It’s surprising how quickly Friday rolled around this week. I feel like I am busier now, than I was when I was working full time. I managed to put in time at my studio everyday this week (and will head over there after this post), although I didn’t quite stick to my schedule. All told, I spent about 20 hours there this week. I am really hoping to increase that number to 25 or 30, but this is the most time I’ve spent in there consecutively so I am not disappointed. Also, there were a couple of design projects, writing projects, and some research that I completed on the boat.
I think the most important project that I worked on this week was my artist statement. To begin, I was nervous about writing it because, to be honest, I didn’t really know where I wanted to push my artwork, and I didn’t really understand what my art was telling me. Writing the artist statement was probably the best thing I could have done for myself, to give me focus and direction and also some great motivation. I spent several days writing notes to myself about why I enjoyed making art, why I chose to use certain materials, what I wanted to explore, and how my work was a reflection of me. I also looked at several Web articles (this one was probably the most helpful) on the topic and read about the topic in The Artist’s Guide by Jackie Battenfield. Battenfield’s guide was actually quite helpful because it included some strong examples of successful artist statements. After generating about two full pages of notes, I sat down at my computer and tried to make sense of it all. I am pleased with the outcome (which you can read on one of my About pages), and I feel confident about it even though it is still a work in progress.
In addition to the artist statement, I stretched and prepared a canvas for a new painting, sketched some studies of my subject, worked on a couple pages of my sketchbook, printed a shirt for a friend, emulsified a clean screen to burn today, created a t-shirt design for my first commissioned project, printed out some photographs to use for various studies, and hung a bunch of inspirational images in my studio. Not too bad for my first week.
Today marks the beginning of my full commitment to my self as an artist. Although it may seem to the outside observer that, since I’ve quit my job, I am just going to kick it for the rest of the summer and live a life of leisure, this is not the case. In fact, last week I wrote out a very detailed schedule to help me stay on track and attain the goals I have set for myself. I actually have quite a few projects and areas to focus on for the next three months (so many that I am not sure that I will be able to get them all done). The idea is to stay busy, inspired, keep aiming high, and, most importantly, keep building on my skills as an artist. You can see the transformation of our little pepper plant above; I hope, with a small amount of daily nurturing, to achieve similar growth and development as an artist (hot-pepper status ).
So here are the types of goals have I set for myself. The first major goal is to spend six hours in the studio every weekday. That means about 30 hours a week and more than double the amount of time I’ve been spending on my artwork over the past year and a half. I have also decided to develop and market a small screen-print t-shirt line. Just the art portfolio and screen-print line are enough to keep me quite busy, but I am also hoping to get into a more regular exercise routine, cook dinner about five nights a week, write on my blog three times a week, and work on a few sewing projects for the boat (and for me). As for this blog, I am hoping it will keep me on track this summer. I will be browsing the internet regularly for inspiration and information to help me in the studio, and I think writing about it will help me take a deeper look at my own work. I hope to inspire, not only myself, but my readers as well, and provide access to information that I find useful.
So let’s jump right in. Today I found some inspiring screen-printed posters on a site called Brainstorm (I found the site through OK Great‘s blog). Here is the direct link to Brainstorm’s work: Brainstorm – Print – Silkscreen – Graphic Design – Posters. I really enjoy the colors and concepts of their work. Printing with multiple colors is one of my screen-printing goals and a skill I have been meaning to work on. Up to now, I have only dabbled with it, but since I now have the time to spend on it, I am hoping to tackle it this week. I think that printing in multiple colors and layers adds a complexity to the images and builds connections between the subjects in ways that can be quite insightful.
On Saturday, Brian and I joined some friends for a boating excursion to Morris Island where Aquapalooza was taking place. Morris Island is an uninhabited island located at the end of Folly Beach. Back when Charleston was first settled, a lighthouse was constructed on the island, however, due to hurricanes and beach erosion, the lighthouse is now completely surrounded by water. You can still see it from the edge of Folly Beach. The history of the lighthouse and the island is quite interesting, and in more recent years, there has been a effort to protect and save the lighthouse. You can read more about it here: www.savethelight.org.
Aquapalooza was actually on the other side of the island, the side sticking out into the harbour. Most weekends when the weather is nice boaters will make the trip out to the island, but this weekend there was a barge with a live band performing out in the water next to the island. A larger number of small motor boats and a few small sailboats made the trip. It was exciting because it was my first time out to Morris Island. It is also close to shark breeding grounds, and I am pretty sure that I saw one (just its tail) thrashing about in the water on the other side of the inlet. I also found two sharks teeth on the beach. And there were dolphins everywhere. It was a great day and I especially loved hanging out with friends in such a beautiful setting.
After all of the swimming and sun, our friends dropped us off at the marina and Brian and I proceeded to take a shower and a nice long nap. What else are Saturdays for? Once we had rested, we topped off the day with a date to a little Italian restaurant, which we hadn’t visted in several years (since it had first opened). The restaurant is called Pane e Vino and has a sweet little outdoor patio and bar. We ordered a few apetizers; the highlights were a tomato soup over bread (zuppa de pane) and pecorino with black truffles (tartufo). European cheeses are pretty much unbeatable if you ask me. The soup and cheese reminded me of my time in Florence, Italy, and how much I’d love to go back for a visit.
