Celebrating Creativity

Hi I'm Kadira Jennings, welcome to Unfolding Creativity, a portal to Abundance Through Creativity.

I am a creative artist celebrating and encouraging the creative in all of us.

My blog is a discussion, and creativity resource. Please take your time, look around and join the conversation if you would like to.
It is my passionate belief that we all have deep within us a creative genius just waiting for half a chance to get out no matter what field we work or play in.

''There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.''
Martha Graham

The Salon des Refuses

salon_des_refuses,Observatory

The Sydney Observatory – near the HS Irving Gallery

 

If you sometimes go to the Archibald and end up shaking your head and wondering if there weren’t perhaps some other, better entries that could have been hung, then take time to go and visit the salon de refuses at the S.H. Ervin Gallery in Sydney. In my experience, it’s always well worth the visit. To encourage you to go this year, I would like to share some of the paintings that are on offer. The exhibition is on until the 15th of October so there is still plenty of time to see it.

 

The first one below is by GUY MAESTRI a self-portrait as a still life, oil on linen 61cm x 51cm.  I really liked the sculptural quality of the work, the broad brush strokes and the concept of painting a bust.

salon des refuses,Guy Maestri,salon_des_refuses

 

Next up is a painting of Colin Friels, by the artist Christopher McVinish. There is a great rendering of this shirt as you can see in the detail.

 

salon des refuses,Colin Friels by Christopher McVinish

 

Shirt Detail

salon des refuses,Colin_Friels_detail

 

One of the most interesting portraits was done using a very unusual technique utilizing stencils, as seen in the detail below. This work is a self-portrait by Sally Robinson. 

 

salon des refuses,Sally Robinson - self portrait

 

And here is the complete portrait…..

 

salon des refuses,Sally Robinson - self portrait

And of course, there were many others works that were just as interesting as these ones.

What Is The Biggest Dilemma of Beginning a New Series of Works?

new_series,choices

When beginning a new series of artworks, there are actually several different challenges that one faces.  And depending on what challenges you the most, will determine which one rates has your biggest dilemma.
Here are some of the things that come up, not in any particular order.

  • The most obvious one is content. The content for a series of works needs to have a broad enough range and depth to it so that you will not run out of things to paint before you’ve completed enough works. The number of works will vary, if you are working towards a solo exhibition, for example,  you will need a minimum of around twenty works.
  • Also related to content is the cohesiveness of that content. Are you going to base your series around subject matter or stylistic content, such as colour palette, brush strokes, your unique artistic fingerprint?
  • new_series,fingerprint
  • Usually, the reliance on your fingerprint alone is not enough, particularly if you are fairly new on the art scene.  People won’t yet recognise your signature brush strokes or palette, so you will need something else to hold it all together.
  • You can create continuity through telling a story in some way. This is what I did in my solo exhibition last year. The story was based on the plight of refugees, a current, relevant, issue worldwide, including Australia’s shameful track record in this arena. My intention was to bring greater awareness to the subject through my exhibition and to encourage people to think about this issue in a different way.
new_series,Exhibition,The wall of Prints,Kadira_Jennings.refugees,artist,

The wall of Prints

  • One of the bigger challenges is remaining fresh with the material. What do I mean by remaining fresh? Over the course of twenty art works, it is relatively easy to become stale, running out of ideas for the next painting. This is why it is important to map out at the very least a rough plan of what you intend to accomplish. If you can’t come up with ideas for at least ten to twelve paintings then it’s going to be pretty difficult to reach twenty.
  • Even if you are an abstract artist, your exhibition still needs to have something that holds it together. Abstract artists often achieve this through their colour palette.
  • Another thing that will come up during any extended creative project, is burnout. This often occurs about three-quarters of the way through. One begins to run out of oomph. At this point, it is often a good idea to take a break, step back and regroup.
  • And the last thing, although there are probably others, is that you can run out of ideas for the later works in your series. This, in turn, leads to sometimes inferior quality work, in both concept and execution. It is important to try to maintain a constant standard throughout the whole series.

