Archive | Art RSS feed for this section

Still Making Art (Every Day)

16 Nov

          This will be short, I’ve been taking care of my little man the past week and a half. He’s been really sick and I’ve been giving him Albuterol therapy with the machine 3 times a day for about 7 or 8 days. Oh Joy!

 

                                                     IMG01122

 

          The workshop I have been participating in since the beginning of November has brought forth so many ideas, so much inspiration, that I keep feeling the need to make journal entries or spreads from quotes I’ve found as I read this wonderful book Life is a Verb (Patti Digh) under the expert guidance of Effy Wild (Wild Precious Studio).

 

                                                    IMG01128

 

          One of the things Digh discusses when touching on the subject of your life as your personal story is the concept of Quiditty, or that which makes you “you”, the embodiment of your individuality. She talks about patterns, of the fact that we should take note of those things in our lives which have become part of a pattern. Are our patterns working for us?, If not, what should we do to modify them?

 

IMG01129

 

          This idea of what makes me ME, and of the fact that there are so many patterns in my life drove me to a journal entry I really enjoyed making. I have realized that it is life which has helped me become an individual. I recognize that there are aspects of my character and personality which are inherently part of my upbringing, but life has thrown quite a hefty amount of curveballs my way too, and those have shaped me as much as erosion reshapes a rock. Many of those things that life has offered me are part of patterns: the kind of men I fell for, the kinds of people I surrounded myself with, how much of a people pleaser I used to be… well, the list is too long for today and you already know how I feel about lists!

 

IMG01131

          After this, I kept on going and did an entry totally unrelated to the workshop, yep, I was on a roll!

IMG01119

The page has a cut out, so I had to finish the dress on the next page so it would show on the page as part of the piece:

IMG01123

Then I saw I would have to justify hat piece of fabric there on the next page when it came time to use the page. What to do? I created a window with four panes so the piece of fabric could be turned into a curtain:

                                                      IMG01126

IMG01125

          I did the same thing with the missing wing part. The page says:

“I always wear my heart, its wings make for a pretty dress. It’s all made out of feathers and I can put it on whenever I feel safe to take flight. I keep my pretty white dress in a safe place, its feathers are really worn.”

          Come to think of it, it actually has to do with the workshop too, and the patterns and my very own Quiditty.

This is as much as the fat lady can sing for today. Thanks for looking and reading and making the visit.

I love your comments and am planning on a give-away pretty soon. So don’t only visit, follow me here too, subscribe and you’ll always be on the know.

As always, Blessings, Love and Light!

E.

Advertisements

ART Every DAY!!! (yep, still at it)

10 Nov

Just in case you were wondering. I’m still here, and still “arting” every day. These last few days I have been working, finally, on the writing and journaling for the Wild Precious Studio workshop “To See Us Through The Long Dark” based on Patti Digh’s book LIFE IS A VERB.

So, I finally gave myself time to sit down and DO something. I had started reading the book as soon as I got it in the mail, I had to go back, sit down -before even thinking about answering Effy’s prompt questions- and take a look at what had caught my attention while giving it a first read. I sat down and went over all my underlining and margin notes and started with that. I copied the quotes that hit me the hardest and reacted to them, much in the way I did my studying and researching when I was in College. Finally studying Literature served me for something! LOL

Well, I spent a couple of hours doing that, and THEN I went back to Effy’s questions and was able to answer them honestly and without as much trouble as I was having when I first looked at them.

The main idea of what we have to do art-wise is to work on the concept of our life story seen as a house. I thought, if my life is a story, it’s in a story-book, this made me think of my childhood, and all the years I spent dreaming of having one of those big doll houses that open –just like a book would- and both sides have room for everything a house should have, like a full life, I wanted a full house. So that is what I “journaled”. The idea of inhabiting my life-story was wonderful for me, because I could truly look at my life almost from the outside in, like I do when I am analyzing a novel. So my house became my “STORY-Book HOUSE”.

