Patti Edmon Altered Attic

Friday, November 3, 2017

Abstract Reality

In times of frustration I feel that I've painted a million pieces and am still not where I want to be. So, I recently joined psychiatrist and abstract artist Nancy Hillis' Artist's Journey. It costs more than I can afford but I reasoned that art is the blood flowing through my veins and short supply means certain annihilation. 

Looking back through my photos, I was surprised to see that I've only been 'abstract' for just over a year. As that realization settled, I started to feel justified, happy even, about my progress. And these pieces, done over the past few weeks (along with 30+ others), really are just the beginning.

Before starting this new, deeper journey with Dr. Hillis, I was focused on fewer, more layered paintings that might look good in an office or over a sofa. I don't know about you, but having a sofa in my creative vision blocks a whole lot of authenticity.

I still love these paintings but I'm surprised I didn't snap brushes by holding them so tight. I thought I was painting loosely until I 'attacked' the paper with a stressed-out vengeance. Subconscious marks and color hit the paper before I could stop and think. Yes, I said stop and think. Thinking has been the hallmark of my art career. I'd like to create works that people would love to have hanging in their homes. Or offices. But the paintings have to come from the origin - behind the sofa.

The benefits of painting nearly every day are a million-fold. It yields an abundance of expression and experimentation - and a few trash can liners. Turn up the music and let the paint fly - the frustration is gone!
I'm very interested to hear your experiences and ideas that are useful along the path toward letting go and letting it fly! And check out Nancy Hillis - she's a wise veteran for sure. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Crowns - in Linus Gallery's Abstract Art Exhibit

Painting my heart out, painting out loud, painting outside the lines... so many ways to express intuitive painting. Over the past several months I've been totally into abstract. My love for color is deep and each layer of every painting tells a different part of the story.

Crowns 24x36 acrylic on gallery canvas, my favorite painting ever, was accepted for Linus Gallery's Abstract Exhibit and I couldn't be more thrilled. This (and most all other) was inspired by Jean Michel Basquiat... not his work so much as his approach to painting. Let it fly! Dig down to that primal place where the real essence resides - otherwise known as 'flow'.

I'm not using Facebook, searching for galleries, sending my work out. I don't know, it has been a personal process, and OK, so I have hundreds of paintings!! Next step is to do the thing - you know, website, social media schedule, etc. etc.  Have you done that yet? Wow, so daunting. And time consuming! And I really do want to send my work out into the world. There are so many successful artists as examples of what can happen. I find it very interesting that selling art online has become its own business - so many workshops, books, podcasts, webinars - all about getting followers, likes, sales, etc. - it's exhausting to think about. 

I'd love to hear about your progress, plan, success... please tell me! Also, I'd love for you to check out more recent work:

Love, blessings and hope. Always hope!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

When is a Painting Finished?

I recently figured out that if I don't like a painting maybe it's just not finished! Brilliant observation after several years, but it made me wonder if other artists have consciously come to know that or if it's embarrassingly obvious...

The one constant in every piece of art I've created is layers. I love layers. I live to layer. So, it would seem that I would have already come to this conclusion. But I've spent considerable amounts of time working on a piece only to file it with the other shunned canvases. 

I don't know about y'all (ok, I grew up in Upstate New York but I've lived in Kentucky for a hundred years), but does this ring a bell? I mentioned it while in workshop with the fabulous and talented Wan Marsh (at Random Arts in late August) and she looked at me like I'd just informed her that the world is round. 
So, whether or not it's a no-brainer that fact changes the entire process, makes each step less 'brain surgery' and way more rewarding. It also tells that monkey in the mind to shut the hell up and let the process happen. 
I was so grateful I decided to share the 'history' of one of my favorite paintings. 

OK, not a bad start, I see potential...

Um... going anywhere? Like maybe to a better place?

Oh darn, this is looking busy and well, just crappy in general.

Started calming it down and looked for cohesion (any!) Knew it was time to paint over areas I liked but that just didn't work. And once I made peace (ok, let go of control!), I used my hand to cover elements and figure out which parts needed to go, and it wasn't long before the piece was finished. And I love it! 

