the necessity of creativity . . .

This morning I had an easy stroll through a part of the Heights yet explored by me. It’s hard to keep a good pace when I see so much that needs to be captured. My creativity has reached a point of flowing so loudly, I cannot silence it, even if I wanted to.

 

like liquid fire

Creative expression is not a luxury for any of us, it is a necessity much like air, water, food, sleep, etc. It’s just that when we are out of practice of unleashing that need to express, it gets quiet & slowly dries up, yet it is still there, always there waiting for us to start noticing & then coaxing it back into a full flow again. That is where I am today.

But I know what it is like to have life, work & family take over where it feels as if there is no time or energy to express my creativity. I may have been busy, but part of me was dead, lifeless & I ultimately didn’t feel fulfilled or complete.

why just fence between these two trees?

I love my new iPhone for this purpose. I have a lot of cameras, from simple to complicated ones, but today my favorite is still the instagram app on my iPhone. It makes creating interesting, soul-full images easy, less time-consuming, with an instant result.

teal & grass green

I believe the best first step in recovering your creativity, is to start paying attention to what catches your eye. If it is a color, or a building, a contrast of two colors, a person, a crack in the sidewalk, the roots of trees, it hardly matters, but notice it, ponder on it, notice everything that draws your attention. Take photos of them.

Slowly that aspect of your inner being will start trickling a long with your interest in it, then it will give you more, open up further, wider until you won’t be able to stop it. You will need to write a story, a poem, take more photos, rip up paper, get out your pencil & doodle, sketch, paint, sculpt & dance. You will be filled with so much energy you can’t stop or slow down & there will never be a lack of ideas of what to create or express next.

three faces of red

love this polaroid app ~ shake it!

my book of scraps . . .

book made from scraps

I made this book for collage class. I love the layered edges where all the different papers & cardboard show. The cover was a failed collage that I cut up, see so it really is made from scraps. I love this idea. It sort of feels like all my art is made from scraps of my memories. I can’t say it was my life, not the reality of my life, who knows really what that was, all I have are my memories & the meanings I gave to these events.

So within the pages I wrote snippets of thoughts like scraps of memories, songs, words, inspirations, they may make no sense but it would be incredible if anyone who read them just pieced the scraps of words together between the flipping of textured paper & scribbles & allowed these words to make a personal meaning of their own.

last page

For years, I have dreamed of piecing together a book of images, words, etc from my experience in Iraq in this sort of way, that wasn’t linear or even very clear, more like sifting through scraps of images, poems, memories, bits of stories perhaps unfinished. The reader/viewer would be a bit of a voyeur who found a box of scraps & pieced them together to give them meaning, personal meaning.

Let me know if you think this would be interesting. I think it is organically coming together as I progress in my creativity.

The image above is one of my photos from Iraq transferred onto a brown paper bag using matte medium, letting it dry and then rubbing off the paper with water & my fingers. The bottom one is on cardboard that I gessoed first. I love the gritty feel it creates. It’s as if a photo has been found from a century ago, hidden in a dusty, damp attic. I love imperfection.

peony transfer with added tissue

Etcetera, etc. inspired styling . . .

how about those lemons

I had one of those moments last week that shook me to my bones in realization that I was pretty much standing still in relation to what I could be being. I don’t mean accomplishing, or achieving, but more just being the fullest expression of me. I think it was one of those moments where my outer limits of possibility suddenly expanded 100 yards further.

This shift happened while reading bits of Sibella Court’s book Etcetera Etc. creating beautiful interiors with the things you love.

I realized that here is a woman who seems to have the privilege of choosing precisely what it is she wants to do with her time. From where I’m sitting (may not be reality), it looks like she chooses to travel to exotic places, collects objects of beauty (which could be rope, beads, rocks, colors, & textiles (like her mother did)). Then she creates these incredible pallets, names them & puts them into books which expands & blesses the entire design & stylist world with her gift. But the gift is not only in her talent for seeing, finding, & capturing her vision but in the fact that she puts it all in these delicious books for all to savor. What a gift!!!

