Monday, July 30, 2012

When in Doubt, Distraction Works


"When in doubt, don't."

Usually I 'don't', but I managed to push myself in another direction.

Without an idea which way to go next on the painting schedule, I turned to jewelry. Designing jewelry is a lot like painting. There are colors, shapes and spacial relationships to overcome.

Agate Necklaces ©Dora Sislian Themelis

It's the same creative process to work through, but the outcome is a little different. Still, as with paintings, someone has to be drawn to a piece to want to own it.

Raspberry Agate Necklace ©Dora Sislian Themelis

Paintings go up on someone's wall in a space. Jewelry gets to be worn and taken out into the world on someone's body. Same idea, but different.

Raspberry Agates ©Dora Sislian Themelis

So yeah, I thought a little jewelry distraction might be in order and put the paints aside for a little while to arrange some gorgeous semi precious stones. That shopping event is in September, but I may as well be prepared with items to sell. Unless I love these pieces too much to part with them.


Blue Agate Necklace ©Dora Sislian Themelis

Blue Agate Necklace ©Dora Sislian Themelis


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thought for Thursday

“You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic.” ― Bill Watterson

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Looking for Ideas

Until I decide on the next painting I am working on some jewelry pieces. There is an upcoming shopping event I agreed to do. I need to be prepared with work to show and sell. 



Motivation and ideas for the next painting work have to come from somewhere. Hopefully, as I arrange the beads, and my brain drifts away while I work, something will pop up.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Process Doesn't Mean Perfect

Taking advantage of the momentum, I finished another watercolor painting this week. Imagine that? I had just wrapped up one work when I decided I should just keep going and start the next one. 

The paints were out, the other painting was free from the watercolor block, I was there with wet paint brushes, why not?

I'm not even going to start with the whole thing about whether or not this is a good work. Forget it. 

Process, baby, process. Start the work. Keep going until you finish the work. 

Push it. Crush it. Process.

Three Pink Daisies ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
18x24 Watercolor, Arches cold press paper

Wanting to get it out of the way quickly I didn't even spend time with the photograph. One shot and I was out of there. It's a little shadowy on the upper right corner, which could possibly be my head blocking the light, but let's ignore that, shall we?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thought for Thursday

"The artist's task is to become a successful eccentric, a strange but wise duck able to venture out of solitary confinement and mingle among society." ~Eric Maisel

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Not a Wordless Wednesday

The temperature in New York this week is in the nineties. Today the thermostat in my car read 101F. People all around are wilting.

Get with the program people! We live in New York and this is the summertime, the BEST weather we're going to have so enjoy it now because around the corner "you know what" is lurking!

It's a four letter word beginning with an "S" and ending with a "W".

Just dwell on that for a moment while I go about my business.

There is no way I'm going to complain about the heat. Nope. I am loving the heat and humidity. That is a fact. The summer has to be the best season for all the obvious reasons and painting is a big one. I can move it all outside and enjoy the weather. The sun, the scent of flowers and grass, the colors of it all, everything is just beautiful.

That said, I worked on, and finished, another watercolor painting.

Pink Daisies ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
18x24 Watercolor, Arches cold press paper

Monday, July 16, 2012

Plodding in the Painting Process

Everyone comes to their process differently. How an individual weaves their way through the day to come out at the other end with a finished product is as varied as each person's character and ability.

Some of us plod. Some procrastinate. Others push. And some fly. I wish I could fly.

Me? I plod.

Twyla Tharp wrote about her process in her book The Creative Way, that she needs some little thing to start the process, an action that signals her brain to begin the chain of events that lead to working.

Many artists are working alone and not punching a clock. There is no boss who eyes us if we don't show up on time. We are our own boss, and as such, might give ourselves the day off if we should so desire.

It's no surprise that things can quickly fall by the wayside just because we suddenly have the urge to veer off in a direction that has nothing to do with creating our work.

Um, yeah, painting is work. (But don't ask The Mr. if painting is my work. He'll frown and look at me sideways.)

My day always has a plan. The to-do list is ready from the night before, but is tweaked first thing in the morning. Painting is always first on that list.

With morning activities done, the family out, and the house finally in order, it's office time. Emails, updating, uploading, and all things computer related. Then there might be errands. By now it's noon.

Have I headed to the studio to paint by now? No. I'm plodding through the day, trying to avoid resistance mode.

It can be mid-afternoon by the time I get to the item #1 on the list. I'm still looking for that little action that signals it's time to get the ball rolling.

This past week I was determined to push, rather than plod, to paint. I cleared my day as fast as I possibly could. The weather was beautiful, but I knew I had been slacking and decided to bring the painting equipment outside to work in the garden rather than from photos in the studio.

Afternoon Garden ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
18x24 Watercolor, Arches cold press paper
Painting in the garden allowed me to enjoy the summery weather and work at the same time. Working the brush quickly I did my best to lay in all the colors and shapes I wanted before I lost momentum.

Once the work begins it goes well, I'm in the zone, the process of painting is satisfying and the end is agreeable to me.

Still, I'd rather not plod through the process.





Friday, July 13, 2012

Finished Work for Friday

After deciding to ditch the family travel photos and move on to other things, I found this photo of a monastery in Greece built into the side of a cliff on the Cycladic island of Amorgos. It was mysteriously appealing to me and felt that urge to paint so I went along with it. A twenty minute session and I was finished with this work.


Amorgos Monastery ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
9x12 Watercolor on Arches cold press paper

There's more going on, but I'll save it for later. See you on the flip side.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Some Kind of Wordless on Wednesday

Dodging Mr. Resistance isn't easy so I try to hide out, but once in a while he finds me and aims his barbs when I peek over my shoulder. 

If I'm not careful motivation is out the window and that's that with that.

Since reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, I am well aware of resistance and learned a few tricks to beat it quickly.

One of those tricks is to keep moving any way I possibly can. Either I can clean up the studio, doodle with my granddaughter's crayons, dig in the garden, or whip out the camera. Something mindless usually works. 

In between paintings, thinking things, and hunting for inspiration, I headed out into the garden. 

A garden visitor

Looking for painting subjects in those old photographs allowed a chink for resistance to slip in. Bad move.

Out in the garden to follow the butterflies with my camera helped put a stop to that.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Finished for Friday

The sunflower and veggie photos are exhausted. I was hunting for subjects for the next painting by looking through my photographs of this and that. Since I'm not visiting Greece again this summer I wandered to my pictures of our past trips.

It wasn't such a good idea.

None of the scenes appealed to me as paintings. The photos I took of my view either had my family or other people in them, or they just work as a photograph.

But then I got involved looking at our family, where we were, what we were doing, family we were visiting with, the youth of my sons and their happy faces, their silliness, and who is gone since then.

Many memories live in the pages of those photo albums and rather than finding inspiration I found a sort of melancholy.

A little book of travel info peeked out of my bookshelf and I found a small photo of a Greek island I'd never been to before. The colors and shapes were pleasing so I went ahead and sketched that scene. It felt good to lose myself in the activity and to shake off the downer.

Kalymnos ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
12x9 Watercolor, Arches 140lb cold press paper

Done in twenty minutes start to finish, it's a bright, colorful scene with none of the memories.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thought for Thursday

“Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” ― Albert Camus