Sunday, October 29, 2006

Drop off day 10/29/06

Acrylic on 18" X 36" canvas

Today I took the drive to New Bedford to drop off my nine paintings (decided to leave one home) for the juried Holiday Exhibition at Artworks Gallery. I had never been to the town before, and was delighted by the cobblestone street that the gallery is on. I love the old seaport towns of New England - nothing like them. The gallery space is large and beautiful, and I'm just so looking forward to the opening night!

I titled this piece "Monterey" because my husband said it reminded him of the scenes of kelp at the Monterey Aquarium. There was a PBS special we watched about it. I was lucky enough to go there a few years ago, (ah, how about ten?) and I hope to take him to see it someday too. The idea kind of stuck with me, and I also thought about the crispness in the California air - the purity of sea and sky - it went with the feeling I was getting from the painting.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Selection of the New Paintings

Expanding II
Acrylic on 24" X 24" canvas

Expanding I
Acrylic on 24" X 24" canvas

Acrylic on 36" X 36" canvas

I was trying to post all of the pieces I'll be bringing to New Bedford, but AOL keeps shutting down on me. There will be ten all together, including Mystic Garden, and Spiritscape I and II, which can be found in previous posts here.

10/28 - Rainy Saturday

It's a windy, rainy Saturday, and I'm thouroughly enjoying it. Somehow the color of the autumn leaves is more brilliant in the overcast light... maybe it's because they are warm colored and the sky is a complimentary cool.

I had heard there could be flooding near the coast today, so I didn't want to take my chances driving out to New Bedford to drop off my paintings. Plus, the idea of trying to bring in ten big canvases in the rain was far from appealing. I'm going to head out tomorrow, which also gives me time to do those last minute touches.

So now that the time is upon me, I have to admit I'm feeling a little nervous. I need to get over it and dive in believing in myself, and what I do, and not worry about everything else. (I'll probably start having those dreams where I'm late for the opening and I'm running in circles looking for a matching pair of shoes, or a dress that doesn't have a stain or a whole in it!)..... deep breaths..... ahhhh... ok

I'm going to create a new post for the paintings...

Kitchen Goddess Celebrates Take-Out

I just HAVE to share this link with you all - - women friends especially. :) You've got to see this - you're going to love it, and your going to feel better about yourself after seeing it, and reading what Cynthia has to say. Modern Kitchen Goddesses Unite! Let's all leave those dishes in the sink, and go out for pizza instead! Who's in?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Jane of all trades, master of..... does it matter?

la la la la la, I love Etsy! Yes, I'm still singing that song... I feel like I'm HOME!! My besty Emily and I have forever talked about the dream gallery...(which every time evolves into gallery/workshop/studio/residency/farm/educational/non-profit/take over the world with good intentioned art and sustainability island/and beyond)... and the basic idea would be fine arts and crafts. We both appreciate the artistic value of a well made scarf, piece of jewelry, or furniture, as well as a painting or sculpture. We both like to support handmade or altered items, one of a kind finds. My friend Nan in California is doing just that in her gallery Art!Space in Livermore, CA (oh how I want to go see for myself!!). I would love to someday own this dream gallery, especially with Emily, but in the meantime it exists online in the form of Etsy!

There are many sellers that freely admit they love to get into all kinds of mediums, and they sell all of them in their store. These include fine artists, working in mediums like myself. As a painter, I've always been told that I must show a consistent voice and find that one thing I want to do and dive into it. I've done that by working in series, but each series is always a little different than the last one. I know some people could look at my figurative illustrations and then look at my more ethereal abstracts and say "I wouldn't have guessed these were by the same artist". Well, I guess not, but the fact is, they were. Every single piece that I create is authentically me, in it's own way, and they are all ultimately connected. This is me as an artist and as a person - I like to experiment and try new things, I also like to return to what I know and let the new things influence old means of communication... Ok that was pretty obscure, but I think you get me...

Point is, I can be myself by sharing all of the creations I make on Etsy and feel at home doing so. I'll be posting some pics of today's work later tonight...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

10/25-10/26 Go to my NEW STORE for more!

