My fifth donut date took place inside my head. I know what you are thinking...this took one of my donut date spots? Relax, I decided to do a "baker's dozen" so this will not take anyone's spot. Birds have long been my muse since my grandparents gave me a bird book back in elementary school. I practiced and practiced until I could draw a bird anatomically correct from memory. Birds, especially crows have shown up time and time again in my work usually as distractions or temptations. In stark contrast to the vibrantly colored donuts that have only been my muse in recent years, it only seemed fitting to marry the two in one artwork. I had been thinking about this for some time and then a former student suggested it in my quest for subject matter for a different smaller work I was doing. It was a tiny artwork titled, "nesting" that only had the donut nest of fledglings and became a study for this larger work. This piece, while a whimsical marriage of my two muses, actually houses a multitude of symbolism. Much more than I can type here, so I will just hit the highlights...teaching...it's hard to portray the idea to anyone who is not a teacher. You spend all day feeding small bits of information that you try to figure out how to make attractive to your kids so they "bite", all the while juggling a million other things going on inside the room and your brain hence the confetti of different things dancing in the background. An artist's brain much like a teacher's is equal to having about 53 tabs open in your browser...even though you can only see one page at a time, you know they are all there distracting your focus. The most important thing you can do as a teacher is be who you are....because if you are willing to be yourself in your classroom, your kids will feel safe enough to show their own unique spots and stripes and feel comfortable expressing themselves. Like all humans, they just want to know that someone sees them and hears them.
Meet the "Dornadoes" my 3rd Donut Date in the dozen. The Dornadoes, a combination of their name and tornadoes, were affectionately named by me as they seem to blow into your life randomly, stir things up, leave it never quite the same, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I met Missy about 16 years ago when I hired her into our art department. I knew from the first minute of the interview that she was what we were looking for and she proved me right for the several years we were able to work together before budget cuts. Immediately we became fast friends, our husbands soon after and eventually their kids came along. All these years later, the Dornadoes are always a package deal and we have never minded...once. Hence the group artwork that took me so long to attempt to tackle (although eventually, only 3 days to create). This random pic with goofy faces and expressions defines them perfectly. There is never a dull moment when we get together as you can imagine with 4 art teachers and two extra creative kids. We have spent years trying new random recipes on the fly, camping, creating art, and we have a Jamfest every summer in which you guessed it...we make jam (raise your hand if you thought we played music). But my favorite moments are like the one above where we decorated donuts in an Easter theme for our donut date as it was Easter and we were getting together to color eggs. The entire family is always up for anything and as all creative people, after a few moments, someone says, "I wonder what would happen if....." and that's all it takes for the randomness to begin and we end up with things like Jesse's donut created with a squatting peep followed by a trail of brown jelly beans. We also always play some sort of game whether it be a board game or an egg hunt resulting in playing cards for hours with a miniature deck about one inch tall where the real struggle was just trying to read the cards for the old people. I can't begin to tell you of all of the hilariousness that we have had over the years, and the words we still use today for things their kids said when they were little like, "icky bug" and "Janjuary". Beyond all of the hilariousness and creativity, they have your back like no other and I know we will count them as friends for this entire lifetime. It's not like long periods of time go by without us getting together, but just like the saying when we do it is like no time has passed. We pick up right where we left off and there is no doubt that we will always, always be here for one another. In creating this portrait, I wanted to leave them more expressively created as that is all of their personalities and the background came to me as this entire family is so goofy as bunny ears and randomness have made their way into way more pics than I can count. What we can count on is always having these goofy "peeps" in our lives to stir it up, make us laugh, and support us in everything. I'm not sure how we were lucky enough to get into the path of the Dornadoes, but I hope the weather conditions continue to be just right.
