Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Art is Messy

After being an artist for over 5 years now, I have come to the conclusion that art is messy. I know I'm stating the obvious, but I'm a person who is very sensitive to their environment and likes things to be neat. Unfortunately, I don't really like cleaning, especially when it comes to arty messes I've made. And I really can't stand cleaning my brushes.

Guilty confession: during artistic "down times" when I'm not creating my brushes can sit it water for weeks - it's gross you guys! And then I just wind up throwing them out anyway.

I do try - here are some pictures of how organized I am when I clean up. You may notice looking at these pictures that my "studio" (3rd bedroom) is a repository of our old Ikea cast offs. Look how nicely everything is arranged in this Billy bookcase!

And here everything is stored neatly in Ikea Antonius drawers.

It is slowly dawning on me that even if one day I have the studio of my dreams (a bright loft with several large work spaces, ample storage, great light, beautiful views) I will still make a mess! And I still won't like cleaning it up.

So last week I decided to let it go - I didn't worry about the messes I made or cleaning up afterwards. I was nice and freeing and probably lended to the creative process itself! The only problem is now I don't have anywhere to work! So guess what I'll be doing today....

Friday, April 20, 2012

Illustration Friday

Here is this week's Illustration Friday entry. The topic is: Heights

"I'll Fly Away" © Abby Sernoff 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Taking It Outside

"Love Tree" © Abby Sernoff 2012

As much as I enjoy making art, photographing it has not been a passion of mine. This is tough, because taking good photographs is essential for presenting your artwork online. I have a good camera I think (a Cannon PowerShot), but even after  about 4 years I still can't get myself to spend quality time with the instruction manual. Everything is set for auto, and that's the way I like it for now.

One thing I have learned about photographing art is that  pretty much everything looks better outside. We have a covered front porch that has been serving as my new outdoor photo studio! Here are some of my latest attempts: 

"Black Desert Bird"  © Abby Sernoff 2012

"Untie Your WIngs" © Abby Sernoff 2012

"Always Remember to Sing" © Abby Sernoff 2012

"The Peacock" © Abby Sernoff 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Joy Garden

Joy Garden c Abby Sernoff 2012
As I mentioned last week, I've been working on photographing large art and listing it on etsy. I made this collage last year using an old road atlas we had. - it's called "Joy Garden" for obvious reasons. It was actually made as a companion piece to another collage I made called "Love Tree,"which I created using my husband's childhood US wall map from the 70's (sorry honey!) 

Joy Garden c Abby Sernoff 2012

Joy Garden c Abby Sernoff 2012

Joy Garden c Abby Sernoff 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Illustration Friday

Here's my entry for Illustration Friday! The topic is "Puzzled"

Paper Collage "Puzzled" c Abby Sernoff 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Single Blank Canvas...or 11 of them

"The term "blank canvas" can refer to a number of different things, both literal and metaphorical. However, all meanings have in common the idea of an empty starting point"

So, one of the major lessons I have learned after discovering myself as an artist 5 years ago is that  at some point you have to stop buying art supplies and actually make something. There, I said it!

I bought these little canvases last fall. Since I had spent most of the previous year working on a very large scale, I thought it would be fun to collage on small canvases. Some of them are wood, which I've never used as a base before. My plan is to rephotograph the above configuration when they are all done. It will be interesting to see what happens! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

This Movie Will Restore Your Faith in the Healing Power of Art (and why I really love my iPad)

Haha - I've been specifically trying not to talk about my health on this blog (I like to pretend I'm not sick) but it keeps coming up because it's been kind of the main focus of my life the past 8 months or so...

Anyway, even though I resisted at first, my amazing wonderful husband got me an iPad around the time I relapsed last Fall. It has pretty much saved my life through the rough times because there are several activities on the iPad that require your total attention and help you pass the time when you are too sick to do anything else. For example, I am now a "Gamer" - not what I was aspiring to be at 42, but whatever.

Another great thing about the iPad is you can watch movies very close to your face via Netflix streaming! That is how I discovered the movie The Cats of Mirikatani. It will renew your faith in humanity and restore your belief in the healing power of art!

