MIND OF AN ARTIST: STUDY A BLADE OF GRASS

My mind is a monkey mind.

I know it's my ADHD. There is a quality of my life that resembles a circus. I'm always trying to train those monkeys to perform the right way. Okay you guys get yourselves in order.

I actually become the lion tamer trying to force my creativity to perform. Not only to perform but to kick ass perform.

Here's where pressure to be a creative genius sets in. In other words here comes the artist block! I HAVE TO DO THE BEST PAINTING OR DO NOTHING! So I do nothing.

The monkeys are doing nothing so out of boredom they start to act out. Avoidance creates havoc and chaos. I end up hating myself for being unproductive. It's a great big circus ring ready to explode.

My thinking is creativity needs to be a high experience with lots of bells and whistles going off. There's no sanity. There's no peace. Every work of art has to be created from a psychedelic experience. Don't forget I come from the original hippie lifestyle. The Magical Mystery tour. But it's becoming clear that flying by the seat of exploding pants is not working.

So that is why I am choosing to study a blade of grass. Slow down get off the merry go round. Be a quiet painter. I cannot be a superhuman artist. Study a blade of grass.

Here are plein air paintings done with the mindset of "study a blade of grass ".

START WITH A DOODLE:  WATERCOLOR PAINTING 

So again I have been in a creative block.  I was reminded of the quote by artist Chuck Close regarding artistic inspiration.  

“AMATEURS LOOK FOR INSPIRATION, THE REST OF US JUST GET UP AND GO TO WORK “

Can’t argue with that!!!   So I called upon my formula for breaking paralysis… START WITH A DOODLE!

I have a wonderful portable watercolor kit created to take anywhere.  A pouch filled with portable brushes and an assortment of wonderful pots of special paints.  An inexpensive set of watercolors.  Tiny tubes of gouache. Paper towels. And a 9″ x 12″ pad of cold pressed watercolor paper. Easy travel and easy clean up.  


Here is the doodle and I really got into working and playing the colors and the liquid flow of the medium.   And from the doodle two exciting and free expressive paintings. 



 

A WOMAN ARTIST OF A CERTAIN AGE 

So we all know Grandma Moses as being the most famous woman artist over 50.  We respect her talent and giggle about her being a grandmother who was a self taught artist whose art hangs in many museums and auctions for big bucks.  I don’t know of any other woman artist so celebrated in this age group.  Please feel free and let me know if there are women artists who were successful after the age of 50. 


I began showing my art at the age of 56.  I came out of a 30 year artist block then.  I went back to the Art Students League in NYC to study.  The first thing I noticed was some of the male instructors would ignore me but were very helpful to the younger women.  Most of the monitors were young men.   So I became aware of being a second class citizen.  I want to say that I did get enormous support from a small group of instructors with integrity.  Thank you Michael Burban, Oldrich Teply, Dean Hartung Max Ginsburg, Barney Hodes.  

I did my first group art show of my paintings in the Chelsea Room in the infamous Chelsea Hotel in 2010.  That night was very exciting and as I looked around I noticed that I was the only woman artist in the show.   And the only artist over 35!  But I engaged the younger men and I never thought I was too old.  After all an artist is an artist.  Now after many years of showing my work I still am the oldest woman artist in group shows.  Some of the young artists ignore me and some engage me as another artist.  Sometimes they talk to me like a mother.  


But the idea of being a creative woman of age has been a bee in my bonnet (talk about an old phrase, yikes!).   There is a lot of age and gender discrimination in the art world.   However, I push through it and have been successful for 10 years as a professional woman artist (of age).  I don’t feel any difference because I’m good at my art and I don’t feel old next to anyone.  We are equal with respect to being artists.   And I do command respect for my talent.  I also respect the talent of any artist.  

I will continue to celebrate who I am:  a talented ageless woman artist.  Never stop pursuing being the artist you are. 

Thank you Grandma Moses. 



I’VE BEEN NOMINATED FOR THE BLOGGER RECOGNITION AWARD!!

After a month of chronic arthritis in my leg and not being able to walk I was debating if I could ever think positively again.  Forget being creative.  Of course my ADHD brain went into “I’m a failure “.  

   

Then Friday I received a comment from one of my incredible blogger followers Mitch Teemley of The Power of Story saying he nominated me for The Blogger Recognition Award!  

