What does whining get you?

I used to say that to my children when they were little and whining at me throughout a store for me to buy them whatever was the latest and greatest fad.  Over my shoulder I’d say “What does whining get you?”  and wait for their sometimes whiny response – “nothing”.

I recently began mosaicing again after a three year hiatus, (that hurts just to write that, I thought it was just two.) I won’t bore you with all my reasons and excuses, suffice it to say, I’m aware of them and am going to work hard to not let that happen again.

I recently heard myself whining about not having enough time to begin to mosaic again and some kind friends just said “let it go” and “just start”. I took some time to pause and reflect and remembered that whining brings nothing to the table and that I better start practicing what I had so long ago preached.  I also really wanted to have some new work in the Women Sharing Art, Inc. show of which I am a member. And I had about three weeks to make that happen.  Oy…

A lot of changes were occurring in my life when I first started making this mosaic.  I was overwhelmed with perceived obligations and responsibilities.  I pushed them all out of the way and began thinking about the people and relationships and the creative energy in my life and how they are interconnected and interwoven, each affecting and influencing the other, realizing that sometimes I want separations or boundaries and what do they look like and feel like.

The sketch began taking shape.  I created some rules about making this mosaic:  I had to use the materials I already had, I couldn’t buy any thing, I had to work it out with what I had; I wouldn’t let myself think too much about the patterns I was creating within the circles, I just had to do it as I didn’t have time to overthink, ponder or worry about a direction I may want to take.   Time was running out!  So I knew I had some circles and intersecting lines and I kind of knew where I wanted the yellow pieces.  And, it had to be big and red as we had agreed to make something big and red for our show Make it BIG – Make it RED.

Then I started using those tiny little yellow pieces, I’m thinking Libby, you need to work bigger because it’s going to take a looooong time to fill up a 27″ by 22″ space if you’re using tiny little yellow pieces that are about  1/8″.  I carried on.

Thank God for the snowstorm that hit the week before the mosaic was due.  I hunkered down and spent the whole day and into the night working on Interconnected.

No more whining, just doing. Look what happened when I stopped whining…

 

 

Leaving an Imprint

I took myself on a field trip the other day.  The decision to go was spontaneous and out of the ordinary for me and I’m really glad I chose to make it happen.

I received an email from the Art League of Long Island near the end of February 2014 that offered a tour of the ULAE (Universal Limited Art Editions) workshop to the first 25 people who responded to the email. The tour was sponsored by the Art League of Long Island and they are hosting an exhibit at the Jeanie Tengelsen Art Gallery called “Hot Off the Press” through March 30, 2014.  It is an “exhibition of 40 prints, executed since the year 2000, by 20 contemporary artists” from ULAE.  And in case you missed the tour Bill Goldston, who runs the press will be speaking at the Art League on March 27th.

Knowing next to nothing about printmaking and my only experience being from many years ago when I made a couple of woodblock prints back in college, I am always curious about how something is made. I had no idea what the ULAE was but by now, I am intrigued, I’m going!

What, may you ask, is ULAE? It’s a workshop/studio space for artists (by invitation only) to work with Bill Goldston and his staff to create limited editions of artwork AND it is practically in my backyard in Bay Shore, NY!   Goldston and the ULAE is a publisher of fine art prints executed by well-known, established artists.  Read more about the history of ULAE here.

So, what did I see, do and learn?

Goldston explained how he got started with ULAE and how he works with the artists.  Foremost, he is a publisher.  He chooses whom he wants to work with and invites artists to come and create artwork.  Some artists have never worked in this medium so it appears it is a collaborative effort at times as Goldston shares his vast knowledge of printing, inks, materials, and processes with the artist.    Goldston is articulate and patient as he explained and answered so many of our questions.  And Ricarda Goldston, Bill’s wife, “translated” many of our questions so that Bill would answer them in the easiest of ways.

