Thursday, April 14, 2011

My latest work . . . living confidently as an artist.

I recently created a collage piece for a frame rep of mine from Lafont Eyewear.  She is also personal friend and I wanted to create a piece for her representing the eyewear line she carried and everything had to have a French influence.  We recently had a trunk show this week in my office and I wanted it to be finished when she came to town.  A trunk show is really having her come to town to premiere the latest in eyewear styles direct from France.  We had French Cafe music playing, french foods and goodies, a large crowd and we were playing with French eyewear all day!  Trust me, bright colors and incredible shapes are the latest in eyewear this spring!! I had placed my artwork in between my frame boards as part of the display and then presented it to Melodie from me.  I love creating artwork that way!  

When I start with a blank canvas, I stop and pause first.  This is something Juliette Crane also reinforces in her painting course I am currently taking.  I like to pause and think about where the piece is going, who I am creating the piece for and what is the message of the piece that I am wanting to convey.  I do take this a step further and take a long and meditative breath before beginning.  I have learned in my yoga practice to set my heart and mind clearly on what is ahead of me.

My daughter-n-law Heather came over this weekend with her incredible camera and macro lens and she offered to photograph some of my collage pieces for me.  She has an eye for perspective and made my work look so beautiful.  So I am sharing her work with you!  She has just launched her very own Etsy shop this week and I am excited for her.  If you get the chance check out Four Corner Decor.

I am proud of this piece and I remember Melodie's only requests were that she loved bright colors, but absolutely NO BLUE!  I collected pieces that I wanted to use in the piece that represented France, Vision and Eyewear.  I think I accomplished that.  I bought a book totally written in French when I was at Rizzoli's in New York (ahh . . . I want to go back), so I cut out the little hearts from the French pages.  I painted the background using the technique that Juliette taught me in my Paint and owl course.  For the finishing touch I added beads to the top of the canvas to add some extra pizzaz!  I had learned this from Shona Coles book, The Artistic Mother.

With each piece I am gaining more confidence in my artwork.  When my rep was so happy with the piece and was showing it to others, I found myself almost shy about it all.  Why is it I don't feel confident in my work as an artist yet?  Why don't I quite see what others are obviously seeing when they look at my work?  Why is it I feel my work isn't quite good enough?  Do any of you find yourself with those feelings? Do you find yourself asking these questions?  Am I being too hard on myself?  When do you really feel as if your work is good enough?  Do we ever feel like we have arrived with our artistic visions?  My inquiring heart wants to know.  I am not sure why I keep struggling with this part of my life!!

I can just say that my rep Melodie is going home with a Donna Wynn original and she is very happy with the piece that was created just for her.  I like the sounds of that Original Artwork by Donna Wynn.   

That has to be my new mindset . . . thinking of myself truly as an artist.  I need to know that with confidence.   I know that my mantra is to live creatively every day and I do strive to do achieve that; even with having a full time career.  It gives me an extra sense of purpose and satisfaction.  I have been thinking of opening an Etsy shop with some of my work for quite some time. I have so many artistic girlfriends who are successfully running their own Etsy shops . . . maybe just maybe it is time to seriously consider it!

Wishing you love and peace and all good things this week!
Donna Lee

Monday, April 11, 2011

My Paint an Owl E-course

My first backgrounds

I signed up for Juliette Crane's How to Paint an Owl E-Course and it began two weeks ago.  First I want to say when I signed up I had to wait for almost four weeks for it to begin . . . I could hardly wait.  I have always admired Juliette's work and I follow her blog and Etsy shop regularly!  When she advertised that she had created her lovely owl painting course I knew it had my name written all over it!

Week one:  Was learning how to create backgrounds . . . using acrylics, stencils, spray paints and whatever we wanted to have fun creating beautiful backgrounds for the owls to be painted on.  On Monday she posts the lesson, through her written word, pictures and videos.  She is giving it her all so that we can learn from her experience.  I posted my first background on facebook, and I couldn't believe the comments from friends that came that day.  They couldn't believe that I was going to actually paint over it.  I learned from Juliette that it is all about the painting process, that learning and painting and enjoying the process is as important as the finished piece.  So here is my very first painted background . . . I painted it on a 6 x 6 canvas that I purchased from Dick Blick when I was in New York City (that has meaning in itself to me!)

I believe I am hooked on spray painting with lace and doilies . . . it gives such a beautiful adornment to the piece.  I started hunting through some of my mommy's old crochet pieces and found some really beautiful little doilies . .  they were already stiffened so it made them easy to paint with.  I know this sounds sentimental, but I lost my mom not too long ago and using her work is like having a little piece of her in every piece I create . . . it comforts me.  Art is like that, there is sentiment in everything we do.  I love having hidden treasures lying within my artwork.

Week Two:  We get to actually paint on our owls!  Juliette is wonderful with sharing her techniques.  We learned to draw our owls by first sketching out what we think we want our owl to look like by using simple shapes and then actually drawing our owl on top of our background. See there I go covering up my beautiful background!  I think I will call her Lovie!  

So I began by sketching my little love owl on top of my background and then I began painting and embellishing!  I definitely have a long way to go and still have three weeks to learn even more from Juliette.  This is such a great experience and I am so happy to be a part of it.  I can hardly wait until the next lesson!

Art is about continuing to reach outside of your comfort zone.  Painting owls is definitely outside of mine!!  With Juliette's inspiration I am open to exploring new painting ideas.  I love learning, learning and learning some more.  It is so much fun to take an e-course.  You can learn at your own pace, paint in your own studio and take the time to learn the way you need to.   We have videos for instruction, Facebook to share our thoughts, Flicker and Picasa to post our artwork, blogs to share our excitement and discoveries and so much more which brings the class community so much closer.  I will keep you posted and promise to post another owl that is refined and has her own definition!  Everyday I am feeling more confident in my artwork and in my abilities to create.  Have a blessed week and don't forget to create something wonderful, it is good for the soul.