make art. transform life.

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

Behind The Scenes I Dared To Take The Challenge And Found Growth

I just had to reach out to you a quick note and some juicy fresh watercolors!

to touch base with you about the slight pause in my “seeking refuge” progress., what happened and how I am renegotiating my time and space to continue to work with this unexpected blessing.


 I had a special request from my hosts at Autentico,

to create a series of fresh fruits and veggie watercolors. They are so fresh and capture that delight when you see the summer harvest begin!  They are now up, so feel free to stop in, see them, and of course, they are available for purchase. Just contact me., here on Facebook or Instagram
I will continue the juicy watercolor series,  daily, in cadence my "seeking refuge" series.  for each
The juxtaposition of the two different mediums and subject matter surprisingly invites additional flexibility and creativity in my process and interpretation of each!

So I continue to work vigorously on

each project, using the large studio for oils in one part of the day and my smaller workspace for the smaller watercolor pieces. many times a sudden detour can open up new ways of thinking!

Thoughts, ideas, are always welcome! 

Warmly, 

here is the challenge - a struggle to envision compassion

 Seeking refuge series is in process....what's the hold up?          charcoal on paper          bethvendryes williams

Seeking refuge series is in process....what's the hold up?          charcoal on paper          bethvendryes williams


Did you ever find that when you focus on something, the universe seems to align in a type of synchronicity to help you expand your experience?  It seems, that when I knock, another door opens!

Let me present the scenario. 


I was standing in my studio, reflecting upon my first charcoal drawing. I cannot bring myself to put even one mark on the other two blank papers! Typical creative block! I know I must move forward with faith in my original theme, seeking refuge.
So I toned the paper with charcoal while mulling over the quandary of visually expressing compassion. 
 

Then a good friend invited me and my husband to a film at the Arts cinema near us.  It was a moment of synchronicity!  The title, you ask?

 “Undocumented.” 

Based on his book. Harold Fernandez, MD, now one of the top cardiac surgeons in the NYC metropolitan area, tells his true story. It is compelling, frightening and heartfelt. He tells of his journey from Colombia to being undocumented in the United States.

For a deep understanding of the refugee experience that is not based on dualism, it is a powerful reminder that each unique human being deserves to be treated with dignity. See it. If not available in your area, contact Patricia Shih .

Each time you reach out your hand in compassion, you are sharing the power of love.
beth vendryes williams

 

Four blank canvases evoke the heart to respond.

 seeking refuge/ process sketches         watercolor & ink/ rag paper          beth vendryes williams

seeking refuge/ process sketches         watercolor & ink/ rag paper          beth vendryes williams

Where do I begin?

 

The sun gently awakens me this morning as I begin my work in earnest on compiling my solo exhibit! There will be an opening reception on September 23, 2018. The show will be a collection of work done in recent years. In my newest work I have chosen to deepen my exploration of the refuge theme and am using multiple mediums in the development of this series.

 

I began by looking at four blank canvases I have in my studio. My head, heart, and hands were in agreement.

I realized I needed to work larger than before and change the medium. I decided to use oil paint for its gestural possibilities, rich depth of color and sensuous qualities.

 

Seeking Refuge is what I am calling the exhibit, and it operates on a couple of levels.

The current work underway references the 65 million people worldwide fleeing their homes in the world today, trying to find a place where they can live safely.

All of my art references the personal refuge that the process of creating brings to me.

 

I just want to begin to share my process with you, as I struggle through the daily work of pulling the ideas and images together. It is soul searching and sometimes difficult to see the next step.

 

I find your support invaluable. Walk with me if you dare, and follow my progress as the series takes form.

 
 
Notebook - 20150819_170041 - 60.jpg
 

Astonishing, how living in the now moment, simplifies life

 
 remember compassion  study       5' x 4"            pencil/ journal      beth vendryes williams

remember compassion  study       5' x 4"            pencil/ journal      beth vendryes williams

 

You would be amazed at how hard it was for me to pull myself together last week to balance creating with sharing my work, and all of my daily practices. I had been sick and exhausted and so had to allow myself a rest.

I was struggling to accomplish even the smallest thing, Everything was distracting me! I put one foot in front of the other, staying in the now moment. Eventually, I found this article about what to do each day to keep creating and sharing your work.. I put it into action.

