I was so excited to start the new year after spending the holiday trekking to and from Florida. We arrived home on the afternoon of New Year's Eve and had a restful evening. I got up and joined a couple of friends for a workout on New Year's Day -- great start to the year so far. I completed 5 paintings that week. But as the week progressed, I could not ignore the nagging aches in my body and growing fatigue. Then the fever hit. I went for a Covid test, which came back positive. Bummer. I cancelled my First Friday art event. This is not how I planned January!
That said, I'm grateful for a few kind souls in my life. My boyfriend made sure that painting orders still went out on time. My dog has been ever at my side. And a really sweet friend of mine in California sent me a surprise care package filled with goodies from Blue Oak Coffee in Bakersfield, which she co-owns. Bernadette roasts her own coffee beans, and you can order online.
The care package included organically grown oranges and Meyer lemons. I immediately looked up receipes for Meyer lemons, and came across this great recipe for Ginger Cardamom Meyer Lemon Crinkle Cookies over at the PineappleandCoconut. I may have eaten quite a bit of the dough before it even made it into the oven. But they were delicious baked as well.
Photo credit Shanna over at PineapplandCoconut.
How about treating yourself to some coffee and cookies? I'd love to know if you do!
My art process is intuitive. I don’t plan much, except my color palette. But that doesn’t mean that making art is without its challenges. I look back and see where I started when I took up a paintbrush again 2 years ago and my first attempt at abstract art, compared to where I am today. I paint obsessively, so the lessons I’ve learned in these 2 years have been many in number and difficult at times. My color choices have improved. My art has improved. My compositions have improved. My reasons WHY I make art have become clearer. I cannot afford workshops, so I’ve learned on my own, trying until I discover my own breakthroughs. Sometimes with tears. I think all true artists feel like failures at times. But out of the dark times and the difficult times beauty has been born. Resiliency emerges. My art has changed. I’ve lost some fans for whom my message no longer resonates. And I’ve gained others who want to be a part of my journey, who understand that life and art are more than pretty pictures. Sometimes it’s about grit and tenacity and change. Just as ocean waves splash over rocks, pulling away impurities and smoothing what is left. My new collection, titled “Emerging”, is also a relevant reflection on what we are currently, collectively experiencing as a world in lockdown.
In the midst of all of the heaviness of news in the world, it’s easy to wonder whether the world still needs the arts. One of the first business closings in Chicago that I heard about was an historic dance company. Of course, there are many others and the list keeps growing, but it just shows how delicate of a balance it is for so many businesses to stay open. So what about art? Do we need art?
We do. There is value in owning an original painting, drawing or print, seeing its texture and the nuances that are oftentimes lost in reproductions. For instance, I own several works of art by other artists that are oil/acrylic paint on canvas, and I can feel the texture with my fingertips and see how the varnish catches light to play up those textures. And if I turn over the paintings, I can see the artists’ inscriptions on the backsides. I can smell the faint scent of varnish. The art is “real” to me. There is nothing like it, and knowing I own the original, touched by the hands of the artist.
So we will always need the arts. Live performance dance is so much more engaging than video recordings. Original art is so much more engaging than reproductions. This is why people buy tickets to a ballet or spend a day in a museum — to engage with the art in a way they can’t from behind their mobile devices.
My business is still open. I work my business every day. I still believe in the value of adding my own brand of beauty to the world, of creating art that is unique, uplifting, dimensional and original. I still plan to launch my next collection on Earth Day, April 22nd. I hope you'll join me. You can receive notifications by subscribing to my email newsletter.
If you are looking for a fun and colorful family-friendly activity while you are staying at home, I recommend dying eggs with supplies many of you already have on hand. If you don't have Easter egg dye packs (such as Paas), food coloring works just as well. I use plastic cups filled with warm water, a tablespoon of vinegar and 15 or so drops of food coloring. You can mix your own colors: red and blue make purple, yellow and red make orange, yellow and blue make green, etc. You can find a color wheel online if you want to see what colors mix to create other colors. (This could also be a fun teaching moment for kids.) To create the squiggly lines as shown in the photo above, I used a white crayon to draw continuous squiggly lines all over my eggs. If you start with a white egg, your lines will remain white. For colored squiggles, I first dyed my egg in one color, let it dry completely, added squiggly lines with white crayon, and plopped the egg into a second color. The crayon will act as a wax resist, so your lines will end up remaining the same color of the first dye bath, but the egg that is untouched by wax will change color in the second dye bath. Repeat this process if you want multi-colored squiggles.
I wish you all a healthy springtime. We'll get through this!
I'm a lifelong artist living just outside of Chicago. I love flowers, vintage finds, nature hikes and all things beautiful.