Friday, October 18, 2013

The Calm Before The Storm: Reminiscing Art

The Calm Before The Storm: Reminiscing Art

Last October, I went on a jaunt with one of my best friends, Amy.  We hopped into her car and drove from Loudoun County to New York City.  The anticipation of NYC is always something that's hard to explain.  That city holds mystery and a certain beat that's quick and changing, much like a rock song performed by an orchestra...a "thing" that's unexpected, unusual, surprising.  Every time I visit the Big Apple, my journey is different and I always return revived.  It is the city that delivers the creative soul into the hands of possibility.

This time, we went for the purpose of taking an art class with master mixed-media artist, Lynne Perrella.  We hauled and lugged our art bags (Amy in heels no less, with me hobbling on a bum ankle) around the streets of Greenwich Village (or the "Village" as locals call it), bumping into kind strangers as we tried to navigate our way to the Westbeth Center from the train station.  New York City people are some of the nicest I've met.  They're not fake, nor are they above giving much needed directions.  In all my visits there, I had never been to Greenwich Village, so finding The Ink Pad's creative space at the famous Westbeth Center was an adventure, to say the least.  Westbeth Center, by the way, is an artist colony that has been in existence since 1970.  This building houses artists, dancers, musicians, actors, writers and film makers (some famous, some not) and sits on an entire New York City block facing the Hudson River.  It's a living picture of art history.

We spent the day under Lynne Perrella's instruction.  She is a humble, extremely talented artist who inspired everyone in her class with her unique techniques.  We bonded with other artists that day, all of us from different walks of life, with our own stories to tell...all of us attempting to complete one goal...a stained glass inspired piece of art in one intensive day.  I believe most of us completed our individual pieces and all probably treasure them to this day.

When Amy and I arrived at the train station late that evening, we were exhausted, but completely inspired.  I took off my shoes (Amy flung off her heels), we sat on the floor and admired each other's work.  There were thousands of people swarming in and out and around us, trying to get to their own destinations.  But for us, there was calm and satisfaction in our hands because we were holding art...we had experienced art.

The coming of the Hurricane had us up and out early that next morning to head homeward.  Little did we know it would be such a devastating storm in New York and New Jersey.  To this day, when I see the piece I created, I think of the calm before the storm.

Here's a few snapshots of my completed piece, which definitely took me the entire some.  I actually tweaked it a little when I returned home, too, where I added a little encaustic.


And here, Amy and I are devouring a massive cookie the size of NYC, which we bought at Macy's.  Some man had the gall to walk by and tell us that we should know better than to eat that cookie.  I suppose he thought he was being helpful?

After our trip, I also created a piece using many of the techniques I learned from Lynne.  The piece I created below is titled New Year's Eve.  It was a piece I made from the inspiring memories of NYC.  This exact piece I sold at the Waterford Fair this year.  It was sad to say goodbye to it, as it was like saying goodbye to a fond memory...but I'm always happy to know when a piece of my art finds a good home and hopefully helps someone else reminisce about the day they made an artistic discovery.

New Year's Eve (close-up)



New Year's Eve (shot 1)

Happy art to you!



Saturday, October 5, 2013

Mixed Media Adventures at Waterford Fair

This year, I participated in the Waterford Fair.  This is a special year, because it marks the Fair's 70th anniversary.  There are many wonderful artists participating in the fair and all of them put so much passion into their art...whether it be pottery, oil paintings, furniture, or painted guards (to name a few).  I was excited to play a part this year with eleven of my mixed media art pieces on display in the old Red Barn.  When they asked each artist to write an artist's statement, I didn't know where to start.  So I just started here... 

Artist's Statement
             God made us to create.  I think in part because there is something healing and holistic in making something out of darkness.  Art heals and leads us to revelations...or the "light."  The Creator created us with a kind of magic called imagination.  When we take yarn and weave, clay to mold something 3-D, paint to create and blend shapes, play notes to produce cords, and choose words to form syntax...we are on our way to finding some meaning, our perhaps even bits of ourselves.

 When you take a blank canvass and all the work is ahead of you, and you don't censor yourself by putting expectations ahead of the process, you are likely to do some of your best work.  It's having faith in the unraveling, faith in the colors, the sounds, and the words as they appear through and in you.  Art heals.  Simply, it heals from the inside out.  It is a gradual release and it takes faith and amazing courage.  I hope you enjoy my art and I hope that you are encouraged to pursue that which inspires you.

    A few fun facts about me:  I make my home in Loudoun County, Virginia with my husband, our two wonderful, slightly mischievous, sons, and two characters of the canine variety named Ruby Tuesday (you know, the one The Rolling Stones sing about), and Benny Bob.  Home is where I create mixed-media art, write stories, screenplays, and poetry, edit other authors' fabulous stories, compose on the piano, and still pretend I’m going to be a rock star someday. 

My favorite art supplies:

  • Brushes of many sizes
  • Canvas
  • Embellishments of all kinds
  • Encaustic
  • Ephemera
  • Fabrics
  • Funny sayings
  • Historical images
  • Imagination
  • Ink
  • Paints
  • Pastels
  • Poetry
  • Quotes from inspirational people
  • Reclaimed wood
  • Sandpaper
  • Stamps
  • Typography
  • Vintage papers
  • Wax seals
After I turned in my artist's statement and my artwork, I went to the Fair as a lover of all things handmade, where I spent too much money, but original art is always worth it. 

It's a tradition to go to the Waterford Fair every year with the two best moms in the world, my mother and mother-in-law.  They wouldn't let me take pictures of them, so I took pictures of our beautiful surroundings.  Mom1 and Mom2 always make the trip memorable.  Here are some shots from our adventure:

German Redware I purchased at the fair.  Isn't she beautiful on my kitchen counter! 
She has the old English nursery rhyme about 24 blackbirds baked in a pie
This happens to be the same nursery rhyme I sang to my boys
almost every night when they were small.
There's one more day left of the fair!  So if you are just a few hours away from Waterford, Virginia.  It's worth the drive.  Otherwise, there's next year...
~Mary Rand Hess