 I remembered to keep it simple. And as my Dad used to say:

"As you travel on through life, brother, let this motto be your goal. Keep your eye upon the doughnut , and not upon the hole."       Optimist's Creed via  S. Keith Vendryes

In my case, the "doughnut" is first creating the work, documenting and sharing. Reviewing this list each day makes sure I stay on track and consistent.

  • Journal/sketch
  • Create art
  • Meet & record contacts
  • Do routine photoshoots, each upon completion of a body of work
  • Organize artist statement, bio, CV, press/ cloud-accessible
  • Create collections, categorize-type/subject/genre - send out
  • Research/document exhibits, residencies, grants past/future
  • Follow up on invoiced and customers.
  • Share inventory list with five potential outlets
  •  Update online presence with news, posts, social
  • Choose to view shows, openings, exhibits. Schedule.

The next step is to continue organizing my space. 
Knowing where to find my supplies and art labeling and updating contacts helps me to work more quickly and with greater focus. 

As life changes daily, these little guidelines serve as guideposts to refer to when I lose my way. What do you do to keep yourself on track? I am thrilled to hear suggestions that really work for you!

 

Notebook - 20150819_170041 - 60.jpg
 
 

How to make a breakthrough by watching clouds

 let the clouds in              #953                          mixed media ( watercolor, Solarprint, acrylic, Japanese tissue collage   22' x 30"    

let the clouds in              #953                          mixed media ( watercolor, Solarprint, acrylic, Japanese tissue collage   22' x 30"    

Yes, I have been watching clouds all last year, imagining their magical  beauty

is not only their appearance but also in the way they recycle and process water on the earth! They also cleanse the air when the raindrops fall. 

They really do capture my imagination. So creating Solarplate images by using the sun to develop your image on a light-sensitive coating, and water to wash away the soft film water-soluble ink to print, made sense.

Looking and working on those clouds, made me think about how I could be more ecologically minded in my art. As I began to work on top of my first artist proof (a print that looks different from the original edition), I was using watercolor acrylic along with collaging Japanese rice paper, enlarging the image by breaking through the rectangle! 

Suddenly I realize the philosophical importance of the art I am making. 

❤️“Breaking through the boundaries of the rectangle with the softness of a cloud, is how life is. All change begins with a thought. My art is to make that “idea” visible. Once visible it insists on being looked at.”
Breaking through resistance does not require violence. When you pay attention to the visual, it can bring forth, metaphorically, another way of perceiving.

Through my work process, I understand that I need to explore this concept, of “breaking through boundaries" with clouds. So I ask myself what other artists, writers, directors, dancers, musicians have done that and what can I learn from them? Now i am asking you...

❤️ Have you ever asked yourself why you are so drawn to something, like the beach or the sun, asking yourself what about it attracts you?  I love to hear what breakthrough you have had so comment  on Instagram facebook Linked In or in the comment section here!

opportunities for quiet time of reflection, lurk in the intersections of your day

IMG_1840.jpeg

Have you ever felt the world rushing around you...

so quickly that there is barely have time to stop and breathe and have a moment of time with your thoughts and feelings? Do you want to look at life by placing events and media notifications in perspective as you review your unique inner voice?

That is what motivated me

as I began my search for time-tested, effective ways of encouraging personal quietness as a daily practice. And yes, yoga and meditation are traditions that create space for inner quiet. I have long noticed the natural pauses that occur at specific intervals of the day, and it made me think of an ancient practice in the church, based on hours of the day. The liturgy of the hours is still practiced daily, by many priests as well as people who meditate. From my contemporary perspective, I am making art that identifies activities and appropriate moments in the day that could remind me (and you!) to pause and leave room for inner reflection.

To convey a deeper understanding of this inner space,

 I am working with elements of color shape, form and perspective to communicate the reflective moments. This process has naturally developed into a combination of watercolor, collage with both remnants from recycled paper and clothing. The series has become a layered work, which coincidentally represents the layers of information that bombard us throughout the day.!  I am very excited to share these pieces with you!

You may See this new work at Autentico Restaurant, in two weeks!  If you haven’t done so already, subscribe, so I can send you an invitation to the artsy and delicious opening at Autentico!

 

inspired by soaring clouds, exposed with sun and water

Why print?

