Summer On My Mind

Limitless

Surface

As I write this, my outdoor thermometer hovers way below freezing. Despite this chilling fact, I really do like winter. It’s a beautiful season, just a little too gray and white for a painter who loves color. Luckily I planned ahead and am still able to enjoy the season that I think is the most fun to paint! Here are two of my newest works drying in the studio and waiting to be framed. “Limitless” (top) and “Surface”

Summer

IMG_6586I always get nervous when school gets out for the summer. For some reason I worry that I won’t get into my studio to work as much as I’d like. This year has been different. My boys are willing subjects for a new series of paintings and we’ve been having a lot of fun exploring the woods, enjoying the sunshine, and the freedom of lazy summer days. They have inspired enough reference photos and sketches for a lifetime’s worth of paintings. They are the most fun and creative studio assistants an artist mom could hope for!

Can you teach creativity?

I’ve been volunteering a lot of my time helping my son and six other fifth graders with a problem solving competition.  It is basically a test of creativity.  The state tournament is tomorrow and I hope that I’ve been able to help them tap into their confidence and creativity but I’m also left wondering if creativity is something you can teach at all.  I’m sure every one of you who reads this will have a different opinion and I’d love to hear them!

The last few months have been a big learning experience for me.  When I began working with the team, so many of them seemed “stuck”.  It took a surprisingly long time for them to get over the notion of right and wrong answers.  I hope that I was able to provide a positive environment for them to experiment with different ideas.  I really hope that after tomorrow they will continue to value their own creativity and individuality.  That’s good advice for all of us!

“Cared For”

Cared For, 24x36", Oil on Canvas

“Cared For” is one of the last paintings I completed in 2012.  I can clearly remember the moment, while helping my son wash his hands, that I felt inspired to paint this simple task.  I cannot even begin to count the number of times I’ve helped my sons wash their hands over the last eleven years.  Come to think of it, many of the things that have filled my days over the past decade have been seemingly small and simple tasks.  These moments are easy to overlook but added up over the years become something more.  They are something learned, something shared.  Now that I’m at the point where no one really needs me to help them do things like wash their hands, I can see how all this time added together has resulted in something greater.  We are at a point of transition now.  This shift intrigues me as an artist but sometimes scares me as a person.  My boys are becoming more independant and instead of fighting the tide, I too need to grow and change.  It takes patience and small steps, not every day can be epic, but after a while our effort can get us to a place we never thought we would reach.

Ferocious

Ferocious, 36x28", Oil on Canvas

“Ferocious” is another painting whose title has two meanings. The first refers to my son at this age, his love for these scary, carnivorous dinosaurs and his desire to be tough and ferocious despite still being a snuggly little boy. Secondly, I was overwhelmed by the ferocity of my love for him. It was a love whose intensity I didn’t expect before I was a mother.

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