Sunday, September 30, 2012

Resistance is a Killer

Resistance is a funny thing. Funny as in, not so funny. Funny as in, a killer. A killer of motivation, inspiration, the feeling of wanting to do something and the non-energy to move. 

Yeah. Resistance is all that. Back to the proverbial drawing board, as they say.

The point is in the process. Paint something! Good, bad, whatever. Just do it. Sit down, get something on paper, never mind what we think about the 'something'. The point is to work. 

Yes, I know all that. So why is it so hard to actually DO it? Don't ask me. I decided to go back to reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Strangely enough, after I had re-read the first chapter, I felt empowered enough to paint. Even if it meant what I painted was dumb. Even if the outcome was sub-par, I did it.

I put down the book, gathered my stuff and headed outside to the front garden. The summer blooms have faded. All that's left are the seed heads of the pink daisies and other perennials, although the asters are just starting their fall show of periwinkle blue.



Mixing colors to try for periwinkle wasn't working so I did my best, adding color where I felt it needed to go, then I stopped. Remember, it could go to trash quickly if I don't stop myself.

Finding time this weekend, I went back and added some detail. Whatever I think about this work I will keep to myself. Do the seed heads really need to look like the real thing? Not really. I just wanted to paint with color for a breezy feeling, hoping the process would take me there.


Seed Heads ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
14x20 Watercolor, Arches cold press paper

The paper was dry and it was easy to add strokes of paint to areas I thought needed it.  Am I happy with it? Eh, let's just say I'm glad I got something on paper.

Did it. Done.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thought for Thursday

People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing – that's why we recommend it daily. (Zig Ziglar)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Itchy for a Getaway to Somewhere

Did you ever get that itchy feeling you want to do something, but not sure what that something is? Go somewhere, see something, enjoy the scenery..something?

There is something about a free day, with a warm sun that says "get going somewhere" to me.

Lately it's been a wonderful habit of mine to run down to the beach when I get that getaway feeling. So what that it's September, or October. Just me, my chair, a book, food, iced coffee, and my travel watercolor paint set. If I wait too long to decide, like by 1PM, I might not bother. Even noon could be too late for me. I like to go, spend an hour or so and return.

Then there's the other people. If I tell someone I feel like going to the beach they might say something that makes me think it's not a good idea. I think it's great, others think it's weird. Some others like it.

Eisenhower Park, Westbury, NY
Well, I say it's my time to recharge, re-motivate, reinvigorate, have an hour vacation, and possibly paint. So, what's the problem?

Maybe people think it's kind of anti-social to want to be alone. I think it's my time and I need to spend it in a place out in nature that makes me feel good, and helps my art brain to shut up and be quiet. No big thing to it.

Last week, with a clear sky above and the hot sun feeling really good on my face, I wanted to jump in the car and head to the beach. But. All those "buts" started coming my way. The time was passing, I wasn't ready, and I started feeling funny about bothering. Should I go? Should I stay?

Back and forth I tossed the thought around in my head. If I go, should I wear clothes or will I be boiling? Wear a bathing suit, or will I be freezing?

At the Park @2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
5x7 Watercolor, Canson paper
When I finally decided I had to go somewhere and stop thinking so much, it was even closer than the beach, to Eisenhower Park. It has wide open spaces where I could plop myself in my chair and do the same things I would if I was at the beach, minus the bathing suit.

And man, was it hot. So hot, I thought I should've just gone to the beach, in my bathing suit.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thought for Thursday

"Spaghetti can be eaten most successfully if you inhale it like a vacuum cleaner." ~Sophia Loren

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How to Cut a Mat for Your Artwork, the Easy Way

There's no strange science to cutting a mat for your artwork. Even for those of us who are mathematically challenged, I raise my hand here, it's really not complicated in that regard. If my Artist Attention Deficit Disorder brain can handle it, so can yours.

Here you can see I've gathered my tools: T-square, triangle, straight-edge ruler, masking tape, pencil, kneaded eraser, and the dreaded one edged razor blade. Ta Da!


Usually I try to cut a mat to fit into a standard frame size. It just makes it easier for me, or a buyer, to find a frame. I also want the mat to have 1 1/2" to 2" of border around the work. If the art is a weird size I might make the lower edged border slightly larger than the top edge.

Again, this is just pleasing to the eye. I measure my art, decide where I want the mat placed and look for the border size I want. Easy. Is there a lot of math involved? Nope.

It's hard to see in this photo, but I measured the area I planned to cut out of the board and penciled in guide lines. Then I squared up with my straight edged tools and ready to cut the bevel.


