make art. transform life.

thoughts about creativity and  art:   live your life as your work of art.

 How to accelerate creative growth - design self residency?

by the brook        by beth vendryes williams

by the brook        by beth vendryes williams

Are there times in your life or creative practice, when you find yourself at a loss for original ideas or problem-solving? Do you have trouble staying focused? Are you tired of your routine?

That happened to me just recently, and I knew I needed a change in environment to help me come up with both fresh ideas and renewed focus on my goals for creating. Before I had the flexibility of working for myself, painting full time, I had to finda  portable studio]that I could fit in my pocket book.I began by buying a large pocket book, portable water brush, watercolor sticks, and pencils a paper towel and my favorite, pen. As a working parent of young children, I was always in new environments, drawing everywhere I went in my portable studio.

 Now, though, It seems that I need to get out of my own studio and work n a different environment occasionally. So I began to look for residencies to apply for in the future. Hmmm, I knew I needed the opportunity to change my environment and thus my perception, but more quickly than I could get a residency. !

Just in time, an opportunity presented itself. A friend offered me the opportunity to stay in a beautiful studio, while he was gone on business, in which I could work uninterrupted, indoors and out for 5 days! Thus began the idea of creating my own residency! 

So if you check my Instagram you can see my daily work and all of it at the end! Very affirming! 

What did I learn from this?

1. Pay attention your instincts. Just like water keeps your body and spirit in great shape, so too does changing your environment satisfy your need to new ways of seeing things.
2. Use the time as a retreat, scheduling social connections on and offline when desired
3. Plan a general goal and give yourself room to follow your inspiration. I did a lot of journal work and fewer paintings inspired by the journals. Now I have new inspiration embedded my journals.
4. If you are a visual artist, choose mediums appropriate to the setting, especially in terms of ease of clean up and the available space.
5. Organize necessary supplies before you go, separated for quick availability and ease of use.
6.  Take your iPhone for camera and documentation on social media to share with your fans.
7.  Bring any inspirational reading and be present for contemplation and spiritual listening.
8.  Do not judge, just make your marks.
9. Reflect on it all when you get home.
10. Build and expand from what you created in your residency.

Well, I’d better get on to my studio and work on step 10! Email, text or contact me on this website to give your ideas, suggestions, and response to my work or my post! make sure you are subscribed so you know what I am up to! You will get a newsletter with links to my weekly posts, 1x a month!

Live life fully!
 


 

How changing methods can energize your vision & focus

Dan Welden teaching in Far Rockaway at Rockaway Artist's Alliance.(RAA).

Dan Welden teaching in Far Rockaway at Rockaway Artist's Alliance.(RAA).

 I found out about his workshop by accident, when I mentioned his name to a new acquaintance, Valerie Zeman, at an art opening. 

“Dan Welden?”, She confirmed, Oh, I know of him! He is giving a solar print workshop in Far Rockaway!” Well, I immediately emailed them because I had worked with Dan, then a stone lithographer, years ago. 

I went to the workshop on solar printing, just taking a risk that it would be an ecological approach to making prints. That has been part of the reason I have stayed away from making prints for years. I played and came up with a very strong image, etched by the sun in its solar sensitive coating.  The print was incredible, eventually being accepted into the NYSS Alumni Invitational!  There is an opening Thursday from 6-8 pm. I will be there, excited to see it and all of the work by NYSS alumni artists! 

Now I am thinking of doing a series of solar prints, working with Dan Welden. So this new body of work is on my mind as I prepare for the show and process the work I did on my self-designed residency. 

Thank you to all who participated in my open studio and viewed work in my studio, my home or at the delicious Autentico Restaurant! I f you are interested in the process, the exhibit or any of the work contact me and certainly subscribe, below!
 

