#99Dogs Watercolor Puppers

So My journey began at painting these crazy watercolors. I admit I have fun making them in between other art projects. However only 15 have been created so far. Very many to go to hit 100. These are some of my favorites! Clearly I like playing with silly concepts instead of straight portraits. How I roll... 

Teenagers (a workshop tale)

I've had a blast the last two summers working as a summer teen camp counselor. I was working with middle school age kids (11-14), and there is something so vastly different about working with teens from working with school age kiddos. They are more familiar with the laws of life, and are more readily available to push them, test boundaries, and thus learn more about the world (whether that means bending rules or regulations that the adults have put in place for safety). While most people shudder when thinking about teenagers in their formative years, I am not one of those people. 

Teenagers are our ticket to the future. And if we can't open a wing, an arm, and welcome them into adulthood with gratitude, then we aren't doing our jobs as humans trying to make this place one we want to live in. 

I'm also a fan of their ability to understand everything we (adults) have to say. Explaining concepts to youngins, while I still love explaining things, can result as a fruitless endeavor. 

Being able to "break it down" with teenagers, to be real with them is such a gift. When I was between 12 and 18, I looked up to adults that were knowledgeable, open and welcoming of my questions, and that seemed "human". A human that erred, a human that laughed, and human, that had passion. And so I strive to be all those things to the budding youths that I have the pleasure to work with.

Granted teen camp is such a different atmosphere to a school environment. But that doesn't mean learning has to be any less fun. Learning a subject with the expectation of a good grade is so trivial in some cases. Americans love to live by progress, and how can we track it other than with calculation, and recording? I understand tests, and grades as a device to document and demonstrate ability. But as an artist, my personal skills as a teacher lie in letting students explore. 

Outside of camp I had the lovely opportunity to work with a couple groups of high school students learning about theatre arts. The current play in production was a Commedia show so appropriately I was able to conduct a mask making workshop. Previously I had worked on some local theatre productions as a prop master, and a set painter. My tie with this school was not only that I had been through the drama program as a student, but the last 2 shows I assisted with the production as a set painter. 

There is something really rewarding about being able to work with the students after being the "set fairy" who just painted at odd hours with her headphones in and kept to herself. Being able to walk them through a process of creating something that was entirely their own was very cool to watch. Not only that but laying the plaster foundation of the mask was something they had to entrust to a partner. As a high schooler, "touching" another person is still really taboo. However, in theatre we have to be able to follow through with trust exercises as its important to know you have a crew to support you. How can you teach that from a book?


The outcome was great not only being able to see what the students created, but being able to learn more about them, it wasn't just silent work time, I was part of their dialogue. As I am still a young person but no longer a teen I hope my concepts of the world were something they could relate with but see as realistic too. I need to help bridge the generation gap as much as I can while I'm in this age bracket. I couldn't be more thankful for this workshop and chance to teach.




A Collaboration

As someone who is not fully integrated into the word of technology I like to view myself as at least saavy in the essentials. 

As an painter I don't want to give technology the time of day, I'd rather turn on my music and get messy for 12 hours and forget what day of the week it is. 

As an artist promoting my work, social media has been a great aid (all 112 likes on my fb art page really says how brilliant I am)

As a collaborator a hidden tool I have discovered is the magic of Pinterest. 

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I have worked on a couple commissions using pinterest boards to generate inspiration, figures, and fester ideas. What I didn't realize was opening a pinterest board up to a client could be that magical key. Having my client and I adding things to the board, so that I can see what they want out of their commissioned piece, opens the communication line between us using images rather than words. That way, when I do use my words, I can ask specific questions so I'm not beating around the "well I just want an original art piece by you" bush. 

This assists my client but also lines up with some lifestyle philosophies I live by. Money has never been something I've been swimming in, so I learned by trial and error how I was going to decide to spend it. If I'm going to buy something its going to be something I can't live without, or something that I will regret not buying when its sold out. 

Okay but how the heck does that have anything to do with your art?

Well, by having the client build a vested interest in the inspiration behind the painting it not only makes them feel like they were a part of this artistic process, it also stands as more than just a piece of art they bought. Its something that someone they know made, and it is something that hopefully means more to them through the subject matter of the piece and its also something they helped influence. This collaboration is something I enjoy not only in my art, but in theatre and other joint ventures. I'd be lying if I didn't say it helps my sales since I don't have the masses flocking to buy my truly solo original pieces......yet.

With that, I love using pinterest as a tool, and try my hardest not to let it suck me into its addictive visually simulating black hole of pretty things. 

 

All for now, but as a parting thought I'm reading this incredible book on how the mind works when it comes to creativity, its called "Imagine" by Jonah Lehrer and I highly recommend it.

D

Artiste Spelled with a V. July

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And FWOOSH forward again for the last time (not really I will write more about lady artists for some reason or another). Present day! Ta-Da!

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Miranda July.

She’s legit ladies and gents. You may have seen her in an episode of Portlandia (two girls two shirts). Or maybe you’ve seen one of her films. Me and You and Everyone We Know(2005), or The Future(2011). She writes and directs herself in these things and is very ‘Lena Dunham before Lena Dunham’. But guess what, they’re friends (in real life) so that’s even cooler. Here are some pillowcases. Nifty.

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I might have a big artsy crush on Miranda. I have a book of her short stories (No One Belongs Here More Than You)and love it, and she even does installation art like The Hallway (theres a video you can watch here) or these cool interactive sculptures that you can put your finger in, or hug strangers on, or plead guilty by. If I have piqued your interest you can go to her website and explore. 

 She is so fantastic I want to SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS. She does so many kinds of art its all over the place, so I feel like my art can relate in that way. Between tables, and theatre, and painting, and writing. I can only hope that someday there are young lady artists that look up to me in the same way that I have to all of these fantastic women who you can read about in my previous short-sweet-blog-posts.