"Focus" - the word for 2019

It’s been over a year (yikes!) since my last blog post, but I’m vowing to try it again this year and be more consistent with my writing; so, my word for 2019 is “focus.” Every year I pick a word and try to live it; and this year’s word fits especially well, since sometimes my art is all over the place and I need to pinpoint my style and technique. But, after two plus years of experimenting with painting abstract art, I think I’ve finally landed on a style and technique that intrigues me (well, maybe a couple of styles, but this is actually an improvement for my sometimes erratic and non-behaving brain!)

Can anyone else relate? Do you find it difficult to accomplish a goal because that laser-like focus is all over the place? I can only say to be patient and enjoy the journey and discovery, that it WILL come if you work at it. I’m probably stating the obvious here, but I’m living proof that hard work goes hand-in-hand with finding your unique voice, and will eventually pay off. So, below is painting that I’ve recently completed, using the new skills that I want to implement and focus more on.

I’d love your thoughts and comments. Here’s to 2019!

“Dancing at the Edge of the Sea” - ©Terri Edwards 2019


Being "authentic" for 2018

Every year I choose a new word to try and live by for the year, a word to concentrate on, a word to make me stretch and grow. For 2018, my word is “authenticity.” This is something that I often struggle with, as there are so many wonderful, talented artists out there whom I admire and, quite frankly, would love to emulate. So, next year is my year to reinforce that, even though I might find my work lacking at times, especially when compared to those whose work I love, I need to remain “authentic” and true to myself. It may mean revisiting some old techniques, some that were very successful for me in years past, but maybe adding a new twist. Or, it may be going in a completely different and new direction. The important thing is to constantly remind myself that whatever I offer, it will be mine, and mine alone, with my own unique stamp on it, that keeps the authenticity real. What about you? Will you join me in keeping yourself authentic? I’d love your thoughts. Wishing all of you your most successful, wonderful, happy, and authentic new year yet!


Luck has nothing to do with it

Throw your dreams into space like a kite and you do not know what it will bring back - a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country. ~ Anais Nin

The best part of life is that we do not have to have the same life day after day, month after month, year after year. If we are determined enough, we can improve our lives at any time. ~ from Positive Quotes for Every Day by Patricia Lorenz

I just watched a very powerful short video by one of those life coaches (yes, I do occasionally find what they have to say interesting and beneficial). His basic message was to stop playing the same message in your head day after day, the victim mentality. I'm very guilty of this at times. I tend to believe that other successful people simply have had better luck than I. I realize they work hard, but I've also thought that they are just more "worthy," and have been in the right place at the right time. This coach says STOP IT! Luck has nothing to do with it, and when you say this, you're playing the victim. Today I'm going to go forth and not give in to this habit; I'm not going to let these excuses take hold in my thoughts. There is power in your mindset. Are your dreams talking to you?
"Dream Whispers" - Terri Edwards, 2016 -https://www.terriedwardsart.com/abstracts-av…/dream-whispers

The yearning

I've got to get something off my chest: lately I've been thinking about my own mortality and what will happen to all of my unsold art when I'm gone. Now, I'm not normally a morbid person, but recently, since I've been thinking about this little issue, it's made me think about how many years I might have left and how I'm spending them. I'm sure you've all seen the famous painting by Edvard Munch, "The Scream," and lately this is how I've felt in my mind. I feel like screaming because all I want to do is paint, and be successful at it. But here I sit, at my regular day job, bored and frustrated because I'd rather be home painting. As jobs go, my day job is not a bad job; I've been working in a political atmosphere for 24 years and involved, in a roundabout way, in the law-making process in Virginia, and I count myself lucky to have found such an interesting job. However, 24 years is starting to feel like 50, and the yearning to leave and do my own thing is so strong it hurts. And I don't even ask to make thousands of dollars (although that would be great!), just a nice living from painting to add to my retirement income. And I wonder: what will my daughter do with all my paintings? Certainly, I hope she keeps some that she really loves, and perhaps passes them down to her own children. My husband and I both had grandparents who painted and we have some of their paintings, and they are some of the most cherished possessions we own. So, I hope I didn't bore you with this little bit of candor; it's rare that I write about such a personal and emotional thing, but it was nice to get it out, to speak of my fears and dreams out loud. Do any of you have similar thoughts? What your legacy will be, and how you'll spend the time left to you? Some heavy food for thought. I promise I'll be more cheerful next time.