How to create, observe and transform art / life

eat your greens

 Why do I have an open studio each year? 

organize and work regularly

Ooh boy! I wondered if I would get the place cleaned up in time for you. Sometimes I do too much at once, or I don’t put things back where they belong! Recognizing this reminds me to save time and find tools and paints faster. A habit of maintaining a system of organizing and working allows me to share it with you!

observe and reflect

Seeing the work up and surrounding me, allows a chance for both of us to observe and reflect on what I have done. Many times, the simplest thing takes on much more status when I see it in the context of all of my recent work! I wonder if that happens to you also?

assess  & choose

The act of choosing what to leave in and what to withdraw is informative in itself. Making choices is part of creating. So pay attention to each piece; view it on its unique terms. Assess if you feel it adds to the overall strength of the whole exhibit.

ask for & accept help

Ask for and accept help from others. It takes a community to build a body of work.

invite & share

Invite people who care to see and talk about what you have done. Be inspired and informed by their insights. Share delicious bites of food, something refreshing to drink and great conversations.

feel & express gratefulness

Feel grateful for the privilege of having the ability to create work, show and sell it. Share your gratefulness with all who come or wish to come.

view from a new perspective

Take a step back to view the trajectory of where you are now and where you would like to go. 

rest

Rest.

begin work again, with new insights

Keep going in the direction of your freshly gained insights.

I’m on to something!  This list of how I transform my art by creating, then observing, could also be applied to the art of living! Thoughts?

 

Source: https://beth-vendryeswilliams-vexi.squares...

7 ways that journaling unlocks your heart to be creative

rushing through, time travel    

rushing through, time travel    

 

As I journey through life, maintaining creative flexibility,

I have found that most of the time, things don’t go the way you think they will. So when I earned my masters in drawing/printmaking from the University of Iowa, I was ready to begin creating full time and selling my work! Of course life intervenes and, shortly after graduating, my husband and I were privileged to have three sons, each 2-3 years apart.

journaling can weave creativity into daily life.


I decided to use my creative impulse to transform my rather large pocket book and uneven segments of time into a portable studio. I just kept writing, drawing and collecting the morsels of everyday life.( Link to Journal post fro October 30, 2016.)

1. Reflecting on these journals has been an unexpected gift, revealing my life from a intimate perspective, giving me an opportunity for reflection. This gives a bird’s eye view of the current map of my life. 
2. Memories come welling up in my heart, as I page through, nudging the past back into consciousness.
3. Details that I had forgotten are right there in my drawings and writing.
4.  Drawings and poems about  events and thoughts, that were forgotten in the midst of everyday activities are reclaimed.
5. There is affirmation of the joy and recognition of the sorrows of my life. 
6. I have an Opportunity to make a future based on recovering where I have been. 
7. Material is at my fingertips, for both writing and painting with historical and creative primary source materials: my own journals.

Now when I am working, and I want some inspiration, I include my personal journals among the literary and artistic inspirations available to me.

How to find the time? 


This is how I did it. I made a minimal packet in a small zip lock bag with a refillable ink pen, a pencil, eraser and sharpener, a plastic water-brush and a Moleskine journal, with sturdy paper that could take take light watercolor washes. As my bag and time allowed I added watercolor crayons, regular crayons, oil pastels and a portable box of watercolors. For a long vacation when I knew there would be a lot of relaxed time, I added larger paper and brushes, along with a lightweight coated masonite board on which to fasten  precut/ torn paper.

What do I do with journals when they are filled?


As each journal neared the end, I placed on a shelf, High up in my studio area. Last year when we were renovating our home, I Had to clear off my journal shelf of what i surmised, was 10 journals. Surprise, I had 130 journals. I had never counted them and barely had the time to review them through the years.

Like a garden, I have reaped a harvest that is constantly providing nourishment that is based on my life and the memories and images I have collected.

But it’s not the only way….


My gift to you is the story of how it happened. I would love to hear you own way of reflection on your life that has helped you to grow creatively, in whatever medium you work! Is your art, raising children, making healthy desserts, finding balance, managing money, training animals, making music, doing massage, teaching yoga, being a lawyer, keeping a beautiful home?
I am very excited to hear your story!

Impact Of The Whitney Biennial Is The Truths It Reveals

Artist Coleen Smith

Artist Coleen Smith

Have you had trouble prying your eyes from the latest tweet or news report, lately?

Imagine rooms full of sculptures made from found objects. Colorful, boisterous paintings. Large. Each body of work was dealing with recent worldwide political issues, refugees, oppressive governments. Some work played with the idea that in some ways we are oblivious to the changes going on around us.  I read about how the curators were chosen. As it was their first-time biennial experience and I love how they sifted through 100’s of artists to get to the 63 artist’s and collectives gathered together on the 5th and 6th floors of the museum. Additional work is placed in surprising places throughout the building.  

