Monday, June 1, 2015

Neutrals and the Art of Zen

The 100 Artworks Challenge has been a real eye opener for me in many ways.  To begin with, I never, ever thought I'd enjoy working with neutral (aka "yucky") colors.  I had sworn off using monochromatic themes and black/white paintings after spending nearly an entire semester of a college design class that focused on creating tonal works.  Using only two tubes of paint out of my vast paint collection bored me beyond tears and after I got my grade (A!) I said "sayonara" to neutrals and "hello" to beautiful, bold and vibrant color.

Also, I didn't think I could ever pick a specific theme and use it 100x over.  Still life paintings were another thing I swore off doing after studying art many years ago.  Boring!!  But my latest vessels series actually makes me happy.  Each painting is simple and funky and has its own personality - and they can be mixed and matched and look amazing with a white mat in a black frame.   The fact that I have already sold over 25% of them without really doing any marketing doesn't hurt either.  I'm nearing the finish line of the challenge, and just completed #76 called "Sugar."  It's the first painting in the photo above, and I started adding words to some of the pieces, just for fun.

Working with neutrals and a simple, minimalistic theme has had a very calming influence in my personal life as well.  This year started with a lot of mini challenges and for awhile I felt like I was putting fires out wherever I went.  The peace associated with the creation of these little paintings could not be more welcome, and they're helping me find my little spot of Zen that was desperately needed.

Another thing that has developed during this process is my desire to start writing again.  After having a weekly and bi-weekly column in our local newspaper for 7+ years (landlord/tenant related), I burned out and stopped doing any writing other than my blog and journal entries.  I've got some ideas that are churning with this new desire and we'll see where it goes.

I've also begun de-cluttering and had a very successful garage sale last Friday at my house.  I've been toying with the idea of selling my home and buying a small piece of land or tiny house and with the market prices rising in my area, I think this may be the time to sell - at least for me.  So I'm starting to clear things out of drawers and closets, piece by piece.  I've got an Open Studio sale that I'm planning in July to get rid of some art and have my on-line stores that I'm slowly stocking. 

I'm an artist with a plan (finally!)  I feel a calm and "Zenful" feeling that has been missing for a long while.  I'm very grateful I accepted the 100 Art Work Challenge and that I chose to work in a theme with neutral colors.  I needed to discipline my Self and focus on my next step in this life journey, and once again, making art was the catalyst for finding the answers I needed.