Throughout the studios I saw huge offset printing presses,

offset printing press

Offset printing press

and a press made in the 1840’s that is still in use.

Press circa 1840 at ULAE

Press circa 1840 at ULAE

The press in the picture below had a Jasper Johns woodblock on it that was made I believe in the 1980’s.  

IMG_0935

Jasper Johns woodblock, Goldston on the right.

We were able to watch a print being executed using five individual copper plates, each plate carefully cleaned and inked, then precisely placed on the press and run through the press.

Intaglio print

Intaglio print by Mark Fox

After asking questions of the printers on how they matched up each plate so the artwork was able to print so precisely, we went to another part of the studio where we were able to see new works by Jasper Johns and Terry Winters.

Lithograph by Jasper Johns for an upcoming show with Bill on the left.

Lithographs by Jasper Johns for an upcoming show with Goldston on the left. 

This print went through the press 11 different times using a new color each time.

This print went through the press 11 different times using a new color each time.  Print by Terry Winters

Print by Terry Winters, Goldston in the picture

Goldston then led us to the digital studio where he showed us the beginnings of a piece of art made by Carroll Dunham (and yes, for those of you who watch “Girls” on HBO, he is Lena’s dad!).  In an envelope were several 8 1/2 x 11 pieces of paper with a drawing on each of them.  Goldston described how he scanned each piece and made each drawing bigger.  He sent the digital file back to Dunham who was able to color the artwork digitally on his own computer.  The new file was sent back to Goldston who then printed on a specific paper that was textured and looked like it had hair running through it.  Here are several iterations shown below.  The final piece, of which only one was made – and there will only be one, will have to be seen when it’s ready to be seen in a gallery or museum as my camera died!

Artwork by Carroll Dunham.

Artwork by Carroll Dunham

The afternoon I spent at ULAE was inspiring, thought-provoking, and made me come home and look at my own artwork in new and exciting ways.

Showing Up and Getting Wet

I think I might have mentioned that I tend to procrastinate a bit when it comes to my art and anything related to it.

I’ve updated my website and have had it finished for a couple of months, maybe more like 4 months and I haven’t told the world or anyone, really, that it is finished and ready for viewing.  I’ve been procrastinating, making excuses – “It’s not ready”, “It’s not exactly the way I want it”, “The art isn’t good enough”, and the list goes on and on.  Replace the “it’s” and the “art” with an “I” and you can imagine what’s going on in my head!

I recently read a book called Daring Greatly by Brené Brown.  Ms. Brown recounted a story  about her daughter: she wanted her mother to get her out of a a swim meet race because she didn’t think she would win/finish/do well.  Long story short, Ms. Brown asked her daughter if she could make her goal be to just show up to the race and get wet.  I’ll leave you to read the book and see what happens, but that question has resonated with me since I read the book.  I make choices so much harder than they have to be.  I found it’s so much easier for me to agree with myself to just “show up and get wet”.  What I do from there is for another blog post but getting “showing up and getting wet” has really helped me.

I recently sent an email announcing my newly designed and improved website to people I have come in contact with who have bought my art work over the years.  It was really scary for me to hit send on that email.  I’m asking everyone I know to see what I’ve created.  I’m exposing myself to criticism and judgment, but I’m also exposing myself to positive comments and outcomes too.  I don’t know what’s going to happen but I’ve jumped into the pool and I’m swimming.  Thanks Brené Brown!

Provost Commission, 2012 © Libby Hintz

Provost Commission, 2012 © Libby Hintz

No matter what.

I had asked for memories for Christmas in 2013. So, my daughter, Amy, who listens really well and took my request to heart, bought us tickets to see “Beautiful” the musical about Carole King, her music and life story. During the days before we were to see the show, I listened to my collection of Carole King music on my iTunes. Hearing the songs made me even more excited to see the performances and hear the music.