When you see my latest work, you may wonder what inspired me to make prints. It happens that when practicing drawing, I looked to Albrecht Dürer as my inspiration.in the 1500’s He created incredibly intricate woodcut and engraving prints and was thrilled to make multiples of original art available to more people. I liked that idea, and so began my fascination with printmaking, like etching, and Lithography and also paper-making and bookbinding. I also followed Albrecht Dürer’s advice to work in black and white until he could focus on the basics of line, form, shape, and composition.
During graduate school, I realized the dangers of the chemicals I was using in the printmaking process and switched to drawing and painting. I was encouraged to find a more environmentally thoughtful way to make prints by using sunlight, water, and light-sensitive coated steel plates to develop the image instead of acid for etching and chemicals for cleanup! 

Why clouds?

I am passionate about our beautiful planet and ardent that we must protect water, air, and earth. Clouds are not only beautiful moveable 3-Dimensional ethereal sculptures in the sky.  Made of water drops or ice particles, they simultaneously refresh our atmosphere by endlessly recycling our earth’s water at the same time.

Each print is an original impression

Printing by hand is such an awesome experience! Every time I pull a print, I feel like I am opening a present! Although now, I have the plates printed, due to an eczema condition, I work with Andrea or Dan Welden to expertly hand wipe each plate and print on Hahnemuhle cotton paper through the rolling pressure of the press.


I love the anticipation, the power of black and white and the significant sustainability of this Solarplate process. 

What is the sky like without clouds?

To you, I dedicate this series!

Observe the clouds. Image how it would feel if you didn't ever see them in the sky!
May the beauty of the clouds and the intrinsic healing qualities of water refresh our existence on our beautiful earth! 


Share with me a way you find to make a difference and help the earth regain its health?

Earth Day is coming up Saturday, Aprii 22, 2018!

 

Be the change you wish to see in the world”
— Ghandi

https://www.earthday.org/earthday/toolkits/

When you see what happens when you "image" or reflect, you will find rich depth in your life.

Image.

 Journal image from the sheridan farm, , edited to add a..... reflection!  !  2017   beth vendryes williams

Journal image from the sheridan farm, , edited to add a..... reflection!  !  2017   beth vendryes williams

When you conceive of something in your mind, you are creating some  new possibilities !

 What channel of “seeing” are you using? I always thought of it as a visual image, but I was speaking with my friend, Peggy the other day, and since she has never had the sense of sight, I asked her how she visualizes or images things. She described remembering experiences of holding animals and remembering experiences by touch. 

You will have a greater understanding of a story you’ve read, experienced or viewed. You remember and review that memory and interpret it in a way only you can. I 

I also remember the intense fragrance of a small Italian store in little Italy, and the scents of Parmesan cheese and smoked sausages.       I never fail to retrieve memories of being carried in the arms of a loving Auntie Jo when I was two,. Tthe visual images of those delicious treats suspended from the ceiling are amazingly preserved in my mind!

 When the fragrance wafting by is from a gardenia plant, I visualize my Sicilian grandmother, Marianna who loved and nurtured them...and me! I found refuge in her arms, and have painted my memories of her.

Beethoven remembered music in his head

which enabled him to continue to compose long after he became severely deaf.
Musicians, athletes and dancer’s image body movements to remember their craft!

Why is it important?
If you can begin to image it, you can create it.

That image, sound, touch, smell, dimensional quality gives you the impetus to move forward, providing motivation and expanding the richness of your everyday life experience.

 Writers, scientists, mathematicians, architects, dancers, musicians, politicians, parents, teachers doctors, as well as artists begin with an image of what inspires them. You can image with a visual trigger, but also with tactile, hearing, movement, smell, talking to yourself, any sense!

How do you improve your ability to “image”?

You can improve your ability to image by practicing accessing it daily. Practice reading out loud, looking for creative metaphors that allow you to create visuals as you read. Understand with which senses you naturally tend image.
Play at imaging to strengthen your ability to deepen your memories and recognize connections. 
Make things. Pay attention to images that form when you listen to music. Write, draw, paint and bake those cookies your grandmother. of course, tasting them is a just another way of imaging

Let me know what you discover!

Choose to be artist of your life. Be present in the now.

Observe. 

All that you understand on this earth, is discovered through the senses. Today I will just ask you to take note of your ability to observe. Don’t judge, just notice what is going on around you.

 Hours series    terce (midmorning)  by   beth vendryes williams    

Hours series    terce (midmorning)  by   beth vendryes williams    

Thoughtful perception is important because it will give me source material to draw with focus and integrity.
— beth vendryes williams

Right now...

