"April hath put a spirit of youth in everything." William Shakespeare
I love the smell of spring. The scent of the earth warming up. Green things pushing up through the ground. Birdsong so sweet it uplifts the heaviest of hearts. It's a time of renewal and the birth of creative projects. In January, an artist friend brought #the100dayproject to my attention and I thought it might be a great way to get rid of the doldrums during a very long and isolated covid winter. I had to come up with a creative project, work on something for 100 days and share my process on Instagram (@andrea_artarage) or other social media platform. So I looked at all the porcelain and ceramic sea shards that I collected and piled up in baskets in my studio and decided that it was finally time to use them. I was going to create a simple design on small 5"x5" cradled wood panels and so #100daysofseashardsandhealinghearts was born. I ordered cradled wood panels from Twisted Doorbell in Bridgetown (I highly recommend them), got the appropriate glue and grout and dove right in. Since I did not cut the shards to fit the pattern, it took time to find pieces that fit well together in a heart shape. That was definitely the longest process. These antique shards were carefully glued and left to dry for 24+ hours. The next step was to grout and allow another day or two to dry and then clean with a vinegar solution to take off the grout residue. I quickly realized I couldn't do one a day but probably one a week. These shards hold a lot of mystery. They wash up on our little beach in Whitehead, Nova Scotia. Some say the porcelain and ceramics were used as ballast on ships coming from England and France in the 18th & 19th centuries, maybe they wash up from ancient sunken ships or are simply broken throw aways from long past residents of small fishing communities. Each unique piece holds secrets and stories and I feel good about giving them another purpose.
I plan to hold a fundraiser for a good cause (TBA) at the end of 100 days and I hope that my Healing Hearts will find walls to hang upon.
Happy Easter, Ostara Blessings, Happy Passover, Ramadan Mubarak....
It's a new year but it just feels like a continuum of the last one. The funk is real. As a self-employed artist, I try to keep myself motivated. Should I start a new art project? Take a creative workshop? Apply to another call for submissions? Lightbulb moment! I think I should try to perfect the art of doing nothing. Listening to the breath, relaxing like a zen cat, taking a long hot bath, walking in the woods or just watching the birds at my feeders....but maybe that's not really doing nothing. Perhaps it's just about being present. I'm not very good at either. There are too many distractions including this blog and laptop. Time to turn it off. I'll keep trying because being present in the nothing may be a great start to a much happier year.
Love and light - AXO
Hourglass is my last painting of 2020...coming from a pure place of reflection and creative emotion. Let's be gentle to Mother Earth's sacred spaces and all her creatures.
Heading into winter feeling covid weary as the numbers start to rise again and dire measures are taken to protect all of us. A lock down is imminent. What could possibly be a "bright spot" in all of this? Personally, it's been taking the time to observe nature closely and turning it into new artworks and learning something new from online tutorials. I learned how to knit dishclothes and after making dozens I decided to get a little more adventurous and make toques (winter hats) with big pompoms! There are so many free tutorials online. Learn about the stars, how to bake delicious bread, pick up a new language or just zen out and meditate......and don't forget to call your family and friends. It's going to be a long winter. Stay safe.
Love and light, AXO
We've passed the mid way point of summer. Mama Donna Henes an Urban shaman and ritual expert says it well:
"The midway point of summer is like a well-seasoned woman. The galloping growth and sweet blush of spring have slowed and faded in her sweltering heat. She's slower now, and surer. Strong and steady. She's salty and sultry and a little bit dusty. A little wrinkled. A little weary. A whole lot wiser. She bears the fruits of her own labors and she wears them well. By midsummer, dame nature has grown tired of her wardrobe with it's dizzy palette of vibrant greens, vivid pinks, randy reds and profusions of pretty pastels. She now prefers the warmer, deeper, richer tones more flattering to her present station. The lady is now of a certain age, after all."
I can relate to that as an ahem... older woman and artist.
At the cottage I experiment with inks, acrylics, watercolour paper and salty seawater, encouraging the colours to flow into each other and make beautiful connections. Small leftover pieces of art on terraskin fit together perfectly, Mondrian style, on pieces of masonite. Nothing is wasted in my studio. I'm spinning out coocoo lovebirds because they make me smile. Black Raven/Crow keep appearing in large artworks on canvas. They stand in their mystery filled nests and look outward from their perches. Vintage recipes inspire new mixed media florals.
Creating art has been the head space where I need to go to forget the anxiety caused by the misery that Covid-19 is spreading around the world. The news can be so overwhelming. It constantly reminds me that family, friends, community and our beautiful planet need to be nurtured and loved even more, albeit with masks and safe distancing.
So be connected, do what you love and stay safe. We still have a long way to go. AXO
PS. If you'd like to see my recent artworks, they will be hanging out at The Flying Apron Cookery and Inn in beautiful Summerville, Nova Scotia from September 5th until the end of October. Have a staycation, go for the fabulous food (the desserts are heavenly) and maybe take home an original artwork that makes you smile!
"Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide,
No escape from reality." (Bohemian Rhapsody)
The opening lines from Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody are an earworm in my head. It sings a truth. As an artist, it's not much of a hardship to spend time alone all day, every day in studio/art space. I've hermitized nicely and become childishly creative. How about you?
