Archive | Art

So, this weekend, my parents left for the weekend to OBX and I was left to house sit.  It was wonderful!  Quiet and spacious and room to try out some crafts and lose some weight!  Unfortunately, both of those crafts kind of failed :( Well, you live and you learn!  The first that  Itried was a reverse watermark tee using Elmer’s gel glue and dye.  Unfortunately, they don’t make Elmer’s blue gel glue anymore!  Can you believe that?  It was exactly what I needed and now you can’t find it.  So I tried the clear, “gel-like” glue but no luck, and no luck with original Elmer’s either.  However, I am determined to find a way to make this craft work (because it is really cute and I want one of these tees!)

So I just decided to do a watercolor craft instead – I was feeling artsy and was inspired by some interest finds.  This craft involves watercolors, salt, and gel glue.  Luckily for this craft, the clear gel glue worked just fine.

However, this craft failed a little bit because I used watercolor paper instead of canvas or canvas board.  I would buy a cheap canvas board from Walmart or a craft store to keep the watercolors from seeping into the paper.  Normally, you would want your watercolors to dry and set, but this is where the salt comes in.  You sprinkle it onto the super wet water colors and they make the colors fan out into a cool design!  I think next time I will use the canvas board, just go with abstract designs with the paints, and use sea salt.  So I will be trying again on this one!  I decided to go rogue with it so the fail is my fault, haha.  Anyway here was my result:

You can see where the salt worked in some areas that were still very wet, but most everywhere else it ended up just being boring ole salt :( .

So these two crafts failed-ish (the experimentations are still in progress), but I did manage to get out to the craft store and get acrylics crazy.  I have only tried painting with acrylics a couple of times and I figured I might as well jump in!  So I bought everything in the store: new brushes, a set of every color paint, an easel, and a TON of canvas.  There was a sale and I had a coupon so I just went mad scientist in there and left with way more than the basic three primary colors I had wanted and some canvas board, oops!  But now I am glad I made those impulse buys!  After my crafts didn’t go so well, I decided to relax and just be creative without worrying about things “working out” and get all my stress out onto the canvas.

I really liked my forest!  I was just playing around with some dark colors, but I really enjoyed myself!  I was watching Django: Unchained and that might possibly be where my inspiration for using the red came from, thanks Tarantino!

My first portrait of an imaginary girl!  She is a little too masculine, and her features are not the right proportions for her face, but  I think with a little practice I could master this!  I mixed all of the colors myself to get exactly what I wanted and it kept drying out!!!  How do you keep that from happening?  I’m going to talk to some of my experienced painter friends and see what they do.  Because it takes forever to custom mix a color and then to only get to use it for two or three strokes is a crime!  Now I just have to master complete control of the brush.  Her face got so big in the same way a haircut gets too short: I think “a little more here to smooth out the lines” and I should have just left it the way it was!  Anyway, I have about ten more canvasses so I will be experimenting with this, as well.

I hope you enjoyed my failures and successes :)

Leslie

Some Sweet Things for Your Ears!

16 Apr

Sorry for the late post, everyone!  Life has gotten a little hectic lately, and I have had some last minute emergencies that took priority :( Boo! But here is a nice mid-morning treat for you all with some music videos that I hope everyone likes!  I love music and when I get stressed and overwhelmed I find myself taking a few moments of relief in the beautiful sounds that others make for us all to enjoy!

Kaoru  Ishibashi is an incredibly talented singer and musician who grew up in Norfolk, VA (A real Hampton Roads guy!)  He studied the violin classically and has so much talent and skill the share with us!  He has worked with Regina Spektor, of Montreal, and even The Last Bison (also of Hampton Roads, VA.)  I proud to be from the area when I hear him play :) .  He uses looping, beatboxing, singing, classical violin, and some amazing plucking to bring happy tears to our eyes!  He will be playing on June 14 at the 2013 Friday Cheers event on Brown’s Island produced by Venture Richmond and you can see him for $5!  Definitely worth it.

