Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pastels..... Wonderful Pastels

Rich colors, velvety textures, blending, layering, singing while I work....
still life, landscape, nature-scapes, pet portraits... there is nothing like pastels.

Life Food
Looking for Spring

Raspberry Vines

Logging Road


Abstract Explorations in Pastel

I have been exploring abstract compositions in an effort to relax my tendencies trying to control the direction of my art. Pastel is my choice of medium with these experiments. While I am not sure if this will succeed in the intended goal, I have enjoyed the time with pastels- a medium I love.

The Dance

Percussion Music

Water, Sky and Wind

Aztec City


Sunday, March 2, 2014

I have been experimenting the acrylic gouache in still life. Although I have fairly successfully used pencil, oil, acrylic, and other media in portraying still life, I am finding it difficult to get the right ratio of water to paint… and to find the techniques that work to get the effect I am after. I see one thing but create an entirely different thing. I will not share the full studies, as I am not pleased with them. But I will share some redeeming parts that I do like. As a whole, I feel I am on the right track. It is just a long journey to get to my vision.   

My own critique: I am working too heavily. I need to back off on intensity. 
I want to loosen up some and be less calculated. 

It comes down to experience, practice, and discipline. I have little experience with this medium. My time for practice is still not sufficient to build confidence nor find the techniques that work for my vision. And although I am working on establishing a routine for working weekly, the discipline is interrupted by many other factors.

It is good to be consistently working again. I move forward while learning more about this medium. It is good to push myself. There will be more to come. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

After last night's post I found two more poems that I wrote which followed my face-down of the Dragon of self berating.

In the light,
a colorful light,
I could see a way out-
out of his den and free.
The colorful light now I beheld,
twas a Rainbow hovering over me.
"Don't look back.",
called the voice of Courage.
"You can win.",
said the voice of Hope.
"I will!", heard I, as I then realized,
Twas my own clear voice, which spoke.
-Angie Cook

Dragon Fire

My dreams were tried in the Dragon's fire…
But now I know that ol' Dragon liar.
I'll cease to be his puppet on strings…
Now I'm surrounded with beautiful things.
Why, oh why does he torment those,
Who are weak and in need? Nobody knows.
But, I'll tell my story and hope to defeat,
That dream-blazing, glaring, horrible beast.
-Angie Cook

Monday, February 24, 2014

It is a common thing for artists to be self-critical of their work. But an artist with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is not only critical of their work but also of their self. Healthy self talk can help us grow, but if it is negative to the degree to cause creative blocks or in a worse case scenario- depression, then it needs to be put into its place…. out of mind.

I used to have depression, low self esteem, and be continuously putting myself down. I still have those little "talks" with the negative voice mocking me and trying to beat down my confidence but I have learned to accept myself with all the frailties and flaws. This does not mean I always feel good about where I am at in my personal growth, as it is a life long lesson…. we never get finished learning. However, I am not always doubting myself anymore. Maybe it takes a few falls and the act of climbing back up, to realize we will be doing a lot of this so we may as well laugh at ourselves and keep at it.

A few years ago…. well, quite a few years ago I wrote a poem that I will share here. Maybe there are others who can benefit from it. All I know is that it helped me at a time when I needed it.

Slaying the Dragon by Angie Cook

Awkwardly demanding, the unreasonable feat
knowing the goal is ultimate defeat.
Seeking to destroy is its purpose and command,
raging in its fury… burning sand.

Self doubt, confusion, criticism, and fear…
depression… to feel those eyes that sear
into the soul, taking apart all your dreams,
looking all about, no hope it seems.

How can we fight it, a Dragon so great?
Can we hope to find safety? Can we hope to escape?
He knows all about us, every failure, every dread,
will he bear down upon us, until all life be dead?

That fire from his fury, burning all that's exposed,
every delicate, faltering, fragile, self concept repose.
The timid will fall, for fear calls his attention…
then terrors will come, horrible to mention.

