This Artist’s Dilemma

•July 19, 2018 • 3 Comments

Kundalini Fire Rose

Faced with a president that I didn’t vote for and daily feeling emotions that are not healthy for my painting style, I decided to try something soft and pastel to soothe my mind and feelings. My friend, Christine Lovejoy, had posted a photo last summer of her peace rose and gave me permission to paint it. Perfect! A peace rose would help me focus on kinder thoughts and an open heart.

Nope, didn’t work out as I thought it would. Yes, my heart opened and out blasted the colors of a passionate mind, not a peaceful mind. When I had finished the painting I did feel better. The brush does not always do what the mind has planned.

The dilemma: edit the painting to be soft and peaceful as planned, or allow it to be what it is? On FIRE! My sister, Lucretia Donahue-Reed, an artist herself, simply said to let it be what it is. And so it is named “Kundalini Fire Rose” and is one of my favorite pieces. I suppose the real dilemma as an artist is allowing the full expression of my spirit, rather than smothering that spirit to fit what others expect. Growth came with a rose.

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Purpose? Found it!

•November 26, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Bryan on the Beach 11 17

So much talk about “purpose.” So much angst and so much talk about “one’s path.” How do we find “It,” that elusive piece of our soul that rings so true and clear? We search. We wonder. We wander. We think too much.

While simply reading an article about an antidote to our current polarization in a local paper, The Inland Northwest, my entire life became clear. My path is “the spirituality of awe” –“the wonder of being alive; living life with hope, respect, humility, wonder and a deep reverence for the adventure of living.”~Kirk J. Schneider, Ph.D.  My childhood wonder, my life choices, my love of nature and travel, my artwork and amateur photography, even where I live and who I admire, all fall into a pattern that reveals the simplest purpose: to witness with awe nature and the small, but meaningful, moments of life.

My life hasn’t changed since this “momentous” discovery, but my eyes see differently now. I see my nephew, Bryan, in a selfie on an Oregon beach and I see the same in myself. It is his reverence for the outdoors and adventure. He has just been diagnosed with ALS and is spending what is left of his mobile life biking and traveling. I’d do the same. I’d stand with my mouth hanging open as I looked at the beauty of this Earth before I had to leave it.

But, I stand at awe in him, also. He is making more of this tragedy. His friends have helped him set up a foundation to build an ADA compliant home that he will donate to the ALS Foundation after his passing. Bryan is an inspiring artist with wood! Take a few minutes to view his artistry at browedesign.com and then visit his benefit page at BRoweALSBenefit.org and donate to help build the home.

Purpose? It doesn’t have to be some big and majestic service to mankind. Sometimes we are simply here to appreciate what we’ve been gifted and to stand in awe at the sparkle on the lake, the spider spinning its web, a crumbled leaf, the newborn child, or to simply enjoy being with one another.

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Go Big or Go Home

•May 11, 2017 • 2 Comments
A Place to Wander final 4 22A Place to Wander” Oil on Canvas, 4ft by 5ft by Christine L. Owens

“Go Big or Go Home” is a saying that we hear in the art world often. It’s an invitation to stretch, to join the Big Boys.

In 2016 I set myself “A Big Scary Goal: Paint a Four-Foot Painting!” A big scary goal is something that sets your body to shivers when the voices in your head tell you that such a thing is “impossible.” Yes, the thought made my head spin; but, taking risks with my painting is how I grow. In May 2017, I finished this piece! DID IT!
Here’s how it happened! Yes, there’s a process for facing your fears.

First, I wrote down my goal somewhere that I would see it daily. I use Simpleology, a website that you might like to explore, because it gives me the tools that I need to organize this crazy, wild brainstorm that occurs constantly in my head and focuses me on getting things done.

Next, I let the thoughts brew about what would be WORTH painting that big. I knew that my style would need to shift to a less detailed practice, which is another goal.

That summer my favorite art supply store closed (sigh) and all of their supplies went on sale! What did I see waiting for me? You guessed it: a 4ft x 5ft canvas for half price! All of the “Don’t do it!” “Where will you store this?” “Your studio isn’t big enough so just where do you think you will work on this?” brainwork started, but I dismissed them by countering with the excitement that assured me that it would work itself out with time. It barely fit into the back of my RAV4 to get it home, where it stood for months blocking an unused cabinet and where my husband stores his bicycle.

In July 2016 we visited with friends from college. My friend has a home in McCall and reminisced that she’d like a huge painting of the Teton Mountains for a very long wall. Landscapes aren’t what I enjoy doing because “neutrals” are boring to me. I paint flowers because they are colorful and vibrant! That thought rolled around until we went camping near McCall at the Ponderosa Campground. There I found so many wild flowers that I just wanted to roll in them for joy!

In February of 2017 we had a little flood in our basement where the canvas was stored…yes, it was okay because it was still covered in it’s plastic seal. This pushed me toward getting that canvas used. That same month I received a call asking me to display my artwork at the Hayden Lake Chamber of Commerce. When we returned from our vacation, I went to the office to talk and take a look before agreeing. HUGE walls, a painter’s delight, brought my imagination to it’s fullest! Okay, THIS is where my 4×5 needs to hang!

In March it all came together: the wildflowers, the wall, the canvas and my motivation.

How do you get the work done? You show up for work every day, no excuses. The first step on the first day was to somehow set that canvas up in my little studio. Because it was too big for my easel, I set one side on the easel and propped up the other side with a stool and books until it was level. Artists have wonderful problem solving skills. And so I began.

Each day a new problem was solved. Each day I learned something new. Every day I went to my studio to paint (except Sundays…one must fit family outings in somewhere). This was the first time I had painted without drawing first. This was the first time! And it was wonderful! I pushed through that horrid middle time of “What the hell am I doing?’ Slowly, as the Chinese proverb teaches, one little step at time will get where you want to go. Just take that first leap, that first step into the unknown.

