Focus Pocus means Magic is in the Air

September Newsletter

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What gets you to the strongest work you can make? Is this about style. genre, subject, time, luck? There's been a good amount of chatter about developing one's personal voice or style lately on the quilt lists I follow -- is it developed or discovered? 

Maybe a bit of both.

Where you start to develop a personal style in your art (no matter the media, genre or intention) you begin with discovery: experimenting, trying something a friend is doing, taking workshops or online classes with a teacher whose work you admire. 

Snake Woman (here in process) embodies a lot of what I think of as my personal voice: narrative, myth, color, texture, iconic imagery.

At some point you may decide you want to make work that "looks like you," that speaks your truth and story (whether you want art to be a full-time passion, an avocation or a hobby that enriches your life. You want someone to look at what you do and recognize you -- even though we know that in some ways looking at art is always about looking in a mirror. (What your audience sees is always going to be more about them than it is about you.)

That's the point where discovery becomes developing. That's where finding a balance between focus, play and imagination comes to play! (And not forgetting the Helsinki Bus.) 
I like what this painter blogger, Lori McNee, has to say -- though some of it has me thinking, maybe not that tip... What do you think?

If you'd like to spend a weekend taking the step from discovering to developing, sign up for my Artist Journey workshops coming in January. This year, due to demand, I'll be hosting two weekend retreats at El Cielo, each with a slightly different set of play books! Read more on the website (scroll down past the Temple and IQF events) and send me an email if you are interested. $25 nonrefundable deposit.

Read More about Finding Your Creative Voice


Creative Strengths Training

Jane Dunnewold needs no introduction to most of my subscribers. She's one of my mentors and a friend. Her courses set me firmly on my own bus line to personal style and meaningful work. She's added her wisdom, experience and a bunch of deep and meaningful exercises to this topic with her new book: Creative Strength Training. (She also teaches an online course with the same title.) 
If you are seeking a rich guide to forging an original, thoughtful, beyond-technique-trickster gimmicks, follow Jane's steps and see where you find yourself in a few months of self study.

"Creative Strength Training is a treasure. I was inspired from page 1 onward. I know all about discipline - but now I know how to transfer it to creative pursuits."

Christiane Northrup, M.D. 
OB/GYN and author of the New York Times bestsellers: Goddesses Never Age, Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, and The Wisdom of Menopause

What resonates with me particularly -- beyond the abiding interest I have in this topic -- are Jane's examples and the thought processes she shares from those who have taken her courses. These snapshots of different minds and hands at work are inspiring and intriguing in equal part.

From Jane's book description: 

Artists and athletes alike benefit from strength training. Building creative stamina takes encouragement, mentoring, and regular practice. In Creative Strength Training, you'll discover powerful strategies that combine writing and hands-on art-making to overcome creative stumbling blocks, develop a unique voice and make creating art a regular habit. 
_ Overcome resistance while dismantling "the Committee" (that group of inner critics)._
_ Explore 10 exercises for making art that stands apart as uniquely yours._
* Receive support and inspiration from contributing artists who share how each chapter has improved their practice and helped them evolve.

Order the book from Jane here or from another online retailer.

s far as my own creative journey of late.... 
Should you be traveling up IH35 north between October 14 and November 27 please stop in to see my new work and that of printmaker Junanne Peck at the Temple Cultural Activities Center, just north of downtown on N. 3. If you can come to the opening, we'll be staying overnight at America's Best Value Inn, 915 N General Bruce Dr, Temple, TX 76504-2479 (Formerly Red Roof).We'll also share a great Chinese Banquet with anyone who wants to join us after the opening.

Inner and outer landscapes from Texas artists Susie Monday, Pipe Creek, and Junanne Peck, Fort Worth. October 14 - November 27, 2016

  • Monday’s new textile collage paintings explore the expanses of Big Bend, the roads traveled without and within— especially the paths of women -- and the legends that arise from those journeys inside and out. Peck’s etchings and monotypes express images that spring from her dreams and meditation, tapping into hidden resources of joy and expansion. Together the two women, whose art and teaching have brought them together, find find inspiration in nature, story telling and the power of images to make us think, feel and delight in the world.

Friday, October 14, 6-7 pm 
Opening artist's reception 

Saturday October 15, afternoon 
Art on the iPad Workshop

November 12, all day 
Spontaneous Mark Workshop
$99 includes lunch.

Junanne Peck, Scull with Rust monotype

Junanne Peck, Scull with Rust monotype

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I've jumped into some new ventures given the opportunities at the Temple Cultural Activities Center -- notably putting some of my designs up on the retail site

Here you can purchase journal, notebooks, scarves and a few garments using my designs that are featured in the work for this exhibit. I'll have a few items on sale in the gift shop and even more variety here on line. On line you can use this code through Midnight Sept. 19 for 15% off -- WHY15 at checkout. (I am also planning to open my Spoonflower shop before the October opening but it's not quite ready yet!)