This is “Heartaches and Pain” by Charles Bradley & The Menahan Street Band.  They a funk/jazz group formed in 2008, and with the help of Charles Bradley, they take us back to the 60′s and 70′s with their music.  Love this!  Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires are playing June 7th at the Friday Cheers Festival in Richmond.

This is a band called Local Natives and they are one of my favorite bands!  I particularly love this “Take Away Show” where they walk through a shopping plaza for some amazing acoustic effects and a really bare sound.  Just lovely, and it is great to hear the percussion so purely.  And anyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am with good harmonies – these guys just have it.

Another one of my favorite band (and a favorite of many others I know!) is Iron & Wine.  Folksy, twangy, soothing sounds with great harmonies from this guy, I just can’t get enough of it.  He will be playing May 16th at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, a fitting setting for his lovely sounds!  I will definitely be there.

Okay that is it for my little musical post, and I hope you all enjoyed it.

I am going to dedicate part of my post today to remembering the 32 lives lost at Virginia Tech 6 years ago today.  I became a freshman at the school in Fall of ’07, and  I am truly blessed to have been a part of such a strong community of students and teachers.  Through this tragedy, the community of Blacksburg came together with a new respect for life.  Each of the souls that moved on on this day 6 years past left an imprint on the world even in their short time.  They are a testament to the great things that our generation can do with motivation and dedication, and we need to remember them, appreciate life, and honor their work by continuing to influence the world as each of them did.  I know that for many, remembering is painful, but I find remembering their lives to be an inspiration for me, every day.

Also, my heart goes out to those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.  It may seem as though tragedy is sweeping the nation over and over again, but we must all recognize that there are acts of kindness and love every day that are not reported on the news.  And each  one of us has the power to contribute to that every day.

Repair your soul with music,

Leslie

Wendi Goodwin: Artist, Mom, Imagination, Inspiration

2 Apr

Wendi Michelle Goodwin

My friend Wendi is a fantastic painter and an outright imagination machine!  I met Wendi when I was a freshman in college and came home for Christmas break.  I ended up at a get-together with many people I went to high school with and walked into a garage that had been converted into a room of inspiration.  There was a table in the garage with paint and supplies so that when people came to visit they could put their mark on it!  There were layers of flaked paint as everyone loved to get creative and the layers of people had built up, revealing previous artwork beneath the new.  It was obvious that this was a place where the people appreciated art, imagination, and wanted everyone to join in.

While I was there, I only talked with Wendi once or twice but could tell she was a kind and thoughtful person, and was a wonderful hostess.  That was my first impression, but I was even more pleasantly surprised when I looked past the creation table in the garage and noticed the canvas, easels, brushes, and paints strewn across the rest of the garage.  There were a few paintings up that were in progress that grabbed my focus right away, even in the hustle and bustle of all the people milling around.  She used bright colors to create a new world right there in front of me, and I couldn’t believe how she used lines and curves and color to express what was in her mind. Her work was surreal, psychedelic, and ethereal all at once.  Her use of color was breathtaking and I must have known that someday I would have to share it with everyone else that I know!  Thank goodness we reconnected later and that have this blog so that I can do it right and give everyone a glimpse into her life, as well as her work.  I hope that through this post you all get to know Wendi and share her inspirational life and work with others you know!

A Bit About Wendi

Now I will share with you Wendi’s story!  It is full of both love and hardships.  Wendi is a 30 years young woman born and raised in good ole’ VA on the coast and loves it here.  Wendi has been drawing since she was a young child, and enjoyed portraying the rolling hills and trees of landscapes and experimenting with color, such as using the black-crayon-over-ranbow techniques that involves scratching off the wax to create a colorful picture (I think we all used to love that!).  She grew up being playful with her younger sister and being involved in the shenanigans that make being a big sis so fun!  Like daring your little sister to go through the doggy door during a house showing and having to explain to the realtor that your sis now a new amenity that has been installed free of charge!  Now, her sister (who is also an artist) and parents live and few hours away, but they are completely supportive of her painting and artwork and take her out on shopping sprees to help get her supplies for new creations, and they are otherwise very involved with Wendi and her super cute son.  Yes!  She is an artist and a mommy!  And a pretty good one at that.