I jotted the plan to make a board book into a house-book, with all the pages looking like the inside og a little girl’s doll house. Since I did not have the time to make that, I turned my original idea into a 3part journal spread. On the outside cover of the journal I’d already made for the workshop I created the facade of my Story-Book House. This is what came of it, the home I have always dreamed about, a little cottage surrounded by trees and flowers, in this case all representative of aspects of my life, past and present (notice the door has no knob, your life-story should be opened from the inside): clip_image002

Then I turned the page and went in. The next two pages show two sides of my story, two parts of my home. It is as if you were opening a doll house and looking in at both sides of the house.

clip_image004

One side is darker, more introspective, with books (which have always been a very important aspect of my life, a rocking chair like my grandfather’s (which I used to rock my son to sleep when he was a baby. There is a huge key above the door and the space where the door should be is full of little drawers (the compartmentalization you create for the world outside of your story.) There is an old map of NY and a round window that looks out into nothing (since what really matters is inside), the outside functions accordingly. There is a woman looking down from the attic, that is one of my first drawings, and she’s my muse, overlooking my inner life. There is also a stairs going up and a caption at the bottom that reads: “ADULT NONFICTION”. And a space above the house, in the “sky” to do some journaling.

clip_image006

On the right side is a sunny and magical space inhabited by creatures past, present and future (maybe). The people that did not stay (good riddance). There are creatures of nature which remind me of the wild woman in me, of my ancient ties with air, water and trees. The freedom I struggled to have for so long is present in the form of butterflies, dragonflies and birds. Even a toad is there, something I’ve always hated, but reminds me of the ugly parts of myself and of my life I’ll always have to live with… There is also an antique bird cage, beautiful and ornate, but still a cage – a reminder not to repeat the same mistakes from previous marriages.

Well, not gonna bore you anymore! Instead of giving myself space for journaling, I added printed words that helped me illustrate my story: The Building Site, Contemplation, Creativity, Observation, Society, Acquisitions, Find the Future and Promise (because I have never felt my life holds as much promise as it does now).

This is hard, good hard, it is also amazing and so rewarding! It’s like having therapy with a shrink, but creative and FUN!

*YOU SHOULD COME CHECK IT OUT AT WILD PRECIOUS STUDIO

On a different note: The painting finally arrived to its destination in Missouri!!!! YAAAAYYYYYY!!!!! Here is the pic my friend Kimberly sent of the way she has set it up in her home. It is simple, tasteful and just LOVELY!!!!

clip_image008

This is all for now Guys! The fat lady has sung and will keep posting art stuff as “almost daily” as possible. Till then,

Blessings, Love and Light!

PS: I worked on a new journal spread today and hope to be posting and blogging about it tomorrow.

E.

Art Every Day (day 2)

5 Nov

Ok. I’ve been doing it every day so far. I have been cheating a bit too, cause I have also been doing some other finishing up these days as well as the piece that I presented to you on Nov.2nd.

I’ll show you the finished product and then I’ll go on to show ya the other stuff.

This is what you saw then, my preliminary work on a new piece where I would later on add some collage:

This is what I did next, I took some lovely colors from my little craft acrylics bin, squirted some around the girl, pink, blue and yellow. Then I spread them around, getting this sort of thing as an effect –that’s my technical description and I’m sticking to it!

Now, as you can imagine I could not possibly leave that poor naked girl, so pure and chaste on a background that would call attention to her nakedness… Oh no! Mamma had to do something about this! And SOON! So this is what happened:

 

I’ll try to get a better quality pic –taken during the daytime, maybe- so you can get a better look at the texture on the piece. She’s lovely, isn’t she?

