Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both…Robert Frost
At times the road taken seems for awhile to be the right one, only to discover it was possibly only a sidetrack. I’ve truly loved my time doing Lushes with Brushes but I realize now it may have been a very pleasant sidetrack from my real goal.
This month my artwork, along with my friend, Cheryl’s is on exhibition at the Cumberland Art Gallery in Regina. Next month the exhibition moves to Weyburn, then other galleries throughout the province for the next year.
How surreal to see and feel my raw thoughts and emotions displayed for all to see, however respectfully. Mostly, the feedback has been gentle and supportive. I know too, that on occasion, I’ve connected on a deeper level. My heart melts when I catch someone deep in thought as they look at what I made. Because I know how I felt when I made it and somehow I know that while I don’t know or need to know the specifics, they feel that way too. Maybe my story resonates with them, and if it does it’s because they have their own story. When they see mine, they feel theirs.
And while I love the gratification and teacher’s pride of showing people their creative side through Lushes with Brushes, I love more the connection I know is there buried in the open secret of my/our painting. That’s what I want to share.
So, while I won’t close up shop on Lushes with Brushes I will no longer promote it like a 3rd world beach vendor. My focus has come back to pouring heart and soul onto canvas and paper and oil and pastel and …
It’s been nearly 10 years since I earned my fine art degree, but for my whole life I will be an emerging artist. I’ll take other missteps but the further I go on my journey the more I understand that what I love about art is the connection that happens sometimes when someone “reads” my art the way I “wrote” it.
I’m excited! I’ve been playing in my studio all week! Painting stiletto heels.
My daughter-in-law made a suggestion a couple of weeks ago, and I love it! She said, “Why don’t you have painting parties where guests drink wine and paint, and call them, ‘Lushes with Brushes’ ?”
…. Well, why not?
I love painting. LOVE IT! I’ve been looking for a way to share my excitement for art. And I know (KNOW) there are a lot of closet artists out there. It’s time to come out of the closet; oh, and drink a little wine while you do it.
Imagine 1/2 a dozen women relaxing with a glass of wine in one hand, socializing; a paint brush in the other, creating… LOL…lolling….lol…ing…
The stiletto heels? I made a rubber stamp of a single stiletto, the right size for an 11″ x 14″ canvas. A sort of home grown paint-by-number, if you will. But better… More wine… And more laughs…I’ve painted 7 versions this week! Giggling to myself the whole time. I never get tired of it.
Traditional home parties = reluctantly accept an invitation to a friend’s house, listen to a sales pitch, and look through a catalogue of things you don’t really want, trying to find the least expensive item, so your hostess friend can earn the hostess “gift” and you don’t break the bank.
“Lushes with Brushes” = home parties where guests are PARTY guests who don’t open their wallets once in the door. A “luscious” girls night out!
“Lushes”, otherwise known as guests, together with the hostess provide the space, beverage, and munchies. Potluck or otherwise. Oh, and the laughs. Put the party back into home party, so to speak.
“Brushes”, otherwise known as me, provides art supplies and instruction. Sorry, here is where opening the wallet comes in, but the cost is small, $25 per guest.
The Lushes take home their masterpiece and some fun memories. And maybe a newly (re-)ignited desire to paint. What woman doesn’t love a sexy stiletto? I can’t wear ’em, but I sure can paint ’em. Any Lush can!! LOL. From a simple heel in primary colours to one as elaborate as imagination limits.
Here is where the hostess gift comes in. For providing the space, and arranging for food and bevvys, the hostess does not pay for her art supplies. She will not earn a bigger and better gift by encouraging anyone to look through some product catalogue. Your purses can stay safely stowed away once you start to party.
I love to paint, and I love the idea of bringing out closest artists who lost the joy of art somewhere back in grade 4, who now say to me, “I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.” I say, “who cares”??
Edit: I’m no longer promoting these parties regularly, but you might be able to twist my arm. See the following blog entry.
My brain skitters around like drops of water on a hot griddle when I’m experimenting in the studio.
Try this… Okay, that worked. Nope. Modify… Hmmm. What if I try that? … Oooops… Now what? …Oh, maybe that… Chug-a-chug-a-chug-a cool down and clean up… Write some of this stuff down before I forget it…
No wonder I’m exhausted at the end of a productive art day.
Sometimes I frighten myself with the way my brain disengages from my active thoughts. Split brain, if you will. I don’t know if this happens to everyone. Probably. It happened this morning, as I was journaling. Writing is much slower than thinking and I was writing about a workshop I’m preparing, when my brain flashed to the the open sketchbook on my desk with a drawing that might help to instruct the workshop.
I’m preparing some printmaking workshops, but next up is molding paper sculptures for my next exhibit. So part of my brainpower kept the words I wanted to write lined up ready to jump into my hand, pen and then paper. But held enough in reserve to plot the logical steps from the sketch to modeling clay to making a mold to casting the paper sculpture.
I have actually really frightened myself by stepping back from a piece of artwork and thinking, “Wow, I don’t even remember doing that.” I actually videotaped myself drawing, “Universal Witness”. Still, somehow as strange as it sounds, it felt like channeling… See, scary stuff…Sometimes when I draw I succumb to the process and have a semi conscious thought to relinquish control to my right brain intuition, or the Universe, or whatever the power of the piece comes from.
