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April 2012

Taking Stock

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I'm always thinking about what holds our lives together and how threads from various places end up weaving their way into where we are today.  This image is of a piece I did back in 2003, before my Golden Artist Colors Working Artist training and before I really thought about teaching art.  I was still learning.  I am still learning.  My sense of color and design is still pretty much the same, although I know so much more about textures and products and pattern than I did at this time.  I love vintage images especially when I can use them to convey a story of some kind.  I called this one "The Proposal."  The story has to do with choices.  I let you figure out the rest!  My question to you today is:  Are you still learning? What is new by you?

Artfully yours, Chris

Looking through the layers

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I have so many photographs and for a very long time they have sat in computer "storage" for the same long time.  My recent forays into Photoshop Elements has opened the photo floodgates and my mind can't stop thinking of how to put these memories together in some kind of "story."  I started my storytelling with small assemblages many years ago.  Collecting pieces and putting them together has been a constant thread in my work, whether it is through color, collage, or objects it's always been there. In one of these layered pieces I can fuse my memories and create a new story.  It is so much fun and I'm captivated as I look through the layers.  I hope you are too.

Artfully yours, Chris

The simplest things

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When my parent's married in 1945 it was traditional to wear orange blossoms around the coronet that held a bride's veil.  My mom did that.  A simple flower that exudes such fragrance.  I grew up surrounded by citrus groves.  Each year when they bloomed their scent wafted for miles and miles. When I walk in the garden each spring I get to fall back in time and remember the freedom we had as children playing in the rows of blossoming trees, dragging our toys, our lunch, and our imaginations under them to play. 

Artfully yours, Chris

Chasing colors with memories

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Each spring when the garden emerges and fills my windows with its brilliance I find myself time-traveling to the  gardens of places I have visited which continue to hold places in my brain.  There were gardens in Italy, France, Canada, and many places in the States where each soil and each climate got to speak through the blooms.  In this photoshop collage I've combined  4 photos from a very special garden in the South of France which I was privileged to visit.  It was a private garden tended by one woman who filled her land with color and form.  She painted with flowers and shrubs, vegetables and trees.  When we experience the creative efforts of someone so talented we are walking in their mind's eye.  I will hold her garden in my mind's eye forever.  What do you hold in yours?

Artfully yours, Chris

Continuing to learn...Diligence above perfection

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I spent a couple of days in the studio with a private student this week.  It was really a pleasure to have the luxury of quietly explaining a process and demonstrating techniques.  When you are working with a group it's easy to overlook someone who hasn't moved along with the instruction.  There are so many little side issues that interrupt a train of thought.  I'm still working on my photoshop layering skills.  I have four photos layered in this piece along with some specialty photoshop brushes for the drips and circle marks.  It takes me a long time to get one done, but I made fewer mistakes today and I understood what I was doing much better.  I feel a bit like I'm back in kindergarten, learning to write all over again.  I remember being told by my  second grade teacher that I had horrible handwriting.   I was so embarassed that I borrowed a handwriting book and practiced and practiced until my handwriting was pretty.  I think diligence counts above perfection every time.  Keep trying, one day you will succeed!

Artfully yours, Chris

Facing my fears...

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It has taken me a long time to master the simple idea of layers in Photoshop.  When I work in real layers I have no issues.  I totally understand the concept of layers in a physical sense, but for some reason my mind just could NOT grasp the concept when it was not tangible.  Recently I decided that I had run out of excuses and I needed to try again without bringing in my past defeats.  Sometimes we let the things we didn't understand from before influence our decisions about what we can do today.  I hated math because I wasn't good at memorizing things, but I learned that I think very mathematically about many things.  I am a pretty non-traditional learner and teacher.  I rely on my intuitive brain a tremendous amount.  It sometimes takes a number of trials for me to learn what a more organized brain might learn quickly.  Yet, sometimes I see things in a flash that no one else can figure out.  Brains are amazing and adaptable.  Creative endeavors fuel our brains to keep growing and changing.  I'm convinced that all these years of doing art have made my brain more flexible because now I understand layers in Photoshop!  I'm going to keep working at growing my brain, how about you? 

Julie Prichard and I have an amazing assortment of online art classes that are perfect for growing your brain, especially the creative side.  Why don't you check out our Online classes here.  They are so much more fun than the gym!

Artfully yours, Chris