Inspiration from the Creative Efforts of Others

February 28, 2015 in Landscape, Other Art by joanvienot

Art does not come out of the void. At a minimum, it interprets experience and renders a modicum of the artist’s truth, and at its best, it takes the artist’s inner and outer experience, undergoes experiments in alchemy in the boiler room of the artist’s soul, and then spawns something seemingly completely original. Yet to the artist, it merely is another step in the process of expressing herself or himself.  Most of the artists I know are amazingly humble in that regard. They see their work as an experience, a process; while those viewing the final piece, the artwork, see the magical release.

By mingling with other artists, seeing their work, talking with them, listening to their excitement, their struggles, observing their unbelievable courage and their ability to withstand misunderstanding and rejection along with acceptance and recognition, I see mirrors of myself, and my creative spirit is magnified.

Facebook has been a tremendous boon for me, creatively.  Through this phenomenon of social media, I have been able to see the work of my artist-friends and acquaintances, as well as that of other professional artists through the various groups I belong to, and then there are the very giving spirits who appreciate good art so much they share a veritable museum of found art on their Facebook pages, people like my friend the amazing Susan Lucas, who shares a wealth of creativity by others.

I volunteer for one such community, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA). I serve on the A+Art Committee, whose mission is to showcase the work of CAA member artists. I had the privilege of being the show coordinator for Creative Textures, a current exhibit of the work of 11 artists known for the textural quality of the work, featuring the sculpted acrylics of Justin Gaffrey, colorful weavings by Margaret Rogers, art quilts and stitchery by Mary Zahner and Becky Brodersen, bold ceramic masks by Didon Comer, dyed silks and beaded fabric by Gabrielle Bullard, the haunting art dolls of Ann Welch, expressive tile work by Sherry McCall, exquisite glass and shell collages by Mary Hong (South Walton Artist of the Year 2014), wearable beadweaving by Emilie Pritchard, and unique art basketry by Carol Dickson.

Last month my own work was selected for the promotional materials for another one of our shows, Express Yourself, used on the posters, the program, and the custom wine labels.  Bottles of the show label were auctioned.  Photos are on the A+Art Facebook page, January 20 and 21, 2015. I’ve posted a few below. I believe Melissa Mercer Brown, 2014 Chair of A+Art, and Suzanne LeLoup-West, Express Yourself show coordinator, shot most of the photos, if not all. Music and song, poetry, theater, dance, all of the arts enrich the soul, and for artists, provide further inspiration, motivation, and a “refilling of the well”. Electronically we have the ability to bring all things “culture” into our living spaces and our studios.  But of course there is nothing quite like mingling in person, in the actual energy of creative people, attending events, or even just getting together in small groups or one-on-one.  We seem to energize from our contact with each other.  There is so much value in community.

1 Express Yourself table Express Yourself wine label Express Yourself Poster and original Express Yourself entrance pic Express Yourself photo by Melissa Brown
Eagle

Eagle, by Leslie Kolovich, pastel on sanded paper. Use Contact Form to request purchase information.

Recently I’ve been watching my good friend Leslie Kolovich develop Leslie Kolovich Live, her own internet radio/tv broadcast featuring “music, art, the environment, and purposeful living”, and especially observing her interaction with the musicians, and I see the very same creative energy exchange I’ve been writing about here. Likewise with my friend Melanie Cissone, organizing life drawing sessions for fellow figure-drawing artists, intent on improving her own skill and expression, but benefitting other artists at the same time. Community with other artists provides support and opportunity, infinitely energizing. Leslie comes to my art studio every week or so, a community I don’t invite into my personal creative space unless the energy is very, very simpatico, which it is, with her. This week I finished the painting I posted in my last blog, while Leslie produced an amazing pastel of an eagle, inspired by a pair of nesting bald eagles we saw when our paddle-group paddled the bay near my house last weekend (Leslie’s painting at right).

Painting en Plein Air at the Florida Chautauqua Assembly

February 25, 2015 in Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

Every year in January the Lakeyard in the city of DeFuniak Springs is the site of the Florida Chautauqua Assembly, a festival offering educational exhibits relating to the selected theme for that year. Typically it also includes exhibits of times gone by, including Civil War re-enactments complete with cannon-shooting. Recently it also has welcomed plein air painters. A few other brave souls and I painted there last year in the 34º weather, brrr! I was very happy to be painting in my shirtsleeves this year.

Oil painting of gourds hanging in the frontiersmen camp at the 2015 Florida Chautauqua AssemblyI wandered the grounds for a while before deciding to paint in front of the frontiersmen camp. Initially thinking I would paint the whole scene, I instead decided to greatly simplify the challenge by painting only the gourds hanging from a tripod of branches. I was amused by a baby Nubian goat bouncing around the encampment, and wondered if I could paint him, but he didn’t ever sit still long enough to get a good drawing done.

Click for short clip of the cute baby goat

So the next morning I painted just the goat’s head after watching him some more and looking at some photos on my iPhone that I had shot the previous day. A friend of mine asked for the painting as soon as she saw it.

Oil painting of a baby nubian goat at the Florida Chautauqua Assembly, 2015My final painting that morning was of the encampment itself. The family shared with me their meal of eggs and potatoes and meat flavored with a little gospel. When I started painting, I had to move fast because the festival was about to close down. So I generalized a good bit, letting the colored shapes suggest form rather than distinctly defining it.Plein air oil painting of a frontier encampment, an educational display at the 2015 Florida Chautauqua assembly

Here are a few photographs of the actual event…

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