Object Dar't

June 29, 2011

The Winner of "Name that Work"

I recently painted something that had me stumped. I had no idea what it was I painted or why. I've learned not to question certain things because it only puts you on a mental hampster wheel you can't get off. So I just went with it. Because I have a lot of friends who have a secret desire to be artistic (and as a means of encouraging them!), I posted the painting like I usually do only this time I solicited for a name for the painting. Seriously - how can name what you don't know? Four very clever people came up with such good names that I couldn't decide. Here are the names & authors:

"Pathways" by Lisa Sickler Longendyke
"Traversant" by Sherri Stakes
"Earth Traveler" by Bruce Martelli
"The Great Divide" by Jennifer Baum

Earth Traveler by Denyse Dar

How do you pick one of THOSE?? My solution? I wrote them down on pieces of paper, tossed them in a bowl and plucked one out. It's always a good thing when you let fate decide! ;) I was so impressed and honestly, I loath having to name my work. I'm a girl who clearly think in terms of pictures, not words. But it made me realize that it's such a joy having others participate in my creative process. I'm always alone in my studio when I'm painting and rather than just having my work be something passive for others - why not let them participate in whatever ways they can? So...I've decided to keep doing this. I'll have a "Name that Work" contest (lol) every time I finish a piece and let others imaginations run wild with it. So watch my Facebook page ( http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=100002173211407) for future contests and join in the fun. Maybe I'll even give away some prints as prizes for folks who participate. Now that'd REALLY up the fun factor ;)

So without any more blah blah, I'd like to announce the winner of my very first "Name that Work" contest! Many thanks to Bruce Martelli, who suggested "Earth Traveler" as a title! Great job Bruce, you are welcome to pick a print of any of my work as a thanks for your help.

June 25, 2011

Tapping inspiration

massachusetts paintings

You always hear artist's refer to the "muse", this mythical embodiment of inspiration that encourages them to create. There is of course, no such thing. And it's a strange thing really; in the classes I tach, try as I might to explain to students the process of receiving and translating inspiration, it ever remains allusive. I can see my students look at me with their faces full of questions. I liken it to trying to describe to an infant "how to love." But I continue to try because it's important.

massachusetts paintingsmassachusetts paintings http://fineartamerica.com/art/paintings/massachusetts/all" style="font: 10pt arial; text-decoration: underline;">massachusetts paintings
Wachusett Mountain Ski Lodge in Princeton, MA

I think that being creative (the process of receiving inspiration and translating it) is something we ALL can do the same way we all have the capacity to love. But just like the people we see all around us, some have a greater capacity (and UNDERSTANDING) to love than others. It's my belief that this is only due to more experience - a willingness to love, love well and love often. So too with art. Inspiration and being artistic is simply a matter of practice to the point of being able to recognize inspiration when it comes and having the bravado to sit down with DO what that inspiration tells you.

So how do you recognize inspiration? For me, it's like an "aha" moment. I get excited about something I see or hear or even FEEL. My latest painting was actually a doodle I did in the morning of my hometown. For the past year, the love and passion I feel for the scenery and architecture around me has sustained me to the point that I now possess a literal body of work. I don't know how or why I come to love this place so much. I hated it growing up. But I've come to accept that the meaning has changed for me and I've embraced it unconditionally. The love I feel winds up being conveyed in whimsical ways such as a doodle that I want to turn into a T-shirt for my kids to wear on the 4th of July. It's a big to-do here in town and what better homage than a walking work of art?

My hometown is the geographical center of Massachusetts...hence the Central Tree

So, to begin to instruct you on how to tap your inspiration, I encourage you to simply start with what you love. We all have a personal theme - things we continually love to doodle or draw or collect images around us. And DO NOT judge (under any circumstances) what those themes contain. One of my students complained that she always draws butterflies and hearts. There isn't anything wrong with that! You should simply keep drawing hearts and butterflies until they become stylized. Perhaps you like to make the hearts long and thin. Using your personal theme allows you to develop your style in the form of play. Because you enjoy hearts and draw them often, you'll be more inclined to play with what you do to them because you aren't concerning yourself with whether it is perfect. So start playing around...begin to ALLOW inspiration to come to you. After awhile you will come to recognize inspiration because it can't be taught to you in words. It simply must be experienced. Now go doodle!

June 14, 2011

Creativity is simply "tapping into"...

Life is what it is; ups, downs, obstacles, lessons, heartaches and joys. There's no way around it. I've written previously about the fact that I noticed early on in my painting that certain thoughts and feelings came out on paper.

At first, the things I seemed to be obsessed with (weather patterns actually!) just seemed to bubble out of me. But then I went through a period of transition - learning how to create almost daily - which put a demand upon me mentally that I hadn't expected.

I found out that the process of creativity can't be forced which is probably why so many people can't show up to a blank piece of paper. It's too daunting. And I think that mainly has to do with the fact that at this point in time, there is no such thing as a truly original idea.

What I discovered though is that inspiration and insight are the gas for the engine that is creativity. For much of the past year, I have simply painted what I loved in the moment. Something that made me feel the urge to express my love for the places around me in a non-verbal way.

But recently, I've had my first experience in expressing an emotion. Even insight. With the passing of my father, has come reflection, insight and growth. Because we were estranged, it felt a bit like peeling an onion. Pulling back dried, layers of shedding skin,and then getting down to soft, supple layers that still contained the sweet, pungent juice that both make you cry and frustrate you. However, when I reached the heart of the onion, I simply felt love and forgiveness. And I began to put that down on paper. Even as I painted what I had sketched, I continued to reflect and gain insight. It was an amazing experience that could have never happened through any conversation.

And so I look back now over the year that I've been painting, I come away with an understanding I didn't previously possess. Creativity isn't genius of showing up to a blank page and coming up with some great idea which you then must execute well. It's simply your thoughts and emotions about the life that is happening both around you and within you that just leaks out onto the blank page. And it's easily done if you're just brave enough to pick up your pencil or paints.

martha's vineyard paintings

martha's vineyard prints