Blogger was down yesterday when I tried to upload my pic of the day, and today I can write, but it's not letting me upload a picture... So, text only it is. (I'll try to load a pic later today - probably just too many people blogging away right now!)

I have been on cloud nine the last few days - everything's coming up Etsy! :) Now that I have signed on, I can't believe it took me so long. I had two sales in the first three days of being there... no site can compare to that. I feel so much better about sharing my work there, and I'm excited about the range of items I can sell/show. I'm thinking about greeting card packages, bookmarks, zines, handpainted furniture, and decorative sculptures. There's just not enough time in the day for all the things I want to get my hands into! I have got to focus on painting, and painting up a storm, for the upcoming open studios show, and other shows in the near future, but in the long run, I think Etsy is going to be a perfect place to share the range of mediums I enjoy working with.

I'm making a bold step changing selling venues right before the height of the Holiday season, but I feel like it's the right choice to make, even right now. I was thinking I'd take my time to close my eBay store, but after working on eBay for hours last night, I'm almost finished going through recent works I'm sending to Etsy, and older works I'm discounting on eBay as a moving promo. I'll probably only give it a few more weeks (as opposed to months) before I close shop there. I'm thinking I'll continue with one eBay auction a week, but as I keep repeating, I'll be focusing on Etsy for 99% of my online sales in the future.

The forums on Etsy show what a fabulous community of creators are on the site - everyone is so helpful and supportive, there is very little ego or negetivity, and there seems to be a universal feeling of satisfaction with the site. I would recommend Etsy to any creative person to explore. It's the smallest of investments (10 cents a listing) - it's really worth a shot!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Painting of the Day - SOLD - 10/24/06 - NEW ETSY STORE!

In Search of Soul - SOLD
Acrylic on 36" X 36" on canvas

This is an older painting, but I am showing it here today because I just listed this for sale in...

my new Etsy Store!!

I am SO excited because this site is fabulous! Etsy is a place to buy and sell all things handmade, and the wide variety of artists and crafters is incredible. Everything from paintings, to jewelry, to pottery, to baby t-shirts, and so much more! (I sound like an advertisement, but truly I think this site is something special!).

For all the Ebayers out there, I'm sorry to say this means I'll be closing my store soon, but I plan on doing a few regular auctions still, so I won't disappear completely on Ebay! My reasons for moving over to Etsy are many - first of all, it's focused on all original creative items, and as we all know, ebay has EVERYTHING. Second, the fees are so much more reasonable, so that's always good for a starving artist! Third, it's easy for me to upload images, and it's easy to navigate for buyers. And lastly, as much as some people love shopping for art on Ebay, there are some that are put off by the site, and less likely to take an artist seriously if they use the site to sell their work. That's too bad, because there are many, fine artists that consistently sell originals on Ebay. But things being as they are, it's a good time for me to move on....

(Speaking of, my husband and I were just reminiscing about the Muppet movies and we sang "Movin' Right Along" - that song is so great. So I'm sharing it here because you're going to think of it right now and I guarantee it'll make you feel good!)

Love, Miss Piggy

Monday, October 23, 2006

Painting of the Day - 10/23/06

Acrylic and oil pastel on 12" x 12" canvas

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Spiritscape II - Painting of the Day 10/22/06

Spiritscape II
30" x 40" acrylic on canvas, 2006

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pricing Art

Here are some very helpful articles, and interesting conversations I've found on the issue of pricing your art. I'll try to update this post as I find more.

This is one I found today on a blog, and there is a great quote about Picasso...

Here's another one from a blog - be sure to read the comments too - lots of good experiences/perspectives.

This site is LOADED with great articles on the biz of selling art

Thoughts and suggestions on making a price list

Here is another perspective...

a new discovery! a blog about art sales...

SO what are your thoughts on pricing? What ranges apply to what artists? How have your experiences been figuring out your prices? Do you increase your price in gallery commission situations, or keep it the same no matter what? Have you had good/bad experiences pricing work too high/low?

So you're an artist, now what?