Wendi’s parents definitely have good reason to be proud of their accomplished daughter.  Wendi had her son at 20 years of age, had to grow up very quickly, and learn how to take care of not only herself, but a little one.  She drew to cope with all of the intense emotions she was experiencing during the time, and developed a style of her own, which incorporated meaning and emotion into her art, graduating from the simple doodles of childhood and adolescence.  About 5 years ago, she was encouraged by some wonderful (and now vindicated) people to try out the paint and brushes.  She fell in love.  She still prefers pencil/markers (I mean hey, she had about 25 years of practice!) and painting is the medium next in line.  Now Wendi is a full-time art student looking forward to getting her degree and do what she loves for a living.  Wendi has had her fair share of struggles and battles that have brought her to where she is now.  This is a real woman with battle scars, but you would never know it from the smile on her face.  Life has been hard on her, and I think that is why she makes such an effort to be kind and make life easier for those around her.

“Over the past few years I have really discovered alot about myself.  Since age 20 I have given birth, lived in a nasty trailer park, gotten married, gotten divorced, became a full time nanny, full time teacher, quit work to go back to school, and moved to a different state, all while being a single mom. I think getting through all this has taught me that I NEED God in my life, and that has really influenced my artwork. I know that God is the true artist, creating our universe.  I have moved from drawing to drawing and painting, to being an art student, and I know for a fact that God has me just where he wants me to be.  Just knowing that has made it so much easier for me to relax and just do what I was born to do…art.  I used to make art for other people, now I make it for art’s sake. Straight from the crazy imagination God blessed me with!”

Through overcoming all of her hardships, Wendi realized the importance of God in her life, to lean on him, to let him work through her and to be thankful for the gifts he has given to her (like her lovely son, crazy imagination, and ability to create beautiful things!)  Her relationship with God has definitely influenced her artwork and, her spirituality comes out in her and ethereal works.  She hopes to get back to teaching art to children when she finishes her degree, and I think that is a wonderful idea.  She is a loving, dedicated, and involved mother who is also a wonderful role-model for any child.

Wendi’s Style

I find it hard to describe Wendi’s artwork, because it is definitely just hers!  She often creates worlds with many people and images, but for some reason, the chaos seems calming.  Her bright colors take the pandemonium and make it cheerful and forces the viewer to connect with the many different focuses and subjects in her work.

For example, in this work of hers, there is nature and there is home where we spend our days. There is loneliness and a threat that both fetal figures may fall into the depths of the unknown.  Yet, there is potential, with a man defying physics and floating to the heavens.  These are images and feelings we all find familiar, whether comforting or foreboding, in our lives.  The ribbon running through the sky seems to be a reminder that when we look up and realize our own potential, that we may find something beautiful waiting for us.  Don’t take my word for it though!  Everyone can get something different for a work of art!

Wendi’s favorite Artists:

Sandro Botticelli

Wendi’s favorite artist is Sandro Botticelli, creator of early renaissance works such as the famous Birth of Venus and Primavera.

“The expression in the eyes of the women he paints, it is like how my soul feels all the time…that is why I love his work. I really feel connected to his artworks.”

Boticelli has made many works with depicting the bare woman, both literally and figuratively this time!  Often depicting the holiness of the mother and female strength.

Peter Max

She was once told her that her artwork is reminiscent of Peter Max, and I really agree!  I had never heard of him and it was great to discover him through my interest in Wendi’s work.  They are similar in their use of bright colors and psychedelic themes.  It is interesting how their styles are very similar, yet they have formed their own ways of expressing that style.  And neither had ever met or known of the other!  It is so interesting that she learned of another artist in this world with a similar way of viewing the world from a random occurrence.

Peter Max is a German-born American illustrator and graphic artist, known for the use of psychedelic shapes and color palettes as well as spectra in his work. Max’s interest in astronomy contributed to his self described “Cosmic ’60s” period which featured what became identified as psychedelic, counter culture imagery (taken from , if you want to take a quick look on your own.)

peter_max

“After I started painting, about 5 years ago now, some older folks (in their fifties/sixties) told me I reminded them of a painter named Peter Max. I had no idea who he was, so I looked him up and WHOA! We paint a lot alike! Maybe our minds hang out somewhere in space and collaborate, haha.”