Like many artists when I pull out of that altered state I am absolutely drained. So much of my being and absolute energy went into the piece that I have little left for myself.
So while Diana Hume takes the credit, I’m not completely sure that I haven’t been the tool, not unlike the pencil or paintbrush in my hand. The more I succumb to an unconscious direction the better it often is. Though it’s not a switch I can turn off and on. It requires investing some time in the technical skills, and also sitting back and discussing between right and left brain what the impact of the piece is and where it might be made stronger and more appealing to the left brainers.
"Universal Witness"; Diana Hume, 2010, 22" x 28", Graphite on Paper
Recently, I was asked by a nearby art gallery* to teach a printmaking workshop, since my BFA major is printmaking.
Mostly folks don’t really know what printmaking is. I didn’t until I took my first class. In a nutshell, printmaking is making a “plate” that can be used many times to print an image over and over. The simplest “plate” is a rubber stamp. In this workshop I showed participants how to carve an image into a rubber block, ink it, and print it. The stamps in the picture on the right were made by Grade 4 students. Stamps were printed several times each, including Artist Trading Cards, and a large poster of everyone’s stamp.
“A” printmaking workshop turned out to be 3 days of workshops. Students ranged in age from grade 1 to grade 12. Time varied from 1 – 2 hours, as well as an adult class that was all day. Time between classes was sometimes non-existent. Ahhhhhhh. The hardest thing for me, was preparing materials because it changed for each group, especially because the youngest group didn’t use sharp carving tools. To say the least it took considerable effort to prepare for!
The highlights of the workshops were seeing sparks of inspiration. It made the hard work worth it. I fanned those sparks into flames as often and as hard as I could. Mostly, I loved being asked repeatedly where to buy these materials, and I loved that they wanted to keep working even when it was time for them to go.
I thought I’d prepared for every possible scenario though, until I set out to teach my daughter’s grade 4 class. As I was leaving home, my daughter phoned to say she wouldn’t be meeting me at the school after all, since she was going into labour!
It made for a very interesting couple of classes! Her students were darlings who clamoured to know about their teacher and the baby that was coming soon.
My daughter made her own stamp on the world with a big beautiful baby boy who was healthy and perfect. And her students felt like they somehow shared the experience because their teacher’s mom was with them while she had the baby. Their excitement was fantastic!!
Besides the excitement of a new baby, and making stamps, our workshops were sponsored by PV Disposal who also gave each of the kids an apron to keep the ink off their good clothes. They were almost as happy with the aprons as they were with their new rubber stamps.
Even though we used brayers and printer’s ink in the workshop, at home they can use their stamps over and over again using a simple stamp pad. I’m pretty sure more than a few will go out and get supplies to make more stamps at home. My job here is done!
In my next blog entry I will describe how to make a rubber stamp in 6 easy steps.
Well, it’s April now. Your birth month. You’re nearly ready to make your grand entrance.
So, sweet grandchild, let me tell you what will happen when you get here. Prepare to be snuggled and cuddled and cooed to, and love, love, loved.
I gotta tell you, you are most welcome. You will have a big brother who’ll always be there for you. OK, so you’ll fight a little, but he’ll be your biggest supporter and your go-to-guy. Then, there’s mom and dad. How they’ve wanted you. I’ve watched you grow so big inside your mommy she can hardly walk. Your mom and dad have been working so hard to make sure you will have the very best life. And you’re not even here yet. Just wait til you see how they love and care for you in May, then more in June. Imagine this: it will be more and more every day for the rest of their lives! Really. I know it’s hard to believe, since they already love you unimaginably .
There’s more! Grandmas and grandpas and great-grandparents, and aunts, and uncles, and cousins and great-aunts and great-uncles. And that’s just your family. Then there’s friends. Oh my gosh. You are surrounded by oodles ‘n oodles of people who already care for you.
There are so many people I wish you could have known, baby. Maybe you met them on your way here? What beautiful people there have been in your mom and dad’s lives. You wont get to meet them, but their inspiration is still felt by the people around you, so in a round-about way you will know them.
What will you be like? Who will you be? Borrow a little from mommy and a little from daddy. But most of all, I know, you will be you. I can say with some certainty you will be independent. I’m pretty sure you will be considerate and loving, intelligent and thoughtful, creative and articulate. I know these things because that’s what you live with.
Most of all, you will be you. My little unborn baby grandchild, your entire life is still ahead of you. A blank canvas for you to paint your life on. You are not limited to being mini-Tracy or mini-Dean. Amazing as they are, and as much as you will learn from them. You will be you, and I can’t wait to get to know the person you will become.
Love and hugs and kisses
Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.
You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
I’m sorry to say so
But, sadly it’s true
That bang-ups and hang-ups
Can happen to you.
On and on you will hike, And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems whatever they are.
You’ll get mixed up of course, as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
And remember that Life’s a great balancing act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
Will you succeed?
Yes you will indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
So sweet baby, today is the day! I’ll meet you within hours. Your mama and you are working together at this very moment. Soon. Love you.