Sunday, October 16, 2011

King Tut: A Magical Catalyst for Creativity

A Magical Adventure in the MFAH
On our lovely and crisp October evening, mon petit ami and I hopped on our bikes and rode to the MFAH for our sneak peek of the King Tut exhibit. We were welcomed by waiters with hummus and baklava and the sound of electrifying, Egyptians beats music. The dancers on stilts left the audience was entranced.

Walking up to the second floor, we were handed our audio guides by staff with golden headdresses on. With the booming voice of Harrison Ford leading us, we entered a very grand double door entrance into the tomb. Guests including myself were just mesmerized by the beautiful sculptures, ornate artistry, and ancient artifacts.

It can leave you awestruck when you imagine being one of the archeologists discovering treasure after treasure from days past. As I stared at a golden sculpture, I wondered what life was like for the people of Egypt. What was it like to be a royal woman? What was it like to be a common man building a pyramid? It's the kind of artistry and artifacts that can make people daydream about another place in time, reflect on the history of our beautiful world, and perhaps even wonder what kind of legacy they will behind.

What is your legacy for this world?
What can you leave behind to promote creativity, generosity, and love? Is it your service to others? Will it be the book you want to get published? Is it your family that you are raising? Is it what you are teaching young people?

What can you create today - will be a painting, a nonprofit organization, a new small business, or pancakes for a loved one?

I challenge you to explore your world wherever it may be, and start working on your legacy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What I Heart in My Art Portfolio Today

"What I Heart"
Enjoy art, celebrate life, and
inspire others in a positive way.

Just Frosting on the Cupcake

There's a Really Giant Cowboy Missing His Boot

Pancake Pac-Man
The Prince of Togo + One Sassy Waitress = "True Love"

Collage.Is.A.Long.Painful.Process ...

Lounging Female

Sitting Female

When Kleenex Ain't Cuttin' the Mustard

Je suis Quebecoise. J'adore MONtREALitie.

B.Y.O.P. (P = Pearl)

and One Bonus, Frosting on the Cake entry

Studying Degas in Paris = Nicole's Childhood Dream Come True

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How to Piss Off Your Art Teacher and Why It's Okay

A few weeks ago, my art teacher sent me this assignment via email since I was absent for class...
"Use news print or good 18x24” paper and make 3 different line drawings in response to 3 different pieces of music. Do not illustrate the lyrics, but rather interpret the musical tempo and rhythms of sound with abstract line. Think Jackson Pollock or Brice Marden."

In response, I submitted the above mixed media sketch for an art class assignment. Yes, it looks like a primitively done drawing that a child could have done, but I actually did put some thought and time into it. I spent 5 hours on this one drawing. (Yes, I know. If you haven't figured it out yet. This story is a tragedy....)

The three panels have consistent thought and represent three different places: (Left) Paris, (Middle) Mississippi River/ America, and the (Right) Mediterranean Beach. Each panel represents a place and a particular song. For Paris, I picked Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til you Get Enough." For the Mississippi, I picked the "Red Apple Rag," a competitive fiddle song that Jacob has been learning for the past year. For the Mediterranean Beach, I used Sebastian Tellier's "La Ritournelle." Each panel has blue in the middle to represent a body of water and is surrounded by warm tones. Each little shape of color represents something. For instance, the triangles on the far left represent the Louvre and also guitar picks. The white lines in the middle represent train tracks alluding to the railroad that was integral to commerce in Southern American history. The pink figures on the far right represent sea shells on a beach.

Anyway... it all made sense to me, and I actually enjoyed creating this art while listening to my three songs.... And that is where the joy actually ends for myself. I showed up to class, and I was the only person who submitted an illustrative narrative in color. It was a pretty embarrassing moment to present my art work and realize that everyone else's work was in black and white and completely abstract. I completely missed the point of the assignment. Yes, it was fun doing the assignment. But it was completely not okay to NOT DO WHAT I WAS TOLD. It was pretty much perceived as embarrassing, disruptive and disrespectful.

But this is how classy my teacher is. My teacher gracefully and patiently talked to me one on one outside of class. I probably should have been in tears. But, here's the thing about embarrassing moments: If you are not a prideful or egotistical person, a moment like this can be a valuable lesson.

