Friday, August 31, 2012

The Creative Process: Confessions of an Accidental Artist

"The creative process is a process of surrender, not control." - Julia Cameron

I have a confession: the creative process does not come easily to me. In my head it's easy, I'm constantly coming up with ideas. But getting myself into the studio (otherwise know as our extra bedroom) to execute those ideas is somewhat like pulling teeth. I would describe myself as an "accidental artist": I never had the intention of being an artist, I just found myself becoming one about 6 years ago. For those who are not familiar with my story, here is an entry I wrote about how this all came about How I Became an Artist 

I think my personality, as far as a career goes, lends itself to working best in a structured environment, having clear deadlines and expectations, and being around other people. Kind of the opposite of being an artist!

I was having such a hard time getting myself into the studio today and I began to think about my creative process. Since I am relatively new to this art thing, I'm still learning about what works best for me in terms of how I create. I occasionally read about artists whose overwhelming desire to create constantly is like breathing. I am not one of those artists. However, I am aware I see the world a bit differently than others - a world of beautiful imagery and symbolism, and when I do finally get myself making art, it feels absolutely right.

So, here are the guidelines I have come up with so far about my own creative process:

- I should try to spend some time related to making art daily, even if it's just a few minutes (this does not including promoting my art on the internet or working on my etsy shop!) Getting back into the studio for me after a long break is exactly like getting back to exercising after a long break - tough!

- It's ok to work on more than one project at a time. I spend a lot time waiting for glue and paint to dry, so why not work on a few small collages at once?

A few of the collages I am working on right now

- I like to work standing up even though I have a perfectly nice chair to sit in. This is ok.

- I really hate getting glue and paint on my hands (figures I make collages!) I must keep a pack of baby wipes nearby otherwise the glue is impossible to wash off later.

- Frequent breaks are a good thing. I am much more productive and enjoy myself more when I take lots of small breaks rather than try to work straight through on a project.

Art Assistant Carmela takes frequent breaks

- Any art I create must have meaning to me. Oh the ideas I've come up with that would probably get me a lot more sales on Etsy! But I ...just...can't. My heart goes into everything I make and I really need it to have some meaning or relevance - even if it's tiny. And that's ok too.

I would love to hear anyone else's ideas about the creative process and what gets you going!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Art Art Everywhere!

Yesterday my husband and I took all my large canvases out of storage to rephotograph them (hopefully for the last time!) We got some really nice outdoor shots with good lighting, so I'm starting to feel better about the quality of the photos. Since my last blog entry was about photographing art outside, I'm not going to post those pics, you'll just have to take my word for it!

Anyway, I did get some interesting shots of my art all over the place! I am often asked why I don't have more of my art hanging up in my home (well, by my Mom, mostly.) I do have one framed print in the bedroom that I love looking at, but mostly I keep my art stored. Maybe if we lived in a bigger house I would display more of my work, but these big canvases would be too overwhelming for me in our cozy little home. Even though I believe in my work and my talent as an artist, looking at finished pieces is a loaded experience. Since I put so much of myself into my art it is hard to appreciate my work objectively. Seriously, it sometimes takes a few years for me to be able to look at a piece of artwork I created and think "Wow, did I really make that?!" I have no idea what the process is like for other artists - perhaps that would make for an interesting future blog post!

Here is my Art Assistant Carmela supervising from afar 

Carmela supervising close up

My amazing husband Mike who did all of the 
heavy lifting and most of the photography

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Taking It Outside Part II

© Abby Sernoff 2012 

A while ago I wrote about photographing some of my original art outside. Last week I decided it was time to re-photograph some of my art prints. I love my prints (I order them online from IPrintFromHome) but I felt my current photographs on Etsy weren't really doing them justice.

Many artists on Etsy photograph their art for sale hanging on a clothesline - I love the way this looks and decided I wanted to try it. First, I had to find a clothesline and clothespins. This is not as easy as it sounds - I guess they're not so popular anymore! Then I had to come up with a good place to hang my clothesline outside. For someone with my amateur photography skills (and no real desire to improve them) the natural light in our house is terrible for photographing art, so it was important to hang the clothesline outside.

I originally had taken some photos of my prints hanging with trees in the background, but it looked way too distracting, so I finally settled on the stucco wall in the back of our house. There were even some hooks already attached to the wall since the previous owners had used a clothesline to dry their clothes. I initially thought this was quaint (they definitely weren't environmentalists) until we moved in and realized the dryer was broken....well that's a story for another day!

Here are some of my new photos (the prints are all available in my Etsy shop )

"Recovering What Was Lost II" © Abby Sernoff 2012 

"You Are Important" © Abby Sernoff 2012 

"Nothing Happens Alone" © Abby Sernoff 2012 

Ready For Balance © Abby Sernoff 2012 

"White Mountain Bird"© Abby Sernoff 2012 

"Treees Can Grant Wishes" © Abby Sernoff 2012 

"Acceptance/Integration" © Abby Sernoff 2012 

"I Will Bloom" © Abby Sernoff 2012 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New Work - Word Collages

© Abby Sernoff 2012 

A while back I wrote a post wondering what to do with several small blank canvases I had. Even though they were small, I wanted to make them impactful. Here are the results so far:

© Abby Sernoff 2012 

© Abby Sernoff 2012 

© Abby Sernoff 2012 

© Abby Sernoff 2012 

© Abby Sernoff 2012 

You can also view them in my etsy shop here !