Are we there yet?
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to be done with this social distancing on so many levels. At the beginning, none of us had any idea what it was going to look like on a daily basis. Most of us probably visualized this as a temporary situation. Since then, we’ve found ourselves adjusting to changes in nearly every aspect of our lives. Unfortunately, the reality is that there probably isn’t any chance that we will be back to “normal” any time soon.
So, just as in every other aspect of life, we as artists and ArtWorks are challenged with creating a new normal. How can we be together without being together? How as ArtWorks will we maintain and build our sense of community with one another and continue our outreach as artists in our communities?
We have an idea. We thought it would be fun for ArtWorks to do some artwork “together”, share our work with one another, and interact by commenting on the work we do. This is not limited to ArtWorks members. Anyone can contribute. Here's how it works:
You may contribute work for any prompt at any time. If you've only just discovered our site and want to contribute work for an earlier prompt, go for it. Please specify what prompt you used when you email it so it can be added to the blog under the correct heading.
We all know Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, painted while living in the St. Remy asylum.
Like a lot of people I’ve been intrigued by this image and so, of course, I’ve wanted to do my own version of the night sky I see here at my home (technically not an asylum but if this quarantine goes on too much longer…well…)
I’m currently working on the one at the left in encaustic (not done yet).
Years ago I braided a rug in recycled wool, mostly-blue with yellow stars in the shape of the big dipper (aka the Alaska state flag - go wolverines!).
So what does your starry night sky look like? Choose your medium from whatever you have: photos, paint, pencil, collage, crayons, fabric, colored sand, yarn, frosting on a cake, blue jeans & jewelry, towels and TP, magic beans?
If you have watercolors and want to try that, here’s a step by step watercolor of night sky — https://www.tropicdrawing.com/watercolor-night-sky/
Need inspiration? Google night sky art and see what you come up with!
I’m lucky. I have the art supplies I need to create my work in my home studio. You may be lucky in that way too, or you may find yourself looking for a way to be creative but with limited resources. The point of the TED video is that art isn’t just one thing, created in one way, or not valuable if it isn’t perfect.
Sometimes it is more about the creative process.
This week’s challenge is to create something using nontraditional materials like Vik Muniz in his work ‘Double Mona Lisa (Peanut Butter and Jelly), or use traditional materials in a way you normally wouldn’t (scribbling to draw a picture when you are normally very precise in your work).
When you're finished, email an image to email@example.com or post it on the ArtWorks page on Facebook. If needed, include an explanation of your process and materials.
While you're here, check out and comment on the posts under Blackout Poetry Journaling.
Making art is about making connections. Even if you are working realistically, the way you chose what you are going to depict is based in how you have connected the subject to your own need to communicate. Mentally I picture the process of trying to come up with an idea like trying to cross a stream without getting my feet wet. I start on one rock that seems stable and then look for the next steppingstone that will get me closer to the other side. Sometimes it is a straightforward journey, and other times I have a few false starts, wobbly rocks, before I get to the idea.
The four websites below were my steppingstones to this week’s prompt. After watching the first video below, I looked up the artist’s website to read more about his work. The idea of blackout poetry was intriguing but he wasn’t doing anything artistically interesting with it. However, Kleon had mentioned Tom Phillips so I looked up a video of him talking about his work. In the related videos, was the hidden poem video.
Steal Like an Artist: Austin Kleon at TEDxKC - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oww7oB9rjgw
Kleon Website: https://austinkleon.com/2014/04/29/a-brief-history-of-my-newspaper-blackout-poems/
Tom Phillips - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hRLgtqKM88 - artist talking about his work
Hidden Poems by Miriam Paternoster - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zf6k8aW2Toc
So, here are my steps in beginning my blackout poem artwork:
1. I didn’t have a book that I wanted to cut up or draw into, so I copied a page of Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. You can use any source as long as there is enough text and a variety of words. You may want to copy yours depending on the source of your text. Some types of paper don't work well with some mediums (markers, pen, colored pencils, etc.) For example shiny magazine pages don’t work very well with colored pencils. Computer paper works well with almost any medium.
2. I read through the text to see what words I had available. I underlined possibilities with a pencil. After I went through it a few times I wrote out my “poem” so I could see if it made any sense. I added punctuation, but kept the words in the same order from top to bottom, left to right. It’s not very good, but I went with it and outlined the words in marker.
Curious, I called with interest, and lack of sleep “Is a chronic shortage of funds much worse?”
I don’t know how and still less why, making things difficult—a nonessential impasse.