Sunday, October 9, 2011

Paper Party

Say Something
Mixed media on canvas

This painting is part of a series I've been working on called Body of Work. The reason I'm posting this particular piece tonight is I just got back from Gainesville where I attended a party for the 25th Anniversary celebration of the magazine Hand Papermaking. Amy Richard was kind enough to throw this little bash and I loved it! There was fun, hands on papermaking going on outside, great food inside (black beans, yellow rice and empanadas - what's not to love!) and a fabulous presentation by Steve Miller from the University of Alabama about a handmade book project he did in collaboration with the artists in Havana Cuba.

Ok, so what does that have to do with the painting above? The section of blue to the left of the face is paper made from denim. An artist here in Ocala made this paper from jeans that my mother gave her. It was so soft and wonderful that I knew I had to use it somewhere in my work.

I'm one of those people who loves paper. I love to feel it, smell it, hold it, buy it, paint and draw on it, tear it, cut it up and glue it in collages, attach it to canvases. I want stacks and stacks of all varieties of paper at my disposal at all times so that it can satisfy whatever creative whim is smacking me upside the head at that moment. Being one of those people you'd think I would be a paper maker by now but I've never actually done it. I've always been interested in it but there's only so many hours in the day and only so much square footage in the studio. 

Kelli is the one who invited me to this shindig (she actually has made paper) and on the way home we got to reminiscing about our college days in the art programs of our respective schools. That trip down memory lane reminded us of our need to get back to the fun of art again. Back then our main responsibilities were making sure our student loans came through and making it to class on time (she was dealing with the Michigan winters and I went to the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale and back then it was right on the beach - she may have more paper making experience but hey.... I went to art school in my bathing suit!) When we got to our art classes we were totally absorbed in the work. We could sink into the experience fully and really be creative from the core without thinking about paying studio overhead, making the commission deadline or paying the mortgage. How long has it been since we created simply for the joy of it without worrying about whether or not there was a market for what we were creating? I've had snippets of that feeling here and there but not for any real extended period of time. Since we opened our studio last May we've been very focused on teaching and selling - nothing wrong with that and that is what's necessary to make it but sometimes we need reminders about why we do what we do. We need to get back to the joy of the process and remember to spend some time playing. Just as children learn to live through play, artists learn to paint through play. Being in another artist's studio tonight, seeing another person's process in an art form that I don't work in but I do have a desire to learn, really gets the creative juices flowing again. Even if I don't get to make paper any time soon, I still feel energized by tonight and am excited about the potential of what's waiting to happen in the studio.

Wherever you are, whatever you create, take the time to enjoy it.

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