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July news

The summer is heating up and so am I. With exhibits and shows coming up for me in the fall I have quit teaching to devote my time to creating new work. I have been obsessed with these small portraits that will be shown at the Art Center for July. I have enjoyed carving them and creating monoprints from the carved stamps. The colors are rich and satisfying. These portraits are light hearted studies of characters that have shown up in my work in the past. Light hearted images are just what I need right now. They cheer me up. This is what I want to put out into the world, a little bit of good happiness and a smile.

I have been working on larger pieces for my exhibit at Hanson Howard Gallery here in Ashland in October. Although who knows, I may do some more animal portraits from the characters in my book. My book “Drawing On The Dream” is scheduled to be available for purchase at the Hanson Howard opening. My fingers are crossed that there will be no delays with the book.

I will be participating in the Ashland Open Studio Tour October 14th and 15th.

I will be showing new work at the Roby King Gallery on Bainbridge Island in November.

Last but not least is my annual Studio Sale November 18th and 19th.

 

Whats Up – The Honest Truth

Every thing I am creating in the studio these days is about taking care of our earth home and honoring the creatures and humans who live upon her. I am worried about our future. I am creating healing images because this is what I do when I am heart sick. It is as if my images are trying to cheer me up, to give me hope, letting me know that it will be okay, eventually. Lots of Bears are entering my dreaming.

I turn to Bear wisdom. Bear symbolizes the state of our world to me. She is the steward of the threshold of something new. He is the keeper of the Earth’s wild soul. She is the path finder. He holds the knowledge and the memory of the ancient stones. Bear dwells in the hidden cave deep within my animal heart, nurturing and strong. Bear is ever present in my work right now. For this I am grateful. I need the grounded strength of Bear on a daily basis as I look upon the world and wonder how to keep my faith in humanity with regard to the deeds they do and do not do.
Even though I am a worrier I am also a warrior – of magic and imagination. I will not let go of what I want to see in the world and what I believe is possible for our future. I will continue to create as much beauty and kindness and love as I can. I am aware of how important it is for me and all of us to keep working even when we don’t feel like it. I will also continue to stay informed and sign petitions and call my representatives too. We must all keep our voices strong and advocate for what we believe.I dreamed last night that I was displaying my art work at the Oregon Country Fair (like I use to do) I walk away from my booth and when I come back there is a bald eagle digging with its talons in the dirt floor of my booth and as I try to see what she is doing I see a crow digging there as well. I have no idea what they are trying to find or perhaps they are burying something. Maybe it is a treasure that I might uncover later in my art work. I love animal dreams.

Autumn 2016

It has been a beautiful Fall here in Southern Oregon. We have moved into our beautiful home that is now attached to my studio. The studio has a new paint job and a new roof. I think I have finally gotten rid of all the construction dust.
I was wiping dust off my rollers for my demonstration during the Studio Tour a few weeks ago. Since then I have been working toward my annual sale. I am pleased to say that I will have lots of new handmade books and new originals and a few new magnets and cards too. I was a little worried because building our house and moving was all consuming. I didn’t work in my studio from May to mid October. Right now I am in full swing. It feels great.

It was not easy for me to be away from my art for so long. My art work is my soul work in the world. When I am not doing my work i definitely feel ill at ease and un-grounded. All is well now.

I will have some new work at the Art Center for this First Friday.

I am showing work at Hanson Howard Gallery and the Art Center here in Ashland, OR. You can always call for an appointment at my studio, Kester Studio or email me.
I am exhibiting my work at Snow Creek Gallery in Mt. Shasta, CA. and Roby King Galleries in Bainbridge Island, WA.

I am working with White Cloud Press to publish my book “Drawing On The Dream, finding my way by art”. It should be out next summer. I just gave them a fully text coded version, whew!, it’s hard work to get a book out in the world.

Musings 11/ 2015

I attended a Martin Sexton concert a couple of days before the Ashland Open Studio Tour. I am a long-time fan of Martin Sexton’s music and I have seen him perform several times over the years. All of the other times I’ve seen him paled in comparison to this concert in our local Music Recital Hall. When he came on stage by himself I was struck by how happy he was to be performing in this venue. What I noticed was that he was totally present with us. He seemed to let go and sink into being right here right now, letting everything else fall away, letting all worries or concerns go, to allow himself to be a conduit for a musical creative art form radiating from his heart and soul.

