Last weekend to go see my first solo show @revolutionscoffee if you haven’t already 🖤
Thank you all for your incredibly kind messages, texts, emails, purchases etc etc. it’s a lot to put my work out into the world and I am beyond grateful you’ve all proved my reservations were unfounded, entirely.
My next solo show (I know, what the heck is going on!) is January and I’ll post details as we get closer. So many new projects to come.
🚧WORK IN PROGRESS🚧
Oil on acrylic on canvas 24x36”.
I listened to a podcast recently and it touched on how artists differ from others in the way they communicate. The part that hit home, and man do I mean that, was this idea:
Most people are happy to love and be loved by their boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, or whatevers and end of story. They can ask for love and give it directly.
Artists want to be loved by anyone or someone or everyone and they cannot ask for it directly; they put a third thing between you and them, their art, and say love me.
In other news, this piece has been a learning experience in the least fun way. Turns out when you buy a cheap canvas and gesso/sand it a million times to get a workable substrate out of it, you should probably check the support frame and make sure they didn’t leave any staples sharp-end to the canvas 🤦🏻♀️
… so I learned how to fix canvas rips/punctures
🚧WORK IN PROGRESS🚧
Oil on canvas 24x36”.
“You see, some people are born with a piece of night inside, and that hollow place can never be filled - not with all the sunshine in the world.
That emptiness cannot be banished, and so some days when we wake with the feeling of the wind blowing through, we must simply endure.”- LB The Language of Thorns
No butterflies on this one 🖤
Portrait of yours truly by @somerrunner ✨
It takes courage to over do color. Putting color down without fear shakes the dust out your eyes and reminds you you can do whatever you want. The sun does what it wants; subtlety will come when the clouds are out, but first, be the sun. big, bright.
Do your own thing.
I wouldn’t try to do too much, though. All great paintings project big-ness. Not in scale or bravado, but simple execution. Forcing a painting to do too many things weakens what it does best, and that is to provoke something out of the viewer.
C. Hawthorne said “painting is like giving an after - dinner speech. if you want to be remembered, say one thing, and sit down.”
And that’s just what I’m up to with this 5 part “Riot of Flowers” series. Each piece certainly has its own unique narrative, which, to me, I find important and I do often question whether to share my stories alongside them.
Is that taking something away from people who look at them? I’m curious what you think.
Does my voice matter next to the work?
Letter From A Stranded Star For The Last Night of Summer.✨🌙🌚
Oil and acrylic/metallic paint on canvas 30x40”.
Stephen King says “all novels are really letters aimed at one person.” I don’t view my work much differently.
So we’re back to the letters. (see earlier bear posts, the last letter: https://www.instagram.com/p/CDIK8iqBcBE/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link )
Despite all her light, I didn’t feel much warmth this summer.
I really do believe the world is telling me it’s not okay to feel how I do most of the time, that I should only see the petals on the flowers.
I’m telling you, there are thorns, too.
I wonder if that’s how darkness wins, by convincing us to trap it inside ourselves, instead of emptying it out.
“There is a season for everything under the sun—even when we can’t see the sun.”[JB]
When you let the night in,
you may not always see the moon.
But you can count on the stars.
With love and all her thorns, too,
Yours always in the night,
Work in progress. Acrylic and metallic paint on canvas 30x40”
The denial of darkness does not generate an abundance of light. The denial of your actual feelings doesn’t create better ones.
You gotta quit doin that. When you do this, you have no chance to experience growth.
“A caterpillar doesn’t become a butterfly by telling everyone it has wings. It actually buries itself in darkness and grows those wings.” CB
The last in this series, base layer is ✅. I’ve learned so much from these 5 pieces in the last 3 weeks. The underlying goal was to push myself with colors. And whoah, did I ever 🤣
This piece was supposed to be incredibly light. After recent events this weekend, I was coming up short. It’s dark right now. I’m not going to paint it otherwise.
“There Wasn’t a Single Unicorn in Boston that Day.” oil/acrylic/metallic paint on canvas 24x36”.
Sometimes we all need a unicorn to believe in.
Sometimes we need a unicorn to believe in us.
There’s a 26.2 mile long story behind this one. Let’s start with the unicorn stuff.
Here’s why it is the symbol of the Boston Marathon: The unicorn is a mythological figure that is meant to be pursued, but, in that pursuit, you never catch it. It inspires you to continue to try- to race harder,- and though it may be elusive, it really is the pursuit of the unicorn that makes you better and better.
I raced the 2013 Boston Marathon and finished 1 hour before the bombs went off.
I cannot tell you how much anger and fear haunted me for months following that race.
How every single race after was different.
How I qualified to race it again each year after, and still haven’t been able to bring myself to go back.
and how much I know that one day I need to in order to heal.