The other piece that I had been working on that I finished after the start of this month was a mixed media piece I had started as fulfillment to my first commission. My friend Kimberly Brown Miner –baker extraordinaire and owner of Sugar and Spikes in Missouri- had asked me to put her in one of my pieces, to turn her into one of my girls. Well, I thought, Kim is a lovely woman with gorgeous tattoos, a flawless ivory skin and big gray eyes… hmmm, what to do??? I know she enjoys the dark side in art, she enjoys the Goth style. May I turn her into a Goth girl, with big blue eyes and dark hair and of course, those gorgeous tats? So I went with that idea. I practiced drawing her face once, twice, and by the third time I was pretty happy with the resemblance. I cut the face drawing and after having created a sort of Goth, dark background on a 12 x 16 canvas, I placed the face to the back ground:

 

I drew the shoulders in white pencil and started to color it in, skin color first, then the facial features, then the tattoos, it was a disaster. The line where the paper drawing ended and the canvas began was too obvious, the layers of acrylics were making it all too thick. This was the effect, and it was the wrong one.

 

Besides, I don’t know why this happens, but she looked much more like my model as a drawing than she did as a painting, it wasn’t Kim any more. I e-mailed her with a copy of this image and explained my missgivings, especially the fact that it did not look like her. Her answered made me so happy, and gave me the freedom to really do something special for her. She said: It doesn’t have to look like me, and I just want to be in one of your paintings, do your thing and it’s gonna be fine, don’t sweat it. Or something of that sort. I was so happy I just sat down and drew the image I had had on the back of my mind going against the grain all this time: I’m going to remake Kim as a cupcake goddess! This is what I sent her in the mail last Tuesday morning:

 

I added the detail of sewing the “sprinkles” on with glass beads. I’m happy to say Kim loved it. But there was another woman, let’s say, an adult version of the girlie goddess, that still bothered me, I liked her very much, but her destiny was not as I originally had imagined. I went back some days ago to my work table and sat down with her for a bit of a chat. I just had to give her a “make-over”. This was the result:

      From this:   

To this:

 

                                             

Yep, I thought so.

For now, the fat lady has sung. Till next time when I see what the heck I can come up with to keep pushing myself further ahead into the unknown yonder!

Blessings, Love and Light!

E.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a Short Nap

12 Oct

This is just to give you an idea of what I was selling at the fair. My “half-orange”  (husband) took the time to snap a few while I busied myself with my efforts to sell.

venta en la calle - detalle (2)

I brought back a trick from my past experiences. I remembered how many of my artisan friends would take some work with them to their selling spot and work while showing the finished product. It is a good way for people to see that you are the actual artist, the real human being creating the pieces they are holding in their hands and enjoying.

venta en la calle 2

As you can see I didn’t even have a fabric cover for the table (which my dear friend Leslie loaned me) so I purchased some plastic party “tablecloths”. I had no stands or rests for my jewelry. I had no canopy to cover me from the sun… well, you got the picture. But there is something that did help me a lot, to bear the hours, the standing and the boredom. After my husband left with our son to go home till closing time, my friend Leslie came to keep me company and help me out. She is one of those people who can make you laugh and enjoy whatever you are doing even when carrying a burden herself. After she came my mood lightened considerably, which allowed me the levity to feel free, dance to the music of the pirated CDs stand –which was huge by the way, and had many, many customers- and sell some more stuff. If you have ever seen my mixed media portraits you may remember having seen her face:

 

5-26-2011 5;54;16 PM

So it comes to this. Just take a nap, (I tell myself)  and make your Ego get some sleep too. Maybe you will both dream big and exercise your mind while resting your soul. Always carry your loved ones, family and friends with you, you might need them to carry you once in a while. Love gives us stronger arms than any push-ups.

Now that the fat lady has sung she’s going back to bed. Just had about 3 hours of sleep before having to take my kid to the doctor. I’m beat!

Blessings, Love and Light!

E.

Now My Ego Can’t Sleep

12 Oct

Back after some long hours hunched over my polymer clay beads trying to work some magic. I have struggled for the last few years to start my jewelry business. It would be an understatement in any part of the known universe to say that it’s been easy. There has never been any money to invest, but we have invested. There has been a “how much time can I spend working the clay and mixing colors and struggling to make interesting canes-while trying to keep a modicum of order in my house and a family happy” kind of issue. Not for either my son or my husband, but for myself.