I can feel the gentle rhythm of my fingers on my laptop and smell the fragrance of the white jasmine flowering plant on my table. I hear the hum of the refrigerator.  I taste the green the and that almond cookie. I am seeing the snow melting from our nor’easter and holding an image in my mind off how beautiful it looked in the middle of the night when snow was painting each branch.

Thoughtful perception is important because it will give me source material to draw with focus and integrity.

Why is it important?  Picasso, Matisse, Delacroix and van Gogh were passionate about getting the essence of the gesture down on paper. They would practice gazing intently. It is essential that the act of drawing be a process of discovering communicates the veracity of what you observe with all senses. So it is not just an exercise of prowess, but a way to understand what you see more deeply. Scientists, inventors, mathematicians, writers, videographers, all continue to deepen their sense of observation.

I never read that quote before, but I recognize the sentiment because my drawing is a form of communication. In the process of creating, I use the senses of what I see, hear, feel, smell, taste and intuit.  

It is essential for writers...

to immerse themselves in the language and place about which they are writing. Scientists have discovered what they do by search by looking and observing patiently to gather subtle information.

Watching, listening, touching, smelling and sensing are all ways of observing what is going on in your life. Your life is your work of art. Embrace that!

How do you improve your ability to observe?

You can increase your powers of observation... 

by keeping a journal, collecting things, listening, to music, to another person or just noting the sounds and how your body feels as you walk through your day. Be present in the now moment

 I choose to focus on the ordinary everyday things in my work and delve deeper to find the beauty and truth in them.  Every day I see something that I never noticed before!

Choose to be the artist of your life.  Be present in the now moment.

If you would like to read the book that resonates with me and holds the research, you can access it through the link below

Sparks of Genius: 13 thinking tools of creative people. by Michele and Robert Root-Bernstein. Is is linked  in the reading section..

Soar with the unexpected challenge of living creatively

 waterscape            journal sketch                         beth vendryes williams

waterscape            journal sketch                         beth vendryes williams

Being creative is defined as having the power to bring something into existence.

 Creative thinking is a skill that you learn as you grow and try to make sense of the world. It benefits both of us to understand different ways of exploring and visualizing. Specializing in one way of thinking can impede us from understanding the relationships that do exist within a diverse world.  Math, science, language, and history. For instance are all ways of understanding the same thing through different prisms or perspectives..

I remember first experiencing this when I was 14.

I loved taking art, enjoyed French, although with some difficulty and disliked the facts and figures of world history. Then one day, I learned about the same historical period in each of these three different classes. Suddenly it dawned on me that I was learning about the politics, the culture and the art of the same period! Then I began to understand the importance of each and how valuable it was to see from all three perspectives with a holistic view.

That one experience opened my mind to  see many commonalities in life. 

 I now regularly see how seemingly divergent ideas can flow together. This causes me to view of the world.in a  holistic  way.According to research done by Michele and Robert Root-Bernstein in [Sparks of Genius: there are many mathematicians, like Blaise Pascal and scientists like, Einstein, who used intuition and imaging to find solutions to theoretical problems. 

Since then, I have approached my life creatively as if I were making a piece of art.  All people, opportunities, books, places, new studies, and experiences constitute the materials that shape my daily life.
— beth vendryes williams

I consider making a meal as a work of art in how it is prepared, served and shared. That part was undoubtedly from my mom! Sewing or buying clothes, I look for beautiful, long-lasting organic alternatives. Cleaning supplies usually involve no preservatives or scents and baking soda and vinegar, so that they are sustainably able to tread lightly on our environment.

And in my professional vocation as an artist,

I  carry a journal and packet of watercolor crayons, pencils ink pens and water brushes in my pocketbook. At any time I can access my "portable studio" to work wherever I am. Waiting becomes an opportunity to see more. I now  look at my life as a work of art-in-process. 

Now, as in creating a piece of art, there are mistakes and hard times. But I learn from working on my art that errors can change my perception to discover opportunities and incentive to make something new. And when I experience tragedies and difficulties in both art and life, they can be transformative, so I end up doing things I never imagined.

I have a few tools that I utilize to keep me on track.

Keep watching for the next few posts as I begin to share them with you!

 

Seize the day!

 

Every artist has different ways of creating, some are impulsive, and some plan in detail,  but there is no one right way.

