Recent Art, Spring 2011

I haven’t been writing much lately, mostly because I was so busy working through The Artist’s Way. But I have been doing quite a bit of creating! So as promised (to my friend Lexi), here is a catch-up post to discuss some recent artworks that I have created.

First, even though it’s chronologically last, I want to mention the April is National Poetry Month! I won’t go into the long story, but I will say this: In high school I wrote a LOT of poetry. Since college, not so much. Someone in an online circle I’m in suggested celebrating National Poetry Month by writing a poem every day in April, and I jumped on board. Mind you, my poetry habit has dwindled from a poem or two a day (high school) to two a year if I’m lucky.

And now I’m on a roll! I’ve incorporated my poem-a-day with my Morning Pages (part of The Artist’s Way), which means I have written 21 poems in 22 days — because I still have to do my pages and poem for today (“Morning” is a loose term for me). I’m talking about this first because NO, I’m not sharing my poems on my blog. I may not even reread them myself. I’ve been doing free verse stream-of-consciousness poems that are mostly just whatever is on my mind at the time. Nothing that I would share. But I’m finding the poems… therapeutic? A good way to get out emotions that I would otherwise be bottling up. Loving it. My goal is to write one poem this month that is not free-verse. I need to embrace rhythm and rhyme again, since I still haven’t ventured into that yet.

The next thing to talk about is my really fun road trip in March, which should be a post of its own except I’m greedy and don’t want to share all the details here. I have a friend Heather who lives in Pittsburgh, and I decided to go visit her to celebrate the opening of a gallery displaying her paintings. Because really, how cool is that? I haven’t had a friend with art in a gallery before, so this is definitely a special occasion. Heather was in my group doing The Artist’s Way, and the gallery opening fell in the last few days of the course, so I felt that a road trip would be a lovely way to also celebrate the course’s completion. At 16 hours round trip, a third reason for the solo trip was to prove to myself that I could do it. I grew a lot personally that weekend.

While I was at Heather’s house, she asked if I wanted to do some art with her. I was SO excited, and of course I said yes — I tried to come off as calm, but inside I had fireworks. Not only do I have a friend with art in a gallery, but she wants to create side-by-side with me… holy moly, is that cool or what?! (I was about as excited as when I do NaNoWriMo and I get to go to write-ins with my published authoress friend Shoshanna Evers.) I took several photos of the work-in-progress, but I’m just going to share the final piece.

We decided to go with a theme of Goddess. Here’s the photo – scanned into the computer in two steps, then used Photoshop to automatically fit the who parts into one image (wow, that tool is amazing). Then I’ll say a few words about my process…

Singing Goddess

Isn’t she beautiful?! ❤ I started with the pink body, because I love pink. Cross-legged, to show she is at peace. I decided to finger paint because I didn’t want to try with a brush and then hate it because I’m “not good” — using my fingers allowed me the freedom to remove self-judgment from the equation, which meant I would have more fun. Purple arms, because I didn’t want to be too exact but I did want to define them as separate from the body. I wasn’t sure how she should hold her arms, but I decided above her head and together would show power. And the teal head, again just to define it separately from the rest of the body and the arms.

I knew the mouth would be pink, so the eyes had to be purple dots. I wasn’t sure how to make the mouth, so I decided to try to make a dot to match the eyes. When I saw the elongated shape that came out on the page, I was elated. She’s singing! That actually seemed pretty perfect. I knew I wanted two hearts, and I made the purple heart first. While all of this was drying, I looked at what I was using as a paint palette. I kept dabbing my fingers around the paint globs on my palette before using them on my “real” art, and the dabs were looking pretty cool. So I decided to use a similar effect around my Goddess. I hoped it would end up looking like confetti, because she is singing something joyful and powerful and celebratory. Here’s the end result of my palette.

