Thursday, June 25, 2015

new dolls, inspiration, and a big fat THANK YOU....


today i thought i would share with you a few of the new stump style art dolls i have been working on over the last month...

i have listed two of them in my Etsy shoppe:




.

...and two of them will be going to this AMAZING group show i am so honored to have been invited to be a part of at Most Wanted Fine Art in pittsburgh:






now that everyone has had their photography session and been listed (or getting ready to roll out), it's time to move on to the next batch, which i have already started the armatures for.
i am very excited to start work on another batch of dolls!!! 
and i am trying a few new things this time around. ideas that have taken root and will not let go until i try them. you know how that is!?!

honestly, i wasn't sure at the start of this year if i would ever sculpt again. i definitely did not want to.
but i have to give a shout out to some friends of mine who have been truly inspirational and supportive of me and who not only encouraged me to find my true voice, but inspired me to pick that clay up again....

Carrie Ginn at Moonshowr Studios :


Jennifer Albin at Soul Whispers Art:



and



you ladies totally rock!!!!
thank you for your immense support and continued inspiration!! 

and i just wanted to take a moment and say a gigantic THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to read my last post on motivation and isolation. the letters, comments, & notes that i received regarding how i was feeling really touched me and made me realize i am not nearly as alone and cut off as i sometimes think i am.
thank you all for taking the time to read what i have to say and for telling me your own stories, which i can completely relate to!!!
i am amazed every single day at the power of the internet to connect us all to like minded individuals we would never have met otherwise....

i hope everyone is having a magical week!!!

love and light,

xoxo,
amber








Friday, June 12, 2015

on longing and motivation....

last week, when i reintroduced myself and talked a bit about our move from new orleans to miami last year, i mentioned that i don't like it here, could give you a million reasons why not, but that i didn't want to talk about it...and i don't.

but i need to talk about it just a little, because what i DO want to talk about is staying motivated when you work for yourself. 
and it seems that for me, at least, surroundings play a very important role in my motivation.

 this is what i was surrounded by in new orleans:







this is what i am surrounded by now:




i'm just going to be brutally honest with you: every morning i've woken up here, i've wanted to set myself on fire. 

i"m not only having a hard time coping and adjusting, but staying motivated and inspired.

i have been struggling, struggling, struggling for over a year now...even though i have the one thing i have ALWAYS wanted my entire life: my own studio and the ability to work from home.

this is the only good picture i have of my space, so yeah, i'm posting it again...

ahhhh...the dream!!! it came true!!! 
now what?


this is a normal day for me lately:
i wander around. i clean. i wander around. i watch tv. i look at my work desk. i wander around. i pet my cats. i water my plants. i work a little. i wander around some more. i wait for my mister to get home because he's the only person i ever see or talk to. sad, i know. but true....

i don't avoid the studio, but i haven't really been able to loose myself in there either.
i call it my sanctuary, but the truth is, i avoid it.
a lot.

i don't work.
not like i used to.

 i was an artist in a mad, creative frenzy once upon a time.
i wouldn't answer the phone.
i didn't check my email.
i hardly every socialized.

i wanted to create!!!!

i HAD to create!!!!



now... meh.

i know why i'm behaving this way, yet i am finding it difficult to stop.
difficult to break the cycle.

see, back in new orleans, if i was feeling like i needed inspiration, or just to re charge ye olde batteries, there were many things i could do; many places i could go. 

i could literally walk out my front door and stroll over to the garden district and admire the amazingly beautiful architecture. i could walk down magazine street and window shop or chat with friends. i could pop over to the art supply store and pick up some new brushes or just chat with the folks who worked there.
and so on and so on.

here, i am stuck inside this house.
there isn't a magazine street. or a garden district.
the art supply store is a 45 minute drive in bumper to bumper traffic and 15 mile an hours school zones - on a good day!!
there isn't any beautiful architecture.
(see above photos of the lovely strip malls)
i feel like my soul is being ripped out of my body one tiny piece at a time.

there aren't any independent businesses.
the park across the street is the size of a postage stamp and whenever i've gone over there to just walk around for a few minutes, people stare and point and laugh at me.
why? i have no idea, but it happens every single time and it makes me uncomfortable, so i stopped going.

we have a lovely home...



but no matter how lovely our new home is....
i feel trapped here with no way to re charge my batteries. 

the closest thing i have to anything lovely is our own back yard, which i have started letting grow wild ( from the carefully trimmed box shrubs the former owners admired) and filled with butterfly bushes and nectar plants.
gimme ALL the plants!!! 
it is my only sanctuary.







but it's not enough.

i'm still looking. searching. for that connection. my people. my places.
and i know, deep in my heart, that it is unlikely that i will find them here.
yet, still i search.
because i'm not really the type to give up.

