2016 About Face

Greetings and Happy New Year! 2017 is here and I am very happy and optimistic about this year.

January of 2016 I decided to offer drawing lessons. This went very well. I revisited my main love: drawing from life. Consequently, I didn’t get much textile art made in 2016.

In November 2016, after returning from a wonderful trip to Europe; visiting Amsterdam and Vienna….I was inspired to paint! I have been slowly gearing up for this for quite some time. This time I made a decision that was huge. I decided to step back from my textile and mixed media art practices and redefine my goals to set a new and clear focus.

The initial decision was quick; however, the process of realization was gradual.

First I cleared a space to paint in my studio away from everything else. My studio is fairly large. While I was sitting in the far off corner working away, I noticed all the remaining room lined with filled storage bins of various art things; mostly fabric. Even though I have trimmed down my stash over the years quite a lot, I still have plenty. Now I realize I will gradually become aware of what to keep and what to pass along.

Now, this is not to say I have stopped sewing! That just isn’t possible…is it?

Hopefully my new adventures with painting will appeal to my readers. The adventures are happening now and I am happy to be learning new things.

Carmel, 11 x 14"

Actually, I am learning a lot more about what was happening in my artist life schedule because now I have another reference point.

I now realize that while I was making art…textile art and mixed media, I was extremely distracted. I called it being spontaneous, inspired, diverse, curious, multidimensional. Yes, I was in all of those modes and that results in one thing: NOT HAVING A FOCUS.

Teaching was a huge distraction, especially writing for online teaching! The amount of thought, energy, planning that I put into it was tremendous! I loved it and I did receive validation; however, I was distracted from the main point of: MAKING MY ART.

Once I began to paint, I could realize all of these distractions.

For me, painting is completely different from making textile art and mixed media; it is instant. My brain embraces and processes the results immediately; I am gratified and challenged quickly. Sewing is not fast; it is tedious, labor intensive and time can spread out endlessly.

It may sound as if I am criticizing sewing…the making of textile art. On the contrary, I love sewing, I love working with fabric the tactile satisfaction, the handling of the fabric, the beauty as it develops.

When I am sewing my brain is on task but also I am thinking of a zillion other things I could make …once I finished the current project or stopped.

Conversations with fellow painters enlightened me. They revealed that they would never consider working with textiles….why? Because they did not have the patience. Hmmm….patience was not something I had considered. I had to think more about that.

Making textile art does require an investment of time. But, I did not think of it as having patience. I merely KNEW the pace and accepted it. In contrast, a painting is just as complex yet I have been able to execute much faster. But, is speed the primary element and desire? No! Rather, satisfaction.

The elements I use to paint are the same. It is the process that is faster. Pure and simple: I am enjoying the freedom and the faster pace of painting. It is refreshing and fits my brain (mind).

One observation I received about a painting of mine was how I captured “texture”. Really? That is interesting and makes sense. I guess my experience with fabric and textiles will reveal in new ways.

The main point of this is to have a FOCUS.

My focus has freed me. My thoughts are simplified as well as my routine. It goes like this:

Set up:

  1. A big drafting table with painting supplies on it.
  2. An easel and chair is next to the table.
  3. I have several sets of painting clothes to wear.
  4. I have references from magazines, and other sources for inspiration.

Daily

  1. Paint in the morning for about 2 hours
  2. Lunch
  3. Paint for a few more hours.
  4. Exercise
  5. Shower
  6. Dinner
  7. Rest
  8. Reflect for the next day

Now, some days I have appointments and other things like housekeeping. And, then there is travel.

TRAVEL

Yes, travel now has become such a pleasure. Now that my life is simplified I can calmly prepare and look forward to traveling. I can actually pack ahead of time. In the past invariably I would have tremendous pressure with art to finish, prepare another lesson, finish a binding, write a new chapter in a course. I have been sewing down to the wire on (too) many occasions. I wasn’t able to predict how much time to allow, how much time to add on to “get it right”.

I love all the art I made though!

I am much happier with my new life style. Simplifying isn’t SIMPLE! You must STOP and assess.

I was ready. I am glad I finally found my FOCUS.

Here are two of my recent paintings

Kristina, 9 x 12" Isabella, 12 x 12"

As you can see, I like women’s faces.

I would love to hear your feedback on this topic: Having a Focus

Can you relate? Please leave comments.