It is not like going to a  “regular” art museum or art fair. It is, at first, more like a discovery of how, this year, artists have been affected by the socio-political climate, and injustice.  After investigating some of the work, I was reminded of how much the current state of the world has sharpened my focus.

So do go there. 
See and walk amongst this curated world in which artists have responded to, and found respite in drawing and painting their response to the world of the past year. Eventually, you will find the “forest”, when you are halfway through. This exhibit does give me hope. 

caveat:  I did not participate in the virtual reality  exhibit. Topic: violence.

When windblown curtains provide refuge

In the middle of the night, I awoke to the cool breeze sailing through a slightly open window. The breath of the wind carried a sense of excitement by sailing on the curtains. 

It was a quiet but streaming energy that entered our room. I felt the freedom in the air and allowed any weight accumulated from worries of the day, to dissipate.

The translucent white cotton curtains wafted and softly draped, creating a feeling of safe refuge in my soul. 

Then I took a photo with my iPad, in an attempt to capture that moment in time, when I felt energy give me refuge from the remnants of the day. 

 

Simplify a moment to capture its essence

sketch for finding refuge               ©beth vendryes williams

sketch for finding refuge               ©beth vendryes williams

At the beginning of his career, while a practicing artist, Berger drew his father in his coffin, he realized that, associated with each drawn line, he was also notating time with his pencil marks.

Drawing is a way to abstract or simplify an image to reveal its essence. When you draw, it can make time visible, revealing moments in your memory. Of course, drawing is always from memory because you need to remember what you see to draw it. Your hand is responding to how the head and heart interpret what the eye sees.

John Berger, who wrote the influential book “Ways of Seeing” died on January 2nd this year. He was an English art critic, novelist, painter, and poet. 
 
At the beginning of his career, while a practicing artist, Berger drew his father in his coffin, he realized that, associated with each drawn line, he was also notating time with his pencil marks.

  “each successive line on the page carries with it, its moment in time. A drawing is a summary of the acts of looking, and being with your subject. For Berger, the portrait offered “a door through which moments of a life” — his father’s — “could enter.” 

                                                                               beautifully written by Elisa Wouk Almino @


Think about that. Each mark can be a visceral,, visual response to what you see, remember and feel over time!   Making marks can communicate in a language that is universal.

Try it yourself. All it takes is a pencil and paper. You also need a nonjudgemental mind. Just rmake the marks.

Leave a comment on here or instagram , facebook, twitter below! Very exciting!

reflect remake, revise, onward!

667 thinking blue skies  journal, wc ©beth vendryes williams

667 thinking blue skies  journal, wc ©beth vendryes williams


So I noticed I had too many tasks to accomplish in one day, there were no time boundaries around daily tasks, and I was missing some of my physical exercises, like walking, dancing and organizing. Writing weekly posts are a habit that hasn’t easily kicked in yet. 

When I looked around for inspiration, I rediscovered the [SMART] acronym in Michael Hyatt’s post:
    •    Specific Have you been specific about what you want to achieve?
    •    Measurable How will you know if you’ve reached your goal?
    •    Achievable Is this a goal that you can make happen?
    •    Relevant Is this goal aligned with your mission, vision, and values?
    •    Time Specific When do you want to achieve this goal?
    
 After reflection I prioritized three items I then applied these with intent, using a timer to ascertain the reality, and time limits to set a maximum. I then planned physical breaks so I would feel the ned to move.
 
Specifically, I CHOSE this course of action!
1. 3- 5 hours in studio 10 -12 create work on sketches mind maps for refuge, time travel water, journals and how they interact.
2. Take breaks every 1.5 - 2 hours and do physical
3. Get post and social out in the morning by 10:30

Thus journaling helps before you go too far off course!
It just becomes a redirect; I don’t waste time/energy blaming anymore!

Tell me how you've resolved times like this, when your goals are far from what is actually happening!  How did you solve it? You could sign up for my journal workshop today!