I owe so much to my university professors. They gave me all the tools I needed to know how to make art, look at art, and think about art. The one thing my education was lacking were the tools and information to make a go of being an artist in today's market. The advice I got was to go to grad school, but after four years earning my BA in Art (Painting), I couldn't even stay the extra year to get my BFA. I wanted OUT.

There was one path laid out for me and that was to get a BFA, then an MFA, then get a teaching position at a University and/or have a career showing in prestigious galleries. Oh, it's a wonderful life, don't get me wrong. But there was so much about who I was, and was becoming, that longed for more freedom in how I lived - the outsider wanting to remain in the running, but still outside. The meandering path vs. the straight highway.

I chose to take my chances doing it "my way" (thanks, Frankie!). At first I was the typical confused post grad, working the MOST random jobs (that's a funny list for another time) and living with friends in the same position. I painted in my bedroom and started to really explore the abstract direction I was drawn to (UNH had a realism focused art dept). I didn't show very much in the first few years, except for the Newburyport Art Association where I taught a kid's summer art program.

Fast forward today and I'm doing something I thought was impossible - living where I want (outside of an art center) and selling the work I want to create. I learned the tricks of the trade (and oh yes, am still learning, will always be) from trial and error, research and the helpful advice from fellow artists I relate to.

If I could offer a suggestion to any place of study that offers art courses, it would be to have a practical course on the business of art. So many art grads (and non-grads who are talented, self taught artists) are in the dark as to how to begin getting their art "out there". If I could create the curriculum of this course, it would include some of the following subjects of discussion...

Finding your "voice" and finding it's niche
Writing an Artist Statement
Writing an Artist Bio
What galleries are looking for and how to apply
The variety of venues to exhibit, sell, show art, and how to get into them
The variety of applications of art in the business world (ie design, corporate art, publishing companies)
Pricing your work
Business finances, tax information
The world of online marketing - what to do, what to avoid
How to look for and apply to shows
Art buyers aren't just in galleries - how to find the ones that want your art
Learning to write and speak confidently about your art
The current artmarket - what's selling and why?

Oh, there are just so many things to add to that list... Lately I've been trying to get my own business plan in order and I've been doing a lot of research on pricing. I will post another about this issue with some good links I've found.

There is so much opportunity out there for people with creative talent and they may underestimate the possibilities because of outdated modes of thinking about "making it" as an artist.

The way I see it, there is room for all of us, and the direction that our heart is calling us to go in is where we are needed in the world.

Spiritscape I - Painting of the Day 10/21/06

Spiritscape I
30" x 40" acrylic on canvas

Friday, October 20, 2006

Painting of the Day - Mystic Garden

Mystic Garden
36" X 36" Acrylic on canvas

Today I kept working in the porch, even though it was raining on and off through the day... Amazing, shifting light, blustering winds, and misty sprays through the screen complimented my "water works" in paint. I took a lot of pictures and worked on many canvases today, but I chose to share the progress of this painting, because I like it and I think it's complete.

The first picture (sorry for the poor quality) shows what I did yesterday as an underpainting. I am always in love with the most raw underpaintings, when the canvas shines through thin layers, and the color absorbs organically into the fibers. I always ask the question, 'Should I just leave it like this?'. It seems like it's too easy, but I'm discovering it's actually more difficult to resist temptation and recognize when to leave well enough alone. There were two today that I decided to leave alone, this one, I chose to go further.

The raw, initial gestures inspired the progression of the painting. The second picture shows the addition of green. Then I came in with a toned down phaylo blue. Around this stage, I was wondering if I should leave the bottom right raw - I loved the drips but it competed with the top area of light. Again, it could have stayed like this, but with the helpful eye of my husband, (he claims he "doesn't know art", but he has a great eye/instinct about painting) I layered over the bottom with a darker glaze. The finished product is what you see above and below.