I keep learning, processing, painting and living with thanks that so many lessons and insights present themselves - better late than never haha. Wan also had sage words about finishing "How do you know it's finished? When you start messing it up!" Brilliant!
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

In the Paint

My next post will be on a redesigned page that reflects an amazing journey since I last blogged - in early 2015! 
I believe with all my heart that we are always 'in-process' and possess infinite creativity, but I haven't always felt that way. I recently uncovered the perplexing switch that allows monkey mind, fear and resistance to block the journey to becoming as complex, complete and evolved as possible. Can't quite put my finger on it (bad pun), when exactly I began painting without pause, without question, and thankfully without that nasty, clingy critic rambling in my head. OK, I still hear it occasionally but can shut it up and listen to my studio music instead. 
I've come to realize that those whiny voices aren't real, that self-doubt can be overcome and that my insatiable love for the creative process has paid off. I am ready to send my work out into the world. If you know me you know that I'm not one to boast or call false attention to myself, preferring instead honesty, being real and vulnerable with total openness. It's simply time. In the coming weeks I'll share my work, materials, inspirations and reflections, while hoping madly that you will still be reading!
Until then, I have one burning question: Do you ever stop creating briefly to dance in the studio? Please, please, please leave a comment with your answer (research) and any other words you are willing to share! Namaste and blessings to all.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Amazing Creative Journey

Warrior? Egyptian Princess? Just plain bizarre? Whatever she appears to be she is close to my heart, one of my most favorite paintings.

Adding new techniques, taking workshops and painting every day is the way we grow as artists. My path certainly isn't linear, sometimes it feels like going off on a tangent, then making a sharp right, kind of like those molecular drawings without the science, or the lines connecting them.
It is great fun to let go and see what comes of the next, brief stop along the journey. While having a blast, I do feel like my work is all over the place. My BFF Rachel, and my artist-husband, Jim assure me there is a commonality among the diversity. 

That makes me happy, though I don't always recognize it. I wonder, how winding has your path been, is there a theme to your body of work, or several over time? So many artist I admire greatly produce fabulous works that aren't at all similar yet I can usually spot the signature, the one aspect that runs like a river through their pieces. It must be easier to see in others what we cannot see in ourselves.

A friend recently commissioned me to paint an angel, similar to one I sold several months ago. I found out just how difficult it is to go back and recreate earlier work. The one above is an option I wanted to give him because it's more current, the one below is as similar as I could get to the one he liked. It's the one he wants and that's great but I can spot the changes in technique, so perhaps I've answered my own question. 

How would you describe your creative journey? I'd love to know...

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Long Time No Post

I am in awe of artists who manage to keep blogs updated while showing up on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and I'm sure there are others... It's really difficult for me to find the time to not only put my own art out there but also to look at the work done by my fabulous art friends.

Since I last posted, my work has evolved entirely and most every spare minute is spent in the studio.  In September I made my biannual trip to Saluda for a workshop with Wan Marsh at Random Arts. Spending several days (yes, it was a two day workshop but required 5 days' stay) with Jane Powell, and in the company of wonderful artists is my manna, sanity, respite. 

I had a chance to spend some time with Wan and quickly found that we are kindred spirits. She's amazing and her teaching methods are extremely accessible. In the workshop I used her techniques but with entirely different results. That is the true goal of workshops - not to recreate the instructor's work but to branch out and open the wondrous door of discovery. So, thirty paintings later, I'm still wandering...
I hope you are in good health, spirits and creating as often as possible, ie, instead of doing dishes or dusting. Those things will always be there, unlike the urge and ability to capture creativity, my life goal. Blessings to you!

This piece is part of a series I did called 'Sistahs' based on the serendipitous, deeply gratifying relationships that deepen our lives if we remain open...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Painting in the moment

After many months of painting (a few hundred) faces, she is my new favorite. Hours of practice have taught valuable lessons - like letting go while still holding a paint brush. An exhilarating freedom, a precise imprecision, which I've admired in many works of art. Finding the truth in my voice while residing in that place called 'flow.'

There is much to be said for living in the moment, no worry, anxiety, guilt or regret. I watch a squirrel hiding a walnut on our back porch. Hear the kids playing next door, showing off their first kindergarten drawings with their wild imaginations and plans for who they will become. Then passing through a vibrant downtown on a post-card perfect drive to the barn, such gratification as the foal is now filly, albeit still close to mom.

So why don't we all adopt this way of being? Ask and most adults rattle off the exponential reasons why they are so exhausted, splintered from busy busy days, dealing with the hectic that is life. Forward motion, accomplishment, plans, crises, how will they manage... a 'normal' way of life. And there is always the hovering, impending doom streaming from the 24/7 media. 

Then there are (so many) people like me. Living with a chronic illness - no wheelchair, brace or special-needs apparatus - which means I have an invisible illness. It will progress, has left permanent damage and on days when I feel really really bad, for no outwardly apparent reason I lack the strength to hope, or sink into another cycle of grief. For more than ten years I have been redefining my self in a way that is just off stage, away from bright light. Making the transition from a doing to a being. And most days I succeed, having become compassionate and understanding with an awareness that often startles me.