Anger is useless, to fight such a one…
resentment, will not help the battle to be won!
Only the gallant, the hardy, honest and true,
will stand up against him, and faith's hope renew.

This was written around the time I learned about ADD and came to terms with it. I began forgiving myself of the many mistakes I had made while stumbling through life unaware of why I struggled so. I set out to get to know myself, to understand and be kind. As I learned, I taught my family. Together we began to change our attitudes over my forgetfulness, and disorganization…. and many other things. It takes a support system. Soon, I could even laugh about it. I embraced the truth and it set me free.

Self improvement is always my goal. Self talk and the pesky negative voice will always flair up when I am weak and vulnerable. But now I at least know enough about myself to believe I can let my little light shine by believing in myself… and the One who made me who I am… then that ol' Dragon just backs off and leaves me alone.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Two years have come and gone since I last posted here. I suppose that is appropriate since it has been a two year desert-land, where survival was the main focus. 

Yes there has been art, as that is how I survive, along with prayer, love, work… etc.- but the focus of output was more in line with creative play than what I consider to be artist-worthy. There were a few good pieces but nothing felt significant. I have been drifting as an artist. 

Then an inspiration came. I could see clearly where I wanted to go. I found the medium I wanted to take me there. Made a purchase and started painting. I made a goal to do one artwork per week this year, just to make me work with a disciplined expectation. I need to succeed and fail and keep going, in order to climb these self-made walls keeping me from productivity. It doesn't matter what medium or form my weekly work is in, as long as it is original artwork… coming from my hands only. No stamped art from bought stamps; or assembled creations from purchased bauble. 

Last week I surprised myself. We had a beautiful snow-covered landscape that inspired me to make a new goal. I wanted to do twelve snow scenes. Having four snow-days (from work) and then the weekend and two days off for winter-break gave me over a full week off. As I completed each one I posted them on Facebook. What happened next renewed my self confidence and fueled the desire to push on. In the days following my Facebook picture posts- the incoming support, appreciation, and even purchases was the spark I needed to jump start this engine inside. I completed my goal, sold over half of them and now I believe I can keep going. 

I have a huge learning curve ahead with the new medium- Holbein Acryla Gouache. I have not yet reached the destination of my original inspiration which made me purchase this medium, but I have not given up. The vision and desire is still alive. So I work. 

I am making a new goal now. I pledge to keep a regular entry cycle going with this blog beginning today. Just as I create at least one work of art per week, I will enter my journey-thoughts here weekly. Hopefully this journey will reach others who either need to find their own creative journeys, or those who are curious about what an artist journey looks like. Previously mine has been overcome with self doubts at many junctures, but I am going to work on that negative self talk and lighten up a little. Not every work is going to succeed. But the important thing is to keep working. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Art for Healing

     On February 10th my husband had a very serious surgery. I began a handmade fabric art-book of which I could work on in the many waiting rooms; the ICU; the hospital room; the hotel room; and at home the week after surgery in between times of taking care of my husband's needs. This was a work of art to keep my hands and mind busy while waiting, praying, and hanging on to hope that "this too shall pass."

     He came through the surgery fine. Tomorrow we will go to the surgeon for the post op visit. Everything is hand stitched.

The buttons are very old. The images inside are from vintage fabric. I tried to leave some of the original print showing as I embroidered some details. I used a small dowel keeps the fabric from pulling in the center as it wraps around to close.

The black fastener is covered with intricate crochet stitches.
I did not make this. It is something I found in some trim given to me by a friend.

The text is printed onto printable organza fabric.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Miss Molly- A New Doll

This is Miss Molly- my newest doll. It all began with a Pom Wonderful bottle for the torso, which was enclosed in a paper mache' sculpting. The head, legs, and arms are soft sculpt.

Her hat and shoes are felt and her dress and pantaloons are re-purposed scraps. The hands have wire inside and can be shaped to hold things.