Friday, October 2, 2009

The Power of Time Off

I wanted to share this link from It's about keeping the passion in a creative career by taking time off. This talk is given by Stefan Sagmeister, a well known designer in New York.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Keeping The Vision

I was sitting on my bed, as I do every morning, writing things in my journal I am grateful for.  I looked up and saw this miniature hut hanging from a hook on the wall that my boyfriend at the time had bought me while we were on a trip.  I don't think he realized it, but it's significance to me was huge. To me it represented being true to myself and my vision, and I felt that he was in his own way recognizing that.

Yes, I know, female circular logic!  But the reason for that - and the reason I keep the miniature hut in my bedroom is because I want to remind myself of the lesson I learned while painting two rather large hut paintings.  I had come home one night after a really fun date - and painted two huts from just what was inside of me.  I didn't use any reference material, I was just going with my feelings, and remembering some huts I had seen in Hawaii on the Big Island.

When I took the paintings into my painting class, which was filled mostly with women, I was told the huts weren't realistic because of their roofs, and that my islands looked like tree branches.  They joked that I was painting bird cages.  On and on they went.  So I changed the paintings, to try and address some of the outside criticism I was perceiving.  And subsequently, hated those two big paintings.

A few years later, a friend of mine came to my studio and bought a small sketch of one of my huts.  A sketch I had done that first night before putting paint to big canvas.  He loved it.  It really connect with him.  And I realized that he was connecting with my original vision.  After he left, I took those two big hut paintings out and painted over them - this time sticking to my original vision. It was a very freeing experience.

And the funny thing is - since then, those two paintings and similar images have resonated with a lot of men.  

So I learned two things from those hut paintings: 1) stay true to my vision in my art; and 2) not every painting is right for every audience. Just because one audience doesn't "get" it, doesn't mean the piece won't resonate somewhere else.

For another look at the making of art see Being In Flow

Monday, April 13, 2009

My Latest Torso Series - A New Twist

While I will admit that my focus of late has been on the female form.  I did not want people to think that I have anything against the male body.  I find the male form, equally beautiful.  And, being heterosexual, quite tantalizing.  I have even been known to trip while passing the larger - than - life images at Abercrombie & Fitch. Something about a flat stomach and showing a little bit of hip bone, like a promise of things to come, really can distract a girl!

So, after being asked repeatedly if I had this guy or that guy in my couple series, but just the guy alone - I decided maybe I should not exclude male torsos from my series and got to work.  This is the first painting in that series.

Everyone of course may have a preference in terms of the "type" of male physique they prefer in their man.  I myself lean towards what I always thought of as a runner's body.  But after much study and consideration... have realized can also apply to volleyball players and swimmers.  So, to start my foray into creating single male forms on canvas, I did start with my preference.  Since, as one of my art instructors always told us - paint what you know.  Not that I know my model personally, but well, you know what I mean. ;-)
For another look at the creative process, see Happy Mistakes

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Honoring Ourselves as Women

I titled my last art show Devina - which means heavenly, divine, beloved.  I felt this name reflected what my intention is whenever I paint a woman - to show the beauty of the female form, by honoring the lines, and the curves that create her.  I feel strongly about the need to honor the beauty of a woman's body because for so long, women in many cultures, in many times, have not been so honored.  They were (and still are in some parts of the world) told to cover up, to hid, to not even look upward and be counted.

And even when a woman in our culture is "appropriately" clothed some people feel the need to attack the beauty of a woman, and highlight their idea of perceived "flaws."  When Jessica Simpson made a fashion misstep, amplified by an unflattering camera angel, it made headlines for weeks.  And now we have this whole Kim Kardashian "incident" because someone accidentally posted a pre-touched up version of her photo shoot.  Which was in my opinion so minorly touched up, it should not have even been reported on. 

It feels like at times that between the media and our own negative voices, we as women sometimes forget how beautiful women really are.  And forget to honor our bodies and ourselves. My point is that the female body in itself is a work of art.  And I hope in my art to bring that out, so women recognize it, in the piece AND in themselves. So next time you pass a mirror, be kind to yourself, and honor the heavenly, the divine and the beloved in you.

For another female inspired post, see Love Yourself Gorgeous!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Love and Risk

Out here in Cali people can't seem to stop talking about ABC's The Bachelor's Jason Mesnick and his decision to leave his first pick, Melissa, for his original second choice, Molly.

I guess I'm not sure what people are upset about. He didn't really break up with Melissa on national television. (He had broken things off with her a week earlier, without cameras present.)  And Jason could have easily had Molly - the girl he then asked out for coffee and to "try again" - slap his face on national television.  Because he did after all dump her earlier and ask another woman to marry him.

