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Meaning in Art

A change of pace from my typical Life Skills topics.

This year, I have begun my journey into abstract painting. I run a small art gallery NW Georgia, which I also use as my studio space. Customers come in and out and can see my works in progress. There is a repeat customer that has just started coming in recently. While more interested in bronze sculptures that we have there, he has taken particular interest in my work. Not being a fan of abstract, from what I can gather, he is certainly warming to the idea. While looking at my collection of paintings, he asked me “What’s the meaning?” To which I replied, “It’s all relative.”

The meaning behind a piece of art, like so many other aspects of it, is, I feel, completely situational. It can come from the emotion of the artist at the time of conception or production, from the colors or materials used, from the size of the piece, and alternatively, what the viewer sees in the painting.

My paintings are non representational abstracts. This means that I am not painting a definitive subject. My colors are typically bold and bright and I favor larger canvases. Palette knives are my favorite tools and texture is a must. I use a variety of mediums: acrylic, oil, and mixed. When I have a finished product, I want it to have two things: balance and depth. When someone sees something in my painting, it is merely that- what they see. Admittedly, my emotions come out on occasion in the paintings. They can be seen in the direction of brush or knife, amount of texture, colors used, or especially the title of the painting. As I’m painting, there are always things on my mind and I channel those into my work, ending likely with a title directly related to the thoughts when completed the piece.

Back to the patron at hand. He saw me starting a commissioned painting a couple of weeks ago. He came in over the weekend and saw my progress and seemed much more intrigued. He concentrated on it and ultimately told me how much he enjoyed it and the process of watching it develop.

This morning, I received a message from him stating this:

“Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.” John Steinbeck

Your painting has grown, I know you can create and I know that piece communicates.

This was quite a compliment. While I don’t project a meaning or a subject, it is flattering to know that my pieces are communicative and ultimately, that people are enjoying them! Thanks To you, Bill and all my other customers and lovers of my work. As I have heard probably 50 times in the last six months, I have found my niche.

Cheers, Olivia

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View from my latest show, November 2014.

 

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“It Matches the Day” 3×4′ Acrylic on Canvas. This is one of my favorites. The purples are so bold, and some of the white iridescent.

 

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“Ruby Red Slippers” 11×14″ Acrylic on Canvas. Birthday present for a friend that is always commenting on my red shoes.

 

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2014 in Art

 

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Complete Lack of Motivation

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For months now, I have neglected my blog. It happens. There are lulls. I lose interest or am uninspired or I just forget. My intentions are good, however, my motivation is clearly lacking. There are signs all around me that serve as reminders to stay the course.

Last week, I was looking around online, researching how to retain motivation in writing. I came across a couple of sites that may help me. The ones that say to give yourself rewards and punishments are no help to me. If I want a piece of candy or a trip down the river in my kayak, I’m gonna get it when I want it. There’s no waiting for the end of a blog. Punishing myself doesn’t work for me either. Typically, we only punish ourselves after we feel guilty or wrong for something. Am I right? Punishing yourself seems to be more of having bad feelings toward yourself. That being said, it doesn’t work for me, either.

What does seem to work is realizing that I made a commitment to write and I must carry on. In my quest for motivation, I went to the internet to find others that were in the same boat and see their methods to maintain regularity in writing.

There were two websites in particular that got my attention. The first is specifically about blog posts.7 Ways to Stay Motivated to Write Blog Posts; Henri Junttila gives quite a few simple ideas to keep us rolling. One of his suggestions is one that I already use- having topics or blog posts complete for a rainy day. I have a list and some drafts at ready if I need them. Some of his ideas I could do more of- writing every single day, even if only for 15 minutes; changing my format on occasion to add variety and keep me on point.

The second site I came across was http://www.emeryroad.com. Jody Calkins is a writer and editor who’s website focuses on the writing side of business. After seeing her site, I found her on Facebook and Twitter. She provides a vast wealth of information as well as methods of motivation. I signed up for a 7 day exercise, in which each day, an email was sent to me with a description of something to write. Each exercise was completely different. They challenge writers to remain active in different aspects, in turn churning up thoughts to write about. She encourages research, short writing bursts, mapping, and even physical activities to stir creativity. I will admit, I have not completed the exercises yet, but I have been inspired to write this post.

In another area of my life, I am an artist. I dabble in different media, but my concentration is hand built pottery. I am part of a local cooperative art gallery that also helps to keep artists motivated and the public interested. We offer classes to the public for various types of art and each Monday night we have Studio Night. All are welcome, artist or otherwise, to work on whatever project they have going at the time. On any given night, there are as many as five different types of art/project going on: painting, sketching, pottery, fiber art/craft, jewelry, or even teaching or making a new fixture for the gallery itself. Our group usually is between 5-10 people and we help and encourage each other in our creative journeys. Some of the people work on the same type of task each week, while others (such as myself) change it up on a weekly basis. My main focus is to remain active in art and maintain creativity.

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Here’s a shot from Studio Night. Over in our annex, we were painting with oils and acrylics as well as making jewelry. The project in the foreground is a rack I made to put in the gallery with scarves that I make.

Check out Vision Gallery. Are you part of a similar group?

What about your writing? How are you staying motivated and encouraged? I would love to hear what you’re doing.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2014 in Life

 

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