Grand Opening of ArtSpace Gallery in Livermore, CA


For more information about the Grand Opening, and the Downtown Art Walk (same evening) please visit

I have a collection of drawings and paintings that will be available for purchase at the gallery, including Enthusiasm For A New Day, and Cascade II. (Both can be seen in my Artwanted portfolio - go to Acrylic Abstracts at


It's so funny that I've had blogs for a while but it hasn't been until now that I've really discovered their full potential. It's also a little embarrassing that I thought I was the first one to think of posting a picture a day - turns out that's a been there, done that bloggeriffic tradition many artists are doing. It's still so cool to see/read what this has done for each artist's journey, and I think I'll keep going with it even though I'm far from the only one.

I'm going to post some tonight and I plan to add to the list as I find more.

Meghan Henley Modern Fine Art:

Gregory Anthony Gallo - Arteology
Redboy Tee Shirts
Red Posterboy

Wendy Bandurski-Miller Paintings Within Paintings -

Andrea Pratt - Colouring Outside The Lines
Small Art

Art Esprit -

Jeff Soto's bloggity blog -

The Calls and Opps List -

Artipedia I said, I'll add to this list as I discover new ones, and... I encourage artists, art lovers, art galleries, etc, to post YOUR blog by leaving a comment with a link!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Gifts From The heART from Sara Holt

What a WONDERFUL surprise it was to get a package of art from my dear sister in art, the lovely and oh so talented, Sara Holt!! She sent me these two mini masterpieces (left - Larger Than Life, right - Teenage Wallpaper) and a piece done in charcoal that I didn't want to smudge by scanning called Private Eyes. I feel so lucky tonight as I write to thank my friend, and peer in paint. Sara, thank you so very much - I cherish these new additions to my collection and your friendship always...

To visit Sara's website and see more of her amazing work, visit

October 19, 2006 - Works In Progress

This morning I took a drive to West Harford to go to the BEST art supply store in my area, Jerry's Artarama. The only other options to get what Jerry's offers would be to go to Boston or New York. I got a TON of new canvases, new paint, and a bunch of oil pastels. Ahhh a very happy painter, indeed.

With the excitement of new supplies (and two cups of coffee) I was bouncing off the walls ready to get to work. It was a nice day today, and they are forcasting rain for the area tomorrow, so I made the most of the clear skies by painting in my porch at home instead of at the studio. This picture here shows my corner of chaos, and about half of the canvases that I started.

I'm enjoying working with layers of dripping paint so today was spent just getting the first layers on as many canvases as I could. Tomorrow, I'm sure I'll get more into some than others, and hopefully have at least one finished work to share.

Ten of these canvases will be going to New Bedford for the Holiday show, and the rest will be shown at the open studios weekend at the Mills.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pic of the Day: October 18, 2006

In A Good Place Now
Ink and colored pencils ACEO

It was a good day today... I got the letter I was waiting for from Artworks! Gallery in New Bedford, MA. Nervously I opened the envelope and read the first word - "Congratulations!" - that was all I needed to read before doing the giddy, happy dance! My work was accepted for their juried Holiday art show, and this was something I was really hoping for. Here's more information for anyone wishing to visit the exhibit.

Artworks! Holiday Exhibition and Sale

November 4th - Off the Wall Gala Benefit and Live Auction

November 9th - AHA! and Opening Reception

(More information about AHA! below - text came from their website,

AHA! (Art, History & Architecture) is New Bedford's free Downtown Gallery Night program. AHA! started in July of 1999 and is now in its fifth year. Held on the second Thursday of each month from 5:00 - 9:00 PM, AHA! is more than just a gallery night program since our events are put on by a collaborative team of more that 15 New Bedford museums, galleries, arts organizations, merchants, restaurants and the National Historical Park. In additional to offering monthly free arts and culture nights, AHA! is devoted to arts and culture advocacy and is working to make New Bedford the best it can be and continue to revival of our downtown.

December 14th - AHA!

December 30th - Exhibition Closes.

For more information about the gallery, please visit their site,

Pic of the Day: October 17, 2006

Woman In Motion
Ink and colored pencils ACEO

Monday, October 16, 2006

Painting of the Day: October 16, 2006

Into The Mist
9" x 12" acrylic on canvas

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Painting of the Day: October 15, 2006

Visions Beyond
8" x 10" acrylic, 2006

"I'm not one who makes believe
I know that leaves are green
They only change to brown
when autumn comes around
I know just what I say
Today's not yesterday
And all things have an ending...

