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

New Work this Week and Just Listed

on Etsy as prints:    https://www.etsy.com/listing/153717200/decor-impressionist-fine-art-painting

Tess Farnham, "Study in Lavender and Light" acrylic on canvas, 24x30

Tess Farnham, “Study in Lavender and Light” acrylic on canvas, 24×30

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/153717200/decor-impressionist-fine-art-painting

Among Some of the New Works

This original mixed media textured piece was given to a friend as a thank you gift recently, but I’ve made prints of it now!   Here is a link to see it on Etsy.  🙂                https://www.etsy.com/listing/153525298/peach-purple-maroon-lavender-floral

"Carnival Glass Abstract" by Tess Farnham

“Carnival Glass Abstract” by Tess Farnham

Process and Painting: On Bartering a Portrait to Pay the Rent

So here is a new work, one born of necessity. ..the necessity arose from having to pay rent between semesters sans a paycheck.  It started with a conversation wherein I sort of hinted at the barter and then when my landlady found herself in need of a gift for her mother, she remembered that conversation.

I asked for a photograph so I could get started and she obliged with this one:

If you look closely, you might note that this drafting table doubles as a sewing table, but also perhaps something about my process which involves using the grid technique.  In this next photo, you can see the sketch done with an olive gray wash:

And here is the finished portrait:

Tess Farnham, Untitled Portrait, 16x20 acrylic on canvas

Pastel, Petals, and Channeling Van Gogh: The Emerging Works of Mallory Maves

Today’s artist’s interview features yet another blossoming talent from the Woesthaus night school of play and painting, another new friend and true kindred spirit, already drawing near and dear
to my heart. . .who like myself also too, has come to embrace a passion for
petals and pastels.

I met Mallory last spring. . .when the snow was thick on SWIC pavement. . . and we all propped our canvases close to one another trying to find some warmth in the midst of those Midwestern crows and cornfields. 😉

Mallory was the quiet one who smiled all the time. . .with a painting style very much like the artist
herself, overflowing with an abundance of warmth and sensuality.

You could just stand and watch her dab and dance around the canvas all day. . .her energy is so
inspiring too!

So on with the questions now! Just sit back and enjoy the wild ride!  (and do try to forgive this spacing format.  i am not sure how these line breaks happened with wordpress. . .can’t seem to delete them either.  very mysterious!)

 

*************************************************************************************************
1. Introduce yourself…Tell me about your background.

What events led up to your life in art-making?
I don’t quite remember when I first became interested in art. I was home
schooled from 4th grade all the way through high school, and we always had art
classes with friends.  I remember I loved copying photos because I loved drawing
peoples faces. I would try to get my drawing to look just like the photo, and I
would always get so mad if it didn’t look just right.
I didn’t really start getting into the “artistic” side of drawing until I
started college at Southwestern Illinois College. I have loved every single art
class I’ve taken at SWIC. I really wanted to branch out and learn what I could
do with different medias, so I took as many art classes as possible. I loved
drawing, which I knew, so I took every drawing classes possible including the
studio classes. I then went on to design, photo, ceramics, and painting. I feel
like every art class I took influenced how I perceived my drawing later. I
graduated SWIC 2011 with a double associate’s of AFA and AA.
“Rose”  and “Van Gogh’s Shoes” oil on canvas, Mallory Maves
2. How do you get your hands and feet wet and dirty? What media / material & process do you like best, and why?
I prefer to draw, I use mostly graphite and charcoal, I’ve never been a
huge fan of color pencils. I like to make things as big as possible. When I was
younger I would work on things 8×10 or 5×7 because it was faster to finish
and easier to get done. Now that I understand the amount of detail that can go
into a piece just by upgrading the size to 30×36 or even larger, it makes me
feel that the time that it takes to fill the space is worth it just so I have
the perfect ending to my journey with the piece.
I feel like drawing is a very controlled art which I like, but painting is
what I really let loose with. My friend often says she loves to watch me paint
because I make such and mess around me. Splatters of paint will speckle the work
space around me, and the clothes that I wear, she just thinks it’s so
funny.

