Monday, October 28, 2013

The Mantra of Painting

I’ve made the conscious decision lately to integrate mantras into my days.  By keeping certain mantras in my head, they encourage me to try new things and to be confident in doing so.  Lately I have embraced the mantra of “Why not?”  It’s a great little mantra/question to myself; especially if I am doubting an idea that I have, or when I hesitate to move forward with something I really really want to do, and especially when I lack the confidence of doing anything and in any situation.  It’s also a brilliant response to people when they ask me, “Shannon why are you painting with watercolors?” Why not?  “Shannon why are you leaving the gallery?”  Why not?  It’s very empowering.

So when it came time to head up to the mountains and to begin my watercolor painting endeavor, you can bet that this mantra came fully into play.  I was nervous being out of my comfort zone, nervous to be traveling quite a distance from my house, and just not very comfortable.  But I knew deep down in my heart of hearts that I had been dreaming of an opportunity like this for a very long time.  I was the only one holding me back, and heaven knows that you only get so many opportunities in this life to try new things before they pass you by. 


So as the day progressed I was so pleasantly surprised at how comfortable I was becoming! And….why not?  I was outdoors and surrounded by some of Southern California’s most beautiful mountains ranges.  Bird were singing, a light breeze was dancing around, and several people would stop as they passed by us to ask questions about my painting, about me.  It was a rather heady experience truth be told, and a great opening trip to begin many more trips to come.  I was also getting a firm grasp on the watercolor medium itself; which can be a bit tricky if you don’t have an idea as to how to begin.  But begin I did, and then when we were ready to go I brought the painting home to work on it some more. 

'Monrovia Canyon Morning'
(in progress)
Now I’m truly hooked on watercolor painting.  I have so much more freedom of expression with it.  I find that I can produce shadowing and highlighting much easier.  Textures and grains come up fluidly and without much of a thought.  It’s a very pleasant surprise to say the least.  I’m very happy with the progress that I’ve made thus far, and hope to finish this first painting by week’s end.   Just took a little patience, a bit of persevering, and a few “Why Not’s?” under my belt.

Here’s to the beautiful dance of a mantra and a paint brush..SL

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Great Outdoors

I had the most amazing opportunity over the weekend!  My friend Renee and I took a beautiful trip to Monrovia Canyon Park in Monrovia, California to start a few new painting projects.  This trip for me would be one of many firsts.  This would be the very first time that I would ever attempt to paint outdoors (and out of my safe, comfortable studio environment), to learn watercolor painting, and also my first visit to the breathtaking views of this Southern California mountain canyon area.  I’d been to other local mountain foothills and parks, but this area by far was the most visually impressive.


We arrived early Saturday morning and I quickly began taking pictures of the surroundings.  The incredible scent of pine filled the air, birds called out to one another, early morning hikers waved and greeted us along each path we discovered, and young rangers were always available to answer questions and guide us to wonderful points of interest.  I was lost in the beauty, and I knew that we had made a memorable choice of locations.


I had no idea as to how to begin this painting.  I’ve never been formally schooled in the arts, so most times I just “wing it”.  Which is what I intended to do this day.  And as I set up I heard my mother’s voice reply,  “Just paint what you see.” My mother loved the mountains of Southern California, and was my only teacher in everything artistic.  I had heard this expression of hers many times over the years, but it was always when she was by my side.  I knew then that she was watching over me and guiding me.  So I began.

Five hours later, Renee and I ventured back down the winding drive and into the valley.  I had with me the beginnings of a beautiful watercolor landscape painting that I was excited to continue at home.  She and I plan to make more day trips together, and into other local mountain regions in the days to come and I couldn’t be more excited to do so!

Here’s to venturing out of comfort zones, and divine interventions! SL

Monday, October 7, 2013

Unexpected Blessings

This past weekend was like most in my art world. It was the first Saturday of the month, which meant PVAA’s monthly board meeting at Gallery SOHO.  I, being the association’s Recording Secretary, was obligated to be there to record everything gallery and association related.  It is usually a quick and interesting meeting and we cover many areas that need our attention, discussions, motions and votes.  Someone thankfully, will bring donuts.  It is also the same day that we have ‘take-in’ for our Monthly Show and sale.  So after the meeting the gallery grew busy with artists bringing in their entries for the show, and the gallery was now officially open for the business of the day; so I made my way out of there and headed home.

The rest of the afternoon I spent with my husband doing weekend things and enjoying an afternoon nap. Upon waking I picked up my cellphone to notice that I had several missed calls; all coming from either Gallery SOHO or from fellow artist/friends.  I grew concerned because I am also Gallery SOHO’s Gallery Tracker/Scheduler who is responsible for the monthly gallery sitter calendar and who keeps track of about 21 exhibiting artists. All of my cell phone messages directed me to call the gallery immediately.

But upon connecting with these callers I found out very quickly that there was not a need for me to be concerned, but to be elated!  I learned very quickly, and much to my shock and dismay, that someone had visited the gallery shortly after I had left and bought all of my paintings! Cleared my space in the gallery of everything. I thought that I would faint!  I hadn’t sold many paintings at the gallery lately and this unexpected blessing blew my mind!  I still have not come down from that high.

As I sit here and type this, this fine Monday morning, I am feeling very humbled and very grateful to whomever it was that decided that my art was something that they felt compelled to buy.  The buyer and their reasoning is a mystery to me.  I try not to question this glorious gift but merely just smile, laugh and be grateful that I was born with certain gifts that enable me to be a creative person.  And it also instills in me an eagerness to keep going, keep creating…painting….making art.  It’s what I love to do!
Here’s to unexpected blessings! SL

Friday, October 4, 2013

Arts and Crafts and the Holidays, Oh My!

Every year at Gallery SOHO we hold a Holiday Boutique, where my fellow exhibiting artists can not only show and sell their artwork but their arts and crafts as well; and in a festive holiday setting.  I have not participated in this yearly event so before my departure from the gallery, I’m going to attend!

But what to sell?  My artwork is already there on the gallery walls. Then I had an idea.  What if I could create jewelry from my artwork?  Something fun and funky; wearable pieces of my original artwork?  And after some research I discovered that this would be a fairly inexpensive project!  I quickly ordered the supplies.
I then decided that my splatter abstracts would serve this purpose very well. (See Abstract Art tab above) They are in an array of colors, patterns and textures, and I believe would make for truly one-of-a-kind wearable art pieces. Jewelry from the HeART if you will!  I will also eventually be adding my other artworks into the jewelry pieces, but for now my abstracts will be my focus.

The holiday boutique will also be a good starting point if I were to ever branch out this jewelry making endeavor and sell the pieces elsewhere; possibly even online.  It will allow me to judge whether or not these art/jewelry pieces are interesting, if they could potentially become popular, and also to morph into a new small business endeavor.  And if not, well then they would surely make fun and interesting gifts!
So while I await my road trips with Renee, this is my new art project focus!

Here’s to fun with arts and crafts! SL

Desert Landing

As I sit here this morning with coffee in tow, I am looking out my kitchen windows and across yet another beautiful eastern Arizona sky. Th...