But what I'd like to know
Is could a place like this exist so beautiful?
Or do we have to find our wings and fly away
To the vision in our mind?"

-From Visions by Stevie Wonder

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Art on the brain

"My God it stinks in here. It stinks of stupid women wondering about Tony. Wondering where he could be, who he is with, what he's thinking, whether he's thinking of you, and whether he'll ever return someday." - Kids in the Hall

art is my tony

No but seriously. I'm AMPED. What happened? I was in a funk for a while, "wondering about Tony, where he could be, who he is with...", and then got sick of being in a funk, and then it went away, and here I am replaced with THIS.... this ZEST and enthusiasm...

Zest... that's a funny word and it's also soap.

No but seriously.

My relationship with painting is changed, changing... To speak in abstract terms about it, I don't feel any reservation right now, there isn't any fear, it's just excitement. I feel like there is finally a purpose emerging that can make me proud. It isn't about me anymore. It was about me for so long... feeling sorry for myself, ultimately. Venting emotion, trapped pain, dismay, confusion, real life experiences for a sensitive youth, and there is nothing WRONG with that. There is/was nothing wrong with those works of art. And maybe what was cathartic for me could be healing for someone else in a similar situation or state of mind. I was/am working through issues of swinging emotions, frozen childhood traumas, and the dynamics of interpersonal relationships - loss, rage, sorrow - sad, and draining emotions. They are part of Life. There is no getting rid of the darkness, nor the light, and duality has always played it's part in the history of art, too...

Life is Art
Art is Life

......I said "it's not about me anymore". That makes me laugh, because isn't every artist self absorbed in a way? I'm no exception, let's be honest here. I guess what I mean is that my art is shifting to a "higher purpose". I'll always allow myself to vent through paint - it is great therapy, no need to deprive myself of it. But I won't be dependent on that restless mood for inspiration.

I'm focusing my intention on creating works that can be healing to the viewer. A reflection of eternity, our dreams, with calming, or stimulating, positive energy. Works that will enlighten and uplift the spirit. I want to focus on what it is that I'm bringing into the world and respect the power of what's possible vs "whatever happens, happens".

............we are all works in progress..........

Painting of the Day: October 14, 2006

4" x 12" acrylic on matboard

Friday, October 13, 2006

Pic of the Day: October 13, 2006

8" x 10" acrylic on matboard, 2006

there is an energy of change in the air for all of us... can you feel it??

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pic of the Day: October 12, 2006

Veiled Memories
9" x 12" acrylic on canvas, 2006

After I finished the Essence series, I was eager to do more in this style. So I found this canvas, that had a new, complete painting on it that I knew was done as it's own statement, but whatever that statement was, it wasn't moving me. I decided to sacrifice what lies beneath the layers of THIS painting, and I'm happy I did.

The organization of boxes in the underpainting is symbolic of the way we can compartmentalize our experiences in life. The layers of white wash represents the truth about how we process and retrieve those memories. Some fade away, others remain crisp and clear, preserved high keyed moments of emotion. They are all still there, it just may be a little harder to access some over others... Maybe for good reason.

End of the night discovery...

Essence I
8" x 10" acrylic on canvas, 2006

Essence II
8" x 10" acrylic on canvas, 2006

Essence III
8" x 10" acrylic on canvas, 2006

I just had to share these... coming off of a painting session from about 6 pm to now - it's getting closer to 3 by the minute. I want to do lots and lots of paintings like this.... I'm excited to go to the studio and work BIG.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Pic of the Day: October 11, 2006

Pearls of Wisdom
8" x 10" acrylic and pencil on canvas, 2006

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Pic of the Day: October 10, 2006

Land of the Wise
20" x 30" acrylic on canvas, 2006

Today I spent most of my time creating a new slideshow for the front page of my website. You can see it at This graphic design work is creative work, but I missed my paints.