I purposefully did not read anything about the show and its format. I like to be surprised and open to whatever is in front of me. There are no preconceived ideas or expectations that way and I can decide for myself what I think about a show. I didn’t realize how prolific Carole King was as a songwriter. I knew in the back of my mind that she had written songs for other people but didn’t know that was how she began her career. I was delighted to hear so many familiar, fun, popular songs that she co-wrote with her then husband.

This post isn’t really about Carole King and the musical. It’s about what I learned and felt while I was watching the show. As I listened to the music and the words, I was pulled back to when I was a teenager in the 70’s. Carole King’s “Tapestry” album came out in 1971 and that album was a predominant soundtrack in my life. I could remember listening to “You’ve Got A Friend” when I was sad and lonely, I could remember listening to “Beautiful” and putting a smile on my face and I could remember listening to “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and feeling beautiful and sexy.

As each song was played and remembered, I became increasingly emotional. Normally when this happens, I become alarmed and try and suck back the emotions and tears, however as I was standing there applauding the performers and Jessie Mueller’s performance as Carole King while wearing the very familiar purple, long, flowing dress Carole King wore as she performed “Tapestry” at Carnegie Hall, I just wept with the emotion of it all. Remembering the feelings and joy her music brought to me was overwhelming. I had missed her music and words and I didn’t even know it. On top of learning some of her life’s story through the musical I was even more in awe. Remember I said I learned something while watching this show? What I learned was that as prolific and popular as the songs she wrote were, she doubted every step of the way. But she kept working, writing, and singing. I relate to the doubt in every step. I learned I don’t want to let it stop me anymore. I want to show up and create, no matter what. With the doubt sitting next to me. No matter what.

Retracing My Steps, No. 2.  © Libby Hintz

Retracing My Steps, No. 2.
© Libby Hintz

 

The Storm before the Calm

I was commissioned to create a mosaic for a client.  The goal of this particular mosaic was to evoke calmness upon viewing the work. I had some direction from the client: a suggestion of leaves was mentioned; the dimensions of the finished piece; and the mosaic was to go in an office that has mauve, rose and green tones.  As I continue to create art I find I learn something about myself with each piece I make.

I begin to lay out the plan I prepared on my Wediboard.  I put the letters down first.  I anticipated that the letters were going to be difficult because I wanted to make all the cuts in the glass  match up all the way across each letter.  So, no surprise there.  I added the leaves and vines, no problem.  I get to the background and I’m thinking to myself – this should be done in no time.  I was cutting, I was back-buttering my tile, I was laying them down, easy peasy! Now, imagine these sounds: a needle skipping across a record or a car slamming on its brakes, your pick.

Acck!  What happened?

CALM 1

I wasn’t paying attention to the direction I was heading in and I didn’t make the background line turn in a very fluid motion, the cuts in the tiles indicate a stop and start motion, not calm at all.    I have learned that it is helpful to take a picture of whatever I am working on and look at it on a computer.  I can see the flow better on a computer screen than in reality.  I start looking at the picture and I realize that instead of following my predetermined background line or andamento, I started following the line of the vine.  UGH, it’s OK, right?  I can leave it, right?

Sometimes, I have to learn a lesson more than once.  See my list of “Things I will Always Do Again below. See the first one?  If I question whether I like something or not I am doing in a mosaic, I really need to look at it and reassess because, if I have to ask the question, it means I don’t like it now and I won’t like it tomorrow.  I might as well take care of it right now.

List

List

That’s what I did.   I ripped out all the “offensive” parts and started over.

CALM in progress, area ripped out

CALM in progress, area ripped out

This was really hard to do the first time I committed to ripping out the parts of a mosaic I didn’t like.  It’s getting easier to do.  I don’t look at it as wasted time anymore and I don’t beat myself up about having to change something.  It’s a choice.  I have to remember missteps happen, it’s part of life to start over and try again.  I think I will add that to my list.