In this light of her vision, I suddenly realize that ANYTHING is possible for me. Anything! So what is my anything? Is it the creativity I’ve been exploring? Is it sharing stories? Is it film, photography, screenplays? Is it books involving travel? Who knows? Perhaps it is something that will bring me so much joy I don’t even have the space to imagine it at this time. Regardless, I love taking off the lid of everything I thought was possible and truly experiencing possibility. This is exciting.

I’m in a position in my life to do whatever I want to do, really! I have a supportive husband who would be thrilled to support me in anything I desired to explore. What would you do, in my shoes? Where would you travel & what would you create for the pure joy of creating? What would you share with the world for the pure joy of sharing?

In that light, I made these on Friday night while watching Rum Diaries with Larry. These were actually inspired by Sibella Court. If you have ever perused this book you will see some resemblance, but beyond the brown paper bags I’m not sure if there is much more connection. Really, I’m just trying to learn more about color & how to make my creations feel great with color. Thanks to Sibella for inspiring us so.

the library

meloncholy

 

there is no need to be precious . . .

mini pizza box from Collinas!!!

Two mantras I’ve been creating by these days are, “There is nothing serious going on here!” & “Don’t be too precious!”

These both keep me light, child-like & in the realm of fun & open to so many possibilities that could flow in from just about anywhere. Nothing is off-limits in this realm. An old washer found on the street can be a pendant on a necklace, an old greasy pizza box can be a canvas, we can paint with our hands & tear bits of paper to make art.

This is the approach I took to my recent collages that I created on mini pizza boxes from Collinas. The first box actually does have pizza grease & a little sauce inside, but the second one I asked them for after I finished the first one and realized I wanted to make a pair. I chose a color palate out of one of my Sibella Court books, Nomad  for inspiration for the second one. The first one I was just using shades of blue & green to create a pseudo color wheel (which then after it was done made me realize it was the shape of a pizza – go figure!)

Pizza Box "not so precious" collage

The words read, “There is no need to be precious. Perfection is not required, nor ever sought after. Create to celebrate.” I borrowed the sentiment & re-worded it for this box from another design book called, The Homemade Home; living with art & craft by Mark & Sally Bailey.

This color wheel turned into a flower & an ode to Chipotle, with its burrito wrapper & chips bag. This one is my favorite. I had added words to it but didn’t like the look so covered up with more crepe paper (that was easy!).

So I used crepe paper, tissue paper from stores, silver paint pen, paper bags, burrito wrapper & masking tape! Then I went over the edges of all the tears & cuts with Tim Holtz walnut distressing ink & charcoal pencil. The first one also has blue chalk. I took the collage around the sides to create depth.

Color palette from Nomad; A global approach to interior style

I carried it over to the edges

Make one, if you feel so inspired & share the result with me! It’s fun, easy (if you use the tiny boxes), & great therapy!!! Come on & play with me & repeat after me, “no precious, no serious!”

Big Luscious Love,

Katariina

PS. Here are the cool books that inspire me again & again!

new collages . . .

I’m taking a collage class at the Art League of Houston. Our instructor is Armando Rodriguez whose diverse background & wealth of knowledge of art & art preservation is expanding my world & understanding. I’ve learned so much in the first three weeks, it really is so much fun to be presented new & interesting possibilities with glue & paper. These collages below were inspired by Kurt Schwitter’s work, of course they are nowhere near the depth that he has created, but I’m soaking it in & finding my own expression by slowing down, planning colors & outlining a composition before just cutting & pasting like mad.

I’m really interested in telling stories with my work, writing, life, everything really. I think collage is a great medium for this.

This collage above was created from the lines of the canyons in New Mexico, The Land of Enchantment. The scribbles are from Finn who poetically added his input to a weekly meal plan. Larry asked what was for dinner on Wednesday night & I told him I wasn’t sure that I put the list in my collage. But now that I peak closer, it looks like something with veggies. :o).

ancestor worship

This piece above was inspired by Chinese New Year & the Taiwanese Taoist practice of Bai Bai. Which is essentially burning paper money for the ancestors to use in their after life so they won’t come back and haunt them (as it was explained to me by local Taiwanese – I am not a scholar of the Tao). In this collage there are pieces of the paper money, receipts, tissue paper from Anthropologie, the store which not only is pricey but is named after honoring cultures. It all ties together somehow, I’m sure you can see it! :o)

In the Name of Righteousness

Well this one is packed full of meaning, but it would be great to hear if any of you guys or gals reading this have any thoughts. Write them below if you do! I’d love to know. Oh & there are no wrong answers everyone will view it differently because we all have different perspectives, right? Right!