The bottom line seems to be that in order to do as much as I think I should  do, I have to be home-maker by day and artist/artisan by night. It’s not: “Have gun/will travel” for me. It’s rather: “Have coffee/will create”. The problem is even during nights when I have “nothing” to do, I still stay awake in bed creating in my mind, so active, so loudly, so crazy I will not go to sleep. My mind keeps going on and on this loop that has each idea begetting another and another… it’s like an episode of LOST!

The last few weeks I spent sleepless nights either working or worrying over the looming date of October the 8th. I had come across a street “fair”, the kind where a group pays to have a piece of street closed off during much of a day to have an assortment of nondescript vendors set up camp and sell their stuff  -from food to clothes to used bric-a-brac to cheap plastic jewelry. I have been dying to go back to the years when I sold my home-made candles at craft fairs in Puerto Rico. I was a happy artisan back then. I even had a licence from the government that certified me as such and allowed me entrance as a legit seller at craft fairs all over the island. Back then scented candles were only available at department stores or through catalogues. So, when I found myself jobless and in need of something to help me keep my head above water I taught myself to make candles at home with very little expense and after taking some baby steps one thing led to another and I ended up on the local tv crafting show teaching a little bit of what I knew and advertising my workshops.

But this is not PR, this is New York City. Every bit of paper costs you if you want something to be legit (my Puerto Rican government issue artisan licence cost me nothing) so when I found myself at that street fair in Washington Heights, I took a shot and asked around. A very nice lady explained what I had to do and even gave me a written invitation to their next date, one which I could take to the proper authorities who would give me -for a very small fee, mind you- a temporary street fair vendor’s permit to be able to participate at the event. All well and good. I did all I had to do, in a very short amount of time I went, paid my ten bucks for 30 days worth of permit and came happily home, carrying an ID card permit thingie. They say the devil is in the details, right? Well, my own little devil had snuck in through the tiny detail of what I had to pay the nice lady who gave me the invite. The fee for participating in the event was $130.0. I gave her a 30 bucks advance and she secured a space for me, all of 10 feet by 10 feet.

It is more than understandable that I could not sleep, I had tons of stuff to do, I had lots of ideas to put to work, to try out before going. But I hadn’t done this in ages. I was so ignorant of all the basics, just as if I were doing this for the first time. And, I did not have any money for all the minutiae that comes with setting up “camp Madre Luna”. Anyone who reads this who has ever done any kind of selling event will pee in their pants laughing if they saw my pitiful set up. I just did the best I could. Honestly. I know that, my husband knows that, even my 6-year-old knows that. But my poor, wounded Ego has no idea. Frankly, I feel like shit. I am definitely thankful for the pieces I sold (all of 10), I am thankful for all the people who stopped by and looked, and looked, and looked and praised my work as original, as unique, and then strode on their merry way on to my neighbor the handsome Asian selling cheap chinese plastic jewelry. There were two very lovely ladies who stopped by and did not only compliment my work, they bought multiple pieces… after I lowered the prices so they could actually take more than one set of necklace and earrings. Oh! Price, that’s another joke. I price my stuff the way I was taught by my Mom -who has had home-based businesses of one kind or another all her married life- actually, the way anyone with a pulse would price their stuff: you add your investment in supplies to your time and the amount of work you put into it, not to mention taxes if you have to. Well, my jewelry is more than fairly priced, it takes into account competition and placing. So, I went even lower considering the competition and the place… I made $100.00. 30 bucks short of what I paid for spending the day on my feet doing the little “come see/come buy the goods” dance we all have to do.

It was definitely an experience. My dear half orange tells me I have to think about it this way: we paid 130 dollars for a workshop on how to sell in this kind of scenario. I know he’s right, even little Otto knows it, but my poor stupid Ego just won’t let go of its pain. So I will try to go to bed tonight (technically it’s morning, last I saw it was past 3:30) and sooth my Ego with memories of craft shows past, tell him (cause it’s a stubborn little man this Ego of mine) that everything will be all right, that my art is beautiful, that my pieces are one-of-a-kind, that each bead is unique and that next time it will hurt less and we’ll sell more.

