In the desert, November started with glorious, sunny, yet crisp weather—a dip into the 30’s at night.
October was a very busy month for me – “art season” as they say. Teaching a painting day-workshop in Joshua Tree National Park, two weekends of opening our home and my studio on Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours and, because I believe we all need inspiration from outside sources, a first time visit to the LA Brewery Artwalk – a twice a year event where 104 arts open their studio lofts to the public.
This weekend, while attending the funeral of and elderly friend’s husband, I was reminded of the seasons of life and our lifespan on this planet.
As artists and artlovers, the richness of our lives comes from a range of emotional experiences. Although we cannot control all circumstances, we can learn to be content—and by storing up kernels of wisdom and creativity, we can create and spread joy.
- Take a class! You will learn something new and meet people with common interests. Since I retired from public school teaching, I have attended at least one workshop each year. Although I have painted almost all my life, I always learn about new materials, what inspires others, how to enjoy different points of view and more. Invest in yourself.
I enjoy teaching a sharing painting tips, especially in our beautiful Mojave Desert! Each spring and fall, I teach a Saturday plein air painting class in the beautiful Joshua Tree National Park through the Desert Institute https://www.joshuatree.org/desert-institute/field-classes.html
In January, I will be teaching a two night/three day water based painting workshop at the historic Campbell House Inn in 29 Palms and will be directed to beginning and intermediate level painters. Come play with us in the sunny Mojave Desert, a perfect winter get away January 14 – 16th https://artcantina.com/business-directory/desert-landscape-painting-with-janis-commentz/
- If your commitments, schedule or pocketbook do not permit you to take a class, let me encourage you to learn from books and online sources. Today’s technology opens doors previous generations did not have access to! Gather with friends for a collage day. Find an online lesson. Work alone or gather friends! I have discovered podcasts (first at the urging of a good friend). Plein air painting has grown enormously popular during the past decade and artists share techniques on https://www.outdoorpainter.com/podcast/ In fact this summer, while painting interior walls, I found listening to be very meditative. Look up the artist’s work on the internet first to help you imagine them working.
- Jump in and make some fun art! A favorite annual project is to create small paintings on wood of ravens and crows. See photos above. I can be downright silly with my creatures, lightening up some of the attitude that goes in to more “serious art!” My husband cuts up a number of wooden blocks from 1x6’ lumber. I have learned to use the small electric sander and prepare and paint my surfaces. Canvas, cardboard, jars, wood panels, and recycled items are fun to paint! And they can make a great holiday item. These will be available this weekend at an arts and crafts faire and then at Rainbow Stew in Yucca Valley. If you would like me, contact me via my website form.
- A fun project from my travels has been assembling a French Sketchbook Calendar for 2020 pictured below. 6 1/" x 8 1/2" $12.00 (+ tax + postage) Contact me via my website contact form or social media.
Work in steps; prepare the surface one day, find something to paint (photo or scene) on another and then pain on that third hour that you carved out.
Gather objects for inspiration! Above (right) is a photo of an inspiration shelf I put together when I first retired from teaching and needed to surround myself with meaningful objects: (from top clockwise, Christmas music parchment belonging to my mother, photo of my mother in her 1940's ceramic studio, cubist self portrait by my uncle, Vermeer print - because I love his use of light, vase by local potter Ed Keeseling with a figure he sketched in my life drawing group, red asian wooden vase belonging to my mother, a jar of red earth from Texas that was supposed to be under the bed when I was born. Haha-- it arrived too late for me to be born over Texas soil!
Make a move! Obstacles will enter our life. I found myself journaling with a negative twist last week, ad made my self rewrite each with a positive re-statement. I created a thankfulness bridge:
The whiny negative comments changed to encouragements.
Make a plan. Even if you have to modify it, have a general plan! Turn “I can’t” into “I can!” Jump in! Apply paint! Find objects for a collage! YouTube a project and follow directions.
Spread a little joy!
Wishing you a wonderful November! ~Janis Commentz