Thursday, October 23, 2008

Buggy Eyed with Crows

West Coast Crow
Ellen Sereda

I have 2 more crow paintings left in me, larger ones that are part of series for a show, the one above is for sale here. I'm still in the process of adding art to the new Etsy shop. I'll need to dedicate a full day to photographing, scanning and write ups for new work.

I actually would like to move onto incorporating other wildlife that lives in my area into my art, but I have a bit of a dilemma. Without a good camera and telephoto lens, animals and birds have to come to ME. There is the occasional bear and cougar that wanders into my neighbourhood, but I think enticing them with my stash of peanuts may be a bad idea.

Now I must leave the house and get some fresh air. If I don't go out, I might as well dress up like this for Halloween, a future I'd like to avoid.

Since I've spent the morning getting googly-eyed loading up crow images to the computer, this video seems entirely believable to me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Library

Yep, I'm doing my part to ward off the 'red menace' because we've seem to have lost a library book in this house called "Do Whales have Bellybuttons?". Unfortunately, I didn't even get a chance to read it before it went missing, so the question of whale bellybuttons still remains a mystery. Watch this and my rambling will make sense. Gotta love that Colbert...

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Bright Side of Life

I was grocery shopping today when I noticed I was making a small jingling bell sound. In my cloth shopping bag I found a little bell on a ribbon. It must have come from one of my daughters stuffed animals. I decided to leave the bell in the bag and continued to walk around jingling. If anyone looked at me funny, I thought I'd tell them I have to wear a bell because I like to sneak up on birds and then I'd give them a crooked smile and demand pie. Because nothing breaks up the monotony of a day than acting like crazy lady in small town suburbia.

But then I remembered there are more positive mental games I could play. The news media junkie I've become is making me forget the most important one. It comes from Mother Teresa.

She said,"I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there." I love that quote. Shifting away from the negative to the positive, without living in la-la land and denying the negative, just changing the focus. It works for everything. Let me demonstrate-

Instead of "I'm against racism" you say- "I'm FOR recognizing the humanity and dignity of everyone and treating everyone with equal respect and rights" (sometimes the positive can be a little wordy)

Here's another one: instead of "I hate tabloid television" you say, "I love so many of the great shows on PBS and HBO" or instead of "I hate cockroaches" you say, "butterflies are pretty special".

Many people do this automatically, but if like me, you weren't born with the Pollyanna gene and you hung out with your interesting, somewhat gothic Estonian mother when you were 9, watching The Seventh Seal , this mental shift is incredibly useful.

I used this all day today, starting with my to do list of chores. I don't hate laundry because I do love having clean clothes in my drawers that are easy to find. Weirdly enough, I had a completely uneventful, but happy day and it somehow resulted in me eating a lot more fruits and vegetables. I can't explain that last one. One bad side effect is that I may have nothing really to blog about. So I'll pass you over to a funny ranter, comedian Rob Paravonian ranting on Pachelbel's Canon in D and why not...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Working with a Theme

"The Temps Coffee Break: Pandora and Eve"
Ellen Sereda

My not so daily- daily art blog at Wordpress hasn't let me load any images into posts for 2 days. So I'm posting art here, because I can't spend any more time trying to find out what's wrong without it resulting in fistfuls of my hair.

This sketch had Pandora in it originally, but I messed up her face, then reworked it and reworked it, until finally she looked like Dr. Zira from the Planet of the Apes and couldn't be improved, just cropped. And surprisingly, I think it works better edited.

I was browsing through my bookshelf and picked up my copy of Bulfinch's Mythology and thought I'd give it another try. The link I'm providing is to the entire book, so you can read mid 19th century discussion of Beowulf online! What fun!

The writing style bored me a few years back when I initially bought it, and although it's not any less pedantic to my contemporary ears, the first myth was about Pandora. Pandora was given a box from the god Jupiter that she must never open. When she can't resist, all the good flows out of it and from the world. She manages to get the lid back on before hope flows out. So that's why when life gets kinda sh*tty, people always say, there's always hope. You can blame and thank Pandora for that. I simply can't resist stories of innocent women with natural curiosity being blamed for all the ills of mankind. I also like the idea of working in the confines of a theme at the moment. Because choice can be overwhelming, I'm going to keep my little sketches or illustration exercises as contemporary interpretations of mythology for a while.

My artists blogging friends have been working within themes that have been great to view online and see how they develop. Melanie, is creating a series of abstract art quilts based on Moby Dick. I was moved by these, they have a literal and celestial quality about them that I love. This one is Baleen.