Wendi’s Favorite Subjects and Themes

I have seen almost all of Wendi’s works, at least the ones available for all to see on the net.  I have seen her landscapes, psychedelic worlds and designs, but her depiction of the bare woman is one theme that can captivate me.  Don’t take my use of the word “bare” as literal.  It is not that she draws a significant amount of nudes (although her most recent Professor Marvel poster is brilliant!), but she is able to capture the essence of a woman with her deepest fears, worries, and insecurities so well that you feel you are inside the mind of the women in her works at their most vulnerable.  ”Bare” is the only word I can think of to describe the feeling I get from the experience.  Wendi has suffered from an eating disorder in her life, and I think this has really influenced her ability to get in touch with the weight of the world that every woman carries.  I believe that how deeply she feels,  overcoming her own fears, and her ability to see this in all women is a testament to her strength and ability to empathize like no other.

 ”My favorite things to paint/draw are women’s faces and hair, especially the eyes. I try to convey how I am feeling through them.   If I am feeling hurt or scared, then that is how her eyes will turn out, and most of the time it is subconscious for me.  I don’t even realize how I am feeling until the work of art is all done, then I get what I must have been feeling.  All the girls I paint are not representing me, but I think all girls.  It is so hard to be a woman these days: pressure to have a perfect body, to not stray from the norm, to be a perfect girlfriend/friend/mom/employee/housekeeper, etc!  It’s all so much.  I think that is why when I sit down to make art, usually a female is what comes out, looking deep in thought…I also love to paint eyes. Sometimes I just sit and draw eyes with no form attached.”

Above is the first paining Wendi ever sold.  Of all her works, this is my personal favorite.  I see color, texture, simplicity, emotion – just so many layers.  I love how there are scratches in the colors, revealing what is underneath the surface of the painting, and find within this work an analogy for seeing what is more than skin deep:  emotions, thoughts, the past, a recognition of the multiple dimensions of a person.

Wendi has also been working with some 3-Dimensional materials in her art classes.  I’m not certain, but it looks as though she used paper, on which she drew with Permacolor markers and framed with buttons onto a background.  I believe the original work she took this from was called “Alicey,” her personal depiction of an Alice in Wonderland theme, one of my favorite stories! And another story deeply rooted in a female searching for herself and delving into her imagination, looking for sense in this crazy, yet interesting, world.

girlwbirdwm

I actually have a print of this beautiful image (I believe she used Prismacolor & sharpie markers) named “Girl with Bird.”  She brought some prints of her work to the latest show she painted at and I left with this one and a huge smile on my face.  It is very special to me so maybe I will dedicate a post to making a custom frame for it :) . Once again, an inspiring depiction of vulnerability. You can get a print of your own for $10.00 US by clicking the picture, which will take you directly to this print on her etsy page (link at the end of post). And this brings me to one of the most interesting things about some of Wendi’s artwork…

Live Painting

One of the things Wendi loves to do is paint LIVE!  Wendi is connected with the local music community (especially since her boyfriend is the drummer of the local band Professor Marvel)  and she works live to the music.  The improvisation allows her work to create itself and flow straight from her experience onto the canvas.  I have had the pleasure of seeing her paint live on several occasions and even got a chance to snap some shots of her in action.  It is a wonderful thing to see an artist in the midst of creation, and Wendi is fearless and confident with her brushes, in a state removed from the hustle and bustle, her mind in the same world that captured my full attention when I first saw her work.

“I would have to say my favorite pieces are the ones I paint/draw with no plan in mind at all. Where I just sit and don’t think, I just feel and create at the same time.” 

This is a painting Wendi created 4 years ago during a rowdy party.  She really got into the flow and I love her description of the experience!

“There was random chaos going on all around me: drinking, loud music, people yelling and singing, all the regular party stuff.  And there I was, alone in my imagination sitting in a corner painting this picture of fish. It was so simple to make those fish outlines with my paintbrush, almost like God had put that picture in my mind and He was moving my hand for me! I like to think of the fish as my son and I.”