My partner cleared out my Artarage (winter studio) so he could paint it and I was obliged to organize decades worth of art materials hauled into the Hildegard (summer studio). Old paintings are being gessoed and resuscitated. Collectors may actually be getting two for one unaware! "Mystic" and "Sentry" were inspired by the characters that show up every day to get treats. Florals are always at my fingertips because I simply love flowers. Shorebirds are on the easel and I'm figuring out a way to upcycle old CDs.
When I head back to the house I feel a deep sense of gratitude that I have the space and time to make art. I hope that some day soon you will be able to drop in to see my art and maybe even create with me!
Love and light, AXO
What do you do when you have to "stay home" and "stay safe" in a pandemic? You get creative! I am astonished by all the visual art, music, literature, dance and comedy being posted on social media during this time of social distancing. My own predicament, breaking my ankle on a dog walk a few weeks ago, has been a double whammy of sorts. Though, if you had to have a broken foot, it's probably a good time to do it! I miss my studio 'the artarage' a lot. I miss the smell of it, the sight of its chaos and all my art materials or what I call my art candy. So my partner gathered up some candy from my artarage and brought it to my perch on the couch. Working with paper, liquid acrylics, a couple gel pens and pigment liners I started to create "art blobs" and these blobs showed me what they wanted to be. These little artworks are a far stretch from my usual practice but they have allowed me to have some creative fun and puts my mind into zen, a state of no-mindedness. I also created a "how to" video so that kids of all ages can try! You can see it on my Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/andrea_artarage/ and FB page www.facebook.com/AndreaPottyondyArt . Stay safe and healthy and share your own creativity with the world. Somehow planet earth has become a little smaller and a lot kinder. Love and light, AXO
I find comfort in my art studio space. It’s the only place where my worry washes off. Emotions can encourage artworks to emerge. Two small mixed media artworks that I call Separation 1 & 2 are my first response to social distancing and isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are just at the beginning.
At the moment I am concentrating on a series of funny little coocoolovebirds, feeling the need to try to do something lighthearted during isolation. My partner is working on puzzles, reading and making sourdough bread. Now that’s an artform!
Now is the time to stay home for a few weeks, socially distance ourselves and isolate for the greater good. Social media is a wonderful way not to feel alone during this very stressful time. What are you doing to cope? Share your creativity and please stay healthy and safe.
Love and light, AXO
Wikipedia says that: "Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author's imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power." I think art is indefinable. It's just too complicated.
I go to my studio when I need to heal physically or emotionally from life's weariness. Recently, the death of a sweet friend and long time member of Artspa art group, reminded me how fragile life is. A real punch to the gut. Her absence, a chasm of sadness, felt by our group of artists. Jean was the best hugger and a beautiful watercolourist.
I make my way to my place of solace, where creating art allows me to zone out, get physical with tools and mediums and somehow put the spirit of life and loss on a surface. Art is a healer.
It's a new year and with it comes a fresh start. We've probably made resolutions, have a list of goals and dreams, or bucket list items that we want to accomplish in 2020. Easier said than done right! In my yoga class we are reminded to set an intention as we begin our practice. It's about bringing your awareness to a quality or virtue that you want to cultivate more of in your life. It could be any number of virtues, such as kindness, gratitude, love or forgiveness, etc. Setting an intention activates a part of your receptivity. I think it's better than sticking to a firm resolution, which just brings guilt when we fail to keep it.
In 2019 one of my intentions was to order a sketchbook from The Sketchbook Project and become part of this art movement. I had a year to complete it and believe me I did struggle with procrastination. I'm happy to say my completed sketchbook will join the permanent collection at Brooklyn Art Library in New York. It is home to over 41,000 sketchbooks from around the world and growing. I hope to visit it one day!
I made a little video of my sketchbook on Instagram before I mailed it out and it's a pleasure to share it with you at: https://www.instagram.com/p/B7GVQzCHPGW/
So don't be too hard on yourself and use your gifts and talents to accomplish your own good intentions for 2020! Love & Light, AXO
How do you feel about the shortest day and the longest night of the year?
Waking up in darkness and sunsets by 4:30pm, if we get any sun at all, pushes my energy inward. It’s a time of deep reflection and personal introspection. A good time to learn more about our fundamental nature and essence. It’s also a time of family, social gatherings and celebration. I try to be Danish and create a little “hygge” in my home with candlelight, logs in the fireplace, a cozy nook with lots of books and warm blankets to wrap up in. If I could hibernate I would. Which also means I don’t get a lot of art making time in. And that’s ok. Absence makes the heart grow fonder right? When I finally get back to my studio in January I hope to bring a refreshed creativity and sense of wonder to my art practice. I hope you find your light too!
“The winter solstice has been seen as a significant time of year in many cultures, and has been marked by festivals and rituals. It marked the symbolic death and rebirth of the Sun. The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is
in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days.” Wikipedia
Merry Christmas, Hanukkah Sameach!, Kwanzaa blessings to you and yours, lo, Saturnalia!, and Happy Holidays,
Winter Solstice arrives in the Northern Hemisphere at 12:19 am on Sunday, December 22.