This past fall my family moved to Boston for a semester. We packed our bare necessities, and drove 1800 miles to an unfurnished apartment for the next six months. We had no dishwasher and shared a laundry machine with the landlord. We borrowed furniture and shopped at thrift shops to finish out our temporary home.We were on an adventure...Read More
I am excited to be embarking on a new journey of sharing my thoughts with you through a newsletter/blog. I will share some of my inspirations and ideas around how to sustain a habit of creativity. I wish to bring you along with me on my creative explorations. I hope to inspire you to dig deep and find your authentic voice of creativity and freedom. Marianne
Creative Confidence by the Kelly Brothers.
Last Fall I read a great book by the Kelly brothers that inspired me to lean into the directions of my dreams. Rather than spend most of my time planning out a perfect entrance onto a stage that has no dress rehersal. I decided to just move boldly in the direction of my instincts. I started to actively learn, change, create and repeat in this direction. The Kelly Brothers talk about rapid innovation and growth. If you have a project in mind forget working on it alone and waiting for that perfect moment … as you might be creating your ideas in a vacume. Simply start on a project even if it is rough. Improve the work through continual communication, assessment and innovation. This process has helped me grow tremendously.
So I ask you what dreams have you been holding back for the perfect moment to arrive? The moment is now! Wake up and start your day journaling and brainstorming whatever is on your mind. By the last page I bet you will hear a little voice pointing you in the direction of your dreams. Go for it!
I am always amazed how the course of a life can change directions through a random conversation with a person and how often we are unaware that the direction of our path is dramatically affected by this moment in time...
It was the mid-80s and I was about to enter high school when my neighbor mentioned to me that I must take a class with an art teacher named Mr. Bartman. Little did I know that this random advice had put me on a path that would dramatically influence my life.
INSPIRATION - The Year My Vision Changed
The first day I walked into Mr. Bartman’s art class, jazz was playing through the sound system. Mr. Bartman, my new high school art teacher, was reading quotes and displaying inspirational images of famous artists. Art was everywhere. I immediately noticed the huge poster boards with lists of challenging art assignments. The goal of all our projects was to help us see in new authentic ways. We were expected to fill an entire sketchbook every semester! There was always a huge crazy still life in the middle of the room created with random objects that looked like they were dragged out of a fisherman's boat. Cables, boxes, rusted traps, buckets and more. In that hour of my high school day time stood still and the doors of freedom instantly flew open. I learned to stop and smell the roses, to see differently... I was hooked.
Mr. Bartman, my dear teacher, continues to teach and paint every day of the year. He takes groups to paint outdoors - in the fields, in the snow, on the coast. He urges his students to not make descriptions but to create poetry. I am grateful that he encouraged me to create, to push through the struggle to find beauty in the ordinary so that I can express the invisible through the visible. Marianne
*See Walter Bartman’s work and workshops here: http://www.yellowbarnstudio.com/bartman.htm
Recently I have been asking myself what is the unifying principle behind my painting. This has been a long winding journey of discovery and self awareness. This attempt to understand the why behind my work brought me to a last minute trip to Baltimore to see the Matisse & Diebenkorn show at the BMA. This AMAZING EXHIBIT showed how Matisse influenced Diebenkorn. Deibenkorn would often take the colors from a Matisse still life and abstract it even further. Their works were placed side by side. I marveled at how moved I was by each painting
Throughout my formative painting years both of these artists inspired me greatly. Matisse made his paintings look easy by simplifying his marks, his rooms are full of flattened surfaces and of clean color. He often included a dreamy window facing out the Mediterranean Sea. These paintings were created in Nice, France, the sun drenched city of my childhood. While Matisse was very abstract for his time. Diebenkorn takes his work to a new level. His paintings are grounded in reality while showing a non- literal, abstract vision of the world. His work is large. I love his tones of enchanting blues and purples juxtaposed by a bolt of contrasting color. His propensity for working on a variety subject matter no matter what society deemed as popular, has always been appealing to me. He fluidly moved from still lifes to landscapes to figurative, to painting complete abstraction. All with a unifying mark or color. His work moves me.
I moved a small mountain and I went against all logic to visit the Matisse and Diebenkorn show. It was well worth it!
If you are interested check out my Artist Statement... it is always a work in progress.
I want to step it up this year. I want to see new lands and experience new perspectives. I want to dig deeply into my painting, to push my creative boundaries into new and uncharted terrain. I want to find a deeper peace and connection to my inner voice, to let it guide me. I want to dream big this year. Do you want to join me?
«The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.» Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
This book begs the question: Is your life driven by fear or by curiosity? We all work hard each day to be rational and responsible taking care of our daily needs. These are the must do’s of our daily existence. Unavoidable. But the question we can ask ourselves is when was the last time we felt light and joyous and creative in our own skin? What is that pursuit you loved participating in when you were younger? The one you dropped as responsibilities grew. What is that quiet creative yearning you have that you keep ignoring? Do you want to go ice skating, write poetry or sing? The wish to do something impractical, something that might delight you in a new deeper way. The wish that we all have, this is the creative spark yearning to be heard. To attend to this is like filling your well... Gilbert encourages us to bring forth the jewels that are hidden within us.