How to make a roadmap that meets your dreams in 2017

editing in the afternoon  22" x 30" w/c . beeswax ©beth vendryes williams
  •   

Oh, how I love this time of year!
The warmth and blessings of holiday gatherings keep the raw cold and unpredictable weather at bay. This break in routine gives me time to think of each of you, who, so generously invite me into your inbox each month, asking questions and responding to my art and writings with encouraging words and appreciation. 

Thank you! 
You keep me going. 

 I reviewed my art, writing and records from the past year.

 This week, I had no plan, except to reflect on last year and plan the goals for the next!  The week before New Years' has become my most effective motivator.

 I found a lot to celebrate. I am creating selling my work and keeping better records. I have exhibited five shows and taught three workshops. We are just putting the finishing touches on a home addition that increases space for organization and storage of my art and supplies.

Three areas I have chosen  to focus on this year:

  1. I need to get better at sharing my work, and writing my weekly posts and monthly newsletters consistently. 
  2. My decision to choose themes that I am most passionate about will require more reading, dialogue with others and observation. I am excited about spending more time in the studio! Showing up each day around the same time enhances the opportunity for creative growth. Journaling, with words, images and photos and work is done outside of the studio will enrich the series. 
  3. A  flexible timeline and comprehensive editorial calendar connecting both art and the writing will coordinate my thoughts and deepen my work, help me to achieve my vision!

So how can you make a roadmap?

  • Go to a quiet place and reflect on your year.
  • What makes you happiest??
  • Get a journal or small notebook where you can write you observations.
  • Reflect on your past year.
  •  What makes you proud?
  • What would you like to change or further develop?
  • What makes you dissatisfied?
  • List what worked, and what could be improved.
  • Imagine now, what you would like next year to be.
  • Write down two or 3 goals to achieve your dreams.
  • Then work backward, deciding what tasks you need to do regularly to make those goals happen.
  • Make a timeline.
  • Connect it with your calendar.
Whether you create art with or without crayons, reflect on your creative life this past year. Your life is your own to create, with whatever materials you have available to you.                                                                                                                               beth vendryes williams

Does this work for you? Share your thoughts and tell me what you've  discovered!



 

 

What you focus on determines where you go

True story.

This summer when I was cleaning out my studio office, I discovered that, over my lifetime, I had shelved not 30, but 130 journals! All because I decided that I wanted to make art. I worked full time, didn’t have a studio or supplies and was actively involved and madly in love with my husband and three sons.
I decided that I would create a portable studio and carry it around in my rather roomy handbag. Over the years, the size of journals and types of materials have changed, but one thing remained constant. I never had to be without a place to put my thoughts and ideas, marks and paintings. My daily life became my source for ideas.

Why is this important?
We each have been given a precious life. Reflection on it is essential for realizing our fullest potential of who we are.

Journaling, both written and visual can do that. I will show you how. Register now and receive a free original sketch from me when you attend. Call Oyster Bay Historical Society and reserve your spot. Contact me. This Sunday will come and go. Only you can make a decision to make a difference in your life. 

If not now, when? 

Painting daily - journals at the source

Blue Hydrangeas #726        down the garden path #728        through morning  light  #723                                                  by beth vendryes williams

Blue Hydrangeas #726        down the garden path #728        through morning  light  #723

                                                 by beth vendryes williams

Opening my new exhibit, Painting daily; journals at the source,  
was delicious, beautiful and well attended! Delicious, has to do with homemade apple cider donuts, as well! The paintings continue to hang beautifully on the walls through January.  So if you missed it I invite to go right over to the Oyster Bay Historical Society!

It was very exciting for me to see many curious, enthusiastic  art explorers as they investigated my journals, finding much they could relate to in my imagery and words. 

I have been searching for ways to record my marks in journals, since the 1970’s. You can read more about that here.

This show was inspired by   
my casual estimate of a 30 journal cache on the top shelves of a bookcase. The number turned out to be 130 journals! The Oyster Bay Historical Society Historical Society director, Phillip Blocklyn, stopped by to see work at my studio as I was trying to figure out what I was going to do now that they sat on my work table. He pointedly made a connection with Mary Cooper, living in Oyster Bay in 1768, She is thought to be the oldest known woman diarist in New York State!