I have been painting in the screened in porch at our house because I want to savor these warm days we've been having. When I walked out today, I saw this painting hanging there and finally knew what to do with it. It looked unfinished because it had a bland palette - only the range of blues, which proved to be less than exciting to look at. Today I saw it and thought PURPLE. All I did was blend a wash of purple into the bottom of the painting and a thin line at the top, and that was it - it was finished. So in a matter of literally a few minutes of painting, I had a new, finished work to show here! Funny how that happens... I have spent hours and hours painting over this particular piece, waiting for it to BE something, and sometimes all it takes is a little time away, and the simplest of solutions becomes clear.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Pic of the Day: October 9, 2006

Layered Land I
24" x 36" acrylic on canvas, 2006

I created this painting in Spring of this year. It is one of two paintings (I'll post the second one tomorrow). I was really influenced by contemporary Bay Area painters such as Diebenkorn, and I think their influence comes through in these paintings.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Kicking it into high gear...

Well, the leaves are turning, the sweaters are coming out, and it's getting dark before dinner - I guess summer is officially over. As much as I adore the warmer months living in New England, the buzz of energy in the air that autumn brings is quite enchanting.This summer was all about The Love for me. I kept painting and selling on Ebay, but didn't seek out as many shows as I did last year (spending many Sundays at the South End Open Market in Boston for example - haven't done one this year and their season is over in 3 weeks - hopefully next year I'll get back up there). I guess it's understandable considering I just got married in June! We were able to have an extended honeymoon roaming around the Cape, and when we got back the relaxed, happy feeling lingered through all the warm days of summer. As much as I'd love to be a beach bum wanderer for a few months, or ahem, YEARS, there is work to be done, and I'm pretty excited about getting down to it. So let's get down to the interesting bits....

Photograph by Jessica Torrant, all rights reserved.

WGBY ART AUCTION: I have donated a large painting called Unbridled Joy to the annual WGBY art auction. WGBY is the Western Massachusetts PBS station. Last year I watched the auction on TV and that was where I first heard of Indian Orchard Mills. I was at that time still working from my home studio (in my very tiny second bedroom) and was searching for something just like the Button Factory in Portsmouth NH (the COOLEST artist collective of studios in a renovated mill building - check it out if you are in the area). That night I looked up IOM and emailed them immediately to see if any studios were available. One was. Very shortly after I signed the lease and a dream came true. Now that you know the whole story, you can see why I am SO happy to be able to contribute to this years auction!!

Donated original painting - Unbridled Joy
30" x 40" acrylic on canvas
Estimated value: $750
Starting Bid: $300

The online auction will run from October 15, 2006 to October 31, 2006, with a live event taking place on Sunday, October 29, 2006 from 7-9pm on WGBY.

Visit the online gallery collection here:

Visit my auction here:

OPEN STUDIOS ART SHOW AND SALE - Indian Orchard Mills, 40 Front St, Indian Orchard, MA. Visit the show and studios of over 40 artists (including mine!) Saturday and Sunday, November 11 and 12, 12-4pm.

Pic of the Day: October 8, 2006

All rights reserved to Jessica TorrantFlirting With Forever12" x 24" acrylic on canvas, 2006
The title for this painting speaks for itself... What I like about this piece is how the layers of drips are engaging the surface with a little more activity and depth than the previous paintings. I'd like to push that in future paintings. I'm going to the studio tonight, so we shall see what's next...

(Just wanted to note to other artists.... feel free to leave links to your own online galleries and blogs by posting a comment... and thanks for visiting!)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Pic of the Day: October 7, 2006

 A Beautiful Disaster
14" x 18" acrylic on canvas, 2006
I created this painting after Moving Through The Light and you can see the connections between the two. In this piece I pushed the envelope a little bit further - breaking the boundaries of the boxes a little more, blurring and blending colors, and layering texture. This title has it's own personal meaning for me, which I won't get into, because I'd rather the title be a launching point for the viewer to interpret and personalize.