From the website:

THE CATS OF MIRIKITANI Eighty-year-old Jimmy Mirikitani survived the trauma of WWII internment camps, Hiroshima, and homelessness by creating art. But when 9/11 threatens his life on the New York City streets and a local filmmaker brings him to her home, the two embark on a journey to confront Jimmy's painful past. An intimate exploration of the lingering wounds of war and the healing powers of friendship and art, this documentary won the Audience Award at its premiere in the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.

This movie touched me on so many levels. Having been dealing with illness for so long I am becoming very interested in the study of resilience, the unbrokeness of the human spirit, and the possibility of redemption at any age. 
I would love to hear your thoughts if you've seen this movie or plan to watch it! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Out With the Old - A New Day

A New Day Mixed Media on Canvas c Abby Sernoff 2012

I am currently working on photographing and listing large scale art on Etsy. I have 8 large scale collages (30" x 40" and up) that have been sitting patiently in my work space waiting for something to happen. Last year at this time I was getting ready for my first solo art show and had created these large pieces in the year leading up to that event. It was a huge stretch for me because I'm self taught and up to that point had never created a collage greater than about 11" x 14" (and even that seemed big at the time!)

My art show was great, but if you've been following this blog over the last week or so, you will be aware of why I disappeared for a while (see Where I've Been...)

I find photographing art for my Etsy shop kind of tough even for the smaller stuff, so taking pictures of the large pieces is a challenge! We just don't have great light in our house to begin with (I've totally given up on plants until we move), but I thought this spot in our living room might work. We get great light in our living room for about an hour a day (approx 5 - 6 pm) but so far I keep missing it. So this photo was taken with so-so light. I still think it came out OK. I will probably rephotograph it later.

A New Day Mixed Media on Canvas c Abby Sernoff 2012 

I like this collage a lot because it is called "A New Day." It's the only piece I've ever done that was a complete landscape. In creating it I was envisioning a new beautiful world where I don't have to deal with chronic illness anymore. Interestingly, my cousin (who really loved this piece) found it to be reminiscent of an H.P. Lovecraft novel. I haven't read any H.P. Lovecraft myself, but I understand he wrote really strange horror/fantasy/science fiction. I believe this interpretation was because my cousin found the moon in the collage quite haunting.

A New Day Mixed Media on Canvas c Abby Sernoff 2012

The more I think about it, the more I think it's truly a great aspect of art - it can mean whatever the viewer wants it to mean, even if it's different from what the artist visualized to begin with. Any thoughts?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Illustration Friday

Here is my submission to Illustration Friday. The topic is Vocal

"Always Remember to Sing" Paper, Acrylic, Ink on Canvas

These paisley birdies would like to remind you to always remember to sing!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Where I've been....

Cyberspace: Welcome back 

Me: Thank you :)

c Abby Sernoff 2012

Where have I been? In short, I've been sick. Really sick. So this blog has been sitting dormant for the past 7  months. I have researched how to approach blogging in this type of situation.

Basically, you can (1) ignore the fact the you've been absent from cyberspace and continue on as if nothing was amiss. Or, you can (2) spill your guts and share precisely what has caused your absence (as long as it's interesting, of course.) I'm a pretty private person, so option #2 isn't really appealing to me. It also makes blogging somewhat difficult for me to begin with, although I've been told your blog is the single most important tool you have in increasing your presence as an artist online. That's in addition to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, Tumblr, your independent Website, Etsy shop etc. I swear I can't keep track!

A very successful artist I admire referred to blogging as your "living room"- a place where you invite people into your world to get to know you! This is great if your "living room" looks like a hipster paradise full of great antiques, knickknacks, and quaint furniture you reupholstered yourself. But what if your personal  "living room" looks like a burned- out disaster area? Despite all I've read about making yourself vulnerable and sharing your difficulties with others, I really don't think that anyone wants to read about the details of my illness over the past seven months. It's been messy, horrific, and definitely not beautiful or "hip" - although  I'm 42 now, so my hipster days may be over - I haven't figured that one out yet :)

So, I guess I'll just start blogging again. I'm still dealing with health issues, but feel ready to start getting back to my art. Plus I think working a little bit will help me feel better in the long run. I'm slowly trying to revamp my etsy shop by taking new photos, adding new listings, and of course, getting back to making collages.

Trying to keep up with the social networking aspect of being an artist online is a bit overwhelming to me right now, so I think I'll just focus on a few things at a time and see where that takes me.

I'm back :)