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, 

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/

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

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? 

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!
 

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!

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.