He seemed so comfortable in his body. His guitar seemed to be a part of him, not a separate instrument.I was witnessing an artist in his element creating magic in the present moment. The audience was right with him, totally present and somehow a part of the creative shape shifting quality of his music. This was my experience. He was creating something new right before our eyes. I was witnessing the healing power of music from a master musician. I was very inspired and moved by the shared musical gifting, mind altering, and healing ability of Martin Sexton’s art. I felt that I was in the presence of a modern day mystic.

On occasion while making art I have had the experience of letting go of everything and stepping aside allowing something altogether new and magical to occur. The trust in myself, in my abilities, in the process of creating art, and of course the years I have invested in this practice, have honed my relationship and my connection to and with something that is at the same time bigger than me and also of me, yet it is not me. It is mysterious and true.

 

What I am getting at is that Martin Sexton showed me how it is done:
Be present. Be comfortable in your body and your abilities. Let go of any preconceived ideas of how it should be. Step aside of yourself. Stepping aside is the key that opens the door to the possibility of magic. The open door allows your muse to be in relationship with you, showing you that you are not in this creative act alone. Receive the gift, honor the gift, and give the gift away.

 

I was inspired by Martin and was able to be in alignment with myself and my processes all weekend so that I could allow lots of art work and conversations and demonstrations to happen during the studio tour. The monoprints that came through were such a gift to me. I saw the shape of the image in the ink with three random swipes of the palate knife. The people watching saw it too. It is rare to have the images show up so easily. I know a gift from the universe when I see one.

It happens to me sometimes when I am making art, or teaching, or doing demonstrations. There is no time to work out ideas. I have to be present. I have to trust and allow. I can’t be in my head. I have to be in my heart. I have to let go of control. I have to step aside and open a door and invite what will be,

to be.

 

Gaea Walking

She is one of those older women, you know, a “free spirit” who is always picking up strays. She helps those who are damaged in one way or another. No one knows that she is the Earth Goddess in human form walking among us doing what she can to restore wholeness and repair the broken. What if Gaea does her work through the hearts and hands of women and men-the ones who are willing to be “free spirits” and commit acts of kindness for any who are in need of a little help. What if Gaea is us walking?

 

 

monprint with acrylic paste, bees wax on wood  16 X 26 $850.00  2015

 

Obsessed With Writing

 

As many of you know most of my art pieces have poems or stories that go with them.
I can’t help it. The writing is part of THE process of making art for me. The
art work comes before the writing 99% of the time. The stories started way
back in my career. I believe it began with dream journaling which is a way
of dialoguing with the dream characters. I have been doing dream work since
I was a child. The writing or dialoguing has always helped me to understand
my feelings in my dreams. I would also draw dream characters and figures to
help me understand my dreams on a deeper level. This is where my business
name comes from- Drawing On The Dream.
Some times while I am working on a piece of art the image will begin to
speak to me. As I work I am starting to get an idea of what this piece is
about. You see, I do believe that the art is its own self. It does not
belong to me. It has a life of its own. It has its own destiny. I am in
partnership with the art. I depend on the art to tell me what it is about.
When I am pretty sure the art work is finished I hang it up on my studio
work wall and begin to write while gazing at the art. I am the scribe
writing down what I hear. Sometimes the titles are enough. The art says what
it wants to say in the title. The rest of the time the art has a lot to say.
This can take days and even weeks to fine tune the art dialog into the
finished stories. This is not the art’s fault that it sometimes takes so
long. It is my own lack of language and writing skill. My goal is to
translate into English the depth of art language including metaphor,
symbology, sadness, and humor. I hone the stories until it feels right and
resonates in my heart and feels true.Even though I sometimes struggle with the writing to get to the finished
product is an integral part of my work in the world. These stories want
to be told.

Obsession and Art Head July 2015

Obsession and Art Head (the short version)
I have been obsessed with clearing my art drawers. Deciding what I will work on and what gets cut up to fill creative clipping bags. Once I began painting on old ghost prints and embelishing the old images with more color and detail I have been totally absorbed in the process. I told myself that I can’t do new work until I resolve and move these older pieces on. What am I saving them for?, This was my question.
Come to find out, I love painting.
I can’t stop. I don’t want to stop. When I come out of the studio it is hard to switch gears because I am in total “art head”. Making decisions and follow through with the art is all consuming. It is hard to leave the works in process and attend to life outside the studio.I love how the paste paint looks on the ghost prints. It is like magic. Here is a little sample of a paste paint print.

