28 June 2015

"What I'm Reading" - 'Tracks' & 'Far from the Madding Crowd'

I've got two books I'm going to impose the recommendation of, associated links, and the conceptual connection for my own creative path that I'll expound on at the end, which leads into more art.

Currently, I've been delving into the fascinating, powerful, and much empathized with story of Robyn Davidson in her book 'Tracks', about her 'solo trek across 1,700 miles of Australian Outback in the 1977.

If you haven't heard of Robyn, or her National Geographic featured trek, perhaps you've seen the movie, or at least the trailer, for the adaptation of her book, so named 'Tracks', starring Australian native Mia Wasikowska.

There's some stunning vintage photojournalistic documentation of Robyn's journey taken by National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan here

Check out the trailer for Tracks here


"The trip had never been billed in my mind as an adventure in the sense of something to be proved. And it struck me then that the most difficult thing had been the decision to act, the rest had been merely tenacity - and the fears were paper tigers. One really could do anything one had decided to do whether it were changing a job, moving to a new place, divorcing a husband or whatever, one really could act to change and control one's life; and the procedure, the process, was its own reward." -Tracks, by Robyn Davidson

I've also been getting into Thomas Hardy's epic 'Far from the Madding Crowd', which has been around for over 140 years, if that title sounds unfamiliar to you.

The lyricism and pastoral vision of Hardy's writing in his tale makes his intimacy with the land a central, defining character to all moods and moments throughout the story. I love that.

They've also come out with a new, fresh take in the May 2015 film version here

While vastly different, to the letter, the over-arching common theme here is the woman's story of development and independence, personal fortitude, unconventional character, and vision.

I'd say these are key themes, for myself, as well as in my creative pursuits.

Much of what drove my development out of childhood and into adulthood was rooted in wilderness training, working the land, seasonal survival education (with community as well as solo), travel, and the huge value of quality time alone. Not what you'd expect of an aspiring artist, always drawing from the age of three, no?

Well, as I've said before, communication and empathy are the infrastructure of successful story-telling art. I believe well-rounded experience in life creates a well-rounded, resourceful, empathetic artist; and this is certainly what I'm referencing when I cite my fifteen year background in ballet and other dance styles, primitive wilderness survival training and outdoor education, agricultural experience, care-taking and volunteer outreach, creative writing, and various mythological academia.

My professional, creative, freelance, and lifestyle goals are oriented around these interests from my background, certainly how they apply towards a better future - globally, environmentally, culturally, and personally.

Finding how we can apply our interests, diverse skill sets, and spherically expansive goals to our art work, for an income, is the hard part. And it is constantly changing, besides. No wonder we need strong stomachs for striking out into the unknown, in society. It's scary. It's...uncomfortable.

Growth, change, progress, it's all uncomfortable. If it were comfortable, it would be easy, and then nothing would get done.

That's enough of my waffling on for now.

What's inspiring you to move forwards in your work, your art, your life goals, your happiness?

More soon,
As always,


08 June 2015

"Melissae" - 'The Bees' - Art Prints & Post Reception 2015

*If you are one of the many who've joined in with the Art Dispatch Newsletter, you will have received your Pre-Show All-Access Pass for the new painting "Melissae" - 'The Bees' full reveal this past May Quarter.

But! If you haven't yet subscribed or are just catching wind of the news, here is the full debut for the public, complete with the context, conceptual process, and additional print product opportunity with the artwork of "Melissae". {Subscribe to the Quarterly Newsletter here}

"Melissae" - The Bees' - 6x6" Watercolor and Acrylic with
Prisma Color on Hot Press Rag, May 2015

"Melissae", which means 'bees' according to some research, comes from the ancient Greek culture, and even before, when the Minoans thrived in the Aegean Bronze Age, on the Greek Island of Crete.

This painting is a small 6x6" watercolor, acrylic, and prisma color pencil piece on hot press rag, inspired by the legacy of the bees, created for the up coming Great Big Bug Show for June, in York, and in honor of the bees' intrinsically important role in our modern world.

I took no preliminary drawing measures in this process, but rather dove straight in and fleshed out the face of my concept onto the hot press rag directly, eager to get to what I knew would be a playful and dynamic 'conversation' between me and the diverse mediums being used.
I wanted to build up the experience of this face and these bees in a veiled technique of lush color. I also wanted to push and pull the focus, giving the most attention to the bees themselves, the honey-drenched lips of the girl, and the symbolic white pomegranates.

Photographed by and courtesy of J. C. Fleischman - FearlessMortal Photography, 2015

On my hand-deckled rag - meaning I worked the edges of the paper with a dry technique to create the rag "deckle" edge that you see - I toned the ground in watercolor washes, lightly building an impression of what would come in the acrylic and prisma color layers. Once in the opaque stages, vivid color and detail were the priority. Bees tightened up last, to get as softly fuzzy a winged delicacy as possible.

Process photo while on the painting board, 2015.

Melissa, a popular girl's name translating as 'honey bee', has it's ancient roots in Greece, where a famous Melissa, a nymph, is said to have discovered honey. She shared her knowledge of honey properties and bee-keeping, and nursed baby Zeus with the sweet nectar.

Aphrodite is said to be known as the Queen Bee, her Melissae, or 'bees', the priestesses about her. Mediterranean cultures were riddled with the symbol of the bee; note the golden bee earring:

Demeter is associated with bees, each having a link to the underworld, and regeneration, or life cycles.
And the bee was a prominent, noble emblem used by the Merovingians.

Today, praise the bees for maintaining the diversity in our agriculture. Without healthy bees, many birds, mammals, and ourselves would be at a loss for seeds, fruits, certain other plants and produce, and considerable dairy products.

The original, framed painting will be on display and available for purchase this coming month, June 5th - 27th at the HIVE artspace in York, PA. Gallery Hours:Thursday, Friday & Saturday 11-3pm, or by appointment - HIVEartspace.com

Order an ART PRINT of "Melissae" directly, here

SHOP "Melissae" tote bag, t-shirts, greeting card, iphone case, travel mug and more products here

Enjoy the show!