make art. transform life.

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

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!

 

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.

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!



 

 

Art & books, discover two of my favorite things!

 happy gathering,  pastel   11" x17"          beth vendryes williams

happy gathering,  pastel   11" x17"          beth vendryes williams

Come see my art inspired by spring at Dolphin Bookshop in PortWashington. It is a rare opportunity to see refreshing work while enjoying a  cup of green tea or a latté. You also have a diverse selection of books and toys at your fingertips in case you need to purchase either. You are right near the park that borders on Manhasset Bay, and you can walk outside by the seawater!   Imagine, ALL of this in one short trip! The exhibit will be up until the end of March.

Perhaps I will even be there at one of those sunlit tables. If not, I will be in my studio beginning my next project and reviewing my 120 journals which I have created over the years!  But more about those two things in my next post.

I am beginning to get work ready for my Open Studio in June. The date will be announced and listed on the Events page. Or you can sign up for my once a month newsletter, right at the bottom of the page!

I do love to hear your thoughts about my work, the exhibit or a specific piece here in comments or on my contact page. Looking so forward to hearing from you! Oh yes, and to keep up with what I am making and showing, please, subscribe, below!

 

How to find light in the darkness

 0910_waiting_char_fig_15©bvw.jpg

0910_waiting_char_fig_15©bvw.jpg

Then I begin to draw with an eraser to reveal the sparkling white shining through. From then on it is a dance, engaging black, gray and white, interacting with each other! Every mark I make changes the whole.
— beth vendryes williams

01.01.15 I am collecting my thoughts, reflecting on my incredible journey this year. Painting is my language, and now I am interpreting and responding to the world with visible gestural marks and colors. Now I see much darkness. Yes, physically, because it is near to the solstice, yet also spiritually because of the enormous suffering in our world. And emerging from this inkiness, I see beams of light. When I hear the beautiful music of Arvo Pärt when I see thoughtfulness in the subway, or encounter a very patient person, online or walking down the street, I am reminded that each person is a light. We are all in this world together.

So I thank you for shining your light! The darkness only makes your light more precious and visible.

When I create this charcoal drawing, I tone the paper deep gray and then draw into it with rich black charcoal, defining the darkest dense areas and joining small areas to create a connected form. Then I begin to draw with an eraser to reveal the sparkling white shining through. From then on it is a dance, engaging black, gray and white, interacting with each other! Every mark I make changes the whole.

So too, it is, with the darkness of night, when the moon and lights guide our way. Every change of light and shadow reveals another path of possibility and hope.

I just now found a very motivating and practical post that reframes “making a resolution” as if “creating a story”! Sara also includes precise steps to create the story that becomes a recipe for your desired resolution, and it sounds like fun!

Therefore, I will be in my studio creating a story for the next hour today! Want to join me in spirit?

If you are not signed up for my newsletter, oh please do so now, as I will be painting and exhibiting a lot this year. I am letting my heart light the way, and I want you to be to be a part of it! I also am working on a new and transformed website! Exhilarating! Coming soon!

explore ripples of time, impressed in rocks... by water

Last week my family and I an hiked an extremely steep the 2.5 mile trail through the gorge at Watkins Glen near Ithaca, New York and followed it up two days later with a very rocky 5 mile hike through the Robert H. Tremain State Park. While hiking I found some time to draw, but not nearly enough to satisfy me, since I spent most of my time trying to keep up with my sons & friends and move faster than the thunderstorms. Apparently I need to upgrade my exercise routines!

Has this ever happened to you? No time to bask in the beauty of the environment because you were too busy beating traffic, avoiding bad weather, performing everyday survival tasks, meeting everyday needs?

My experience while hiking in Ithaca, may give you some ideas about how to savor  a unique and profound moment and then build on that memory. You can notice it, wonder,  allow it to motivate you to deepen your understanding beyond the surface.

While on both hikes, I observed the patterns of ripples in the water that were  duplicated in the sand and again, replicated in the rocks. It made me wonder how long it took for the ripples in the water to transpose themselves into the sand and rock. After doing some reading,I discovered that the water created patterns in the sand that were eventually transformed into rocks of alternating shale and sandstone. This began to occur in the Devonian period, 360 million years ago. Really? I am having trouble imagining that long ago! Glaciers cut through this layered rock. The splits in the rock or ‘gorge” are caused by streams that were cut off and needed to find new ways through the rock!

This makes me think about the power of time, and how, with enough time, water can slowly transform rock and even an entire landscape. I make this analogy. If the persistence of water can be so strong to shape and cut through rocks, then by applying this principle of  consistent intent in just living we can break through and transform relationships, habits and creative blocks will create a path towards your goal.And so I focus on my goal to visually represent the process of the patterns created over time.

Paying close attention to how transformation that occurs in nature can help you to transform paths in your life! When traveling through everyday life:

  • OBSERVE your environment carefully.
  • NOTICE patterns.
  • Allow yourself to IMAGINE
  •  MAKE AN ANALOGY between this physical beauty and your everyday life.
  • SYNTHESIZE by asking questions and make connections.

