Participants at my Desert Institute plein air painting class in Joshua Tree National Park
Happy Fall - which is very much in the air! Even the desert boasts fall color!
This season, I feel we are survivors, and I sincerely hope this greeting finds you and your family well – in mind, body, soul and spirit.
Joshua Tree National Park Black Rock Campground Park Center
Trials are a part of life. This weekend, I am allowing the obstacles which I am working through to recede and focusing on the beauty and happy events of this month!
On my mind? I want to celebrate community!
Although we often create in private—our creations are made to be shared, make a statement, be appreciated and enjoyed. Our creative expressions need an audience.
I am often reminded of how important the layers of community are.
"Laguna View " Janis Commentz, 11 x 14 oil,
in the permanent collection of the Glass Outhouse Art Gallery, Wonder Valley
Family can be wonderful encouragers, and unfortunately, sometimes they do not appreciate the creative family member. Even my mother, an extremely talented visual artist, was scolded during the depression for wasting time when she could have been vacuuming! My family often served as models as in the painting of my daughter above. My tip? Give positive feedback to artists in your family. Look for color, movement, something you can compliment! However, make sure your statement is genuine. This is especially important for parents who want to encourage creativity in their young. Provide access to paint, musical instruments and time!
Small Support Groups
For us grownups – life can be harder to negotiate. In years past I have been actively involved with art associations and facilitating drawing groups—all lots of work.
During Covid (and I know Zoom is not for everyone) my weekly Zoom group has been a high point of my week. I am certain participants would attest to the encouraging, safe harbor that has evolved, Originally, I invited a few friends and contacts and honed my Zoom teaching skills. If you don’t have a small group, find or create one. Not only do we share painting time, techniques, materials, artists, exhibits, and information from out various towns and states, but we have found surprises emerge. This community spirit has a powerful, positive effect on our art. Growth, progress, confidence…one tiny step at a time, all for showing up!
-one displayed her new painting series recently on our open studio art tours.
-another is discovering she can paint!
-some pop in and out sharing travel, new methods and media
-because it is zoom – we have seen studios from a variety of locations
We are fortunate to live in a community which has evolved into a true art colony. There was a time we dreamed of being an artist refuge like some of the famous California art colonies. There is no doubt we have reached that goal!
This year the Hwy 62 Open Studio Art Tours is celebrating its 20th year. If you have not visited-this is the third weekend! Although the tour is famous for its large colorful hard copy catalog, an online version is available as well as an app https://www.hwy62arttours.org/
Many of these artists have been become good friends over the years. Others are familiar faces I look forward to seeing at gallery events and on the tours.
The tour features 117 studios and over 150 artists.
Although I thoroughly enjoy opening my home studio (and I have been on the tour for 10 years) it has been wonderful to be the visitor this year.
Community can nourish. Be a positive influence. And I am reminded even as I write this – life is precious. Cherish those around you, and let them know they have value in your life. I have often been the do-er and the initiator; I am learning to accept invitations! I am allowing people to invite me into their lives—to enjoy more one-on-one lunch dates and conversations. How do you develop community? Often sweet conversations allow you to get to know an acquaintance better.
Studio visits: Esther Shaw with her fabulous paintings and sculpture; Anja Broenik of AnjaSF designs, with her incredible clothing designs and paintings (and moi); Wini Brewer with her paintings and her husband, photographer Bill Leigh Brewer's photography
And what does this have to do with art? Every facet of life affect art. My Zoom group helps me to “show up” and provides a layer of accountability. My family certainly enriches my life and provides purpose and occasions to express myself creatively. Our art community provides a platform to exhibit, share and appreciate art and the people who make it. And community is built through those one-on-one relationships. Enjoy the moments!
My first Joshua Tree Calendar is available in local shops: Cactus Mart in Morongo Valley, Rainbow Stew http://www.rainbowstew4u.com/ in Yucca Valley and Soul Connection in Joshua Tree and on my Etsy shop, French Press and Mojave Inspiration.
My Desert Institute class spent a fun day painting in the JT National Park learning about acrylic paint and the art of plein air. If you missed it, consider signing up for my April 16th, 2022, class. This class was recently featured in a new publication, Joshua Tree Voice.
This is my 8th year exhibiting in the juried Joshua Tree National Park Council for the Arts – Art Exposition. The opening will be Saturday, November 6th at the historic 29 Palms Art Gallery Saturday, November 6th from 5-7 pm. To view info about the selected artists, see https://jtnparts.org/jtnpca-featured-artists/
My aunt inspired many of the paintings by my uncle.
Family Memorial – In July I posted about the legacy of my 97 year old aunt in Lessons from a Life Well-Lived. This month we held a memorial and I feel celebration of family and community shone brightly.
Our weekend near Laguna coincided with the Laguna Beach Plein Air Festival “quick draw” which is really a very quick plein air painting event. https://lpapa.org/laguna-plein-air-invitational/
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This January 2023 marks 5 years of blogging about creativity, well-being and encouragement. Thank you to the many who have visited my website! I welcome comments and questions.
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