 

 

 

Painting with Acrylics on Canvas

I have taken on a new adventure…painting acrylics on canvas! I did paint with oils many years ago in art school. I truly had blocked it out of my memory…almost. I honestly don’t know why. And, I don’t know why I haven’t painted before now. Only that I truly love working with textiles.

deb-amsterdam-9-2016-600Recently I traveled with my husband to Amsterdam and sailed on a river cruise to Vienna. Wow, I had so much fun! And, the scenery is AMAZING!

The weather was good, mild and dry.

This photo of me is taken in front of the oldest art supply store in Europe…I was told.

The paper that the Constitution of the United States was made by this shop! I could have stayed inside for hours.

 

We visited a number of art galleries and museums. The Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam was the best one. I was so absorbed in the art I saw and listening to the stories and evolution of art movements that…I came home totally compelled to paint!

 

Kristina

Carmel, 11 x 14″

And, to my surprise I have painted five canvases so far and I like most of what I have done. I love feed back so please take a moment and leave a comment. I appreciate open “frank” comments too.

My style is slightly whimsical. I like to draw faces and so I am staying with that subject for now. I like big eyes with unique colors. I hope to improve in a number of ways. Mainly with expressions.

The first painting: Carmel

 

 

Kristina, 9 x 12"

Kristina, 9 x 12″

 

The second painting: Kristina

I have 3 more in progress.

Fresh with enthusiasm…I decided to enter these finished two into a competition. Low and behold…Kristina was accepted!

The show is at the Las Laguna Gallery in Laguna Beach Ca.

 

 

The exhibit is : Small Works-BIG TALENT

Opens December 1-30th 2016

I am so happy about this acceptance!

My goal is to paint on larger the canvases. I love the dynamic power of a large painting.

 

 

Artists-The Path To Success

Subscribing to art blogs of artists that you respect is highly recommended. One of my favorites is Nicholas Wilton. It doesn’t matter what medium(s) you prefer….most artists have the same hopes and goals. His recent article: The Path to Success is extremely relevant.

Subscribe to his blog and I think you will learn a lot.

My artistic PATH has been life long. 

Deborah Babin, 2008. Houston International Quilt Show.

Deborah Babin, 2008. Houston International Quilt Show.

Here I am in 2008 posing in front of my art quilt: Swan Party of Ten.

I had two quilts accepted into that show; I was very proud! I thought I truly “arrived”. That quilt went on to be juried into multiple National and International exhibitions; it has been retired for quite some time. Validation? Yes. Validation is important; however, I gradually discovered that this was merely a stepping stone. Eventually, this type of venue did not fulfill my dreams. I have redirected my energy to fine art and mixed media; It is all part of the journey.

The journey is the destiny.

Have you changed your course? Are you ready to reexamine your path? Let me know if you can relate to this. I love to receive comments.


Face Book

Deb in Santorini, 9-2016

Deb in Santorini, Greece 9-2016 Face Book Image

I have a love/hate relationship with Face Book. On the one hand I love to watch the videos of animals! I also love to see what artists are up to. I do not LOVE the political rhetoric. Believe me….I DO have political opinions….but, I desperately avoid commenting and posting about political topics. Once in a while…IF it is “safe” I will….

What I do LOVE the most are poems, sayings, quotes or messages that are inline with my beliefs; such as this one I read today:

Your art is NOT about how many people like your work

your art is about

if your heart likes your work

if your soul likes your work

It’s about how honest you are with yourself

and you must NEVER trade honesty for relate-ability.

This statement is PURE and SIMPLE; one that I aspire to FOR SURE. Once we get this into our minds (head), we will be free to create like we are designed to; how we are wired to. Once we align ourselves with this freedom we will achieve levels of creativity like never before.

LIKE me on Face Book!

FOLLOW ME on Face Book!

 


Now on another level….I am quite feisty! The following sums me up as well…

CREATIVE PEOPLE ARE

  1. easily bored
  2. risk takers
  3. color outside the lines
  4. think with their hearts
  5. make lots of mistakes
  6. hate rules
  7. work independently
  8. change their mind a lot
  9. have a reputation for eccentricity
  10. dream BIG!

Do you dream BIG?

Let me know if you relate to any of this….leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you.

 

Painting Watercolors on Location in Nice, France

Recently I traveled to Nice, France to join a group of ladies for a week of painting watercolors on location. My experience with watercolor ended about 2o years ago. I painted for a few years and never really achieved the level of expertise I desired. I stopped painting when I discovered textile art and I have not painted since. When I heard about this opportunity it appealed to me for a number of reasons. I love Nice, I wanted to meet new people and I thought it would be fun to try painting again especially on location and what a fabulous location it was!

Instead of painting a complete scene we narrowed the focus down to small vignettes on 5×7: paper. This enabled editing and minimizing which took less time (and helped me to not overwork it).