Full disclosure...I'm not even little bit girly. I don't like to shop...at all...so I signed up for a mail order clothing service. I rarely wear dresses, RARELY, but when this dress came with my shipment something about the lines intrigued me. I have always loved art related to the Op Art (Optical Art) movement and this piece just spoke to me. It has been hanging in my studio for a while screaming to be an artwork. What I like about the dress is the stark contrast of perfect black and white lines....but decided to draw them anything but because, well that is who we are as humans. "And the world will be as one" Inspired by John Lennon's "Imagine" lyrics. Color, size, shape, preferences don't have to keep us from living as one. "I hope someday you'll join us" This piece was created using many different media and application to reflect the different people in the world. People can be vibrant, subtle, colorful, messy, imperfect, etc. but they all have value and similar elements that weave them together to work as one.
My fourth Donut Date was with my friend Noelle and her baby Claire (aka, bff jr.). Noelle's mom described our friendship once while introducing me to her friends as, "they have nothing in common they just love each other". I heard a quote that said often the people with the least amount in common make the best friends. Noelle likes pink, all things sparkly, and mermaids and I like well....none of those things. It's true, Noelle and I could not be more different in so many ways but what we do share is the desire to be relentlessly supportive of each other. Wanting the best for each other knows no bounds even if it directly effects us. There is rarely an event, family or otherwise, where we don't show up for each other. Though Noelle is relentlessly positive, my favorite part is when she goes off on one of her many (faux) rants about something where she talks non-stop in a random stream of consciousness in which the back of my head hurts from laughing so hard. There are no dull moments in this friendship in that we laugh our butts off, sincerely build each other up and even volunteer to slash tires for the other one (I'll let you guess which one). There is rarely a day that goes by with at least one text, photo, or gif to check in. We've been through a lot together but my favorite part of this ride has been watching her become a mom with so much grace that it has only made me love her so much more. It was a wild ride and she never complained once and has been one of the best moms that has ever "mom"ed to Claire. So I thought it only fitting to make Claire the subject of our Donut Date. Noelle doesn't even like donuts (should've been a red flag right there) so of course I had to share in the glorious occasion of Claire's first donut as her eyes were as glazed over as the donut was. I look forward to showing Claire so many more of the really important things in life...like pizza and coffee. I have waited my whole life for a friend that I could truly call a "best friend" and mean it, and then six years ago Noelle moved into the room next to mine and the first time I walked by and said, "hey turkey" and she came right back with, "hey chicken" she had me. We have grown so much since then and want to be "Grace and Frankie" (Netflix) when we grow up, beach house included. We have plenty of time before then, mostly because I'll never grow up, to laugh through this journey as friends and for heavens sakes for you to learn to love donuts already! (P.S. Ryan, you are also a kick ass dad and would have had a bigger shout out if you hadn't slept through our entire donut date.)
Right before the school year ended, a colleague of mine asked me to do an artwork of her daughter for a graduation present. She had found a quote she loved but didn't like the canvas it was on and asked me if I could do something. It was the best kind of commission as she wanted it to be in my current style. I asked what she was thinking and she just said, "do you". I asked her if she had a favorite pic of her daughter and she brought me two. The one I ultimately used was her favorite, pictured above, because it had her doll in it. Unfortunately this was before the digital age so scanning in a 3x5 pic did not pick up many details, but I was able to find images of the doll online to work from. This was probably my favorite commission I've created in that the only restrictions she gave me what a quote and a pic. If you are interested in having me create a piece for you, send me a message including your idea, size, and budget. I cannot say yes to everything, but I will if it is something that can make us both happy. Currently working on both donut date #3 and #4. Im ages to come! Happy summer!
My second Donut Date was with my friend Cheryl. Originally we planned to meet at our favorite local coffee shop on "Onesie" day, back in January, but we both ended up being too tired to go. We rescheduled for a couple of weekends ago and I planned to get her favorite coconut donut from a bakery near her house. I showed up to her house late and with a coconut donut from a different bakery and she still welcomed me in her onesie with a smile because this woman is like no other friend there is. There is no way to reduce the friendship I have with Cheryl down to a few sentences but I will try. We have so much in common from our love of everything 70's, to donuts, to our artiness and new adventures in food and beverages...but it is so much more than things in common. She gives the best advice, knows pretty much everything or can figure it out, cares deeply about people, is the most positive person I know, has a nutty side (hence the coconut donut) that pops up at the most random times (insert the random stache tattoo), and would do anything and I mean anything for her friends. I have the worst memory and she will write things down that I need to remember on post-it notes and keep them in her pocket and text me later. She texts me every week when our favorite shows are on to remind me to watch them and then we proceed to watch them at our own homes texting each other the whole time. She surprises me with the most thoughtful gifts at the most random times just when I need them. But most of all, I think she is the first friend that has truly loved me unconditionally. She has shown me the most patience for my randomness, forgetfulness, weirdness, and lack of attention span of any of my friends before her. I can be "me" with her every moment without worry and her with me. I'm not sure what I did to earn a place in her life, but I hope I keep earning it for the rest of mine.