I will demonstrate this process at the annual Ashland Studio Tour, October 10th and 11th.
I am obsessed and absorbed with working on these pieces. I am gluing them on to wood and layering wax on top giving them a wonderful glow. I will be displaying them on the featured artist wall upstairs at the Ashland Art Center in August.
Here is one of the finished pieces that will be on display in August:

Coyote Window

 

Obsession and Art Head (the long version)
I have been obsessed with my art lately. Yes, more than usually. It all started when I promised a “Creative Clippings” bag to a customer. These are 6 X 9 plastic bags filled with bits of prints, bits of paste papers, cards, card flyer images, and a variety of things from my studio for collage, scrap booking, and art projects. Before creating the bag for the customer I went through all my drawers and art bins culling prints and ghost prints deciding which pieces I wanted to draw or paint on, which pieces will become book covers for my handmade books, and which pieces will end up as part of the “Creative Clippings” bags.I knew that I was avoiding creating new monoprints. Still, I needed to clear the drawers and I needed to make some Creative Clippings bags. Sometimes I have to clear the decks before new work can come through. So this is my excuse to myself for not creating new images.I separated the ghost prints that I wanted to work on. Some of these prints I have saved for sixteen years. Ghost prints are the second, third, or fourth monoprints that are printed from the same plate, each print becoming lighter and ghostier. I like the ghost images for many reasons. I like working on the ghosts because I can take the original idea of the first print to another level or I can take the original idea and completely change it. The piece becomes less of a print and more of a drawing or painting or a mixed media piece. I find this very freeing and a lot less pressure than creating new monoprint images from scratch.About five years ago, by accident, I discovered that using paste paint on top of ghost images creates a unique and vibrant piece of art. Paste paint is acrylic paint in a paste medium. Generally paste paint is used for making paste papers with patterns and surface design used in book making and other projects. I have made and used paste papers in the making of my books for close to thirty years.I have been working for two weeks solid everyday on six ghost prints. First I painted on them with the paste paint creating atmosphere and some surface design. This process is bizarre and also magical because I lay lots of colored paste over the print. I hand press carved stamps onto the print. Lastly I paint a layer of black paint over the entire print. Once this is done I scrape all the paint off and see what is there. It is hard to describe. I may do a demonstration of this process during the next annual Ashland Studio Tour that will be held October 10th and 11th. I will keep you posted on this.Next I began painting details using gouache and paste paint. I have been enjoying this process a lot. I carefully paint the details and add elements that were not in the original monoprint, sometimes pulling ideas from forty years ago. I have felt really good about working on these unfinished pieces of art. When there is an excess of work in my art drawers I feel weighed down by them. The obsession comes from not allowing my self to print anything new until these are finished and when I am away from the studio all I think about is getting back to these works. Once the paintings are finished I glue them on to wood panels. Next I coat the paintings with bee’s wax. I have four of the six completed and will be showing all these pieces at the Ashland Art Center for first Friday, in August. I will be the featured artist for the month of August. I will be showing the new work at the top of the stairs.Since I had the bee’s wax heated and ready I have been re-working some older pieces and working on some new encaustic pieces that are on display upstairs in my studio #8 at the Art Center, just in time for the First Friday Art Walk this week July 3rd.I have been so utterly focused and absorbed by all these art pieces that I am barely aware of anything outside of my studio. When I do come out I can barely carry on a conversation much less decide what is for dinner. I call this state of mind “Art Head”. I know that I am missing a lot of great things happening in town and with my friends. This is the price of “Art Head”. Hopefully my friends and clients will understand.  I am loving being in the “creative can’t stop mode”.  More on the “Creative Can’t Stop Mode” next time because right now i have to get back to the studio.

Art Life

(A note of caution, my husband says I am whining. I say this is my art life and it is what I am thinking about.)

