Monday, July 15, 2013

The Heart of Art

Jo Reimer

I know exactly where I'm going with my work... I will concentrate on making art that honors God and that brings me joy in the doing. I won't worry about what other people think about what I make, whether they like it or not. What's important is that I keep on doing the best I can, in my own way.

Making art is a spiritual occupation. Artists work from their heart to produce the work that comes to them from within which means it has spiritual, but not necessarily religious, connections. It has everything to do with doing one's best.

And because one's art comes from the heart, the soul, and the mind, the essence of a person, external criticism of one's work can be very hurtful to the artist, especially those new to showing their work. Most of us have a soft heart. We work to create something beautiful but since beauty is in the eye of the beholder what we make isn't always embraced by all who see it... and that is okay. But hopefully the viewer will be kind and find something positive to say about our work and will be careful not to fling hurtful words around, at least in the artist's hearing.

I remember standing in the gallery at my first solo show and overhearing two women talking about a piece I had made. One said to the other, "well, it's nicely done, but what in the world IS it?". I could have been crushed but instead I laughed and I'm still laughing. Nowadays my work is more representational and most people understand what it is I'm doing even though they don't all like it.

At church today our pastor urged us to be positive about other people. Find three good things about each person, he said, and voice those positive words for both the good of the other person and for your own good.  It seems to me that we could adopt the same attitude when we look at a piece of art. Keep the negative criticism  to oneself and find something good to say.   I like that. I'll work on being less critical and being more positive. 

I currently work with acrylic and paper on canvas and board; I like to use watercolor in my art and travel journals; I love making collages with my own painted papers; and I've returned to stitching, now on paper as well as on fabric. At this point it looks to me like I never will have success with narrowing my focus to working with one single medium and though it used to trouble me that I couldn't focus I now accept that that’s who I am, a multi-media, mixed media art maker who loves the learning and the doing of a variety of ways.

Robert Genn quoted Mas Kodani : "One does not stand still looking for a path. One walks; and as one walks, a path comes into being." What perfect direction for me today, if not tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pueblo Pottery - Along Old Route 66. collage painting

Pueblo Pottery - Along Old Route 66
Jo Reimer
Collage Painting
22" x 17"
Acrylic, paper
As a young teenager I traveled from my home in Arkansas along route 66 through Texas and New Mexico to Arizona to visit relatives and was struck by the beauty of the pottery made by the Native Americans of that time. I particularly remember the matte black pots with glossy black designs, especially those made by Maria Martinez.

I traveled to Taos for an art workshop some years ago and was again impressed by the gorgeous pottery. I've tried my hand at molding clay but these hands are made for stitching and painting, not pottery.

Then a couple of years ago my husband and I took a long road trip from Oregon through Idaho, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico and once again I was drawn to the pottery. Though styles have changed here and there we saw similar work among the more contemporary, all beautiful in their workmanship.

This piece is my way of mapping the memories of my travels through the Southwest.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Sketchers Transformed: painted shoes

This is totally off topic unless you consider that painting shoes is somehow akin to making art, but I just had to brag about my outrageous new shoes. I have a pair of Sketchers that fit well but which I considered ugly and useful only for wear in the studio.

So I painted them.

Here are the steps I took:
  1. clean with acetone.
  2. paint with gesso
  3. paint with cadmium red acrylic
  4. draw circles on the shoes with a black sharpie Paint Pen
  5. fill in the circles with Titanium white acrylic paint
  6. touch up where needed
  7. cut off old strap, leaving 1.5 inches attached at the toe.
  8. sew 2 black/white ribbons (one striped, one dotted) together back to back and then sew one end onto the remaining strap, by hand.
  9. cut the ribbon strap to appropriate length and add Velcro to the underside at the end.
  10. thread the ribbon through the d-rings and fasten.
I've never done anything like this so I did searches online and on Pinterest to see how other shoe painters work and to get ideas for styles. There's so much information out there and people are incredibly generous about sharing ideas.

My DH dared me to wear them to church. Hummmmm. Maybe I'm not THAT brave, but they'll do for the 4th of July party tomorrow.
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