This is one of the paintings I was lucky enough to see from beginning to the end.  While at Hoss’s Deli for a concert with Former Champions.  It was amazing to see the work progress from a dark, endless universe of a background into something that stares back at you with human emotion.

One of my favorite parts of this painting are the tree antlers, and the roots that intertwine around her neck.  From this work, I imagined a woman creating life and working to grow, yet feeling trapped and strangled by the deep-rooted emotions that are necessary to feel depth in one’s life.  The roots may have a hold on you, but they are necessary to feed the growth, and you can use them to make wonderful things in this world.

“I am also super inspired by music when I make art. Bands like Professor Marvel, Explosions in the Sky, and STS9 are some of my favorite to paint to. I also LOVE painting LIVE for local bands in the area. Painting LIVE at a venue while a band plays is a crazy feeling, and has really been a positive and happy experience! The other night I was at a bar and painted a picture for a man who had lost a son.  It made me want to cry.  My painting made him so happy and i can’t even describe that feeling in words.”

Wendi’s Words of Advice 

“The best thing about being an artist is the freedom! I can create whatever I want…no limits. It makes me so happy to buy new paints and a canvas, go sit in my art room at home, blast some music, and just create something new, something never created before, something that tells the world what I am feeling and thinking without using any words….To any aspiring artists I would say this: GO MAKE SOMETHING!  Don’t be afraid to do something new, something no one has ever done, because that is what draws people in and gives them something to relate to, when they may have had nothing to relate to before. Art can touch people in such deep ways. “

Please go and support this imaginative, passionate, and dedicated artist by visiting one of her many pages!  You can just check out her facebook page for her creations, take a look at her pinterest board for her artwork, buy original paintings or prints on her easy page, or come see her paint live at some of the local venues in the area!  If you can’t find the dates, contact her via facebook or contact me on the blog and I’ll let you know if there is anything coming up.  The best thing?  If you come, you can ask her to paint you something live to take home!

Etsy: 

Facebook page:

Artwork Pinterest Board: 

Now listen to Wendi, and GO MAKE SOMETHING!

Leslie

A little work of my own!

25 Mar

This year I decided to take an art class to get a little inspiration. For those of us who are creative, sometimes we need an outlet, a source of inspiration, or really just some dedicated time to do what you love. I went into this art class assuming I’d be doing my usual and was completely surprised at where my teacher took me.

I usually do drawings like these:

312381_10100341628625603_2130723875_n

All black & white with graphite. My teacher thought I’d be amazing at colored pencils and it would give my drawings a little something extra.

So I bought the colored pencils and found a picture I wanted to do next:

I don’t know what attracted me to this picture, I knew it was going to be hard but I was so excited about it!

Class one – outline drawing (sorry if it’s hard to see)  I did the basic outlines lightly.

Class two – added a little color

309842_10100350939242053_152277506_n

Class three & four – started getting more detail done on the hair and worked on my blending with the pencils.

Class five – added deeper colors and got more confident at my color mixing and choices

Class six – added more layers and more detail.

This was my last class in this session but I have a feeling I’ll be continuing with this drawing. I love is so much and I’ve worked so hard on it – I can’t wait to finish it!

What do you do for inspiration? Have you ever thought about or tried taking classes to keep your creativity going? How did it work for you?

Love Always,

Jennifer

Cool New Urban Art

21 Mar

Recently, I have had some spare time, browsing the internet to find inspiration and anything interesting or funny that is out there in the digital outer space.  Yes, I found some funny memes, cute cat pictures, and even a video of an adorable pug that, for some reason, is completely unable to learn how to run, but does skips and flails to get around (it is very adorable and hilarious so I will post this at the end).  But amongst all this useless humor I found some profoundly interesting art forms that I fell in love with!  Unfortunately, most of them are illegal (at least on public property), so I won’t get to go out and create my own masterpiece.  Or maybe I’ll just get brave for the sake of giving the public something awesome to see on their way to their jobs, just to spice up a monday!