It caused me to reflect on a lot of things and ask myself some important questions.

1. Why the hell did I submit such a jacked up interpretation of the assignment while everyone else understood it? - Duh, I wasn't in class when he gave the assignment and had to resort to email. So, yes, if you are given an art assignment via email, there will be a break down in communication. Next time I should ask for clarification.

2. Are you graceful enough to apologize? - When I realized that I messed up, I immediately apologized to my whole class and my teacher. Admitting you were wrong is tough especially when the easier route is to get bitchy, grouchy, and emo about it. Old people do this ALL the time! I remember claiming how misunderstood I was. But in the midst of that, I knew that I had to apologize. And the nice thing about it was people sympathized with me including my teacher.

3. How much of a priority is my art? - In order to be good at something, you have to make it a priority. This isn't the first endeavor I've ever took on. I know that it takes time, hard work and discipline - these are things that many teachers and mentors have taught me. At a very early age, I was taught this - ballet lessons starting at age four, piano lessons starting at age 6, and Lord knows the countless hours spent playing the ten pennies game when I was 16 years old. (* NOTE: See below for the explanation of the ten pennies game.) Creative arts is a balance between discipline and fun, and I am the first to admit that I often don't take it seriously enough for me to grow and to find joy in my work. I make excuses for myself - the biggest excuse is that I am too busy. Being good at something takes time, and am I willing enough to put in the time to grow and develop my creative side? Am I willing enough to accept that I need to be creative in order to be happy and fulfilled? Am I willing enough to take my practice of art serious?

4. What are the patterns in my life that keep me from growing? - I have to be truthful and accept the fact that art is hard work. It may not look like that to many people, especially in my past. Are there stories in my head that keep me from truly taking a leap of faith to believe that art is a worthy cause in my life.

*Note: The ten pennies game is a completely masochistic game that one of my private lesson teachers taught me. In high school, I had this obsession with playing my clarinet. I'd practice probably a good 20-30 hours a week. (Yes, I was THAT girl.) At some point, my parents and band director thought it was a good idea to have a fancy college professor at $60 per hour teach me instead of the private lesson teachers that the school provided. Basically, my abilities needed a new guru. So, he taught me the ten pennies game. If there was a technical piece of music that needed perfecting, he'd put ten pennies on the left of my music stand. If I played the piece of music right, I could move one of the ten pennies. You can move a penny every time you play it right. If you mess up once, you get to move ALL the pennies back. So, the goal of the game was to play a piece of music perfectly TEN times. Sigh... this probably has a lot to do with the kind of person I am today. Another big sigh....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What is Fun?

What is the antithesis of stress and burn out? Last night, I was challenged to believe that on the other end of the's fun. When was the last time you had fun? If we are so steeped in working, pushing ourselves, and denying ourselves sleep, we will never learn what makes us uniquely happy. The sad thing is as we grow older many people lose sight of what is fun.

I challenge you to get out a blank piece of paper. And, write down what is fun to you. Also think about the last time you actually did that activity. Sometimes there is a huge disconnect between what we want and when we actually did that activity. The more you know what is fun the better informed you'll be when you need to kick your frustration and stress in the stomach. Think about what honestly makes you happy, and really take the time to do those things for yourself.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Life. Drawing. Experiences

So I am back in art school. And, I'm taking the first semester of life drawing. It's been interesting getting back into more realistic artwork compared to the abstract 2-D design work I was doing back in Fall of 2009. I really do enjoy drawing, and I knew I was going to enjoy the class because of the sculpture drawings and watercolor art that I have been trying to dabble with this past spring.

I was a little taken aback by having to draw a nude model, but after a while, you get used to it. What I've learned thus far.

:: Use proportions. Get your pencil out and measure.
:: Play around with different mediums. I've got graphite, charcoal, ebony, and all sorts of stuff right now. Just trying to find the right match.
:: Break things down into geometric shapes and cut into the pieces.
:: Stand back and take a look at the whole piece once in a while.
:: Draw what I see!

I'm looking forward to this class because I think it will help me work on my technique. It's amazing what a bit of guidance and practice can do.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Finding Truth with Paper, Paints, and Glue

Here are the latest images from my Soul Restoration Class! There's something to be said about carving out the time to be creative.
Enjoy! xoxxox