Mallory's palette

3. You know, Hemingway wrote a whole book around his experiences trying to feed himself in Paris as a starving artist. ..Do tell about your experiences.   How and what DO you feed
yourself?
I’m almost like a Rothko who only ate cheap Chinese or nothing while
working on a piece. I will go days without eating while working on a piece, not
because I can’t afford it, but because I can’t pull myself out of the “trance”
it has me in. When I do emerge to eat it’s a quick cheap meal that I can quickly
eat before starting again. I also like to drink wine while I paint. During the
“fasting” time I “feed” myself with music, and books, and sources. It is
important to be educated in the world around you so that can convey itself in
your art.
4. Now that you have some food in your stomach, tell me a bit about your process.
Do you have a ritual to get things started?  Comfort stuff. . .listening material?
Just like Audrey Kawasaki I do everything on my floor. When painting, I sit
on the floor in my room and prop my canvas up on the wall. For drawing, I like
laying my drawing board with paper on top right in the center of my floor
and kneel over it, it feels natural to me. I hate easels, I hate standing, and I
even hate sitting in chairs. When I do art I feel like I need to be at one with
myself and the best way to do that is to have no distractions, just me and the
floor.
I feel like music and art go hand in hand alot of the time. Music can be
very influential in the artistic process. I will listen to things based on my
mood or the mood of the piece. I normally loop the same albums over and over
depending on what the piece is making me feel. A common CD is “Lungs” by
Florence and the Machine, I could have the CD on repeat for hours and still not
get tired of it. Other that that I will listen to Bjork, Radio Head, TV on the
Radio, and sometimes even Ke$ha (just for fun).
5. What inspires you most?
People! People’s bodies, People’s music, People’s emotions, People’s
thoughts, even the decomposition of a person,  anything that has to do with
someone can and will inspire me. I’m working on a series right now completely
inspired by the expressions on woman’s faces after they die. Although from the
outside this sounds like a graphic horrific task I find the decomposition of the
body to be beautiful when painting. There are so many colors and so many things
the paint can do.  Each “dead woman” will tell a different story just by
the expression in their eyes and face. I’m hoping this will draw in the viewer
and create a thought process to discover the poor soul’s story. Make
people wonder what happened?
I have two oil paintings I am working on in the series, neither of which
are finished. By the time I am done I hope to have 15 drawings and
paintings.
6. How have you evolved in your process?  What learning experiences have had the biggest
impact?
ALL learning experiences have an impact. I have found painting, photo,
ceramics, even make up design to help me with my drawing and vise versa. The
number one thing I would tell anyone that helps is take a design class if
someone is able to. It really helps with a persons artist vocabulary,
the composition of a piece, and even dabbles a bit in color theory. Other than
that I really feel in is important for a person know history, literature, even
biology, everything in life that can be leaner can also be conveyed into an
artistic experience.

"Silence in Film," oil on canvas, Mallory Maves

7. If you could do dinner with any creative person , dead or alive, who would it be and where would you go to dinner?
Mark Ryden hands down! Ryden is a pop-surrealist painter who first started
out in the 1990’s, his work is just breathtaking. He uses his intellect to
create these beautiful paintings of dewy vixens, and random symbolism. I
would probably take him to sushi? Ryden had a solo exhibition in Tokyo in 2003
so I feel like sushi would be a good fit to his interests, plus I just love
sushi.

8. What would you order and what questions would you ask?
Tamago, Inari, Salmon, Tuna, maybe some spicy crunchy tuna rolls? And a
good white wine of course!
I would probably ask him just how he does it? How does he make an image
that evokes so much feel using every day items, such as meat? I would want to
who what his inspiration is as well. Why dose he create
such ridiculous worlds?
9. Now that you have made your marks, pass the torch. ..what advice do you have for emerging
artists?
Go to school, and finish college. I LOVED every college art class I ever
took!!! Also, listen to your teachers! My teachers would drive me so hard to get
more out of me, and although it gets hard to listen and even go to class at
times, they know what they are talking about. Artists especially young ones
often think we don’t need help, but that is not the case, there’s always room
from improvement. So If a teacher says get an artist statement, make one! If
they say go home and drink a cup of tea then draw the leaves at the bottom DO
IT! They know what they are talking about and it’ll make you a better artist in
the end.
The only thing that is kind of controversial that I myself find does not
work for me is keeping an artist journal. I love writing, but I HATE drawing and
planning things out before I start them, I love to just dive in, but every time
a teacher has asked me to do one I’ve done it.
10. For your burgeoning fan club!  Please tell us where we can find
you online.

Right now the only
place I have my art up is my own private facebook. I’ve thought about making a
SLART page or a fan page on facebook but I’m afraid of any backlash or people
not understanding my art.