When I explored the continuity of themes,
lines, colors, and shapes that have continued to influence my work, I decided to catalogue the images and words. This way I could tag them, and within this confluence of events, the idea for this show was born.

In the Earle-Wightman House, where the exhibit is installed, I have placed excerpts on the wall about why I made each painting. A sketch from my journal, mirroring a line, color, shape or subject matter of the painting is also under the painting.  Finally, many of the paintings are accompanied by comparable quotes from Mary Cooper’s  Oyster Bay diaries, begun in 1768. A mural painted on canvas recently for a photo shoot creates a dynamic background for half of the paintings. I had fun using it to full effect, what with crashing waves at twilight, a spooky house and lighthouse and a cliff!

Why not stop by?  

Make sure you ask to take a close look at a journal or two. And sign up there for the Journalling Workshop I will be offering On Sunday, December 4th from 1-4pm! 

How drawing our vision, changes us

 

I have been working daily, with the attitude that it is a habit that is as necessary and pedantic as washing my face. I recognize that regularly drawing from my life in an honest way has been an impetus for  change. 

I am becoming more conscious of the relationship of everyday drawing/painting to my everyday journey.  Painted and drawn relationships can affect reflect the course of interactions in my daily life. 

As I work on a painting, I experience how forms, colors, lines, tones and patterns are all in a relationship, dependent on each other, creating the holistic effect of my work. One change in my vision or handmade mark can totally reframe my perception and then, impact  the entire drawing. 

I cannot help but intuitively make the analogy between the process of exploring forms, tone, line and colors choices  on paper, and the process of exploring and choosing how to handle the events in my life.

 My mom is 92 years old and defies many of the expectations we have of being that age. A few weeks ago, Gloria shared her newfound respect and passion for horses. Having never heard of this interest before, we made arrangements to take her to a stable where she could visit the horses. The mission of Painted Bar Stables is also to rehabilitate rescues.  Erika, the current owner,  articulated in her crayoned drawing when she was five,  her desire to purchase her first horse at 15 and run a stable by 25. This drawing uncannily predicted her future. She also developed a compassion for rescues and learned to rehabilitate them.  As stated in her bio:

Those rescue horses taught Erika the intense need for teaching trust, confidence, and patience. To teach a horse to be a trail horse, not only does the rider need patience, but the horse did as well. By training scared, abused or abandoned horses, Erika was able to gain vast experience in relationship and trust building that has extended to her horses today.

Her stories, enthusiasm, and passion engaged us all. Gloria was able to benefit greatly by getting to be close to gentle horses! We, the family who went with her,  experienced that  with her. All this was possible because of a note crayoned by a five-year-old, a 92 year old, unafraid to explore something out of the box for her, and the ability of our family to listen and be open minded helping to make it happen.

Can you see how the heartfelt presence of one person in a chance interaction with another can change a perception of the world?  I see how patterns of behavior can rapidly reshape us.  I feel the tone in a place or group, and how it can transform the atmosphere and reshape our concept of what is possible, and what is not. 

To understand the power of your vision and interactions with  others and our environment, gives you an opportunity to transform the course of our world, one person at a time. you just need to understand that every little thing you do makes a difference.

Use that ability to make one small change and let me know how it has made a difference, no matter how small you perceive that change to  be!

 

What do marathon runners and artists have in common?

 
 
Solitary tree viewed from tR's porch.  #711, watercolor. 20" x 16" © beth vendryes williams

Solitary tree viewed from tR's porch.  #711, watercolor. 20" x 16" © beth vendryes williams

Whoah! I have just come off a two-day marathon for a juried show that challenged us to produce two pieces of artwork. One piece would be chosen for the exhibit. It had to be "en plein air" , painted in Sagamore Hill National Park during two days, rain or shine. On the second day, they had to be completed and framed and delivered by 3:30 pm!

This feat was both challenging and rewarding. The extra push to work straight through under a deadline provided a finish line.  I wanted to get an honest piece done and put my doubts aside, to make that happen, 

And it did! And I am in the Juried exhibit on display at the Koenig Center,Oyster Bay Historical Society. See Events calendar for more info!