With that understanding, I share how my ideas come to me, and how I begin to develop them. When I see or read something beautiful, I want to remember it, so I remember and sketch it in one of my journals. Because I use journals, I was attracted to the small books , hand written, painted  and bound by monks  in medieval times. The were called books of the"hours", so that Franciscan monks and the faithful could carry their prayers throughout the day.

Inspired by the "liturgy of the hours", an ancient monastic tradition, I found myself stopping to appreciate the cadence of pausing for brief times during the day. During this time, I breathe, slowly, listen to something beautiful,  leave room for inner reflection, name my blessings or ask for help. 


I like the fact that an old tradition can be adapted to recognize our contemporary spirituality. I find it more important than ever to build the scaffolding of my day on the habit of internal reflection that acknowledges the spirit of me. When I do this regularly, I find beauty in the most ordinary moments. 

Beauty, to me, is not only about land, sky, and seascapes, nor is it about the perfection of figure or face. It can include humans in dialogue with each other animals or nature, emotions, music, sound,  interiors of rooms, recognizing the soul of someone or the invisible energy inherent in a place or an object. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

For me, beauty is also in the rhythmic movement of events during 24 hours and maintaining a sense of balance while navigating through the day. 
My interest in the ancient practice of the liturgical hours of the day, practiced by monks has become a structure on which I build a holistic integration of reflection into the daily rhythm of my life. 

That is the foundation for my upcoming series of work based on I  equivalent moments that resonate in my life in 2018.

I can’t keep from singing.. Drawing and painting of the visual equivalent Enjoy the song of the same name, sung by Enya

 
 Work in Progress     hours series, prime     beth vendryes williams

Work in Progress     hours series, prime     beth vendryes williams

 
For me, beauty is also in the rhythmic movement of events during 24 hours and maintaining a sense of balance while navigating through the day. 
 
 
beth vendryes williams

 The audacity of daring to create authentic art 

Invite creativity into your life!


I used to make artwork… and then store it under my bed!

I didn’t know how to get it out of my house and had no room then to store it. I was also shy about showing it to people. 

Then when my dear sweet husband challenged me to get all that art out from “under the bed” and share it..
...I started to give it away as a gift and then sell it. I learned a lot from comments and reflections from the recipients. 

I began to realize that my work is not only a personal reflection but operates a singular communication of my worldview to the one who gazes upon it. The viewer completes the idea from his unique perspective.

I consciously create work as an investigation of what I am seeing and feeling.

Then the process of creating takes on a life of its own, revealing more than I consciously knew.   I share the art with others who complete it, each employing one's unique vision.

 What matters to me in making art is the integrity of my marks. 
  “I like to say that, " the artistic impulse travels from the head to my eyes to my heart to my hand to the paper.”

What I make, matters. What I communicate needs to be honestly consistent with my overarching beliefs and actions. 

I notice that when I do that, the work surprises me with its open-heartedness lying so close to the surface of the image. 

 

I consciously create work as an investigation of what I am seeing and feeling.
— beth vendryes williams
  hours/ daily lauds    This is a process view of the first of my hours 2018 pieces.      I I paint about the opportunities to meditate on the beauty that we see as we journey through each day. This is early in the morning , before rising with the sun.

hours/ daily lauds    This is a process view of the first of my hours 2018 pieces.      I I paint about the opportunities to meditate on the beauty that we see as we journey through each day. This is early in the morning , before rising with the sun.

"Am I revealing too much?", I ask myself? 

“No”, is the answer I inevitably hear. “This is why you are an artist!”

“As an artist, you make the inner search visible, opening yourself and viewers, to truth and beauty found in surprisingly ordinary places!”

And I wonder...

  • Do you suspect that you have a unique perspective of the world?
  • Where have you seen beauty or truth today?
  • Do you feel an impulse to connect with your creative spirit and share it as I did when I pulled my work out from under my bed?

        Share your thoughts in comments, Facebook,&Instagram

 

energize your life, as art, with open-hearted vision

  Niagara Falls , the end of summer      22' x 30" watercolor  beth vendryes williams

 Niagara Falls , the end of summer      22' x 30" watercolor  beth vendryes williams

I am often asked how I became an artist,

which is why, In my last few posts, I shared a few of my struggles and decisions to define myself as an artist.
Their next statement is usually,
“I could never be an artist because I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler…”  Hmmm....

