Sunday, April 29, 2012

You Don't Have To Be A Perfect Artist To Work In Art

These are the words of Reverend Howard Finster--self-proclaimed "Man of Visions" and "Stranger from Another World." I want you to think about that last sentence. OK, don't just think about it. Go and write it down in your journal or put it on a sticky note and hang it in your studio. Why? Because those are words to live by, to create by, and to be inspired by.

At the age of 60, Howard had a vision from God that told him to paint sacred art. His response was, "Lord, I can't paint. I don't have no education in that." But he heeded the call and he did it anyway. From that day forward, until the day he died, Howard created over 46,000 pieces of art plus the art environment in Georgia known as Paradise Gardens. 46,000 pieces of art!!! I can't stop thinking about that. I haven't stopped thinking about Howard, his art, or his words since visiting this exhibit almost a month ago.

I've been a huge fan of outsider art for many years, but I never had the chance to view Finster's work in person until this exhibit. I took my watercolor Moleskine with me, and filled a number of pages with images from some of his paintings along with bits of text and quotes. Howard numbered each piece of art he made, so I included the number in my sketchbook as well.

One of the reasons I'm so drawn to Howard's work is because almost every piece is covered in text. I don't think Howard stopped to worry about whether his art was good enough, or important enough, or whether the words were spelled correctly. He was, after all, just doing what God told him to do.

If you like folk art, outsider art, religious art, art with text, or just need a big dose of inspiration, I strongly encourage you to visit this or any other exhibit of Howard Finster's art whenever or wherever you have the opportunity. Sometimes it's not just the art, but the story behind the art that can move us, touch us, or have a profound effect on us. Thank you Howard for reminding me that I don't have to be a perfect artist to work in art. From now on I'm going to think of you as my "garding" angel.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Found Type Tuesday

H is for holy-moly-how-is-it-Tuesday-again!?!

Thanks for stopping by. I promise I will have new and different things to share with you soon. In the meantime, have a h-h-h-happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Found Type Tuesday

I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream. Found Type Tuesday never tasted so good! Treat yourself to a scoop the next time you're out on the prowl for beautiful examples of type wherever you happen to be.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Found Type Tuesday

The only thing better than a good cup of coffee is a giant, hand-painted graphic on the side of a building proclaiming a good cup of coffee. Enjoy your java and be on the lookout for found type this fine Tuesday.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Still Plugging Along on Pilgrim

I didn't achieve my goal of finishing Pilgrim, the book I've been altering, in 2011 as planned. That's OK because it's a big book. It's a really big book.

Did I mention that it's a big-ass book? So far I've altered 135 pages that are 12 x 13 inches each. When I think about it that way, it's no wonder I'm still plugging away at it. If I had completed 135 of anything else in 2011, it would feel like an enormous accomplishment.

Pilgrim has been a wonderful place for me to play and experiment. Some pages are just about pattern and color because I like pattern and color.

Some pages are just about mark making and seeing what can evolve.

Some pages were inspired by The Sketchbook Challenge. Others by song lyrics, favorite artists, books, movies, or experiences. This page was inspired by a book about vintage board games to which I added a quote that seemed appropriate.

I couldn't resist one more hand image. I think this is the third one in the book.

I re-discovered my plastic alphabet stencils and added favorite quotes wherever they would fit.

I've had a lot of opportunity to practice my lettering on these pages.

This page was done on Easter last year. I can't believe an entire year has passed since then. I guess Pilgrim is proof for me that even a big-ass undertaking can be accomplished line by line, stroke by stroke, mark by mark, and word by word.

Pilgrim is really close to finished now. Filling the last few pages and adding a bit more here and there is both exhilarating and bittersweet. A celebration will be in order when this big book is finally declared DONE.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Found Type Tuesday

This might be my favorite Found Type Tuesday image so far, even if the type is not necessarily the focal point. While walking in the park, I came across these words carved into a wooden observation deck overlooking a small river. I spent a quiet moment wondering about Nik and the person who came to this spot missing him/her enough to carve this sentiment into the wood. Then I noticed the nearby eye drawn with a ballpoint pen and following the grain of the wood. Were the eye and the words put there by the same person? Were the two connected in some way or just random acts of public mark making? I snapped a pic and was about to go on my way when I also noticed how strong the shadows were on this particularly warm and sunny day. I held out my hand to take a shadow shot and it wasn't until I looked at the photo at home that I realized the eye was still clearly visible in the shadow. I used a few photo apps to tweak the image to what you see above.

There are a couple of things that I really like about this photo. For starters, it's more than just a snapshot of found type. It feels like a collaboration between me and the unknown person or persons who drew the eye and carved the letters. I was able to include a part of myself in the photo and I think that enhances, alters, or somehow changes the meaning of the marks. I also like the notion that by creating this image and sharing it here, the unknown Nik will be remembered through this beautiful phenomenon called art--if even just for a fleeting moment. Finally, I like that I now have two images in my shadow series and it feels like the start of an interesting, new direction to pursue.

Happy Tuesday!