To sustain my energy, I asked myself what an athlete does to prepare for an event. Consequently, it helped that  I walked, did yoga and pilates, daily for a couple of months before the event. I also ate for energy and drank at least two quarts of water a day. I meditated and sketched and painted daily. At times I felt like I really was an athlete getting ready for a major event.

And I am. After a break, I am continuing  theses daily habits. I like the way I feel, the way I work and the art that flows within that structure of supportive practices. What a simply rewarding way to integrate my drawing life !

How do you prepare for something big in your life? Do you have to determine how to sustain your energy level and strength to reach your potential?

 

Why making daily "marks" invites creative living

Japanese Garden; Memory of Nagasaki. watercolor & ink, journal, 2016.8.30 ©beth vendryes williams

Japanese Garden; Memory of Nagasaki. watercolor & ink, journal, 2016.8.30 ©beth vendryes williams

 

How do you become more creative? 

Honestly, I keep asking myself that.

When I become dissatisfied with  a previous decision that suddenly limits me, I  choose to watch how others have accomplished the same thing.   When I become dissatisfied with  a previous decision that suddenly limits me, I  choose to watch how others have accomplished the same thing.
When I become dissatisfied with  a course of action that suddenly limits me, I  choose to observe how others have accomplished the same thing in their lives..                                                                                                                                                              beth vendryes williams

Reading Madeleine L’Engle helped when I had trouble balancing my family, spirituality and art. I saw that she effectively found a way. So I kept reading her books, especially, “Walking on Water”. Then because she was on my radar, I took a writing workshop with her, even though I was a visual artist, not a writer. What a life changer that was and still is!

I encourage myself to be fearless and free, to sit with ideas that are out of my comfort zone, and then curate them,to integrate them effectively into my life..

What helps me to remember where I am now and where I want to go in my life?  Writing and drawing ideas. By hand. On paper.

Writing and drawing ideas, by hand and on paper, help you remember where you've been, are now, and where you want to go.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            beth vendryes williams


Thank you, Madeleine!

So that has become a habit. 
That habit has become 130 journals.
Those writings and sketches have become a map of my journey so far, bringing vision to my art.

What do you do to help your ideas become your reality? Let me know how you are creative in your life?

Which ways do you allow creative thinking to transform what you envision?

How keeping a journal focuses your life vision

 
 
Fred's kitchen 2015/8, Journal    watercolor & pencil, beth vendryes williams

Fred's kitchen 2015/8, Journal    watercolor & pencil, beth vendryes williams

I think journalling found me.

Actually, I really liked the idea of drawing pictures in between writing, as it seemed to capture the essence of the moment better. I don’t remember ever having a rule about writing in my journal every day. And I felt no compunction to limit my page use if I had a particularly impressive, or failing day.

There has been some research done on the surprising value of making notes about your life in a dedicated way. The process of journaling benefits creativity as well as achieving your goals and strengthening your emotional resilience, according to 10 surprising benefits you will get from keeping a journal. To improve your health follow the tips in   "Why journaling is good for your health"

 Have you ever wanted to remember those shiny moments in between the ordinary chores, when you had tiny bits of inspiration?                                   beth vendryes williams

 

Me too! And how many journals did I fill?

  And a few months ago I reached up to clear out my journal shelf so we could renovate part of our home. Well, I thought I had about 40 journals , but I actually had about 130!  I cannot believe I wrote and drew that persistently…. but I did.

 

What to do with a journal? 

Having a treasure of reflections and memories can give you a perspective on your life. In my series of drawings and paintings and writings i now recognize repeating themes in my life and concurrently, in my artwork.  Journaling can give you a broader perspective on the each day. You will have a greater understanding of the moods and seasons of your life. You can plumb the depths of your journals to bring greater richness to the art of your masterpiece, your life.

Very exciting!

In my case, they have become a point of reference for reflecting on and transforming my life!

What could happen if you kept a record of your thoughts about your life with drawings or writing, photographs or  letters?
If you have ever kept a journal, what did you like about it? Did you stop finding time for it?

 

Let me know your thoughts in comments below, twitter or facebook .

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to my monthly newsletter which includes links to my most recent blogpost.