Check out Mitch Teemley’s blog.   https://mitchteemley.com

Amazing because a year ago I didn’t have any idea how to do a blog.  I just lost my art website because I couldn’t afford the monthly fees and it was old and needed sprucing up.  I wanted to try doing a new one with WordPress but ended up with a blog for some unknown reason.  Go figure.  So I decided to play with it and tell my story of how I came out of a 30 year artist block where I stopped doing any form of creative work until I turned 50. 

The rest is history.  I spent my school years with untreated ADHD and learning disabilities so I never understood what grammar was.  I was confused by prepositions and what the heck is a verb anyway.  I never went to college because I couldn’t take tests.  I was successful in art in High School but was afraid to pursue it.  The rest of my life was trying to make money as an ineffective secretary.  Hiding from the world and living a life unlived.  

In 2002 at the age of 50 I finally was diagnosed and treated for ADHD.  I returned to becoming the artist I was meant to be.  I am blessed to have been successful by taking risks to bring out my art.  I began selling paintings.  Doing many shows in NYC from 2010.  I lost the secretary job in 2009 and burned all my office suits that made me look like Hillary Clinton.  

Since then I have created a business “Fearless Creativity Art for Arts Sake”.  I engage people who think they have no talent that they do.  Art will save people from worry.  It saved me during my childhood trauma. 

And all this is a result of my spiritual practice. My faith is stronger then any adversary. I trust God and help others.

TIPS FROM MY BLOGGING EXPERIENCE OF THE PAST YEAR:

  1. Just have FUN.  Authenticity to share my life story of becoming the artist I was meant to be was the motivation. 
  2. Don’t try to be famous.  It was not important that the Internet world would discover my talented writing.  
  3. Forgive yourself if you fall off the writing cliff.  I would miss weeks of posting and thought I could never start again.  But I forgave my inconsistency and found that my followers didn’t judge me. 

     

    NOW I AM NOMINATING THE FOLLOWING BLOGS FOR INSPIRING ME:

    1. Certainline.wordpress.com – the art of drawing 
    2. VisualAtelier.wordpress.com – art, design,photography 
    3. Cedricramey.wordpress.com – art, travel, fashion, lifestyle 
    4. Oneblessedfool.wordpress.com – faith, freedom, imagination 
    5. Pmuink.com – Daily Doodle 
    6. Orchidslantern.wordpress.com – art and stories of life 
    7. Michaelehrhardt.wordpress.com – original art 
    8. Impliedspaces.wordpress.com – digital art 
    9. Saidsimply.wordpress.com – thoughts of life & stuff 
    10. Ambiguousbrush.wordpress.com – wonderful drawings 
    11. Storyofthefootloose.com – a talented pen writing well 
    12. Littlefears.co.uk – short stories & art
    13. Fugitivedreamblog.wordpress.com – inspiring muses of the past 
    14. Izzyink.co.wordpress.com –  a journey into the world of illustration 
    15. Histolines.wordpress.com – history 

    Blogger Recognition Award Rules

     • Thank the blogger/s who nominated you and provide a link to their blog

     • Write a post about it the Blogger Recognition Award

     • Briefly tell how your blog started

     • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers

     • Select 15 bloggers to give this award to. 

    THANKS MITCH!!!

    THE FIRST PAINTING OF 2017

    The first painting of the year is a prediction of where I am going.  After a break from painting this is what appeared.  

    It was done in acrylic.  18″ x 14″


    THERE IS NO COLOR


    I have taken a quiet time the last couple of months to restore my mind.  As an artist and inspired individual where do I go from here.   How do I use art to heal this broken world?

    The world is broken because we don’t think creatively.   Every person has this ability to be naturally creative.  It’s suppressed and replaced with following formulas that don’t work for everything.   Schools don’t engage students to think.  They memorize to pass tests.  The individual is lost. 

    Art has been tossed out of people’s lives.   Not important.  Today’s craze of adult coloring books is a farce. Again no creative thought is used.  Just color in someone else’s creativity.  

    There is a fear of being creative.  Being creative is not “keeping up with the Jones”.  Not following the pack. 

    I am mentoring a young woman artist.  A beautiful Latino woman who has given up her art.  I looked into her eyes and I saw a spark of hope that she could do her life differently. 

    I’m going to get her to think like an artist. 

    SHOULDN’T EVERYONE?

