I’ve been taking Louise Fletcher’s free Find Your Joy taster class and it’s been SO wonderful. First of all Louise is lovely and humble and very, very talented, but also it’s exactly what I needed to encourage me to try painting again.
My first painting after many, many years…
When I was young I wanted to be a fine artist, but the adults in my life (not just my parents) encouraged me to be more responsible (aka get a REAL job.). So I went into fashion design, hated it, then jewelry design, loved it, but ultimately found it not exactly the right fit for me, then found hand stitching, and finally Improvisational Stitching, which has been so wonderful and freeing. I love improvisational stitching, but I also know this isn’t where everything ends. All of this I will be talking about in much more detail in my upcoming workshop: Finding Your Voice Through Exploration and Creativity. I will be sharing my experience with art, design, and evolution as an artist; how I came to improvisational stitching, the things I continue to do, look for and try. The workshop is all about encouraging and helping people find their unique voice. What motivates, what awes and inspires and how to take those things and incorporate them into your art. The workshop is personal and is the culmination of many things that I’ve done over the course of my life. We’re going to have a wonderful, wonderful time of soul searching in a safe environment, cheered on and encouraged to try things we might not otherwise try and we will talk about that inner critic. The one who is sometimes so loud we have a hard time concentrating. Each day is filled with exercises to help us see what’s blocking us, how to work through and around those blocks (and inner critic) and move towards what we love. There are still spots open! So sign up.
I’m a seeker, a life long learner. I got that from my mother. I love stretching and trying new things. I get bored pretty quickly, so improv stitching has been fantastic as the options are infinite. I can incorporate lots of different things into it.
When I was awarded the Artist’s Residency in France this spring, I had a studio and realized how much I needed that so I could work bigger and add paint to my pieces. My husband early into my 2-week residency said to me, while talking on the phone one evening, “So I guess you’re not going to be able to come back from this…”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Having a studio,” he said.
“Yup. Definitely going to be needing a real studio when I get home.”
So guess what? I was gifted part of a studio for the summer and painting was the first thing I wanted to do. And this is where Louise’s free class comes in. It’s all about painting and I figured I’d get some prompts and encouragement to paint again, and that’s exactly what I got and so much more!
2nd attempt at painting again…
I did six of these and had so much fun!
And then I hit a snag. I had one of those days where the voice in my head told me everything I was doing was awful. So I did what I’ve learned to do over decades of dealing with this voice. I kept going anyway, though I must admit there was little pleasure to be had… and when the voice became too insistent I went back to doing some hand stitching on La Bête, which is soothing and lovely.
Gimp French Knots, Added Wool with Ribbon Roses, Feather Stitch
And the next morning I woke up and went into the studio and began working on the piece that had me down and feeling like this whole painting idea was a bad one. And do you know what happened? I decided I rather liked it after all.
And then I decided that I wanted to try doing something I’d never attempted before. Doing an abstract piece using a photograph as inspiration.
I tested this idea out in my sketch book first.
And then I tried to recreate this on proper paper, but the size is off and I actually like the one in my sketch book best, so that was interesting!
It became too elongated. I like the square shape that I did in my sketch book. I may try this again with a square piece of paper.
I also played with some black paper using only black, white and red paint.
Anyway, the whole experience has been nothing short of amazing and so, so informative and just beyond wonderful. I’m loving my time in the studio where I go from painting to stitching and then back to painting and now can incorporate both in my work, which feels even more amazing. I love that as I learn new things my work changes. I love that just because I enjoy something I don’t have to stick with just that and do nothing else. I love that I continue to explore and grow and the work shows that as well.
I cannot begin to describe how incredibly grateful and fortunate I am to be able to do this 2-week residency in this Chateau in Orquevaux. It is beyond anything I could have imagined. I have a studio, a real studio where I can splash paint around and create pieces that are much, much bigger than anything I could have dared imagine back in my workspace in New York City. It is like being in a dream. Seriously. And here’s the thing, I’m practically in tears because I’m just overwhelmed at how lucky I am to be able to do this, to have this opportunity, to have this kind of space, to be able to create without distractions, to be able to make a mess… it really is a dream come true.
My studio for the next 2 weeks.
This is the piece I brought with me and have begun working on…
Someone commented on my Youtube channel about messiness, saying that she was happy my work area isn’t pristine as that would be intimidating. And it made me think about the various stages of messiness.
The gradient scale of messiness, because this is important.
1. Kind of “messy”, but it’s not a problem and anyway to my mind, this is actually incredibly neat. Everything has its place, I know where things are, it’s easy to work on my current project and all is well with the world.
2. Okay, okay, things are getting “messy” but really it’s all subjective and yes, I’m having trouble finding things, but nothing I can’t handle. Besides, I’m working here and a certain degree of messiness is to be expected and even necessary.
3. Messy is to some, what neat is to others, I tell myself, and I’m working and anyway I just grab whatever is easiest and closest and call it a “prompt”. However if I’m being honest it’s starting to be a problem and I can’t find things I want to use, though I will never admit this out loud.
4. The tipping point: things have gotten out of control. I know it, in my heart, but I still continue to work, despite the mess, because the work takes priority and anyway I know what happens once I start “cleaning” things up. Still this has gotten beyond “messy” and I’m spending more time looking for things than actually stitching.
5. Clearly something has to change. I can’t even find the piece I’m working on and so resolve to clean everything up… tomorrow.
6. A thorough cleaning is done. I carefully put things in places that seem reasonable and make sense to me at that moment. It’s all so neat and tidy, I hardly know where to start!
7. My work area is clear of everything but the piece I’m working on, only now I can’t find anything and spend hours looking for things that I knew were “just over there”.
8. Begin ripping the place apart in search of various much needed items.
Repeat steps 1-8.
You’ll be relieved to know I’m currently hovering at around a 3. Totally doable!
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Please browse and look at our patterns available. We also offer Workshops! ~Ariane