As the weather last weekend was so nice, Brian and I declared it a vacation weekend and put our projects on hold for a couple of days. I think it’s important to enjoy the place you live every once in a while (especially if it’s summertime and you live close to the beach). The dog is not ours, but he was so happy and good with the frisbee that I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures.
But then it’s on to the next project. . . .
sanding the entire deck of the boat and then painting it. Sounds like fun, right? Well I won’t be participating because I have gotten behind on my gift t-shirts, and it is time to hit the studio this weekend and crank out another batch. Don’t get me wrong, I love making them!
As I said before, there has been a great dealing of planning and scheming taking place inside my head. My brain has been working overtime for the past few weeks, day and night alike. My subconscious has sent me signs and symbolic dreams and every opportunity feels like its been handed to me on a silver platter. The week of my car accident my Free Will Horoscope said, “Here’s a preview of the accomplishments I expect you to complete in the next four weeks. Number of karmic debts paid off and canceled: 1. Number of bad habits replaced with good habits: 2. Number of holes blasted in your theory about why you can’t do more of what you love to do: 300. Number of “necessities” lost that turn out not to be necessities: 1. Number of psychic wounds successfully medicated: 1. Number of confusing messes that evolve into interesting opportunities: 2. Number of romantic obstructions eliminated: 1 and a half. ” But let’s not get carried away. Just this week I went to a Japanese restaurant and the fortune in my cookie said, “There are coincidences.” I will say that whether or not I believe in horoscopes or fortunes or dream symbols, they have certainly had an affect on my overloaded brain of late.
After realizing just how dangerous everyday life can be, I’ve decided replace one risk with another. No, I’m not going to buy a new car. Brian and I have been talking for a year and a half about going on a big sailing trip to the Caribbean and we have set a departure date for the end of hurricane season, which is around November 1st. Brian still has some work to do on the boat, and I still have some sailing practice to get in first! However, in addition to this, I have also decided that I do want to go back to school for my MFA in visual arts at some point in the next year or two. In order to apply to schools in the fall, I first need to compile a portfolio, something I have been trying to work towards for about a year now but is exceptionally hard to accomplish while working full time. There is just not enough time in the day.
I’ve been saving hard for about a year and a half, and with a small amount of savings security, have decided to quit my job in an effort to pursue my dreams of becoming an artist. Yep, that’s right. I will be working on my portfolio and developing my own line of screen-printed shirts for the rest of the summer. I am optimistic, but know that realistically this will take a great deal longer than three months (hopefully not the portfolio part). I will be happy to get the groundwork laid for future screen-printing endeavors and hopefully have an awesome portfolio to show for it.
In the meantime, I will probably take some part-time work downtown or freelance if I can manage, so that I can ride my bike to work and break even on my living expenses. Brian and I will be looking into some traveler’s insurance (catastrophic coverage) and cutting our living expenses down to the absolute bare minimum, although it pretty much already is. I know the risks and am a little bit nervous considering the economy, but I have always found that pushing myself and placing myself in unpredictable situations makes me a stronger person in the long term. It sure won’t be easy, but I am pretty darn excited about all of the possibilities.
I will also be spending some more time on the blog, so you may see some changes in the next couple of weeks. You will be hearing much more about all of this in future posts; I’ll certainly keep you updated. I am hoping to make this site a little more of a resource and a source of inspiration for me and anyone else who is interested.
Happy Saturday! (and please wish me luck)
Had a fun weekend and cleaned the boat, which means I get to cook out here tonight. yippeeee! I am super pleased. I think tonight I will whip up some Lara Sauce to celebrate. And on a side note, I think you all should know that tomato sandwiches in the summer are unbeatable. Do not underestimate the power of a ripe tomato on a hot afternoon.
Tomato Sandwich Ingredients List (doesn’t get any easier than this):
Sunflower Seed Bread
Cheese (I prefer sharp chedder or muenster, but its up to you)
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil (oh yes, that’s right)
It is crucial that the salt, pepper, and a very thin dribble of olive oil go straight on the tomato. Also, I don’t really like mayo, so I don’t put very much, but in my opinion a thin spreading of mayo is crucial to the flavor.
Anyways, happy summer! Oh and I do have news about my decision, and I will get to that soon.
As this is a holiday weekend (hooray!), I have a little bit of extra time to spend in the studio. I’ve thought long and hard about exactly what I wanted to accomplish in my studio this weekend and have decided that I would like to dedicate my weekend to compiling a new all-encompassing sketchbook, combining sketches from many different places and times and incorporating bits of outside inspiration as well. So far I have been sketching my ideas for projects in several different books or directly on transparencies for screen printing. I don’t really flush out my ideas and designs, but rather just capture a basic idea or concept. The sketches are usually interspersed with to-do lists and shopping lists and other random notes. Book By Its Cover has an awesome sketchbook portion, which highlights pages from different artists’ sketchbooks. I love checking this site out for inspiration, and it has shown me exactly what is possible and just how far you can push your ideas there. This sketchbook in particular has grabbed my attention: Book By Its Cover » Sketchbook Series: Deanna Staffo. You guys should check it out as I think the images are pretty amazing. Ok, time for me to get to work. First I need to run by Artist and Craftsman to get a bigger sketchbook, so I guess I’m off to the store. Oh yeah and did I mention that I am officially car-less? I had to turn in the rental on Thursday. I tell you, between my bicycle and the boat, it’s going to be one hot and sweaty summer!