Another thing to add to my list!

Oh! I almost forgot to tell you: the polymer clay jewelry workshop I had up on MMW has been closed. I decided to start showing my craft right here for free for everyone who comes to read, and laugh and commiserate with my poor, poor Ego. Watch out for this next few days, just to see what happens, Ok?

For now, the fat lady has sung and is off to bed at… at 4:39 a.m. Shit! My husband’s gonna kill me for not sleeping… again!

Blessings, Love and Light!

E.

P.S. I promise pics from the show next time…

On Making Lists

13 Sep

I have never been fond of making lists. The last few years this has become even less likely since I have become increasingly absent-minded (yep, my mind is not present in the moment, but almost always absent) forgetting to bring my cel phone with me when I go out. Going out and forgetting my keys inside the apartment and ending up locked out of my own house. Noticing after hours in front of the computer that my eyes are red -haven’t put on my glasses- and it’s almost bedtime and I haven’t ushered my son to the bathtub… well the list goes on and on.

Which brings me back to lists. I hate making lists, maybe because it means that I am forcing myself to follow a set of “rules” (I know that is NOT what lists are made for, but my rebellious nature gets caught up in the small things). Hated them to begin with and now I just -if and when- make a list and totally forget I have it in my purse/pocket/bag/hand… And that is when I remember to make a list. This almost-gone-summer was one for lists, mental or written: lists of things we had to take on our trip, lists of bills to pay as soon as we got the loan, lists of things I WANTED to get when the money came, back-to-school lists… Well, summer is almost gone and I finally have decided to sit down and make a list. Not a shopping list, not a chores list, an important “things-I-want-to-do-with-all-my-heart-list”. Although it is not a “Bucket List”, it is a list of things I have been lazily putting off till later but have to face head on. Some of the items in the list are things that will be hard to accomplish and so have been put off till later. Some things imply some soul-searching and this can sometimes be hurtful, any kind of self-search is always difficult and I -who used to pride myself when younger on the fact that I was not “scared to look inside” have lately come to feel so out of touch with myself that the young woman I just mentioned actually seems like a stranger. Someone I’d like to get to know better, though.

I have come to rely too much on the grounding effect that my husband’s love has on me. I have become complacent with myself because he just makes my life so much easier, so much simpler, maybe because he loves me deeply and shows it frequently. I have come under the impression -false, of course- that there is no more struggle for me, that I can just lay back, be a mom and wife and use as much free time as I want for my art. But I want my art to be as meaningful as my life is, as deep as the love I feel for my husband, as bright as the pride that fills my heart every single day when I pick up my six-year-old son from school… as joyful as my memories of my father, whom I feel closer to me now than when he was alive. I want my work as an artist -now that I finally have come to a place where I feel free to call myself an artist- to show my own depth, my own sparkle, my own Faith. I want all of me to be there present in each and every piece I create so that when anybody who knows me sees it they can see Me in it.

But for that I have to be present for myself. And I have to accept I have let myself “go”. Yes, emotionally, spiritually, and sadly in a very physical sense too. So, soul-searching is first on the list. Looking deep inside once more to see who it is that looks back from within. I used to write too. A lot. I loved to write and read and do stuff that helped me grow. It seems as though I have -in some unconscious level- believed there is nothing further, no more frontiers to reach. I have forgotten that the Human Spirit is much more than just a ball of energy inside my soul. Spirit, when let go outside of the physical body, is as limitless as the sky. Why then should I have become so complacent? Was the road here so hard at times I have just taken a longer rest on the road than I should have? My life is full of meaning, full of joy and beauty. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware of this and grateful for each and every day I wake up and count my long list of blessings. But my spirit feels asleep somehow, so it is time to wake it up.