    PEACE TO THE WORLD 


    A FAMOUS ARTIST BLOCK  –  GEORGIA O’KEEFE 


    Sometimes I think I’m alone in my artist block.  The ability to see that others have been in this position and they have gone through the pain of not creating for a long time helps me identify and not feel alone.   Even hearing that a person has survived being hospitalized for a mental breakdown is inspiring and hopeful for me .  I’m always in fear of having a mental breakdown.  I’m afraid people will leave me for being crazy. I’m afraid of never being creative again.  

    I started to research artists who have had breakdowns and blocks.   Here’s one that surprised me.  Georgia O’Keefe. 

    In 1932, after falling far behind on a Radio City Music Hall mural, O’Keefe suffered an intense nervous breakdown. It was only after a period of hospitalization and NOT PAINTING FOR TWO YEARS that she was able to rekindle her life’s love of creating art. 

    I was blown away by this story.   I’m in great company with my mental breakdowns and blocks.   It happens.  So what.  

    I’M NOT ALONE!!!!!   HERE’S TO YOU GEORGIA!!


    BACK FROM AN ARTIST BLOCK –  THE COMEBACKS 

    August 12th I had carpel tunnel surgery on my right hand.   It’s my dominant hand.   So I took the time to relax and heal.   However, it eventually took me down the mental rabbit hole.  I ended up depressed, lonely and blocked creatively.   It was like my mind was empty.  A dust bin. 

    I couldn’t think and forget posting on my blog.   

    Weeks were passing and now I have feelings of failure.   I want to write a blog post but I feel stupid.   It’s been forever. I’m a terrible blogger with an artist block!!!!

    And then I realized that my blog is about coming back from an artist block.   Isn’t life always about the comebacks. 

    The artist comeback can be a Phoenix rising.  A new path, a different story.   And actually I have a new theme I started in my paintings. I have added figures to my landscapes.  The figures are faceless children ( they are me or you) and they are escaping into landscapes.  This is the first of a group that I will be working on. 


    THE ART OF … SANITY 


    I HAVE BEEN STALKED AND CAPTURED BY THE DARK CREVICES OF MY MIND.   I CAN UNDERSTAND VAN GOGH’S FIGHT WITH SANITY.  BUT I AM A VERY LEARNED WOMAN WHO HAS SPENT A LIFETIME EDUCATING MYSELF ON HOW THE BRAIN WORKS. 

    KNOWING IS THE FIRST STEP IN BEING ABLE TO STOP FIGHTING THE DARKNESS AND LET IT JUST FLOW THROUGH. 

    DURING THESE TIMES I HIDE IN MY HOME AND RETREAT.   I’M TAKEN AWAY FROM INDULGING IN LUSCIOUS OILY PAINT COLORS AND BUILDING LAYER UPON LAYER OF RICH THICK PAINT.  I’M IMMOBILE TO ACTION. 

    I accept those times even though I shut the world out and fear I will never escape my demons.  But I have to always avoid giving in to false evidence appearing real. 

    A month ago I experienced a new mental twist…anxiety disorder!   I didn’t know that I had it.  But I have to say I chased my recovery from it and sought help.  I don’t have to go through pain alone anymore.   And all through this I let the luscious oil paints flow on canvas and shared my experience to a troubled student in my painting class.  

    I don’t give in but I also don’t fight my mind…my darkness is another part of being an artist.  I even used darkness in a series of paintings.


    I’M BACK TO BEING JEAN.  I’M BACK .   I trust God and give to others.   

    MY MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES ARE NOT A MORAL ISSUE.   THEY ARE THE PIECES OF THE MYSTERIOUS PUZZLE CALLED JEAN MESSNER. 

    IN REMEMBRANCE OF VINCENT VAN GOGH. 



    KEITH HARING-ARTIST OF NEW YORK CITY SUBWAYS 

    Keith Haring began his art career at my subway stop on 96th Street and Lexington Avenue number 6 train.   

    I remember the first baby drawing on black unused ad space.  A few stations away another.  I knew something was happening. BUT WHAT??

    Weeks passed more babies with more levels of complexity.  More creatures too.  I kept watching a growing art phenomenon in the subway.  This was late ’70s early ’80s.   I feel so lucky to have been witness to the emergence of an artist who was really exploring the canvases of the city.   History before my eyes.