But he risked his own possible rejection for another attempt at love.  Will they make it?  I have no idea.  But I do know that Melissa at some point, if not already, will be happy Jason decided against marrying her.  Because she had to know he wasn't 100% present with her.  That Jason was looking back, comparing her to Molly and wondering....  When a guy isn't 100% present with the girl they are currently in a relationship with, it sucks.  And there really isn't anything the girl can do, except hope at some point she can pull focus back to her.  But generally just exhausts herself trying to keep him interested.

Yes - there is almost always at some point in any relationship, a little peering over the fence to see how green that grass over there looks.  But if someone is constantly looking backwards, instead of forwards, it won't work.  Almost a self-fulfilling prophecy that.

So I think Jason actually isn't a rat.  I think he was a bit courageous in deciding to stop a relationship now instead of later - when he would "look" better.  And also smart for realizing that time is precious.  And that if he had waited longer, maybe Molly wouldn't have been around when he finally did make the split from Melissa.

For another post about dating, see Musings of A Single Gal

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Good News!

After searching everywhere I normally search for positive, fun good news - I've been getting a little - OK make that A LOT - upset at the lack of good, happy, positive uplifting news given out by any major news carrier.  Especially since I know good news is out there.  Just seems most news organizations would rather scare the crap out of us than report anything good.

Everywhere I turn people keep saying the same thing - good things are happening, but no one is reporting.  Like the fact that according to a real estate friend of mine in Laguna, more people are purchasing homes than before in our area, but no one is really reporting it. Well, I'm no large broadcast organization, but I figured I could make a tiny step in the right direction by sharing some good news I know of.  And then, if anyone is so inclined, perhaps they could add their good news in the comments section?

I realize this post has nothing to do with art, but it does have to do with the passion for life which more easily happens when we are happy.  So here's my good news:

Two weeks ago a friend text me to say he was getting an organ transplant.  This being the 5th or so time I had been text the same news I held my breathe as I always did.  But this time - the transplant happened.  AND he is doing well.  Which means come his birthday in a few weeks, he should be able to go out and celebrate without constraint.  Very cool.  And very deserved.  Now he can do his type of creating with a health body fully supporting that process.

Which got me thinking of another medical miracle I celebrated a few months ago when my girlfriend's husband recovered completely from something he had  initially been told there was no cure for.  But again, due to a type of transplant, he is not only doing well, but inspiring others to keep going and find a similar success!  And on his 100 day mark, a group of us met to celebrate this amazing recovery and achievement.  I was so honored to be able to celebrate that with him and to see the impact his recovery was having on others.  It was truly inspiring.

So Good/Great news is out there.  Except maybe it's not so much out there - as here - within our social worlds and all around us. We just have to pause a minute and maybe pass a little bit of it on to others.  Anyone care to share some good news of their own?

For another positive post, see Being In-Flow

-Michelle G

Monday, January 12, 2009

What do you think?

Lately I've had a lot of questions about specific pieces of art.  What do I think? Is this or that piece "good." While I'm glad people think my opinion has some merit, what I generally ask in return is  "What do YOU think?"  That is really all that matters.

Sure I can tell you that technically this piece is brilliant or a mess.  Or that this artist did or did not seem to know his or her intention when creating a piece.  Or that the reason you are probably asking me is that you prefer a lot of differentiation in values in color/light, when this artist liked everything to have a similar color/light value.  But what really matters is what you the viewer think.  Do YOU like it?  Yes or No?

I know in art history class we were always told there are many many layers to any piece of art.  That the artist was making a statement about his or her political era, his or her religious beliefs, etc.  While I don't want to diss our great high school and college teachers, art isn't always that layered, that symbolic, that - dare I say it - deep.  And even if it is, I think most artists would rather you enjoyed their work, or had an opinion about their work, than to not enter the game at all because you are afraid to miss what the artist intended.

To me this is the great thing about art.  After I finish putting paint on canvas, it doesn't really matter what my intention was.  What matters to you the viewer is what YOU think.  How it resonates with YOU.  That doesn't mean you can't pick out my intention, my emotions while painting the piece, or evaluate my technical abilities.  But bottom line, either a piece of art resonates with a viewer or it doesn't.  (And if it doesn't resonate with a viewer, it doesn't mean it's a "bad"piece of art, it just means that it doesn't resonate with that person.)

I was reminded of this concept again today, when looking over my portfolio. This piece is called The Seduction.  When I painted it, I meant for it to be about a girl being seduced by a slightly older boy on the cusp on manhood. I meant for it to be innocent and tender.  When a girlfriend of mine saw the finished piece she disagreed and said that this was a painting for an older woman seducing a younger man.  I see what she means, but that's not what I intended the painting to be.  However, at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what I the artist thinks, even though I painted it.  It matters what you the viewer See, Think and Feel when you see it.

So next time you really don't like a very expensive piece of art on the wall, or you really love an inexpensive piece of art - don't worry about it.  Embrace that opinion, because it's yours. And in the end, that's all that really matters.