline and skin tone were my favorite parts to work on.

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One of my gorgeous sweet nieces sings opera. She’s a light to all who know her, and her lovely young husband– who also sings opera. I’ve always loved the idea of the exquisite Diva. I really believe each of us is a Diva of our own life, if we allow ourselves.

“We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own and other people’s models, learn to be ourselves and allow our natural channel to open.” –Shakti Gawain

Happy International Women’s day, to all women everywhere, and especially those who came before me and did so much work toward liberation.