I'm making more very small (4" x 6") Tantra Homage paintings. Tantra is an ancient Hindu tradition of beliefs and practices that seeks to channel the divine energy of the cosmos into our human life here. A couple of years ago I found a beautiful book about it, Tantra Song
. Inside were curiously modern-looking abstract paintings of great simplicity all made in the 17th century. The artists were anonymous but came from a tradition in which painting was a kind of meditation in which the artist might connect with something sublime and make it manifest.
And so I took to trying. First I altered what I saw, then I took to just showing up each morning and beginning. I don't plan but work slowly and in silence, like a meditation. In the original Tantra paintings there's always a focal point, some sense of time in the weathered paper, of accident and purpose, of the artist's hand. There's Yin and Yang—expansion and contraction, dark and light, chance and purpose.
I'm quite sure I don't achieve the exquisite focus of the Tantra artists but am finding this a beautiful meditation anyway. I never know what will show up to meet me when I sit down to make these paintings so I just keep at it until I feel happy something has. Then I go on to other quite different work.
ll good things must come to an end, as they say, and so does my online sketchbook class, Making Art a Practice
, via Carla Sonheim Presents
. At least temporarily! It was my first time teaching online and it worked really well! We had people from all over the world from the US and Canada, to the UK and Europe, to Brazil and Australia. It was so interesting to see the drawings and paintings everyone made and to share ideas together. The class is always available as a self-study class too. Just click on the link above.
And now to plan the next installment! Coming March 2016.
Very happy to announce that my new book, The Drawing Club of Improbable Dreams
, is now available in the UK and in the US. In the book, I tell the story of the drawing club I've been running in Boston for almost ten years. Each week we make experiments in drawing and so often discover more and more who we are as artists. And what we learn in making art we can bring into the whole of our lives. The book tells how to run a club and offers exercises for the first year as well as ways to invent new ones.
Here's a beautiful quote from Kurt Vonnegut that says it all:
"Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or how badly, not to get money or fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what's inside you, to make your soul grow."
If you're in the UK, you can buy the book here
. And in the US, here
Registration for my new online sketchbook class, Making Art a Practice
, with Carla Sonheim Presents
is now open! I believe the simple act of drawing can open us up to all sorts of perceptions and even new ways of being. We'll be working in the class to both uncover and forward the ideas we discover so we can bring them into our art-making. And, in the process, we may well discover more of who we are as artists. The class is open to artists of all levels of experience.
Class starts October 6th, 2015 and goes for 6 weeks.
There are exercises to do each week and we'll all share our work on a private Facebook page.
The code to enter this page and full instructions will be given upon registration.
It's always available too as a self study class.
Sign up at Carla Sonheim Presents.
I'm happy to announce that I've been invited to teach online for Carla Sonheim Presents
which offers online art classes of various sorts taught by Carla and other artists. My class is called Making Art a Practice
(just like my book
) and we'll be working with the sketchbook to explore freely and in some unusual ways. The goal is to bring our whole selves into our art through our art practice and to bring art into the whole of our lives. The course is six-weeks long and participants will have a chance to share their work in a private online setting. I look forward to seeing what everyone does and sharing what I do too. In my experience, so many good things happen when we work together in a collaborative way.
Carla works with her husband Steve Sonheim, a photographer, cinematographer and director. They came all the way from Seattle to Boston to film and they do everything in a highly professional way. Together they guided me with great skill through the whole filming process. I confess it can be quite challenging to talk and draw at the same time, live, on camera! But we did it and it was a lot of fun! It was so great to hang out together, and with my husband Allan Hunter too, and to talk about art. I'm so delighted to be working together!
Here's a few shots in my studio from our four days of shooting—
The class is scheduled to start October 6th. If you'd like to join us, you can sign up at carlasonheim.com
. Hope to see you!
When the call came to enter a piece of art into Boston's Museum of Fine Arts auction, I decided to send in one of my "records" from my Sun Records series. I was really happy to be included and especially chuffed that for a night a piece of my art hung in the museum! Many, many thanks to the wonderful collector who bought it. Love when people buy art and I hope it brings a smile to its new viewers. I'm thrilled that some of the proceeds go to support our great museum here in Boston.
Happy to report that I'm almost done with my new book, The Drawing Club of Improbable Dreams
, about how to start and run a drawing club. It's based on the club I've led for the last 10 years just outside Boston at The Arsenal Center for the Arts. It started as a regular drawing class but when we embraced radical support for each person surprising things began to happen. Everyone learned to draw in interesting ways, for one. Better still, we found a wonderful community and a sanctuary on Saturday mornings for wild creative exploration. Some really fine things have come from that.
It's been such a wonderful and interesting project. And intense too. Most of the book has been done in the last six months which is fast for a book like this. Once again, many thanks to my publisher Thierry Bogliolo at Findhorn Press without whose warm support this book couldn't be as freewheeling as it is. I'm now in the final days of making and choosing art for the book and inserting it into the design. It's looking great and we are truly stretching the boundaries of how we can think of drawing. And art too, I hope.
In two weeks, the book will be off to the publisher in France! Out in bookstores in August!
Very honored to have some of my art and an excerpt from my first book, The Confident Creative
, on British artist/illustrator Vicki Turner
's fabulous blog, PLUCKY! Vicki describes PLUCKY this way, "Due to the power of small things, I collect plucky stories and ideas to inspire us. To celebrate and support creatives who have the courage and determination to make a positive impact, ranging from bold mavericks to humble artisans." PLUCKY is full of inspiration and simple pleasure! Do check it out! And thank you, Vicki!
Check out Vicki's beautiful graphic art here
And may we all be plucky!
Hello! I'm sorry for such a long time away and thanks for checking in! It's been a very busy time here as, apart from shoveling mountains of snow here this winter in Boston, I've been writing and editing my new book for the last three months. The book is about how to start and run a drawing club like The Saturday Morning Drawing Club which I've led for the last ten years and which inspired my first two books—The Confident Creative
and Making Art a Practice
. I write about the ways we can work together with drawing and come to make art in our own best way. It includes lesson plans too. Next week, I'll jump into making the art to illustrate the book. The final step will be putting it all into book form and getting it out the door before the end of May. I may need a little luck with that but all will be well.
Publisher: Findhorn Press, which also did my first two books and have been really great to work with.
Publication date: October 2015
Thanks for stopping by. I'll be back soon with some of the illustrations from the new book.