Imagine. Create. Enjoy.
WE RISE TOGETHER
“You will rise by lifting others.” - Robert G. Ingersoll
When times are bleak we seize the smallest glimmer of hope wherever we can encounter it. I find myself in the midst of such times. For me, turning to my Art is a way of trying to make sense of what is clearly chaos.
I started my journey in Art as a printmaker. The mechanics of cutting a woodblock or prepping a stone always fills me with the comforting feeling of whispered anticipation. Working with the Speedball Lino Cutter and Speedycarve block was like visiting an old friend. And the timing couldn’t be better.
I drew simple butterfly shapes on to the Speedyblock as I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to carve. I must say, it was like pushing a warm knife through butter. Now that I am familiar with the block, I am looking forward to using it again on more finely detailed work. I tried both a conventional stamp pad and acrylic paint to print the image. Both were successful, but I preferred the acrylic paint finish. When dried, I coloured the butterflies using Twinkling H20 watercolours. I love their shimmer and rich hue…keeping true colour even when dry.
I love the variety and durability of the Artistcellar stencils. Adding to my Strathmore Journal, I grabbed the Halftone Dots and Seafoam stencils. I wanted to create a feeling of randomness. I allowed the stencils to drop to the paper without positioning them. My selection of acrylics was as accidental.
When all of the elements were complete, I scanned and began the final composition.
It is impossible to ignore the events surrounding us. The implications are global. But through it all, my spirit is renewed. Each time I see a new group of concerned individuals lifting their voices in unison, I know we are seizing the essence of what makes us truly American. Like soaring butterflies, our differences are celebrated. And we will only rise when we support and lift each other.
“Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself.” – Mohsin Hamid
An artist whose work I respect, Seth Apter, recently shared a heartfelt post on his Blog. Seth described a project initiated by several artists, all using the same motto, with the objective of bringing a sense of peace and unity to what has been an extremely chaotic time. By celebrating our diversity through creative endeavors, the #artistforlove movement called for the creation of art as a way to start a conversation and begin collectively healing. Through his work Seth is participating in the process for the restoration of support, acceptance, respect, and love by creating and sharing a lovely poster.
Inspired by the movement and the contributing artists, I decided to take part. As much as I find #artistsforlove an honorable undertaking, I’d like to go one step further. For me, finding a path back to acceptance, respect and a sense of normality begins with a single word: Empathy.
We are different, our outlook molded by our unique life experiences. But rather than the celebration of our unique gifts, our diversity has been manipulated to divide us. This is something I will not tolerate.
It is true that our reaction to what has played out before us has often become heated. But then again, isn’t this to be expected when discussing something about which we are passionate? Empathy encourages us to step back, calm down, and see the other point of view…to find another echoed within ourselves.
One thing I do know for sure, through travel and living in a variety of cities in the US and abroad, one thing is constant. We all want the same thing. We all want meaningful work that provides a good life for ourselves and our families. We all want a peaceful environment in which to thrive. And together we can work towards making this a reality. Working at odds in counterproductive and will not benefit anyone. I stand by our Nation’s motto E Pluribus Unum - "out of many, one". I am proud of the rich tapestry of traditions that make us who we are as Americans.
I began the collage with calligraphy enhanced with Twinkling H20s from the Summer Fun collection. The colours are luminous and rich. They went on smoothly using my Koi Water Brush – another of my now “go to” supplies.
The stencils used are the Artistcellar Traditional Japanese Series. I layered Dina Wakley Media Heavy Body Acrylic paint in Lapis, Ocean, Sky, and Elephant. I wondered how the stencil would perform during clean-up since each layer of acrylic was completely dry between applications. Of course, they worked perfectly…clean and back to pristine condition in a matter of minutes! As the work is my invitation to others to participate I pulled all my elements together and built the final art using a postcard as substrate.
Our world is changing. There is no doubt about it. Will you reach out through your work with the #artistsforlove and #artistsforempathy movements? We all need to take that first step… to begin the conversation, to throw open the door to Empathy… to search for, and find the echo of another person within ourselves. It is only then that we can rediscover our common ground.
When life takes on the feeling of being trapped in a never ending roundabout, it’s nice to stop, step back and search for balance. I find solace in Art History.
The Dada Movement inspires me. Born of the chaos of World War I the Dadaists embraced all facets of art as an authentic means of expression. Tristan Tzara, a man with a poet’s heart and a founding member of the movement, composed his work by cutting up newspaper articles and selecting words at random. Following his lead, I cut text from a variety of sources and a photo of Tzara into strips.
The more I looked at the material on my work table, the more I wanted to free the collage to build itself. As was the choice of many Dadaists I wanted to follow the laws of chance. Using this technique and a photo of a pair of cupped hands, a design began to emerge.
To complete the work, I turned to the pages of my Strathmore Visual Journal. It is such a great resource to have at hand…everything in one place ready for use. It was from these pages that I chose the Artistcellar Marked and Blocks series. They were the perfect compliment. Not only did the neon acrylics and organic Marked shapes enhance the collage, but I was happy with the straight edged Open Work design. It was the perfect foil. Artistcellar stencils never disappoint!
Working in the method of the Dadaists did the trick. The commotion surrounding me slowed and became ordered and almost magically not as chaotic. I could see making the decision to leave some things to chance is beneficial in…my work as well as in life. It is true that when we learn to let go of what we can’t change, we are open to the possibilities of what we can. We are free to follow the laws of chance, knowing that the decision is always in our hands.
I have had a memorable week. As I celebrated Thanksgiving with some of my family my thoughts were with my mom and her sister. My aunt entered the hospital with pneumonia after battling a different infection that we thought had cleared up. Her body struggled. She unexpectedly passed away a few days ago.
That emotion has been close to me for several days now. As an artist I usually can express feelings through making things but with grief I struggle. It can close you up and isolate you and the thought of creation when I have just experienced loss seems foreign.
But, through the creation of something I can process the grief, give it a name and begin to progress again.
I share this only to explain my little art journal page I made. It's small and not my favorite but it is significant to me and a step forward. I like making whimsical, beautiful things and it can be difficult for me to express grief through my art but I discovered through this that creating beauty during sad times helps me grow. I miss my aunt but she was a creative soul who inspired me and will inspire me still.
May you find joy in all your creations my creative friends.
Good Day Artistcellar Folks,
I have an art journal spread to share with you that I’ve also turned into a FREE PRINTABLE POSTER! Who doesn’t like free art, right?
So, here’s the step-by-step process, and at the end you’ll find the 8” x 10” printable poster. Enjoy!
SUPPLIES USED: Dina Wakley acrylic paints; Sacred Geo 2: Seeds of Life stencil; Sacred Geometry: Sri Yantra stencil; Virtues Words Pocket Stencils: Grace, Hope; Strathmore Visual Journal Mixed Media 9” x 12”
Step 1:Gather your paints, art journal, and stencils. Also grab a cosmetic wedge, a paint palette, and a paint scraper.
Apply two paint colors and scrape them across your journal page.
With a new color of paint, use the cosmetic wedge to dab paint through the Seeds of Life stencil in two places on your page.
Use a fourth color of paint and apply it with your finger around the edges of the stencil shapes. Consider drawing into the wet paint with the end of a paintbrush or toothpick.
Use the Sri Yantra stencil with white paint and a cosmetic wedge.
Add two of your favorite Virtues Words stencils.
Simple. Meaningful. Powerful.
And now for your printable poster!!