This week's blog post is written by Colleen Patricia Williams.
As an artist, I find that the creative process is one that is, as the old saying goes, 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. This is a factor that many of those who buy art don’t realize; the time that it takes to create a piece of art as well as the time it takes to learn how to use the chosen medium.
Art is not just a talent, but a skill that must be exercised daily to maintain skills and to learn new skills, as well as mastering the nuances that are an inevitable part of any medium. In my case, this means that I went to art school, and then I spent decades learning my art and my medium, in order to learn to bring my expressions to life.
Teaching other people that want to learn a medium is an excellent way to learn more ourselves, as art is a lifetime of learning. In our gallery, many of us teach our hard-earned skills to other people, so they also can be part of a creative process.
By taking a class, a person not only learns a new skill, but makes new connections in the brain that also assist in problem solving abilities. The more art that a person does, whether adult or child, the richer the connections that are formed; these rich connections can assist in prevention of dementia, according to research studies. This makes sense; dementias often involve the loss of neurons, the more neurons a brain has, the more the buffer effect.
Taking classes also allows for social benefits; these benefits apply to both kids and adults. Social networks enrich life for seniors, and homeschoolers can meet new friends in an intimate, yet safe environment that the parents can also attend.
Artistic Portland artists have many different mediums and many different skills, from ceramics, to jewelry to mosaics both big and small, to visual, 2D artwork and wearable art represented in our gallery, and many of these talented people will be teaching classes at Artistic Portland throughout the year. The classes that we offer can be signed up for by phone, mail or in person at the gallery, itself (Click here to what's currently being offered).
A class can make an excellent gift or it can be a supplement to a homeschooling curriculum, as well as a unique family experience, as the entire family can take a class! This creates a lasting memory that kids will treasure as they become adults as well as fostering art appreciation for later in life.
So come to Artistic Portland, where we have classes now, and will have more in the future!
This week, dive into the creative mind of Ben Gilbert of Crayons and Cardboard.
It seems I'm entering the big leagues. The latest work is about 4 by 4 feet and a landscape to boot. It's not really photo realistic, but I never liked trying for that anyway. It will be easy to transport, and the crayon doesn't smear so only minimal fixative, if any, will be needed. At the same time on the field I work on smaller abstracts inspired by random visions and screensavers. The memory of the electronic device is almost full. Needs to be dumped.
Primarily working with crayon. Minimal colors, at most 5... Within the AP building, as within any location, there are images in the random dings and divots created by things being moved...dried blobs of paint created by an overexuberant swipe of the brush... The curve of a display table... The Rorschach of a coffee spill... The goals are the same, mobility and independence... At least I'm being a little more polite when it comes to compliments... I suppose I don't need to ignore them as an attempt to avoid falling prey to the arrogance of the stuck up...
Anyway, the latest is called AP Jaundiced Door Divots 4/7/16. The yellow green called to me... Cool color choice and the pattern of the dings caught my attention.
The big one I'm working on is basically Pioneer Square. After that it's back to practicing portraits, experimenting with more abstracts and more animals... More big ones in the future. More frames and hashtags and hang ready….
Edgefield this summer should be ok. If I save enough from my short hiatus from the Milepost, I hope to travel again in the future. I barely scratched the surface of Iceland last time. I'm breaking lots of crayons and eating up many white ones.
Life goes on. The files are a sprawling mess. 5? Years on fb? 132% synched still. Must go back and delete more someday. I'm not sure about other shows. They seem pointless and detract from the plan. I do know I'm staying in the co-op; I hope to get my cousin back here and prep the basement for a ghost short perhaps. The evolution of this place is positive and considering the reviews I got these past few days there is no place to go but up.
Peace out y'all!
This week's blog post is written by local painter John Stephenson.
As a painter I have had a long and fruitful involvement with landscape painting. It represents the various stages of my life. For years I have been hiking, backpacking, skiing, or doing some mountain climbing. I have generally looked for excuses to get out into the forest, along some seashore, or up above timberline. Many of my most memorable moments have been with family or friends on trails in the Cascades or coastal mountains in the Northwest. Being on top of Mt. Hood or in the midst of an old growth forest of Sitka Spruce on the coast is always a source of wonder and excitement. Open spaces that seem infinite, trees that reach to the sky, or the restless play and energy of water all enter into a fascination and awe that I try to translate into images on two-dimensional surfaces of paper, canvas, or panels of wood. There is a spiritual quality and feeling that develops and comes from the larger than life sense of the vastness of the universe and the small but precious niche that human beings occupy in this scheme. I also lose some of my self-centeredness as it emerges from daily activities into a larger reality. I imagine early explorers felt this and certainly Native Americans who created a nature-based religion from it.
Landscape imagery has a long history in many cultures. I think of Asian art works and more recently western art forms. Impressionists and many early American painters developed visual languages that centered on the sense of vast open spaces in which humans and their creations appear small and not as the central theme. In the 20th century this fascination and focus was marginalized as visual arts became more inwardly oriented and the romantic idea of nature as a source of meaning and inspiration declined. Nevertheless landscape art continued to be important and landscapes continued to inspire.
Landscape work usually involves picking out the central theme you find most important when looking “out there”. That could be looking at anything in nature from mountain peaks, waterfalls, and forest paths to enjoying the beauty of man-made bridges or cityscapes. For me choosing from this sometimes chaotic scenery can be difficult. If you are working from photos at least you can easily take point and shoot pictures to get samples of what you see. You can take it back to the studio and work at your leisure.
If you are sketching with charcoal or paint and trying to capture what you see in plein air, it is often difficult to select. It involves a commitment of time to set up an easel and paints just to start the process. Then what parts of the world which is presented 360 degrees around do you hone in on? What are the most critical masses you must get down on the canvas? There is the question of capturing the always changing light and shadow. It is amazing how fast the light changes and shadows move. No time to dilly dally. Wind can also be a detriment. However, it is excellent training in learning how to work quickly and in focusing on the essentials of painting, especially in abstract painting which I particularly enjoy. When I think about the difficulties that Cezanne or Van Gogh experienced to capture their vision, it helps to be patient and and humble in the process. Landscapes, whether representational or more abstract, will always be a central part of my work.
Stop by Artistic Portland to see and purchase John's work in person.
This week's blog post is written by Marianne Wilson Stein of Gifts from the Earth.
German artist Gustav Klimt is one of my favorites. He was born on July 14,1862 and lived in Baumgarten, Vienna, Austria. He was an Austrian symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. Klimt is noted for his paintings, murals, sketches, and other objets d'art.
What inspires me about Klimt’s work is his use of repeating patterns and designs. His paintings were organic in design and filled with symbolic shapes. He was also a master of use of color, not afraid to create bold color combinations. Bildnis der Adele Bloch-Bauer
He painted various subject matter. I think I love his paintings of women the most. Klimt was not afraid to paint a woman’s body in all stages of life, like that of The Three Stages of Woman and Death and Life Completed. He loved the erotic and painted his subjects with a very feminine touch.
His work is sometimes ethereal leaving me with a haunting feeling. His body of work is bold and timeless. Irrlichter (Will-O’-The-Wisp)
One of my favorite periods of his work is his Golden Phase:
I have studied his body of work and I bet he was a man who loved and appreciated beauty in the world. What are your thoughts about his work?