 

2 compelling ways art can change you

hidden oasis  #927  w/c                              599. framed                 ©bethvendryeswilliams

hidden oasis  #927  w/c                              599. framed                 ©bethvendryeswilliams

Believe it or not, whether you are creating or just looking, art, it can change you.

 I discovered this most recently when I was looking in my backyard for inspiration. There is always something outrageously interesting to paint, because my husband is an artist with gardens. 

while creating

I was  frustrated with a rather unappealing view of a neighboring yard. I suddenly noticed that when I looked at that section with new eyes, I found a splendid sunlit refuge. When I peaked through the foliage all I could see was sunshine glittering.  I started to notice the opportunity I had to transform old trucks and equipment into beautiful forms, colors and relationships. Later on I also began to compliment the owner on his efforts to plant tomatoes and flowers. Making this painting has transformed my ability to see the sacredness in things that have fallen into disuse, when their physicality begins to disintegrate, and is worn away by time.

This is an experience I often have when drawing or painting. As I  begin to observe more closely, I start to notice more striking connections in what before seemed uselessly ugly or nondescript. One just has to take the time to look. It is sort of like meditating.

 

Making this painting has transformed my ability to see the sacredness in things that have fallen into disuse, when their physicality begins to disintegrate, and is worn away by time.
— beth vendryes williams
Pierre Bonnard  The Bathroom

Pierre Bonnard  The Bathroom

when observing

When observing a painting, it happens to me also.  I discover  inspiration when I see a painting that compels me from across the room. I see from the artist's perspective, and then I add my own..

 From Pierre Bonnard, I learned the beauty of bathrooms. Before that I thought the most exciting thing was a clean sink and commode. Since seeing his paintings, I consider my bathroom, my spa, and look forward to it as another beautiful room. to surround those who enter, with beauty.  Sparkling clean, of course!

I would love to know what art has transformed your ideas or perspective? Please share in the comments section, or click on the twitter, facebook, instagram icons below with your response, and if you have on a picture of the art! Oh yes and please subscribe to this site. You will get a newsletter once a month with links to the posts from  that month.          Looking forward,  beth
 

3 essential ways to continue the dialogue

Energy. 
Persistence. 
Reflection.
All of the above played a part in pulling my work together for my Open Studio '16. It  is a great way to share my work with friends and supporters. Thank you to all who helped to make it happen!

Last weekend, it became a dynamic gathering of art, ideas and conversation. Much of the exchanges were concerning two current projects, journals and  finding refuge. Thank you to all who were able to come and see the art and contribute to the exchange of ideas !

This response is just what I hoped for!  At the heart of my art is a desire to share and exchange ideas, creating a catalyst for understanding.

Because of my painting series on “finding refuge”, I requested that my guests write a few words about “where, who, and what is your refuge or safety".  Dialogue is now continuing beyond the show. The variety of thoughtful, proactive  responses is heartening.

 Many online supporters can contribute their thoughts, by

  • Using hashtag #findingmyrefuge on Instagram/ twitter/ Facebook.
  •  Joining in on the conversation, with images/ statements!
  • Subscribe to my free newsletter, which contains links to my posts and my latest updates.

Your responses are expanding my personal understanding of refuge. I am now musing over how I can incorporate your ideas and images to inspire new perspectives in my refuge paintings. Please feel free to join in the conversation. And keep watching for my new work!

 If you missed the hands-on exhibition, for a limited time, you can still browse at the Virtual Open Studio ’16 Shop on this website.

Take a look. Feel free to contact me with any questions in the contact section or on FB message, Instagram or Twitter. Of course to get the latest news in your inbox, subscribe for your free monthly newsletter!

Where do you find your refuge?

Robert H. Truman State Park 116.jpg

I am SO looking so forward to my open studio this weekend!
The studio is scrubbed clean and with a fresh coat of primer, courtesy of Ross and Allen. 

I am asking for your help in expanding my perspective for “seeking refuge” project. My research, defining refuge and where and why we seek it, has allowed me to explore my own need for safety and freedom. You could help me by sharing your succinct thoughts and related images/photos:

What, who or where you go to to feel safe? A place, person object or some combination? 
Is there a cup of tea that you always sit down with or a place in your garden? Or is it a person who always seems to know how to listen? 

