Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Monday, January 30, 2017

Getting back into the groove

(Left) Little Red Riding Hood
(Right) Traditional Ukrainian Beauty
Watercolors on Paper
by Dawn Star Wood
Having been pulling myself out of a 2, almost 3 year long bough of depression which affected the quality of my work and the amount of things I had produced, the Black & White show (hosted by the Allied Ceramic Arts Institute) was my first statement of "Hey, I'm still alive and I'm ready to take life by the horns". I had let so many possibilities and opportunities pass me by but I was not about to miss any more. With the reminder to myself that I need to take care of myself first, I have been striving to become healthier and also reclaim what I have lost. 

What is the plan? 

Gathering Good Luck
Watercolors on Paper
By Dawn Star Wood
- Used as entry possibility for the EGFAC Fine Arts Competition
First off, I know that even the best laid out plans may not end up going quite the way you expect. So with this in mind, I have to remind myself to be flexible. The Black & White show was to just getting my feet wet but certainly the first steps that I'm taking in the direction that I'm wanting to be in. The second step was entering into a local Fine Arts competition. The Elk Grove Fine Arts Center is currently having a Call to Artists to enter with the cut off being February 4th. After having seeking out advice from several friends who all encouraged me to do so, I entered and am now keeping my fingers crossed that I will be accepted into it. There is another Call to Artists being put on for a competition hosted by Pence Gallery in Davis, California with a cut off date of February 5th but with it requiring 10 to 25 image examples of work that you have produced within the last 5 years, I decided it best to not apply for that one. Though I would have loved the chance to try, I do not have enough work on hand that I could confidentially use as possible entries for it. 

Mind you that this does not mean that I will be giving up on entering future competitions. Not in the slightest. Actually that comes to the second goal I have made for myself which is to produce more quality work and discover more competitions that I could attempt to get into while also providing the same quality to my customers. Would also like to try to be a part of more shows in the coming months but I need to remind myself that I need to pace myself in order not to burn myself out. So I must remember to breathe, eat healthier, and take breaks instead of constantly pushing myself into exhaustion to work on things.

Yup. Taking each day at a time but it's wonderful to discover the drive and hunger to create once again. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Kicking off the New Year

2017 has started off with a bit of excitement for me - participating in the annual Black & White Show. It was surprising to be asked if I was interested but I jumped at the opportunity to get myself out there again and regain confidence in myself after a bumpy 2 years. Having it's origin with Blue Moon Gallery, curator Carol Brewer has been able to bring the annual tradition with her to her new position with the Allied Ceramic Arts Institute (ACAI). With only black, white and grey tones able to be used, participating artists are challenged to create works of art in their respective mediums. This year, 30+ artisans were able to participate in the show with a wide range of materials used and subject matters covered. 

Little Red Riding Hood
Watercolors on Paper (7.5 x 9.5 inches)
The first work that I ended up creating had the simplistic title of Little Red Riding Hood. Based off of a photo from a Japanese Lolita style photoshoot with the same theme, I was drawn to the innocence in the model's face and the subtle detailing of not only the fabric which made up her outfit but the way her hair was braided. Even the forested background had just the right balance of detail and blur which complimented the model herself. I enjoyed the concept of having a different ethnicity portraying such a fond childhood fairy tale so I knew I wanted to work on the piece. I couldn't help but fall in love with how the strands of hair gave more life and texture to the surprising amount of gentle curves in the piece. Surprisingly, what actually gave me the most trouble trying to present in the piece while working was the subtle vine pattern in the fabric of her cap and cowl. Within the original image, the fabric was (of course) red with a mix of faintly lighter and darker red pattern. It was one of those moment where, if you quickly glanced, you would get a sense of it being there but wouldn't know exactly what it was until you looked closer. It took me several tries before I was able to properly show what I wanted. 

Traditional Ukrainian Beauty
Watercolors on Paper (7.5 x 9.5 inches) 
Traditional Ukrainian Beauty became the second piece I had created for the show. Wandering through various photos depicting traditional dress of women from around the world, I was originally struck by the vibrant colors in the photo. How would I be able to depict the beauty I was seeing in black and white? That is when I realized that I should show it through the textures and details that was being shown. With the mindset of texture, I was focused on the softness of the headpiece and the contrast of the surprisingly hard lines of the ribbons with their delicate floral patterns. As I worked, I couldn't help but find the serenity of the woman's face making me think of some depictions of the Virgin Mary. Of course this led to the chain of thoughts of creating a series of Mary of various ethnicity, but that is for another time. I'm actually quite pleased with the end results of this particular piece.

Both pieces are currently available at the Black & White show so if you are in the Greater Sacramento area, I encourage you to stop by ACAI to check out the show. If you have any questions about the show, please contact Carol Brewer at carol.brewer@acaistudios.com .

Show Continues - January 25th - February 11th 2017

Gallery Hours: Wed thru Fri. noon-4pm,
Saturday 11am - 3pm or by appointment

ACAI Gallery & Studios
7425 Winding Way Fair Oaks, CA 95628
(916) 966-2453