What Inspires Me?

IMG_0283That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the topic for March’s Blog-o-Sphere Think tank is a monstrous one.  What Inspires Me?  Whoofta….where do I begin? How all encompassing is that question? And yes, I signed up to write about this topic because it means so much to me.  However, I’m going to limit my response to just one thing and one aspect within it.

As an artist, my answer is one that may seem trite.  But it isn’t when you think about the scope of it.

What inspires me?  Nature!  It is at the top of the list.  Let me explain why.

My dad was a landscaper.  I consider him to have been an artist who worked wonders with landscapes of the homes in the town where I grew up.  My work is heavily influenced by my observations of him working his magic.   Manicuring an evergreen from something that was unruly and overgrown to a finely coiffed thing of delicate beauty, turning an unsightly back yard into a lush setting, taking great care and respect toward everything that grows.

Just last week a dear friend brought back a gift for me from her visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s (FLW) Taliesin West.  A book filled with quotes from the man himself, FLW.  The first of his quotes that captured my attention was:

“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.”

The next quote that spoke to me was:

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.  It will never fail you.”

Where my art jewelry is concerned, those two statements are very true.  I found my artistic voice once I started creating shapes from things in nature.  Our backyard aspens have become the models for many of my pieces.

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As I prune our aspens, I save various branches to serve as my models.  The details preserved in the leaves and branches help me to capture them in metal.  I refer to them often as I work.
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The graceful way they flow out from the tree is what I try to capture in the cuffs I make that are part of my Botanical series.

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I don’t limit my inspiration to aspens.  Yet I do incorporated them frequently in my works.  I think these photos exemplify what influence and inspiration our aspens provide.  A single leaf is as unique as our fingerprints.  The details of the veins that bring life to every cell within the leaf.  God’s beautiful creation embodied in a leaf, a branch, a tree.  I find it wondrous.  So my work, just as things are in nature, is unique.  No two pieces of my work are identical because they are hand made by me.

I feel truly blessed that I can escape to our back yard and soak in the beauty of being in the great outdoors.  A view of Pikes Peak is in the distance.  During the summer months, I enjoy the whispers our Quaking Aspens make with those leaves.  The fresh, clean air with clouds traveling across a turquoise blue sky.  The occasional whinny of a neighbor’s horse.  One of our bassets batting at me for attention as I try to drink it all in.  Sure, a lot of artists say they are inspired by nature and yes, I am one of them.  It cleanses and refreshes my soul, my imagination, my creativity.  Just one of the many things where I find inspiration.

Now lets see what my fellow bloggers had to say on this topic.

Andes Cruz:  https://andescruz.wordpress.com
Pallavi Gandhi: https://studioat605.wordpress.com/
marie bell ::  www.pencilfox.com
Tosca Teran:  http://nanopod.me/2015/03/11/inspiration
Catherine Witherell:  http://happydayart.typepad.com
Beth Cyr – http://bethcyr.com/blog/
Allegra Sleep: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/allegra-sleep.html?tab=blog
K. Skiles Studio: http://kaskiles.com
Shelagh Blatz: www.designsbyshelagh.com/blog

Namaste

What would I really like to learn?

December’s topic, for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is “What would I really like to learn?”  I think I want to embellish this topic by adding there are areas of my life where I would like to improve and increase my skills.

I find this a tough question, because there are so many things I want to study and master the techniques.  2014 has been a great for me, because I took a couple of metalsmithing classes that challenged me and invigorated my creativity.  Along with that learning spurt, came the realization that I need to focus on and practice the new techniques I learned.  Of course, that makes taking on a new task not only difficult but a bit impractical in my mind.

However, in 2015 or sometime in the relatively near future, I would like to learn how to do some of the following, along with improving what I already do:

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1. Granulation.  I want to learn how to do this.  In my opinion, Harold O’Connor is the master.  This is a technique where very small gold balls, aka granules,  are fused to the metal (usually sterling or pure silver).  Just look at the detail in this ring that Harold did.  It takes a ton of patience and is a tedious process, but as you can see, the end result is stunning.  One of the many key success factors is:  do not melt the gold!  Let the components reach the right temperature where the fusing takes place.  For the past couple of years, Harold has scheduled classes at a Denver studio.  It seems like each time I have a conflict with my schedule.  Maybe things will be different in 2015?

2. Meditation. I want to improve my meditation practice.  Unfortunately, I just don’t make the time.  That’s the problem.  I know the benefits of meditation.  Now I just need to incorporate it into my daily routine.

3. Drawing.  My ability to transfer imagery from my mind to paper via my hands needs work!  The designs I create for my metalwork are rough sketches of what I would like to create.  Fortunately, those sketches give me enough to complete the metal works.  However, I want improve this skill.

4. Focus.  Do you have a hard time eliminating distractions that keep you from getting things done?  I do.  I think it’s also known as procrastination.  I know how to avoid it, but some days, the computer beckons or the dogs want attention or I just want to veg in front of the television.  Yep.  Do anything other than the task at hand.  Then when I finally focus and put my mind to it, I finish things and realize it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  The end result is satisfaction with the accomplishment.  Nice.

5. Marketing.  In addition to my day job, I have a business.  I make Art Jewelry.  I love working with my hands.  Creating what I call personal forms of adornment.  I am so grateful that several galleries represent my work.  However, I am ready to expand and find new venues.  That’s where marketing comes into play.  I’d like to think I’m pretty good at this social media stuff, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like.  My conclusion is I need to improve my ability to market what I do so my work can be represented in other art venues both inside and outside of Colorado.

There are plenty more I could list.  As I look at these, they almost seem like goals or resolutions.  My preference is to think of these as commitments I will make to myself for my future.

Namaste.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers have discussed on this topic:

Andes Cruz:  http://andescruz.wordpress.com
Catherine Witherell:  http://happydayart.typepad.com
Pallavi Gandhi: http://studioat605.wordpress.com/
Tosca Teran: http://wp.me/pigO-up

Seasonal shifts….Do you enjoy the changing of the seasons?

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I’m getting back on track with the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank this month with the topic “Seasonal shifts….Do you enjoy the changing of the seasons?

I truly enjoy the change of seasons, especially when I live in a place where these shifts are quite evident.

Spring’s arrival announces the rebirth.  I love to watch buds form and new life burst forth.

Summer signals maturity.  The fruit of spring’s blossoms emerge.

Fall brings a wonderful transformation. I am fascinated by the beautiful colors of leaves changing.

Winter provides a time for restoration.  It is as if everything is at rest, preparing for what is to come in the spring.

Now let’s see what my fellow Think Tank participants had to say on this topic:

Andes Cruz:  http://andescruz.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/seasonal-shifts/

Pallavi Gandhi: http://studioat605.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/october/

Robyn Hawk: http://flyviewsandreviews.blogspot.com/

Catherine Witherell: http://happydayart.typepad.com

Tosca Teran: http://nanopod.me/2014/10/20/seasonal-shifts/

Shelagh Blatz http://www.designsbyshelagh.com/blog

Namaste