Creative Prompt for Today

Today’s inspiration is a childhood memory.  So first close your eyes and focus on a landmark from  childhood.  This may have been a friend’s or relative’s home, a park, a backyard sandbox,  snow fort, swimming hole/pool.  The possibilities are endless.

More Snow Forts

More Snow Forts (Photo credit: CaZaTo Ma)

Now take out a crayon or some other crude implement of mark-making. If you have anything else around the house that could help jar some memories, get that too.  Something with scent is good: a flower, a can of play-doh, a chocolate chip cookie, etc.  (Personally I like bubbles for this exercise when I assign it to my college writers.)

Missing chocolate chip cookie.

Missing chocolate chip cookie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next take the crayon/implement and begin to draw the place/item from memory.  (You can use more than one color.)

The second step asks you to take it to the next level.Once you finish, you can branch out with whatever you do that’s creative.

For fiction writers and poets, the memory can be used for narrative inspiration, image and detail.  Essay and memoir writers may even want to talk about the process itself and then proceed to the story and descriptions.

If you’re wanting to do something visual, continue the drawing on your medium of choice:  canvas, drawing paper, assemblage, sculpture, collage, film-making or whatever else strikes your fancy.  Just let the child-like brain keep plowing forward.

Play-Doh festival

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Scantily Clad Insanity, Provocative Tagging and Poetry!!! Testing One, Two, Three

(this post is dedicated to my church-going friend, Nicole)

So a couple of weeks ago, I was facebook wall chatting with a friend whose initial status was questioning the integrity of people will go to great lengths of craziness. . .to gain a readership online. I can’t remember the actual conversation per se, only that I wanted to write a blog about it so here I am. . . with this experiment.

OK, I confess this is post is inspired in part by a very needy desire to increase readership  (a very large part so go ahead and shoot me already, I deserve it. . .)

but also (to continue with what I was saying before that last parenthetical). . . also a furious curiosity to see what will happen after I’ve attached the following tags/links and/or language to this artist’s blog:

nudes,

reclining nudes,

naked ladies,

burlesque

erotic poetry.

bipolar illness

You could call  it a hypothetical experiment, or some other kinda sciencey thing that indicates scholarly involvement, experiment in which a part of me finds itself feelin kinda jazzed about making waves in these otherwise calm waters (so far the seventh biggest day I’ve had around here was an artist interview that included a couple of nude paintings. . . accompanied by a buxomy shot of the budding and lovely young artist 😉  )

and the other part finds itself feelin kinda nervous. . .about what to expect in the aftermath of such a blatant attempt to draw attention to oneself.

http://grumpygardener.southernliving.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/10/13/tree2.jpg

Introductions first perhaps and check out this sclera slash aqueous matter in the baby blues up here. . .”hi, i’m tess; part-time artist/ part-time community college instructor . . .

And truth be told, I kind of had to draw the line at actual pornography as mostly I find the stuff to be boring and exploitive. . .and so as not to throw my unsaved soul completely overboard.. . .and end up getting devoured by a drunken boat at the corner of Scylla and Charybdis, I’ve decided to limit my tagging vocabulary to “art” and insanity words.

So here I am at any rate, having tied myself to the mast. .. seasick with sirens blaring loud in cyberspace. All kinds of things to worry about now and fodder for serious neurosis.

Anyway, here goes nothing.

Exhibit A, some original art with an erotic theme followed by exhibit B, a poem on the topic of a semi clad exboyfriend, one having sold himself out to find work as a model for phone-sex.

"Orchestral" 9x12 mixed media on paper, piece inspired by the poetry of Mary McCrary Ladd, --Tess Farnham, 8/2011

http://www.etsy.com/listing/80849466/mixed-media-fantasy-lavender-glitter

At any rate, I have just discovered what would happen to my experiment by posting this title in the WordPress promotional forum. 

And that is a swift reprimand about the misuse of tags. . .which is kind of embarrassing even when you are just kidding around. 

So I won’t actually be attaching any of the tags I said I would use.  And truth be told, I never did.  Even from the beginning.

In some future post, I guess maybe I will write about about PRETENDING I attached too many provocative tags, and then admit I totally chickened out in the end. 

 

exhibit b: to be continued at a later date

 

On the Mend: New Work, New Prints. . .Lucy, You Got Some Splainin To Do!

After having spent a couple of weeks once more in this recurring episode of what I like to call my bride of frankenstein gig. . . undressed, sedated, i-ved. . .

. . .electrodes fastened to my temples,

I now find myself back to almost normal. . .

