Erika Allison's Artastic Blog

Breaking the rules… or not

Posts Tagged ‘life’

Paintinplace gallery

Paint-ins seem to be becoming “the thing” in the Las Vegas arts community.  We had an outdoor group painting session in late spring.  Now, there’s a regular “Third Friday” paint-in at Place Gallery, organized and hosted by Gina Quaranto.  There is a nice, large area that works well for many artists to gather and work.  Many mediums and styles were represented.  There was painting in different media, sculpting, and a number of artists were working on their skate decks for LVSK8IV The Skate Deck Art Show

Creativity fills the air.  You can breathe it in and use it.  Artists are lost in what they are creating.  And, then, they may be wandering around checking out what other artists are doing.  I think the camaraderie is good for all.  An arts community is what keeps a lot, if not all, of us going.  We get support and encouragement, which is always needed.  We build friendships.  We try to give back in the ways that we can.

It takes some effort to haul all the needed supplies for painting somewhere other than your own studio.  But, it can be worth it.  Group painting offers some things we don’t get alone, holed up in our studios, which is our natural habitat.  Aside from the camaraderie, you also get some publicity of sorts.  It may just be word-of-mouth, someone who stopped in to watch mentioning they’d watched you paint.  Or, it may be a possible collector who has seen your work on exhibit, who now gets to see you working.  You’d be surprised how many people are fascinated by seeing an artist at work.  Keep in mind that this is totally foreign to most people who are not artists.  It may seem humdrum and everyday to you because that IS your life.  You do it almost by rote.  But, to the layman it may be magic.  And, don’t forget, collectors and all buyers are buying a piece of the artist.  Meeting you, seeing you in action, talking to you about your work or your methods, all provide fodder for the collector’s interesting story for his friends.  Also, connecting with the other artists can be worthwhile beyond just the friendship and camaraderie.  The artists here in Vegas are generous with their support of each other.  Your name might come up when there’s an exhibition opportunity.  And, last, but not least – it’s good to get out of your studio and participate in life!  You need ideas for your work, life experiences!  You need to fill the well!

Here is my painting after the session at Third Friday Paint-In.  I will work on it more in my studio and post a picture when it’s completed.


Have you painted with a group?  Do you enjoy it?  What benefits or pitfalls do you find in painting with others present?

Sometimes it seems like life gets in the way and interferes with my ability to make art… when I want to.

It’s hard when I’m  “inspired” to paint and all kinds of things interfere with my plans. It tends to make me angry and/or frustrated. I have ideas. I want to paint. I NEED to paint. But, I have to do this and I have to do that. And, the car needs to go in for some repair …and ends up taking all day …and into another day.

Why me? Aaaaaagh! I try to remain calm and just go about doing what I have to do. I know that getting angry and grumpy isn’t going to help. As a matter-of-fact, that usually makes everything worse. That makes the people around you angry and grumpy. It’s not their fault that everything isn’t going smoothly.

So – the Big Irritator this week is the car. It needs to go in to see what’s wrong – and get repaired.

I went “prepared” for a long wait. I took my crossword puzzle book and two pencils. I never work crosswords in ink. It’s guaranteed I’ll be doing some erasing. I forgot to mention that I like crossword puzzles that are HARD – ones I’ll most likely not be able to finish completely. I took along my Washington Post crossword puzzle book. I used to have the New York Times crossword puzzle book that I loved.

I also took along my copy of Julia Cameron‘s Walking In This World. I have read it through several times. I can’t remember how many times. But, I get something from it every time. When I finish it, I will either go back to The Artist’s Way and read that again, or I will re-read Walking in This World again. The books are full of reminders about what it is to be an artist, what one should be doing, the pitfalls to watch out for, and all those wonderful quotes.

So, while car problems got in the way of my plans to attend a holiday coffee and to spend a day painting, maybe it was meant to be. It provided some probably much-needed time to slow down, think, and think some more.

I could read a lot more than I do. I used to read a lot. But, it takes away from my painting time. I tend to think in terms of creating time and other things that interfere with creating time. Perhaps I need to expand my horizons and remember that all those other things fill the well. Where does one get the experiences to paint about if one isn’t “experiencing”?

So, maybe life doesn’t get in the way after all. Life is what it’s all about!

Wasting Time

Posted Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Hmmm…wasting time…

Is there really such a thing for an artist?

I often feel guilty about “wasting time”.   I could/should be doing something worthwhile. I should be painting, cleaning the studio, building painting panels, learning how to use the computer better, learning how to use my camera, and on and on and on…
There’s ALWAYS something that could be done.

But, is doing “nothing” really a waste of time? Maybe I’m filling the well.

Actually, I’m not really doing NOTHING. I’m just not doing the things I listed. And, when I think about it, I’m really doing more than one thing. I’m MULTI-TASKING!
Hey, I like that! It’s true…I AM multi-tasking.

While I think I’m wasting time cruising around on the computer, I’m actually researching and fueling my creative thoughts. I might check out facebook, which is heavy on art friends. So, their links are often art related. I follow several favorite artists’ blogs. Those are full of thoughts, inspiration and information. I check out current events. That alone is fuel for my art. I say my art is about the obvious and absurd in life. The news is my best resource!

And, if I haven’t rationalized my way to it’s okay to “waste” time now and then, we truly do need some down time to re-fuel.


Posted Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

I don’t walk into the studio to find inspiration. It’s not that it can’t be found there. It can be found anywhere and everywhere. Inspiration comes from living life. Any little thing can trigger a thought, an emotion, a visual that makes me want to create. I’m especially vulnerable to textures. And, they’re everywhere! Shiny, smooth, rough, cracked, polished, jagged, crumbly…the list goes on. I can see patterns in the textures. Sometimes a certain texture will evoke a memory, a fleeting thought, an idea…inspiration to start creating. It can be frustrating when all these ideas start cascading in my head and I’m NOT in the studio and probably won’t be there for some time. I guess the ideas go into a storage module somewhere in the brain. Hopefully, they will come out again when called upon. That’s what I mean when I say inspiration comes from living life. These experiences are constant and unending. They get stored somewhere…in the experience bank?

When I go into the studio I often DON’T have an idea of what I’m going to do. I go in because I LIKE it in there. It’s my favorite place. It’s where I do what I love most to do: paint and create. So, now, I NEED an idea. I NEED inspiration. Where is it? Stored somewhere in the brain. And, how do I get it out here where I can use it? Turn on the music, start putting paints out, look around the studio…Anything can trigger a thought, a memory, a visual. Oh, yeah, remember that beautiful rusty stain? The patina on the copper gutter? The crackled ice on the puddle in the street? The rough bark on the tree? The colors in the sunset last night? The change of color from the sunny spot to the shady spot? The dancing light on the lake?

Then, of course, I have to decide what I’m going to DO with that inspiration. The fun begins…