Friday, April 22, 2011

Made it to the 2nd round of the Lehigh Valley Art Wars!

My winning painting from the 1st round of the Lehigh Valley Art Wars. The theme was "Evolution"

I made it through the 1st round of the Lehigh Valley Art Wars last night with my painting above. Whew!

About 30 seconds before the MC said "Go!" we were given the theme of "Evolution" to work with. Admittedly, I see the mandala as being connected to, and encompassing the universe as a whole, so I was prepared to create a mandala representative of any theme presented to me. We had two hours to create and though I had practiced painting 4 pieces within that time limit over the last 10 days, working with that time constraint wasn't the only challenge I encountered.

At the word "Go!" I felt the same gut reaction as when back in the mid 80's I'd be at a concert and they would turn the lights off just prior to the main act taking the stage. That surge of adrenalin combined with the compulsion to jump the rows in front of me and get right in front of the stage. It was a fight or flight response for sure. I didn't know what color to pick first, or what my mandala would look like. Should I work with one of the color palettes that I used recently? Yes. I decided to run with the same primary color theme that I had tried earlier in the week because I thought it really POPPED, and since the lighting wasn't spectacular inside the venue, I wanted to do something that would surely stand out.

I think the hardest part for me was deciding what to do next, for fear of mucking something up. I felt like each decision was life or death and wow... it was all just so intense and surreal.

The most interesting part of it all was having people come up to me to tell me that they loved what I created. I hadn't really imagined that part. My work has been on the web for years and I often receive many wonderful comments but to have a stranger actually look you in the eye and say it... wow again. Also to hear their interpretation of my work. Of how it made them feel. That was totally new to me. All my feedback (good or bad) is my feedback to work harder at what I do. Looking at my piece from last night, my only criticism to myself is that I think I worked a bit too fast and that may have contributed to it looking a bit rougher that I would have liked. But I am very proud of the job that I did and am looking forward to the next round, where we will be given a box of unknown materials to complete our piece. I'm a mixed media kind of girl and am unafraid.

Mucho huge thanks to my husband and best friends for showing up and providing me with their support. Also mucho thanks for everyone who couldn't be there but who wished me luck and fed me full of their positive energy -> I felt it for sure!

One last thing... exactly one year ago, I wasn't yet able to call myself an artist. I had been making art for a long time but was unable to accept the responsibility of that role for fear of rejection... criticism.... But is IS who I am, and as long as I continue to do what I do from my heart, it will always be good, and there is nothing to fear.

For more info on the Art Wars, search Facebook for the fan page: "Lehigh Valley Art Wars."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Thursday Night 4/21 Lehigh Valley Art Wars: Come watch me paint and help me win!

Practicing for upcoming Art Wars competition. 24x30" painted in under 2 hours

Though I have been creating and sharing my art online for years, it's only been fairly recently that I've decided to emerge as an artist in my local community. When I saw an advertisement for this *live* art competition, I knew this was the right vehicle to help me take my first steps outside of my comfort zone.

I am quite comfortable working within a time constraint- a large percentage of the 1600 mandalas I've created in the last 4 1/2 years have been made in one sitting as I use the mandala (and the creative process in general) as a tool for meditation and personal growth.I am however, still fairly new to working with acrylic paint. Off an on for the last year, I first worked with acrylic craft paints, and later professional grade acrylics by Golden, Liquitex & Daniel Smith.

Another challenging element to this competition will force me to work much larger than I'm used to. I don't usually go beyond 11x14" so a bit of practice & experimenting was in order to see what was possible for me to do on a big canvas in under 2 hours.

Each of these 4 canvases were created in the last 8 days, in under the 2 hour mark on each piece. The image above is the largest of the 4, at 24x30"

1 hour 47 minutes 22x28"
This is the 2nd largest image at 22x28"

3rd largest at 18x24"

16 x 20" in 90 Minutes
Smallest of the four at16x20" and on a flat canvas panel rather than a traditional framed canvas.

1 hour 47 minutes 22x28"

Practicing for Art Wars 24 x 30" completed in under 2hrs.

18x24"canvas 2 hours, seeing what could be done. Preparing for Art Wars

Thursday, April 21 · 7:30pm - 10:30pm
Location: Bethlehem Brew Works

The Lehigh Valley Art Wars are live events where artists create in a competitive environment presenting the creative process as a form of entertainment, gaining the artist exposure and connecting artists with admirers.

Round Robin type tournament where four artists compete, two artists from each war move on to the semi finals then onto the finals. Sixteen artists will be narrowed down to four for the finals.

Each War will give the artist two hours to create their piece of work. The artwork will be voted on by a combination of the audience and jury.

Round 1 Second Event Artists: Mike Arehart, Matthew Nixon, Stephanie Smith & Jerry Steward

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Original Transformative Art: Friday's Mandala - Available on Etsy

Friday's Mandala

When creating art, I love how I never really know how a certain piece is destined to evolve. I started this one early last November when I first completed the background watercolor wash. No idea why I laid down the colors the way I did, it was simply my way of honoring the first part of this process. The piece then sat untouched until this past Friday, when I knew later that night would be somewhat of my re-entry into the world after my usual period of winter hibernation. "Friday's Mandala" was completed roughly within a two-hour time period on 4/8/11 from 2-4:15pm.

You can purchase this one of a kind piece of transformative art from my Etsy Shop: Fee Bean Art

Hang on...

I first used a series of permanent markers to draw the mandalas - each with a color that somewhat corresponded to the one behind it. Next came several layers of acrylic paint. As I wanted the effect to be a somewhat of a see-through white, I used a few light washes of Golden's Zinc White. Black gesso came next, then finally, the white gel pen. This was a fun piece to create and I hope you will consider enjoying it in your home.


Applying the Zinc White

Watch where this goes...

Starting to draw the mandalas.

Watercolor background

A watercolor wash started it out.

Monday, April 4, 2011

2 Pushing 3

Early Biffy Art

In October of 1971 I was 2 years old- would be turning 3 on December 31st. Mom recently sent me these scans of what may be my earliest artistic renderings. This first piece looks somewhat suspiciously like a mandala. :o)

Early Biffy Art

I began wearing glasses at the age of 4, so I'm wondering what the world looked like to me prior to that time. This one seems to depict a person with a deformed mouth surrounded by faceless people. Or donuts.

Early Biffy Art

Similar to the previous image, another person with a deformed mouth and more faceless donut people.

Early Biffy Art

I wonder who this is? Is it Ernie from Bert & Ernie on Sesame Street? I loved Ernie - and interestingly... I only just remembered that while writing this post.

Crayon on corrugated cardboard. From the private collection of Mom.
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