I have had the pleasure of late to enjoy the company of many interesting and special Spirits, women whom I have come to know through my friend Jeanette House and who share their work and progress at Wild Precious Studio, with the fearless pajama-clad leader Effy Wild. Something has started to wake up recently and nagging me to wake up entirely. It’s my Spirit calling out from within, feeling the tug of kindred Spirits who have come up to me for a reason. It is the time and place for list writing, and this time I better sit down and listen to my heart. I signed up to do the November worksop: “To See Us Through The Long Dark: Life is A Verb”. I got my book in the mail today “Life is A Verb” by Patti Digh, which we will be using with Effy in the 37 days to”…wake up, be mindful, and live intentionally”.

Self-Portrait

I Am ...Who?

It’s gonna be a long list.

If you want to come along for the ride, you can follow my progress here.

Blessings, Love and Light!

E.

Discovering Black

25 Aug

Black has always been one of my favorite colors -or absence of color, whatever that means, I never took a class on color theory. But I had never thought about using black as a background on which to start a painting or mixed media piece. So this happened as a sort of accident, a happy one, of course.

I had painted a portrait of a woman dressed in a soft shade of pink, with a cat on her lap and a huge black mane. But for some reason I never quite liked it, either the cat’s face did not fulfill my expectations, or the face was too long…I don’t know. The thing is that I had kept it waiting for something else to do with it till I just grew tired of looking at it and feeling it was still unfinished. It’s like my paintings have a shelf-life. If I’m not happy with it after the first month or so I just recycle the surface, whatever it is I’m using for the piece. So I took one last look at it one night and thought: gesso, or acrylic? It was a fairly large canvas board and her hair was black, so if I used gesso I’d have to use lots of it and more than one coat. So acrylic it was, black acrylic. I covered the whole canvas in black and it was more than enough with only one coat. Then, what the “f” would I draw -and how- on a black surface. I looked for something white to draw with: my white gel roller was almost empty… white chalk was too wide for what I wanted to do… I was almost at the point of looking for my Pentel “liquid paper”/”whiteout” pen when I found an old white oil pencil. I was finally able to start something new. A portrai, of course, but what would make this one different? I worked carefully on the face and hair, a big fluffy mass of hair, it would be red, really red. When the facial features and hair were done I decided this portrait had to be a departure of sorts from all the others that had come before it. I just started with one little building that looked a bit like the old Spanish structures we have in Old San Juan, in Puerto Rico. A little chapel of sorts. Then came another and another till most of what would have been her cleavage and shoulders was now covered in buildings. Now what… If the “city” is something she’s wearing, or “putting on” herself carrying around and showing off, maybe what she needed was something wilder and more private, more personal, a place where nobody could reach her, an inner world -as opposed to her social or public persona. So I crowned her with a forest, an world where she can go wild and be herself and not have to pretend, a place of trees and foliage and even -yes, why not- a few little birds.

First steps on black for "City Limits"

The discovery of black has been amazing. Now, instead of having to go in with a super fine brush to add darker details, shadows, etc. to make things pop the black is already there to create the effect. It makes the process easier for me and gives more dimension to any color that I put on top of it. I had no idea of any of this. I am a self-taught artist, many things I have found as part of the age-old trial and error process. I can afford to make all the mistakes I have to, I have the excuse of never having had an art teacher or tutor in my life. I sometimes wish I did because sometimes I feel like I could never compete with someone who has studied art formally. I would never stand a chance in an arguement with someone who went to college to study art. I will always be behind when it comes to comparing myself with a formally trained artist. But, really, between you guys and me -now that nobody is listening in on our conversation-  who gives a flying shit! I have had the luxury of learning at my own speed, with no deadlines and only my gut to guide me -no gut jokes here guys, I know I’m overweight.

Giving her neck a "sky".

I admire and respect each and every artist I encounter -formally trained or not- I learn from everyone who is willing to show me a new technique or how they have honed their talents and style. Not every artist is willing to share, and not all who are sharing are doing it for free. I have been really lucky to become an artist at a time when you can turn on a computer and find thousands of instructional videos explaining almost everything. And even better, there are blogs and other places like Ning where I have discovered communities where knowledge is shared among those like me eager to learn something new every day and share what they know. I will always be in debt with Willowing, with Deb Company and my friends at Mixed Media Workshops and to the wild community created by Effy Wild on her Wild Precious Studio, with her “Effisms” and now the weekend “services” at the Church of Art where she livestreams while she arts and chats with us about art and life and everything in between.

