Sunday, May 22, 2016

Allowing Ideas to Form

Beginning stages of Bloom 
Nature's Spirit



I had another painting that was this title but I have since painted over it.  I have been painting over things from last year.  This image is a new painting though and not a paint over.  I feel like things are finally beginning to gel and I am actually getting what I am visualizing.  This is such a long process.  This painting came about in two days and then I began another immediately after.  I have a few ideas germinating in my mind.  I've been carrying them with me mentally for awhile so when I finally get to it they come very fast.  One is an offshoot of the previous one.  

Today I went for a walk.  I do love walking.  I like to listen to nature so I do not take a phone for any reason.  I want to only be aware of my surroundings, sounds and smells while walking.  Many ideas come to me when I am quiet.  I can sit for a long time "doing nothing" but this is important for me.  That is when I get ideas.  I am not the kind of person that has to be with someone 24/7 or having some kind of noise diversion.  I thrive on those times of quiet.  That is when I can notice something like a shadow on the sidewalk and then an idea comes to me.   I also keep a small sketch book and make notes and write ideas in the morning while I am drinking my coffee and waking up.  That is also a time when I tend to visualize possible works.  I sketch out the ideas, write notes, words and thoughts.  

If I was on my phone all the time I would not have the space and time to allow ideas to come to me.  

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ten Thousand Hours

Deep Blue 2
40x30 acrylic on canvas


Have you heard about the theory that it takes about ten thousand hours to master a skill no matter what that skill is?  I have read a little about it in regards to sports, careers in different fields and of course being an artist.  I will never be where I want to be in my art and that is what keeps me going and striving to improve.  I am not a master in my area but I do desire to be one.  Ten thousand hours is almost 500, 24 hour days.  I would have to get out my calculater to see just what that would be in 8 hour segments, weekly, etc.  For me this means that it takes a long time, dedication, obsession, learning through mistakes, watching others, creating lots and lots of art, and taking the long view.  I have been obsessed with art since 1970 and probably even earlier than that.  I first learned about the weight of a line in high school and began practicing different ways to use line.  Then in early college years learned to improve my drawing through the Nicholades method.  Then on to college where I felt aimless most of the time but was able to devote long stretches of time to drawing.  Not ucommon for me to not go to my other classes and instead sit through three life drawing classes in one day.  That ended up being over six hours of drawing from the model in one day.  I became obsessed with getting better.  Life changed and I entered the "work force" for most of my life.  My non-work hours were still spent being obsessed with art.  The last ten to fifteen years any spare time I had on weekends or during the summer were spent drawing or painting and trying different mediums.  I made a lot of art that I have since thrown away.  When I began delving into the abstracts I really had no idea what I was doing.  I tried this and that.  I used this technique and that technique.  One style and another were explored trying to find what fit and rang true for me.  

Now after all of this time I tend to look at everything I do as an accumulation and synthesis of all that I have done before.  All of those lines made in six hours of life drawing became a part of me and now come out through my abstracts.  All of the starts and stops, trial and error, good and bad art come into play today.  Actually it has all been a series of marks on paper that lead up to this point in time.  Where will I be in one year or five?  I know I cannot jump ahead.  I have to be where I am, continue to work and I will be somewhere different and will have improved.  There are no shortcuts to get there.  


Friday, April 8, 2016

New Website Announcement



I have a new website!  I have not added all of my images yet and I am still figuring it all out but I think it will be a positive change.

Please visit www.deborastewart.com to view and to sign up for my new email newsletter.




Friday, April 1, 2016

Desert Dreams and Huff Harrington

Desert Dreams
40x30 acrylic on canvas

I painted over a previous painting for this new work.  I liked the original last year but it no longer served me or fit with the direction I want to go.   My goal is to create a consistent body of work whether it be pastel or paint.  I have been trying to bring the two mediums together.  I get closer as I continue to work.  But now I have a basement and a storage unit full of paintings that are now three or four years old.  I may end up taking a razor to them and destroying them.  I had to do them to get to this point and I wish progress was faster but it is not.  That would make it too easy and it is not an easy thing.  I did use some drawings from the Desert Botanical Garden in Scottsdale for this painting.  I will continue this theme for awhile and will also work in oils as well.  Color palette will be more muted and soft.  

I have closed my Etsy site now.  It was successful and I enjoyed having it.  Shipping is not a favorite activity of mine.  I have decided to let galleries sell my art and let them manage shipping.  My goal right now is to create more balance and manage my time better.  I have taken on a new gallery and really want to devote my time to working with them and the other venues that carry my work.  I am now represented by Huff Harrington Fine Art in Atlanta, Georgia.  I am very excited to work with them and hope a trip to Atlanta is in my future.  They expressed a lot of interest in my pastels and this was very positive and encouraging.  I have sent them a selection of pastels, acyrlics on paper and paintings on canvas.  

I am striving to find a positive balance.  I have enough workshops for 2016 and am now scheduling into 2017!  I have five scheduled for 2017 already!  My goal is to manage and be grateful for what has come to fruition with my art.  I feel blessed. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Sonoran Breeze

Sonoran Breeze
20x30 oil on stretched canvas

I was gone for awhile as I spent five weeks in Scottsdale, Arizona. While I was there I also flew to Florida, taught a workshop and judged a pastel exhibit.  Back in Scottsdale it was mostly vacation for my husband and I. I did teach a workshop in Phoenix also.  I took time off from painting which was challenging on some days.  I think it was good to step away for awhile and be on a vacation.  I can come back with a fresh vision.  The experience of being in a different location and climate inspires me in an uncertain way.  I love the desert. It is so different from living in Iowa.  I love the catus, flowers and trees.  There was a definite scent to the warm breeze at times.  I just tried to soak it all in and wind down.  Now we are looking forward to next year's return.  Maybe even longer?  Who knows.  I also spent some time drawing at the Desert Botanical Garden one day.  I told myself I was collecting lines and inspiration for later.  I drew many different plants for intention on using the lines in a series of paintings and pastels devoted to the Sonoran Desert.  So, here is one of my first "official" finished paintings inspired by the desert.  More to come!  


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Synthesizing

Yellow Garden Abstraction
oil on stretched canvas
20x20 inches

This small oil painting has a lot of elements that I have been looking for.  I really look forward to painting more in the future.  I turned an acrylic painting upside down and used some of what I had painted as a foundation for this one.  I had been thinking about a yellow painting so I selected a variety of yellows, plus umber, ochre and white.  It can be so hard to synthesize a process.  Seems to take me years and years of trial and error to get where I want to go.  I have finally made some decisions about abstraction and abstract realism.  My bouquets will only be in pastel from now on.  I don't even want to try them in any painting medium as I can't replicate them in paint.  I've had gallery owners tell me they like them but want me to paint them.  I'm done with that.  Can't be done - by me anyway.  The magic, if there is magic, in the bouquets is the pastel medium itself.  My abstracted gardens will be primarily pastel also but I will use them for inspiration in acrylic and oil painting.  My purely abstract paintings will be in a mixed media approach of acrylic and oil.  All will be inspired by my garden drawings which I will continue to do.  I want a flow between all approaches and I think I am finally beginning to get there.  I won't be painting or posting for awhile.  I will be looking at a lot of art, teaching workshops and visiting galleries.  I also hope to do some more drawing from life in my sketchbooks and generating lots of ideas.