Monday, April 15, 2013

Just making some art when a Life Lesson broke out


Hi, this is Mary Beth. I am new here. Won't you come along for my very first post?
First of all, let me say that I joined the Sketchbook Challenge because I have always admired the blog posts and I wanted to be part of this amazing crowd. Truth be known, I consider myself a failure at keeping a sketchbook. I have so many of them all around the house and studio, half or two thirds finished, my habit is sporadic at best. But yes, I do sketch. And I thought just maybe this group would inspire me to be more disciplined with my practice. Who knew my first month would bring a life lesson?
But I digress.
Spirals - we all love them, don't we? They are a sacred symbol, typically representing evolution and life journey. I started my exploration of the spiral by playing with my flexible drafting tool, moving it into different shapes to see if I could build a spiral. I like the way it cast shadows over my paper and I traced them with a pencil. 
The Flexible guide.



I used a marker to widen the stroke.
Spiral widened with a marker
Spiral play
Futzed around a little bit more and made spiral shapes over and over, toying briefly with the idea of coloring them in. I know these will inspire future abstract paintings, they are quite similar to some of the pieces I painted for my Shape Shifter series.
Painting inspiration? Hmmm......


Pieces from my Shape Shifter series, painted last year.
I retreated further into my brain for and started to think about the Helix shape and the fact that it is also a spiral. And the double Helix, giver of life.
Somebody get this brain out of the way!!
At this point I discarded my sketchbook and grabbed a wood substrate, starting to paint fast and furious. My brain moved out of the way (finally, whew.....). I painted a simple spiral over and over, then covered it with color and scratched spiral images throught the paint. As the paint started to dry I scratched harder and harder eventually grabbing my Xacto knife and literally cutting the paint away.
When I came up for air I realized that I was spiralling. Maybe out of control? Too much going on, overcommitted, you name it. The painting had been a release of sorts, for me art always is.
The next day I journaled right onto my painting and then finished it off with a gel medium technique I recently learned from Leighanna Light; that is when I got the idea to embed all the little people into the gel medium.  
6" x 6" Mixed media on wood panel, "Will you Sink or Swim"  by Mary Beth Shaw
So yes, for me too, the Spiral represents a journey. And a lesson. It also gives life and perhaps even heals. Just like Art. There is more to be explored here, I know that for sure.

15 comments:

  1. I love This post and seeing part of your process. Also, your "Shape Shifter" pieces are wonderful. It is great to see your work here.

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    1. Thanks so much, I appreciate the kind words :)

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  2. This is a great description of your process! I enjoyed reading it and felt the "frenzy" It resulted in great art!
    I've always been a little bit afraid to join this sketchbook challenge because I, too, am a failure at keeping a sketchbook!
    You did a great job here!

    http://www.michelleoconnorweekendartist.blogspot.com

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    1. No worries, Michelle, just jump in. I think the process is the most important thing, and even if you are particularly regular about it (heck, I'm not) whatever you do will be great.

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  3. Well done first post! I also felt like I was experiencing the spiraling along with you. Like the idea of using the flexible thing (I'm sure it has a proper name that I can't remember) to model shadows!

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    1. I know, I can't remember what that flexible thingie is called either, lol.
      Glad you enjoyed the post. I didn't want to scare anyone with my frenzy.....

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  4. This turned out very nice! I also think that your "Shape Shifter" paintings are very pretty. I really like the colors.

    I want to join this challenge but am afraid that nothing I do will be up to par. That is my life challenge...to just do it and throw fear out the window!

    Best wishes to you on your spirally journey. :)

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    1. Suzanne - Carol Sloan here. I am one of the hosts of the SBC. Please, please don't feel that your work will not measure up! We all have to start some where, learning as we go. If you go to the SBC Flickr site, you will see that there is a wide variety of skill sets reflected there. So, please give it a try! We want everyone to use their sketchbook! Whatever you do will be just great for where you are at. The more you practice, the better you will get. Really.

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    2. Oh Suzanne, no worries, we would love for you to play along. That is one of the most amazing things is that we are all at different stages and can learn from each other. I completely agree with Carol, whatever you do will be great for where you are :)

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  5. GREAT to see you here, Mary Beth! Isn't this just how art IS, though? You start somewhere, and discover something completely unexpected. I have totally abandoned sketchbooks in favor of a "sketchbook frame of mind", working on separate sheets of paper. I think we've all expanded on the idea of sketchbooks in many ways. Thanks for the post.

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    1. I love the idea of a sketchbook frame of mind. Yes!!

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  6. Welcome Mary Beth! What a great first post - love seeing how you approached the spiral theme.

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  7. Wonderful post and really nice piece. I can feel the emotion in it and I just love it. I may join the sketchbook challenge in the future because my sketchbook is my best friend. I work both in and out of the spirals =) Also I am so enjoying seeing everyone's studio and hope to have one of my own some day. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Wonderful post and really nice piece. I can feel the emotion in it and I just love it. I may join the sketchbook challenge in the future because my sketchbook is my best friend. I work both in and out of the spirals =) Also I am so enjoying seeing everyone's studio and hope to have one of my own some day. Thanks for sharing.

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