As we enter a new decade, I am sure many of us are pausing to evaluate the past few years, our habits and our gifts. It has been said 2020 will be a decade of clearer vision—let’s hope so. It is definitely a time to reflect on our priorities.
What has been a heavy weight and what allows you to soar?
In my own art practice, I have removed certain activities and obligations from my schedule and added new ones. I am reflecting on one of the most important purposes for my life, to bring light and joy, to encourage others in this often dark confusing world.
Above: "Joshua Trees Against the Blue Sky" by Janis Comments, acrylic on canvas, 20" x 20"
I am reflecting on my approach. For me, the queen of multitasking, I have learned that this is not always wise. Taking photos in our beautiful rare snow, making footprints in the ice to photograph for Instagram and then reading my mail as I entered the slick floored garage---combined for the perfect slip up – (or down!) and produced two tiny bone fractures last February! Less multitasking.
Learn to savor experiences. Sights tastes, aromas, feeling, sounds! I am certain this will influence the inspirations that translates into a painting!
Time. We know time is precious. If your schedule is already busy, it is difficult to slow down and let creativity wash over your soul! However, like exercise and good nutrition, you will reap the benefits of more creative opportunities. One of the negative changes of the 20th century was created by the desire for more efficiency, faster “smarter” methods and packing more into each day. No one has invented a longer day. Know the lifelong restorative benefits of the arts!
Change of scenery and continued lifelong learning. I have had the good fortune to travel this year. In fact, I seek the cozy interior of my studio. However, even if travel is not in your budget, may I suggest subtle changes. If possible, take a different route to work or school. Talk to new people. Visit different places in your community: a park, a library, a museum, a swap meet, even a different supermarket! Add new books to your reading list, different genres of music and more. New experiences awaken new ways to approach your creative practice—whether it’s poetry, painting, acting, playing an instrument, sewing, collaging or other art form.
My recent trip to Savannah GA led me to observing and drawing amazing, and to a Californian, older architecture, reminiscent of European cities. It led to study of unfamiliar people and events. Upon my return home, I am drawn to the buildings of our Mojave in a new light- and with unexpected interest!
Below: My photos and sketches from Savannah
Locally, the small burg of Pioneertown came to my attention. In 1946, the “Living, breathing movie set” was created by investors including Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. Today, “Mane Street” hosts small art galleries, specialty gift shops, a working Post Office, church and “Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace.” Pappy & Harriet’s, originally the Cantina-an outlaw biker burrito bar, evolved into a tourist hotspot serving great food! And its performers have included Robert Plant, Leon Russell, Seann Lennon and, yes, Sir Paul McCartney! And, when I first was a teacher in the desert during the late 70’s, we used to watch our principal bowl at the Pioneertown Bowl. It was a working bowling alley then—rumors of its reconstruction are alive! Lots of detail and inspiration for sketching and painting.
Below: My photos and sketches from Pioneertown
For the New Twenties:
Nurture your creative practice!
Plan new experiences and exploration, ever seeking inspiration!
Let your inspiration drive your art!
Remember to encourage others!
Wishing you all the best for an artful new year!
News for 2020
Jan 14-16 Desert Landscape Painting at the Campbell House Inn (photo) Campbell House web
April 4 Joshua Tree National Park Desert Institute: Capturing Joshua Tree Landscapes with Acrylics https://www.eventbrite.com/e/capturing-joshua-tree-landscapes-with-acrylics-spring-2020-registration-82537434689
Aug 14 – 19 Camp Benneville de Pines Art https://www.uucamp.org/camp-calendar/Groove : Summer Camp for Adults - Landscape as a Creative Process: Using Acrylic and Water-based Paints
Oct (tbd) Joshua Tree National Park Desert Institute: Plein Air Painting in the Park!
I also hope to launch a new line of cards and paper goods based on travel sketches for my France Sketchbook Calendars. Reaction (and sales) has been welcoming!
Below: January Workshop at the Campbell House Inn and right, France Sketchbook Calendars and Cards
Note: The last 15 months have challenged us! This month I encourage you to learn from the isolation and I wish you a cautious, but joyous June reopening!
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