I have a home, wonderful family and lots of art supplies... why would I grieve? An unexpected deja-vu seeing the ones wearing heels and put-together all the way up to the styled hair. Focused, decision-making, purposeful. A backward glance across a decade reveals a different me: optimistic, sharp, talented creative director, business owner, with avocations like showing horses, writing fiction. Leasing new cars every two years in a wardrobe that, while not trendy, was a true artistic rendering of who I was. No power-wielding corporate maniac, just a woman deriving immense satisfaction from doing what I loved. Do I miss that person? Wouldn't you?

Now, aside from my tiny stash of going-out clothes I am repetitive. T-shirt splatted with paint, sweats and hair knotted in a bun for so long... I cannot remember my last trip to the stylist. Do I bother to shave my legs or paint my toenails? In that case, no need for make-up. This is what happens during the transition from daily (public) activities to maybe once a week. And there are those who innocently envy my lifestyle. But it is not and never will be a choice. 

Before illness I did not paint, so this is my choice, one of my silver linings. Art. And closer connections with fewer people holds such meaning... rather than an active social life. Another choice: examining life rather than hearing it whoosh past in a roar of distractions.

Emily Dickinson wrote, "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all." What does all of this mean? That there is always hope along this journey, despite the lapses and deep pits that are not, in a way that is unrecognizable to those whose lives are not impacted by chronic illness. We are a community of believers, grit and survival, even managing to thrive. Like the magic that is making art. If my hope is dormant today, in the larger view, through the silence, pain, aloneness and inability to be understood, I suppose I really do not ever stop.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Thrills and Chills

Aside from making books, painting faces still occupies most of my studio time. I've expanded my repertoire to include even more layers of paints, sprays, ink, tons of paper; I've done 3-dimensional on cradled canvas, canvas boxes and experimented with a few new texturing techniques. Molding paste, fabric, found objects and other stuff, the possibilities are endless.

Early in June, I entered these two gals in More & More, a competition defining mixed media, juried by the Senior Curator at the Huntington Museum of Art. The 200 entries from across the country were narrowed to the 38 selected for the exhibit. I was blown away when I got the email saying that both faces (9x12) were among those chosen.  

 I had an opportunity to chat with the judge during the artist's reception and I (bravely? naively?) asked her why she chose mine. She liked the pieces visually and was impressed by the lengthy materials list. And that's not the real kicker! When my husband went to Mary Rezny's Gallery to pick up my art Monday, he came home with one (below) because the other had been sold. To a guy who owns Cross Gate Gallery here in Lexington. If you have a minute, check his place out and you'll see why I'm so surprised... (and thrilled, of course).

A cautionary note:  When using re-inkers in the background of a painting we all know that some of the color will surface; the oregano really came through on this one and that's why she's adorned with so many leaves. What I didn't realize is that putting on a coat of varnish, weeks later, will cause more color to surface. If you look closely around her chin, that hint of purple/red came blazing to the foreground like she'd been in a pie-eating contest. I didn't see it until the night of the reception and I was mortified. Gotta love those 'happy' accidents.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The 'A' Word

The 'A' word is the topic over on The Altered Page. Seth addresses the difficulty too many of us have referring to ourselves as Artists. Like, "oh, what do you do?" Answer, "I stay at home, work in the studio most every day." Or, "I'm often creative." 

When I was in an advanced fiction program ten years ago, I never introduced myself as a writer, because it's inevitably followed by, "oh, really, where are you published?" I am a writer, have written all my life: poetry, essays, and a collection of short stories, albeit unpublished. (Nobody really wants to hear about the book forwards and prefaces or the ton of commercial writing) and I've been blogging for several years now. It is very fulfilling when I get blog comments as much about my writing as art. So, I write, I've done loads of photography/ darkroom work I paint almost every day and dabble in lots of mixed media but only recently did I acknowledge that "I am an artist."

Not so coincidently, it was at Seth's Random Arts workshop back in April where I had a blast with my best art bud, Rachel Stewart. Seth and I have corresponded regularly but it was the first time I met him (which I'd highly recommend if you have not done so). During the few days we had the 'what makes a creative an artist' discussion and I realized that, while I have no formal training and my resume is brief, I have had some exposure, sold pieces and recently juried into an exhibit defining mixed media art. So, what is the point? 