I've spent the 2nd part of spring break working on Donut Date #2. It's my friend Cheryl and I can't wait to tell you all about her and this work. I'm at the the stage where you live with it and decide what changes you need to make but I think it is fun to look at the progress from the first layer until now. Watercolor and graphite on Claybord. More to come. Back to school tomorrow
If you want this artwork to just be about delicious donuts, stop reading now. If you know me at all, you know how much I love donuts. I talk about them way more than I actually eat them. In keeping with my "and the world will be as one" series inspired by John Lennon's song, "Imagine", I began to look at donuts like people....or people like donuts. When you go to the bakery to pick donuts, most of the time, they are behind glass and sometimes even behind a counter behind glass. You can't touch them or taste them ahead of time, you make your choices based on looks only unless you have had them before. Meeting people is the same....we can only see what they want us to see. Like donuts some people wear all of their goodness on the outside like icing, stripes, glaze and rainbow sprinkles. What is on the outside attracts your attention and you take a leap. Other donuts and people are plain on the outside....no icing or just white or brown icing, but on the inside they can be filled with a goodness you can't see. Only once you take a chance on them, will you find out what is inside. The most underrated donut is the glazed donut....what you see is what you get. It's not even a little flashy, there are no surprises waiting on the inside, but it's loyal. You can count on it to always be there and to be good. Every now and then you find a donut that has icing, sprinkles, and chocolate chips on the outside and a surprise yumminess on the inside. When this happens, you feel like you hit the lottery. When I go donut shopping, I definitely have my favorites, but I always try new ones. I make a few selections and then tell the person behind the counter to mix and match to reach a dozen. I then like to cut them into smaller pieces to try them all because they all have a quality that makes them unique and depending on the situation my favorite. Sometimes, donuts are even a little nutty....so are people. Wouldn't it be great if we gave all people the same chance we gave donuts? If we took chances on people to find the goodness inside? I have met a lot of donuts that at first glance I did not think I would find appealing but color, size, shape and preferences don't have to keep us from living as one.
Hello peeps it has been forever since my last blog post. I had committed to twice a week and then my website went down getting me out of my routine and it all went downhill from there just like any exercising routine. I have been working...not as much as I would like but I have. Mostly on this piece which is 36"x24". It has taken a crazy amount of time. Even with the small scale donut studies I did, these lil tasty treats have been giving me fits. I do a combination of photo transfer, painting and graphite in my work. Getting all of these different mediums to work together is sometimes super easy and other times like trying to get a puppy to sit still right after feeding it 53lbs of sugar. My reasoning for using all of these different media is about more than just being mixed media, it plays into my message for this piece that hopefully will be explained in the final post for this piece soon. I plan to finish it today before and after an appointment I have. I plan to work a lot this week so stay tuned for updates! P. S. I had my second donut date but I haven't started the piece yet....any guesses who it is?
I did not forget about "A dozen donut dates"....but February got away from me. I thought I had my next date set up late January but my date and I were mutually spent that week and didn't meet. (In may donut dates defense, she didn't know it was an official donut date) I spent my time on other artworks this month and looking for new Call for Entries since our show at MSJ has already come down. It seemed fast, but that is what happens when it is a mid show opening. I am however starting two new artworks today. This is the pic I will be working from and is the donut idea I had before I was distracted with the donut dates. More to come in the following days with this one and the other one that is still swimming around in my brain waiting for a life line to bring it in to reality. Happy Sunday