California can't seem to decide between sun and rain lately. Last week felt like summer with temps in the high 70's and we have been back to some rain this week. This poor state has needed it so badly.
For the last few weeks, I have been laying off social media and regrouping. There are just those times in your life when you need to do that. I have been getting a clearer idea of where I want to focus my art efforts and some include larger original work, special projects and teaching.
You may remember the start of this painting from last month's Sofa Sketch on this blog post. I worked on it throughout the month and ended up really happy with how it turned out, visually and also because of the process.
I started with the calathea plant in the lower corner and added imagery behind it. If I couldn't think of anything, I put it aside. In fact the first 1/3 of this painting felt frustrating and slow, but the last 2/3 went really well and felt easy. I worked intuitively, really getting in touch with how I was feeling in that time. I see a new direction with this work. It feels surreal, the colors are very deliberate and it also tells a story. At the same time, it reminds me of some work I did a few years ago. I think that is one exciting thing about art. You keep growing, but parts of the past still turn up in what you make.
With every painting I learn something new about what I want to keep doing with my work. I am seeing a bit more darkness in my work. Life is like that, the light and dark. I am seeing more absurdity, which again is a part of life. There's a lot in life that is normal, typical and predictable, but as we know, life isn't really predictable and I feel this painting process conveys that.
I was meditating more in February and digging into my subconscious. When I have done this in the past, I have made some of my favorite work. This work felt more personal as I expressed what was happening with me and around me. In February, we experienced floods in San Jose, something that never happens. Nearby in the Santa Cruz Mountains, there were mudslides, washed out roadsIt left many with damaged homes and/or property and in need. You can donate to the San Jose Victims Flood Relief Fund here.
I have a show coming up at the Burlingame Library in August. I'm excited about displaying this work in a library, where stories are everywhere. It also connects me to my previous career in libraries. I am currently working on some larger paintings for that show.
I taught at The Dancing Cat last weekend. I'm brought some cat-friendly plants so we can add some greenery to our paintings since it's spring. I painted the painting of cat eyes and plants to promote the class, loving the transparent layering in the upper left palm. I had spilled some paint in one of the corners, which made me come up with the dark background. Originally it was just going to be one cat's body silhouetted behind the plants, but the eyes seemed to make sense with the darkness.
Last Sunday I hiked with a good friend on the Cowell-Purisima Trail. It was one I'd never been on. There were wild bunnies at the beginning of the trail and we saw a snake, hawks and tons of wildflowers.
For years I had assumed that Cirque du Soleil was some gimmick or something like that. When my husband and I were offered tickets, I thought we had to check it out. After going, it was like how could a kid who loved gymnastics/art not love this as an adult? Their acrobatics were so impressive to me! It totally made me want to learn all those acrobatics (yes, I know I'm too old). Luzia was Mexican-themed, which made me like it even more.
I've mentioned the show Abstract on Netflix before. It's the show that will make you feel like you've done nothing with your life, ha. The most recent episodes I have seen are Tinker Hatflield - Footwear Designer, Es Devlin - stage designer and Bjarke Ingels - architect. The show beautifully tells the stories of visionary designers and gives you an idea of what it is like in their heads. I love how with all three of these designers they thought they were on one path and through work and staying in tune with things, they were lead down another path that lead to their life's work.
I thought this animated video of Georgia O'Keeffe was pretty great. And the same channel had the following paint making video. I have watercolor paint by this brand and it totally reminded me of the Mr. Rogers crayon episode.