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Monday, May 11, 2015

Artists' Materials.

Resourcing Materials for The Studio.
Being Open To Unexpected Thoughts and Scenarios.

Before I start, I want to let you know this is the first in a series of posts about the new canvas on the easel. If I gave you all the information in one post, you might stop would be sooooo long, but I have a lot to tell you.  Hang in there, you just may find all this interesting.

While working in my studio and completing the last canvas in my Hidden Identities series I came across this photo in National Geographic magazine which shows two beautiful girls covered in mud.  Talk about Hidden Identities, face and body painting...this is it in present day. These Himba women have slathered ocher over themselves and through their hair creating worm like coils that drape from their heads.  This became an instant inspiration for the next work in Hidden Identities.  The ability to use great line, texture, color....all the things I love....right here in this photo, plus here are modern day women painting their bodies, creating a mask of sorts, following the ancient traditions which have inspired this series of Hidden Identities.

The task of using the photo as an inspiration led to the question...HOW?  How will I translate this situation to canvas? The use of hair came bursting into my brain, but then again, how and where would I resource hair? Naturally the thought of using Google is one of the first thoughts, but after searching I couldn't find exactly what I wanted.  That same week I was enjoying myself at an evening party and found myself visiting with an equine veterinarian.  She was in S.Cal at a multi month long horse event.  Immediately I thought about the long strands of hair in a horse's tail, so I queried whether or not the tail is ever cut.  Apparently this is done when a horse dies because frequently the animal's owner keeps the tail. As luck would have it, for me anyway, this vet was preparing to ease an animal out of life due to health issues.  After more discussion I was promised the tail if the owner was not interested in retaining it for herself. A few days later I received an interesting package;  a huge plastic glove with horse tail inside.

Such a long glove.

Horse Tail, which is very straight hair, forced the need to be open to new scenarios.  This is not like the Himba women's hair.

For me this part of creating is almost always an ever moving target and the need to be open to new directions, new ideas, new/varied materials, new approaches, new possibilities, new ways of thinking and doing is critical.  If not open, a creation may not happen, and being open to new possibilities allows the creative spirit to take off, take a new course, and come to fruition.  New and different things happen, serendipitous situations that may take the creation in a completely different direction, that allow the artist to truly CREATE.  

Separated the hair into clumps that were taped and laid out on the canvas to figure out if this was going to work or not.  Yikes, there was hair everywhere.

While working through the how's for this canvas I couldn't stop thinking about a close friend of mine, Shirley Moore, who has written about embracing the unexpected in her book, You Are So You! :The Path to Uplifting Hearts    While her book deals with much more, there are many references to remaining open to unexpected scenarios. Shirley talks about this on her Author's Facebook Page  as well.   I encourage you to take a look.  Shirley shares my belief that we should always remain open to the unexpected.   And while you are there, take the time to 'like' her page.

Under painted the canvas with black.

Created this tool to press texture into the paint in an attempt to capture some of the skin texture on the Himba women.

Canvas now ready for application of the hair.

So the new creation sits on the easel, still under construction.  Check back next post to see where unexpected materials, thoughts and scenarios take this project.

To contact me click HERE
To visit my web site click HERE
To visit Shirley Moore's book site click HERE
To visit Shirley Moore's Facebook Author's Page click HERE

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