Saturday, June 26, 2010

TV Project 2: The Beginning

Hey All,

I'm back with the second in the series of challenges on "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist" on Bravo. I have committed to doing every assignment no matter what (see previous posts for more info). The second project is to create a work of art using electrical appliance junk. If you saw the episode, you know that a lot of the artists focused on television sets. I do not wish to carry and store anything that big or heavy. The Realtors mantra is location, location, location. The artists mantra is storage, storage, storage. And besides I make my own rules because I am not eligible to win $100,000 and that is my consolation prize.

I have a pile of junk from computers, cell phones, cameras, cables, electrical and phone cords, etc. And what you see above is only a part of it. I have an idea that is pretty well formed in my brain but I am not going to share it until it's done. The hard part now is determining how to attache these things to each other. Wish me luck.

The next challenge, according to episode three is to do a cover illustration for a classic novel. I am not gong to use the same ones that they were assigned, as I do not wish to be influenced by the TV artists work. I welcome your suggestions and I will let you know what happens. Tune in for more.

Peace. love and creativity to all,

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Births, Birthdays and Fathers

Wow! Lots of stuff going on about birthing. Kelli did the last post about me, my daughter and the adoption industry (that's not only a topic for another post, I ought to start another whole blog about it). Today of course we're celebrating fathers and how much we love them. And the biggest news of the week ~ I have a new granddaughter. Welcome to the world beautiful little Maxine Ember! It's a very special Father's Day for my son Aaron. And.... the day after Maxine arrived it was my other daughter's birthday - the quarter century milestone for Sarah. And.... today is Becca's birthday - same milestone. Becca is Maxine's mom, how's that for a birthday present! Anyone who knows our family knows we do things in groups. We have our December birthday group, now we're working on our June birthday group.

So, it's been a pretty hectic week. Not a lot of painting going on. This one is not done yet but you can see where it's going. I'm working on 2 of these to submit to Bentley Publishing. For today this piece will have to be content sitting on the easel all by itself, I just want to hug my Dad and go snuggle a baby.
Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful dads out there. We love you.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


The Scarlet Letters
12" X 12"
Kelli Money Huff
Drum roll.........TA-DAAAAh!! Project number one is finished. And I am still alive. The above piece is a multi-media collage portrait of my creative partner and fellow blogger Carlynne Hershberger. If you read my previous post, I have taken on the challenge of creating every project that the artists on Work of Art: The Next Great Artist are doing and following pretty much the same parameters as the TV artists with the exception of the time limits. (Refer to previous post for particulars.)

Technique on this one is pretty straight-forward, photos of Carlynne, printed in black and white and then glued to a studio wrapped canvas. I have also added printed words, an envelope and stamp and acrylic paint. This portrait depicts my impression of her as she was about to give birth and surrender her child for adoption in 1980. (For more info on this, refer to Carlynne's previous posts.) No, I was not there and did not know her at that time, but have been a spectator as she has become an activist for change in adoption laws.

The photo is black and white instead of color because I wanted to present her as a ghost of herself as she was moving through the months of pregnancy knowing that she would have to give up this child, suppressing her real feelings in order to cope with the impending loss. The color blue represents her sadness. The envelope illustrates the letters she wrote home to her family and is pink because her baby was a girl, and the stamp shows the Madonna and child. The letters BFA stand for Baby For Adoption, the letters posted over her bed in the maternity ward and are the most important part of the piece, thus, the title, The Scarlet Letters.

I am relatively happy with the way this piece turned out, but there were many times during the process that I had serious doubts about the final results as well as my sanity. To give you an idea of how it went:

When the idea gelled: Oh, yeah, this is a great idea and I have lots of symbols to put in it. It will be fabulous. I am so excited I can't sleep! ( I really didn't sleep for 2 days.)

After I took photos and looked at them: These aren't what I thought I was getting. I'll have to take some more. Crap!

After working with the photos for awhile, enlarging and cutting and going from color to B & W: These will work just fine.

After laying them out: These aren't going to work. I'll have to start over. Man, do I have to do this?
Then: These will work better than I originally thought. Maybe it'll even be fun.

After gluing some down: This paper is crap, I'll have to do the whole thing again. I'll never be able to show this to Lynne, much less EVERYONE who reads the blog.

After arranging the smaller elements: Well, maybe I kind of like what the crappy paper is doing.
After adding some paint: This looks so amateurish. What was I thinking, this is going to be awful! What did I get myself into, now I have 9 more projects to do, or ruin!!

After adding more paint and blending it: This is better, well, maybe it's not so bad.

All I have to say is, this is going to be the longest 10 weeks of my life.
Peace and love to all,

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Art Faeries Have Spoken

Hi All,
As I reported last time I blogged, my creative well has been dry of late. I have felt that something was about to happen, but it was coming much too slowly for my taste. I am visiting gallery and museum exhibitions and reading about art to become inspired. I also look at a lot of art online but nothing really spoke to me until I watched the first episode of "Work of Art: the Next Great Artist."

I had TiVoed this program and decided to watch that day because I was feeling particularly low and needed some pleasure, some amusement, whether it related to art or not. I was pleased that they had done a good job with the format, at least in my opinion. I was prepared to not like it and was pleasantly surprised at the diversity of artists and the opinions of the judges. The first challenge of the competition was a portrait of one of their colleagues. There was a 13 hour time constraint and they worked in what I can only describe as a dream studio with what appeared to be a private art supply store, aka artist heaven. My only complaint was I wanted MORE. More of the previous work the artists had done, more about their thinking and process, more time on the screen for everything. We artists are a visual lot, we need a longer time to SEE things and examine in detail.