Continue reading

Serendipitous Iris

Today as I was searching for some wise words to inspire and ignite some passion for a current writing project, I found this David St. John poem, the find sort of fitting in with this current blog theme but also as prelude to a favorite painting :

Van Gogh, "Irises" 1889

And to elaborate on that theme, here’s something from the late fiction writer, Iris Murdoch, whose letters I read and catalogued for a grad school research project in Special Collections; this was correspondence between Iris and a beloved lit professor, Naomi Lebowitz (such a wonderful mentor and so inspiring herself as well).  The letters were delicious, full of her love of life, passion, urgency, and fervor:

 

“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad
with joy the whole time to have such things about us. ”
Iris Murdoch

And my favorite Iris novel, the cover’s illustration sort of remiscent of the Japanese paintings that were such an inspiration to Van Gogh, and you can definitely see it here. ..the sea,the sea reaching out to us with its fingerlike waves:

And now for the poem quote:

I love how the flower parts inspire a childlike wonder and free association of objects here.

Enjoy:

From “Iris”
by David St. John
"There is a train inside this iris:

You think I'm crazy, & like to say boyish
& outrageous things. No, there is

A train inside this iris.

It's a child's finger bearded in black banners.
A single window like a child's nail,. . ."
 

http://www.etsy.com/listing/59078878/vintage-images-the-sunny-night-mixed

Birds, Bugs, and Other Sciencey Stuff. . .Happy Father’s Day, Dad

When I was growing up, unlike a lot of kids my age, I almost never had to worry about having too many questions.

Anytime I had things to ask about, things for which a kid needed immediate answers, immediate fleshing out with full descriptions including the latin classifications, words longer and more inscrutable than the ones you got in church, mostly questions about things like birds, bugs and other sciencey stuff, . .

I always knew the guy to go to.

Mostly I remember following him around the house, one hand tugging on the hem of his shirt. .  . the other clenched around a smashed set of wings, the iridescent powder coating the insides of my fingertips. ..”Hey Dad, what kinda butterfly is this?”

(A dead one, Kiddo)

If he didn’t know the answer, he never seemed to mind looking it up for us. ..and then launching into a couple bazillion brief words about the meaning of life as seen through the biology teacher’s microscope.

 

Sometimes he would sing to us too, in this exaggerated baritone voice. ..mostly weird old folksongs. . .the one about the old lady who swallowed a lot of insects. . .the one about a boy’s best friend being his mother (his ma) and this one. . . never mind we all grew up in towns surrounded by corn and not cotton:

I also remember the way he adored and still adores my Mom, and spent those post-honeymoon days chasing her around the house, trying to coax a smile out with his favorite Hank Williams tune (I doubt he even remembers, but I do) :

Dad has always been a lotta guys to me. ..to Mom and to the rest of my siblings. . .

Always the right words of embarrassment in front of friends

and the awkwardness of our names being called in a hillbilly holler for dinner heard from two blocks away. ..

Bug identifier, storm cloud watcher, furnace fixer, Christmas lightstrings untangler, long-winded philosopher and explainer of all things great and small. ..but mostly he was just a pretty good person to have around the house when we needed him.

Thanks for teaching how to love the right stuff, Dad.

Love, Tessilu

And the Answer to Yesterday’s Quiz Question Is. . .

Always a Work in Progress

Bringing it all Back Home

I began my last post by talking about cutting and collecting images for collage projects.  Later I shared a photo of a collage, a tiny work  initially crafted as an artist’s trading card (enlarged through the magic of WordPress).  Afterwards I promised to post a photo of the finished pastel painting inspired by the collage.

(I also provided a quiz question but more about that later, I promise.)

“What is it you want to say?”

Our last painting instructor was always asking us that question. .. and to be perfectly honest, I admit I always had trouble answering it. . .

but in the interest of personal growth and self-reflection, I’ll take another scissor point to it.

I guess at some other point, I decided the collage had been an attempt at creating a loose biographical narrative, one that also let me pretend I was someone from a fairytale, someone significantly more graceful and confident than I actually am. ..so perhaps in this way, I am able to re-write my own script somehow . . .and create an image of the person I hoped I could always be.  So anyway, you will notice that I changed the haircolor of the most prominent figure and I also put a wreath of red roses on her head.  . .perhaps this was another wish coming forward as red roses symbolize true love, another thing I would someday like to include in my own story, I suppose.  You might also notice I left out the giant diamond on the roseholder’s hand. ..a pink rose. ..I think that’s  maybe about an innocent kind of love in the language of flowers. . .

I suppose I maybe did it to say something about the way I feel about diamonds as gifts in general.  Pretty to look at. . .and sometimes enviable, but kind of non-existent on my personal to do list (and perhaps that could be a fox and grapes kind of thing underneath as well, but for now I just sort of idealize friendship and sharing a common bond. . .equality I guess. ..and if asked how I feel about it. ..I would have to say that I disagree with the diamond industry’s suggestion that three months salary is enough to show a woman “that you love her.”