I shudder when I hear  "I don't have a creative bone in my body," and yes, it took me well into adulthood to claim the passion I've been nurturing all my life. The point is that it shouldn't be an issue but it is. A huge one. Even without my few public ventures I would still be an artist. Read the post and the responses from those brave enough to comment about their struggles. Mine is the one that says: Of course I'm an artist! A guy at a workshop embarrassed me into calling myself one... what a great guy!" And that, he is without a doubt. If the wealth he spreads in this art world was monetary he could buy a country. A fairly good-sized one.

No post is complete without photos so below are a few shots of the book I made after Seth's workshop. Did I really put a magic wand on the cover?? Of course, I'm an artist :)

Another fairly permanent lesson I learned was that working outside the confines of the directions is not only very liberating, it's OK! Problem-solving and breaking all the rules is the greatest fun of all!

If you haven't read/commented on Seth's page I'd suggest it! 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Buried Treasure

When I read that Seth Apter was launching another Buried Treasure adventure it wasn't difficult to figure out what post I wanted to use. This post (published last year) is the essence of who I am and why I am an artist. Thanks, as always, to Seth, such an amazingly creative artist and even greater person. He shares so much of himself with this community and for that I give him thanks. Extra appreciation for the support he so easily provides, just because he's that's kind of guy! 

Invisible Illness (Awareness) Week has begun! In keeping with the theme, another of my choices is to be my best possible self. And that includes reaching out, sharing, caring, helping when I can... all qualities of being a good friend. There's an old saying, to make a friend you first have to be one. True, but. Sometimes those of us with chronic illness get overlooked, passed by as though not being able to able make the party means we don't need to get an invitation. 

The text I used in this piece of art, called Thoughts on Friendship, is an excerpt from a friendship 'manifesto' I wrote several years ago, after experiencing what I call being tossed from the merry-go-round. When life as I knew it ended and, unlike those with visible injuries and acute illnesses (especially cancer - God forbid), the carousel kept right on turning without me. Don't get me wrong, my family has always been really supportive and I do have good friends. But there were a couple of years when, along with being really sick, I felt isolated, lost, alone.  Walking away from my business, my horse, my fiction-writing venture, my social identity, my life, turned out to be far more painful than I'd bargained for; it was, in a word, grief.

We chronics endure repeated, sporadic grief cycles because we mourn the loss but there is no end. Just lots of beginnings, I can now say with gratitude. But before the warm fuzzies there was pain, feeling abandoned, let down, forgotten and it took time and effort to mend those wounds. The (almost) funny thing is, I was taking so much medication that for a few years I did look fairly sick. But in a vague, perpetual sense. Three years ago I scaled back on the prednisone and lost the moon face and extra 50 lbs. and that's when the invisibility factor really hit. Hard. People said things like, "oh, you're back" and "you seem like a completely different person" as I struggled through an evening. There wasn't an obvious reason in the world for the fatigue gnawing its way from the inside out, the cognitive disfunction (brain drain) that settled like London fog, the flu-like feeling that is my last-chance signal to get the hell out of wherever I am and go to bed! I've had lots of practice. I cried, grieved, learned the bits and pieces of acceptance, made lots of art and built a close, fabulous new community of online friends with whom I communicate regularly.   

So now, when I do venture out of my studio wearing my former-sized (healthy) clothes, jewelry and makeup I no longer even think about guilt or apologies. I am fierce. And I'm a better friend now than ever before. And my friends here, the ones who really know me get it, and that's enough, for now. 

Following is the entire piece - I welcome thoughts and comments about attributes I've overlooked, points I may have missed, i.e., YOUR opinion.
Happy Tuesday - hope it's creative and filled with friendship.

Thoughts on Friendship

     When you think of a ‘friend,’ who comes to mind? Someone with whom you can go to a movie or fishing? A neighbor who always has a cup of sugar, the person who sits next to you at church, school or work? Or, a person with whom you can entrust your life, your deepest fears, dreams you’re afraid are too big to come true?

     Friendship can be defined, classified, measured in so many ways. Perhaps the most important element is simply the willingness to be there. To be tuned to the fine strings upon which our friends’ lives are balanced. To reach for part of the burden when there is immeasurable grief or sorrow.  And to multiply the joy of triumph, celebration, good news.

     Authentic friends speak the truth even when it isn’t universal because there is freedom to reveal oneself and an openness to another’s worldview. Friends don’t quit when the air grows heavy with misunderstanding or tension. They work harder to breathe instead. Connecting with a friend at the soul level is sharing the life force that keeps us trudging, skipping, lurching, running toward whatever our destination might be. They are the fuel that sustains our journey. The food that fills our longing, hunger, blindness so that we might walk closer to our true path.

