This week's blog was written by painter, Jennie O'Connor. Jennie interviewed glass artist Kandyse Whitney of Blue Fox Glass. You can see Kandyse's exquisite works at Artistic Portland Monday-Saturday from 10-6 and Sunday from noon to 5.
How long have you been a part of Artistic Portland, and what appealed to you about joining the Co-op?
I joined Artistic Portland in February 2014. I had recently moved back to the Portland area and was looking for places to sell my work. I enjoy being part of a community of artists who inspire each other.
What’s your background?
For the most part my non-creative work has been typical 9-5 office work providing administrative support.
Why do you do what you do?
Glass fascinates me because of its wide range of colors and what you can create with it. I love that artists can work with it in both liquid and solid states. Recently, I have also been working with recycled glass, turning it into functional bowls, decorative starfish, and unique pendants.
Where do you create?
I turned one of our extra bedrooms into a studio where all the designing, cutting, and assembling takes place. The kilns (I have two) are in the garage. Another bedroom is where I photograph my items and package them for shipping.
What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever created?
I think my favorite piece is from when I was working in stained glass. I made a clown wearing patchwork pants sitting in the rain with a ribbon umbrella. Maybe someday I’ll recreate it in fused glass.
If you could wake up tomorrow with a new artistic skill, what would it be?
Probably the ability to see things in abstract. There are times when my left brain is too rigid for the vision of how I want a piece to look.
What do you like to do when you're not creating?
Reading a book or spending too much time on Facebook.
One of the many things I enjoy about being a member of Artistic Portland is that I get to witness what each and every member creates. I feel their spirit that is expressed in their artwork.
As I sit here in my office, I look around and see the collection of art from some of our Artistic Portland members. I would like to tell you a little bit about some of what I have collected.
First and newest to my collection are my beeswax candles by Bee Lux. These candles are molded candles from 100% local beeswax. I wish you could smell them; they smell like honey that has been mellowed by powder. I love beeswax, I use it as an emulsifier in my Gifts From the Earth skin care line.
This is art that I know will not last, after all they are candles, but they are truly magical and I will enjoy them every time I light them!
I have been in love with Denise’s pods for a very long time. Each one is unique and has its own texture and glaze combination. Here is what has been written about her pods, they are “small ceramic sculptures reminiscent of plants, seed pods, and ocean creatures. Sometimes they come out as functional objects like salt and pepper shakers and tiny jars but mostly they end up being non-functional pod forms for home decor as well as wall art. The artist feels these natural forms mimic life at the cellular level, which looks very like the shapes and forms seen in every day animal and plant life.”
Sometimes I catch myself staring at them, seeing each detail like you would when you notice things in nature.
Ben Gilbert Crayons and Cardboard
I have watched Ben’s work flourish from the start of his membership in our Co-op. He has an excellent eye and isn’t afraid to experiment with texture or color. I own a piece that I call Pigeon and Ball, it is simple but the texture brings it to life.
He also did one for me of my cat Leo that passed at the beginning of the year. It is lovely.
Sally Galore – Fricken Cute
Sally creates amazing oversized fabric wallets/mini clutch that will not only act as your wallet but as a place to carry your phone and keys. Her fabric choices are sensational! And the craftsmanship is great. I love the whimsical feeling of her work.
I would sum up my ever growing collection as colorful and delicious. It says something about what I need to be nurtured within my own home. What makes it special to me is knowing that one person sat down and poured their energy into their avenue of beauty. As a natural skincare maker I am thrilled to know that I am part of many peoples’ rituals and daily lives. I hope each and every artist knows how special their gifts are to me. Watch out artists! Time to add to the collection…
Marianne Wilson Stein – Creator of Luscious Beauty and owner of Gifts From the Earth.
This week's blog post was written by painter Jennie O'Connor.
Today, I thought I would write about getting a new painting started. Before putting brush to paper or canvas, many artists have a plan, they have made many decisions, including what they are going to paint. For instance, they may have a photo or an outdoor scene they want to paint by perhaps starting with several thumbnail sketches, working out the design, values, shapes, and color choices, etc. That, however, is not how I work. Sometimes I wonder if I might be in the minority but probably not. First, I create chaos and then I must create order by making a painting that appeals to the senses.