Holding the razor at an angle, I begin at the left hand corner of the border and rest against the T-square. With a new blade you can cut right across in one try, keeping the angle for the bevel, and stop right at the right corner at the next pencil line. 

Control is important because the mat looks bad if there are cross cuts. And you don't want to keep going over the line you just cut because doing that can get nasty. No one wants to see scraggly strands of paper, or unevenly cut lines on a mat. Fresh, sharp blades always.


Having cut three sides of the opening, you can see a little bit of the bevel. Those lines visible at the corners are just pencil. I'll erase them when I'm finished cutting. Just to backtrack for a second, I do turn the mat around and square up to cut each side.


And Voila! The mat is cut. How nice is that bevel, huh? Nice, right? Yeah.


After I clean up the tiny bits of paper in the corners with a careful cut of the razor, I erase my pencil marks. I position my artwork where I want it to show, fix it with a bit of masking tape, then add neat tape to it. I snip off the tape with my razor leaving a clean edge all around.


Here I'm erasing my pencil lines.


Can you see the bevel on the lower edge and some of the corner? Nice, right? Boom!



The bevel catches the light, if done right, and makes the work look finished. Framed it would look even better.


And there you have it. No secrets. No crazy calculations. Just some simple numbers, a steady hand, and a sharp razor. Get some nice, white mat board, flat or with a little texture, and try it. Not hard at all. 

When you find out what they charge to do this for you, believe me, you'll figure out how to do it yourself quick.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Time to Cut More Mats

Cleaning up in the studio can sometimes lead to actually working in the studio. And I had high hopes of beating Mr. Resistance while in the middle of this chore. Alas, it didn't work that way this time.

However, I did come to one conclusion: paintings on paper need a mat.



There is something about matting a work that says "Finished." A mat lends a neat look to a painting, much like framing does. The two together, a mat with a frame, is preferable. But even the mat alone cleans up the work and gives it some room to breathe.

Besides, the work won't flop over when being shown at those shopping events.

In the photo above, you can see how my watercolor paintings look with and without mats. Those with look nice, clean, and professional. Yes, the paintings without a mat are wonderful, but I think they will display a better appearance with that bit of frame.

So, in an effort to argue with Mr. Resistance to stop visiting, I took a small step toward working.

Matting is working. I may be going old school by using a T-square, triangle, and a razor blade, but it's fine with me. A few mats a day won't hurt. Paying a framer hurts. Buying a mat cutting device hurts.

Anyway, I can cut a mean bevel with my bare hands.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thought for Thursday

     “The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.”  ~Emile Zola

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Eleven Years

It's disturbing to think eleven years have passed since those terrible men murdered almost three thousand regular people doing regular, every day things. And the families the lost left behind. And the people who worked to find survivors who are fighting illnesses now. The passage of time dulls pain somewhat, but not completely. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that this day never becomes a national holiday. Guaranteed it will be forgotten and used as an excuse to have a barbecue, go away on vacation, and eventually moved to make a three day weekend. No thanks.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fashion's Night Out with Art

It's been a busy couple of weeks here. Between trying to track down inspiration for new work, the end of the summer, and planning for the shopping event, I had no time for my requisite peace and quiet. Too much noise going on up inside my head.

Maybe it's the excitement of doing something new? You think? But I have to admit that all the things I've been learning about marketing my work over the past year helped me a great deal. Steps have already been put in place. It was just a matter of getting to the venue and trying it out. Not knowing what to expect is the only thing that made me a little anxious.

All was for nought. Look! They even put out the red carpet for me! Just kidding, it was Fashion's Night Out Shopping Event. There were artists, fashion designers, jewelry vendors, chocolatiers, a DJ, food and drinks.


Of course, I was early. When we entered the space we saw a wall space opposite the bar that I was going to hang my art and a table for my jewelry and notecards. The organizers asked me if I would extend all the way over the DJ's booth with my paintings. Hey, why not? I had enough with me.


Well, watercolor paintings pack flat if not framed so I packed up my portfolio with things I thought people might like. And they did like my work, but I didn't sell any paintings. But I did sell a couple of jewelry pieces, so that was fun.


 There was a nice vibe at the venue. My family came to see me there. They even shopped the other vendors. The music was good and so was the food. We had a fun night, and I got to show my work another time. Every event I guess it gets easier.

I'll be looking forward to the next one. Now I've got to get back to work.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thought for Thursday

"Most people are so busy knocking themselves out trying to do everything they think they should do, they never get around to what they want to do." --Kathleen Winsor