Have you heard about the Around the World Blog Hop? It’s bloggers taking turns writing about their creative work, and then inviting other artists or writers, whom they admire, to participate. Who knows where it all began? But it’s a way for us creatives who blog to introduce ourselves to an audience who might not be aware of our work…a way to share our blog readers. From each post (this one, for example), you’ll be able to follow the Blog Hop backwards or forwards. I invite you to take a creative stroll…
Blog Hop participants are asked to address four questions for our curious readers: “What are you working on..…how does your work differ from others in its genre…..why do you write/create what you do…..and how does your writing/creating process work?”
❖ Last week’s Blog Hop post was written by the wildly creative artist, writer and shepherdess, Katherine Dunn, who is also the author and illustrator of three delightful books, including the highly acclaimed, Creative Illustration Workshop for Mixed-Media Artists: Seeing, Sketching, Storytelling, and Using Found Materials. Truly, she is my heroine and I am in awe of her energy and art. She runs a very successful Etsy shop and the near-legendary Apifera Farm (“where art and animals collide”), which is also home to the Misfits, a motley collection of neglected and aging farm animals. Make yourself a cup of tea, grab some cookies, and settle in for Katherine’s post about her own unique creative process here. You won’t be able to resist staying for a while, once you’re there.
What I’m really working on is myself, I think. Most of my images are talking (in the way that pictures do) about universal, timeless things, not settling for being simply beautiful or amusing. Though whimsy and surrealism have been my approach to art for a while now, underneath the lightness, I’m still asking the big questions.
I love the process of making an image inspired by story, feeling, imagination and dream. Pictures are a form of communication, and even though I am fairly competent with words, images speak a mysterious language that doesn’t leave a single thing out…a language heard by the heart. It’s a magical tradition to be part of, and I count my blessings…I can’t imagine what else I would have done.
I could easily spend all my days messing about with paint, paper and pencils…pure joy. Hours can go by, even if nothing ‘worthwhile’ has been made. Who’s to say what’s worth doing, really? My Inner Scientist is fascinated by the technical side of what materials can do, but mostly I tend to just wing it when it comes to the actual painting and drawing. Wing it slowly, that is. I wait a lot, and watch what’s happening organically, and I sometimes start over when I’ve painted a good drawing “into a corner.” Consequently, short deadlines are stressful and I rarely take them on.
I have written and illustrated two folktale-genre picture books (which are looking for their publishers), but most of my studio time is spent making individual paintings. Ideally, I would make more books than single paintings because I adore creating characters, scenes and finding the perfect melding of word and image to tell a particular story.
In every image that I make, there is an element of “learning tale.” (Not the reprimand and ruler swat variety, but the gentler kind.) Wondering about the foibles, fallacies and obstacles of the human journey is the background noise in my head, and though I watch myself bumping and fumbling along with everyone else, sometimes I get a glimpse, an inspiration of what’s really going on down here. I try to make pictures of that. I think perhaps that I hope to reassure others that we’re not alone, not really…that All Truly Is Well, despite appearances to the contrary. Humor and whimsy help with that too.
❦ For a look at what’s been happening in the studio lately, take a peek at my most recent blog post here. If you’d like to read about my art-making process, you can find that story on the About page of my Etsy shop. Thank you for visiting! ♡
❖ And now ~ It is my turn to pass the baton on to next week’s creative blogger, the absolutely wonderful and multi-talented Alice Ratterree. After a career as a classically trained singer, Alice transferred her creative energy into illustrating for the children’s literature market. Alice is one of those rare contemporary artists whose work has the masterful feel of such turn of the century artists as Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac, and, most enviably, she won this year’s 2nd runner-up place in the 2014 Tomie dePaola Competition from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She is represented by Marietta Zacker of the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency and is currently illustrating a middle grade novel for Peachtree Publishers. Her blog is filled with inspiring art and helpful illustration tips, and her post, “The most important question illustrators need to answer” is a must-read. Alice has a shop too, and she’ll be posting her own Blog Hop post on Friday, December 19th, so be sure to hop on over.
“The Trees Carry On” (watercolor, pen & ink)
“No Rest” (detail) (watercolor, pen & ink)