Creative Synchronicity (Part 1)

JOSEPH RAFFAEL’s HELLEBORES

In her book about creativity and retirees, Julia Cameron warns (or perhaps promises) that ‘aha!’ moments – ephiphanies about creative synchronicity – occur when we nurture our innate creativity and pay attention to the world around us.  Recently, I’ve begun to  experience such instances and I am seeing more connections between my long ago artist self, what I am doing now and others’ creativity.

Perhaps these examples of creative syncronicity have swirled around me, invisible as air currents, for years, when I was just too terribly busy to see them. Now I am making time to study my art influencers anew and taking steps to make art again. With the luxury of time to savor these efforts, I begin to feel lightbulbs illuminating above my head.

For example, a few days after I posted about my hellebore sketches, which were prompted by Susan Rushton’s lucious photos of these early spring bloomers, I received a new edition of artist Joseph Raffael’s newsletter, announcing his own new stunning hellebore painting.

I’ve long respected Raffael’s work and it was a joy to see his painting on the same subject I’d been working on. His hellebore painting felt like a gift, showing me how much more I could possibly achieve with watercolor in the future.  He even focused on a side view of one blossom and it’s complex interior that I’d found interesting, too.  (My side view is posted above, but go to Joseph’s site to see his elegant interpretation.)

The first Raffael painting I encountered was one of his “Water Paintings” at the Chicago Art Institute.  Forty years ago, that massive riverscape dazzled me with shimmering surfaces, jewel-like reflections and mysterious watery depths,  He inspired me to try to capture light in my own work in various translucent and transparent media, including glass enamels, watercolors and stained glass.

Raffael’s art currently explores the complex worlds contained within a few flowers or a single blossom. He continues to amaze and inspire. You can sign up for his newsletters at his site and follow his new work as he completes each painting.

Enjoy!

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Edward Hopper: Color and Contrast

A great luxury and pleasure in retirement is having as much time as I want to read and think. I’m re-reading art books I’ve not touched in years and am finding new insights about why some artists resonate with me so strongly.

In addition to Richard Diebenkorn, I admire the work of American painter, Edward Hopper (1882-1967).

Two of Hopper’s most famous figurative works, Chop Suey (1929) and Nighthawks (1942), may be familiar to you.

His later works, including Rooms by the Sea (1951) and Sun in an Empty Room (1963), present strong lights and shadows in simpler, almost abstract ways which remind me of Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park series. Hopper was the older of the two notable artists, and it’s more than possible that Diebenkorn was aware of and influenced by Hopper’s work. I like to think so.

Both artists are in my mind these days. I love the Diebenkorn abstracts and Hopper’s bold colors and values. As I begin to draw and paint again after many year years, I struggle to make the right value contrasts and my palette is beginning to feel a bit timid. But I draw courage from Hopper’s powerful and stunning use of color, light and shadow.

In this watercolor study, I imagined Hopper’s Rooms by the Sea through a Diebenkorn ‘lens.’  In doing so, I learned that I still need to work on my values contrasts, and I need more confidence with color and form.

hopper-4

Artists Wolf Kahn and Josef Rafael also inspire me and I will write about them in future posts.

Who influences your work?

 

 

Our next 365-day trip around the sun

I love the idea of each year – either starting on January 1 or on our birthdays – as a 365-day trip around the sun. Thinking this way generates a completely different perspective on how I used (or squandered) the previous year. And how I could use the gift of all this time and space travelling in the year ahead.

2016 was a milestone for me. I retired. I floundered. But I finally began to figure out a new sense of identity and purpose. (Thank you, Julia Cameron!) With the help of her book for ‘retirees and other creative souls’ I recalled all the creative endeavors I tried, starting in childhood, and realized that I now have time to revisit and explore them anew if I choose.

For example, below is an abstractish watercolor landscape I painted some 30 years ago.

I found it when cleaning closets last spring (in my post-retirement floundering period) and was sad to see that it had become foxed and could not be saved. Its frame had been broken when we moved to Seattle 16 years ago, and since then it had been sitting in a closet, absorbing moisture. Oy. Before I consigned it to the dustbin, I snapped a photo. Now I am glad I did because I might try to recreate or improve upon it.

lost-watercolor-no-border

I am ready for 2017!

I’m now structuring my days to flex my mental and physical art making muscles. I already feel better for doing both.

I’m at the gym or taking a brisk walk every day, striving to find the joy in exercise. Haven’t yet but I do like having more energy and feeling stronger.

More interestingly, I’ve created a studio space in my home where I can drop in and out to work when I wish. I try to spend at least one hour there each day, drawing, painting or exploring other artists’ WP sites or at Daily Paint Works, which is a treasure trove of small artwork by daily painters. They also offer tutorials – some free and others for a small fee. Great resource.

DPW has inspired me to try to complete a drawing or painting each day in 2017. Tomorrow I will post number 1.

In 2017, I also aim to reconnect with people who have been important influencers in my art life. I will write about them in the coming months and hope you will be inspired by them, too.

Please feel free to scoop up any Artfuel you find here, and use it to feed your own creativity. The new connections I’m making with creative people here on WordPress and in other communities I am finding are certainly nurturing my creativity. Thank you for the Artfuel you contribute here..

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Reviving dormant creative skills

I parked my art-making skills for many years while I focused on a business career. It was exciting to use a different kind of creativity in my many ‘jobs,’ and I’m proud to have made a positive impact throughout my worklife. My work was rewarding and I am grateful for all the adventures and knowledge i gained along the way.

Art was not absent from my life during these years. Collecting art, including items for our home and wearables, supports other artists and gives us joy as we live every day among their art. We’ve also become creative cooks and gardeners, artful endeavors which involve even more senses.

Since i retired in the Spring, my summer was focused on my garden and I began to document the beauty which unfolded throughout the season.

I will continue to garden but I’ve discovered my broader purpose in retirement is to try to live more artfully in everything I do.

With the benefit of Julia Cameron’s book for retirees, (and other creative souls) writing my memoire helps me to recall many creative pursuits I explored at different times of my life. Starting in childhood, Sewing, designing, metal arts, jewelry design, as well as drawing and painting brought me joy and could be artforms to explore again.

I’m now working to revive my painting and drawing skills to see whether I can make art again. My local Senior Center offers a weekly watercolor class that is both affordable and encouraging.  I’ve just discovered Urban Sketchers and am eager to see if I could try this artform. Through a book about the discipline of daily painting by Carol Marine, I find inspriation at Daily Paintworks every day!

I am again in love with art supply stores and find Daniel Smith to be a tremendous resource here in Seattle.

Revisting artists whose work speaks to me, inspires me to analyze why. And exploring other artists’ work in visual arts, music, drama and writing, sparks ideas for my own future work.

Exercising both mind and body will be essential to sustaining a creative life, so I’m walking, observantly, most days, seeking subjects to draw or paint. And, thanks to Humana’s Silver Sneakers program, several times a week I’m taking active classes at a local gym, in a variety of strength-building activities.

My days are beginning to feel more structured and I’m gaining a new sense of positive outlook about this new chapter of my life.  If you have insights to share about your creative retirement, please share them!