In Merriam Webster Dictionary,  “artist” is defined  as

noun  art·ist  \ ˈär-tist          
Definition of artist
1 an obsolete: one skilled or versed in learned arts
    b archaic: physician
    c archaic : artisan 1
2    a one who professes and practices an imaginative art
    b  a person skilled in one of the fine arts
3    a skilled performer; especially
4    one who is adept at something 

As you know, I happen to paint or draw on paper or canvas.
And I have used what I learn in creating art in other areas of my life. Gradually, I observe that treating my life with the skills and attitudes of an artist has not only transformed my work,  but my life as well!

To be an artist of your life, you do not need crayons or paint. You can just make art from the "stuff" of your life.     beth vendryes williams
 

The medium or materials that you use to create can consist of your life and any parts of it that you choose. The “work” of art is the action that you are taking. The material can be anything you can shape, like movement, fabric, words, time, food, cards, care for another person, etc. Your life can be a “work of art”!

I have done a lot of research and continued to develop my idea that you can transform your life by treating it as a work of art. I will share that in later posts.
Bur today, I share one essential skill necessary to approach your life as a work of art.

If one skill is essential for living your life as a work of art it is the attitude of being open-hearted. You choose to reveal your warm and compassionate feelings freely.          beth vendryes williams

When you remain open to ideas and people and change, you can see more options and perspectives. And you become more impassioned by your life.

Try being open-hearted.  Let me know how it works for you, in the comments below and in facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram below. Keep your eye out for my next posts on creating your life with the attitude of an artist! 

 

What happened to inspire faith in the artist within me

  Winter branches     #727             8" x 8" x.75  oil on board        beth vendryes williams

Winter branches     #727           8" x 8" x.75  oil on board        beth vendryes williams


My first memory of drawing was when I was three years old.

My first memory of drawing was when I was three years old.
I didn’t know what an “artist “ was. I just liked the feeling of making marks on paper. I felt empowered knowing I could make colors and my parents loved what I made.
Invariably, through the formative years, I was asked to draw anytime it was needed. I loved the process of making, building, sewing, baking, painting things!As long as I was creating something and learning something new, I was happily involvedI loved to read, also, and remember visualizing and, stopping periodically to digest and translate words into my visual. 

At Our Lady of Mercy Academy (high school)

I remember realizing that, although I could have gone into other fields,  The process of creating made my heart sing! It was important to me to make something physical, marks that expressed ideas I had in my head. 

I did have an intuitive art teacher and a holistic education from my teachers at Mercy. I suddenly realized, when I was 14, that history, art, French, science, literature, and music were all looking at the same world, but each through a different prism. I was astounded and found that my worldview expanded and I could understand concepts from different perspectives.

At the same, I was reading a book by Teilhard de Chardin, who was a Jesuit,  philosopher, and paleontologist. He saw the world through the lenses of science and prayer. I understood that.

Two years later, I remember the moment

when I chose art as my focus because I wanted to be creating things every day for the rest of my life. It was the middle of the Senior year. I had asked my beloved art teacher why I had not gotten an art award. She said I was very talented, but  I wasn't persistent enough. That answer caused me to decide to focus on what I found freedom and joy in creating something visible from just an idea in my head. 


 I chose to make a difference in the world by observing, then listening to an idea in my head, and guiding my hand to put it on paper. 
I haven't stopped since!

What helped  you decide to focus on your life work? I would  love to hear your story in comments ,or keep in touch on  instagram or facebook, below!

For the first time, I decided to become an artist

fullsizeoutput_14b4.jpeg

My first memory of drawing was when I was three years old.
I didn’t know what an “artist “ was. I just liked the feeling of making marks on paper. I felt empowered knowing I could make colors and my parents loved what I made.
Invariably, through the formative years, I was asked to draw anytime it was needed. I loved the process of making, building, sewing, baking, painting things!As long as I was creating something and learning something new, I was happily involved

I loved to read, also, and remember visualizing and, stopping periodically to digest and translate words into my visual. 

At Our Lady of Mercy Academy High school, I remember realizing that, although I could have gone into other fields, I was most moved by the process of creating what was important to me by making physical, tactile expressionistic marks. I did have an intuitive art teacher and holistic education there, which is why I realized when I was 14, that history, art, French, science, literature, and music were connected, and just different ways of interpreting the world. 

