Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Birthday and Plan B

Wade got me this book, which I've been drooling over for a few months. It's short stories by Susanna Clarke (the author of the wonderful novel Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell). It's also illustrated by Charles Vess!

These are slippers that my mother-in-law gave me. Aren't they cute!

Today, being my birthday, I had planned to enjoy my new zoo membership (birthday present from in-laws!) and go to the Zoo with my husband, then he was going to take me to dinner at an Italian Restaurant that's near there and is supposed to be just wonderful.

Then I looked outside. It's actually snowing! (It hasn't snowed where I live on my birthday since I lived in North Dakota for a year when I was a child.) This is Seattle, so I was prepared for a little rain, but a cold and wet day (involving snow) at the zoo doesn't really appeal. So now we're trying to figure out a Plan B. I'm a bit at a loss because I really wanted to go to the zoo.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Artwork for Lent

This is the altarpiece I created for Lent, which we (the arts committee) installed last Saturday. It's very difficult to get good photographs of it, but I'm very happy with it as it seems to really capture the mood of mystery and introspection inherent to the season of Lent, which is what I was going for.

The arts committee also made this fabric wall hanging along the nave wall. We made it out of sackcloth over a royal purple, then tore the sackcloth to give glimpses of the purple beneath. (There's a lot of symbolism going on in all the artwork that I have trouble putting into words even though I put it into images. Father John put it all very well in his sermon this past Sunday, so as soon as it's available, I'll post a link to it so you can hear all about it from him.)

I'm not so happy with my creative cycle at the moment, as I seem to be in a bit of a lull. The painting I've been happily working on the past couple of weeks suddenly doesn't look right at all, and I'm having trouble working up motivation to move past that and keep painting, that piece or any other. I know this is temporary and an annoyingly necessary part of creativity, but I hate feeling like this. And I hope it passes soon. I've got work to do! There are a few calls to artists with deadlines in March that I want to answer, including my own for Stations of the Cross! Even without those on the horizon, I simply want to be painting.

Friday, February 23, 2007

First entry for Stations of the Cross!

"Stations", ©Andrea Pratt 2007

I came home yesterday to find that the very talented Andrea had submitted this wonderful entry for our upcoming Stations of the Cross group art exhibit! The first one, and it's fantastic! You can see her explanation of all the symbolism she used here on her blog.

The deadline is March 12th, so you still have time to enter your work too!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Stations and some random thoughts

Shadowplay, acrylics/collage painting on 24" x 24" canvas, ©2006

It was a really busy weekend, and I'm still having a little trouble with cohesive thought, but there are some things I wanted to blog about. So I apologize in advance if this comes out seeming a little random.

The deadline for Stations of the Cross draws near (March 12th). Found this article in this months Art & Soul section of Episcopal Life. Also posted this to our Arts & Music blog. I'm hoping it will be inspiring to all those working on entries. :)

Completed the artwork for Lent on Saturday. This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, so we'll be installing it on Saturday. I'll post pictures. Still working out details of what my Lenten practice will be.

My husband was voted in as a member of our church's Vestry.

Sold another painting yesterday!

Week three of the A & B day thing, and it is still working pretty well. I found myself feeling a bit unmotivated last week, but I still managed to get stuff done, painting, marketing, etc.

Today is primarily a B day. I updated and cleaned up my website a little bit this morning, and I still have to do some research and send out some marketing materials. All this computer stuff is getting to my wrist.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Book report 2: Mysteries

I'm on a Mystery bender lately, most likely because I hunted down most of the authors recommended by Julia Spencer Fleming and read the first books in their respective series. They were all good, and I intend to continue reading them.

Yesterday I finished reading my favorite so far, O' Artful Death by Sarah Stewart Taylor. The main character (and sleuth) is Sweeney St. George, a young art historian and professor whose field of study is funerary art. This leads, at least in this first book, to her researching an anomalous gravestone in a former artist colony in Vermont and finds herself drawn into a mystery from a previous century, as well as one in her own present. The mysteries were compelling and, while the characters don't quite take over my brain the way Fleming's do, they have the potential to do so. Plus, I have a special place in my heart for art history since that was my undergraduate major. I'll be searching out the second in this series this weekend, and will let you know if it continues to deliver.

Another good one that involved art was Still Life by Louise Penny. I'll be looking for the next one in this series as well.

I also read Dust, the newest (21st) Richard Jury mystery by Martha Grimes. As always, very enjoyable, but a little strange at times. Her last one was just strange, so I take this as an improvement.

I've read 14 books, including these 3, since the beginning of the year. I might have to do these book reports more often.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Illustration Friday: Sprout

Twilight Beginnings, acrylics/collage painting on 7" x 5" canvas, ©2007

First completed piece of the year! There's another, much larger canvas on my easel that's nearly done, but this is the first. And it's so appropriate for today too. The rains came early this morning and instead of simply making it cold and wet, it suddenly it feels like Spring might actually return. I feel a sense of renewal in the air.

The image is a little blurry, but the colors are truer than the clearer image, so I opted for this one.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Finding a rhythm

Veil II, acrylics/collage painting on 36" x 24" canvas, ©2006

Going back to the theme of Getting Centered, I've been trying to balance creativity and all the business that surrounds it. Once again I found a little gem on the Accidental Creative blog called Rhythm and Work in which he describes his need to have A weeks and B weeks, balancing input and output. This sounded like such a great concept that I decided to see how I could fit it into my life. I changed weeks to days and I've been experimenting with A days and B days, and I've added in C days as well.

The basic idea is to plan a day (or part of a day) to be either primarily a creating day (A) or a take care of business day (B). C days are for the all important days of "filling the well" - artist dates, visiting with friends, etc. By giving myself permission to have a day filled with taking care of business (marketing, research, errands,etc.) I free myself from the indecision (and immobility and guilt) that comes from the conflict between the two and I know that I will get back to painting, and only painting the next day, which I'm finding enhances the excitement of getting back into the studio. And then when I'm painting, I know that I've either done the business I need to do, or know I will at the appointed time, so I can focus solely on creating. So far (the past couple of weeks) it's worked pretty well. I try and make Monday a B day, thus getting it out of the way and freeing my mind from it.

Another key element seems to be a balance of flexibility and discipline, so changes to my plans don't send me into a tailspin. I simply re-work the days.

I don't know if I've explained it very well, but I hope I've gotten the basic idea across. And I don't really know how this is different from all the other forms of time management I've tried, but it seems to be working for me. If any of you are having trouble with this issue, I hope this helps you too.

PS. The painting above sold last week!