Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Vacationing Muse

By December of last year, I was ready for a long break. It had been an incredibly busy year for me career-wise, and I was both exhilarated and completely exhausted. So DH and I took 17 days off, he from his job and me from my art. We laid around and didn't do much. We played a lot of games. We watched a lot of TV. We laughed a lot, talked a lot, slept a lot, ate too much, and needed and loved every second of it.

In January, full of hopes and plans for the upcoming year, I entered my studio refreshed and ready to take on new challenges... and then couldn't find a single thing to inspire me. I struggled, I flailed, I cursed, but it appeared as if my muse had also gone on vaccy, and had no desire to come back. Maybe she was in the Bahamas, laying on the beach, or in Vegas, gambling away my creative currency. But she sure wasn't as ready, willing, and able as I was to get back to work. Sigh.

It took a couple of months to really start getting back into the swing of things, but I finally did, and by March of this year, I felt like I was really beginning to hit my stride again.

And then we found out we had to move.

I packed up my studio, said goodbye to my supplies as they went into storage, and then spent most of the rest of the year cooling my heels in a temporary apartment with no studio space while my new house was being built. Exciting times for certain, with an excellent outcome in the end, but absolutely dead, creatively.

So here I am, at the end of another year. It's December and my new studio is nearly complete! It's a bigger, brighter space with more storage, more room to move around, more of everything! My dream stdio!

But now the muse is in Europe, or something. Sipping great wine in a little Bistrot à vin in Florence, or pigging out on tapas in Cordoba. Maybe she's just settled in with a good book ten miles up the road from here, but wherever she is, she hasn't been anxious to show her face in my studio lately.

So the heck with her, I'm moving forward without her and she'll just have to catch up to me later.

In an effort to jump-start my creativity, I've returned to my roots and have been playing on stretched canvases with texture, paint, and bright, happy colors.


This piece is 30" x 30" and was created using Golden light molding paste (love that stuff!) which I manipulated with my new Catalyst Blades, and many, many layers of both fluid and heavy body acrylics. It was a total blast to make! I plan to do another similar piece on a much larger scale soon, so I'll be sure to take process photos of that one to show you!

I like this piece from a distance, but it really sings once you step up close to it. The colors blend, meld, and contrast excitingly inside the valleys and ridges of texture created by the paste.


The next silly little one is a much smaller piece, 8" x 10", and began with humble copy paper.


Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my mother-in-law came to visit and spent some time in the studio with me, playing with and learning about Gel Plate printing. I had been dying to try a new idea offered by Joan Bess over on her GelliArts blog, and having MIL there seemed like a great opportunity, so we both tried it. Joan calls this technique "Wipeout Printing" and she made an excellent video of it that got me wanting to give it a whirl.

I also used the opportunity to demonstrate using masks to my MIL, and after her visit was over and she went back to NJ, I started looking at that little paper, bursting with potential (I wish I had a photo of it in that stage, but I don't, sorry!) I hit it with a couple of washes of fluid acrylics, added some texture with paint and, again, the Catalyst tools, and mounted it onto this stretched canvas. A similar wash of color on the sides to tie the whole thing together, and it's ready to hang.

So while I hope my must doesn't fall in love and run away while she's in Paris or wherever, I'm still soldiering on just fine without her!

Happy creating!
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