This brings up something I should explain. Almost all of my paintings begin with an underpainting or start (see above); which means I have applied paint and texture covering the whole canvas. The planning for me begins when it comes to creating a painting over this underpainting. I should also mention that I have an immense number of starts in my studio just waiting for the muse to strike. Really what I decide to paint over the underpainting is determined by how it has turned out. In fact I sort of wait for the underpainting/start to speak to me. Yes I know, I’m a bit crazy. It may take weeks or even months of studying a piece before it speaks to me
Below is a completed painting resulting from the above underpainting.
In my process, every painting begins with color. It’s kind of like getting dressed in the morning and deciding what I will wear by first choosing the color I want to wear and then looking in the closet and picking an outfit that fits with my color mood.
Now that’s an interesting phrase, “color mood”. What the heck is that? I just made it up but I’m pretty I’m sure it isn't anything new. I sort of like the sound of “Color Mood”!
So anyway, there I am in my studio, staring at a blank canvas or canvases, as the case may be, because I often work on several starts at one time; wondering what the heck I’m going to do. Then about that time I usually start looking at my tubes of color, picking them up, sometimes I open a few, I may even squeeze out a bit of pigment. Once I’ve come up with a color that suites my mood, or color mood if you will, I’m ready to start.
But that brings up another problem: Where on the canvas should I put this color? Should I begin doing a classic design, or do I feel more like just applying the paint loosely around the canvas, adding other colors as I go along. Sometimes, I may just paint the whole surface with one color. I also may choose to add collage papers that I have previously created, or stamp on texture, or even add other texturing material. The thing is, I love texture and color, and it’s so freeing to work without any plan at all, which is what I usually end up doing when I am creating my under-paintings.
Freeing myself up, creating chaos on a blank surface, that’s the fun of it!
This week, enter the mind of local artist Ben Gilbert of Crayons and Cardboard, as he shares his latest artistic inspirations and ponderings ...
It's time to return to the basement and see if we can communicate with Molly through the use of the deep dream... I hesitate to go there since who knows how upset she be still even after the many months since the move... But the sacrifice will be worth it..
I have been toying with the Deep Dream computer vision program designed by Google... Darkness, dusk, and dawn are my focus... Layers of glass, mist and reflection... Close up... smaller things... The lighter the light the less intriguing the resulting image:.. Singular well defined entities create the better image...
Shining a red light on black plastic bags with a perfect circle as a hole is creating some intriguing images as well as certain products... Colorful drinks like Gatorade with its rainbow of colors are useful... There seems to be lots of birds lizards and rodents popping up in the creations. I tried a hippo but it didn't warp enough... Bunny and cats did well as well as certain lit humans.. Dark holes and little imperfections in walls and floors make cool images also...
Some staged pieces work better than others... It's hit and miss... I have made some cool cityscapes also... Again at night... ll be making more postcards and magnets in the future... Clearing out most of the stockpile of blank cardboard... I will continue to make things with crayon and can always replenish the cardboard...
This is a time of transformation and movement as well as the dumping of a lot of the crap I have collected over the last 3 years. At least the heat will end soon... Maybe night snow will make some come alive...
Some of the old pieces will survive through careful preparation and luck so I don't regret using the commercial cardboard at all... Just keep watching Antique Roadshow...,
I used Wikipedia to make a Dee painting and a work involving Malden Island... I'll keep using that and a random word generator in the future... I don't know where I will be next year but I'm here in some form until the end I can promise you that
This week's blog post was written by mosaic artist Colleen Patricia Willams.
This weeks’ post is about not just art, but the creative process and what aids that process. Modern American society is a busy place; work, family and other social commitments tend to take up our time, leaving us little time for leisure activities. This busyness cuts into our sleep, our meals and deprives us of a lot of necessary relaxation.