This is a hard one to write about.
The easy thing would have been to post a pretty picture of an odd ghostly horse in some flowers and not speak to it.
I’m not here to stay comfortable.
Portrait of yours truly by @somerrunner 🖤🎨
I’ve pushed myself so far out of my own bounds this year, with painting with colors, sharing my story and putting my work out into the world, to name a few ways. It’s been incredibly uncomfortable, but I’ve probably been more productive and grown more than I ever have in such a short period of time.
If you want to grow as an artist you cannot hold back. This is a problem as we are in a system that keeps telling you “no no no, just do what you’re told.”
And here’s a good exercise to prove it:
Quick, raise your right hand.
Now, raise it higher.
Everybody holds back every time because
that's what you got taught to do. You got
taught to do that by your third grade
teacher, by your soccer coach, by that boss in
that job you hate. They teach you not to go all in because if you put
everything into it, they're just going to
ask for more anyway.
They’ll tell you what to do and then try and get you to do it faster and cheaper than yesterday.
You know who
doesn't hold back? Artists.
Shakespeare didn’t say ‘oh I got a great
line, I'll save it for a future play, I'm
not getting paid enough for this play.’
Jackson Pollock doesn’t say “oh, this
brushstroke, I need that one for later.”
So, find that bottle of lightning
“The Riot of Flowers is Incessant. After Life of Pi.” Pt II.
Oil on canvas 30x40”.
We are not trapped in foxholes or even in these bones. No. We are free to change. And love changes us. And if we can love one another, and let people love us back, we can rip through the dark and remember what the sun feels like
“Butterflies: small but approachable, they will take you wherever the sun goes.”
And everyone deserves a little sunshine,
⚠️BASELAYER, Work in progress⚠️ acrylic on canvas 24x36” next in the riot of flowers series.
This series is really taking me to task. Do I know how to paint any of these flowers? Absolutely not.
Helen Van Wyk says that “if you know what you're doing, you can paint with a broom.” Did you know there’s atleast 20 different strokes to convey the image of a petal or a leaf?
Unfortunately none of my books on flower painting (and I now have 3) go over how to approach the subject with a broom😹
You’re an individual, and each unique stroke is going to be your own. I really kind of cringe at some tutorials that teach only by brushstroke: “this is the stroke you make for a flower petal and this is a stroke you make for a leaf.”
If you continue to make that artist’s stroke, then your flowers and your leaves and all are going to look just like that artists’. They’re not going to
So here I am, once again, making my own flowers. The lion was supposed to be on roses, the fox- sunflowers, and this horse is to be ripping through poppies. All these flowers have definitely become my own variation, and certainly do not exist anywhere on this planet.
I’m totally okay with that.
Someone else can paint them properly.
“Grounded.” Oil on panel 10x10x2”. Sold. (Crop on the others is quite upsetting. second and third birdies still available, DM if interested!)
“There is an art to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
. If you’re new here, this is the bird story:
“Each must enter the nest made by the other imperfect birds.”-Robert Bly.
New Zealand is home to the Weka, a population of flightless birds. 🐥.
In February, I ran nearly 100 miles on the Queen Charlotte track in NZ and had many the encounter with these imperfect birds. And a lot of time to think.
Robert Bly’s Imperfect Birds is really about how these messy, raggedy nests that are our lives can be a harbor for other people. When you're a raw, pulverized garbage ball of feelings... where do you go?
You visit the nests made by other imperfect birds, you find other people who've gone through it.
You find the few people you can talk to about it.
.🐥.You find your birds.
⚠️WORK IN PROGRESS ⚠️
Oil on canvas 30x40”
Reference photo of this girl I used to know 15 years ago by @analogsomer
After Goya’s “Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters,”, Plate 43, aquatint etching. 1799.
We see light, not dark. But it is in the dark that we feel goblins and ghosts. Rex Brandt.
Hawthorne once said you have to do the obvious thing before you do the super human thing. Every thought begins with a feeling. I don’t enjoy a painting that asks me to think right away.
There is nothing that falls flatter than a painting that tries to provoke a certain response.
I’d rather be sensitive than smart. The viewer can’t feel unless the artist feels. You can’t take someone else’s breath away unless it’s been done to you. So, go be astonished. Find the greatest truth in the room, and magnify it.
I didn’t necessarily find a truth but I did find a room for this girl and painted her into it today.
This piece has been going on for quite awhile. Needs more owl. 🦇
It’s nice to be able to return to these pieces I had facing the wall for quite some time! I’m insanely overwhelmed at the response to my first show so far, and thrilled to say I’ve got another one lined up in Seattle for Jan-Feb 2021. Thank you for all the supportive emails, texts, DMs, print purchases … you are all making the risk in putting my work out in the world so damn worth it.
Aliza and Her Monsters