Reverse Graffiti

This art form is one that I find very educating: it reveals to the public just how dirty the city can get, shows the city that they need to do something about it, and demonstrates how beautiful the city can be if we all chip in to clean up!

These artists go out and, instead of painting on a clean wall, clean a dirty wall (or car!  you could be next) in a design or image that they want portrayed.  The end result is fantastic!

Girl With A Pearl Earring…in dust on a car! Spectacular.

In the caption (which is quite small), it says that this was created in San Francisco and is still visible now, a year later.

Really cool car :)

The British five pound note.  Hello, Queen Elizabeth!

Awareness for emotional and psychological crisis, a great message for those who read it!

A dirty tunnel gets cleaned up, and we see how white the perforated walls used to be!  I love how detailed this one is.

Urban Knitting

This one is really interesting.  I have been learning how to crochet, and in the first five seconds I learned that IT TAKES FOREVER!  I’m sure for these tasks, huge teams of knitters run out and get this done before they get arrested!  Yes, this is illegal, and gets taken down immediately and investigated.  It may annoy the authorities, but it makes me smile :) .

Haha!  Car hat!  I’m betting someone did this to their own vehicle, so that makes this one I could try out!  I just have to get human-size down first and I’ll work up to it.

Who knew? Sweaters look good on trees!

I love this one!  I want that bus, and I can’t even drive one.

Now, I don’t know how this was managed and I’m surprised it lasted long enough to get a pic!  New York must have liked it.

This is just a really cool picture :)

Moss Graffiti

Another find was moss graffiti!  You use moss and some other extra things to make a mixture and put it in a spray bottle for a green eye-catcher.  This form of art takes some time and maintenance, since you have to trim the moss, but it turns out a most beautiful green.

Some wall art.

Carefully sculpted gator!

A testament to the need for oxygen in our air, and the ability of plant life to provide it.

And best of all, you can make moss graffiti at home, on your own!  Decorate your plain brick walls with moss in any design that strikes your fancy!  This whole thing kind of reminds me of a chia pet.

And here is the random video of Loca, the adorable dog that cannot walk!  Just watch it.

I hope you enjoyed these interesting finds!

Get Inspired!

Leslie

Sally Mann: The Capturer

Sally Mann was born in Lexington, Virginia in 1951, and thank God for that.  She is one of the most talented and skilled photographers from the United States and her photographs, (often of her children Jessie, Virginia, and Emmett), capture a moment so wonderfully that I feel as though the picture was taken of me.  She captures the grit of an instantaneous expression, of ridiculousness, of life and growing up, and feeling older than you are, or being older than you are.  She grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and shared the memories she made with her children as they grew up playing in the fields, hills, rivers, and streams of Appalachia.

Virginia, Emmett, Jessie

Above is a photograph of Sally with her daughters, Jessie and Virginia

This is a relatively recent photograph of Sally Mann

Below are some photos of her daughter, Virginia, from childhood.

And some photos of Jessie

And a few more from Family Pictures

And more examples of her photography

Her pictures of her children and those of others remind me of childhood and the dog days of summer, when it was so hot everything seemed black and white, after the grass died and the hot sun was just a blistering bright light in my eyes.  When I ran around like a wild thing, with no rules and nature all around, free to do good or evil during the days when school was out and the world was mine.  What a feeling to rehash, now that I am older and the world feels much less under my control.  Anyway, it takes me back :) .

Sally Mann has done more than just capture childhood, adolescence, freedom, and family at its best,  she has done portraits, landscapes (specifically of the south, gorgeous!), ambrotypes,and even has a collection of photographs she took of dead bodies at  the anthropological facility at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  Sometimes she allows for nudity, the bare person, and she is definitely not afraid to push the envelope!  It is obvious that her photography has unimaginable depth, and her need to capture life and death, and everything in between is the reason I wanted to share some of her works with you today.

Please visit  to see her selected works and if you would like a list of her 9 books of 4 films.  I hope you all do some searching around because there is more Sally Mann out in the world than I could ever fit in one blog post.

What can you capture?

Leslie

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 949 other followers