Gilbert in Big Magic says : « A creative life is an amplified life. It is a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life...» The creative life is where the Big Magic will reside.
Bravery is needed for Creative living. It is a path for the brave, and it demands courage. We know the long list of why we might be afraid to live a more creative life. Perhaps you are afraid you don't have the right kind of discipline, or enough hours in which to focus on creating or exploring. Maybe you are afraid you don't know have the right training or degree. Maybe you are afraid of being exposed or perhaps you think you are too old to start something again or for the first time.
2016 has forced me to be bolder. This year has tested my balance between control and trust. Sometimes when you work in a creative field for a living your creativity gets strangled by the market demands and the responsibilities of daily life. As I observed my daily life and my art process I started to notice that no matter how much I tried to control or direct the many aspects of my life that some things had their own unavoidable transitions that I had to accept. I learned that while I had to be disciplined in certain aspects of my life I also had to be wise and courageous. I had to stop resisting and I have to accept the unavoidable changes and directions that my life takes. My father always says when you are sailing and you feel that the sails are too tight pay attention and loosen up your sails a little and go in the direction that the wind is taking you. I have learned to recognize and categorize the realms of my life and art that demand rational discipline and those that ask me for complete irrational trust. I am learning bravery through my painting. I am starting to listen to the creative forces that are guiding me and my life. I am learning to completely trust that if I just stop controlling every move that the winds will guide my next decision or brush strokes with infinite wisdom.
The reasons for being fearful are often masked by taking care of something or someone else…it’s a kind of a false martydom. Gilbert speaks about how fear never changes, «it never delights it never offers a surprise or trust or an unexpected ending. Fear makes the word stop very present and life gets boring. »
Bravery means doing something scary. I have accepted fear as a companion alongside my creativity but I do not make my decisions based on my fears or else I would never dare to try something such as a life as an artist..I choose a life of unpredictable variety..
So maybe we should listen to that small quiet voice that divine creative spark speaking to you. Ignoring this creative voice would be denying your internal light to shine.
«And that would be a pity, because your life is short and rare and amazing and miraculous, and you want to do really interesting things and make really interesting things while you’re still here. I know that’s what you want for yourself, because that’s what I want for myself, too. It’s what we all want. And you have treasures hidden within you—extraordinary treasures—and so do I, and so does everyone around us. And bringing those treasures to light takes work and faith and focus and courage and hours of devotion, and the clock is ticking, and the world is spinning, and we simply do not have time anymore to think so small.» Elizabeth Gilbert in BIG MAGIC.
Onwards to a thrilling new year full of depth and unknown creativity. Let’s take this new road together.
To Wander and Wonder Oil on Canvas 48 x 48in. $3500
This painting is now finished. The new spontaneous marks and mystery and excitement to the piece.
Meandering PathRead More
I am delighted to announce that I have finally acquired a sculpture by Michael O'Keefe from Valley House Gallery and Sculpture Garden. Michael is a Dallas Artist. He and I both studied with Bruce Gagnier. He at the New York Studio School and I during my studies Parsons School of Art and Design in NYC. I have always appreciated Michael's calm disposition and his creative perception of the figure.
The power of visualization is an interesting topic. For years I had a postcard of Michael O'Keefe's sculpture my walls. I never thought I would own this piece!
Then one day it struck me that I wished to have this beautiful sculpture interact with me in my daily life. I saved for a couple of years in order to get it...and it was well worth it. His sculpture has a modern yet antique greek feeling to it. It has added so much to my home.
I love how you can recognize the hints of the human form under the abstraction of the plaster.
I hope you enjoy Michaels work as much as I do.
I played hooky from Parsons one day and painted from my 17th x 3rd NYC window. good memories.Read More
Took a difficult painting ...turned it upside down and just let my instincts run the show. Then I turned back around and worked the parts together.Read More
Today I decided to remove the very large tree that was centrally placed. Now I feel you can really breathe. I like open spaces. I will probably revise it one more time.Read More
So Today I just blocked in the lights and darks. I tried to not get caught up with any details and to focus on blocks of color and composition. The canvas was wet ...this is a great opportunity to wipe away the lights and keep it fresh. It was a whirwinded day and the movement of this painting reflects this.MGRead More
So this is the first day I worked on these bales of hay in MA. My focus is to just block in the shapes .Read More
I am done with this painting. today i carved the trees. Found surprises in the great sky. I love creating those grey faded trees in the background. Hope u find a bit of inspiration in your day.Read More
In this piece I am softening the edges and creating a dreamy atmosphere. I love adding flares of light that seem misplaced.Read More
At this point I am starting to think about contrast in color, value and edges.
Bright colors against dull colors, light against dark, dull edges against sharp.
Lets see what tomorrow will bring.Read More
This is the next step when I move to canvas. I then start to block in the parts and make sure they are composed or placed where I want them.Read More
This is the first drawing . Just keeping it loose and placing the objects in space.Read More
To get a creative habit you need a working environment that is habit forming-Twyla Tharp
This painting found a new home after showing at Craighead Green Gallery. Feels good to know that my work is in someone's home.There are more paintings wanting a new wall to hang on. Visit my site to see the work: http://www.mgargour.com/newwork/Read More