About half way through the program, I threw back my blanket (I had been cocooning on my bed wrapped in a blanket, no energy whatsoever) and sat upright, (light bulb over my head). I suddenly was full of ambition and ideas. My lethargy was instantly gone as I realized I had what I had been looking for. The Art Faeries had spoken and I, too, would meet each challenge that the TV artists were doing. I would take each assignment and follow it, on my own, to the best of my ability. This would get me out of my artists block, my slump, my rut. I would do all 10 (!!??) projects and see what happens. My hope is that I will be inspired by a new media, a subject, a process, an assignment that made me think outside my comfort zone.

My next thought was, oh, no the first project is a portrait and had not done one in awhile and had no interest in doing so. Then I said to myself, oh well, if you are going to do it, you will have to do them all. (Good-by comfort zone.) When I told my creative partner and fellow blogger, Carlynne that I was doing a portrait of her and why, her first question was "Are you going to set the same time limit?" Oooh, leave it to her to cut right to the heart of the matter. My answer was, well, uh, My purpose is different than theirs. For me it is not a competition but a way out of a creative dry spell. I also have a life. While I would love to be in their position, living in a hotel in NYC and doing nothing but making art all day on someone else's dime, I live in a town called the Real World. (Why do they always call these "reality shows?") I am assuming that the artists on Work of Art do not grocery shop or even cook for themselves, and I believe the extent of their chores is brushing their teeth and showering (optional). I, on the other hand have other obligations, too many. So, I am going to try to do most of each assignment in a week, but if I take longer, oh well.

I will document my journey in this blog and fill you in on all the (gory?) details. This is my commitment to you, dear reader:
1. I will work each project as described on the TV program to best of my ability to acquire the materials and equipment needed. When necessary I will improvise with something similar.
2. I may not take every project to final completion before beginning another, but I promise to show all results here, even if it's crap. (I really hope you appreciate that one. Rest in peace, comfort zone.)
3. I will try to describe my technique as well as my thought process as I go along and I welcome your feedback. In fact, I would love to hear from anyone who decides to accept this challenge with me.

Well, there you have it. Oh, about the photo above. A blank canvas. For us, that is where it all starts. Wish me luck.

Peace and creativity,

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's All About Me

As you may know from my last few blogs (and yes I know it's been awhile) I have not been able to paint recently. It just seems that my well is dry. I am not sure why. I feel there is something coming for me that will change the way I work and I am trying to be patient and do a lot of writing (sorry, some of it's personal) and not get depressed about feeling so empty. Writing is another creative activity and right now I am putting my angst into words instead of pictures. I feel that the painting will return eventually.

The other thing I am doing is observing my environment. I am mesmerized by the flowers and trees in bloom all around town. I had to share these with you from downtown Ocala. I am also going to visit a few art exhibits this week for some inspiration. I just hope the Art Faeries don't take too long to decide my fate because we creative types can be very impatient at times.

I want to thank my creative partner and blog associate, Carlynne for continuing to keep our blog going in spite of my inability to express myself of late. If you have not been following, she is working on a series of paintings that I think are her most important work yet. The series (as yet unnamed) is about adoption, the good, the bad and the ugly. She is a first (birth) mother and I am an adoptive mother, so I have followed her journey very closely and can't wait to see what is next in the series. Check out previous posts for more info.

While I am thanking people, let me say I am overwhelmed by the birthday wishes I am receiving on Face Book. Wow!!! Thank you so much to all who took the time to send me a message. It really made my day!

Peace and love

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Hi folks, been making progress in the studio. Here's where I am on the birthday painting. The journey through this series is an emotional one. I've gotten great responses from first mothers - 9 of them wanted to be included on this canvas so their names and baby's date of birth is up there. My daughter's birth date is at the bottom with my signature. I really wanted this to have the feel of people writing all over this canvas so there's no perfect lines or letters anywhere.

If you're unfamiliar with what I'm up to..... I'm working on a series of paintings about adoption from the birth/first mother perspective, particularly during the time that is now known as the Baby Scoop Era - between 1945 and 1973. Although my daughter was born in 1980, the treatment of women still hadn't changed. Many women are now coming out of the closet and learning to heal. This series about us.

Time to put the brushes away for the day and get ready for a BBQ. We're having the Gem and Mineral society over for the end of year get together. Yep, we're rock hounds. We have rocks in the house, the garage, the shed, the yard, our heads. Guess where some my abstract designs come from......

Hope you're having a lovely Sunday,

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Making Progress


I got to spend some time in my studio this past weekend - my favorite thing to do - second only to spending time with Amazing Hubby and my kids! Last week I finished the first piece in the new series. You saw it in an earlier post, well now the web pattern is gold leafed and I brought some of the strands over the lily.

Here's the start of the second piece. I got 2 of the candles in, some detail stuff to do on them yet. You should be able to see where the 3rd one is drawn in. I'm still working out how I'm going to do the additions to the background. I'm going to add dates - many birthdates representing adoptees. If you're an adoptee or a birth/first mother and you'd like your birthdate included just send me a message or comment.

Hope you're having a great start to this new week,