 I remember the moment when I chose art as my focus, because I wanted to be creating things every day for the rest of my life. It was the middle of the Senior year while discussing with my art teacher the value of commitment to art that I realized creativity as a guiding force in my life.

And so it continues today! 

Overcome old failures, observe & draw daily

I have always drawn and painted, so when I was a teenager, a neighbor commissioned me to create a portrait of her child. Taking a risk, I jumped at the challenge and went to work!

That portrait was rejected. 

Over the years, I have painted only two commissioned portraits,  each well received. However, I was not satisfied. I always felt that I needed to be more confident in my ability to quickly sketch and capture the unique characteristics of any person. I just accepted that it didn't come naturally to me. Crazy, right?

 I finally got up the courage to take a portrait drawing course in November and December. Astonishingly, in those two months, I had the pleasure of reaching my challenge! Now I look forward to creating a unique likeness every chance I get! It is a joy and a blessing that has spurred me to expand my art into other mediums and new subjects.  

Check these portraits out here! 

I am so glad I decided to face my fears and try! Can you think of something you would like to dare to try again? 

With gratitude...

    beth vendryes williams               wrapped in clouds                  2017

   beth vendryes williams               wrapped in clouds                  2017

Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into instant flame
by an encounter with another human being.
Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those
who have rekindled this inner light.

Dr. Albert Schweitzer

And so it goes with us all. 

As I journey through each day, so many times a friend or a stranger will help me to navigate difficulties. Even online, I have met the incredibly thoughtful people. I want to thank you.

Today, I am enhancing building my skills and opening my mind. I am taking a fantastic online drawing course with Gillian Lee Smith, a dynamic live drawing course with Carlo D’Anselmi at New York Studio School, and an online workshop with artists and Paul Klein, having dialogues about truth and vulnerability & opportunities for artists and in our work. The last 3 years I had worked with Alyson B. Stanfield.

My artist mentors spanning my careerhave been incredibly helpful in being true  my  vision. I thank Sister Stephanie, Douglass Morse Howell, Dan Welden, Mauricio Lasansky, Ben Frank Moss, Bruce Gagnier, Ron Milewicz, Madeleine L'Engle.

As my work grows, I am so grateful to you who support my work in what ever way works for you; collecting, reading my posts,commenting, sharing studio space, offering support and just taking time to look. I understand that art is a universal communication complete only when received by another person. I so appreciate you taking the time to do that.

To be sure,I want to thank my sons and their lovely ladies and friends who observe, listen and make suggestions. I especially am grateful to my dear husband who has supported my dream steadfastly from our very beginnings!

My upcoming events are, in large part, because of this support!

Thank you, with all my heart,

beth
 

You see, those breathtaking clouds are beautiful, weightless water

 crowd of clouds  941     solarplate print     2017       bybeth vendryes williams

crowd of clouds  941     solarplate print     2017       bybeth vendryes williams

Just as melancholy, that raincloud of the mind, expands our capacity for creativity, so does actual gloomy weather — clouds, it turns out, offer something possibly more tangible, certainly more pragmatic, than “contemplation [that] benefits the soul”; their proverbial silver lining is more than proverbial...               Maria Popova 
— - [https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/03/02/89-clouds-mark-strand-wendy-mark/]

 

I have been admiring the ever-changing clouds in the sky, remarking about their overwhelmingly sculptural appearance and fluid movement. Water has been on my mind a lot lately. In fact, I have just exhibited a Solarplate print called  “rushing waters’, at New York Studio School Gallery in August. After that I was inspired to do more work about “water” , using the technique of  Solarplate printing. 
 While driving through NY state this summer, I spent lots of time just looking and taking letting clouds become my focus! It dawned on me that they are “just” water, too. They are cycling water up to the sky, shading the earth from the heat of the sun, and raining back down to water the earth.

Why I feel so inspired by clouds…
They can look so delicate and ethereal and yet, may times colossal and ponderous. Always beautiful. Endlessly changing. sometimes threatening.

Clouds give our imaginations room to wander. We can even fly through them, although they look like you can walk ON them. And they are vital to our existence because they are beautiful and they bring water to us!           
                       beth vendryes williams

 

What am I doing about it….
I am making art and collecting ideas about water in its different forms. I am playing with its connections with our very own earth and the people on it, celebrating and investigating our connections, in my work.  

