Weekend Inspiration–The Geometry of Art

Is there a numeric formula to art, conscious or unconscious?  Possibly.  Having never thought much about this idea, I am going back to look at paintings to see if I do it unconsciously.  As I operate mainly in the right brain and don’t think much about left brain activity like numbers or numeric formulas, I would have to have done it unconsciously! It will be interesting to see if it happened accidentally.  I would love to know if others find this happening in their art, consciously or unconsciously.

Weekend Inspiration–Artpromotivate.com

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Artpromotivate.com has a fabulous article for inspiration titled: 20 Art Inspiration Ideas for Creativity.  All 20 are great ideas.   One favorite for me is number 19, Making Art for Art’s Sake.  The premise behind number 19 is to simply create outside your usual comfort zone.  19 suggests trying something new or different, not focusing on theme or idea or anything in particular.  Just create.  Play a little bit.  Have some fun and see what happens.  Playing around with a cubist style does that for me.  I have no preconceived notion of where I want it go.  I just play with the color and the shapes and see what develops.  Try some of Artpromotivates’ ideas and follow where they lead.  At the very least, have some fun.  I’d love to hear about others experiences.  While you are on Artpromotivates’ site, check out some of the other motivational tips featured in other articles.

Taking Inventory

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“We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution.” Bill Hicks (from Brainyquote)

Suppose you are stranded somewhere without any art supplies. What do you do? You could dissolve into a quivering lump of uselessness or you could look around and see what’s available. Sit down, think about it and have another cup of coffee. Suddenly the coffee stain on the napkin becomes a shape to be manipulated. Or you spot a lone ink pen on the table and decide to make a few marks. Better yet, you find your flashlight and start illuminating surrounding objects to see what shadows appear.

Artists frequently find ways to make amazing art from the most mundane of materials. Art News has an article on art made with the simple ballpoint pen. This simple instrument becomes an implement for creating amazing art. One artist has made the process of mark -making with a ballpoint pen into a performance as people gather to watch the process. Another artist will go through over 100 pens in one piece alone. The article has a lengthy and fascinating history of the invention and evolution of the ballpoint pen.

Hi Fructose has a wonderful article on the shadow art created by Kumi Yamishita. Simple sheets of paper become human faces on the wall. People appear through the shadows cast by a collection of wooden blocks. This is Colossal features art made from everyday objects by Javier Perez. Perez creates whimsical drawings out of ordinary objects such as old floppy disks. Yamishita and Perez are proof positive that traditional art supplies aren’t the only avenue to great art.

For the certified art supply junkie like me, acute withdrawal would likely ensue without a regular fix. Panic would set in. Disaster would strike. Or the alternative of a simple look around to see what’s on hand for something entirely out of character may be in order. Endless possibilities are everywhere when an inventory of routine surroundings searches for the unusual implement of art-making. Whole new worlds may open up.

Check out what this guy does with a toothbrush:

Year’s End Thank You

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The Painting Pundit started out as a blog for art commentary. As I soon learned, there are many bloggers out there. Instead of shunning a new comer, these fellow bloggers have willingly lent a helping hand. They very quickly jumped right in with encouragement and feedback. I have learned so much from each one. And a funny thing has happened for me. I have found a community of like-minded, yet diverse people. These talented bloggers are friends now. I may not meet them on the street. I may not see them at coffee. But they are friends, none-the-less. We may live in other cities, other states, other countries, and other continents but we meet daily, weekly, monthly. We share stories, we share art, we share life.

As the blog goes out, I meet more friends. Comments, shares, likes, tweets, all have come to mean so much. Each represents a new friend. From them I experience life and art in new ways. I learn what other artists are doing. I see what new and exciting things are happening to artists, writers, photographers and other creative people. Once upon a time, artists had to go to the centers of art happenings to see what was new and developing in the art world. Now one simply has to click on a web site, a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter timeline and all the wonderful things artists are doing open right up. It is extremely exciting, this bold new world of art and creativity.