Oh yes, and please let me know about a time you gently persisted in your chosen path and then transformed your day, week or life,  as the water has. I absolutely love sharing this and even more, I look forward to your thoughts and ideas!

This makes me think about the power of time, and how, with enough time, water can slowly transform rock and even an entire landscape. I make this analogy. If the persistence of water can be so strong to shape and cut through rocks, then by applying this principle of consistent intent in just living we can break through and transform relationships, habits and creative blocks will create a path towards your goal.And so I focus on my goal to visually represent the process of the patterns created over time.
— beth vendryes williams
 

How to leap into your next awesome big idea

 editing in the afternoon     0791                   watercolor & beeswax             20" x 30"  beth vendryes williams

editing in the afternoon     0791                   watercolor & beeswax             20" x 30"  beth vendryes williams

I will plan a structure for the day, so I have dedicated time to allow my imagination to follow its course, eat, exercise, nurture relationships, take care of my home environment and read.

The structure is not carved in stone, but is a flexible net which can catch me if I start to get distracted.

Then I will take action...drawing and painting as a way of discovering my next direction, allowing the action of creating to discover where I am heading.

If you try this, l would love to hear how it works for you! If you have other ways of jumpstarting yourself after a period of great exertion, p;ease share that! I would love to try different approaches!

The party is over, so what do I do next?

 

If you have ever had that ungrounded feeling, you know it encompasses both a sense of freedom and inertia. Try this next time you get into this tetherless situation. Below is my breakdown of what I try to do

I am up early sitting quietly and yet distracted by the lists of things I feel I have to accomplish and would like to experience,    I feel lured  by the call of the internet and the sight of little tumbleweeds of dog fur scooting under furniture in my house.

I meditate, accessing my deepest spirit self, asking for help from within, at the core of who I am.

Next I take care of my body, making sure I am getting the right food, sleep and exercise.

 

The structure is not carved in stone, but is a flexible net which can catch me if I start to get distracted.

4 Ways to Transform Your Vision on Life’s Journey

 beth vendryes williams

beth vendryes williams

I am awestruck that life has surprised me yet again! 

The remarkable thing is that

I knew in high school that the marks I created on paper revealed the invisible parts of me.

Through college and then graduate school at the University of Iowa, I honed my 

skills, pursuing the vocation of making art the rest of my life.

And I have! 

 Amid caring for three little rapscallion sons, changing diapers, and

working at Ikea and teaching, I painted and drew my children and even painted freshly 

washed laundry. I was awed by the beauty in the haphazardness, shadows,  

and light that bright little faces and just washed laundry. And now after not being

able to exhibit for a shone from few years, I am having an Open Studio this weekend.

Was it in the way I expected? No, not at all! 

What about your life? 

Do you remember your initial vision of your life? Has it grown and transformed as you have?

Can you continue to find inspiration in the spaces and moments between the daily demands of life?

A few things I’ve learned about living my vision and what you can do to transform yours:

  1. Define your vision and then let it grow with you
  2. When difficulties throw you off course, explore the new path and reset your route, but be sure to retain your vision's essence
  3. Remember that the way your vision plays out will always be different from what you imagined
  4. Life, art, and work are a process, not a destination

This weekend, as I observe the results of my latest work, I am grateful to have this chance to reflect and to share my work through my Open Studio.

I will be posting online the work exhibiting at my

Open Studio

, so you can all see where I am in my journey!

Where are you in your journey? Where would you like to be?

Create your life both on & off the canvas…like Eric Fischl

Bad Boy: My Life On and Off the Canvas  by Eric Fischl  and Michael Stone Well, I certainly wasn't prepared for the self introspection inspired by this book when I decided to read book “Bad Boy: My life on and off the canvas”, by Eric Fischl this summer. I chose to read it on the recommendation of Alyson Stanfield from ArtBiz, I should have known it was powerful because she has a passion for helping artists taking action at believing in the sustainablity of their own creativity. Thank you, Alyson!


The book is well written and hard to put down. Eric writes about his life and how it expressed itself in his paintings. His honesty about both is clearly expressed and revealing. It was helpful for me to draw inspiration from his courage and persistence in the face of much adversity as he was growing up. It was also instructive for me to see how he continued to allow his work to be dictated by his intuitions, regardless of whether it was acceptable. He put his inner voice first and let it lead him.

He was fortunate to nurture some truly honest, supportive friends who support him, especially his wife, April Gornik, the esteemed American artist.If you are reading this blog, you are interested in how to access the creative process. The way Eric perseveres in his lifelong attempt to discover meaning from his life and transform it is truly inspiring! 
Reading his life and art story, will help you to see the artist in yourself and encourage you to listen to it, nurturing the creative abilities within YOU. I know it has done that for me.I will leave you with a link to Eric's interview with Alec Baldwin, which summarizes much of the book very well.

Be sure to let me know here what you think of the book and what part of it or of this blog has helped you to trust your creative instincts!!!!