Singing Goddess Palette

I love that. So I started making dots and flourishy-lines around my Goddess, and then I noticed that some of the dots and lines were looking a little bit like music notes… which was even BETTER! So I enhanced a few to make them look even more like music notes. This is about the time I decided to make the smaller heart red, and I added dots and lines and notes in red too. Actually, looking at it now, the purple-y bit to the left of the Goddess looks a bit like an abstract bird, perched on a teal branch, singing along with her. Wow, that’s so cool. 🙂

And then I saw that Heather had some ribbon, so I added a few pieces at the bottom. And she had little colored gems, so I added six just below the Goddess. I have no meaning for them, the turquoise stones were just pretty. At the end I decided to sign and date both my Goddess, and my abstract-art paint palette. Because both are beautiful and creative and full of life, and I am so happy with the way they both turned out.

And the next two creative works are also related because they are birthday celebration art! The first was done with materials I bought the day before my birthday, because I was at my parents’ house and didn’t bring art supplies. I went to the craft store with my mother because I had a coupon to use for my birthday, and the next day I decided I HAD to create something to celebrate my 29th birthday. I have been feeling so loved and supported lately, so I thought it would be nice to paint my heart, full and glowing with love, with a birthday candle at the top. And this is what I came up with.

29th Birthday Heart

The colors are a little off from the scanner and Photoshop, but that’s okay. The pink rays coming out are actually a lot brighter, neon pink. The candle is purple, with a neon yellow flame (and some glow-in-the-dark paint. I did some swishy lines in the heart because… there IS no because, they’re just pretty! The butterfly on the bottom right is a temporary-tattoo-like sticker, because butterflies are my totem animal.

A few days later I felt like making a collage, since it had been a few months since I’d made one. I missed the glue on my fingers, the act of looking through the many images and words I’ve cut from magazines to use in collages, finding just the right ribbons and rhinestones and other doo-dads and knick-knacks to add to it to make it 3D and fun. So I made a collage to commemorate my birthday.

29th Birthday Collage

I love this collage because it’s a lot of my favorite things. Again, the colors are not the greatest here compared with how it really looks – this is quite a bit darker. But you get the idea. Popcorn, birthday cupcake, a butterfly, ice cream, cake, stars, flower petals, candles, fireworks… and on and on. The background was done in layers that include magazine pages and painted tissue paper. There are pieces torn off of a pretty card I got once (a star in the upper left, and the stripey paper to the right of it). The tissue paper is from an Eric Carle style artwork I did in grad school. The white rose is from a craft project I did when I was in middle school. A pink feather from a feather boa I got a few years ago. Fake rose petals from my wedding. So even though a lot of it is just pictures from magazines that are meaningful to me (like my favorite snacks, popcorn and mint chocolate chip ice cream), I purposely included actual artifacts of my past too. So the end result is very personal and wonderful.

That’s it for now. Hopefully I’ll have more art to post soon. Thanks to Lexi for reminding me that I said I would post these pictures!

7 thoughts on “Recent Art, Spring 2011

  1. I absolutely love the work you are doing Michelle. I can just feel the energy vibrating from my screen. You are amazing, precious and brilliant.

  2. Thanks, Sugarpie! I wish you could see in person, the scanner does NOT do the colors justice. And don’t forget to click on the images to see them bigger. Especially the last one, though for some reason I can’t seem to get that one to work for me. (Let me know if you have the same problem – it might just be my computer.)

  3. PS – Am I a dork for clicking “Like” on my own post? Because I don’t care!!! lol

  4. You are definitely not dorky for clicking like on your own post. I so want to do that sometimes. Oh wait, I can on Facebook. I just made all of the pictures bigger and they are even more beautiful. Thanks for sharing your art work.

    • Thanks. So I guess it’s just this computer that won’t enlarge some of them… weird. Glad to know that in this case, it IS just me.

  5. Pingback: Book Review: The Artist’s Way (Book 8) « 120 Books

  6. Michelle
    I love your art!! It is great and I love that you have this website. I am hoping to get mine up and running…DeniseMarie

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