but, i feel like i'm constantly opening the refrigerator door and searching for something to eat even though i know there is no food in the house.

this is my life now.

and i need to fix it.

i need to stop searching. 
i need to get to work.

i have a plan. things i want to do. things i need to do. 
truly, i am happiest when i am making my art.
it's who i am.
i don't even know how i would describe myself if i couldn't use the term "artist".
my whole being lights up when i talk about my work (even though the mister's eyes glaze over when i do so.  lol!!)

art is who i am.




but i am failing miserably at staying focused on that art.

i have GOT to find a way to get motivated again.
GOT to!!! 

so, i'm asking....is there anyone out there in a similar situation?
are you happy where you live, or are you just putting up with it?
 if you are in the suburbs, and not a suburban person, per se, how do you cope?
 are you older - like me - and find it difficult to make new friends you have things in common with? do you feel that your surroundings don't speak to you?
that you are alone in an area you can't relate to?

what do you do? 

how do you cope with a situation that isn't working for you?
 how do you accept that things are no longer what you are used to?
how do you stay motivated and focused when you feel alone and  incomplete?
that you aren't being nurtured artistically or emotionally?

how do i immerse myself in my art again and accept that things in other areas of my life will get better?

i guess i have some work to do and things to think about...or should i just STOP thinking all together and just DO?
that seems to be the best option, sometimes.
but it's been very hard for me to turn some of this stuff off.

so, this is me, ,trying to figure it all out....


xoxo,
amber





Saturday, May 30, 2015

starting over...

dear beautiful, crazy world,

where has the time gone? 
i look over my long neglected blog and wonder...where did the last year of my life go?
in a nutshell: to a very, very different place!!

i won't bore you with all the why's and hows and feels, but last july, my mister and i moved from our much beloved home of the last 17+ years -- New Orleans-- to the not so lovable city that is Miami, Florida so that my mister could work on his PhD at UM. 
and here we are.
gah!!!

all i want to do is give you a million reasons why i hate it, tell you about the difficult time i have had adjusting, why new orleans will ALWAYS be home, etc, etc...

but no one wants to listen to that, and to be quite honest with you, i'm tired of talking about it.
let's just suffice it to say that i don't like it here.

but i am finding ways of coping.

first off.... i have MY VERY OWN STUDIO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
WOOT!!!

'scuse the trashcan. 

it's sunny and lovely and i have had an WONDERFUL time decorating it and making it my own.
it is my sanctuary. my happy place.

cash likes it too, precarious as it is for him...

oh, and my art...boy howdy it has changed!!!

a sculpture from last november when i was trying out some new ideas.
i believe she is still available at Mariposa Gallery in Albuquerque...

 
another lady born of my dreaming of home...

funny, so many people said to me when we moved that they were interested in seeing how/if florida would affect my work...especially the color palette. i scoffed. several times.
 i loved what i was doing and didn't think it would ever change.
boy, was i wrong!!!

looking back, and looking at the new work i've been creating i can definitely see the influence of the tropical landscape here.
no, i'm not painting palm trees or sculpting lizards but there are more reds, pinks, greens, and blues in my work.
to me, it feels more lush...




it no longer has that gothic tinge to it.
which surprises me completely.
but, i'm on a different path now, and it is coming out in my work. perhaps i will talk about that later...

i have gone through several stages and mediums since moving here. 
moste notably --- i tried pop surrealism:


meh.
not me. too much planning. too much detail.
too much, oh my god, will i ever be as good as mab graves!?
um, no.
and i'm fine with that.

then one day i was looking through old pictures of my work as well as looking through my inspiration boards on pinterest (does anyone even use pinterest anymore? i do. i still lurve it!!!) and i realized that i had been neglecting my true love of color and texture. 
that what i really love and am drawn to, what inspires me, what i moste enjoy doing is mixed media.
and wah-lah!!!!

i finally found my voice!!!





i'm happier than i've ever been, artistically.
i'm no longer setting constraints; boxing myself in.
i have a VERY bad habit of setting rules for myself. of thinking i need to make work that will sell, fit in to this genre, etc, etc.
it's an awful thing to do to yourself artistically.
and i am not doing it anymore.

has my business slowed down since we moved?
you betcha.
if you listen closely you can hear the crickets in my Etsy shoppe.

am i happy making my art?
damn skippy!!!
for the first time in a long, long time i am doing what i want to, what feels right, what calls to me.
and i think it's the best work i've ever made.
and i'm going to keep making it.
crickets be damned.

i'm really unsure where to go next here...blogwise, you know.
i have a very deep need to connect with other people right now.
i spend almost all of my time alone, in my studio working and talking to my cats.