Who knows where the creative world goes next. The creatives have always blazed trails, opened new doors. Anything is possible. One thing is for sure. Bloggers will be on top of the journey, chronicling all developments as they happen. Bloggers are the new town criers, informing, entertaining, illuminating and keeping up with life and art. I am very grateful to have been able to learn from this happy group of voyagers.

All the best to each and all for a very Happy New Year!

Colorful Fridays–Everything’s Coming Up Orchids

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“A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great love, joy and health.” Leatrice Eiseman executive director, Pantone Color Institute

Frantically searching through paint boxes, “Radiant Orchid” is nowhere to be found. No “Radiant Orchid” in the watercolor box or the oil box. Can’t find it in the pastels either. Horror of horrors! What if the 2014 Color of the Year can’t be added to new paintings? Pantone has declared “Radiant Orchid” the 2014 Color of the Year. Nothing easy this year compared to last year’s Emerald. Anybody can find some Emerald and squeeze it right out of the tube. Not “Radiant Orchid!” No tube comes with that label. How can an artist paint something to go with all the “Radiant Orchid” furniture, walls, and other interior design features of 2014? The only option is to mix it.

Screen shot 2013-12-26 at 7.45.22 PMLeatrice Eiseman of Pantone describes “Radiant Orchid” as fuchsia, purple and pink undertones. That could be any number of color combinations available in the average artist’s paint supplies. The quinacradones, magentas, and cobalts possibly added to ultramarine or alizarin crimson. And don’t forget the mauves. The only way to find “Radiant Orchid” is to start mixing. The problem is in knowing when the exact match for “Radiant Orchid” has been achieved. Which orchids are the radiant ones?

But, have no fear! Pantone also states, “An invitation to innovation, “Radiant Orchid” encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society.” While mixing the various reds and blues to come up with a personal version of “Radiant Orchid” that “expanded creativity” will be available to draw on. What more could an artist ask? So get those paint tubes out and start mixing. Or risk being undervalued in today’s society!

No telling what will happen with all that expanded creativity. A completely original version of “Radiant Orchid” may be revealed. The new mix can become, as Pantone says, “a dazzling attention-getter” possibly hurling the artist into the glare of a radiant spotlight. Soon everything will be coming up orchids. Isn’t that “everything’s coming up roses?” Not this year, it isn’t. This year, it’s coming up orchids, at least the radiant ones.

For more on the Color of the Year 2014 click on the link to Pantone:

http://www.pantone.com/pages/pantone/pantone.aspx?pg=21128&ca=10

Pebbles of the Heart

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“Truth is the only voice free of selfishness.” John P. Lasater, IV

There are words that cause a response from the heart. And there are words that feel like the cold slap of a different reality. For the artist seeking to follow the heart, the difficulty can come in finding the balance where the heart and reality meet in harmony. It is a joyful sight to see so many artists answering the call without being slapped down by some description of reality. When profound words stimulate that heart response, it pays to heed them.

While reading the words of artist John P. Lasater IV in an article for The Missouri Valley Impressionists Society blog, I felt that heart response that is the big, “Yes!” Lasater tells the story of how his friend and mentor asked him to do a little exercise. The exercise entailed placing pebbles representing specific abilities in groups based on personal talents and interests, grouping them according to how each felt to the heart. A struggle to listen to the heart can emerge from the process. As Lasater describes the outcome, it can be life changing. Follow the link for the article to read the whole exercise here.

After reading Lasater’s wonderful story, I then ran across another story with the exact opposite effect. Writing for ABC News is Michelle Goodman with an article titled, “Memo to Artists: Don’t Quit Your Day Job.” My first response was, “Bummer.” However, the article has many valid points of practical reality to pay attention to. Once the cold slap of reality abated, it seemed there could be another way. Can the heart be followed while balancing reality without drowning the creative flow? The answer may be in how the balance is achieved.

Some day jobs are more draining of the creative flow than others. Since many artists are not independently wealthy, meeting practical needs without cutting off the energy needed for making art is where the focus must be. And therein lies the difficulty. Perhaps a second exercise can focus on the reality pebbles while continuing to listen to the heart. The heart will point to the day job reality least likely to drain the artistic energy. Some day jobs may even enhance creative flow. The point is to listen. The heart doesn’t lead astray. Follow where it leads. The heart always speaks truth.