Andrea Pratt is reworking some of her mixed media drawings from her celtic lunar tree calender series. She has a wonderfully distinct style. I also love this drawing, adapted from one of her paintings, Birdland. I'm lucky enough to admire this every day as one of 3 of her great pieces gracing my mantle.

Melody Madden "paints" with a sewing machine in a way that completely intrigues me. She is inspired by the natural world and here is a piece I love, Undercurrent in Red, it's beautiful and earthy.

Angela Rockett recently finished a show in New York City, exhibiting her abstract paintings that explore watery blues and grays. Living on the rainy westcoast, I can relate to these works. This is my all time favourite. Mapping the Depths It's gorgeous.

Paula McCullough creates art from found objects. She's been working on a series of 100 clocks that are as much pieces of contemporary sculpture as they are functional objects. Currently she is auctioning off one in a series of 10 identical smaller clocks. Click on the image to get to the auction

There are more artists I'd like to mention, but the day is slipping away and I have to go see Beverley Hills Chihuahua with my kids. Bet you wish you were me!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

When in Angst, turn to Bob

Phew! Okay here it is, I hope I deleted the partially written post before it made it into any readers or picked up by any bots, because not only is THIS post supposed to be about how I decided not to publish THAT post, but THAT post wouldn't have made any sense being partially written, got it? No? Lets just say if you use blogger and accidentally hit the enter button while writing the title... your post goes online. I've done that WAY too many times.

So what was THAT post about? politics, ideology, religion, the Middle East, the Iraq war, Christian and Islamic fundamentalism, propaganda, and a general end to humanity if we all don't start friggin' getting along. Finally, I would have ended THAT post with something about bringing cloth bags to the supermarket. Aren't you glad you don't have to read it? But it engaged my mind for half the day. And since I feel free to rant now I wanted to make the first ranting a doozey, with a video clip from Al Jazeera even! Yep, you heard Jazeera.

I'm also suffering from pretentious artist angst lately. I'm attempting to create art everyday that doesn't suck and failing so far. Combining that with wanting to get on with a series of larger works that will take the better part of a year to complete for a gallery (somewhere) is stressing me out. Having no guarantee any of it will sell, means I'll need to store those big paintings. And what with the economy and all that worry? To further degrade my self-esteem, when helping my daughter with her homework, I discovered Grade 4 math may be beyond me. Ouch, and I thought I was smart.

But then...a truly miraculous thing happened, I turned on the TV to escape and there he was....Bob Ross, the happy painter from the Joy of Painting. How can anyone stay blue watching Bob Ross, he rocked! That wonderful, formulaic painting of smudges of colour that miraculously turned into trees and rocks. The homey feel of that genre of painting graced every basement rec-room in every suburban home from 1965-1985. And you can tell he LOVED every minute of painting. Bob Ross made it all better. Who cares about outcome, it's all about process, or in broader terms, the journey. Thanks Bob, I know you're residing in happy tree, happy rock, happy waterfall heaven right now. Paint on!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

And the winner is...

12 identical pieces of paper were folded and put in my tarnished silver bowl and my daughter randomly chose the winner. Congratulations Caroline! you need to email me with you address at ellesereda[at]gmail[dot]com so I can ship "By the River" out to you.

I spent the entire day in my studio yesterday, trying to get new work ready for the new Etsy store. Creating art for such practical reasons was pretty much a bust. I was also in the mood for experimenting which was at odds with my purpose. I grabbed pastels, because, like a toddler, the pastel box was pretty and shiny and I wanted to play. I did 2 pastel landscapes, completely not in my realm of expertise. You can't see them because their new home is the trash can. Part of me knows deep inside that experimenting, making mistakes is all part of the learning experience and the only way to grow. The other me, the busy, middle aged mother of 2 kids, trying to fit time in for myself, grumbles, "enough with the learning experiences! I don't have TIME to make mistakes! I just want to get ON with it!" And then I just tell myself to...BREATHE.

Anyways, more eye candy, found this dress made of paper by Anthropology on Enzie Shahmiri's blog, World Market Portraits . Here's my girly-girl side coming out. Even though I often dress like a homeless man in a soup kitchen in the 1930's, I love this dress. It's kind of sugary, Marie Antoinette bimbo combined with an over the top, flowery kick-ass quality.

Do check out Enzie's blog, she's a wonderful portrait painter and finds some of the most gorgeous work by artists, photographers and designers (and even an animator or two) to post to her blog. She is also having an ebay auction of her beautiful, original painting to raise money for the Darfur relief effort. You can find out more info below.