So these are just a few of the things to look out for when beginning a new series of work. As they say, forewarned is forearmed.

 

Pix Credits: Photo by  qimono (Pixabay)

Photo by    Kurious (Pixabay)

A New Series – Beginnings

As I introduced last week, I have begun a collaboration with my friend using Georgia O’Keeffe as our muse.

The exhibition will take the form of photographs, Prue’s, and paintings, mine. We thought it would be interesting to make the works both the same size and each subject will be hung next to its partner. The first subject we have chosen is a black cabbage and the photos you see here are mine, which may or may not become a painting. At this point, I am just playing around with ideas and images.

new_seriesnotan,light,dark,black_cabbage

Black Cabbage

The current title of the new series is Revealing the Unseen and contains a couple of concepts within it. There is the idea of going deeper within ourselves and in the process of creating these works of art, revealing greater insights and creating work from a deeper place than before.

This idea also fits with the concept of Light and Darkness, that is, moving from the Dark into the Light in a pictorial sense as well as from a conceptual space. It is a process of revealing to ourselves things that were hidden before. All creative work is also a journey of self-development to a greater or lesser degree.

Of course contained within the light-dark paradigm, there is always an element of mystery. For what is within the dark is hidden and we wonder about what those things might be. Then as they come into the light they are slowly revealed.
What beauty is revealed when I combine the elements of Light and Darkness with a black cabbage. Some quite startling results, I must say. Then it is a matter of taking those results and pairing them down into their essentials, to create a liquid beauty of essence, line, colour, tone and form.

The photographic images here are mine and as yet I have to do some working studies with them.  I’ve hardly scratched the surface of the essence of this plant.  Although I do have to say that while I was taking the photos using the elements of light and dark, the cabbage revealed some secrets to me that I would not have come across without using these techniques

notan,light,dark,black_cabbage

Black Cabbage II

How To Dive Deeper Into Exciting Creative Revelations

Preliminary drawings,banksia,arthur _leslie_dow,georgia_okeeffe,kadira_jennings

Preliminary drawings

The subject of diving deeper seems to be coming up a bit lately. Last week I spoke of it about the concept of the muse and this week I would like to pursue that subject a little further and night of what I am currently doing in my own art practice.

Recently a girlfriend and I were to talking together and we decided that we would like to begin a collaborative project to dive deeper into our own art practices. This collaboration centres around using the artist Georgia O’Keeffe as our Muse for the project. 

We began by having a discussion on what appealed to us about Georgia O’Keeffe. We spoke about our vision for what we wanted to create. We decided the first thing we needed to do was study Georgia’s methodology in more detail. We asked questions like, how did she arrive at her final images? What were her influences? Why did she decide to create in the way that she did?

Questions are always a good place to start. I began my exploration by reading several books on her life and her art practice. From this in-depth study, I have concluded that like everyone, Georgia had major turning points in her life. One of these occurred after she had spent much time drawing and painting in the traditional manner and was then exposed to the teaching of Arthur Leslie Dow.

Dow believed in what came to be known as the Modernist principle – that the subject of the artists’ work should be their personal ideas and feelings. His solid background in Zen Buddhism influenced his teaching and he developed a new way of teaching art. This is why he taught his students to learn to see a subject in a completely different way, encouraging them to visualize effectively through the harmonious arrangement of line, colour, and NOTAN (the Japanese system of arranging lights and darks).

 

Arthur Dow concepts

Arthur Dow concepts

I bought Arthur Dow’s book and I am currently studying it and working on some of his exercises, following in Georgia’s footsteps. The link is below if you are interested in purchasing it.

 

 

He taught his students to above all appreciate the elegance of design that was based on nature but never replicate it.

When asked about the strongest influence on her work O’Keeffe replied,

“Some people say nature, but the way you see nature depends on whatever has influenced your way of seeing. I think it was Arthur W. Dow.”

He became her most influential teacher and a strong mentor.  This had a very large influence on her art practice, to the point where she destroyed all of her previous art work and began again from scratch.