I have been GREATLY inspired lately by the new works of my friend in paint, Meghan Henley. . She is from Tennessee and we met virtually some time ago through our artist site, Artwanted, and in person at the Art 4 People Festival last year. We both have our own style, but we have A LOT in common when it comes to what we love to paint, how we love to paint, and the art we appreciate from others. In her latest paintings, she describes using more rounded forms in her composition to "soften" her work. The effect is a wonderful world of colors and forms that "breathe" on the canvas. Click here to see Softening III by M. Henley

I've been spending a lot of time looking at these paintings by Meghan thinking about why they work so well, and what they inspire me to do more of in my own work. The message I'm taking away from this is to never stop challenging myself to create something new, to push boundaries, and keep learning. My deepest thanks go out to Meghan for her friendship and inspiration...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Pic of the Day: October 5, 2006

Twilight Dreams
Acrylic on 12" x 24" canvas, 2006

Like most of my paintings, I gave this piece it's title once it was already complete. I call this Twilight Dreams becauses it reminds me of coming out of the deepest sleep into a dream state that feels like you are floating in and out of reality. For me, that is when I have the most intense dreams, the ones that stick with me for the rest of the day. (You can see this image on Artwanted at

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Painting A Day: October 4, 2006

Doors of Perception
Ink, acrylic, gloss varnish on 9 x 12 canvas, 2006

I'm going to try and stick to this self assigned challenge of posting a new work every day. It must be new, and if I don't have anything, it will force me to at least do a quick drawing so I'll have something to post.

When I am painting (or drawing, making a collage, etc.) I am searching for a particular state of mind that people can refer to as "being the zone". Usually, it takes me some time to find it, and that amount of time is directly correlated to the time I have been away from creating. I'm hoping that if I hold myself to this challenge, I will have less time lapse in between creating, thus keeping me closer to "the zone".

So what is this magical state of mind anyway, and what does it feel like? To explain, I must take you through the whole journey of getting there. (The following example would be after a week or so away from painting). When I first start working there is an expectation for everything to be golden, right from the start. I move the paint around with enthusiasm and passion, but something isn't right, and I start thinking 'why isn't this working?'. I keep painting, trying all different ideas hoping something will click. The expectation turns into a demand to get it right, which doesn't help anything at all, and I'm distracted by my thoughts. At this time, I often feel frustration, doubt, fear, or anger, and clearly, my art is suffering for it. Good ideas are painted over in a flash of irritation, and sometimes I start questioning if I can do this at all, if I'm any good anyway, and other discouraging thoughts. At that point I could give up and walk away, and when I was younger, I would. But now I've had this happen to me enough times to stick it out, knowing it will get better...

Deep sigh..... it all becomes clear. "I'm too tense, I'm thinking too hard, just let it happen, relax". After a pause of deep breathing and reflection, I pick up the brush and it starts to happen... that thing. The CONNECTION. It's as if I was previously hard wired to my brain, and then changed the wire to my soul. My intuition takes over. There is an openness within me that allows instinct to take over, and all of a sudden, my spirit, my eyes, my hand, and the canvas are in tune. It's a feeling that's hard to describe.... a blissfully, deep knowing, and at the same time, a feeling that I'm not in charge. For anyone who has meditated, this is indeed a meditative state, only I am in motion, creating, activating the energy that I'm connecting to.

This feeling can last a few hours or days, depending on how much time I have to devote to nothing but painting. Those close to me know that I get kind of weird during and after a "session" - it's hard for me to speak, like I lost my power of language, and I feel very distant, though very much at peace. When I lay down to sleep, my eyes are filled with flashing paintings and bursts of color (it can be difficult to sleep when a show like that is going on!). Of course eventually, I end up back in the everyday flow of fast paced living, thinking, and being, which explains why it's such a process to get back to where I want to be mentally/intuitively when I paint.

This cycle is my life right now, and has been for many years. Something I am working towards is breaking the cycle by trying to live more peacefully/centered in every moment. I am currently 29 years old, and lately I've been thinking of my older self looking at me now - she would say "SLOW DOWN and enjoy it!". I think my work right now reflects all that frenetic energy in me, and in time, as I slow down, so will my paintings. Maybe, maybe not - we'll just have to wait and see. ;)