I had a great time. Each day we went to a different town and setting.

The first day we painted at an outdoor antique market, which is held on Mondays. The other days the market has flowers and vegetables. FM_1

Walking around and in between the tables to find interesting items to paint was challenging as some of the vendors were not pleased to have someone blocking the flow; I had to work quick. Several vendors told me to move on. I was surprised that I was able to paint at all. It was very tempting to stop and shop…but there wasn’t enough time. I spotted some beautiful linens that I would have bought for sure and I manage to return the following Monday to shop on my own. There were fabulous things displayed unlike what you would see here in the US. I spotted a collection of antique perfume bottles which stayed in my mind. When I got home…I did a search and found some to buy on line. I plan to paint these in the future. They are charming and I think they will make excellent subjects.

The ceramic bird was the first item I spotted and quickly started to sketch and paint it.

There were two of them and I quickly bought them and moved on; now I can paint them over and over.

The second item was the vase. It was porcelain delicately detailed with flowers and very intricate metal work for the stand. The third item was the perfume bottle. The seller came over to see what I was doing. She smiled and seemed pleased so I could stay longer at that spot. I wrote the name Caline on it, as this is the name of one I have and bought in Nice many years ago ( I still have the bottle). The fourth item was the  porcelain basket. The handle was made of fragile rope like strands that wove together. The edges had delicate ridges. I really should have bought that one, but it was very fragile. I added a bit of wrought iron that was visible. The name of the market was Cours Saley. antique_market_painting

 

 

The next day we took a train to Ville Franche and walked to the Rothschild estate.

Rothschild_estate

What an amazing place! Everywhere I looked was beautiful. The estate and the grounds were fabulous. I painted from 10:30 till 5 p.m. I spent the first 2 hours painting random flowers.

After a fabulous lunch there, I spent the remaining time painting a collection of features. A rose, a small landscape and a beautiful stone pot. The design on it was very intricate. I simplified it but it still looks intricate. I plan to add something more on the top open space.

rothschild_paintingThe next day was spent at Menton. This was my favorite day. The town is know for citrus and I love anything lemon. I became interested in the shutters which were on every window. They were a similar shades of aqua green. I started to take lots of pictures of shuttered windows.  My painting began with the one window and shutter as I ate lunch at the Le Balico . The building was on a corner and was rounded. The window was on one side of the curve and the shutter opened onto the opposite curved side. This proved to be a challenging perspective. The shadow helped to explain the curve. Next I became fascinated with a stone statue nearby. Menton_statue2

I tried to decide what color stone would be? What colors should I mix to get the effect of stone? This was intriguing. The sun was shining just perfectly from behind and over the shoulders to highlight the details. Later that day I added the all important lemon.

Menton_paintingThe next day was spent on an island off the coast of Canne, Ile Saint Honorat. This island is small and has only a Monastery and vineyards.  A stop at the farmers market in Canne prior provided an opportunity to buy fruit. I decided to paint the fruit; fresh ripe figs and apricots that was the brightest yellow orange ever. The inside of the figs were rich shades of coral red. The view was beautiful. On the walk back to the ferry, I took some fabulous photos of the vineyards and the coast. Both had a wonderful fence with very old and narrow pickets. I knew these scenes would make great subjects to paint. saint-honorant_fruit_painting

The remainder of my stay was spent on the beach. I painted there too. I used photos which was totally different than painting on location. I definitely liked painting on location the best. The elements that come into play add to the experience and make it real.

The main benefit I realized was that painting on location required lots of editing. This is good for me as I tend to over work when working with watercolors….and this is not a good thing.

My stay in Europe spanned 24 days. My travels took me on to Majorca where I found additional subjects to paint. I was inspired and motivated.

Now that I am home, my vision is expanded; I see plenty to paint right here in my yard and nearby. The Seattle area is full of glorious scenery. The component that compelled me to go on this trip was the allure of Nice, which is definitely worth experiencing; however, travel is expensive and has its challenges. My eyes are open now and I see my surroundings in a completely new way. This awakening is great as most of my time is spent in the studio.

I still struggle with the tendency to overwork the painting though. My goal is to overcome this; only time will tell.

I have ideas about painting on location here. It would be fantastic to bring some like minded people together and join me. If you are interested, let me know.

My Other Blogs

I have several blogs. Two are from my early days that I do not use anymore and one is geared to home, family and travel which I will continue to use.

It is amazing to look back at that blog and see where my head was at the time we moved to Washington two years ago. I was euphoric!

Check it out.

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