 O’Keeffe wanted to avoid replicating what she saw and chose instead to uncover the true Essence of a subject from nature itself. This is a view that is closely linked to what is at the heart of Zen Buddhism, of realising one’s place in nature.

Georgia herself said, ” Nothing is less real than realism. Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things.”

Other influences came from Symbolism and Romanticism. The romantic movement took artists from the academic structure followed in the past and allowed them to seek out and follow feeling and emotion above reason. The Symbolists also were searching for a deepening of the spirit and emotions and not just a representation of nature.

Like many of the modernists, O’Keeffe spent her life trying to paint the emotional truth—not the hills above Ghost Ranch but how it felt to look at the hills; or how a flower made her feel. In order to do this, she pared back and pared back the detail, all the while looking for the essence of colour, line and form to find that kernel she was looking for.

So why am I telling you all this?  Because all this information relates to how we are going about working on the images for this exhibition, Paring back, and searching for that intrinsic beauty in the subjects we are choosing.

 

This Weeks Question: What would it take for you to dive deeper on your own creative journey?

Look For Next Week’s Post: Continuing the unfolding of this journey.

Muse,Painted by Raphael in 1511.

Painted by Raphael in 1511. Source: Wikipedia Public Domain

Creativity Crisis! I’ve Lost My Muse – How To Find It?

I think that before launching into a discussion about how to find a lost muse, it would be good to begin by identifying exactly what one is.

The Historical Significance Of The Muse

The dictionary suggests that it is a person — especially a woman — who is a source of artistic inspiration. In mythology, the Muses were nine goddesses who symbolized the arts and sciences.

Zeus brought the Muses to life to celebrate the victory of the Olympian gods over the Titians. Each one had her own domain over a particular gift in the arts.  Apollo, the god of music, art and poetry, was their teacher.

The Muses inspire creation. Many people believe that the inspiration they acquire to write literature, a poem, or any artistic creation was beyond their control since it came from the Muse they called upon. Traditionally Athena, in Greek Mythology was the goddess of art among other things.

 

Current Uses Of The Muse

So how is this relevant to an artist today. Well, artists are still seeking inspiration and many of them use a muse of some sort.

This may take the form of people, places or things. For example, it might be a person who inspires you, such as your partner, or your child. I have often found the country of my birth to be one of my muses, as I return again and again to that subject matter. Every time I go there I am creatively inspired, and I rush around taking photos of things and memories I want to take back with me, and not forget.
So we are not limited to only one of them, in fact, we may have several, I know I do. I think however the special nature of the muse is that we can return again and again to that subject and somehow we always find inspiration from it. This means that we need to have a deep emotional connection to our muse, for if we don’t the connection will not last. 

I have recently embarked on a new project, collaborating with a friend who is a photographer. This collaboration centres around using the artist Georgia O’Keeffe as our Muse for the project. I will be elaborating a lot more on this project in future posts.

If you feel you have lost your muse, or never had one, there is a great book on this subject, “Marry Your Muse,” by Jan Phillips.

It is a wonderful resource for diving deeper into your art practice and learning how to take on a muse if you don’t already have one.

This Weeks Question: Who or what is your muse?

Look For Next Week’s Post: Diving deeper into the topic of the muse and how I am applying that in my art practice.

dahalia,flowers.florals,flower_art,kadira_jennings,unfolding_in_the_studio

What Is Unfolding In The Studio This Month? Well, I have spent much of this month working on a new painting. So rather than a long blog post this week, I have put together a video of the whole painting from start to finish.  Well, not quite finished actually.  I have got paint on all the canvas, It is going to take me at least another whole day painting session to go around and put glazes and finishing touches to the work.  It has been quite a marathon this one,  as it is a fairly complex painting.

This is a fairly large work, measuring 102×84 cm or 40″x33″.

 

 

What’s coming up next….I have begun a rather large collaborative project with a photographer friend.  My next works will also be flowers or plants, however, they are being created from a different mindset.  So I will be sharing some thoughts and images of that with you soon.

This Weeks Question: How does collaboration help your creative development?

Look For Next Week’s Post: Creativity Crisis! I’ve Lost My Muse – How To Find It?

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