Maybe once I begin school at SIUE this fall and bulk up my portfolio
alittle more I will think about  making my art public.

Finding Inspiration through Friends, Telemann, Chopin, and Dragonball Z: Interview with New Zealand Artist Zenobia Southcombe

“A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my
world. ”
Leo Buscaglia

“A hug is like a boomerang – you get it back right away. ”

Bil
Keane

Inspiration can come from as close as a freshly plucked garden flower or in this case flung from as far as a continent on the other side of the stratosphere.  Recently I’ve been enjoying the act of building community  and catching creative sparks from across the globe though swapping blogs and sharing stories with Auckland artist and elementary school teacher, Zenobia (Zee) Southcombe.

So here, gentle reader is your fodder for today.  Sit back, enjoy the works and join me in getting to know a little more about the many charms of my new friend, Zee!

1.      Introduce yourself…

Kia ora! My name is
Zenobia Southcombe, and I’m an artist & teacher from New Zealand. When I’m
not making art I am learning, reading, teaching, gaming, blogging, cooking,
drinking tea, eating, meeting friends or watching TV. (Sometimes I am doing
these while I am making art as well).

Just a few of Zee's charms. . . 😉

2.      What inspired you to become an artist?

From a young age I
had wanted to be an artist – not a famous artist, mind you, I couldn’t handle
that much attention, I’m way too much of an introvert for that! – but able to
make art as a ‘job’. I followed through with this throughout highschool, and
began a Bachelor of Visual Arts, but withdrew before the end of my first
semester because I am not a huge fan of post-modernism (feel free to try and
convince me otherwise!). So I went into teaching, which I absolutely LOVE,
finished my degree, began teaching, and dropped the dream for a while. One of my
students once asked me what I wanted to be when I was little. I answered
“Artist”. Hmm… so why aren’t I? Then I got started again and couldn’t
stop!

Zenobia Southcombe, "Wistful" 2011

3.      What media / material & process do you like best,
and why?

Pen & Ink! I’ve
always admired the ink & wash technique (also called sumi-e) of Zen Buddhist
art, and I’ve always loved drawing. So it was a no-brainer, really (having said
that, it took a good 20 years to drop the paintbrush and pick up the pen so
maybe not).

Zenobia Southcombe, detail from "Sun Splashes"

4.      Tell us a bit about your creative process…

Since I’m a
part-time artist, I first have to take over the dining table so I have my space.
I then put on Bach / Chopin / Telemann or Dragonball Z and get down to it. I
carry a sketchbook and a camera with me to capture the creative moments I get,
or to note down research that applies to my subject / technique /
style.

Zenobia Southcombe, "Magnus Monster"

Generally, I work
from reference photos, so sometimes I’m sitting on the computer for ages trying
to find that ‘perfect photo’. However, with the ink wash technique it’s more of
a compositional challenge.

Zenobia Southcombe, "Barnacle Geese"

5.      Where do you feel most inspired?

Mission Bay, or at
my artist friend Jane Thorne’s place. She’s awesome.

6.      What sets your work apart from others in your
field?

All my works are
originals, and I try to make it affordable for the average student, starving
artist & general public to have some original art in their lives.

I always try to
show some emotion and character in my drawings, and I really enjoy doing custom
artworks for people, be it a portrait, idea or otherwise. My work covers a range
of subject matter, that still link together with the ideas of freedom &
creativity.

Zenobia Southcombe, custom portrait

7.      If you could meet any artist, dead or alive, who would
it be?

Hmmm… a toss-up
between Monet and Turner. My two absolute favourite artists ever. Although I
would also really like to meet some of the Zen Buddhist artists.

8.      If you could ask this person any question, what would
you want to know?

Easy –
can I watch you paint?

9.      What advice do you have for emerging
artisans?

Make art that you
love. Your passion for the media, process, style and technique WILL show
through. Persevere in your dreams, and try to make friends along the
way.

Zenobia Southcombe, "Zee on the Road" ink and acrylic on paper

10.  Link love – where can we find you online?

Blog:

http://ZenobiaSouthcombe.wordpress.com

Available
Work:

http://ZenobiaSouthcombe.etsy.com

Follow
me!

Twitter:
@ZSouthcombe

Facebook.com/ZSouthcombe

The Big Idea
Profile (for the New Zealand Creative Community)

http://www.thebigidea.co.nz/profile/zenobia-southcombe/36955

Zenobia Southcombe, "My Life in Charms" ACEO, ink and watercolor

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