Much Love,

Katariina

 

painting tilapia . . .

notice next to the fish's mouth, "executive benefits" on the other end, "diets."

The Friday after Thanksgiving we invited some friends over, got the ma-mas ready for creative time, bought some tilapia, anchovies & a few trout at the local market & got busy.

Raine's fish print masterpiece age 6

This project was inspired by my brilliant daughter, Raine, who came home with a fish print in first grade – which I have kept to this day vowing to someday try this myself. And I guess nearly 10 years later was the perfect time to slap some fish on paper.

The idea behind this project is simple. Paint a fish & slap it on paper. I was using it as a warm-up to further painting or use the fish print & expand on it. I cut mine up & collaged it onto a board, other’s forgot about the fish altogether & ran in a different direction.

All in all, it was fun, smelly, bringing about lots of playfulness, laughter, a need for gloves, cats & the need to double bag the remains & discard in a dumpster down the street.

Ellie's fish face

subtle palette

sara pressing anchovies

tilapia & anchovy

Larry getting ready for a smooch

Grandma Karen jumping in!

my mama's fish

the catch is driving the cats crazy!

communing with fish

fish hands

I hung the fish on a laundry line with clothes pins across my window to show them off. Later I moved it up a bit as a window treatment.

hanging them out to dry

look at those fish!

installation piece in our dining room

my fish print collage

dirty laundry in California . . .

Ginger with Maggie & Luna

I flew out to visit with my BFF, Ginger & attend the Annual Sophia Conference which she was hosting in her beautiful Yoga Studio & house. It was a fabulous event & after we were able to make some time to create in her art studio which is  behind her yoga studio.

We warmed up with a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop & then headed home for some real “Dirty Laundry” creating.

i love small local coffee shops

The Sacred Studio

We started our creations with pasting paper on wood plaques for our foundation. Then we painted over the paper, laid down our focal center, pasted it, painted more, added more, used pens, more paint, & on & on. It’s so hard to explain because it is just a process that is intuitive & very flowing. There really isn’t any rights or wrongs. I think it is a good idea to keep in mind composition principles & color but really there is no “right” way to get from A to B.

But it isn’t about the end product. It is really about the creating together, watching what evolves, experiencing the magic, connecting & tending to the conversation as it deepens, dips & meanders into places unexpected.

Ginger & her collage, Simply Love Yourself

my collage

Our creations

I have since worked on this one a little too much, seeing the first version reminds me to not work & re-work things too much. Instead just love what I make in the first place & allow it to stretch its legs a bit before I judge it too harshly & wish to redo it!

broken wings & cosmos

dirty laundry last saturday night . . .

Sounds like a title to a song!

No it’s just what we are calling our beloved art gatherings that are blossoming ever so slowly, & gently with perfect timing in an ever-so-not-precious way. Which is important, of course. There is nothing precious about dirty laundry right? Also you don’t need to give it a lot of brain power, you just throw it in a tub, slosh it around a bit, wring it out, rinse, slosh, splat it, wring it, dip it, wiggle it, wring it again & then hang it up for everyone to see! under garments, unmentionables & all. Just hang it out to drip on the ground, letting it be absorbed into the earth, creating more life, growth, & so on! I’m sure you get the picture!

what i painted via a transfer of a photo of a plastic jesus

The only difference is we are doing all the wring-ing, sloshing, dipping, & wiggling with paint, brushes, inks, stamps, paper, wood, glue, gel mediums more paint & god only knows what!! It truly is a cleansing process & so amazing when it is done & you look down at what you created & then around the room at all the other creations & it’s like Whoa!!! How did that happen? Where did all the time go? How did we get so many amazingly different & unique creations?

the mess we left behind

Last Saturday night we gathered at my house for some Dirty Laundry (when you say dirty, think of the movie Joe Dirt & be sure to pronounce it, der-teeeee, or not). There were four of us luscious ladies, two men drinking wine in the other room, a toddler running in & out, & a teenager heading out to a Homecoming dance with her date & then returning before we were finished. It was a busy evening, but despite all that, we got some great creating done.