Neuroscience suggests that this trend has not been a good thing for Americans; it comes at the expense of creative enterprises, which tend to raise our life satisfaction as well as help us to live longer. Those moments when one becomes unaware of the passage of time, when the brain focuses on the project at hand, those moments are called “flow” and those moments are very good for us, not just as artists, but in other areas.
Flow is when we are relaxed, when time slips away, much like when one is driving, deep in thought; we find ourselves surprised when we pull into the driveway, listening to the music, it seemed like the drive took no time at all. This phenomenon generalizes out to the rest of our lives; at work, and especially at play, flow allows us to become one with the project, the concepts, that we are trying to express. It’s a good thing to take the time to experience flow; coloring can do this, which is what is behind the rise of the adult coloring book.
Another crucial area that needs to be considered is the role of sleep in the creative process; sleep not only cleans detritus out of our brains, but sleep allows new information learned during the waking period, to become better embedded in the brain. Sleep aids in healing and growth; growth of neuronal connections is vital to the creative process as is the pruning of unneeded neuronal connections. Sleep allows the brain to reorganize all of the input that has come into the brain during the waking period; this sleep period also allows weaker subsystems in the brain that are overwhelmed during the day, to emerge as the stronger systems are on hold. This is the origin of the A HA! moment. There are many documented instances of the answer to a critical question to a problem that come in dreams, like the invention of the sewing machine.
The inventor of the sewing machine was having a difficult time getting the thread to work; one night, during a dream, he saw the answer in the spear points that he dreamed of that night. They had holes in the tips, which when he applied this to the needles, it allowed the thread to properly loop, solving the problem he was having with his invention, that has changed the world.
The point that I hope to make for all people, artists and those who are not artists, is that we can all be creative, we can all do things to enhance our creativity, with sleep being the number one thing that we can all do, for free.
Stop by Artistic Portland to see and purchase Colleen's illuminated mosaics and hand-drawn coloring books!
This week's blog post was written by Ben Gilbert of Crayons and Cardboard.
The latest direction my art is going is capturing the image of an image. I paint flawed photographs trying to capture the blur. The static snow, the electromagnetic lines in photos taken in a second by phone. Easy to do when one does not have to worry about wasting film... Sometimes I use the Photoshop app to alter the images in interesting ways.
"Windows 10 Distortion Wave Field Test 1 " this was made from a Windows 10 screen saver.
I continue the Portland in the rain studies with "Mild Front" with a delineation of wet and dry bricks...
I have tried to begin a strain of subtle horror with the "That House" piece and in the future "Crystal Geyser Stack."
"Predator Becomes Prey" and "Temple of Meat" are pop culture primary color works...
As is "Daedon of Nylar" where one of the lovecraftian icons meets a prehistoric pig...
Snake Berm... An abstract involving sprinklers a snake and oceanic contour lines...
Besides the continuing use of photos I have been continuing down the path of using mostly primary colors in abstracts.
One cannot use a light touch with crayon and cardboard... The surface does not easily accept the wax... One must plow one’s way across the harsh field to soften up the area... While being careful not to cake the wax on too much lest it start to flake...
On the Nature of Crayons...
Taste... They may be waxy but they are not full of the body defiling bitterness that one finds in most of the paints...
Touch... They are smooth and cool... Like sturdy solid stalks of cress or carrots... Nothing to complain about there...
Smell... Pleasant yet with enough crayons enough to overwhelm the accumulated body odor of a sweltering Portland summer...
Sound... No scraping... I suppose if you use the wax to remove hair they could collect the screams of agony involved in such a venture...
Sight... The best part... Over a hundred vibrant colors in the wheel package...
I'll probably do an octopus next.. More cats more dogs... Maybe giant space hamsters... Fantasy creatures... Creatures small and creatures of the deep... Stay tuned…
In the near future my work will be at Dark Star Tattoo, another Pancakes and Booze on Hawthorne and Refuge PDX for the June Fourth Friday. Send responses to these blog posts to Vdrak80@gmail.com.
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'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?
This week's blog post is written by Sherry Bingaman of Nueva Vida.
I have been thinking about a topic many creative people discuss over and over but on which they seldom agree—“What is ART, and what is CRAFT?”