(say hello to Patches and Cash--my beloved minions who will be showing up here to say hello from time to time)

although i completely and utterly embrace the social media platforms that have allowed me to connect with people all over the world and to do so in a flash: oh, twitter, facebook, and instagram, how i love thee.... let me count the ways.... the truth of the matter is, i believe our society is loosing itself in duck faced selfies and narcissistic rants. it appears to me that despite our ability to connect to so many people around the world, we don't. not really. does anyone even talk anymore?
i miss that...i miss the days when we actually talked instead of posting memes and 140 word counts, that to be completely honest with you...i cannot understand half the time.

so, this is me. trying to connect. in a human way.
by talking.

 it's as good a place as any to start.

so...this is me.
starting over....

xoxo,
amber


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pencils and Fireflies: Artist Sketchbooks Show and Tell 3

i was featured, this morning, on the wonderful Amalia K. Aradea's blog Pencils & Fireflies as part of her Artist's Sketchbook Series. It is an honor to be featured among so many talented artists on a blog i have long followed and admired the work of....
thank you, amalia!!

Pencils and Fireflies: Artist Sketchbooks Show and Tell 3

♥amber♥

Thursday, January 9, 2014

new year, new goals, new news....

i was thinking a few days ago that i don't normally suffer from the post holiday blues (although this year i did, just a teesy little bit) because here in new orleans, we go directly from new year's eve to twelfth night which kicks off the beginning of the carnival season.


now, mind you, our carnival festivities can range from just a few weeks later to two months.
i never did understand the calendar for these things! 
but, anyway...it's something to do to keep the january blues at bay.


this year, there has been a whole lot of gnarly stuff going on in my life...things i wasn't expecting, didn't see coming, and really could have used a head's up on! 
i'm trying hard to deal with them as a rational, sane grown up.
but that's a battle i have not been winning.

i won't bore you with all the sordid details for every single thing that's happened, but i will tell you that yesterday i received some very disturbing news from my ENT.

in september of 2012 i had major surgery on my left ear to remove a growth in my ear canal.
my ear drum was reconstructed and whole bunch of other really gross stuff happened.
it turns out i am allergic to the primary drug in most all painkillers, so i did my recovery without any happy pills, and i am here to tell you, it was THE most painful experience of my life.
after my healing period, i was given amazing news: my eardrum was normal - no holes - and my hearing was at near 100%.
i'm looked at every 3 months and so far things have been great.

until yesterday.

i found out i have developed a hole in my ear drum.
i knew that was what was going on from the whoooshing sound i hear 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
i have lost a lot of the hearing in my left ear.
i knew.
but i didn't want to KNOW.

now i know.
so, my doctor wants to give it 6 weeks and see me again.
he says if the hole doesn't get any bigger, we'll let it ride.
if it does, however, get bigger....i will have to have it repaired.
which means another surgery.

now, i realize, in the rational part of my mind, that it could be a lot, lot worse.
but, man, i am freaking out!!!
i honestly am not sure i can handle that again, knowing how painful it will be.

only time will tell...and i am handling it better today than i did yesterday when i cried on and off pretty much all day long.

but, when i was hoping, scheming, planning, and dreaming for what i wanted to do this year...another surgery WAS NOT on the list!!!

oh well.

i am not really the kind of person who makes resolutions, per se, but i do like to set goals and new dreams for each coming year.
and while i see each day as a day to begin anew, there is something sort of magical about the changing of the new year.


things i want to accomplish this year include taking more pictures with my cameras. i've gotten out of the habit with that silly iphone i spend so much time on.
i want to really try to see the world differently, perhaps through the lens of my camera.





it's something i've long enjoyed...but have let slip away with the advent of the camera phone.

i want to be a better friend. i've dropped out of a lot of people's live this last year. i don't mean to do it...i just suppose i am a bit of a recluse at heart.
so, i'm going to try and do better in that field.

my art is changing...

last year was full of all kinds of experiments and fun stuff...




and in the summer, i went back to paper clay and a more vintage look.






but toward the end of the year, my work started to morph even more into a more fantastical, surreal, dreamlike look that i have longed for, but didn't think i had the skills to achieve.






but, i think i am getting there and i've come up with several series' i am excited to pursue this year.

there are many other things i want to do, am doing, and don't want to jinx. 
yes, i am superstitious.
so, we'll just leave it here for now.

i hope that no matter what happens, i will be able to continue doing the one thing that makes me whole: make art!!

i just have to remind myself that there i am strong and i am thankful i have my art to distract and heal me.

i hope the new year is bringing you joy and wonderment; magic and hope; love and light.

do you have any goals or dreams you would like to fulfill this year?
are any already under way?
i'd love to hear about them...

till next time...
xoxo,
♥amber♥