Three months of laughter and joyful sharing, on the other hand I believe, really IS something to include on one’s to do list. ..

though I know many women who might think it’s low self esteem talking when someone says that, which I actually can’t deny and yet. .. )   But also I sort of wanted to say that our story continues beyond the boundaries of these modest creations, beyond the limits of what our imaginations can conjure.

Back to the Nuts and Bolts and Whatnot

OK so you might also note in reading the details from the photo that I’m actually sort of cheating by working from grids, which I learned in studying the old masters who practiced this method all the time (I like that word practice. . .because I feel that’s the stage I’ll be in for the rest of my life. . .practice, practice, practice.)  Apparently it’s easier for our brains to read images that carry no pre-conceived opinions formed in our heads. . .

so to in order to accomodate for that, we record our impressions of abstract lines and shapes within the boundaries of these small boxes.

(Recently I also learned that artists who work in photo-realism oftentimes use projectors. ..actually draw and paint in the dark by the light of the magic lantern.)

**************************************************************************************************************************

And the answer to my quiz question is:

Kaloma, who is often mistaken for the Josie Earp, wife of Wyatt.

Kaloma

Josephine

And as promised, here is the finished pastel painting made from the collage:

First the collage:

And now the painting, shown with closeups and side views:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/75299418/blue-green-pink-orange-fantasy-pastel

Have an awesomest day . . .peace shalom. . .namaste!  Go and create~

**********************************************************************************************************************

Quiz for next time:  Name the inspirational female artist whose pastel appears taped to my drafting table.  Name the work so much the better!

Hint: Degas made a painting of her holding a poker hand

From Collage to Canvas

One of the ways I like to jumpstart the creative process is to sit in front of music with a lapful of  assorted magazines and a pair of lightweight padded scissors.  Images can come from most anywhere, not just magazines though, and as type this, I also feel a twinge of pity for the person who inherits my hacked-up coffee table art and photo books.

I also like to shop yard sales, thrift stores and book sales for fodder.

Most forms of media fall into the category of fair game when I am searching for just the right image or language to finish a collage narrative however.

As a result, I have amassed quite a collection of cut-outs methodically and obsessively stored  and organized in notebooks, file folders, and sealed plastic containers.

The activity keeps my hands busy, but it also keeps me in a constant state of daydreaming, imagining and exploring all the surfaces and textures suggested by the photos.

It’s a cheap thrill, I guess. . .but somebody’s gotta do it.

Sometimes stories come as I place images next to each other based on shapes and colors

and sometimes I begin with a story in my head or a loose idea.

Mostly I just like to play though, and proceed with no particular place to go.

Here is the story of a pastel painting, one that began with a tiny artist trading card I made at a friend’s house.

First the baseball-card sized collage, enlarged for the blog:

You may already recognize the woman in this collage as having been mistaken for a famous gunslinger’s girlfriend/wife.  If you guess her name, leave it in the comment box.  🙂

Tomorrow I will show you where I took it from here.  From collage to pastel painting.  🙂

Garden Still Life

“And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not
anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they
themselves never hoped to see – or like a sealed letter they could not plainly
read. ” —Alice Walker

Yesterday I finished my iris painting, an act which left my easel empty again. . .so afterwards I assembled this outdoor still life with a little help from a gardener friend next door.  I already had the peace roses, yarrow, and coral bells in my yard.  Mary provided the yellow gerbera daisies, lilies, and a few lacy varieties I can’t name at the moment.

I snapped some photos of the bouquet to set aside for future paintings.

Later I brought my easel outdoors to photograph the new painting.  The outdoor light really changed the look of the work, making it seem a little flat and washed out. . .so out came the brushes for some sunlight tweaking. A couple of hours later, I felt like I was really finished (again).

It was nice to see Mary’s reaction when I showed her the new work. Now that the original iris has dropped its petals, the painted one is bringing back some happy memories. 🙂

And now for something completely different:

Mixed Media and Photo Collage: “Eve Meets Bess”

http://www.etsy.com/listing/49341143/burlesque-dance-hall-jane-russell

Work, Work, Work

Been really busy with my Etsy site.  So much to do to get exposure.  Artists gotta pay the rent too.  😉

Yesterday it was soooo cold here, too cold to garden brrr. .. so I got to work writing curriculum for Summer Eng 101 and Fall Creative Writing. . .and put down some preliminary strokes for my new iris painting in progress.

Tired!  But here is my newly listed painting:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/74885038/expressionist-flower-and-lace-botanical

And in honor of Isadora Duncan’s birthday, here is my collage tribute to her:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/48766767/vintage-inspired-isadora-in-the-upturned?ref=tre-4ddfac29eebe6d91cf50a8dd-14