John P. Lasater, IV is one of the founding members of Heart of America Artists Association whose blog can be found at:

http://hoaaa.wordpress.com/

Pearls of Rebellious Creativity

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“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.” Albert Einstein (from Goodreads.com)

Where, oh where is today’s creativity? Is creativity the new buzzword so mainstream it has lost its true meaning? A number of town criers are raising the alarm of an acute loss of innovation due to an epidemic of destructive or dying creativity. The community of artists, writers, musicians, photographers and other creative types are traditionally the keepers of creativity. Is it possible the keepers are letting innovative creativity sit around and get soft and flabby?

A number of writers have taken up the subject of The Death of Creativity in the last few years. In an article for FastCompany.com titled Death of Creativity=Death of Innovation, Kaihan Krippindorff laments the loss of innovation as the inevitable result of the lack of creativity. Krippindorff highlights an article that appeared in Newsweek in 2010 on the subject. Some alarming statistics are beginning to show up. According to both articles, creativity in the U.S. has already sharply dropped and does not appear to be slowing its decline anytime soon.

On the other hand, books on creativity are on the rise. However, instead of addressing the problem, these books seem to be sugar coating the issue by offering simplified pat answers. Acculturated.com has an article by Mark Tapson, titled The Death of Creativity. Tapson discusses an article for Harper’s by Thomas Frank, saying, these happy creativity -encouraging books are leading to a “monetized and commercialized creativity” that will be equally destructive to the process. Tapson puts forth the theory that creativity is born in rebellion. To mainstream the idea of creativity will make it less innovative. These books, according to Tapson, are “de-radicalizing” creativity leading to an acute flat-lining of the source of energy needed to incubate ground- breaking innovation.

Creativity as a mainstream buzzword lacks the resistance of rebellion. It moves with the flow instead of swimming upstream. For creativity to produce pearls of innovation, it must be formed in the friction of the oyster shell. As long as we are comfortable in our smooth grey creativity, there will be no irritating bits of sand to cause the formation of colorful pearls. How boring is a life without pearls! Time to throw some sand.

Weekend Inspiration–Gratitude

Do we, as artists, reveal to the world what there is around us to be grateful for?  We see, hear, and feel the beauty that may be missed by others, especially those caught up in the rat race of the busyness of life. For myself, I forget to approach each canvas as an opportunity to express gratitude for the beauty I see.  When searching for inspiration, perhaps the best beginning is to start with an expression of gratitude for the good fortune of artistic creativity.

Felt or Flat

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“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, but must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller (from Skinnyartist)

If a painting, a piece of music, a poem, a story, a performance, a photograph is so beautiful it touches the heart, it is considered a great work of art. That description is the ultimate validation for the creator of the piece. How does an artist get to the place of creating works capable of touching the heart of the onlooker, reader, listener? As Helen Keller says, it must be felt with the heart. The act of making art must be approached from the goal of creating purely from the feelings of the heart.

Marla Hoover at The Arkansas Artist says, “I always try to paint what is in my heart at the time and I see so many ideas that I can’t seem to get them all out fast enough.” Ideas come from the inner artist, the one who resides in the heart. Ideas from the heart are felt rather than reasoned. Hoover goes on to describe the difficulty of painting what some one else has suggested. Some one else’s suggestion is coming from that person’s heart, not the artist’s heart. Drawing that distinction can be problematic.

Taking the time to listen and to feel the heart before creating art, can open the door to the flood of ideas. It doesn’t necessarily mean another person’s suggestion can’t be felt, it simply means it’s best for the artist to be sure his/her own heart is engaged in the process, as well. Art without the engagement of the heart is likely to lack the energy of feeling, leaving the artwork on the flat side. There’s not much that is beautiful in flat feeling-less art.

Monet’s gardens at Giverny were where his heart and his art were deeply felt.  For more on Monet’s gardens and his life at Giverny follow the link here.