I have been a textile artist for most of my life, exploring various techniques and media to help me express my visions. I weave, felt, fuse, sew, crochet, knit, collage, papier mache, paint, whatever form I need to use to create the ideas in my head. Is it ART or is it CRAFT? I really don’t know, and I really don’t care. I love what I do, and it brings me great joy. My work is something I am compelled to do or I am sad. I feel lucky to be obsessed like this!
So much of what I have read about ART vs. CRAFT is about how different they are from each other, like comparing philosophy to engineering or something. So often you will read that ART is the communication of an idea or emotion, while CRAFT is the physical manipulation of material. One object could be viewed two ways: if you look at the way it was made and the materials used, you are looking at it as CRAFT. If you think about its emotions and ideas, you are seeing it as ART.
Artists all work with some type of materials whether it’s paint and canvas or yarns and dyes. So much satisfaction comes from the process of using these various materials, no matter what they are. I spent 13 years teaching kids in grades K-12 and so enjoyed seeing their pleasure while creating, no matter the quality of the end result. Their circle of joy became complete when they were also proud and inspired by the results of their work. Did they make ART or CRAFT? Does it matter?
The ambiguity inherent in the question “Is it ART or is it CRAFT” is part of the mystery of creating. Many people are very rigid in their definitions and feel ART expresses emotion while CRAFT represents function. I believe that the best work is a combination of both.
Creating is a personal experience with different rewards for each of us.
In my work, I aim to express an idea using whatever materials I choose and create it in the most excellent manner I can. I like to think my best piece is my next one and hope to continually improve and evolve. My heart speaks when I make something from ordinary materials in such a way as they become extraordinary.
This week's blog post is written by Laura K. Maxwell.
Before I began actively creating and selling my own art, I was an elementary art teacher. I taught students how to draw, paint, and sculpt at an elementary school in Dallas, Texas before moving to Portland. I believe a big part of teaching is learning with your students. A classroom - especially an art classroom - should be a place where everyone involved, including the teacher, are discovering new things and learning from each other. This turned out to be especially true in my situation. My students taught me how to be an artist.
Before teaching, I had earned a Bachelor’s degree in Art History. Looking back, I think it was because I was more comfortable reading and talking about art, rather than making it myself. For sure, Art History is super interesting - learning how visual culture has changed throughout time and history - but by the end, it felt hollow. I wanted to pursue something more meaningful. So I endeavored to teach little ones how to engage with and appreciate art themselves. I got a Master’s in Art Education and began teaching K-6 art. As I said, I wasn’t really creating much art myself at the time, and so a part of me didn’t feel quite qualified to be teaching others. Either way, I dove in and determined to learn as I went.
A big part of teaching is giving pep talks. Creating is a scary process, and when a piece turns out differently than you plan, it can be really frustrating - for kids and adults alike. It was not uncommon to have a student in tears, so upset that their artwork wasn’t turning out the way they hoped. I tried to combat this from the very beginning of the school year, by reading books like Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg -- which is about how any “mistake” can be turned into something beautiful. Also the books The Dot and Ish by Peter Reynolds, which both encourage embracing the unique way you create, even when it’s not exactly what you were expecting.
It’s hard to give a pep talk without some of it seeping into yourself. As I encouraged my students and watched them create without fear, I began to hunger to do the same. When I had extra time in the evenings and weekends, I pulled out a sketchbook and some pens and started to draw. At first it was just to prepare for specific lessons, but then I increasingly began to do art for its own sake. I especially tried to challenge myself to draw in pen, so that I could really embrace the “beautiful oops” philosophy and be forced to turn my mistakes into something beautiful, rather than erase. This really drove me crazy at times. It is also freeing - to let go of fixed outcomes and see where the process leads one step at a time.
I don’t teach full time anymore, but I still value the lessons learned from teaching and continually am inspired by the uninhibited creativity I see in young artists. I agree with Pablo Picasso who said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
I believe the drive to create is part of the human condition. Don’t suppress that- - don’t be afraid of making mistakes or comparing your creative path to another's. Get out there and make something.