"Calm" 19" x10" 2013 © Libby Hintz

“Calm” 19″ x10″
2013 © Libby Hintz

Carrots and Sticks

Over my lifetime I have found that I often need a “carrot on a stick” to make me learn something new. When computers were first on my horizon in the early 90’s, my brother sent me his old DOS-based computer – complete with the blue screen and the flashing prompt! I needed a reason to learn how to use a computer so I offered to create a newsletter for my children’s PTA. I found MS Publisher and I started learning how to use a computer. I didn’t really want to learn the back end of it, just how I could use a computer to make things look nice.

20 years later, here I sit, with another carrot in front of me. I wanted a website that I could edit myself. I wanted it to look nice but I didn’t really want to get under the hood. So, I hired Joanna Waterfall, a graphic designer from California , who then hired Sarah Potter, a web designer from Washington. I didn’t think it all the way through (I usually don’t) but Joanna knows what she’s doing and asked me a bunch of questions (five pages worth!) and several months later, I’m where I said I wanted to be. I have a website I can edit myself. There’s so much I don’t know, I feel like I’m learning a new language with all the terms being presented to me behind the scenes. Attributes, taxonomies, affiliate products, linked products, up-sells, huh?

I’m making myself learn it all. I’m not quite where I want to be in terms of my comfort level but I can handle it, right?

Sandy No 2 6 x 4
Sandy No. 2, ©Libby Hintz 2012
6″ x 4″ on Wediboard, turquoise chips and multi-colored seed beads

Treasure Hunt

I seem to write down quotes that speak to me and leave them in the most random places.  I have found them in the bottom of my inbox on my desk; my bedside table; in my jewelry drawer; half used notebooks left at the top of a bookshelf, on old envelopes; tucked away in my wallet; written on the Stickies app on my computer.  I kind of like that they aren’t all in the same place, organized for me to be able to find them, (though part of me would like that too).  The quotes are little clues that I’ve left for myself without even knowing I was on a treasure hunt.

This quote showed up and I drew in my breath when I saw it: “A goal is just a wish without a plan.” by Antoine de_Saint-Exupery.  I’ve been making plans and I realize now, they are mostly wishes.  Time to buckle down and make some plans for where I really want to go.

Picture me, a little girl, about 10, bouncing on the high diving board about 10 feet  up.

Retracing My Steps, No. 1

Retracing My Steps, No. 1

I begin.

Picture me, a little girl who is about 7 or 8, quietly, timidly dipping her little toes into a large pool of water.

I’ve been circling the idea of a blog since 2011.   In October 2011, Alyson Stanfield of www.ArtBizCoach.com fame came to my hometown to conduct a conference for about 30 artists who lived in the NY Metropolitan area.  It was there that I began to think about creating a blog.

I’m here.

The idea of blogging makes me feel vulnerable. The idea of blogging makes me feel scared. Blogging will expose me and my thoughts and open them up to judgment and criticism.

The idea of blogging makes me feel brave and excited as I  anticipate blazing a new path for myself into uncharted jungles and waters.

And you know what?  I create art, I show art, I share art, I sell art.

Creating makes me feel all those things too – scared, vulnerable, excited, exhilarated and I took THAT leap.

I talk to people one on one all the time; I share my thoughts, perceptions, and opinions.  Every time I share my thoughts, I say something that I need to hear, that “ding” will go off and I will hear myself say, “You need to apply that to your own life.”

Blogging is another “ding” for me.  The written word is so powerful and I’m on a journey to see how powerful it will be.

I’m paying attention to the “dings” when they occur.  They become guidelines for me, something to remember when in doubt.

That’s how I feel today as I publish my very first blog post.  I realize that I take a long time to implement an idea or a thought once I decide I am going to do something.   It’s part of my process and I’m getting faster at implementing than I used to be, in life and in ART.    Here we are, on the Corner of Life and Art.

I begin.

Make Your Own Path No 3 blog photo_edited-1

Make Your Own Path No. 3, ©Libby Hintz