The theme for the evening was Ubuntu to go with the blog I had just wrote & it coincided with a talk that Vayu had just heard that day by Robert Thurman that spoke of a Buddhist idea that was very similar to ubuntu. From what I recall he spoke of how we can all be so arrogant in our thinking we are better, or smarter than others but we can only truly know when we know & listen to all points of view (I am probably not doing it justice but that’s what I got out of her sharing).  How serendipitous is that?

I must confess, I was so into the creating & being with my dirty sisters that I forgot to capture the moment in images to share here. I did however take photos of the mess that still sits on my dining room table, & asked the dirty girls to send me some photos of their creatings & some thoughts about the night.

Here is what the lovely Sara wrote, I love hearing her tell the story of the evening through her eyes & words.

sara's ubuntu of women

“Last night my sisters and I gathered to create art in the spirit of Ubuntu.  Amid a scattering of paper bits, paint and glue and a surrounding of candles, wine and soul food, a new sisterhood was formed.  Women who had not yet met, orbited one another, careful of each others unique dialects, learning to quietly arrange and pattern their movements in an unfamiliar hive.  We stretched ourselves to learn a new form of expression.  To
create art out of the generous offerings of our hostess in a method unexplored and somewhat uncomfortable for us.  Not knowing where and how to step can be a gift, a door opener and a unifier.  We left with art that will remind us of our journey.  Not masterpieces for a wall in a static composition, but whispers that remind us what it means to stretch and grow, to learn of each others unique lenses.  To see through the eyes of another provides us a clue as to how we fit in the larger web.  I am thankful for my Ubuntu art.  I am thankful for my sisters – those I have danced with and those I will one day.  I am thankful for the moments that stretch me and connect me and the whispers to take home to remind me of our shared journey.”

Danielle sent me these photographs of her collages. They are both inspiring & I wish I had captured them here that night with the beautiful smiles on the beautiful women who came to create together.

this was Danielle's first collage

This collage is sweet for me to see, because this woman in the left bottom corner photo is my Grandmother, Lila, playing like she is beating up her friend. The middle photo I took in 2001 or so of my good friend Ariana in Carlsbad, CA. She was one of my first clients. Then the top photo is called, The Journey & was taken on Camp Pendleton in California again back in 2001.

Danielle sent me this photo of her 2nd collage

I love how Danielle just jumped right in & started pasting paper on wood. Very audacious of her, & if you know me, you know I love audacious women.

My focus was to master the art of transferring images. There are numerous ways to do this but tonight I wanted to try two different ones. The first was with a gel medium painted on the ink side & laid down flat to dry then pull off, & the second is using transparent shelving paper. 

gel medium transfer of dictionary paper - i know it is backwards!

In these images both the plastic Jesus & the dictionary page were glued down. I think it is important to wait for them to dry. I didn’t & the image came up in areas, so I decided to paint over the plastic Jesus – which turned out pretty good – well I like it anyways.

ubuntu, in his name

The next way is outlined in Sara Ahearn Bellemare’s book, Painted Pages. I think it is on page 90, it turned out pretty good, but I think I could have taken off more paper. Again, I decided to paint over it, which I like but if I try again will not put so much paint – not over paint anyways. It’s one of those things I’m discovering.

transfer soaking from Painted Pages by sara ahearn bellemare

soak & rub off the back

end result - pretty translucent! I love it!

This is where I’m seeing that less paint could be more in this situation!

don't mourn her shackles, embrace your freedom to choose

sitting on my shelf

but does it sing?

I have a shelf in my kitchen/great room area where I set the painting I’m working on. I walk by it, sit in front of it, ignore it and sometimes drink coffee looking at it. It’s a chance for the painting to grow further under my skin and point out the little details it needs to be complete (well as complete as it will be).

Here are some more paintings I’ve been working on.

when whales fly

walk away

He loves me, he loves me not

Om Shanti

Now I know