Art Life
One of the things I really like about working in the Ashland Art Center is being in community with other artists. Another thing I like is meeting and talking to the visitors who come through, especially if the visitors take the time to see and experience my work. An Artist’s life usually means lots of hours spent alone in the studio. I do get plenty of time alone working in my home studio. This time is important and essential to my process. So, it is nice to visit with people who come through the Center. It is the one thing I liked about doing art fairs and the one thing I miss about doing art fairs is talking to and meeting the people who buy my work. When I am at the Art Center I work on projects like making books or drawing that I can do while people are watching and walking in and out.
This summer has been particularly slow for me with regard to visitors and sales at the Art Center. This creates all kinds of worry for me. I worry that I have saturated the market with my work. I worry that people don’t like my work anymore. I worry that people are buying on the internet and not in person. I worry that I have too much art work that hasn’t sold. The Art Center is unique in that you can look at art and you can talk to the artists who are working. You can see works in process. You can do this 10:00 to 6:00 everyday.   I try to make my studio space comfortable and calm, a nice place to visit and to be. I like being off the beaten path, but there are lots of people who don’t make it all the way to Studio #1 because it is far from the front door and out of the way. People have to go through a lot of other art and mirrors to get to me. I try different things to make my space more attractive. I rearrange the furniture. I rearrange the art. I bring in new work. I have made new signs. Maybe sales are slow because it is hot outside. Who wants to be out and about when it is this hot? Thankfully it is nice and cool in the Art Center. I wonder, is it me? Is it the weather? Is it the Center? What can I do differently? Where is everybody? Is it time for a change?   Last week while I was working in Studio #1 and pondering all of this I had a visitor from Washington state. We connected right away, in fact I felt a genuine kinship with her. As promised she returned with her husband and three lovely friends who I also felt a genuine and strong connection to. Her husband has just begun learning about and doing mono printing. There is nothing I like more than talking about the process and magic of mono printing. Even if they hadn’t bought several handmade books and several original works of art from me, I was happy to meet them all and now call them friends. I am grateful for their generosity of spirit in taking the time with me and my art.  Thank you friends.   Making connections with people who enjoy my work whether they buy from me or not restores my sense of purpose and well being and reminds me (especially during slow times) that what I am doing is important on many levels. When I go through dry spells it is amazing how quickly I can adopt the way of the worrier. I guess I need to make a connection with people. My artwork also needs to make a connection. In the past month I have asked myself “would I still make art if I never sold anything”? I say yes because it is my conversation with my self and the universe.The images and the stories they tell are gifts for me and for others who take the time to see. I do like sharing my art.  And the fact is, I love art making. I love the conversation.   Thank you to all of you who have supported me and my work. I am grateful for every sale no matter how small and I am grateful for everyone who has taken the time to see my art and strike up a conversation.  

Thoughts about Doubts and the Creative Process

Lately I have been thinking a lot about doubts and how I create when I have doubts.
Having doubts is part of the process of creating. It is also part of being human.

I believe people think that I always know what to do when I am creating a piece.  I don’t.

I used to say creating is about deep listening and follow through. This is still true, but there is more. Creating a work of art is like figuring out a puzzle. It is coming up with the right pieces and fitting them together in the right way so that it fits together to make a whole story. Sometimes I don’t have a clue as to what to do. The trick is to not be intimidated by not knowing.

Once I have created my monoprints and printed them on paper, there is still work to be done. I would say that most of my monoprints require more work, like drawing, painting, or collage. Sometimes they become encaustic wax pieces or they become covers for my handmade books, or they end up as parts of my Creative Clippings bags. I usually pull at least 3 monoprints from the same plate. Each one is similar yet different. Sometimes these monoprints tell different parts of the same story and sometimes they veer off into a new story altogether. I do not control or steer the art.

At first when I choose a monoprint to draw or paint on, I try to figure out how best to bring out the story or image. The big question is what to do? What is this piece about? I have no idea. So I sit with the unfinished piece waiting for inspiration or a clue. I can get very antsy and uncomfortable, and I wish I were anyplace but here with this piece of unfinished art. Sometimes this is excruciating. There is a lot of sighing on my part and I usually reach for chocolate, which helps by the way. It is a process I have gone through probably thousands of times. 

But I stick with it and here is why. I override my doubts and fears of screwing it up and I begin. It doesn’t matter where on the piece I begin. It could be on the far edge of the print that isn’t critical to the piece. The important thing is to begin. Pablo Picasso said inspiration exists, but it has to find us working. He is correct. You can’t just sit and wait for inspiration. You have to take some kind of action even if it is just a tiny mark or step.

So, I start drawing and shading, or painting. I usually know right away if what I have done is not right and I back up and erase, or re-paint with a different color. Then there is a tipping point. I have taken enough right steps or found enough of the correct puzzle pieces that the image begins to take shape and I suddenly know exactly what to do. It is a glorious feeling to get past the doubt phase.

This is the cool part, because what happens is that my hands begin doing things before my mind has decided what to do. Athletes describe being in “the zone”, this may be similar because the feeling is luminous and timeless and worth every minute or hour of the uncomfortable doubt phase.