     The world is full of magic. The way leaves swirl in random patterns through the air in fall. In spring when the first evidence of new life comes in the purple and white crocuses urging their way up through matted yellow grass. It is the triumph that comes with achieving a personal goal. A letter or phone call or hug given at the exact moment that it is needed. The fullness of spirit after sharing a meal.
     It is also sick and cold and dark. Bombs, terrorists, pornography, insecurity, accidents, extinction, natural disaster, illness, loneliness. People, material possessions, financial security, peace, health and happiness can come and go so quickly that our lives can be changed in a single moment. What do we do when confronted with the raw instability of life?  When the unthinkable happens, our world is shaken, or compromised? Most of us turn to those whom we love, and who love us back, in spite of our flaws and failures. This is the reality: the only tangible worth of living in this world is the people with whom we fill our lives.

     Without these relationships all of the glory and accomplishment, health and happiness, is poised on a shell that could crack under the slightest pressure. Who are those nearest and dearest to your heart?  Have you invested in them all that they are worth to you? Open your heart, reach out and whether or not you are needed, be there. Breathe each day the fragility and wildness and wonder of life and love.

    Celebrate yourself and your friends. Know that I celebrate you.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Judge this book by the cover

The two-day workshop that Seth Apter taught (For Your Eyes Only) last weekend at Random Arts was inspiring and challenging and a big step outside my comfort zone. The supply list was fairly extensive and specific but when it was time to pull supplies, like a variety of papers, ephemera and objects, I had a hard time deciding what to pack.  So I pulled stuff without over-thinking it and ended up with ample, albeit completely unrelated-theme stuff. 
(Fortunately, Jane's amazing shop has a bit of everything, which alleviates the fear that all the 'right' stuff was left back in the studio. So no worries and I always return with lots more than I took.)

Seth's book is amazing and I love his gridded design approach; however, when we started to work I could not make the first one (though I understood the concept). But Seth is amazing. He shares brilliant techniques fully understanding that the same format might not work for everyone (like me), so once freed I got into the zone. Along with a few of my photographs I'd brought 2 pages of haiku that I'd written over the past couple of years; my theme presented itself. 

Having limited supplies turned out to be a blessing in this case. In the studio it would have taken weeks to figure out how to put pages together...  I used a painting and a lot of the painted papers I took.

And I had a bunch of vintage school paper used by "Lester" and his work appears throughout :) 

I had a bagful of batik and sari ribbon (supplemented by a trip to Jane's shop) and I found they made great binding covers, plus I love having things showing outside the piece.

Fortunately I had a lot of small scraps - burlap, screen, tissue paper, snaps, lace trim, mica, rick-rack, butterflies...

Seth said our books were filled with 'happy accidents'... or were they?

He gave a rather Freudian explanation for the dual face spread - half child and half emerging being....

And of course I had to use one of my faces.

and put an old library card in the back cover

I'd left the back cover blank but wrote a haiku when I got back to my studio.

We all experienced the same thorough, detailed demonstration and explanation of the processes.  But Sunday afternoon when we shared our work via 'show and tell' (which included Seth's thorough and amazing critique) I was blown away by the diversity, originality and creative interpretation. The only similarity was that they all had 2 covers. 
I think I'll take a break from painting faces and make another.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Bingo was his name-o

The only thing harder than getting to Saluda is leaving it behind. Seth Apter was an instant favorite last weekend; we enjoyed perfect weather, great food, fun and art thanks to the fabulous Jane of Random Arts. If you haven't taken a class with Seth you should do yourself a favor and check his itinerary. Both workshops were crammed with technique, demos, lots of one-on-one help and finished projects. One of the best experiences ever.

The first workshop was a one-day called Shredded Silhouettes and it wasn't long before our work tables were in complete disarray, hands covered with paint. Ahhh, yes. The 'Bingo Bird' at the top is my piece and I really am happy with it, which doesn't always happen. 

Spending all five days with Rachel was the icing on the cake. We met in Knoxville and drove to Saluda together; we stayed in the Carolina Cottage and it was entirely perfect. I already miss her!

The second workshop - 'For Your Eyes Only' - was spread over two days, thankfully. Book making wasn't a familiar process to many of us so I'm fairly sure that it worked because Seth was at the helm. I've finished the piece but no photography so that comes next.

Until then, wishing you blessings and inspiration in all your creative projects!  


Related Posts with Thumbnails