Almost done...

There is strength in numbers, and we are lucky to be making art at a time when there are very strong communities out there for the numbers of people like me who have come to art after a long way of doing other stuff and have felt lost.

"City Limits"

We have choices, we don’t need to fear a blank white canvas. We can always start with the black!

Till next time, the fat lady has now sung!

Blessings, Love and Light!

E.

Frida’s Elusive Mistique

6 Jul

Frida in pencil, from a photograph.

I have been toying with the idea of writing a short series of articles about Frida Kahlo and her influence on mixed media artists today. It is an understatement to tell you that it’s difficult. I have sat down more than once to write down my ideas, to send e-mails to as many artists as I can asking them if they might be willing to respond to a couple of questions about their use of Frida’s image, why they use it and how they see this artist, how influential she is in their career.

I have come to understand that it is a personal failure of mine, this inability to put into words the how and why of my interest in this Mexican woman who was once simply known as Diego Rivera’s wife. I am not talking about Frida the Holliwood creation, the symbol of Mexical colorful musical culture, or the mad lover who once said she loved Diego “more than her own skin.” More than the quality or influences of her life’s work, Frida has become an icon recreated by all of us in the image that best suits our idea of her. The same thing has happened with her image. It doesn’t matter the size or the shape we give her, as long as we see the dark unibrow and the hair full of flowers and ribbons, we know it’s Frida. We have each of us created our own Frida, She who always refused to conform has become with time a pliable substance made of pain and vibrant colors, a suffering glory who procalims above all pain “Viva La Vida” – “Long Live Life”.

Frida con mico.

We may each have different reasons why Frida has been so attractive as as woman, an artist and an image. Some people may see her as a “go to” figure that has become so commercial that it’s sure to attract the attention of art buyers. Some feel an attraction to the colorful flowers, the clothes, the lush plants that sometimes adorn the background of her self-portraits. All of those things are attractive to me. But more than her image, her life and the resilience with which she faced pain, adversity and betrayal are my personal reasons to admire her and to have made her a part of my art and my life. I knew Frida was a Mexican artist, married to Diego Rivera the famous muralist, etc., etc., etc. But it wasn’t until I purchased Hayden Herrera’s book that I learned the details we all know now about her painful -physically and emotionally- existance.

Young Frida

I have not had to live a life in pain, having to undergo surgery after futile surgery to brake and reconstruct the spine. I did not have polio at the age of six. But there are some aspects of her life that trully resonate for me. Frida was unable to have children because of the horrible accident she suffered when she was eighteen. One of her biggest desires was to give Diego a child. It was not to be. I have a wonderful healthy son, but for a couple of years I have been trying to have another baby and it just hasn’t happened. Even worse, I finally got pregnant last year and misscarried shy of a first trimester. It was the most harrowing experience I have had to endure. Frida turned to painting since the accident to pass the time she had to spend in bed. Later on when time in bed became part of her life she would install a mirror above the bed so she could look at herself and paint her self-portraits. Art helped me after I lost my baby to channel all my anger and frustration of having had my dream destroyed. Months later I had to have surgery to remove one of my ovaries, reducing in half the chances of getting pregnant again. Since then I’ve had a journal and at least one pencil beside my bed, close enough for me to jot down my ideas and try out new techniques.