"The Scream" ~ Edvard Munch

"The Scream" ~ Edvard Munch

Dip or hamster wheel?

I'm currently reading one of those self-help books for entrepreneurs by Seth Godin, called "The Dip." The Dip is a stretch of time for creatives, business people, etc., that you go through in your career, but that sometimes makes you feel stuck, but that, even when it seems difficult to keep going, you do. You're experiencing The Dip, according to Godin, the time when you are learning and honing your skills and promoting yourself.  Going through The Dip can take years of hard work. The opposite of being in The Dip is being in a cul-de-sac, or, if you prefer another analogy, a hamster wheel, where you keep running in circles, or find yourself in a dead-end cul-de-sac going round and round with nowhere to really go. So, the premise of the book is do you work through The Dip, or realize that your're in a hamster wheel/cul-de-sac and go on to something more suited to your skills?  Once you get through The Dip, it's supposed to get easier, you just have to stick with it. I feel like I've been through a lot of dips in my art journey, but probably more hamster wheels, truth be told. It's probably why I sometimes go from style to style, trying to find the one that suits me and my personality best. So, think about your creative endeavors or business strategy, and ask yourself if you're Dipping, and working through The Dip, even though it might be tough at times, or ask yourself if you're in that wheel, spinning around and getting nowhere, and maybe it's time to change your focus. I'm sharing a small piece that I'm working on that has a "dip" in it, and I wonder if if I put in there subconsciously. Hmmmm... Comments always welcome! Tell me about your dips or cul-de-sacs.

That thing called luck

In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, this post is about luck, and the debate on whether it exists or not.  I've seen some fellow artists who have made a lot of sales, like several pieces on any given day, and I've been quick to say "they're so lucky!" Hmmm, I wonder. Is it possible that maybe they're just working incredibly hard?  Sure, maybe they got lucky by making a connection with the right person at the right time, like unknowingly chatting with a gallery owner in the checkout lane at Walmart, or running into an interior designer at the gym or hair salon, but I believe you have to work hard and PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE first. I've been thinking about branding lately: what's my story, or what's a piece of my art's story? I've really gone out on a limb recently by ramping up my social media presence, telling stories, and taking chances, like calling a local community center, which resulted in my first upcoming exhibition. I've been trying to comment and connect more with fellow artists on Twitter and Facebook, and slowly, slowly, I think it's starting to pay off, not to mention I'm meeting and getting to know some great people out there. And, obviously, a benefit of lots of hard work is that your skills will get better and better. So, here's wishing all of you the best of luck, with maybe a lot of hard work thrown in, no matter what you're doing. Please share your experiences below in the comments and connect!

"Green Dance," 2015, Alcohol ink on artist panel

"Green Dance," 2015, Alcohol ink on artist panel

Boo boos, or "why did I do that?"

Take a good look at the piece below, because I kept messing with and it will never be this good again, in my opinion, but we will see. Sometimes these "uh oh" moments work out for the best, but sometimes a big tube of white paint is an artist's best friend. That's what I love about being an artist, though: the constant challenge of working out color combinations and pleasing composition. But, I tend to do this after the fact, that's just how I work now and it suits me better. Rather than write down ideas and pencil in a composition, my paintings lately have been intuitive and organic in nature. Yes, I usually have a particular color palette in mind, but rarely will I have a design mapped out. Some professional artists might say that's not a good way to work, but everyone has their own way and I don't think there's any right or wrong way, as long as it works for you. So, I'm going to blog more about my process and works in progress, and post some progress pics along the way. This way, maybe you can connect with a piece more if you know the story behind it. For this one, I wanted to do circles, just because. Circles are complete and aesthetically pleasing, I think. The title will be "It's My Party," and you know how the rest of the line goes. I'm going for balloons here, and the suggestion of crying, but I want it to be a festive looking painting as well. Tune in later and see how I finished. But I'm still thinking "why oh why did I do that?" 

Raising a ruckus

I thought I'd share my progress so far of a new, colorful abstract piece that I'm working on, "Raising A Ruckus." We've probably all heard that phrase (or maybe it's mostly a southern thing), but it's mostly used to convey calamity or chaos, and goodness knows we've got a lot of that going on in the world today. But I'm thinking of it differently; couldn't raising a ruckus be done in a good way, for good? Like getting active and participating in a cause you're passionate about. So, in that context, this painting has happy energy and colors, I hope. At least that's what I'm trying to do. No darkness or dark colors allowed!