Follow my clouds on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter

How to develop creative momentum, with focus and passion_

 "swimming underwater"   by beth vendryes williams      watercolor, mylar,            private collection

"swimming underwater"   by beth vendryes williams      watercolor, mylar,            private collection

When I was in my beloved high school, I was disappointed that I didn’t receive the senior art award. So, when I saw my esteemed art teacher getting into the faculty elevator, I asked to accompany her to the next floor, so I could ask her privately, why I did not get it. She calmly responded that she didn’t think I wanted it badly enough and she felt I wasn’t persistent enough to commit to my art. 
After tearfully absorbing this honest observation from Sr.Stephanie, I reflected on her words and realized that she was not trying to be mean, just honest and wise.

I reasoned that belief in myself was something I could change.! I made the decision to pursue my dream.

I use to envision being ambitious as pushing ahead relentlessly and selfishly, pushing everyone and everything out of my way. So I was at odds with myself when I tried to pursue my work since I didn't want making art to be a selfish practice._This has changed!


_Now I interpret "ambitious" as consistently developing and sharing my dreams and gifts as I live fully in relation to my interior values, relationships and world view._

_In my art career, I have been most inspired to grow when I integrate the different areas of my life, so that work in one area is supportive of another. For instance, my habits of yoga, dance and walking and healthy eating can positively affect my energy level, and the quality and possibilities of my work.

 Nurturing relationships is intrinsic to my work. I learn a lot  from listening to creative endeavors and also explain my own, to those who ask. The dialogue, inevitably brings new perspectives to both of us. Reading what I love and learning new things supports my ability to have new ideas.

 When I align my spiritual values with my creative process my work then radiates transparency and integrity._Art initiates philosophical discussions that embrace many areas of knowledge. _
 Last year, when I had to relocate my sketchbook /journals, I estimated there were about 30. No way! I found 130 journals! I am now using them as primary source material and referencing them in my work. That is quite an affirmation of consistent habits and working with integrity. This year, in my Open Studio, I had much more work than I could show. Then, in the early morning hours of the Open Studio event, I was accepted into a juried show in NYC. and an opportunity for my work to be part of an international auction! It seems like a combination of perseverance and patience is fertile ground for my art/ Now it is giving momentum to my career.

__When I was younger I didn't realize the importance of seeing  my life experiences as a connected in one wholistic perspective. Now I do._
 I understand that the process of creating and sharing as essential to being. I look at creative process as my gift to develop, fully incorporating my deepest longings and spirit 

Just this past week, I am thrilled to find my paintings and comments featured in an article on “Ambition” this month in the 2017 October/November edition of Professional Artist Magazine. Pick up a copy on a magazine rack or here and let me know your thoughts!

Drive thru rambling days of summer with inner focus

Did you ever look forward to a relaxing summer

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and all of a sudden, your days gathered speed, summer had ended and the chill air of autumn was at your door? Well, it just happened to me

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Exhibiting  at New York Studio School, was so awesome
 and the chosen piece was a solar plate print I made while at a workshop with Dan Welden ,who offered to work with me, as master printer on a series of pieces.

The Paddle 8 auction also features this print, through tomorrow
 as a result of the NYSS exhibit. In fact there are only two days left to place a bid. My exhibited print , called "rushing waters", (#3607.270440.1110044  for the auction)., is on through tomorrow, Friday, August 25th, and you may be lucky enough to start the bidding!

Working with Dan Welden was inspiring and productive! 
I now have three new solar prints in http://www.bethvendryeswilliams.com/bvw-blog/the-jubilant-audacity-of-sun-water water series. Clouds have been inspiring me for years but in the past six months and I have been entranced by these weightless , constantly changing sky sculptures!  

Traveling a lot to the Niagara Falls area this summer
because of a wedding and adopting a little puppy, we have been. Thus I have naturally taken more photos and sketches of clouds and water. 

featured in Professional Artist Magazine October November Issue!
I just got a message from an artist friend, excitedly congratulating me for being one of the featured artists in an article about how ambition  can affect an artist and her work. I am so excited to share this with you! The featured watercolor  is owned by one of my collectors and the other is a drawing in my personal inventory collection!

A heartfelt thank you to all of you, my dear supporters, 
who answered my request for images of water, as I pursue my quest to work with water imagery as vapor (clouds and fog), liquid (falling, waves and still ) and solid.

What was an awesome moment of growth and or joy, in your summer? Your sharing helps to spark creative ideas for both of us!

I wonder what autumn will bring?