The result of taking a big, scary risk, is often spectacular! “A Place to Wander” was voted First Place for the People’s Choice this last weekend at the Coeur d’Alene Art Association’s Showcase Exhibit. I am thrilled and grateful that my work is appreciated! It is now hanging at the Hayden Lake Chamber of Commerce as planned for May and June, along with twelve more of my paintings. Big Scary Goal accomplished!

Hayden Lake Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 1210
8254 N. Government Way
Hayden, ID 83835
(208) 762-1185
(209) 699-0790
email: info@haydenchamber.org

The Private Lives of the Impressionists

•August 3, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Private Lives

dance-at-bougival-1883“Le Bal a Bougival” Renoir, 1883

Oh, yes, this was fascinating! The Private Lives of the Impressionists, by Sue Roe, is not a piece of fiction and it took me a little longer to finish it, but I loved it! Well, I am a Francophile, I adore the Impressionists and I am a painter. You get the picture. Following the artists around from Monet’s first visit to Paris in 1860 though the years of struggle to be taken seriously and the final 8th Exhibition was enlightening for me. Keeping food on the table and paints for the easel was not easy! I have always wondered how they managed to survive.

Also fascinating are the romantic stories of these artists, including the two women, Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt. Oh, these artists were charming rascals and had numerous love affairs with their models. My only disappointment is that Suzanne Valadon wasn’t mentioned as one of Renoir’s lengthy romances. She is the girl in his painting “Bal a Bougival.” Suzanne Valadon was only 19 years old when she began her romance with Renoir in the streets of Montmartre, but she was a significant artist for the people of Montmartre. She is called by them “The First Woman Artist of France.” I discovered her work and fame at the Musee de Montmartre, her preserved home, in Paris in 2002, and later found a book about her at the beloved Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, Oregon, The Valadon Drama by John Storm (1959). She came into her fame after the Impressionist Era; and so, I can understand the omission. Somewhere I have a picture of me standing in front of that painting in the Musee d’Orsay…it’s a beautiful painting.

Read the book, even if you think you already know everything about these artists. As an art teacher and fan, I learned much, much more than expected!

 

A New Adventure in Will Power

•July 19, 2016 • Leave a Comment

youhavethe-power

Will power! Motivation only goes so far. This is not your conventional thinking now, is it? Motivational speakers are abundant and they do get us going. But for how long? I’m guilty of languishing in my dream world of “I’m Going To.” I’ll get fired up and then I run out of steam. At the top of my list has been to build a new webpage. It was embarrassing to tell people to go there, so I needed to DO something!

Part of my dream world of “I’m Going To” circles around reading. Cozying up to a good book is my easiest route to figuring myself out, getting ideas, making changes (or in some cases, slipping away from my chaotic mind). So something I have discovered is that my habits need to change. That figured out, I found a short little ebook with a very long title: Habits: No Motivation Required: The Effective Formula To Make Real Change, Ensure Your Success AND Gain Ultimate Freedom Through Willpower by Christopher Kalford. Phew!

Et voila! I have created my new website: Christine Owens, Fine Art! Now, of course, I need to power through the loose ends: new business cards, new links. No problem! I’m on it!!

Accepting One’s Gift

•October 7, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Facebook banner

Acceptance. Resistance. Yes, I have always been resistant, a rebel, independent. Part of my resistance has been a lack of trust that the Universe will actually lead me to my best self. So, I have always questioned the motives of others and trudged on, making my OWN path. An artist must, right?

Okay, the signs in my life currently all lead to another path: acceptance. Why not? Let’s see what happens!

First, as I prepared my banner for my new Facebook Business Page, I realized that, well, yeah, I AM good at painting flowers. I paint them because I love the color, the flow and pattern, the stillness and beauty that they portray. I want to share that beauty with others and work diligently to make them beautiful. But, I’ve resisted this directional pull because I see so many flower paintings. What’s so unusual about the work? Probably not much, but I am being told now that I have developed a style that’s worth buying. OK. Accepting my Gift.

Second, I have accepted that the Universe HAS lead me very carefully to a beautiful life worth living. It’s good and I’m happy! What’s not to trust?

I’m a rebel, yes. Viva la revolution! The dictionary has several definitions for Revolution. One is to make a 180-turn. Another is to bring about a change in government. Acceptance. Resistance. “What you resist persists.” I get it! I get it! Flowers are my thing…always have been. I’m making a 180 and changing my inner government. I accept my gift.

Took the Leap!

•June 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment
A Window on the Loire

Une Fenetre sur la Loire

OK! I did it! I took the plunge; made the leap. I had a professionally printed card made up for sell!

“What’s so hard about that?” you ask.

OK. So there is a little unwarranted fear involved in handing over the cash. Will it sell enough to warrant the expense? Yes, it’s the expense. We artists are actually quite “thrifty.” Being creative provides a huge arena of inspiration for saving up that cash. “Make it yourself!” And I have been making cards with my paintings for years now.

“What’s changed?”

More courage. More faith in myself. Less time for the making of cards. Wanting more time for the paintings.

So, yes, I did it! This oil painting is from a story that I wrote about on this blog many years ago of people living in caves in France: OMG! Living in Caves!•June 29, 2009  I could never sell this painting because the experience is too precious still. Many have asked, but the piece will remain on the wall in my dining room wherever I live, until the day I die! But now you can buy a 5×7″ card and frame it nicely. See it in my etsy.com shop, along with my other work here: Une Fenetre sur le Loire, France.

Life is what you make it. Make it beautiful and be BRAVE!