I'd be interested in your thoughts on things you've gotten stirred up about; please feel free to comment below. Now go out there and raise a ruckus.


Girl power!

“The day will come when men will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race.”– Susan B. Anthony

We all, I'm sure, know strong women. For me, my mother is the #1 example of a strong woman who's influenced my life. Today, while honoring and celebrating the strong women in our lives, think about their accomplishments, their hardships, their courage, and remember to never overlook your own. 

I'm posting a painting of a more obscure female Impressionist artist, Berthe Morisot. From Wikipedia: "In February 2013, Morisot became the highest priced female artist, when After Luncheon (1881), a portrait of a young redhead in a straw hat and purple dress, sold for $10.9 million at a Christie's auction. The painting achieved roughly three times its upper estimate exceeding the $10.7 million for a sculpture by Louise Bourgeois in 2012."  The art world, for much of civilization, was considered a man's world and female artists were (and in some ways still are) considered inferior to male artists, so Morisot's success is especially noteworthy.

So, here's to all the fabulous, talented, strong, and courageous women out there - march on!




A tale of two canvases, or self doubt

Last weekend, I struggled with a load of self doubt about my artistic process. After weeks of painting that just seemed to flow from my brush, I struggled with a piece of artwork that I had a very clear outcome of in my mind but, in reality, could not make happen. This is the initial painting:

I looked at it several times in the this stage, really liking what I had done so far, and thinking that maybe I should just stop there. But no, I had a certain outcome and I just had to go with it., so I plunged on. Disaster. I ruined the piece, or so I thought, and was convinced I was a fake, that I didn't have the talent of a REAL artist. But then I had to remind myself of something I read not long ago, which is that as an artist, it's important to remember to not treat the canvas as too "precious." In other words, remember that you can always go back and paint over a piece if it's not working the way you had intended. So that's exactly what I did. I gessoed over the painting, leaving the main color palette intact, as I knew that this was the main goal of the piece. This knowledge, that do overs are allowed, has led me to be far more free in my painting and to take more chances. Self doubt comes in all forms; we all have it at one time or another, especially if you're involved in any type of creativity. But don't talk down to yourself. Realize that mistakes are made for a reason: so that the learning can continue. Never.Stop.Learning. Below is my do over. It's still not finished, but I like what I'm seeing in this second attempt better. Yes, I've had to readjust my vision for the piece, but it's okay, we're allowed! But, who knows? Your preference may actually be the initial painting. I'd love to hear your comments or struggles with self doubt, and how you overcame. As always, please feel free to interact and comment!

A round tuit, or procrastination

"Just do it!"  ~ Nike

We've all used and heard the phrase "when I get around to it." Years ago, when I was a little girl, my Dad brought home a little round thingy similar to this:

Now, I don't ever recall my Mom using this phrase a lot; she was and is a good housekeeper and always got things done. It was probably just my Dad's being funny, which he frequently was. As I began another piece of art the other day, the phrase "when the spirit moves me," kept running through my head and, the more I thought about it, the more the "round tuit" phrase kept coming up; two different ways of saying the same thing. Below is a detail shot of this latest work in progress, "When the Spirit Moves Me," and you'll see some "round tuits" in it, my version of them anyway. Procrastination can be a crippling thing, and I've learned, just like the Nike people said, to "just do it!" 

Kick the Can, and a pond

"Youth is, after all, just a moment, but it is the moment, the spark that you always carry with you."

This past weekend, I took a trip home, just my dog and me, to visit my Mom in my hometown. For some reason during the drive this time, I spent time thinking about my childhood. All along the route I take to drive home, there are a few little ponds in the fields along the way, and, being especially sunny and beautiful days, the sunlight sparkled on the water of these little bodies of water, and reminded me of a little pond/lake behind my childhood home that I could see every time I looked out our kitchen and family room windows. Seeing these little ponds during my drive, with the reflecting sunlight, gave me comforting memories of my childhood. I have fond memories of that house and the field behind our house where even horses lived occasionally, and of the neighborhood; sledding in the winter, the way the little pond looked on sunny days, playing Kick the Can under the streetlights with my good friends until after dark. So, the point of today's post is, I think, that if you were lucky enough to have a warm and loving childhood, to cherish those times when things were simpler. You may find that it gives you perspective and comfort when you need it most. 

"Alive Under A Calypso Sky"  mixed media on canvas 

"Alive Under A Calypso Sky"  mixed media on canvas