I will collect all of your responses and choose some to explore further in my work. I plan on having an exhibit on the topic. 
Please respond tagged with #findingmyrefuge in the  comment section, instagram, twitter, facebook or my email using the #findingmyrefuge tag so I can collect them all to reflect on and share. You can certainly  post comments on the wall at my open house!
Thank you for your help! I hope to see you this weekend!

finding refuge

 
finding refuge   #0925   watercolor  © beth vendryes williams        1500.

finding refuge   #0925   watercolor  © beth vendryes williams        1500.

Listening to my inner voice during the process of art making

begins with wondering about how to deal with my heart, my art and what is happening around me. The daily patterns of life that I inevitably engage in a call to me for exploration.  I find they provide moments rich for reflection. The hours of the day progressively transform my bedroom, and the effect of light and shadow change me, too. Holding a cup of steaming café or tea stirs the senses with warmth, aroma and sharing thoughts. Taking a walk can allow me space to carefully observe in an open, non-dualistic way. Simple objects contain the history of the souls who touched, created and used them; the insistent patter of raindrops creates a cadence, inviting a meditative state. These are just some of the experiences I plumb to investigate the unopened treasures that we have strewn before us, every day!

refugees

I am strongly affected by the plight of the refugees in the world right now. My heart goes out to the souls who risk their lives as they leave a place that is unsafe for them. I wonder, can we even truly understand the depth of their fear, the sorrow of leaving a home, the pain of being hungry, the danger of running away? If they are lucky enough to make it out, many are turned away by a country or segmented in tents living in temporary camps for years!

Can I  ever understand? It certainly is easier to say they were “turned away by a country” rather than" I turned them away."  Maybe, I could help by holding them in my heart and thoughts as I learn more about what it means to be in need of refuge. 
I do need to make art. Is that where I seek refuge? 
Is that also where I can offer a place of refuge?

I do need to make art. Is that where I seek refuge?
Is that also where I can offer a place of refuge?
— beth vendryes williams

It appears so because I am compelled to return to my practice day after day. There is a source inside me where I go to create imagery that resonates with my soul. Now, I imagine the experience of finding “refuge” in my life. What would I do if I couldn’t create time and space to paint and draw? For me, creating is a “basic” need.

Without the opportunity to paint, I would feel bereft.  I need a place to shout with joy, to feel empathy with others and express it, admire beauty, recognize pain and sorrow, search for evidence of meaning in this life, far beyond manmade laws. I cannot hide this or pretend it is not there. It is my work, and I need to share it.

My art is saying “Look here, what you thought was nothing important, like sleeping, opens up worlds to you!". Deprived of sleep, you cannot concentrate. Taking time to assimilate your day and to allow your spiritual and physical body to rest, is essential for your sanity. The idea of restoring yourself, letting go, being quiet, recording dreams, creating patterns to invite sleep, deepens you to nurture a contemplative life. 
My practice involves observing such a simple habitual act, as if for the first time! I paint to discover, then honor, the dignity in an ordinary moment.    

My art is saying ‘Look here, what you thought was nothing important, like sleeping, opens up worlds to you!
— beth vendryes williams

 My dear readers, has something ordinary ever suddenly taken on a surprising beauty that you never noticed before? I look forward to your thoughts!

 

Awesome! Procrastination nurtures creative thinking?

swaddling               # 0918                     interior              refuge          beth vendryes williams

swaddling               # 0918                     interior              refuge          beth vendryes williams

I got so excited when I read this headline and even mOre so while watching this TED video!  Oh my gosh, this is a natural for me!  My husband is a precrastinator, and yes, that is a word that means “the tendency to complete, or at least begin, tasks as soon as possible” from [science of us magazine]!

There is one caveat, though, that you ned to be careful of. Too much of it and the creative advantage disappears. Watch this to find out how and why being “late to the party” can allow you to be more creative. Why allowing yourself to doubt and feel fear can fuel your creative juices. How to increase your creative ideas even more! 

So stop apologizing and start allowing yourself the privilege of putting decisions “on the back burner”. 

Oh, and let me know if and how this works for you in comments or on social media!
One thing to do to learn more about being more creative is to sign up for my monthly newsletter which also includes links to my blog posts written weekly. Don’t miss another one!