Stories For The New Year

Living My Own Story! 

This year I am determined to live my red thread life by letting my mind and dreams wander at will. I'm experimenting, being brave and trying many new things. I have an abundance of projects and ideas just waiting for me to step into my courage!  The painting below is an example and I'm very excited.  It involved very little planning which was intentional. It is collage and acrylic on canvas board. I selected a very simple color palette of manganese blue, vandyke brown, yellow ochre, titanium buff, gesso and glazing fluid. By collaging for texture and mixing those colors I created the abstract background first with no plan for what would come next. When is was dry I let the horizon line guide me towards possibilities. It lent itself to a scene with it's solid ground and lots of potential for a stormy sky.

And what about the story you ask? It's me again, Lovely Duck by my side and some illusive deep dream that appears to be pulling us along through a stormy sky.  I need to leave it open ended  because I don't yet fully understand where we are going. I know it has the theme of opening up to our deepest dreams and following their call. 

The theme isn't really new for me but It became more literal in the  paintings below. In all three of these I'm using the same theme, color palette and materials.  So now it's turning into a new story series.  When I first started posting on Instagram I tended to do a portrait and write a story as though each character were a part of the greater community. I envisioned my  gridded  Instagram feed as a tall apartment building with each new a portrait moving in as a resident and neighbor to the rest of the characters. I enjoyed that form of storytelling very much and so did my followers. So once again, (I never tire of this!) what begins as one thing, (in the case of Instagram it was the commitment to drawing 100 faces along with a group of other artists) becomes something else that we don't see coming.  In this instance I was simply following along over the past two years with that  line of red thread leading me and simply focusing on what presented itself along the way. I could go on and on about this beautiful way of living in the moment and I am sure I will be doing much of that over this next year as I continue to walk through my storied life with my ever present compaion Lovely Duck!

"Me and Lovely Duck obviously right? The words at the top are the key to this piece. WHAT ARE YOUR DEEP DREAMS? Ive been thinking so much about th  is question. It applies to all levels of consciousness. My hope for the coming year is to claim and continue to live my deep dreams. I do best with a gentle but firm hand guiding me. Lovely Duck is very gentle and the red thread keeps me on my path.   I am so happy to be living my deep dreams along with all of you! xo. "  Oh look! Lovely Duck and I have some creative visitors! First we had a little writing session regarding the question... "What are your deep dreams?" I came up a little exercise to get us started and wow fantastic art and story ideas came out of that! This one is mine.. "I dream of being with a tribe of creatives at the Gathering House. The Gathering House is safe place to connect to our own dreams and support the dreams of others. Then we do art!  This was such a fun little project! That's real red thread mind you and gold leaf too. When our creative companions come for a visit they get royal treatment here in my studio! Spirit animals and cats are allowed in the studio too! *  **The style of these  are inspired by two artists I admire.   Gabriel Pacheco  who is a magnificent artist and illustrator from Mexico who creates very dreamlike art that I adore! I've also been reading the work of  Brian Andreas  who  combines crazy line drawings with ridiculous and heartfelt words. He has long been a favorite of mine for quotes that make you think as well as laugh and cry.

I can't finish this post without mentioning that for us artists the new year is overflowing with inspiration, learning and thrilling art! So many fantastic classes have begun and many more are about to launch! I am thrilled with the start of Let's Face It and honored to have the opportunity to add in my artistic two cents on painting faces:) I have signed up for Misty Mawn's  Make/Do Art Workshop that begins February 14th and for Katie Kendrick' online course Grit and Grace that begins January the 11th.  I highly recommend them both!

love, Robin xo

Fearless Friday

First order of business is a name change for these weekly posts. It's going to be Fearless Friday rather than Failure Friday. Sounds more positive and upbeat :) I stillI might post on Saturday but I'd like to set my intention for Friday.

Fearless Flying

"The object isn't to make art; it's to be in that state which makes art inevitable." ~ ROBERT HENRI

This is an ink and charcoal drawing I did last week while in Ivy's studio. I like him very much. Not because he is perfect in any conventional way but because of what I felt while creating him. It was a day when the spirit of the above quote prevailed over fear and sabotage. I like to think about it as living in the red thread moment. The red thread moment is the jumping off  the cliff moment when I let go of all my rescue gear (except my red thread), my expectations and even my mind and I'm simply present with what is right there in front of me. It's joyful. It's exciting. It's inspiring. It's fun! 

It's not so simple though.  But it is. Do you know what I mean?  Another way to think about it is to imagine what it might take in order to find out if you are able to fly. In the air I mean. You have the wings, the feathers and the heartfelt wish but until you actually step off the edge you have no idea if you will drop like a stone or rise like a Phoenix. It's that scary sometimes. Similarly to art, flying is no doubt better accomplished without intent or over planning ... except to have your wings tied on very tight.

Obviously the riding a bicycle metaphor works well here too. Over-think steering, pedaling and ringing your bell all at once and you will surely crash and skin your knee. Everyone knows this phenomena but we still do things that cause us to fail.  So how do we get  to that seemingly magical state of mind that Robert Henri is referring to?  Well the short and the long answer is the same. We don't do anything intentional at all. That's the answer. Make art all the time and just be yourself. The red thread finds me I don't find it.  The same it true for the best inspired art making. Let go of all things but the heart and the senses and you're gold. Very Zen, very spiritual, very magical :)


Love, Robin

P. S. I thought you might also like to see what he looked like before I brought him into my iPad for a make up adjustment.  The original inspiration for the inky drawings we were doing that day was the work of South African artist  Marlene Dumas. So the scared look he has is relevant to the inspiration. Taking my original work into my iPad is a regular part of my artistic practice. It is the time when I can analyze, deconstruct and experiment with various changes and adjustments. It's a self teaching process that I find very helpful and fun as well!

In The Company Of Birds

As an artist I have consistently been all about the birds. I've welcomed them into my art from the very start. In fact my near constant companion for the past 18 months is a bird. Lovely Duck is of course a bird even if less elegant than a dove nor as graceful as a swallow in flight. He's still my daemon, carrier of our red thread and dearer to me than any other bird could be. He accepts me unconditionally and he's always on my side.  

A much as I love my sweet companion I am about to enter a deeper exploration of birds in general, in art, in symbolism and in storytelling. I'm already under the enchantment of birds in my art and over the next several weeks it will turn into a full scale state of of bird madness!  Believe me when I say I intend to fully embrace and make the most of my insanity. I plan to create a lot of art and to explore the red thread connection that seems inextriably bound to my birds in art as a symbol and my life as a point of navigation.   

   Ivy's class Flight and Feather opens on Monday next week and I am very excited to have a community to go bird crazy with! If you want to take the class she has a waiting list and will have another one before the end of the year! I have a lovely Pigeon story to tell but I'll save that for when I create my next bird painting!

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