Frida Dreams The Pain Away - ATC

The first ATC (artist trading card) I ever made for a swap was my first drawing of Frida. Since I was not very good at doing facial features back then, I left her eyes closed. I followed the requirements of that particular swap and came up with this: It was the first of a dozen Fridas I have made. I love her image and every time I’m trying out a new medium or technique, I always make a Frida. It always makes me happy. If Frida has truly become an icon, I choose to dress her as Goddess. An empowering image full of life-giving strength, who gave of herself every time she painted a self-portrait as a gift for a friend, that struggled to remain permanent, an ever present image reconstructed in the retina of people’s memories. I think that is the experience I create for myself every time I paint. I do not paint self portraits, I paint women whom I have come to understan and accept as parts of me, versions of me. Pieces of a puzzle that make up who I am: woman, daughter, lover, mother, artist. This is my present for Frida on her birthday. An ongoing present that will hopefully grow as I grow with my work.

Self-taught

2 Jul

When the bug got me -the ART bug, I mean- I began to draw faces and practice different shapes for noses and lips and eyes… I got lots of good advice from people who have become great friends and mentors. But that was only later on, after I followed my hubbies advice. I was restless, feeling like I had missed out on so much learning by not having studied art formally at a college or university. My background is in literature, and although it does not seem that way, it does help out in the inspiration department. But it serves me for nothing in terms of giving me guidelines and helping me to develope skills.

With my restlessness my husband got curious and asked me one day why did I seem so unhappy. I had seemed happy enough when I started drawing and painting, “you know we do not have enough money for supplies”, he said, but he promised me he’d buy them for me as soon as the semester started again and he got paid. “That’s not it”, I said. I explained why I was unhappy with myself and then my dear and loving husband told me something that has served me well since then and that I pass on to you guys now:

Universities and professors work for you as guides and givers of deadlines. You can do that yourself, you just need to have the discipline to do it, just as if you were going to school and meeting with professors. Google whatever interests you, be it painting as a subject, a favorite artist, a sculptor, a mixed-media artist. If you have a Facebook page, try connecting with like-minded people who would be willing to share what they know. Not everybody will be a teacher, not all of them will be good teachers, but that is all up to you.

I started looking for information on polymer clay on Youtube. That gave me a first list of videos to look at. When I saw the amount of stuff there was to look at and learn from, it was like an epiphany! I belonged to a polymer clay group in Yahoo Groups, all their discussions were of great help to me. But I had already started to draw and wanted to learn how to apply shadows to the face to make them more realistic. I stumbled upon a video of a woman painting a face, a simple enough girlie face with big eyes that looked very similar to the posters that used to decorate my sister’s teen-aged bedroom in the early seventies. The woman painting the face was Tamara Laporte; Tammy, for short. Most people in the internet world know her as Willowing. She was speaking with a brit accent and spoke softly and candidly to us about how to apply this or that, what water-soluble pastels she was using, well, it was like having a friend tell you a story. It was wonderful! I started looking for more of her videos stumbling into other stuff on the way cause I still had no idea how to navigate my way through Youtube. I then found her channel, and after that I found her place in Ning (something else that was completely alien to me) lololol.

I went to find Ning. There I joined Willowing’s group, and in that group I met many nice people who were sharing their experiences and sharing their experiments. They were all, or at least most of them diving into this marvelous world for the first time. It was in Tamara’s group that I met Deborah Company. She had created her own Ning group some months before and sent me an invite to check it out. I did, and the rest, as they say, is history. I joined the group she had created: Mixed Media Workshops. There I met another bunch of great people who accepted me and basically took care of me -as a friend and fellow artist- giving me all the support end expertise I needed to keep going, developing and learning. Later that same year I was invited to become an Administrator. I accepted and spent more than a year working with Deb and the rest of the gang, helping out in everything I could. I took a “leave of absence” for some time because I could not offer the group the time I wanted to give. But I soon will be back to where it all began. I hope that if you are a beginner you’ll look for yourself in all those sources that are aveilable today. If you want to follow a career in art and are able to do it putting yourself through college, that’s great! But if, for any reason you can’t. Don’t worry. You don’t have to.

Frida con mico.

Edna

Open for Business!!!

2 Jul

I have re-opened my Etsy shop where you can find the first ten (10) of my series pieces. You can find the link by clicking on my profile picture or looking in my Jewelry page. Here is a taste of what you’ll find there.

 

Hope you like them!